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Is Your Youth Ministry a ‘Third Place’?

I’d heard of ‘thin places’, but the concept of a third place was new to me.

It’s the term sociologist Ray Oldenburg uses for those spots people used to meet each other, like post offices, pubs, coffee shops, or for kids the parks and playgrounds. Back in the day, these central meeting spots were where community happened.

Now, not so much. Many of these third places have disappeared, or people have stopped frequenting them. I mean, how much time do kids spend in parks and playgrounds these days? Continue reading Is Your Youth Ministry a ‘Third Place’?

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20 Ways to Honor Your Senior Pastor

Relationships between youth pastors and senior pastors are notorious. I’ve been blessed to work with some great senior pastors who supported me in every way, but I’ve also experienced the opposite.

Still, as youth pastors we are called to honor our senior pastors. Honoring them blesses them and us and through that, we honor Jesus.

Here are 20 ways to honor your senior pastor in a practical way (by the way: I’ll use the male pronoun here, but of course a senior pastor can be a woman as well!): Continue reading 20 Ways to Honor Your Senior Pastor

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Yes Means Yes: Affirmative Consent

[This post is part of our Let’s Talk About Sex Series] Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about the topic of sexual assault and rape, especially in high schools and on college campuses. The issue that has been put front and center after many horrid incidents, is what consent looks like.

Many youth ministries have sex as a regular topic on their agenda, and rightly so. But few include open conversations about what consent looks like. Yet we need to talk about this, because it’s not something that is crystal clear to students (anymore). Continue reading Yes Means Yes: Affirmative Consent

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Let’s Talk About Sex [Blog Series]

It was a running joke in our youth ministry. Every time we would ask the students what topics they were most interested in, the top answers were ‘sex’ and ‘the end times’. We we joked that a series on ‘sex in the end times’ would be a guaranteed hit.

Jokes aside, sex is and remains a topic that’s crucially important to teens. No wonder, as they are in the age where sex becomes an issue, both positive and negative. When puberty hits, not only come all these bodily changes (if they haven’t come already, since teens start developing earlier and earlier), but then all the conflicting emotions show up as well. Continue reading Let’s Talk About Sex [Blog Series]

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Youth Sermon: Jesus is the Rock (Matthew 7:24)

One false theology I have great issues with, is the prosperity Gospel. No matter how big your faith, storms will come in life and I want my students to have deep roots in Christ. If they build their faith on Jesus the Rock, they’ll be able to survive any storm with their faith intact. For more Youth Sermon Topics, check our our special page!

Bible passage: Matthew 7:24-27

Key Message: Jesus is the Rock Continue reading Youth Sermon: Jesus is the Rock (Matthew 7:24)

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The Starting Point of Pastoring Students

Reality.

It’s the crucial word in this post-post-modern world. Many movies have played around this theme. Think of The Matrix, The Usual Suspects, Inception, and more recently Edge of Tomorrow.

Still, for many of us, it’s hard to grasp teens’ concept of reality, since it’s so different from ours. One area in which this plays out, is in pastoral conversations.

Think about it: what is the starting point when pastoring students? It’s the reality of their situation. Continue reading The Starting Point of Pastoring Students

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Two Overlooked Success Factors in Discipling

It’s safe to assume that for most of us in youth ministry, the goal is to see spiritual growth in our students. Discipling is the name of the game.

Too often, we assume a wrong equation though. We think that information, knowledge, will lead to spiritual growth. We think discipling means cramming our teens’ heads full with Scripture.

Well, God can work wonders and the Bible does day that God’s Word never returns empty, but inspiring our students to take the next step in their spiritual journey would be more effective if we’d remembered these two overlooked factors in discipling. Continue reading Two Overlooked Success Factors in Discipling

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Don’t Take that New Youth Ministry Job

Here are two things I’ve learned in doing 15+ years of youth ministry:

  1. The grass is not greener somewhere else and if it looks that way, they’re using fake grass to cover up the dying lawn under it.
  2. If you make a choice to get away from something, rather than to run towards something, it’s not gonna work in the long run.

Continue reading Don’t Take that New Youth Ministry Job

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What Guest Speakers Need to Know [Checklist]

If you have guest speakers speaking in your youth ministry, you can help them hit a home run with their message by giving them the information they need to know. Whether they speak at a regular youth service, or a special event like a retreat, making sure guest speakers have all the info they need will help avoid mistakes and even painful blunders.

Here’s a quick checklist list of what you need to inform guest speakers about: Continue reading What Guest Speakers Need to Know [Checklist]

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Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart

Netflix recently released a fascinating docu series about famous chefs, called Chef’s Table. The first episode was focused on Italian chef Massimo Bottura, a passionate man with a deep love for the Italian kitchen. He talked about the history of one of his famous dishes, called ‘Oops! I dropped the lemon tart’.

One of his sous-chefs dropped a perfectly made lemon tart. Of course he felt horrible about it, but chef Massimo did something unexpected. Instead of getting all angry as chefs are prone to do, he studied the fallen lemon tart. He saw beauty in the disaster that had happened. Continue reading Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart