Unbranding your children’s and youth ministries

CrossTrainers, King’s Kidz, Area 56. Often churches like to name their ministries for children and youth. Names provide a cute way of bringing the groups together and giving a common identity. But should churches give ministries their own brands?

While these brand names may bring a sense of excitement to the individual ministry, this practice has at least one significant drawback. As soon as a church gives a label to an age group program, it has cleaved that program from the rest of the church. To call your youth group CrossTrainers will make for some nice t-shirts (with the T forming a cross, of course), but it also sends signals to the youth that they need their own separate church, they don’t belong to the church. Youth groups have a powerful purpose, but they don’t need an identity separate from the rest of the body. Work to help teens and children to understand that their identity is in Jesus Christ, not the clever brand.

Here’s another reason to unbrand your ministries. When you list the 5 and 6 grade group, visitors won’t be confused. They are when you talk about “Unleashed.”

Read more about models of family ministry.

2 thoughts on “Unbranding your children’s and youth ministries

  1. While I follow what you’re getting at, isn’t the very act of having a youth ministry doing some of the same things? It may not have a more formal name, but you have recognized it as a group, you have named the group (youth), and in a way signaled they need their own separate space to be the church.
    I’m not at all against youth groups, but in all we do, we must make sure that we are promoting Christ and not ourselves – clever name or not.

    • Jesse,
      Thanks for your question and comments. You demonstrate great insight. Can having a youth ministry cause the separation that I talk about in the post? Yes, it can, but there are levels of degree that we need to talk about. I support youth groups that deal with issues that are specific to youth and learning at a level that is specific to youth. I support these group so long as they represent a intergenerational discipleship model. That is, a number of people from a broad representation of other generations lead the youth in discipleship. I also support youth groups provided they are not the main connection for the key youth of the church to connect with the church. I mean that I’m OK with some peripheral youth who may not connect with the whole of the church.

      Again this is all a matter of degree. I’m not setting up a hard rule with this post. If churches start by unnaming their youth ministries, perhaps they will find that other walls between their youth and the whole of the church will be easier to knock down over time.

      Thanks again.

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