Thinking about opening a teen church? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
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The Teen Church Movement
The Teen Church movement is an outgrowth of a need for faith communities to provide worship experiences and religious teachings that are designed to appeal to young people. In many churches, teens feel disconnected from the worship events and programs of the larger church. So in an effort to engage younger believers, the church launches a teen church.
Teen churches exist in both denominational and nondenominational church settings. It's becoming fairly common for teen churches to exist within local school districts, completely independent of a specific church congregation.
First and foremost, teen church planters need to love to work with teenagers and have a genuine desire to help them grow spiritually, emotionally and developmentally. If teenagers drive you crazy, then this isn't the place to exercise your passion for religious entrepreneurship.
But if teen ministry is your thing, talk to your pastor about the possibility of launching a teen church in your congregation. Teen church resources can be found through a variety of third-party providers to assist you in your efforts.
Teen Church Leadership
Make no mistake about it, teen church planters are leaders who require many of the same skills as other ministry professionals. Although some congregants will write off your youth work as a glorified teen drop-in center, the truth is that you will be expected to do a lot of the same things as your church's senior pastor (preaching, service planning, counseling, etc.). The only difference is that you will be providing ministry to a much younger demographic.
Leadership skills may be even more acute for teen church leaders than they are for other ministry professionals. The teens you serve will look to you as a role model for leadership. Blow it with them and it could have big consequences in the formation of their own leadership styles.
To stay on track, consider reviewing Gaebler's resources on Entrepreneurial Leadership. Although some of these resources are geared toward business leaders, the principles are the same and most can be applied to your leadership context.
These additional resources regarding starting a religious organization may be of interest to you.
If you sell to teen churches, this isn't the right place for you. These resources are more appropriate for you:
We offer information on other religions and denominations. View some of our sample guides below.