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Addressing Students’ Behavior with I-Messages

My original background is in teaching: I’m a certified teacher in Dutch history and social sciences in secondary education. When I was getting my teaching degree, we had to do several internships. And boy, did I have my work cut out for me.

Most of my classes ware great and I could work well with them. But some groups of students were really hard and I dreaded teaching them. Yet, it was often just a few kids who caused the problems and who infected the others with being disruptive, insolent, or downright rude. But I was at a loss how to handle these kids.

Until the teacher who was supervising me, sat me down and explained a very simple technique called the I-message. Nope, this had nothing to do with Apple’s I-Message, since that didn’t even exist at the time! Continue reading Addressing Students’ Behavior with I-Messages

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Finding a Sustainable Rhythm

[This post is part of our series on Building a Youth Ministry from Scratch] One of the aspects of doing youth ministry you want to get right from the get-go is to find a sustainable rhythm for yourself and for your youth ministry. If I could give advice to my younger self when I started out, this is really what I would talk about most.

Finding a sustainable rhythm has three elements:

  1. Finding
  2. Sustainable
  3. Rhythm

Continue reading Finding a Sustainable Rhythm

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They Just Don’t Get it!

Youth ministry can be hard, no doubt about it. One of the reasons is that ‘they’ often don’t get it.

They could be parents, church leaders, the pastor, church members, anyone really who doesn’t do what you do. And the fact that they’re not involved in youth ministry and as such, don’t get it, doesn’t keep them from voicing opinions. The fact that they don’t get it doesn’t mean they can’t offer you advice, correct you, or even criticize you.

Welcome to youth ministry.

I know dealing with this is frustrating and hard and makes you want to quit at times. If I had to list the top 10 things that discourage me in youth ministry, dealing with people who don’t know what they’re talking about and still interfere would be pretty high on my list. Continue reading They Just Don’t Get it!

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7 Principles for Creating a Youth Ministry Year Plan

It’s that time of year again where many of you start prepping for next season. One of the big headaches tasks is always to create a youth ministry year plan with all the activities. This calendar is basically your planning for the entire year and shows you exactly what happens when.

Creating this season plan takes a lot of effort. Usually many people are involved, or need to have a say anyways. And many dates seem like a given, like the small group dates, or the youth service planning.

But before you finalize that plan, before you approve that calendar, take a step back to evaluate. Sometimes we are so caught up in getting it done, that we forget to look at the bigger picture. To help you do that, here are 7 principles for creating a youth ministry year planning. Continue reading 7 Principles for Creating a Youth Ministry Year Plan

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Your First Programs and Events

[This is the eighth post in our series on Building a Youth Ministry from Scratch]

A big question many youth ministry ‘start ups’ wrestle with is this: where should you start when it comes to programs and events? Should you start with small groups? Something fun? Organize a big event?

In a previous post I mentioned the importance of engaging your first students. Make sure to start with something that fits their spiritual interests. But there are a few more things to consider. Continue reading Your First Programs and Events

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How to Build Up Support in Your Church

“It takes a village…” is a well-known saying, often referring to raising a child. But the same could be said for doing youth ministry. You can’t do effective youth ministry without the support of your church, both financially, and spiritually and practically.

Not every church ‘gets’ youth ministry though, and especially not every church member. Even church leaders don’t always understand the kind of stuff we deal with in youth ministry. So what are some ways to build up that support in your church? Continue reading How to Build Up Support in Your Church

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Your Mission and Vision…Or Not

[This is the sixth post in a series on Creating a Youth Ministry from Scratch]

A huge priority for a new ministry is to create a mission and a vision. That means putting into writing where you are right now and where you want to go in the near future. However, I don’t recommend working on this for the first year or so. That’s because you need time to experiment a bit first and get to know the context well enough. Continue reading Your Mission and Vision…Or Not