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From youthministry360 on Monday, September 23, 2013 @ 7:59 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
Image courtesy of shutterstock / (c) John Brueske
As a youth worker who is pulled in a million different directions. Making sure we're as effective as we can be is a huge priority. We simply don't have the luxury of wasted time and/or energy. But how do we maintain balance in our evaluation? How do we make sure we're listening to the right voices? Over the years, I've used a pretty simple analogy that as helped me maintain my focus on being effective. I wanted to pass it along to you in hopes that it would help you think about evauating your performance in a new light.Years ago I attended a business training seminar where a speaker gave me this great little nugget of wisdom: 10% of the people you work for will LOVE you and what you do, regardless.Another 10% will NEVER approve of what you do, no matter how good it is. 80 % of the people you work for are fair minded. They appreciate good work, and recognize when your work is below par.As a young youth pastor in my first church, I quickly realized these percentages played out almost perfectly in working with parents and students. Over the last twenty-five years of doing youth ministry, they haven't always been in exactly the same proportions, but they've been close. And it has helped me think about how I minister. I did something to help me visualize these percentages. Maybe it will help you, too. I found marbles that represent each of these categories.Eight white marbles, A dark colored marble, And one brightly colored one.I keep them in a place where I can always see them. They help me have a visual reminder of the makeup of our churches, our students, and their parents.The colorful marble is the great equalizer. It helps us remember that there are people who think we are awesome even when it sometimes doesn't seem that way. (It's is also a humbling reminder that on those days when we think we're the greatest youth worker in the world, the majority of people don't see it that way!)The dark marble is also useful. If someone is constantly giving us a hard time about our programs and the quality of our work, regardless of what we do to change or improve, chances are that person WILL NEVER much care for us or what we do. Again, the visual of the marbles keeps us focused on the fact that while severe critics can dominate our thinking, they will always represent a very small portion of our church and youth group.The white marbles represent the most realistic view of how our work affects people. Most of our students and their parents appreciate it when we do good work, and notice when we miss the mark. This group is where you will get the best feedback as to your effectiveness as a youth leader, and the effectiveness of your programs. My little bag of ten marbles has helped me keep a proper perspective on my ministry. It reminds me not to buy in to everything the raving fans or harshest critics say or think about me. The response of the 80% will always be the best litmus test as to how I'm doing.
From youthministry360 on Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 7:53 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
One of the things we are committed to at ym360 is Networking. Our vision for networking is connecting you to people and organizations doing awesome youth ministry.Flashback Friday is a feature where we give you the run down of some of the awesome posts from the past week across youth ministry blogs. Consider it our way of keeping you connected with what is going on. This week's posts from the ym360 Blog6 Hang Ups That Keep Teenagers From Sharing Their Faith by Andy BlanksYouth Worker BOOST: I've Got A Secret by Richard ParkerLoneliness In Youth Ministry by Andy BlanksImitation: A Vital Aspect Of Discipleship by Andy Blanks Posts From The BlogosphereWe search the Internet to bring you relevant information to help you be a better youth worker. Here are some links from posts we thought were pretty great.What Message Is Your Ministry Reflecting? by Aaron Crumbey Three Things Every Speaker Should Unlearn by Amber Cassady Learn from it. by Brooklyn LindseyDon't Forget Youth Ministry Is Fun by Christopher WesleyCoaching Discipleship Leaders by Doug FranklinA New Kind of Modesty by Duffy RobbinsSquare by James O'ConnellParenting Review: Grand Theft Auto V by Josh EvansOur "Boy Becomes a Man" Trip by Josh Griffina meditation for youth workers: COMMUNITY by Mark Oestreicher That's all the links for this week. As always, have an awesome weekend . . . And THANK YOU for the chance to serve you as part of the ym360 community.
