Today UYWI welcomes new blogger, Lee Wilson, to our writing team. Lee Wilson has been communicating to young people for over two decades. Lee is the founder of Lee Wilson Ministries, which focuses on providing necessary resources and tools to help build youth ministries in the local church. Currently, Lee is serving as the director of student ministries at Abundant Life Christian Center in E. Syracuse, NY. He is happily married to his wife, Tonya. They have two beautiful daughters, Alexis and Jordan.
I walked into my house to see my teenage daughter glued to the television. She was watching the highly popular show, the X-Factor. Imagine, American Idol and America’s Got Talent got married and gave birth to the X-Factor. But what intrigued me was why she was so locked into this show. So I asked her, and she said, “Because it’s amusing, dramatic and it keeps you wanting more.”
This got me thinking, what is the X-Factor in your youth ministry? Better yet, what is making them want more of the ministry you are providing? No matter how big or small, whether urban or suburban students, you have to identify your X-Factor.
What I am talking about is the mission and the methods that God has given you to reach the young people of your community. The Bible tells us in 1Timothy 4:12-16 that we are called to minister to young people, and that we have a responsibility to make sure that they know God and continue to grow in God.
You can tell the difference between a youth program with the X-Factor and one without it. Those with the X-Factor:
- Keep students spiritually accountable to the word of God and produce purpose in their lives
- Bring excitement and life to their local church body in a relevant and righteous way
- Mirror the vision of their local church, while not being afraid to break tradition
Here’s a personal example. I was given the responsibility to grow a struggling youth ministry of 100 plus students in a congregation of 20,000. One of the first things I noticed is that it lacked the X-Factor. I realized that one of the X-Factors for our students was music. We had a traditional youth choir, but the students in our church were not connecting with this style. So with the permission of the senior leadership, I went for the X-Factor. We approached a young man in our congregation who had an untraditional style of worship. We worked with him behind the scenes for some time, first to hone his gift and to see what his heart was like. Not long after, he became the director of the youth worship team. This, I believe, was one of the reasons why our program grew from 100 to over 1,000 active students in less than two years. We were reaching more students as a result of identifying the X-Factor.
If you want to know if your youth program has the X-Factor, if it is connecting with young people, then ask for feedback from the true judges: the students. Be prepared for what they will say; it might surprise you. Regardless of their answers, make a decision that your program will continue to keep young people wanting more of the X-Factor.
Our youth ministry is located in a college town. We know one of the X-Factors for our students is sports. Check out this video to see how we used that X-Factor to highlight this year’s programming.