How To: Inspiring and Enthusing Youth in Your Services

Contributed by: Diocese of Nelson

A 10 course buffet of ideas to help your church services inspire and enthuse the youth – through visuals, involvement, prayer, worship and more.


How does the room look and feel?

  • Is this a youth friendly space? Is it comfortable and inviting? Is it warm? freezing cold? does it smell…?
  • Are we seated separate or mixed in? Can we bring in couches or bean bags? Can we sit on these pews for long?
  • Could we add ambience with candles? Could we decorate the place? Could we use symbolic crosses?
  • Is there an atmosphere when I arrive? Do we need some youth music playing? Can we put together some cool slides?


How will we boldly engage?

  • How do we foster that prayer is for all, that we can all be prayerful?
  • How do we model that prayer works, is powerful and effective?
  • How do we convey that God always answers us, yet in his way?

We can pray out loud or silently in creative ways. We can ask young people to help lead us. We can pray for and minister to each other. We can share our answers to prayers. We can use visuals and props to stir us. We can create a sense of reverence. We can pray for healing over sickness. We can pray for our families and kids. We can pray prophetically to encourage. We can pray any time, in any place, in our own way.


How will we read and listen to the Word?

The Bible is an amazing book written by many interesting people. The Bible is full of rich history and God’s grand story with humanity. The Bible is able to be read in bite size, meal size or banquet size. The bible is not just mere words on thin paper, it is living and active.

  • Can we make sure our young people understand it’s importance
  • Can we provide them with a bible and teach them how to read it?
  • Could we ask keen youth to read it out loud on a Sunday morning?
  • Could it be read dramatically? Via video? Via images? Via song?


How will we show hospitality?

Hospitality helps build relationship and community and enables people to mix and live life together over a meal or three. Young people always love a good feed. Food helps hem to feel welcomed, nurtured and loved. It promotes fellowship.

How can we build a culture of generous hospitality into our church? How can we create opportunities for breaking bread together?

We could serve hot cross buns at Easter. We could offer real communion bread. We could serve tasty edible biscuits. We could run a coffee machine. We could eat dinner or have a BBQ/picnic.

cameraProps and Visuals

How will the theme resonate with the senses?

Can we come up with a theme for Sunday that weaves through everything we do? Maybe we could ask an artist to paint a canvas or set up a sculpture or prop that sparks interest and awakens imagination?

Could we create a visual to link with the message or draw out a response from those coming today? A scene, cut out words, mobile, an object, banner, appliance, tomb mannequin, Christmas tree, donkey, sheep, TV screen, palm?


How will we utilise their gifts, skills and passion?

Youth engage more when meaningfully involved and participating. Youth aren’t too fond of being idle spectators, they prefer action! Youth bring energy, skills/abilities, and a youth culture awareness. Youth appreciate being given responsibility and permission to do. Youth enjoy freedom to make mistakes and try things their way. Youth have potential to draw out, encourage, nurture and realise. Youth are vital to the life of the church family, including older people.

Youth can welcome, preach, administer communion, give a reading, handle tech, do a drama, lead worship, pray, share their testimony, make a video, serve food…


How will we encounter our God together?

Worship grows when in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Worship flows out of a heart that knows God, his love and grace. Worship is not just all about music and singing songs on Sunday. Worship is about our lives living in praise of the One who saves. Worship is not a one way conversation at God, it’s a conversation. Worship is powerful when we are united together as one family. Worship can be creative, reflective, silent, loud, interactive, fun. Worship on Sunday needs to help us encounter God collectively. Worship on Sunday will inspire if we give the Spirit space to inspire.

  • How can we encourage our youth to express worship in their way?
  • How can we choose songs that help them feel they’re represented?
  • How can we involve youth more in our worship on Sundays?
  • How do we creatively worship collectively with all age groups?

We could use some candles or incense. We could go on a creators walk and worship outdoors. We could start a youth music band. We could create space for silence or reflection. We could introduce some new songs with a youth flavour and play them their style. We could preach a series on worship. We could bring back the joy and celebrate. We could shout! We could re-work some classic old hymns. We could raise up some youth singers or dancers. We could clap!


How will we speak truth to inspire and provoke action?

A great message will draw its theme from a key Bible passage. A great message is clear, concise, easy to follow and God-breathed. A great message doesn’t have to be long-winded to be quality. A great message engages the audience and resonates with them. A great message will draw out a practical response from the listener. A great message doesn’t have to be a monologue from the vicar!

  • How can we add relevant youth culture references?
  • How does this message relate to their school life?
  • How long does it need to be to connect?
  • How can we introduce more multimedia, video clips, visual or interactive content?
  • How can we incorporate humour, analogy, metaphor, story and practical action to communicate well?

We could use a panel of guests on a couch to share their views. We could tag-team preach. We could bring a young relatable guest speaker. We could invite people to discuss some well thought out questions for 2 minutes. We could interview a young person up front. We could ask the youth to make a video drama to set the scene for the talk. We could train up some youth to speak or start sharing their story.

pompomsCreative Response

How will we respond?

  • How can we inspire a heart response from our message each week?
  • How can we make things practical and applicable and connectable?
  • How can we remind people that church life is more than Sunday?

Could we construct a prayer tree with everyone’s prayers to keep lifting up? Could we invite people to light a candle, place a stone, move around, be still? Could we kneel at the cross, hold a nail, enter an empty tomb, watch a video? Could we provide an action card or a physical memento to take back home? Could we take up a mid-week challenge or sign up for a church family project?


How will we build genuine, ‘Body of Christ’ relationship?

Youth are drawn to genuine, friendly relationship. Youth feel appreciated if noticed/ acknowledged. Youth love to hang out and chat with their peers. Youth need space to be youth, have fun, be rowdy. Youth also enjoy mixing with elderly people. Youth need encouragement and love. Youth need role models and mentors. Youth have parents who need care. Youth respond to love in action.

  • How can we foster church life mid-week?
  • Do we have a body of Christ, ‘all a part of’ church?
  • Are we a place where all people feel welcomed in?



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