Making Youth Group More Than a Once-a-Week Event

Discover how daily devotionals

This might be a hot take, but youth group shouldn’t just be one day a week. While you may only have programming one or two days a week, your students should have the tools to engage in their faith every day. Daily engagement in faith not only strengthens individual spirituality but also creates a cohesive community that is growing in their faith together.

The Power of Daily Devotionals

Devotionals are a fantastic tool to provide students as they pursue personal growth. Whether you’re on a quest for an engaging online devotional tailored for students or searching for a plan that syncs with your XP3 curriculum teaching series, Orange has got your back. Best of all? Every devotional is available for FREE on YouVersion, one of the most accessible and widely used Bible apps.

If you’re an XP3 partner, you know one of the components included with every series is a set of daily devotionals to share with your students. These short devotionals come with five days of content and Scripture images created to help your students stay engaged and dive deeper into what they’re learning during each series.
The content for each week’s devotionals is developed through the filter of what we call the Four Faith Skills, specific prompts designed to help students grow in four areas of their faith.

  • HEAR prompts students to engage Scripture or experience God’s creation.
  • TALK prompts students to talk to someone about their faith, to ask people questions, or to have a conversation with someone about faith.
  • LIVE prompts students to respond to their faith through worship and service. And
  • PRAY prompts students to pray with people or by themselves, through writing or speaking out loud.

Now we know sometimes it’s challenging to get your students to read, engage with, or use another resource during the week. Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard to get them to even do it while they’re with you! But we think the content in these daily devotionals is so important for your group. We think it has the potential to take them further faster in their faith journey. And because of that, we want to help you figure out the easiest ways to get these devotionals in the hands of your students.

Here are three ways we think you can use these daily devotionals to make an impact in your student ministry.

3 Ways to Use Devotionals in Your Youth Ministry

To make the most out of these devotionals, here are three practical ways to incorporate them into your youth ministry.

1. Share the Devotionals Weekly With Your Whole Ministry

Did you know having devotionals available to anyone on the Bible app means everyone associated with your ministry can find them? This accessibility is a fantastic opportunity to create a broader conversation within your community, involving parents, volunteers, or other leaders in your ministry.

Imagine sending out a weekly email to your entire youth ministry, highlighting the devotional of the week. This is one way to create unity as everyone reads and reflects on the same devotionals. You can also prompt your Small Group Leaders to read the devotionals in your weekly email. They can read devos together as a small group and the Small Group Leader can use the devotionals as jumping-off points for deeper conversation with their students.

Encouraging your whole ministry to participate in these devotionals can lead to amazing discussions and shared experiences. Parents can discuss them with their teens, volunteers can bring up points from the devotionals in casual conversations, and leaders can refer back to them during their teachings. This creates a well-rounded and continuously engaging environment for everyone involved.

2. Create Connections and Conversations

Using devotionals can create connections and foster conversations. Encourage your students to join you and your Small Group Leaders in reading the Daily Devotionals each day. Pass the info on to your parents so they can read them as their students do.

For small groups, use the Read With Friends feature on YouVersion to complete and discuss the reading plan as a group. This feature allows you to start the plan together, share notes, and discuss each day’s reading within the app. It’s a great way to keep everyone engaged and connected, even outside of regular programming, small groups, etc.

You can encourage Small Group Leaders to lead their group in the devotional every week, or empower students to lead their peers. This encourages leadership and responsibility among the students. They not only engage with the material themselves but also learn to guide others in their faith journey.

These conversations can spill over into real life, leading to more faith-centered discussions during youth group, hangouts, or even casual run-ins. The more these conversations happen, the more embedded faith becomes in the daily lives of your students.

3. Have a Devo Streak Challenge

Everyone loves a good challenge, and the YouVersion Bible app offers a unique feature to capitalize on this: the streak number. This feature tracks the number of consecutive days you’ve completed a devotional, adding a gamified element to daily devotionals.

You could host a challenge in your youth ministry that encourages students to do a daily devotional and see who can get the highest streak number. This friendly competition can motivate students to stay consistent with their daily readings. It also adds an element of fun and excitement to the process, making it more engaging for everyone involved.

If you want to up the ante you could offer small prizes or recognition for students who maintain their streaks. This could be something as simple as a shout-out in the weekly email, a gift card, or a streak highlight during your programming. These incentives can help keep students motivated and eager to participate.

If you use XP3 curriculum, you’ll discover the free devotionals pair perfectly with every XP3 teaching series. Search for the name of the series you’re teaching, and you’ll find your daily reading plans (Hint: you’ll recognize the series art!). YouVersion is a great way for you to not only keep up to date with the devotionals during the series but also point your small group leaders and parents to do the same.

Embracing Technology for Spiritual Growth

Embracing technology can significantly enhance your youth ministry. The YouVersion Bible app is a prime example of how technology can be leveraged to promote spiritual growth. Its wide range of features, including daily devotionals, reading plans, and community sharing options, make it an invaluable tool for any youth ministry.

By integrating these technological tools into your ministry, you make it easier for students to engage with their faith on a daily basis. The convenience of having devotionals accessible on their phones means they can incorporate these practices into their daily routines seamlessly. Whether they’re on the bus to school, waiting for a friend, or winding down before bed, they can take a few moments to connect with their faith.

Building a Culture of Daily Faith Practice

The ultimate goal of incorporating daily devotionals into your youth ministry is to build a culture where faith practice becomes a daily habit. This shift from a once-a-week event to a daily practice can have profound effects on the spiritual growth of your students.

When students engage with their faith daily, they are more likely to develop a personal relationship with God. This daily connection helps them internalize their beliefs and values, making them more resilient in the face of challenges. It also helps them see their faith as a relevant and integral part of their everyday lives, rather than something separate or confined to specific times.

Encouraging Parental Involvement

Another significant benefit of daily devotionals is the potential for increased parental involvement. When parents read the same devotionals as their kids, it opens up opportunities for meaningful discussions at home. These conversations can strengthen family bonds and provide a supportive environment for students to explore and express their faith.

Encouraging parents to participate also helps them feel more connected to the youth ministry. They can see firsthand what their kids are learning and experiencing, making them more likely to support and engage with your ministry.

Empowering Small Group Leaders

Small Group Leaders play a crucial role in the spiritual development of students. By equipping them with daily devotionals, you provide them with valuable resources to guide their groups more effectively. These devotionals can serve as conversation starters, discussion topics, and sources of inspiration for both leaders and students.

Empowering Small Group Leaders with these tools also shows them that they are supported and valued in their role. It gives them a clear and practical way to engage with their students outside of regular meeting times, fostering a deeper sense of community and connection.

Fostering a Lifelong Faith Journey

The habits and practices that students develop during their teenage years can have a lasting impact on their future faith journey. By encouraging daily engagement with their faith now, you help them establish a foundation for a lifelong relationship with God.

As they move into adulthood, these habits can continue to provide spiritual nourishment and guidance. The discipline of daily devotionals can become a cornerstone of their spiritual practice, helping them navigate the challenges and opportunities of life with a strong and resilient faith.

Incorporating daily devotionals into your youth ministry is a powerful way to extend the impact of your programming beyond the one or two days a week when you meet. By providing students with the tools to engage in their faith every day, you help them develop a deeper, more personal relationship with God. This daily engagement fosters spiritual growth, creates connections and conversations, and builds a culture of consistent faith practice. With the support of resources like the YouVersion Bible app and the XP3 curriculum, you can make daily devotionals an integral part of your youth ministry, empowering students, parents, and leaders alike to grow in their faith together. 

To get started, click to access free devotionals and begin transforming your youth ministry today.

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