From youthministry360 on Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 6:16 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
Recently I found myself in a conversation with some youth workers after a training event I had lead. Someone made the statement, the biggest weakness in my students is that I can't seem to motivate them to openly talk about their faith. We chatted for a moment about this, with several of the other youth workers offering input and agreement. But this comment stuck with me for a few days. I thought about this youth worker's comment. If I looked at the teeagers in our youth group, many of them would fall into this category: unwilling (or seemingly uninterested) to engage others in meaningful faith conversation.I thought about the reasons why this might be the case. I jotted down a few. I wonder what you would add or subtract from these?Fear of Rejection/Fear of Social Awkwardness—Self-explanatory. We are by nature "risk averse." Most of us want to be accepted and don't want to make others feel uncomfortable. So, we are timid in our expressions of faith because we don't want to offend. Teenagers who value friendships so highly seem particularly prone to this.Fear of Insufficient Information—Teenagers (and adults) fear that awkward moment where someone asks a question they can't answer. This is a particularly tragic obstacle to me, as we have been given God's Word precisely so that we might know the Gospel. We have all the info we need at our disposal. This also shows a lack of reliance on the Holy Spirit's power to enable us to testify to the truth.The Intangible Nature of the Consequences—This idea came straight from a friend and was articulated very well. Death, and eternity, and judgment are simply too far "out there." The consequences of our sin and separation do not seem real. Therefore, the urgency in sharing the Gospel is not there.The Influence of Cultural Context—I call this the "-ism" effect. Religious pluralism, moral relativism, and secular humanism have created a cultural Bermuda triangle where absolute truth claims go to die. If you claim there is only one way to salvation and eternal life, watch out.An Incomplete Grasp of the Gospel—This takes a few forms. Maybe students don't have a full understanding of the real consequences of sin; that sin earns for us death and separation from God. Or maybe they don't grasp the power of the Gospel message, how Christ alone is able to bring life and purpose to us. Whatever, the case, there is some sort of disconnect with the full understanding of the Gospel message.Do Not See Evangelism Modeled in Any Adult Figure in Their Lives—This is a big one to me. Study after study (The NSYR and some of Ed Stetzer/Lifeway's research come to mind) show that parents are still the main influencers in teenagers' lives. And meaningful, non-parent-adult relationships are high on the list. If youth workers and parents model the importance of evangelism, students will begin to value its importance.I'm sure I've left out something. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I missed. And it's important to make sure that we don't paint with too broad a brush. There are teenagers who are actively engaged in sharing their faith. And we need to encourage, and praise, and continue to train these students. But there are manyothers who aren't actively sharing their faith with the lost. And that, to me, is an issue.In God's plan to redeem the lost, we are His primary means of sharing the truth of the Gospel. The questions is, do the students in your youth group embrace this truth?
From Youth Specialties on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 @ 10:49 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
In this 34 minute message from NYWC 2012, Mark Yaconelli reminds us of the gift we bring to young people and calls us to remember the God we’ve met. It’s a perfect reminder; it’s not your job to save your church or chase the shiny, new and spectacular. We are so excited that Mark will be joining us again in San Diego and Nashville.
Head to NYWC.com and fill out a short form to download the entire 34 minute video from NYWC 2012, perfect for watching with your leaders. Download includes video and audio files.
Click Here To Access Download
From youthministry360 on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 @ 7:15 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
ym360 knows youth workers. We know what an incredibly rewarding, yet incredibly challenging job youth ministry can be. There are days when your spirits are sky-high, and there are days when you could use a bit of a "pick me up" from God's Word . . . That's why we're happy to offer Youth Worker Boost, one of the many valuable resources on the ym360 Blog. Boost is a short, weekly piece of encouragement designed to, well, "boost" your spirits and encourage you as you minister to students. We consider it yet another great opportunity to serve you and your ministry. Suscribe To The E-Boost and get them all delivered right in your inbox!"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ."--Colossians 1:27-28The word "secret" can mean a lot of different things. Tell someone you have a secret surprise gift for them and the person will experience the joy of expectation. Tell a friend or loved one you have been keeping a secret from them, and the person will experience the fear of bad news. A secret told can lift you up, or bring you down.The two secrets revealed in today's passage are the "lifting up" kind of secrets. One of them is great news and the other is even greater!When Christ died on the cross he made a relationship with God possible for all people, both Jew and Gentile. But the second secret was even greater. Paul said that those who put their faith in Christ will have Him living in them. The secret was out: God, who up to that point was always worshiped with a certain level of separation, became a man and lived among us before sending the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. It's a powerful reminder for those of us who are tired, lacking motivation, and wondering why we still do what we do. It's equally as powerful a reminder for those of us who are on top of the world, riding high, and bursting at the seams with energy.But the key is this: This secret isn't just for our benefit. We have an obligation. What do we do with this knowledge? We do what Paul said he did: tell everyone everywhere about Christ.Our prayer for you: Our prayer is that the Good News of Christ would be lived out in you in such a way that it's impossible to keep it a secret.Last Week's BOOST: The ImitatorsNext Week's BOOST: Foundations Get more BOOST articles HERE!
From Youth Specialties on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 @ 1:24 PM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
This week's links include: miley's wrecking ball, the surprising strengths of the teenage brain, all she needed was a hug & more.
All She Needed was a Hug (dym- Download Youth Ministry)
How Teens, Parents Struggle to Share Social Media (CNN Tech)
Letter to a Young Parent ... and a Book for Everybody (Walt Mueller, Learning My Lines)
Miley's Wrecking Ball (Jonathan McKee)
The Surprising Strengths of the Teenage Brain (FYI- Fuller Youth Institute)
From youthministry360 on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 @ 7:11 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
Image courtesy of MORF Magazine/ (c) Student Life
I was approached a few months ago by my friend Bryan Belknap to write an article for the excellent (and free!) youth ministry magazine, MORF. I love the heart behind MORF. Bryan and his team at Student Life do an excellent job both with the content and the design of MORF. I was appreciative of the opportunity to write an article. The article was on loneliness in youth ministry, a daunting and important topic. I'm a collaborator at heart. I love the concept of synergy, the idea that working together we can produce something so much better than we ever could as a collection of individuals. And so, I roped in a handfull of youth ministry friends, many of whom are contributors to this blog. Their heartfelt, transparent comments were crucial to the article. So, special thanks to Ben Kerns, Chris Wesley, Brooklyn Lindsey, Alanna Arceneaux, Amy Jo Girardier, and Richard Parker.Below is the article printed in its entirety. If you aren't subscribed to MORF magazine, you really need to check it out. It's a great (and did I mention free?) resource for youth workers. To visit MORF's website, please click here. Enjoy the article. To outsiders the concept seems absurd, a contradiction in terms. "A lonely youth minister? Impossible. How can you be lonely? You're busier than anyone I know, and you're constantly surrounded by people!"But therein lies the rub. There's a wide gulf of difference between being alone and being lonely. And unfortunately, many if not most youth workers find themselves wandering through this bleak landscape, some for short periods of time, others for much of their ministries. Loneliness doesn't require any unique circumstances, no genetic predisposition. Loneliness hits us in the midst of our busyness, even as we're surrounded by people. And the nothingness of loneliness can be crippling. Youth workers are seldom alone. But youth workers are routinely lonely.But what causes loneliness? How does it impact our ability to ministry to students? And how does it affect our relationships? Better yet, what steps can we take to deal with it? As much as possible with any topic this large, I've sought to address these questions over the course of the next few pages. One word about this article before we move on. My role with youthministry360 allows me to form relationships with awesome youth workers from across the country. When I was approached with writing this article, I immediately knew that I would be picking the brains of some of my friends, each of them wonderful youth ministers in their own right. Over the course of this article you'll hear from a variety of youth workers. Three are men, three are women. They represent different denominations. They are spread out across the country. And to a person, over the course of their vast youth ministry experience, they have dealt with some level of loneliness. I'm thankful to each of them as their openness will no doubt help other youth workers deal with the loneliness that seems to be part and parcel to our calling to minister to teenagers. What Causes Loneliness? "In the 10 years I've been doing full time ministry, loneliness is probably one of the greatest struggles I've had." This was the response I received from Alanna Arceneaux, Minister of Education and Discipleship at Pineville Park Baptist Church (Pineville, LA), when I asked if she ever experienced loneliness in youth ministry. Her response would echo others I reached out to. Of the six youth pastors I approached, not a one replied that they had never dealt with loneliness. And yet I was surprised by the variety of causes of loneliness that youth workers listed. Summarizing their thoughts, and my own experiences, I drilled down to identify what seem to be the most common causes of loneliness in youth ministry.Demands Of MinistryLet's face it: the pace of