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Youth Group Names

By Jennifer Bradbury | Director of Youth Ministry, Faith Lutheran Church, Glen Ellyn, Illinois | January 8 2010

How do you put a name on a church youth group? What are the best youth group name ideas and how do you select one? Which names work, and which ones don't?

The naming challenge is something I have gone through myself. Upon seeing how deeply my youth group's name -- Faith Lutheran Youth (FLY) -- was ingrained in the church culture, we decided that rather than change it I would give kids in my group the authority to come up with their own preferred name for our Sunday night program.

The result? We are now called Sunday Night Jingle Bells!

This somewhat absurd choice left me wondering how and why other youth group names originate. To find out, I spoke with youth workers at churches throughout America, including some in my home state of Illinois. These youth workers have put much thought and energy into giving their youth groups the names that best serve the needs of their youth, of young people they are trying to reach, and of the churches and parachurch organizations that sponsor them.

Break Through in Florida

Student Minister Nhu Nguyen of First Christian Church in Boca Raton, Fla., wanted to show his students a new way of living through Jesus, so he knew his youth group's name before he even began it: Break Through.

"A lot of people read the Bible, go to church, and go to youth group," Nguyen said. "But how do you take that and live it out? Doing that's a breakthrough in our society."

Because the name is short and easy to communicate to their friends, youth have embraced it, in part because of Nguyen's careful branding of it. Break Through's logo is on everything the ministry does, including postcards and business cards that feature only the group and the ministry's Web address, breakthroughyouth.net. Nguyen hopes this will raise curiosity and drive people to the ministry's Web site where they'll see it's purpose and scope.

180 Degrees in Illinois

The name of the youth ministry at First United Methodist Church in La Grange, Ill. -- 180 Degrees -- was a gift from the previous youth director to the current one, Hattie Stahl.

"The name is based on the 2 Corinthians 5:17 verse," Stahl said. "The idea is that students who walk fully through the youth ministry program, who come to know Christ, are changed completely to become renewed creations."

Fusion in Texas

When High School Pastor Matt Fogle accepted his position at Compass Christian Church in Colleyville, Texas, each of Compass High School Ministry's programs had a separate name. Fusion was the name Fogle inherited for his Wednesday night worship service.

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