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Youth Leader Well-Being Survey

We have had this sense that a way larger than normal quantity of paid youth workers are:

  • Losing their jobs
  • Deciding it’s time to step out of vocational ministry
  • Thinking about stepping out of vocational ministry

And with the new data that came out from Barna reporting a huge spike in all pastors considering a move out of vocational ministry, we thought it might be helpful to take the pulse of our tribe. Our friend Todd Freneaux of The Jeremiah Project actually suggested this survey, and we immediately felt it could be helpful.

If you’re a paid youth worker (or have been at any time in the last two years), we’re asking you to take three minutes (really, it will not take long) and click-through two links:

  1. First, click here to take the completely anonymous survey.
  2. Then, if you’d like, click here to separately give us your name and email address (separately, so no one can connect your survey responses with your name or email), and we’ll send you a free copy of the results in January.

The survey will close on December 15 (but don’t put it off!).

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Does Helicopter Parenting Cause Binge Drinking?

Last year, I did a short blog series on helicopter parenting and the effects this has on students. Recently, I came across an article in the Atlantic that suggested a strong link between helicopter parenting and the alcohol problem on college campuses. It was a really interesting read, not in the last place because the real conclusion the author comes to is much deeper than the somewhat sensationalist title suggests.

The article states several reasons and arguments for the conclusion that helicopter parenting leads to binge drinking in college: Continue reading Does Helicopter Parenting Cause Binge Drinking?

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Don’t Forget To Tell Your Students This

Do you know what simple thing can have a huge impact when you’re praying for your teens or students, besides actually praying?

It’s to tell them you’re praying for them.

I remember a girl who had stopped coming to our church and to all youth activities. From her Facebook page it was pretty clear she was drifting further and further away from God. I put her on my prayer list and prayed for her regularly. Continue reading Don’t Forget To Tell Your Students This

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Making Small Talk With Teens When You Know Nothing About Youth Culture

Not every youth leader is into youth culture. The fact that you do not like The Walking Dead, have no idea who Taylor Swift is, or have never even heard of The Hunger Games does not disqualify you for youth ministry.

It can, however, make it hard to engage in small talk with teens. Because what do you talk about with them? Here’s my advice. Continue reading Making Small Talk With Teens When You Know Nothing About Youth Culture

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How Are We Defining Masculinity?

One of the key messages I remember from Guyland, a powerful book on male culture, was the importance of the ‘guy code’:

  1. Be a man: guys don’t want to be perceived as weak, effeminate, or gay. Masculinity matters. Showing emotions is a sign of weakness, especially kindness or compassion.
  2. Power is everything: status and power are crucial. They define success. So does winning.
  3. Be aggressive: live life on the edge, take risks, go for it. Don’t care what others think.

These findings are not unique; they are reported in other books and research as well. Yes, gender fluidity is a major topic at the moment and I am sure that in time, it will redefine what we mean by male, female, or even the concept of gender. Right now, the idea of masculinity, however, is still very much defined by this guy code. Continue reading How Are We Defining Masculinity?

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Reviving a Ministry After Moral Failure

One of my readers asked my advice on this situation: he’s a youth leader in a church with a struggling youth ministry. The main reason for the dwindling numbers is a moral failure by the previous youth pastor that led to divisions in the youth group. This new leader wants to revive the youth ministry, but how do you inspire both leaders and youth after a disastrous moral failure by a predecessor?

Obviously, this is a situation no one wants to find him or herself in. The sad reality is that youth pastors fail at times though and that someone has to pick up the pieces. So first of all, I want to applaud this new youth leaders for having the courage and the conviction to step up. It’s far easier to walk away in circumstances like this, so thank you for obeying God’s calling and leading in the midst of this. Continue reading Reviving a Ministry After Moral Failure

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The Difference between Bullying and Drama

If we want to take bullying seriously, we need to start by being able to recognize it when we see it. When does teasing or calling names become bullying? And according to teens, there’s also a thing called ‘drama’. What is drama exactly and how soes it help us distinguish better between drama and bullying? Continue reading The Difference between Bullying and Drama

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The Dangers of K2 and Spice (Synthetic Marijuana)

Until this week, I thought K2 referred to the second highest mountain in the world. But after hearing the story of one of the students I work with, I learned a lot about this dangerous drug.

A student in my youth group smoked a cigarette that was lying around somewhere. That resulted in a trip to the ER with severe issues, like aggression, hallucinations, and an altered state in general (confusion, rapid heart beat, etc.). Days later, there are hours missing from this students’ memory. Continue reading The Dangers of K2 and Spice (Synthetic Marijuana)

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What to do with a Crying Teen

Did you just giggle a little when you read this title? Maybe even snort? That’s okay.

For some people, crying teens are nothing to fear. They’ve got the tissues ready and know what to do. For others however (and research shows that these ‘others’ are most likely male), crying teens scare the living daylights out of them. They don’t have a clue what to do when a student starts bawling. Continue reading What to do with a Crying Teen