youth ministry is frenetic. If you're a youth minister in any capacity, you don't need to be reminded of this. The demands of youth ministry beget loneliness. Youth workers wear dozens of proverbial hats. We work odd hours. We are available at any time to put out fires in the lives of those we minister to. Full-time youth workers have to deal with the Bermuda Triangle of relationships (church staff, students, and students parents). The high demand of ministry leaves youth workers exhausted, and more often than not, feeling like they are on an island, isolated, lonely, and worn out. "I don't feel like I always have a recurring, daily time to just withdraw and recharge," says Brooklyn Lindsey, Youth Pastor at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene (Lakeland, FL).In a particularly cruel twist, many youth workers try to fill the void caused by the demands of youth ministry by working more, fueling the self-destructive cycle. Arceneaux reflected on this phenomenon. "I pour everything I have into my job in an effort to forget or avoid loneliness. I go through periods of time where I am a workaholic because it feels like I have some purpose." Work fuels loneliness, and loneliness fuels work, which feeds loneliness, which . . . You get the point.Lack Of A True Peer GroupMaybe the most common response I received when I chatted with youth workers about loneliness had something to do with the fact that our call to minister to students creates a "peer-vacuum." Ben Kerns, Pastor of Children and Students at Marin Covenant Church (San Rafael, CA), articulates this struggle really well: "My hours are the exact opposite of my demographic. So my natural peer group and I have little space to hang out because their nights and weekends are packed for me, and vise versa. When I'm at church, my attention is towards students. So while I goof off with them, my demographic is talking about deep things without me. I'm too old to have the students as my friends, and too young to be contemporaries with their parents. It's a strange "no man's land."Arceneaux chimed in with a similar response, though with a slightly different angle: "The people I do spend time with are typically involved in my ministry in some way. They are church members. They are parents of teens or children. While that's not a bad thing I also often feel like I can't fully be myself with many of them because of my position." Regardless of exactly how it fleshes itself out, the manner in which youth ministry impacts our ability to engage with our peers is a chief cause of loneliness. AgeI was surprised by two responses I received. Though when I thought about it, it makes perfect sense. Consider the "age spectrum" of a youth pastor, the young and inexperienced on one extreme, the aged veteran on the other. Finding oneself on either end of this spectrum can contribute to feelings of loneliness. Chris Wesley, Director of Student Ministry at the Church of the Nativity (Timonium, MD) remembers when he was just getting started in youth ministry, and the loneliness this caused: "I didn't know how to ask others for help. I played the 'comparison game' with other ministries. I was oversensitive and whenever someone critiqued me or gave me feedback I became defensive. It led to definite feelings of loneliness in my ministry."35-year youth ministry veteran, Richard Parker, Minister of Youth/Education at First Baptist Church Russellville (Russellville, AL), found that on the top end of this spectrum, there is loneliness caused by the age gap: "As a younger youth pastor I had a peer relationship with my students and their parents treated me like a son or daughter. In my mid-adult years I was the same age as students' parents. It was easy to be friends with students and their parents. I think my most isolated days have been as I have gotten older. I don't have the same generational relationship with students or their parents."How Does Loneliness Impact Our Ministry?We know that there are many variables that lead to loneliness. But what affects does loneliness cause in our ministries? Lindsey was comically candid in her response: "Shoot. I get depressed. I get grumpy. I get upset at my family, our world, I take offense. I forget to pray. In general, peace leaves me." Now that's an honest response! And while Lindsey is demonstrating a more outward response to loneliness, Wesley shares that loneliness impacts him in a much more understated way. "It might not have been obvious to outsiders, stated Wesley. "When I have dealt with loneliness before, it resulted in burnout. I exhausted myself