Thursday, September 18, 2014

Slow Changing View

We had a great youth ministry team with about 8 caring adults and myself.  Each adult had a small group of students to minister to.

One night an incident happened and a young student (student A) needed some ministering to.  A group of adults, as well as that student’s small group leader, stepped in to comfort the student. 
I didn’t step in to comfort for two reasons: 
One I’m not a comforting individual.  Just look at me do I look like I bring comfort?  (see picture to right)
Two I was at the same time dealing with a student (student B) who was trying to figure out how to get home but actually a different place to go home because that student’s dad was drunk and apparently rather mean while intoxicated.

I was verbally attacked and raked over the coals for not bringing comfort to student A by student A’s parents.  They were upset at the situation that went down as I would have been as a dad if it were my kid.  The view was “Andy’s the youth minister.”  All the comfort given by the other youth ministers and adults in the church wasn’t viewed as student A being ministered to. 

When you begin to build a youth ministry team, a group of adults who will minister to the students, it may take time for the church to come around to the view that you are just one of the youth ministers.  Why?  Because my best guess is that many Americans, if not most, who grew up in church were taught that the minister was the guy standing up front preaching each Sunday, everyone else were just members.

The view for some (many) may be slow to change.  After years of taking a team approach to youth ministry here is what I see happening in our church:

  • Students view the adult leader that leads their group as their youth minister.  They go to their leaders for prayer, questions, advice.  It doesn’t all have to go through me.

  • Parents are starting to view the adult volunteers as their kids’ youth ministers.  Even talking with them and sharing together about their child.  The more a leader invests into the life of a student the more a parent will lean on them in teaming up to disciple their kid.

  • Volunteer leaders are stepping up to the plate and raising the standard in ministry.  The result is longevity on the team (every wise youth pastor wants their team members to stick around a long time).  Volunteers are also finding fulfillment and joy living out their spiritual shape and ministering to students.

  • I’m not trying to shepherd X amount of students.  My goal is to shepherd the team of adults and to help steer the ship.  I’m finding joy in watching students go to their leaders for prayer, advice, questions, etc.  Better and safer to have many shepherds than just one.

So if you are building a team just keep plugging away.  It may take time but eventually, if done right the view will change and it will go from “you are the youth minister” to “they are the youth ministers”.

By the way, our youth ministry team is made up entirely of volunteers and they rock!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ever Have Students Struggle with Doubt?

I'm always on the prowl for articles to help me and our volunteers to better minister to students.
Here's another good one from LeaderTreks.

“Just have faith.” I cringe when I reflect on the number of times I’ve answered students’ questions of doubt with that seemingly harmless phrase. When broken down, I recognize the ignorance, pride, and ultimately, fear, behind those words—“Just” as if it were a simple solution, and “have faith” as if doubt and faith cannot survive within the same person. I have since realized that faith cannot exist without doubt. It would be meaningless.
READ MORE . . . . .

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Great Blog Post

If you're in youth ministry, or in church world in general, you've read about or heard about the numerous statistics pointing to what some call the "drop out problem." I don't want to get into the numbers. (Lately I am of the opinion that we can get too distracted by them.) But I do want to address something I've observed over the last few years.
 READ MORE . . . . 

The fine folks at YM360 put out some great material and resources. 
Check them out!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Where are we going?

After some thought and time spent considering what we want to see accomplished in the lives of our students this year we have come up with our "arc" for the next several months.

September 14 to November 16 - Why am I here?  Doing a series in sync with the Sunday morning sermon series and our adult Connection Groups so we are all on the same page.  Taking a look at discipleship and our purpose.  We will have at least one Outreach Night during the series.  Outreach nights we put an emphasis on bringing friends who don't know Christ and we simply share the gospel, play some games and serve up some great food.

November 23 - Youth Led Outreach Night
November 30 - God's Not Dead - movie night

December 7 - Joseph
December 14 - Mary
December 21 - Bowling (cause nothing says Christmas like a bowling party)
December 28 - No Youth Group Gathering

Joshua Series -
January 4 - Strength and Courage
January 11 - Unlikely Hero
January 18 - Dedication
January 25 - Outreach Night
February 1 - Remember
February 8 - Trust God
February 15 - Confession
February 22 - Friend Night

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...