Monday, March 31, 2014

Easter Lessons

Here are some trusted resources if you are looking for an Easter lesson for your youth group:

http://downloadyouthministry.com/shop/dyms-easter-bundle/

http://www.leadertreks.org/freebies/the-why-behind-jesus-death-and-resurrection/ 
Leader Treks - The "Why" behind Jesus' death

https://youthministry360.com/promo/youth-ministry-easter-lessons-devotionals-and-videos

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Producing a Star Team Player

The topic of producing a star team player could be written down on pages and pages of papryrus and rolled into a scroll, BUT I have ADD so I like things in short bursts. (with numbers or bullets and pictures also help)

I was thinking about leading a team.  How should I take a church partner (member) and move them into the fabulous volunteer on a team?

Train
There has to be some sort of training involved.  Whether it’s a class up front that explains the whole youth ministry and all that is expected or a series of small training sessions along the way mixed with on the job training.  Don't just throw them into the lion's den.  We have an annual retreat for training as well as a “stand up” team meeting before youth group each week.  Shoot me an e-mail and I can explain more.


Task   
When a person volunteers they want to do something, they want a task or tasks.  If they aren’t given something to do they feel unfulfilled and soon you will find yourself looking to fill that spot again and the vicious cycle.  We all want to feel like we are accomplishing something.

Turn Loose

Once they have been trained  and given a task you turn them loose.  Answer any questions they may have along the way.  Allow them the space to make decisions on their own within the expectation parameters they have been given.  Trust your team.

Talk
Check in from time to time and talk about their ministry. 
Ask questions:

“How do you like serving on the YM team?”

“What is an area you struggle with?”

“Do you need help with anything?”

“What can I do better to help you minister to students?”
“When you dream about our youth ministry where do you see us going?”
“How do you feel when we accomplish our purpose as a team?”


Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Call 2014

We hosted The Call once again last weekend.  The Call began as an idea back in OK.  Students would come off the summer mission trips and camps excited and passionate about their Savior.  The Call serves as a "booster shot" during the winter months.

At The Call 2014 we had Alex McFarland as our main guest speaker.  Alex is a great apologist. 
Our worship in music was led by Drew Miller and his wife, Kathryn, and band.  They were spot on. 

Friday night we had two worship sessions. 
Saturday we had break out sessions for students:
Share Your Story/Reach Your Camps
Following Christ
You Were Created to Serve


We also had break out sessions for youth leaders:
Building a Team
I'm a Volunteer
Teaching/leading Students


Saturday we had two more general sessions with Alex and Drew. 
The best news is that 11 student made the decision to put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

It was great to see 9 different church youth groups from all over our region, from Rocky Mount, NC up to Suffolk Va., come together to worship and learn more about what we believe and why we believe.

I'm already looking forward to planning for The Call 2015.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Leading with Confidence

Leadership can obviously be a challenge at times.  Sometimes leadership feels like a constant challenge.  I remember many years ago when I stepped into the role of Associate Pastor (Nice title to help the older folks fund the youth ministry position) I was thinking to myself, “Now what?”.  A huge challenge lay before me.  The last youth minister was gone and regardless of what the church members felt about him either way I was staring at stepping in and taking leadership.  “Oh my word.......I don’t even know what I’m doing.”

We find a great example to learn from as leaders in Joshua.  Moses is gone.  Now God is letting Joshua know that he is about to lead the people.  I can’t help but think Joshua was feelings some of the feelings we might feel when we step into leadership or our leadership roles change within the ministry.


Joshua 1:6-7


6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.

3 Things about Leadership I learned from Josh:


Confidence - We need to be confident in leading.  Not a self-confidence but a confidence in God.  He has called us to the leadership position we are in.  We are part of his plan so our confidence in him.  In verse 5 God told Joshua, “I will not fail you or abandon you.”

Obey the Word - Do what the Bible says.  Key to leadership is obeying God.  Moses set the example for Joshua.  Moses left the safety of the wilderness to go back to Egypt, the country he fled from after killing the Egyptian.  Obedience isn’t always the easy or popular route.

Don’t stray - Don’t deviate even the slightest.  If you are following God’s lead and direction then God has a destination in mind for your leadership.  If you deviate even the slightest in directions you end up in a different destination.

God told Joshua that if he did the above three things, “you will be successful in everything you do.”  As leaders we want to be successful, not for the “pat on the back” but to honor God and bring him glory.  