trying to do everything on my own." But one of the most interesting points was raised by Kerns, who points to a more damaging effect of loneliness. "The isolation of loneliness can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. For me this is food and movies. But as we've all had the unfortunate chance to witness, there are plenty of our peers who have found coping behaviors that have gotten themselves and their ministries in serious trouble," said Kerns.What Can We Do To Address Loneliness? Instead of masking over the issue, we must address the issue at its root. We must meet loneliness head on, breaking its crippling grasp on our lives. Here are a few thoughts on how that gets done.Find Community Among Youth WorkersAn empathetic community is one of the major cures for loneliness. And though you might not have a ready-made community of fellow youth workers, with a little intentionality you can make one happen. It's worth the work; a community of peers is one of the best solutions out there. Kerns articulates this well: "For me, the friends in which I feel most totally seen and cared for are other colleagues in youth ministry. And since I figured that out, both my local ministry network and my denominational clusters have become of utmost importance to me." Wesley puts it this way: "To get out of a season of loneliness, I need someone to speak hard truths to me." Who better than those who know exactly what you're going through.Professional HelpFor some, the loneliness they experience becomes such that they need to seek professional help in dealing with it. If your feelings of loneliness begin to consume your everyday life, dominating your thoughts and impacting your behavior, you could probably benefit from time spent with a professional counselor. "Talking to a Christian counselor can be invaluable," says Arceneaux. "There is something about talking to someone who can give an outside perspective who isn't a friend that helps. Knowing it is confidential allows for more honesty and open communication." Seek a counselor who is credentialed in a mental health field, i.e., a licensed family therapist or psychologist, or someone who has extensive experience in pastoral counseling. Seeking GodI've saved the best method for dealing with loneliness for last. There is great solace to be found in God's presence. Scripture is full of passages that speak to God's nearness, and His propensity to draw near to those who seek Him. Reading Scripture, prayer, meditation, even worship through song are powerful ways to break out of the negative emotions and behaviors that come with loneliness. "I try to identify my loneliness, confess my fears and seek God's face . . . When I do this, I find that God gives me what's needed to move forward," says Lindsey. Amy Jo Girardier, Girls Minister/Student Missions Coordinator at Brentwood Baptist Church (Brentwood, TN) expressed similar thoughts: "Schedule sabbaticals of silence where it's just you and God before you begin to feel like it's just you alone. Rhythmic moments of getting away from the busyness and getting alone with God helps maintain the connection you need experience the "GOD WITH US" Savior that you serve on a daily basis."Nature Of The BeastIn the classic song, "Lonesome Valley," Woody Guthrie channels biblical imagery to make a point: there are tough times we all go through. And, like those who have gone before us, we have to gather our strength and forge ahead. Guthrie imagines these challenges as a lonesome valley, and writes:"You gotta' walk that lonesome valley,You gotta' walk it by yourself,Nobody here can walk it for you,You gotta' walk it by yourself."Loneliness is no respecter of role. Though it manifests itself differently, loneliness affects all varieties of youth worker, the full-time, bi-vocational, and volunteer alike. It plagues everyone from time to time, some more so than others. It's an almost inevitable part ministering to students. And each person must deal with it in his or her own way. In this way Guthrie is right. But how nice it is to know that in another way, he's dead wrong. While we may in fact have to walk through the valley of loneliness, we don't have to walk it alone. Of course we have the Spirit with us, always. We have God's Word to guide us. Most importantly, we have other youth workers who know what we're going through. And many of us, without realizing it, do in fact have people in our lives who would jump to help us if given the chance. Maybe that is one of the biggest lies of loneliness. We may in fact be lonely, but we are never truly alone.
