If there is anything more challenging, more rewarding and more frustrating that working with a group of contemporary teenagers, no one has figured it out yet. As a youth group leader, whether you're a pastor, a helper or a parent, you already know that. Picking great Christian gifts to motivate and inspire your youth group isn't as hard as it may seem when all your ideas are greeted with "that's so not cool". (Admit it; you've heard it once or twice. We all have!)
You just have to learn to think like a teenager.
Before you close your screen and walk away, relax. Take a deep breath. Learning to think like your teens isn't as scary as it may sound, and once you figure out what's really going to get their blood pumping and their spirits moving finding great Christian gifts for your youth group is going to be a snap!
The first thing you have to remember is that today's teen is anything but ordinary, so an ordinary (read: cookie cutter, been handed out to youth groups for generations) gift is a complete no-go. "Boring" when it comes to your youth…but as an experienced youth group leader you should already know that! That's why many Christian gift retailers have started offering an exclusive line of "edgy" products designed especially for teens.
Most teens are happy to make a statement with their clothing, so fun and funky Christian t shirts are always popular. If you remember back a few years ago there was a line of Christian t shirts with such motivating logos as "iPray" (in eBay colors) that went mainstream. They were available through local retailers like Wal-Mart, and the youth went wild. Christian t shirts have always been popular, but now people are going the extra mile to pair them up with fun accessories that make it both cool and hip to show off your faith in public.
That would be even when "public" means the halls of your local high school.
Christian jewelry is always popular among youth groups. Remember the "WWJD" bracelet craze a few years ago? And the silicone bracelets that seem to be everywhere these days? Not to mention the ever growing popularity of the Celtic cross and new swings on the traditional cross pendant-including cross earrings for men. Christian jewelry is an incredibly popular form of expression among today's youth, and while buying gold and silver earrings, rings and bracelets for your entire youth group might get very pricey, very quickly, silicone bracelets personalized for your youth group can be purchased in bulk for a very reasonable price.
Let's talk shoes. Every once in a while you need unique, one of a kind Christian gifts to commemorate a great moment in the life of a young man or woman. What about a pair of Christian sneakers? Yes, they make them! Airbrushing and personalizing shoes is the entire "thing" these days, and these funky sneakers proudly bearing your favorite scriptures make a great gift to share with the young people in your youth group. It gives them the chance to proudly share their faith and their personality.
What young person can ask for more than that?
The key to picking out gifts for your youth group is to remember that today it's not about fitting in. It's about standing out, both as a Christian and as a person. If you keep that in mind you're going to be just fine.