A youth worker’s job is never done. If they’re not putting together an outline for a talk, they’re counseling a student, planning the next outing, smoothing things over with the church board or just hanging out with students on their turf. It’s a selfless and sometimes thankless job. But youth workers don’t get into the field because it’s easy or for the recognition – they are there because they truly feel a calling to serve students.
There are two kinds of youth workers – paid youth workers and volunteer (unpaid) youth workers. Most often, volunteer youth workers are working with a minimal to no budget for youth resources. Still, not having a limitless budget at your disposal doesn’t mean that you can’t find some awesome resources, lesson plans, classes, special presentations and outings.
Following is a list of where to find the best youth ministry resources on a budget:
What can you find at thrift store to use for youth ministry? Lots of things! Bibles, youth ministry books, Christian books, magazines (for projects), costumes for plays, etc. The best part is that you’ll only pay a fraction of what you would pay for these items if you’d bought them new at retail price. One of the local thrift stores in my area even gives away Bibles for free. Sometimes just letting the store personnel know that you’re purchasing these items for church use can result in a discount.
Ebay is another great place to find great deals on youth ministry resources. Youth workers will often put books and videos that they’ve already used up for bid on Ebay, which results in some big savings for you! You can also use Ebay as a way to sell youth resources that you no longer use to make additional cash.
It’s true, sometimes Christian bookstores can be pricey. But the trick to shopping at these stores is to watch for sales. One national Christian chain store regularly sends out a monthly ad announcing all its special deals. On the back are some really great coupons for anywhere from 10% – 75% off! They also have in-store specials which entitle members (free sign-up) to $5 deals on books, videos and CD’s. With deals like that, you can definitely afford to stock up on items for resources, prizes or giveaways.
Libraries don’t usually stock up on youth ministry books, but every library has at least a few books that can help you. One thing they do carry is Bibles, I’ve checked out the latest teen devotional and contemporary versions and gotten a lot of use out of them. If you don’t have a large library in your town, try finding a large church in your area and calling the church office to find out if they have a library. Sometimes churches will allow other youth workers to check out their materials.
Online Youth Ministry Resource Sites
Youth ministry resource sites are wonderful places to get ideas. You can find pretty much anything you want from lessons, games, activities even forums where you can network with out youth workers. The best part is… it’s FREE!
It doesn’t really matter whether you’re working at a church with a large youth ministry budget or one that’s non-existent. You can find incredible resources with a little bit of research… and very little money!