From youthministry360 on Monday, September 16, 2013 @ 7:02 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
"I urge you, then, be imitators of me." 1 Corinthians 4:16I have to admit, as a younger Christian, Paul's statement here bothered me. I submitted my life to Christ just before my 21st birthday. I was enamored with Jesus (still am)! And I couldn't figure out this guy telling people to imitate him, and not Jesus. It rubbed me the wrong way. As I read more Scripture, I noticed this wasn't a one-time thing for Paul. He devoted quite a few verses to this idea:"For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us . . ." (2 Thess. 3:7) "It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate." (2 Thess. 3:9) "And you became imitators of us and of the Lord . . ." (1 Thess. 1:6)And then I noticed the author of Hebrews piled on:"Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith." (Heb. 13:7) ". . . so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Heb. 6:12)As I grew in my faith and knowledge of the Scriptures, I came to understand that Paul wasn't being brash, or arrogant. Paul and the author of Hebrews understood imitation as an important part of discipleship.I want to remind you today that part of your call is to be a model for your students to imitate.I recently had the chance to speak to a large gathering of youth ministers in GA. One of the challenges we discussed was this concept. As people with a sin-nature, we know that our hearts are far from perfect. We know our personal weaknesses. We know where we stumble. And because we know exactly where we fall short of God's standard of holiness, we shrink away from seeing ourselves as a model to be followed. But this is a mistake.You should be able to echo without hesitation, Paul's words: "be imitators of me." I understand how this feels. I understand that you might not want to accept this challenge. I understand that you might even defer based on biblical principle. You might be inclined to say, "Wait Andy, I want my students to imitate Christ, not me." Well, the way I see it, I'm not sure you have the luxury of separating the two.Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." Paul could tell people to imitate him because he lived his life imitating Christ. Was Paul perfect? No. And he knew this. That's why in Ephesians 5:1 he said, "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children." Paul understood that Christ was the ultimate model. But he also understood that a vital element of discipleship was for an individual to imitate the spiritual leaders in his or her life.Want a practical example? Think about a bottle of water. An assembly line can pump out millions of bottles all shaped the exact same size because it uses a model, or a form. The plastic is molded to a specific shape by conforming to the model. You are one of those models for your students. You are a mold that shows them the shape of a Christ-follower.Let me challenge you today: You must live your life in such a way that you welcome imitation. It's a challenge that, if you're going to continue to be in a position of influence in teenagers' lives, you simply can't back down from. It's not a challenge from me, but from Scripture. You are undeniably called by God to be a model of practical "faith-living" to your students.Maybe you don't feel like your life is worthy of imitation. Trust me, I understand. But the fact of the matter is this: your students will imitate you whether you want them to or not.The question you must ask is what kind of model you are being.If your students are imitating you, what kind of Christ-followers are they becoming?
From Youth Specialties on Monday, September 16, 2013 @ 6:36 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
Jon Wasson and I conclude posts on Unpacking Scripture in Youth Ministry by offering three "hints" on moving from bible studies to bible reading groups in youth ministry. Listen below.
Listen To Religion Internet Radio Stations with Andrew Root LiveBlog on BlogTalkRadio
From Youth Specialties on Friday, September 13, 2013 @ 7:02 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
In this Andrew Root liveBlog Jon Wasson and I discuss chapter four of Unpacking Scripture in Youth Ministry. We wonder about the need to make a distinction between saying the bible is the Word of God and the bible is becoming the Word of God. We end by encouraging youth workers to attend more to the event of experiencing the living Christ and its witness in scripture, than with concerns about biblical knowledge.
Popular Religion Internet Radio with Andrew Root LiveBlog on BlogTalkRadio
From youthministry360 on Friday, September 13, 2013 @ 3:56 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
One of the things we are committed to at ym360 is Networking. Our vision for networking is connecting you to people and organizations doing awesome youth ministry.Flashback Friday is a feature where we give you the run down of some of the awesome posts from the past week across youth ministry blogs. Consider it our way of keeping you connected with what is going on. This week's posts from the ym360 BlogTwo Thoughts For Volunteering Well by Bill NanceYouth Worker BOOST: The Imitators by Richard ParkerDealing With Sin In Students' Lives by Andy BlanksYM Essentials: Practical Advice For Planning A Fall Retreat by Bucky Rogers Posts From The BlogosphereWe search the Internet to bring you relevant information to help you be a better youth worker. Here are some links from posts we thought were pretty great.Giving Others The Gift Of Presence by Andy Blanks The Supposed Superpowers of a Youth Pastor by Benjer McVeighYou Think It Is A Promotion; You're Wrong. by Brian AabyTechnology Driven Youth Ministry by Chris Wesley12 Questions to Ask Before You Teach by Doug Fields3 Intangibles of Leadership by Doug Franklin5 Types of Sermon Illustrations and How to Use Them by Eric McKiddiea blessing for youth workers in the new school year by Mark OestreicherHow do you stay intentional with students? by Matt Reynolds and Steven OrelReal vs Authentic by Paul MartinGet Rid of the Helicopter Parent! Be a Responsible Communicator. by Tony Akers That's all the links for this week. As always, have an awesome weekend . . . And THANK YOU for the chance to serve you as part of the ym360 community.
