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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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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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5 Things NOT to Say to Hurting Teens

Pastoral conversations with teens require less skills than you might think. Listening really is the biggest skill you need.

But at some point you may feel it’s appropriate to say something, share some advice, or offer an encouragement. When you do, make sure what you say is helpful. While some empty clichés may not do too much harm, others can damage the trust and relationship. Continue reading 5 Things NOT to Say to Hurting Teens

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How to make a strategic plan for your youth ministry part 1

I’m a big believer in goals. There are several reasons for this: without goals you can’t set priorities, you can’t plan effectively, it will be hard to allocate resources, you can’t evaluate and you’ll have a hard time getting people fired up for your youth ministry. So in any youth ministry, goals are key to getting things done. On the highest levels, these goals should be put into a mission statement and a vision statement. Then every two or three years or so, you’ll need a plan that distills lower level goals for your youth ministry and broadly describes how to achieve them: a strategic plan for your youth ministry. Continue reading How to make a strategic plan for your youth ministry part 1

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Asking the right questions to get your small group talking

Everyone who has ever lead a small group will have run into this: a small group that is eerily quiet with too long periods of uncomfortable silence. Questions keep lingering in the air, without anyone offering an answer, or the answers are of the one syllable kind. For a leader, a small group that won’t talk, that won’t share, can be a real struggle. One of the reasons for a small group to keep quiet can be that the leader is asking the wrong questions. Because asking the right questions will get your small group to talk!

Continue reading Asking the right questions to get your small group talking