Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sunday Night in The Loft

Baggage was our topic Sunday night.  We promoted the night as an outreach night with the specific goal of sharing the gospel.  We had a few visitors and we had some decisions made that night, one to follow Christ and several to give their "baggage" to God.

The line up:
Random Fact Countdown (DYM)
Game - Boxes (loads of fun)
Song - Chasing
Song - 10,000 Reasons
Prayer
Message - "How do you deal with baggage?"  Matthew 11:28-30.
  • Come to Jesus
  • Make the Exchange
  • Team up with Jesus
We then showed a video by the Skit Guys about baggage.  Awesome video, really drove home the point, even heard back that some students were talking about the video on their ride home.

Gave students the opportunity to take some next steps:  (we use a communication card for this)
Trust Jesus as Savior (we had one make that step!!)
Give your baggage to God (several took this step!)
Invite ______________ to youth group next week (several wrote in friend's names!)

Closing Song/Offering - Inside Out

During Hang time we had waffles.  Waffled mac n cheese, waffle pizza, waffle cinnamon buns, waffle corn dogs, waffle quesadillas, waffle tater tots, waffles with chicken nuggets, regular waffles, Belgian waffles, lots of toppings, whip cream, fruit, etc.  The waffle night was a smashing success!

I have been making instagram photos (see above) each week and shooting them out there a few times per week, I usually make a couple different ones for each week, only takes about 5 minutes to do.  Great way to promote your students ministry happenings.
Waffle Pizza





Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Stop the Bottle Neck

Last fall I spent a few days alone thinking about our youth ministry and evaluating.  Discipleship came to the top of my list (see previous post).  Underneath discipleship came "Restructure".  Looking back I realized that what was holding us back from improving and moving forward was me.  So I started to think about how that could change.  It's terrible to be the youth pastor and to be the cause of the bottle neck.

Our old structure consisted of me as youth pastor, volunteers as POD leaders (small group leaders).  I did most of the planning, etc.  I realized that I need to do what I do best and then let others on the team rise to the surface and do what they do best.  So while most of our adult volunteers are still POD leaders they also fill other ministry roles within the youth ministry.

I sat down with a big sheet of blank paper and started a flow chart.  I thought of the different leaders we needed to do ministry more effective.  Lots of scribbling and marking out and drawing boxes and lines and I came up with this:

My focus as youth pastor will be with the Worship Coach/Minister in planning youth group worship and also investing into the student leaders and my adult leaders.  (I'm the only staff, everyone else on the team volunteers)

Worship Coach/Minister
- will work with the students worship band in training and equipping them to lead us in worship in music.

Associate Youth Pastor - works with me on youth worship and overseeing our 5 "Coaches".

POD Coach - works with the POD leaders to make sure they have what they need and to encourage them.

Communications Coach
- works with student leaders on our check in system; entering student data; assimilation process.

Hospitality Coach
- organizes our food (super important!) and works with our volunteers in the kitchen as well as students involved in serving.

Discipleship Coach
- will follow up and hold POD leaders and myself accountable for discipling students one on one.  Creating a spreadsheet and keeping it up to date so we can view our youth group's process "at a glance".

Tech Coach - oversees the students who operate the audio and video as well as our social media.

Our goal in this process is to involve students in every process, to train them up to lead the youth group.

We are only a couple weeks into the transition of structure and so far it seems to be working well.

Your youth ministry can do the same thing.  Your structure may look different because we aren't all the same in what we do and how we do it BUT you can sit down and think about all the positions it would take have a healthier and improving youth ministry.  Get alone with a big sheet of paper and start evaluating and dreaming.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Last Night in The Loft

We had an awesome time at youth group last night.
Our POD's and message all centered around God being all-present, all-knowing and all-powerful.  Good discussion happening in the POD's in this new curriculum.


Here is the line up from last night:
5:30 - Team meeting (We do this each week.  It's a 15 minute meeting)

5:45 - Music going; Balcony coverage (balcony coverage is an adult from the team outside of The Loft making sure students come straight to The Loft)

5:55 - Game - Prizes (started the game early before "start" time to pull students into the center of the room)  Game was a quick contest between two students.  The students had to run around the room and get a combination of a hoodie, sweater, jacket, etc. from others in the room, then the first one back to the front and to put all 4 on, one on top of the other, won.  The prize was a $10 iTunes card

5:57 - Start Countdown (we started a countdown with background music during the game time)

6:00 - First Song - I Am Free

6:05 - Student Prayer - (had a student open in prayer; lined this person up a head of time)

6:06 - PODS - small group discussion time (POD leaders get their discussion guides earlier in the week for prep time)

6:40 - Wrap up Pods

6:43 - The Loft - Message
 - Why is God Great?  How does He use His Greatness?
Used this video to open the message about the greatness of God  - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaYx4XmWEoI

7:00 - Closing Song - Mighty to Save

Hang Time - first song, on Spotify, Sunday night playlist, 
Hallelujah, God is Near, Robbie Seay Band


 12 Foot Sub during Hang Time


I did my part to help eat the sub

So did these guys


Friday, February 13, 2015

Our 2015 Focus

Yes it's true!   Our youth ministry team of volunteers restructured last Saturday.  BUT we will save that for another post.

