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Think Again: 5 New Ways to Look at Your Youth Group's Budget

By Don Pearson | These tips are adapted from YOUthwork: 99 Practical Ideas for Youthworkers, Parents & Volunteers. | September 13 2009

It's important to keep students in front of adults. Adults need to experience the grace of empowering young people to find their way and gain strength in the faith. Besides, nothing makes an adult feel better than firsthand experience with "It is better to give than to receive."

5. When it comes to need, show, don't tell.

In our early days, our youth group had this brown van that was supposed to hold 15 kids. It actually did fit 15, as long as none of them fell through the holes in the floor. Over the course of a year we put ads in the bulletin and occasionally mentioned our need for a new van from the pulpit, but the money didn't come in. Finally, someone got the idea to simulate what it looks like to take a couple dozen students on a trip in a dilapidated van. The pastor let us have five minutes at the end of a service and we went for the jugular - using actual seats from the van, piling kids on top of each other, and showing what happens when 27 young people try to fit on seats built for 15. We then took an offering and collected $12,000 on the spot, - which at that stage in the life of our church, was an unbelievable amount of money.

Allowing adults to see the needs of your ministry, not just in the financial difficulties, but also in the support needed for the kids the ministry is designed for, will remind adults of their investment in the students' lives. Kids communicate the vulnerability of adolescent development. Adults recognize this and support it, which is exactly as it should be. That's the role of adults - to watch over the young until they themselves are equipped as adults. Don't lose sight of this.

These tips are adapted from YOUthwork: 99 Practical Ideas for Youthworkers, Parents & Volunteers, co-authored by Don Pearson. Don's groups have been stranded, evicted, rescued by helicopters, surrounded by sharks, and held at gunpoint...and have enjoyed God's blessing while growing from six students in the '80s to over 600 today. Don lives with his wife Julie and three grown children near Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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