Unleashing a Love for Serving Others in Middle School Ministry

The following was written as part of Fuller Youth Institute’s Sticky Faith Service Guide by our very own Brooklyn Lindsey. Click the button below to read more.

When I heard about FYI’s research among high school students revealing the three BIG things they are hoping for in their youth ministries, I thought, wow, the things they want and the things we can provide are really within our reach.

Students responded by saying they wanted more:

  • Meaningful relationships
  • Opportunities to serve others
  • Mission trips

I wondered what it would take to make the latter two happen more often? Honestly, we’re pretty good about making meaningful relationships a priority. But the other two can feel more like seasonal experiences rather than part of the DNA of our weekly ministries.

Serving others in compassion is something God has called all of us to care about, but it can be a difficult thing to make a priority when all of the 5,008,983 other youth ministry tasks need our attention.

I had to look at what we hoped for, and begin to make choices out of that hope, instead of making choices out of the fear of missing out on something else. If serving is important (God says it is, high school students say it is), then we may need to make some adjustments to reflect its importance.

For me it started with two questions:

“How do we use our resources (time, leaders, ministry dollars, and focus) to influence our ministry program and relationships to deliver the things teens long for most?”

And the equally important question: “How do I do all of that sooner?”

The answer is to the second question is middle school ministry. The answer to the first question is leaders.


Fuller Youth Institute