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Made the Cut


http://www.onlineseminaryschools.org/youth-ministry/#blogs
 One article with lots of helpful links to youth ministry resources and web sites.  I made the cut.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Our Annual YM Team Retreat

This past weekend was our annual YM Team Retreat.  When we have our retreat we focus in two areas:  Spiritual challenge/health in our own lives and our team goals for the year in youth ministry.  We all gathered in a vacation rental home for the retreat.

Here is what it looked like:

Friday - 6:30 - Dinner (Tacos and Enchiladas if you are interested)
              7:30 - Goals for the weekend and look back at 2013's goals
              8:00 - Small Things Big Difference.   Viewed a message on the small things. 
              8:40 - Discussed the small things we should be doing and discovered they are the same         things we are encouraging in student's lives and if we aren't doing them how can we expect the youth to do them?
Here is our "small things" list:  (not all encompassing)
Prayer
Word
Sharing our Faith
Time Management
Quiet Times
Give thought to my words
Faithfulness
Trust
Dependability
Attitudes
Discipline

         9:00(ish) - have some fun/hang out

Saturday -
        9:00 - Breakfast (Biscuits and gravy, eggs, sausage, hash browns if you are interested)
        9:45 - Small Things Big Difference #2
     10:30 -  Discussion then a break
     11:00 -  Discussion on 2014's focus the three areas we are focusing on this year:
                   1.  Developing Student Leaders
                   2.  Growth
                   3.  Mission Projects
                   and there was much discussion and input from the team.  Great group of thinkers on our  team.
     12:30 - We went out to Lunch together
       2:00 - Afternoon free time
      6:00 -   Supper (Lasagna, salad and bread if you are interested)
      During Supper the team asked some questions and we talked about some changes we would make in our flow of students around the building while at youth group, safety/security issues, dealing with cell phone use.
      7:00 - Life Mapping (each individually taking a look at the coming year on a personal level)
      8:00 - We cleaned up and packed up and went home.

I hope you spend some focused time each year with your youth ministry volunteers doing some training and growth together.  Spending an extended time together gives you a real glimpse into the hearts of your team and their love and dedication to serving students.

When else do we meet?  Glad you asked.  We meet every Sunday night a half hour before our youth group gathering to have a "pre-game" meeting and prayer together.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ministry Team Retreat

This weekend our youth ministry team, comprised of 10 great volunteers who love to minister to students and myself, will get together and spend the weekend together.  I will post more next week about our retreat this post will focus on why I feel retreats are important for teams.

  • Bonding - you spend a weekend together and get to know each other better, laugh together, pray together, learn together.  Together is always better.  Getting to know who you serve with his important when you are in the trenches of ministry.
  • Learning - we will spend some time focusing on learning some things about youth ministry and about ourselves that will help us be better equipped in serving students this coming year.  There is always something to be learned by a ministry team.  No matter what team a person is on there are some vital things to know and learn to help that team successfully focus on the purpose of the church. 
  •  Growing  - we don't have a huge budget to bring in some great youth ministry guru or leadership specialist to help us grow.   I scour the internet, watch videos, etc. to find something we can watch and discuss that will challenge us to grow spiritually.  We can't feed students if we are running on empty.  We can't lead students to a place we have not been ourselves.
  • Focusing - we will spend sometime to focus on our purpose and strategy and what some of our plans and ideas and dreams for 2014.
  • Funning - sometimes when I share what we are doing in youth ministry a person will respond and say, "Wow.  That sounds like fun.  I wish I could do that."  To which I usually respond with an invite to our team.  Momma didn't raise no dummy.  In youth ministry we get to have fun, that's one of the perks of the ministry.  Usually in our setting we are sitting around chatting with students, playing with them on the Wii or Bananagrams, or simply schooling them in foosball.  We get to have fun with students.  I love our retreat because we get to have fun together as a team.  Laughing together, playing some games together, breaking bad in banangrams or spades, it's all good for the unity of the team.
Side note:  I lead our children's ministry team and we have yet to do a "retreat".  I've had some thoughts stirring about this one so I look forward to doing this with our team soon.

Does your ministry team have a retreat?  What do you do? 
No retreat?  Why not start small by getting together for dinner and have some fun then build from there?

