Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Random Youth Ministry Questions & Thoughts After 17 Years

  • Why do people think youth ministry is a "stepping stone" to real ministry?
  • How can we stop entertaining and really engage students?
  • If you "twit" in Twitter what do you do in facebook?
  • Why do we give our conscious credit when the Holy Spirit deserves it?
  • Why aren't more youth ministries working with the schools instead of just eating lunch there?
  • If more people worship and experience closeness to God through music, shouldn't we spend as much time singing as we do listening in church?
  • Why do we get so dangerously close to the "seat" of judgment?
  • More churches need multiple pastors who speak... my church ( does an amazing job at this.
  • Why are so many churches reaching their region and not their neighbors?
  • We need more churches to implement "special needs" programs!
  • If the goal for every great youth pastor becomes writing book and speaking tours, who will lead the daily grind of ministry?
  • Why can't more pastors sweep the floor?
  • Why is so hard to communicate the ministry vision, purpose, values and events that we lead?
  • How come so many pastors and leaders "preach" spiritual health and do nothing to strengthen their own?
  • Why are youth pastors half the age of lead pastors and does that mean I need to change roles soon?
  • Why is God's grace so easy to receive and yet so hard to give?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 18

Fully commit yourself to the awkward conversation.

Often when we approach students, they put up a wall of disinterest at our attempt to build a relationship with them. Whether it's legitimate on their end or if they are simply testing you, fully commit yourself the awkward conversation. It's better to have several conversations that go nowhere than it is to never even try because it feels "too hard" to find a way into their life. Ministry is hard - don't pretend it won't be. So make several, several attempts, never giving up. Eventually you'll find something to talk with them about and follow up with.

And if you need an example, you need only look to the constant invitational nature of God. How many times has He tried to build a relationship with us... only to have us brush Him off?

*Guest Tip by Pastor Tony Myles - to find more on Tony, check out his blog:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 17

I recently asked a group of adults if they had any ideas and/or tips they would like to pass on to youth leaders that might help their youth ministries. These adults confirmed something I have known for a long time, adults care about students. I'm in the process of reading and reviewing more than 200 comments, emails and messages from people who what to see youth ministry make an impact for Kingdom growth.  The response was so passionate and overwhelming that I want to encourage you again to actively search for adults in your church who are looking for opportunities to serve, they are out there!

A great resource to read before you start the "ministry of involvement" in your church, is a book titled The New Breed by Jonathan & Thomas McKee.  This book is published by the best youth ministry resource (my opinion) with employees and leaders who have a passion to equip and encourage youth leaders around the world, Group Publishing ( Take some time, read the book and see the additional material Group has to offer... then, GO GET YOUR VOLUNTEER LEADERS!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Leadership Skills

Here is a list of characteristics a successful leader has or is working towards.  This is a short list that I picked up from a friend; feel free to add to it in efforts of developing your leadership skills.
  • Integrity - be honest.
  • Vision - plan and prepare for good things in the future today.
  • Trusting - trust others in order to be trusted.
  • Be Positive - look for the good in people and circumstances.
  • Compassionate - care for people.
  • Motivator - encourage and get others excited about being involved.
  • Commitment - follow through.
  • Prepare - be ready, for anything. 
  • Flexible - be ready and able to change due to circumstances.
  • Communicate - share your ministry information with parents, students, leaders, etc.
  • Brave - be willing to take chances.
  • Respectful - do to others as you would... you get the point!
As a Christian leader your first priority is to keep your personal relationship with God fresh, pray, read His Word everyday and continually ask for His direction in your life and ministry.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Interact Not Entertain

I watched a mother at Panera talking on the phone, not to her son.  For more than 25 minutes she carried on a very energetic conversation with... someone, while her son ate and sat.  His continual attempt to interrupt the phone conversation was met with a hand gesture to stop, stern look and a mouthed non-verbal "wait."   The first couple attempts the son made were with a great deal of energy as he saw something that caught his attention and filled his, what must have been about four year old, mind with excitement and wonder. The following attempts were a little less exciting and seemed to come with a great deal of apprehension, almost knowingly aware of the pending response. The final attempts were not even directed toward the mother, but now to an older couple sitting at the table closest to his.  The "grandparent" aged couple smiled, pointed and spoke with the small boy; they seemed to be enjoying the interaction as much as the he. Then it happened, the small boy moved from his chair to the edge of the table were this couple sat.  He was there for only a few minutes smiling, giggling and enjoying the time when the mother finally reengaged informing him it was time to go.  As the small boy left with his mother he waved and said "good-bye" at least three times to the strangers who took an interest in him.

Sharing this story is in no way a knock to the mother or parents who need to work to support their families. This is a wake-up call to those of us who minister to students.  How do we engage the students who are right in front of us? How do we take an interest in them?  Students who come to our ministries desire someone to interact not entertain him or her. 

The little boys response to his mother is much like the responses we will receive from students. How we respond to students will determine how excited they become about the ministry and Jesus.  They will either move closer or begin to look for other people and places that take an interest in them.  

My prayer for us is that students know we care, not because we teach it, but because we live it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 16

When preparing messages, put a team together to help you. This team will help with creativity, developing ideas and series titles.  Meet with this team monthly in a fun, creative environment.  Plan messages at least three months out so your team can continue to pray and think about the message topics while looking for ways to support the series. When putting a team together, variety is important. Find people with different interest, vocation and backgrounds.  This will increase the potential for creating some great messages.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Basic Student Ministry Tip 15

A great way to save your time and budget is share resources.  How to utilize sharing resources among ministries:
  • While programming for the year make a list of the materials, resources and items that will be needed for your programs and events.
  • Consider an "all church" mailing that includes a list of items that might be needed throughout the year to help with a ministry program or event.  Ask those that receive the mailing to fill in their contact information and check all items that they would allow church ministries to borrow.  *Please don't forget to budget for repairs and replacement if something should break.
  • Connect with other local churches to borrow their resources.  We are ALL called to be good stewards, not just our church.
  • Advance planning gives you enough time to email a list of needs to see if other leaders have any of the items.
  • Share first; this opens the door for others to be generous with you.
  • Encourage others ministry leaders to look for ways to share resources.
  • Return items clean and on time.  If you find yourself sharing often, create a team of volunteers who will pick-up and drop-off.  
Start sharing and you will begin to start saving!