This seems to be a popular topic right now. I am not sure if it is because we in the “Budget” creating times of the year or if we are all re-evaluating our rooms/spaces that we meet in. I am a big fan of “cheap cool” as well as the big budget items that some churches have the blessing to use. Here are a few ideas that I have used in the past as well as some spaces that some friends of mine have been able to pull off. Get creative and use materials that appeal to the students. I highly recommend having the students involved in the planning and installation of any changes you may make. So here is a visual montage of some great Ideas that I have seen or been a part of. Please comment if you have visited this part of the blog…thanks, Dustin

In this pic you see what our “stage” looks like. The large letters with the lights are just 4×8 sheets of plywood with 188 “clip in” light sockets and 40w clear bulbs. Looked great attached to a dimmer pack. No limits to what you can do with plywood, just drill a hole and the sockets just clip in. I would recommend a spot of liquid nails to secure them (as per engineer Ward S.) have fun! fiveoneseven band stage

Some guys have some room for “prayer walls” and/or walls that students can constantly change and write on. Upstairs SouthEast Wall Sharpies and crayons…remember to check the wall regularly to make sure some knucklhead hasn’t “tagged” with something inappropriate. I occasionally put extra photos that we have or use the wall as a time to put your favorite verses on and prayer requests.

One of the exciting thing about networking with other youth pastors is the times when you can rejoice with them as they get blessed with great facilities. My friend Scotty J. was able to design and have tremendous input into his new metal building for their student ministry. Take a look at some of the ideas that he incorporated. Very nice, I spoke at a D-Now (Disciple Now Event) in February and was amazed at how well it turned out. Farmington Baptist Church 1 Farmington Baptist Church 2Farmington Baptist ChurchFarmington Baptist Church 4Farmington Baptist Church 5

Their Stage is very simple but has the ability to “morph” into anything needed. Tri-angle trusses and four screens (two rear-projection and two large flat-screens).Farmington Baptist Church 6

An Idea we used for the north-end of our upstairs game room was to put galvenized roofing steel up on the walls. There was pool table there when I arrived at the church and I got tired of repairing the sheet rock that was damaged with pool balls and cues, so with a minimum investment of $200+/-, we gave it a face-lift and now have no more dings in the walls to patch. I am not sure I would advise putting sheet rock up anywhere near my students in the future. I trimmed out the edge with 1×2 furring strips and then horizontally every three feet or so for support. Once the steel was attached with self-tapping screws, I had some 2″ flat steel cut to use as a black boarder. 1″ angle to “cap” the ends. 2″ pipe in the corners for looks and to cover the edges.Steel on Wall.

I am going to add several pictures below so you can see some different ideas of youth rooms and stages. Let me know if you need further explanation about them. I have had to share space with other ministries over the years and still like to “create” atmosphere when I am in those locations. It it a lot of hard work but it has paid off for sure. My philosophy is, “paint is cheap” and you can create so much with just paint and some creativity. Recently I saw just regular old ceiling tile taken and used as canvas for artwork and then it was put in the rooms…good stuff.

Stage with Signs

Another view of Steel and Logo Painted on WallSenior High Sunday School Room PHBCCopy of DSams_0677First Baptist Church Stuttgart, Activity CenterLights Up: When we set up "living room look"Youth Room Geyer Springs BCNorthpoint Stage 2Northpoint Stage 1

Dustin & Dalton Here you go. This is something that I developed during College as we discussed time management with one of my professors and it is very detailed. It even included what times during the day I planned to have my prayer time/quiet time. Currently my schedule doesn’t look nearly this detailed and my work week usually flows about the same each week…with the exception of students in crisis and different un-planned events that occur all the time.
This is what a typical week looks like now.

Monday: Staff Meeting, Letters/emails, Lunch at Po’Dave’s, afternoon reading/prep and general layout of Wednesday Services.

Tuesday: Writing, Message Prep, multimedia, Facebook, Ministry Communication.

Wednesday: “Flipside 517” finalizing, illustration/props, stock cafe’, miscellaneous ministry.

Thursday: Video Editing, Blog, Ministry Tech, and Research.

Friday- Off.

Saturday- Off.

Sunday- Church Services, Small Groups.

That is a general look at a current weekly schedule that doesn’t include hanging out with students and visitation that is scheduled throughout the week. Keep in mind the flexibility of student ministry. From just foolin’ with the spiritual gift of hangin’ out to students in crisis, keep it all in perspective and be prepared for God to put you in the right place at the right time to used by Him. Isn’t it incredible? I love my job.

I must add that I am very easily distracted and use any and all tech devices to keep me on track. So the “weekly schedule” has gotten more and more high tech over the past few years…yay!

Here it is in word format. Feel free to use it, copy it, or throw it away. Just let me know if it helps. Click Here. Weekly Work Schedule

Ronnie & KarissaI was cleaning up some photos that I had in my office the other day and decided to share this simple idea that I have been using since film was invented…uh, well you get the idea. We all have “extra” photos laying around from events or just random snap-shots. We also try to stay connected with our students…so I just get a “sharpie” and write some quick thoughts to students on the back of these extra pictures…and mail them. Write and postage the photos like you would any other postcard. Students love to get them and it is cheap fun. Make use of the pics that would normally end up in the trash or collecting dust somewhere. I have only had good feedback from this easy way to stay connected. Of course some get damaged or may even not make it…but any way we can cut a few steps in the process of staying connected is great for me. Experiment with it…have some fun and brighten a student’s day.

If you are like me…we have all been in that position of needing someone to fill in teaching/leading our students. I am going to compile a living document of people that will do well by you and your ministry. IMG_6325 If you are wanting someone to come in and take up the time and wreck everything you have been working hard at…well then, there are some prisoners on work release that you could probably pick up to fill in. However comma, you most likely want someone you can trust to do a solid job and walk awayCoySamsBand knowing that God has been honored. That is why we will have a category completely dedicated to those available for your events and speaking engagements. These are recommendations that I have compiled through a network of friends and colleagues…by no way shape or form, does it mean that everyone doesn’t lay an egg every once in a while. Keep me posted and


Here is an example of a quick highlight video (using Adobe Premiere Pro CS4) that we turn out to promote an event, or produce a video to enhance our Flipside 517 Services, or anything in the church for that matter…from Baptisms to Room Invasions. DVS


This a great video on the uses and benefits of the Youth Assistant Software by NSpire that we use to track Student Involvement. I am a huge fan. Remember, anything that you use is only as good as the amount of time and faithfulness of inputing data in it to make it do the work for you. DVS

Hung out for several hours with my good friend DSummers last night trying to put wants and desires for my blog to real plugins and widgets. Good times. Hopefully will have much time to add content by picking through over a decade of stuff that I have collected or written…and sharing life lessons of years of train wrecks that have gotten me to this point. Thanks Dave for the time helping me make this a reality and an avenue for some resources to get out there in the right hands.