Girl Power: Programming With Girls in Mind
I am currently in my fourth year of ministry and have worked with girls of all different ages. As a female who has been both a student and a leader in youth ministry, it is not hard to see that it is primarily a male culture. While I have learned a lot from the men who ministered to me growing up and the men I serve alongside, I also see the value in women being active in ministry.
It was not until some girls in our ministry approached me asking for more female representation that I began to think of just how important it is to ensure that girls are catered to as well when it comes to youth ministry programming.
As the High School Girls Coordinator on my team, I see it as my job to both disciple and advocate for these girls. It is my job to ensure that they are feeling known, loved, and worth it and to speak up if I sense they are not.
Here are five ways to program your youth group with girls in mind.
1. Incorporate the interests of girls.
Expand beyond the Fantasy Football and Fortnite references in your messages. While these are relatable to most of the guys in the room, the girls either have no idea what you are referring to, or they could not care less about it. Share stories or examples that relate to both male and female perspectives like learning to drive, or having a crush. If girls cannot relate to your message, then they will be less likely to stay engaged during it.
2. Incorporate female speakers into a teaching rotation. I am not saying that every week or even every other week you should have a female teach at your programming, however I am saying to plan with intention. Try to invite a woman from your church staff (even if it is from another department in the church) to come and give the message or invite a female volunteer who is well spoken. And allow them to talk about the heavy stuff too! Not just the light and fun stuff. When it comes down to it, girls cannot learn how to be godly women from men alone.
3. Create opportunities for girls to step into leadership. Make sure that you are not only choosing male students for the leadership roles. Without realizing it, we tend to lean towards male students when raising up leaders. Be careful not to hinder your female students from exercising their skills and abilities by passing them over.
4. Be sure to interact with everyone equally. Before, during, and after programming. Be sure to interact with your female students just as much as you interact with your male students.
5. Understand what the girls in your youth group need to hear. Working in high school ministry, and being a former high school girl, I have come to realize that some of the most important things for girls this age to hear is that they are known, loved, and worth it. This does not have to be the focal point of your message always, but be sure to fit it in somewhere so that the girls in your youth group feel spoken to as well.
When planning for programming, keep these five things in mind and be sure that you are including everyone. It is essential to be sure that the girls in your youth group are feeling catered to so that they will continue to attend programming and, most importantly, continue pursuing their relationship with God.