Refuel Retreat



I have been in youth ministry for 23 years.  In those 23 years I have attended many different training events, national conferences, etc.  I can say that Refuel Retreat by LeaderTreks was by far the best training I've been to, and exactly what I needed at this point in my life and ministry.  Thanks to Nags Head Church for being the church that sees the value in sending staff off to get refreshed and challenged.  Churches who don't pay the way for their staff to go to conferences and events like this are only hurting the church in the long run.  Thanks to LeaderTreks for and awesome retreat, Doug and Dan did an awesome job leading the retreat.  Thanks to Download Youth Ministry, I was watching their podcast when I first heard of Refuel.

So what did I learn?  I'm glad you asked . . . .

In Leading Myself I learned:
  • God has called me into ministry and because of that He's given me everything I need to serve in the position I am in.
  • Everything rises and falls on leadership (I've heard this throughout my life).   My influence is determined by my leadership.
  • I have a unique leadership contribution to make.
I learned about Leading Mission.  Assessed my core values and found how they fit into the mission of the church I serve.  My core values are: Unity, Purpose, Faith, Love, Family.

I learned about Leading Up.  Confidence, knowing myself, teamwork, strategy.  Communication, I'm good at giving out information but how good am I at listening?  Working on that one.

We did some life mapping and some assessments.  Super helpful tools for looking at where I'm at and where I'm heading.

I loved the small setting.  Only ten youth ministers in the room.  Some great discussion and learning from each other as well as more one on one with the "pros".

I give Refuel two thumbs up and highly recommend this retreat to anyone who works with and leads students.  Much of the leadership principles we learned apply to anyone in ministry and for that matter in business.  Great stuff!

PLUS we ate some great meals.  You have got to check out BisQits in Pawleys Island, SC. 

Refuel Retreat



I have been in youth ministry for 23 years.  In those 23 years I have attended many different training events, national conferences, etc.  I can say that Refuel Retreat by LeaderTreks was by far the best training I've been to, and exactly what I needed at this point in my life and ministry.  Thanks to Nags Head Church for being the church that sees the value in sending staff off to get refreshed and challenged.  Churches who don't pay the way for their staff to go to conferences and events like this are only hurting the church in the long run.  Thanks to LeaderTreks for and awesome retreat, Doug and Dan did an awesome job leading the retreat.  Thanks to Download Youth Ministry, I was watching their podcast when I first heard of Refuel.

So what did I learn?  I'm glad you asked . . . .

In Leading Myself I learned:
  • God has called me into ministry and because of that He's given me everything I need to serve in the position I am in.
  • Everything rises and falls on leadership (I've heard this throughout my life).   My influence is determined by my leadership.
  • I have a unique leadership contribution to make.
I learned about Leading Mission.  Assessed my core values and found how they fit into the mission of the church I serve.  My core values are: Unity, Purpose, Faith, Love, Family.

I learned about Leading Up.  Confidence, knowing myself, teamwork, strategy.  Communication, I'm good at giving out information but how good am I at listening?  Working on that one.

We did some life mapping and some assessments.  Super helpful tools for looking at where I'm at and where I'm heading.

I loved the small setting.  Only ten youth ministers in the room.  Some great discussion and learning from each other as well as more one on one with the "pros".

I give Refuel two thumbs up and highly recommend this retreat to anyone who works with and leads students.  Much of the leadership principles we learned apply to anyone in ministry and for that matter in business.  Great stuff!

PLUS we ate some great meals.  You have got to check out BisQits in Pawleys Island, SC. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Last Night in The Loft


Last night we launched our current series, Dating 101.  We hit the main points last night of:
  • Dating doesn't give you value.  God gives you value.
  • Know who you are before dating.
  • Changing who God made you to be in order to date someone isn't a good thing.
  • Every Date is a Potential Mate.  You will marry someone you date so why date someone you wouldn't marry?
  • Most of you aren't mature enough to date.
We worshipped in song before our message.  It was great to hear the students singing.

Great bunch of students had a great bunch of fun.  Basketball, video games, puzzles, foosball, ping pong and just hanging out together during hang time.  4 bags of chips a couple of cakes and 2 gallons of lemonade magically disappeared. 

During hang time I looked for a few students to sit with  and talk about school and find out how life is going with them.

This weekend we have our annual Youth Ministry Team retreat.  I'm looking forward to that time together for training and some challenging sessions as well.  Mostly I'm looking forward to hanging out with the volunteers who serve with me week after week investing in students' lives.  We will converge on a vacation rental house, cook together, eat together, play some games, do some training.


My Mission Trip Experience

I just returned last week from the island of Eleuthera.  On the island there is a Christian sports camp, Camp Bahamas.  Camp Bahamas is re...