Our focus this year is success in discipleship.  Now I could have stood up before the youths and said, "Students for the next 52 weeks we are going to have a discipleship class that will meet at 4 on Sunday afternoons . . . . "  I may have started with 15 but would have ended with maybe two and we probably wouldn't have made it to all 52 weeks.

Soooo what do we do?  Easy peasy!  Don't remake the wheel.  Look for a system to use that can fit into our already established youth group gathering.  So for the year and a little more (cause we break to the beach in the summer) we will be working through LeaderTreks Deep Discipleship on Sunday nights at our youth group gathering.  I'm taking the small group lessons and editing them down to fit our time frame along with a message that ties in ans supports that small group time each week.  Deep Discipleship is a systematic way to work through discipling the students.

On top of that we discussed at our team retreat about discipling as many students one on one as we possibly can.  Now our volunteers are already busy humans so I didn't want to add another time during the week that they have to meet with the students outside of Sunday night.  Our students are busy humans as well.  So let's use our Hang Time as a time to disciple.  Not talking about pulling a students aside for 35 of 40 minutes to talk.  What we will do is take a students and just sit and chat with them for about 10 minutes or so at Hang Time for about ten weeks.  During this time we will find out where they are at in their faith walk and what they can do to help them move to the next level.  After the several weeks of brief meetings we will give the students who want to pursue discipleship even further on their own with a copy of "I am a Disciple" a 40 day journal.

Our team members will transfer their notes from Know Growth to a spread sheet we are creating so we can see where all our students are "at a glance".  As a youth pastor I'm really looking forward to this.











Our goal is for our team members to disciple as many as we possibly can in 2015.  We want to see students stick with their faith after high school.  We want to see students grow and reach other students.  We desire to make disciples not just believers.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Last Sunday in The Loft

Last Sunday we "upgraded" our worship experience a bit in The Loft.

First we added in some music using some song videos from http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/worship-tracks/47457/Oceans.   The videos were great and the students really connected and were singing loud enough for me to hear in the back of the room over the music and sub woofers (which were thumpin).

We also added a piece, a student work booklet, this booklet tied in with their discussion time in their POD's and also had room for notes from the message.  I also tagged on a some info about The Call which is coming soon.  Students used this booklet as a guide during their discussion.  A great tool and our POD leaders were glad that the students had something in their hand.


The final piece was my message which I kept at about 15 minutes, including a video clip, to allow the POD's to have time to complete their discussion time.  God pursues us because he is a personal God, Buddah ain't that.  He also pursues us because he created us.  He also doesn't need us but wants us.  Great time together learning more about God and laying a foundation for our faith.



The video clip I used was The Prodigal from The Skit Guys.  Everything these guys put out is top notch!  Find them here.

Here was the line up:
Game
Party Lama Countdown
Knowledge Video
Song - Grace is enough
Song - Oceans
Song - 10,000 Reasons
Message - The Hound of Heaven
POD discussion


We also sent every student home with a The Call info card and event envelope so they can sign up for the event.

Check out LeaderTreks Deep Discipleship!  Awesome stuff!!

During Hang Time we consumed pizza from Slice Pizza, our official Pizza sponsor.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Super Bowl Party

 Last Sunday we had our annual Super Bowl Party.  This year I took advantage of the Big Game event kit from Download Youth Ministry.  I used the graphics for promoting on social media and we used the game ideas during breaks in the game as well as the video message for during half time.  We had a great turn out and lots of food.  Great time for hanging out with the youth.


 



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sunday Night in The Loft

Well. . . .  we weren't in The Loft.

A few years ago we looked to "un-busy" our calendar of activities and events and focus on our weekly youth group gathering.  With extra curricular activities, sports, rec league, drama (as in play practice), jobs, homework, students are plenty busy and they don't need more busyness, in fact some of them probably need to slow down.  I think our culture is producing this need to keep busy feeling, I don't know what to call it.  This is just my humble, yet professional, opinion.


This doesn't mean we don't do special events and activities but they are few and far between and when we do the event has a purpose beyond let's just have a fun outing.

This week our church is housing our homeless community for the week.  Our guests arrive Sunday evening and stay through till Sunday morning.   We feed them a hot breakfast, pack a lunch, and feed them a nice dinner.

So rather than try to juggle around the space we decided to meet elsewhere with the youth.  So we did.  We went bowling!  I know it doesn't sound super spiritual and yes we didn't open the Bible at the bowling center, but ministry happened:

  • We interacted with more students than we have in a few months.
  • Students brought friends who don't go to church, we had several guests.  The guests had fun and will hopefully return this Sunday.
  • Leaders were able to spend some time with a handful of students as each lane had adult leaders involved.
  • Meaningful conversations took place.  Ministry happened.
  • It mixed up the "usual".  We did something different at our normal meeting time.
  • Students were excited to be there and it was a chance to plug the Super Bowl party for this Sunday.
  • A huge amount of cheese fries were consumed and pizzas.
Look for opportunities to break away from the "usual" and design it in such a way that students interact with each other and even more importantly with the adult leaders who are investing in their lives.  You never know, a kid may go play laser tag as an introduction to your youth ministry and end up coming to know Jesus Christ.