It is difficult to get all youth involved and excited about coming to church. There are some ministries that can help to interest youth and give them a better outlet then what they might have at home or on the streets. My dad was/is a youth minister with more than 20 years of experience under his belt, and I have been along for the ride. I am now a chaperone for our youth group and am heavily involved in different youth ministries. Some of these ideas have been used in our youth group and some of them have been used in other local youth groups. It takes time to find what will work best for your group but some of it is trial and error. Here is what has worked for my youth group.
Youth Performing Arts Team (YPAT): This has many different interpretations and ideas that come with it. What it means for my youth group is musicals. They sing to blank tracks of a musical that is either pre-made, or it is a musical we put together song-by-song. They will sing a song, usually with dance steps, and in between songs there are skits. Sometimes the skits are a bigger story and sometimes they are individual skits with different purposes and points. Our youth group has always been talented musically and this helps give the musical teens an outlet. Each year the YPAT group goes on a mission trip in the U.S. to preform the musical at churches and to do local mission work. This type of program does leave out some youth who do not like doing musical things, but we try to include those youth by letting them do the stage lighting or sound boards.
Youth Praise Team: As I have mentioned before, our youth group is very musically inclined, so this worked out great for them. This is more for the instrumental type and a few vocalists. If you have a Wednesday service just for the youth, then this works out well because the praise team can lead the youth worship every Wednesday. This requires a few students who can play instruments like drums, guitar, keyboard, and bass. It is easy to get by with a guitar but anything you can add to it would help to make the sounds fuller. You can use as many vocalists as you want. We typically have anywhere from 3 to 5, it just depends on who can make it to church that night. When first starting out, it helps to have a separate practice time on a Saturday or Sunday. That way the praise team won’t be trying to learn the songs on Wednesday right before leading worship. Start with the basics that your church uses on Sunday mornings. When you want newer songs check out popular artists like David Crowder Band, Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, Passion (Compilation), and do not hesitate to ask around in a Christian bookstore for more suggestions.
Student Lead Bible Study: This is easy enough to do but it only works if you have a senior in highschool (or freshman from college during the summer) that has leadership skills. This is flexible because it could be females only, males only, or a mix. Our group has done a girls bible study during the summer led by a college sophmore and it worked great. Just one night a week can really do a lot for these teenage females, especially when the leader is a female they really look up to. The same goes for teenage males, they are much more likely to listen to a highschool senior or a college freshman than other people. These bible studies can be pre-made ( www.creativebiblestudy.com/youthbiblestudies.html), going through a book (www.amazon.com/Velvet-Elvis-Repainting-Christian-Faith/dp/031026345X, www.amazon.com/Mere-Christianity-C-S-Lewis/dp/0006280544/ref=sr_1_2), or personal experience from the leader and verses that go along with what the leader faced.
Maybe you are just looking to get your kids fired up about God and the gospel. There are many events geared toward youth to help them get excited and equip them with information and tools. A tried and true event for my youth group was Acquire the Fire (http://www.acquirethefire.com/ for schedule and more information). Acquire the Fire is a weekend conference that includes concerts, worship, great speakers, and a variety of opportunities for youth. If you do not think that Acquire the Fire is not for your youth group, then try your own weekend retreat. Our youth group started having a Spring Retreat, our youth minister would rent out a local camp for a weekend during the spring and take the youth group. This helped the youth get out of the city, get into some quiet, and enjoy God’s love. Our youth enjoyed it so much that they begged for a fall retreat also, which we were glad to do. By having one in the spring and one in the fall, it helps to keep the youth renewed and it gives them something to look forward to.
If you are still looking for something else, try a summer camp or mission trip. Centrifuge is a great camp that my youth group attends every year. I attended 6 years and was never disappointed. You can find more information about Centrifuge here: http://www2.lifeway.com/fuge/. If you think you need a camp geared at a little bit yonger of a youth group, then Crosspoint is for you! It is done by the same parent group as Centrifuge but is directed at a bit younger of a crowd. For more information look here: http://www2.lifeway.com/fuge/index.php/kids. If camp is not something you would like to do, then try a mission trip. I went to Lima, Peru with Global Expeditions. It is very reasonable when it comes to pricing and it provides a variety of places to go. These mission trips either consist of manual labor, drama, or orphan work typically. For more information on Global Expeditions look here: http://www.globalexpeditions.com/.
I am hoping that these tips and ideas can help you to boost your youth group and inspire them to move towards God. There are some good resources through these links and a lot comes from trial and error. By learning by others it is easier to push through and get better. Good luck with your youth group and let me know if you have any ideas on how to get a youth group pumped up and on fire for God!