From youthministry360 on Thursday, September 12, 2013 @ 4:21 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
I love my job as a youth minister, but I also enjoy working my "other job" in the volunteer department of one of the largest food banks in America. I get to live out Jesus' calling in Matthew 25 to give food to those who are hungry, and help others do it as well! In a given year, I work with nearly 13,000 volunteers. Thats a lot of people! One thing I love seeing is the number of churches and youth groups who give up several hours to serve others. On the other hand, I also see a lot of the "dark side" of volunteering. Volunteers sometimes don't work very hard, or complain, or get things wrong, or don't pay attention. This causes everything from frustration to potentially hazardous circumstances. It's even more painful for me as a youth minister to see youth groups who volunteer act out many of these same behaviors. Don't get me wrong: the vast majority of youth groups are excellent servants. Yet, it just takes one bad apple to ruin it for everyone. I want to see teens living out the commands of Christ, and that means they must serve others. I'm sure you feel the same way. And so at some point, you'll partner with other groups or agencies. How your group acts is a powerful statement to the people for whom you're volunteering, the other people you volunteer with, and anyone else that happens to observe you. So when you volunteer, I'd like to encourage you to always keep these two things in mind:You are representing ChristYou are representing your ChurchFirst of all, how your students act is a powerful testimony of Jesus. Your students will either present a positive view of Christ and your church, or a negative one. For your students, make sure they realize this fact. They don't have to wear choir robes and sing hymns the whole time. They should feel free ot be themselves. But, if they act like escapees from an traveling circus (trust me, I've seen some that have), it will leave a sour taste in everyone's mouths. Work hard, be enjoyable to be around, and listen to what other people are telling you and you'll have everyone saying, "What a great group to be around!" It doesn't end with your students behavior, though. As a leader, it's amazing what an impact getting all the paperwork and information in on time can have. Return emails or phone calls in a timely manner. Keep your group in line. Arrive on time and don't expect preferential treatment. Your leadership can make or break a successful volunteer experience. Let me assure that these things do matter. People notice and they talk. I remember many one of the bad groups we've had come in, and so do other volunteers. For example, there's a big company that has lots of volunteers who come in. I will not name the company, but it's a huge nation wide organization. The volunteers who come in are often surly, uncooperative, and a pain to work with. That has sullied everyone's opinion of this company, which is the opposite of what they wanted to accomplish by having their workers do this. So, remember you represent Christ, and you represent your church. Represent them well, and leave a sweet aroma for those you work with.
From youthministry360 on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 @ 7:15 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
ym360 knows youth workers. We know what an incredibly rewarding, yet incredibly challenging job youth ministry can be. There are days when your spirits are sky-high, and there are days when you could use a bit of a "pick me up" from God's Word . . . That's why we're happy to offer Youth Worker Boost, one of the many valuable resources on the ym360 Blog. Boost is a short, weekly piece of encouragement designed to, well, "boost" your spirits and encourage you as you minister to students. We consider it yet another great opportunity to serve you and your ministry. Suscribe To The E-Boost and get them all delivered right in your inbox!"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."--Philippians 4:8-9Have you ever seen someone who's really good at impersonations? If so, you quickly realize it's not just the voice that these guys mimic. Those who do really great jobs of impersonating others are masters of picking up all the body motions and facial expressions of the person they're imitating. It takes a lot of time and dedication to be a good imitator.The question for us is how well are we at imitating?Paul was pretty good at imitating. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul asked the Christians there to imitate him. It wasn't his voice he wanted them to duplicate, it was his lifestyle. Paul told them to practice what he taught them through not only his words but his actions. This is a powerful teaching. But for those of us who work with students it's an awesome responsibility. You may very well be the main person your students are imitating when it comes to their faith. How does that make you feel?It's human nature to feel uncomfortable when we read this. It's a challenge to us all. Our students are watching us. If they imitate you, how close would they be to imitating Christ?Our prayer for you: Our prayer is that you would be walking so closely with God that you could confidently look to others and say, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ" . . . and mean it.Last Week's BOOST: A New StartNext Week's BOOST: I've Got A Secret Get more BOOST articles HERE!
