Tuesday, April 25, 2017

When tragedy strengthens your team

We are so focused on ministering to students we can tend to forget to minister to our awesome volunteers on our team.

Here are some suggestions when you have a team member experience tragedy or loss, hard times.

Pray.  Don’t make prayer the last resort but make prayer your first priority.  Pray and ask God to give strength, peace, healing to the one who is suffering.  Don’t just say, “I’ll pray for you.” but pray with the person.  Great encouragement can come when you hear someone pray for you.  It’s nice to hear “I’ll pray for you” but praying then and there takes that encouragement to a whole new level.

Don’t worry about what to say.  My wife and I have experienced some tragedies in our life together.  As I think back what spoke the most to me was not words but the hug.  The expressions of love and caring.  Our words can’t fix the issue and there is always that danger of saying the wrong thing.  A good hug and “I love you” can go a lot further than well intentioned cliche’s and words.

Give.  Give time to help.  Maybe offer to clean the house, run the kids around, babysit for an extended period.  When someone is hit with a health issue that takes them out of work this often means they are making no money so now on top of the stress of the illness is the financial stress.  What can be done?  Cook meals, get your team together and cook meals and deliver them.   Meals they can heat up.  Go grocery shopping together as a team and stock their pantry and fridge.  I don’t know what you spend each week on groceries but I know at my house it is one of the biggest expenses (12 to 15 gallons of milk a month is about fifty bucks or more).

Don’t just offer to help.  Show up and help.  People often say “let me know if I can do anything for you.”  But when we are on the other end we sometimes don’t know what to ask help with or what to do.  So show up with a plan and do it.

We hate tragedy.  Tragedy can be a time that draws individuals closer to their Lord, tragedy can also be at time for your team to really step up and be the body of Christ.  Tragedy can strengthen your team.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Holidays. What do you do with them?

We are heading into the holiday season.  I know, not Christmas, but April, May and June bring a few special Sundays.  We have Easter this weekend.  Mother’s Day is on May 14.  Memorial Day weekend Sunday, May 28.  Father’s Day is June 18.

Our approach to these holidays shows that we value family.

Students are busier now than they ever have been. 

Families are constantly on the go.  While I don’t think this busyness is healthy I realize that we as student pastors need to look for ways to minister and help families who are running in multiple directions at one time.  Canceling student ministry on those holiday weekends allows families to have some down time together, to actually rest and experience a sabbath together.

The volunteers in our student ministry serve every Sunday night, many of them also do some sort of ministry on Sunday morning as well.  We ask that their Sunday morning ministry is their secondary ministry that doesn’t require them to spend hours at the church on Sunday morning because they need to be back on Sunday evening for two and a half hours.  The holiday Sunday off for them allow them time as well to spend with their families.  This also shows our volunteers how much we value them and appreciate all they do in student ministry.

Honestly there are parents and volunteers in our church who wouldn’t miss if we still met on the holiday because some people feel such an obligation to be present even though in their heart they would rather be at home with their family on the holiday.

Ideas for these holidays:

  • Encourage families to get together with other families for lunch or picnic, some fellowship time together.

  • Meet at a park, very relaxed, no real plan and program, play some games together, picnic.

  • Create a family worship pdf for families to do together on that holiday.

  • Invite volunteers and their families over for a cookout at your home.

  • Focus on your own family and relax.  Something we don’t normally get to do on a Sunday.

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