At Mississauga City Baptist Church, we are currently developing a multi-site youth and family ministry. In addition to the students that attend one of the two identical Sunday services, we also have the privilege of partnering with two other churches that host services in other languages other than English. We are also affiliated with another church that is located in our region and in addition to their English service; this church also holds a service in another language. We also have had the opportunity to connect with other churches that are looking to do shared ministry. This has been a wonderful experience and I have learned a lot so far from ministering in a multicultural youth and family ministry, which includes students from more than one site.
Here are some ideas about how to make a multi-site ministry more effective:
Create a transportation list (find out who needs drives, what areas they live in and then find out who lives in their neighbourhood who is willing to drive).
- Host special events that are small enough for students to see their identity as one youth/young adult ministry and where they don’t get lost in a crowd. Take advantage of larger regional events as well.
- Connect with the youth workers in the community to find out what events you can do together.
- Create a unique name for the ministry (ours is “The Family Room”) that is not the name of your church, so that students who are not coming from the main site will know that their church matters.
- Have team building games at the beginning of meetings where any new student can jump in and feel included from the minute they walk in the door.
- Utilize social media in a way where people can catch up with what they missed, if they did not attend a specific event
- Encourage young people to attend their own church on Sundays. Have special Sundays where young people all go to one of the churches together. For example, one of the churches we partner with had over 100 students attend their church one Sunday who were visiting from out of town. On another Sunday, all of the students showed up to support a community block party.
- Have the pastors of each of the churches be the guest speakers at the youth/young adult ministry and share how their church is living out the gospel.
- Always be looking for ways to help the newer sites or ones that are going through challenges.
- Host special theme events where people dress up in costumes. This builds a sense of unity as well as camaraderie and increases the chances that the students’ friends will want to show up at a meeting, when they see the pictures online.
- -Hold community engagement projects that create interest in the youth ministry;
- Have finances to help churches that do not have a youth budget or get special donations from people who want to support ministry to young people.
- Have volunteer leaders from every site represented in the program.
I want to encourage you to be thinking about making your ministry multi-site, because a church of any size can do this. You can look at the schools and community centers around you and ask how you can expand to reach more students for Jesus at different sites.
Steve Elshaw serves as youth pastor at Mississauga City Baptist Church. This entry was originally posted on his blog on ?.