From Interlinc on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 @ 5:15 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
Guest post by Doug Ranck of Free Methodist Church in Santa Barbara, CA Here are a few tried and tested ideas for connecting with youth through music. Rule #1: Everybody has an opinion on what type of music they like Rule ... Continue reading →
From youthministry360 on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 @ 7:45 AM PST
in the "Resources" Category.
We've all been there . . . That, "we need to talk" moment when a student approaches you with serious business in mind. And the confession comes . . . "I've been sleeping with my girlfriend." "I stole something from my parents." "I've been getting drunk with my friends." "I lied about a speeding ticket." "I'm pregnant." One of the greatest privileges we have as youth workers, yet, an equally great challenge, is helping students deal with their sin. Because of the role you play in their lives, you will be the one to whom many turn with a specific sin they are burdened with.When a student confesses a sin and asks for your help in working through it, how do you respond?How we respond to students in this situation may very well play a major role in their ability and/or willingness to put the sin behind them and move on in their life as a Christ-follower. Here's a few thoughts on how to help teenagers deal with their sin, and wrok through it:Listen With Compassion, Not JudgmentAll people sin (Rom. 3:23). And like Paul expressed so effectively in Romans 7, the struggle with sin burdens Christ-followers who in their hearts long to live right lives. Resist the urge to be self-righteous. See the students as a Christ-follower who desires to do right, but has given in to his or her sin-nature. Engage with empathy and compassion, not judgment.Place The Sin In Context With God's WordThere is a reason Paul urged Timothy to use Scripture to "rebuke and correct" (2 Tim. 3:16). Sin is a deviation from God's standard of holiness. When a student confesses a sin, and you have listened with compassion as they spell it out, your first move should be to basically affirm that they have indeed "fallen short" by showing them in Scripture where their actions come in conflict with God's ways. This is important. If we don't establish God's Word as the authority for our lives, then we are really only teaching students a generic brand of nebulous morality. Show students exactly how their actions have gone against God's Word.Reinforce ForgivenessRemind students that God desires for them to confess their sins to Him (Matt. 6:12), and that God has forgiven their sins (1 John 1:19). Encourage them to see this forgiveness for what it is: an all encompassing grace that was purchased by Christ on the cross. Explain that the debt their sin earned has literally been paid by Christ, wiped away, never to be thought of again by God. Do not miss the opportunity to lead them in a prayer where they confess to God their shortcomings. But then to close a prayer like this assuring the student of God's grace, love, and mercy, and that our righteousness is found in Christ. Reaffirming these truths can help cut off feelings of shame that might immerge later.Explain RepentanceThis is key, and seemingly, gets passed over sometimes. Repentance is a HUGE aspect of our relationship with Christ. When Matthew denotes the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, he reveals the powerful simplicity of Jesus' message: ""Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Matt. 4:17). Repentance is the willful decision to stop sinning. It is the Spirit-empowered act of turning in the opposite direction of our sinful ways. It is not enough for students to confess their sin and be assured of God's grace. You must impart to them the importance of turning from the sin in their life. And you must be willing to play a part of the equation, helping them wherever necessary.Deal With Consequences, RelationallyOnce you have dealt with the spiritual issues surrounding the student's sin, you must shepherd them through any consequences of their sin. Students may need help understanding the consequences of their actions. And based on their sin, you may need to help walk with them through this time. If it is an issue that necessitates a follow-up meeting with the students' parents, take the lead in making it happen, and, based on your relationship with the family, possibly being present at the meeting. (It's a good idea to make an appointment to talk with the student's parents at some point. And tell the student that this is something you are going to do.) As painful as it might be, encourage the student to immediately begin to deal with the consequences. Waiting will only lessen the urgency of the situation. Help students move to working through the consequences as soon as possible. We all know the painful reality of sin in our lives. But by shepherding students through this process, you may actually be facilitating a time of tremendous spiritual growth, where students grow closer to God through the paring away of sin in their lives.