A Healthy Youth Group

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An excerpt from Amy Jacober’s book,  The Pastor’s Guide to Youth Ministry, includes a top ten list.


There is no one way to do youth ministry,” says youth minister Amy E. Jacober in The Pastor’s Guide to Youth Ministry (Abingdon Press, 2006). And this realization can free you to approach the task authentically, prayerfully, and successfully. This book offers encouraging, practical advice to those trapped by rigid notions of what youth ministry should be and to those who are apprehensive about today’s youth culture. What does Jacober recommend? Be yourself. Take time to get to know young people and the things they care about. Keep youth connected to the broader faith community.

What does a healthy youth ministry look like? Jacober posits her “top ten signs of a healthy youth group.” And if her ideas do not ring true in your church, she suggests using the list as a discussion starter to define your own signs of success.

Top Ten Signs of a Healthy Youth Group

  1. Your teens are not embarrassed to invite their friends.
  2. You know not only the names of your youth but something about each one.
  3. Your students know they are at church and not at an after-school program community center.
  4. Other adults in the church know the names of your students and pray for them.
  5. Your church cares more for teenagers than they care about the carpet.
  6. Your group is loving and friendly to others.
  7. Your group shows a change in its thinking, attitudes, and behaviors that reflect time with God and in the Bible.
  8. Your house or office has been “decorated” at least once in the past twelve months.
  9. You and your leaders are more refreshed than drained.
  10. Your youth grow up to be lifelong followers of Christ.

This list is used by permission from Abingdon Press.

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About Author

Ann A. Michel has served on the staff of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership since early 2005. Currently, she works as one of the co-editors of Leading Ideas e-newsletter. She also teaches at Wesley Theological Seminary in the areas of stewardship and leadership. She is the co-author with Lovett H. Weems Jr. of Generosity, Stewardship, and Abundance: A Transformational Guide to Church Finance (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021) available at Cokesbury and Amazon. She is also the author of Synergy: A Leadership Guide for Church Staff and Volunteers (Abingdon, 2017), available at Cokesbury and Amazon.


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