Let’s face it; most of us don’t have a facility that is dedicated to the Youth Ministry of the church. Many of you are like the Israelites in the wilderness, wandering to and fro looking for the next place to set up shop. I’ve been there. Some of us out there are lucky enough to have been given the old Senior Adult Sunday School classroom at the church, while others of us have a 30,000 square foot facility that is dedicated to the Students. My hope is that no matter what the set up is at your church, you would think through a few very key things to making your facility better.
- Your Youth Room is Resource, not the end goal. Whether it’s someone’s living room, the creepy basement of the church, or the sweet Youth Wing of your new building, your student space is a tool/resource to facilitate growth in the life of teenagers as they seek to follow Christ. Don’t lose sight of that. I know guys on both end of the spectrums of this (one guy who has an entire building for students and the other who switches his location week to week at his church building) who really have a great grasp on this truth.
- Facilitate Relationships: There was a great article put out by a design firm that really hit a homerun with the need and desires of students and what they’re looking for in a space. What they want more than anything is the opportunity to connect with other students and adults. Set your space up in a way that facilitates communal activities. Limit the number of games that involve 2 or less people (notice I said limit, not do away with.) Set your chairs up in a way that forces students to interact, and create great hang areas.
- Get Some Fresh Eyes on your Space: I’m always trying to mix up the feel of our room, and make it better for our students without having to spend money. For instance, just this past week we created a great hang area near our cafe by simply taking 23 pallets and bolting them to the wall, creating a new look and feel for our cafe area. Best part? It was free, and it looks awesome. But the reality is that we all become immune to the space we utilize, and we grow numb to the clutter and the junk we have in our rooms. Invite someone from a different ministry to come in and make some suggestions, or even a parent. One of the best things you can do is invite a local youth pastor over, buy their lunch, and get their feedback. Whatever you do, get fresh eyes on the space, it’s worth it.