Friday, May 23, 2014

Fun Outdoor Games

I'm not a big game person, it's just not my cup of tea, so I know the importance of finding people on the YM Team who like games and are good at coming up with games.  Here are two of the games we like to do outdoors and on the beach during the summer months:

Poleish is lots of fun

Spikeball is a blast

This is one I would like to figure out how to build an affordable/portable arena.  The game in which I broke my big toe at the top knuckle.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Next Level Leadership Training

Relevent and helpful Break Out Sessions

  • Help I’m a pastor doing it all!
  • Recruiting and training volunteers
  • Relational Youth Ministry/ Investing in Students
  • Handling Crisis: Real or Perceived
  • Camps/ Trips/ Conferences
  • Get out of the Church
  • Student Leaders 
  • Community Involvement
  • Hiring a Youth Minister
  • Balance, Boundaries, and Burnout
  • Legal Liabilities
  • Planning a Budget
  • Multi-role ministers
  • Building a Team
  • Changing the Culture
  • Sunday School

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Everybody Needs Some Time Away

Show your age!  What song is the title of this post from?

What a busy yet fun-filled weekend my family had!  Friday we took a day trip to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, Va.  I had such a fun time with my kids.  Park wasn’t crowded because school is still in session (perks to homeschooling).

Long, fun filled day.

Saturday was a beautiful day here.  My kids played outside all day which allowed me several hours to get a bunch of my “honey-do’s” done around the house before crashing in a chair and watching my kids play in the sprinkler.

Sunday was Mother’s Day.  On Mother’s Day, in my home, mom gets whatever she wants.  Mish wanted to hit the road on a road/boat trip.  We left late morning after church and headed south to Hatteras and then caught the ferry to Ocracoke.  We made a couple lighthouse stops on the way, had lunch on the way and then ate dinner on Ocracoke then ferried back.  The kids loved the ferry ride and we got to see dolphins swimming right next to us.  We parked and watched a beautiful sunset together.

Another great day as a family together.

We won’t last in ministry if our family is pushed to the back burner by our work.  Our families often sacrifice time with us so that we can minister to the needs of others and serve the church.  This is why it is important to “take some time away”.  Vacations aren’t always possible because of finances but staycations can be great for the family.

I find the “get away” provides:
  • Great memories for my kids.  I don’t want them to be turned off to the idea of church because dad was never around. 
  • Family fun helps family health.  Churches need examples of healthy families.
  • The brain needs a break.  Time away helps spark creativity and fresh ideas.
  • Rest is vital.  Although my weekend was busy I was busy with my family.  This gave me some “rest” and it’s Monday morning now and I feel great.  This will impact my work week in a very positive way.  God rested and I'm not God so I better get some rest.

So my hope and prayer is that your church allows you time to “get away”.  I also hope you use your vacation time, it is there for a reason.  Tired and stale won’t help your youth ministry at all.

What do you do to ensure time away in your schedule?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Student Ownership

Much to think about from this 11 minute video segment from Youth Specialties.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Camp Messages

I've been invited to speak at Camp Cale again this summer.  Works out great because our group will be there that week.  This has it's pros and cons but as I think about it I know my group better than a stranger would.  I'm looking forward to this great week of camp and Cale's staff does a great job.  Also joining me is our church's own MP13 Band.   Gonna be great!

I'm working on the messages now.   The camp's theme is "Mission Controlled".  I get to speak twice a day so I have laid out the scope of the messages and I'm working on them now.  Trying to finish them up by the end of June.

My approach:
Start with the scripture.
I copy and paste the scripture in landscape format with a 3 inch margin all the way around.
I then read, re-read, re-read and write notes in the margin as I go. 
I also use the good old highlighter. 
Once my outline is set I create a new document and type out my message word for word.
Insert illustrations and thoughts.
Going for one point and a challenge to apply or take the next step.

In the evening sessions:
To Be a Missionary
  • 1st Be a Believer (gospel message)
  • 2nd Be a Follower (a disciple, following the example of Christ)
  • 3rd Be Obedient (go and do what God asks of you)
  • 4th Be Ready to Share (know your faith and know your story)

In the morning sessions:
  • God Can Use You - Paul's Conversion
  • You will Battle the Enemy - Paul's encounter with Bar-Jesus
  • Share the Truth - Paul's message in Antioch
  • Look to Meet Needs - Paul heals the cripple
  • Missions Not for Sissies - Paul's hardships

Monday, May 5, 2014

Youth Ministry Makes You Selfish

(I don't usually post long blog posts cause I know I don't read them myself when they are long.  So those who like bullet points and have ADD I apologize in advance)

OK.  I’ll admit it.  I’m selfish.  After 20-something years of working with students it has made me a selfish person, terribly selfish.  I think most adults that work with youth become selfish people.  I know selfishness isn’t pretty when I wear it, it doesn’t look good on me or most adults.  We probably seem like 3 year olds when we act selfishly.

I’m selfish.
I’m selfish because I want your son or daughter at youth group each week.  I’m selfish because I want them there to hear from God’s Word and to worship with other believers.  Selfish of me, I know.  I know there will be Sundays where the weather is perfect for beach-going and what not, it’s selfish of me to want your son or daughter at youth group learning what it means to be the church.

