This post is part of the series on Time Management in Youth Ministry. One of the things that frustrates almost all of us I think, is our email inbox that just never seems to get empty. No matter how hard we try to stay on top of it, it just keeps filling up. I want to give you some advice for dealing with your email in two posts and today we’ll start with one very obvious, but often overlooked solution: getting less email.
Have you ever realized that you can influence the amount of emails you get? It’s no rocket science, I guarantee you. The amount of email you receive is for instance directly related to the amount of emails you sent, but it’s also dependent on some other actions on your part. Have you ever taken a critical look at your own email habits to see what it is you do that causes your inbox to get flooded?
This post is part of the series on Preaching for Youth. Let’s start with making something very clear: there’s no such thing in the Bible as the gift of preaching. There is however the gift of teaching, which is mentioned several times. Let’s start with clarifying what we mean by preaching and by teaching.
The Germans call it an ‘Aha-Erlebnis’, the moment a certain truth or insight hits you. It’s that moment when all of a sudden something makes sense and you ‘get it’. I had such an Aha-Erlebnis at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit a couple of years ago listening to Hawaiian pastor Wayne Cordeiro speaking on ‘Leading on Empty’. He was talking about his burnout and the factors leading to it. And what he was saying about the absolute necessity of ‘filling up your tank’ before it’s empty, connected with me.
A youth ministry friend of mine wrote me with the following question:
How much does peer group matter and can we overcome the ‘problem’ of not having a peer group within our small youth group? We have a group of about 6 or 7 from age 11-16 and none of them really relate very well to each other, despite most of them having been in the same church most of their lives!
It’s a good question, so let’s look at peer groups and peer influence and how important this is to teens.
I recently wrote a post on creating unity in your small group in which I shared some things you can do to promote unity in your small group. It was picked up by Church Leaders and Terrace Crawford promoted it with a tweet. That got a reaction from Paul Sheneman. His view: unity isn’t a technicality issue. And he’s right of course, unity isn’t something you can create by following certain steps. Or let me put it this way: following certain steps isn’t a guarantee for unity in your youth group. There’s is no five-step program that results in unity. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
I don’t believe any youth group can function well without rules. The only problem is that many youth groups don’t write them down and make them, well official. But unwritten rules aren’t really rules and you sure can’t enforce them very well…and rules you can’t enforce are absolutely pointless. So here are my thoughts on youth group rules. Continue reading Youth group rules
This post is part of the series on Time Management in Youth Ministry. In my opinion, the whole concept of time management is not to work harder, but to work smarter. Our goal should be to be both effective and efficient in youth ministry, meaning we accomplish our goals with as little energy as possible. There are many smart ways to accomplish more in the same amount of time and today I want to share one simple thing that can save you lots of time: grouping similar tasks.
This post is part of the series on Preaching for youth. In prepping your message for youth, it’s essential to spend some time tailoring it to where your students are at, spiritually speaking. If you don’t, you may end up with a beautiful, well-written message that completely misses its purpose because your audience doesn’t recognize it’s spiritual ‘level’ in what you’re saying.
A beautiful way of looking at these spiritual ‘levels’ is to see it as a spiritual journey (1). As we all know, becoming a Christian isn’t a matter of one decision, it’s a longer road filled with several smaller steps and decisions, and sometimes also roadblocks and wrong turns. The spiritual journey of youth then, is the route they take from being spiritually dead (unbeliever) to spiritually fully alive (believer and disciple).
Everyone we meet, including our youth, is at a certain point in his or her spiritual journey. Some may be at the start, barely acknowledging the possibility that there is a God. Some may be at the point where it all starts to make sense and they’re almost ready to commit. And some may be at the point where they’ve decided to follow Christ, but struggle with putting that into practice.
Shortly put, the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto principle) states that there is often a 80/20 connection between input and output, between efforts and results. In short, in many cases 80% of the results come from only 20% of the efforts. But it works the other way around as well, 80% of the problems you face in youth ministry come from only 20% of the students/parents/church members.
Now let’s see how we can apply to 80/20 rule to your youth ministry by asking a whole bunch of questions. I’d advise you to take some time to work these through, you’ll be amazed at the insights you’ll gain.
1. Identify biggest results
What does ‘success’ look like in your youth ministry? In other words: what’s the 80% of results you want to strive for? You can describe success in youth ministry in different measurable parameters, for instance:
Number of baptisms amongst youth
Attendance in youth services
Number of students involved in small groups
But there are also many indicators of ‘success’ in youth ministry that aren’t so easy to measure, like spiritual growth, a good relationship with each student, growth in unity, etc. However you define success in your youth ministry, make sure you do somehow define it. Otherwise you’ll never know how you’re doing.
This post is part of the series on Preaching for youth. As stated in an earlier post, ending a sermon well can be quite a challenge. Even if you have managed to keep the youth’s attention all through your sermon, you’ll need to work hard to keep it right till the last words. But the beautiful thing is that with the right ending, you can not only hold their attention, but bring home your key message in a powerful way. Here are six ways to do that: