Youth Ministry is the best. No doubt, there is nothing more amazing than playing a part in seeing young people find Jesus – it’s incredibly exciting, ridiculously rewarding and a massive privilege! As a youth Pastor in a regional community, I get to see first hand the opportunity we have to make a difference in the lives of young people week in and week out, and there’s nothing better!

Leading a youth ministry in a small community has come with its own set of challenges that are unique to our location. These challenges have at times felt overwhelming and isolating, but it’s these same challenges that have provided us with an incredible opportunity to harness our God-given creativity and push the boundaries of what we would have once believed was possible for a regional Youth Ministry. Our journey at Nova Youth hasn’t been easy, but it’s definitely been worth it! I wholeheartedly believe that the tide is shifting for regional youth ministries in our nation and that we aren’t just called to survive, we’re called to thrive!

Here are 5 reasons I believe that despite the challenges you may be facing, your regional youth ministry can thrive!

1) You can be the best thing happening in town.

One of the great things about small communities opposed to big cities is that there are a limited amount of events and attractions taking place week to week, this gives your youth ministry a prime opportunity to literally be the best thing happening in town. You can create an attractive and engaging environment that gives young people a chance to participate in fun events that aren’t on offer anywhere else in your community.

2) You can take guerrilla marketing to the next level.

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy used to gain the attention of the public in cheap, creative and memorable ways. The great thing about being situated in a small community is that it is very quick and easy to grab the attention of literally, the entire community. Not only is word of mouth as good as the internet, but your crazy and creative ideas can be the talk of the town and bring a phenomenal level of public awareness that would be much harder and more expensive to achieve in a big city.

3) You can be a platform instead of a ceiling.

Young people often see their small community as a ceiling for their potential, a lid that limits them from dreaming dreams and achieving great things. Your youth ministry can become a platform for the opportunity where young people can develop their gifts, find their purpose and dream bigger than they would have if your youth ministry didn’t exist. The environment you create can be a dream factory in a community that may otherwise be dreamless, a platform that sets young people up for an amazing future.

4) You can think inside the box.

Think inside the box? Yes. Inside the box. Your box is your limitations, the restrictions you have in your location, in your resources and your people power. Your box gives you the opportunity to be creative, to think within your limitations and find new and innovative ways of doing things that you wouldn’t have thought of, had you thought ‘outside the box’. Your box is your friend.

5) You can help change young people’s lives forever.

We carry the most important message in the world, the message of Jesus. It’s a message that gives purpose to the purposeless, hope to the hopeless and light to those living in darkness. This message is for everyone everywhere and no matter how hard, remote or small the location, young people’s lives can be changed forever when they enter a youth ministry that connects them with the hope that is found in Jesus.

Article Written by: Sam Long – Youth & Young Adults Pastor at Christian Family Centre, Murray Bridge, SA