I’m selfish.
I’m selfish because I want your son or daughter to open the Bible and spend time reading it on their own and spend time in prayer on a daily basis.  Selfish of me, I know.  I’m selfish because I want to see them grow into fully devoted followers of Christ.

I’m selfish.
I’m selfish because I want your son or daughter to serve in ministry at church.  Selfish of me, I know.  I’m selfish because I want them to discover that God has created them uniquely with a plan for them to serve Him in the local church.  Selfish of me because I know that they will be more likely to carry this attitude of serving into their adult years.

I’m selfish.
I’m selfish because I will teach on sex, dating, honoring parents, at least once a year, every year from the time a youth enters the youth group in 6th grade all the way until they graduate.  Selfish of me, I know.  I’m selfish because I want to see them make wise relationship decisions that honor God and I want them to learn submission because they will have to submit to someone the rest of their lives.  I know, I’m selfish.

I’m selfish.
I’m selfish because I want to see your son or daughter at youth group so then can connect with their adult leader in their PODz (small group).  Selfish of me, I know.  
I’m selfish because I understand the stats that tell us when teens connect and having meaning relationships with 5 adults in their church they are more likely to now walk away from their faith when they graduate.

I’m selfish.
I’m selfish because I know that not every activity we do as a youth group is appealing to each and every student but I want them there.  Selfish of me, I know.  I’m selfish because I want them to learn what fellowship is all about.  Life with other believers isn’t always about having things “my way”.  Selfish of me, I know.  It’s selfish because I know if they catch on to this their future pastors when they are adults will be blessed to have them in their church family.

I’m selfish.
I’m selfish because each week I want to write an e-mail to parents.  Selfish of me to want to spend my time doing what I want to do, I know.  I’m selfish because I want parents to know what we studied at youth group and keep them informed well in advance of what is coming up so they can calendar dates and be more organized when it comes to discipling their own child.  Selfish of me, I know.

I’m selfish.
I’m selfish because I want other adults on the team.  I don’t want to do youth ministry by my lonesome.  Selfish of me, I know.  I’m selfish because I want to see other adult Christ followers discover how God has shaped them to serve and to use the gifts God has given them to impact the lives of students for eternity. 

I’m selfish.
I’m selfish because I want your son or daughter to go to camp.  Selfish of me, I know.  I’m selfish because I want them to unplug from their world, be removed from distractions, be in a place where they hear from God’s Word a few times a day and build relationships with other students who love Jesus with everything they have got.  I’m selfish because I want them to be influenced by college-aged counselors who love Christ and want to share the life changing message with kids.  Selfish of me to want to see your son or daughter’s life totally rocked by God because camp is where many students come make decisions for Christ.

I’m selfish.  I’ve spilled the beans.  I’m sure other youth ministers whether paid or volunteer (thanks volunteers, we love you!) will search their souls and also admit they too are selfish.  So parents as you work with me as I come along side of you as you disciple your teen please understand I am selfish as are the other adult’s in your church’s youth ministry.  Thanks.

Friday, May 2, 2014

New Stuff Happening

I like change and like to see when things happen spontaneously or organically without any real effort or input from me.  This way I know it's "not about me".

Some of our recent new stuff:

The Challenge - Some students whined about wanting to go deeper, expecting to be spoon fed by their youth leaders.  So I dropped the challenge for them to join me in reading the book of Judges.  One chapter a day and to journal their observation of what was going on in the chapter and how they can apply it to their own lives and to pray.  A handful of them took the challenge and we sat down to talk about what they learned during Hang Time.  
We can spoon feed but at some point a student has to walk up to the buffet and start scooping out their own meals.

Frustration gives birth - Out of some frustration a group of girls and two of our lady leaders decided to start their own Sunday afternoon Bible study.  Way cool.  I’m not comfortable leading a girls Bible study for obvious reasons so it’s awesome that a couple of our leaders are willing to go the extra mile with the handful of our girls who want to do a study specifically geared to helping them become godly women.  Awesome!

Student Leaders - I threw it out there to see which students would like to talk about and look into the idea of leadership.  Several students joined me for a 15 minute conversation and we are going to build from there.  I let them know I’m mainly looking for servants, students who see what needs to be done and volunteer to do it.
I have tried organized programs in the past and they flopped.  I’m now approaching it organically and as it grows our team will help equip the leaders that rise to the surface.

Digging for answers - expecting growth.  Our team has set out during Hang Time to be very specific about talking to students.  Digging beneath the surface and asking questions like, “Tell me about your relationship with Christ?” and “What did you learn in your quiet time this week?”

New Team members
- We have two new team members this year and this past Sunday we had two more sign up for a test drive.  When God sends new team members I often wonder what He is up to.  I’m praying for growth because I want to see more students come to know Christ.

New Series - Letters from the Mailbox

What's new with you?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Jump on the Bus!

Hellllooooooo Fellow Youth Ministers and investors into the lives of teens.  Let me say this, you need to jump on this deal now!  I'm a member and love the resources and you will too.

Made the Top 40 Youth Ministry Blogs

My blog made #30 out of the top 40 youth ministry blogs according to I don't know what that means but "thanks!&quo...