Monday, March 26, 2012

Last Night At Contagious

Wow! What a fantastic outreach night. Every 4 to 6 weeks we have a night of youth group that focuses on the gospel. This is a great opportunity for our students to invite their friends to hear how Jesus can change their life.

We started off with a fun video. We are doing a series of "What is Andy doing?" type videos. Last week the students requested I do a search in Nags Head Woods for Goat Man, a creature of local folk lore. Lot of fun shooting the video and lots of fun watching the students watch the video.

Next we showed a video by artist Propaganda about the gospel. Take a look-see if you haven't watched this video before.

Ramon, who has been leading our middle school students Bible study, followed up the video with a great explanation about Jesus Christ and salvation. 4 students put their faith in Jesus Christ!! Three students who have been attending youth group for a while and one was a guest and it was his first night with us.

We now have hang time after our Bible study and POD (small group). Last night we enjoyed Frito chili pie and nachos. Students played ping pong, foosball, Uno and Monopoly. This allowed time and opportunity for our team to follow up with each student who made a decision. We are liking the Hang Time at the end because of the time it allows for follow up and for students to ask us more questions that are related to the Bible study.

The gospel was shared, 4 students put their faith in Christ, hang time was great. I would give the night an A+!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Return on Your Investment

In youth ministry it is so easy to get discouraged when you look at a group of students who, for the most part, are spiritually stagnant. What do you do?

1. Go to the Word - are we starting with the Bible as our foundation to youth ministry?
2. Pray - Pray that your heart is right where it needs to be. Pray that students get a passion for Christ like they have never had before.
3. Evaluate - are we being effective in students lives?
4. Improve - find the areas of the ministry that need work and work on improvement.
5. Continue - continue to invest your time and resources in to their lives. Continue to reach out to students who don’t know Christ.
6. Realize - realize that all we can do if we are doing the first 4 is to continue to put the buffet our there. The students have to decide for themselves to pick up the plates, load it with food and starting eating. (somehow I feel compelled to use food as an illustration) Realize that we can’t force students to grow spiritually, it is a choice that they must make for themselves. Realize that not every students will be a Billy Graham. Realize that the students are a mirror reflection of the adults in your church.

Youth Ministry is like financial investment, sometimes you don’t see the return for several years.

This morning I stopped in a local coffee shop for a cup of the Tortuga Lie blend. I walked in and there was a young man standing there that looked familiar. It clicked for both of us at the same time. He said, “Andy right? From Nags Head Church?” I said, “Yep! And you are *Ted.” (thankfully God helped me to remember his name). Ted was no spiritual champion in high school. I noticed Ted had on a t-shirt that was the face of Jesus on superman’s body. I also noticed that Ted had grown a foot and a half. Then it happened!

The Return on the Investment.

“Ted” began talking about his relationship with God. “I strayed during my high school years and wasn’t in a good relationship with God. Now that I’ve graduated I’ve stepped back and taken a look at where I’m at. I’m going to church. I’m staying around here and taking classes at the community college until I figure out what the Lord wants me to do.” I didn’t even have to ask probing questions he just started sharing his story.

Boom! Cha-Ching!! That was the pay off!

“Ted” has no idea the encouragement that he was to me this morning. He has no idea the tears of joy our conversation has brought on me as I sit in my office and think about our “by chance” meeting at the coffee shop this morning.

Here is the deal. Over the past 20 years of working with students I have seen some go on to really be productive in their relationship with God. I have seen many, many more fall by the wayside. There are many who I have no clue at this point how their life has turned out or will turn out. You see change can happen when they are 18, 28 or 48, we don’t know when the investment will “kick in” and pay off.
BUT if “Ted” were the only one to have been impacted by our church’s youth ministry in the past 11 years (and he’s not) then the investment of the past 11 years of the youth ministry team of our church was well worth it.

SO . . . . keep investing!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shoe String Budget Team Retreat

Your team is missing out if you don't spend time together outside of your normal ministry time.

This past weekend we had a youth ministry team retreat. (More details below)
Our youth ministry team is totally volunteer. We have 10 fantastic adults who love students.

Here are elements of our retreat:
Encouragement - Your team serves each week together pouring into the lives of students. Sometimes it is easy to get down or even start to struggle. A retreat gives you opportunity to encourage each other.

Challenged - It's great to be challenged to grow spiritually and challenged to serve students better.

Refreshing - We all get drained spiritually from time to time. A retreat is a great time to find refreshment.

Training - We always need to look for ways to improve and learn some new skills or approaches in youth ministry.

Strength - A team that hangs out together stays together. There is strength and depth added to the team when the team hangs out together outside of the normal ministry time.

Our retreat looked like this:
Friday night:
Dinner - We ate pizza and salad together.
Following dinner we watched a video by Andy Stanley about momentum.
We followed the video with a great discussion and analyzing time.
We cooked and ate breakfast together. It was very good.
We took a "walk thru" the book Refuel, by Doug Fields. All about refueling spiritually. This was our Connect with God time encouraging spiritual refreshment.
In the afternoon we talked about being a great small group leader. We came up with expectations of our students and expectations of the leaders.
We also watched some TV and various team members fell asleep at various times.
Dinner - we cooked fajitas! Bueno.
We ended the retreat talking about Connecting with Students and evaluating the balance in our youth ministry and also evaluating where each student is at in their spiritual/faith journey.

All the curriculum we used was free or already in our church's possession. We stayed at a donated vacation rental. The only thing we spent money on was our food and some supplies.

When does your youth ministry team get together for training?

Made the Top 40 Youth Ministry Blogs

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