Innovation youth ministry

4 Outside of the Box Program Ideas for Youth Ministry

Outside of the box ideas wanted

Here’s 5 ideas that are outside of the norm for youth group. (Nothing wrong with traditional youth group, just sharing ideas.) My hope is that these ideas will spark you to create programs that your community actually needs as opposed to building your ministry purely on a combination of felt need & what you experienced as a teenager.

4 Outside of the Box Program Ideas for Youth Ministry

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Every idea is a network

Ideas as networks

You have ideas. We all have ideas. Some of them are brilliant and some of them aren’t. But every idea (pursued) is a network.

As you explore your idea you bump into people. Some are new people to you and some are old friends. Each of those connections makes connections with other people based on the concept of your idea. And you might bump into people who have a very similar idea, something the 18th century philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder called zeitgeist.

The result of your idea– something you conceived of while sitting on the toilet or in a dream or while you were bored in a staff meeting– can create a vast network of interconnected people whose primary connection is your idea.

A good idea generates energy and momentum. Sometimes even a dead end generates new connections which further energize the idea. Can you help my idea? Can you collaborate on it? Can you make the idea successful? Can you help me think about the idea? 

Here’s the deal: Whether you have an idea that will make your neighborhood a better place to live or an idea that will make you a bagillionaire… you need to give your idea the freedom to breath, to live, and to take on a life of it’s own.

The difference between an idea that changes things and an idea you have on the toilet? The network you allow that idea to ignite.



Clay High School, 1992 | Welcome to the wayback machine

When someone pitches an idea my mind is running through a matrix of questions. Is this really a good idea? Is the idea even possible? Is this the right person to turn this idea into a reality? Will enough people buy into the idea that it’ll take off? Is this the right time for this idea?

But the overarching question on my mind is simply, “Has this idea possessed this person to the point that they won’t rest– they will just be driven by this idea for as long as it takes?”

90% of the time the answer to that question is no.

“I can teach anyone enough about music to sing in the ¬†choir.”

This was the philosophy of my high school choir teacher. The woman was possessed. I’m living proof of this truism. I have no musical ability or talent at all and I was taught enough to perform at hundreds of shows, concerts, and competitions during high school.

This woman was possessed in her belief that anyone could sing and sing well. She convinced more than 50 students per year to take a choir class at 6:30 AM. On top of that she convinced about 25 of us to take an additional music class in the afternoon. Get this, for three of my four years of high school I had two music classes every day. And after school in the Spring almost all of us were also part of a musical.

It wasn’t unusual for me to leave for school before 6:00 AM and not return home from school until after 9:00 PM.

How did she do it? She was possessed by her idea. “I can teach anyone to sing.

She had that one magical ingredient that most purveyors of ideas don’t have.

Do you?