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The Fine Line Between Fun and Chaos

On the axis between all fun and completely serious, every youth ministry has its place. No judgment here.

However, even when you’re (almost) completely on the ‘fun side’, there’s a fine line between fun and chaos. You can choose to go for fun and make it work. Especially when your main focus is on unchurched kids, you might use fun and games to build relationships. It can work.

Chaos never works.

So where is that line between fun and chaos exactly? Continue reading The Fine Line Between Fun and Chaos

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Keeping Your Youth Group Fresh

How do we keep our youth group fresh? That’s what a youth leader asked me recently. It’s a well known problem, especially for those who’ve been doing it for a while.

You have found a format that works for your group, but after a while it becomes kind of…predictable. Everyone knows what’s coming next. The content is great, there’s nothing wrong with the music, or the discussions and yet…It feels done, old, boring.

So what do you do? Here are some suggestions for keeping your youth group fresh. Continue reading Keeping Your Youth Group Fresh

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Discover Your True North: 5 Leadership Lessons

Leadership is character—that’s at the core of Discover Your True North, a classic book on authentic leadership. True north, of course, refers to your inner compass, the values and convictions that will help you stay true to yourself.

Here are 5 true gems in leadership lessons I’ve gotten from this book: Continue reading Discover Your True North: 5 Leadership Lessons

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The Obsession with Rules and The Price we Pay

Youth ministry in America is obsessed with rules.

I could point towards the fact that three of the ten most popular posts on my sites are about rules (Small Group Rules, The Importance of a Code of Conduct, and Youth Group Rules).

I could mention the recent post on a youth ministry forum, where a new youth pastor listed a long list of stuff he was not allowed to do anymore with students. It had gotten to the point where he was completely frustrated and could not build effective relationships with students anymore. Continue reading The Obsession with Rules and The Price we Pay

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Book Review: Brain Savvy Leaders

Brain research. It sounds sleep-inducing (and to some it is), but there are many real-life practical applications of the tons of insights that are being discovered every year. Brain-Savvy Leaders: The Science of Significant Ministry links new know-how on how our brains operate to how we (should) do ministry and in doing so offers many valuable tips to get it right—or at least better. Continue reading Book Review: Brain Savvy Leaders

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Imitation vs Inspiration

My husband and I are recently watched the wonderful Netflix docu series ‘Chef’s Table’. In each episode—six have been released so far—a famous chef is portrayed. Each of them is completely different.

Even though neither of us is a chef—though my husband did aspire to become one when he was young, but ultimately ‘settled’ for becoming a research engineer—we learned tons, while being equally entertained and amazed. I mean, some of these dishes are pure art. If they were on my plate, I’d almost consider it a waste to eat them.

But there are life lessons as well. Most chefs admit to being workaholics and to struggling to finding a life-work balance for instance. The regret was clearly palpable in some episodes. I’ll take a wild guess and state that many youth pastors struggle with this as well. Continue reading Imitation vs Inspiration

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How to Handle Annoying People

One of the funniest, yet truest expressions I learned early on in youth ministry, was the concept of EGR people. If you’re not familiar with it, let me educate you. EGR stands for Extra Grace Required, which is a much nicer way of saying these people annoy the heck out of you.

In every church, in every ministry, in every job, organization, or whatever, you will come across annoying people. Here’s the thing though: some will be annoying to mostly everyone, but others seem to push your red buttons only. It may be because you’re opposites, or because the other’s dominant habit or character trait is your allergy. Continue reading How to Handle Annoying People

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Youth Group vs Youth Ministry

I’ve always used the words youth group and youth ministry interchangeably. If I ever saw a difference, it was more that Europeans tend to use ‘group’ more and Americans mostly favor ‘ministry’.

But in a workshop I attended some time ago, the speaker argued that there was a difference between a youth group and a youth ministry. He stated that a youth group is inwardly focused and aimed at church kids, while a youth ministry is outwardly focused and outreach driven.

Continue reading Youth Group vs Youth Ministry

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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