Training Volunteers

 —  September 24, 2009 — 2 Comments

We are about to kick off our small groups for the new school year so this week we hosted two nights of small group leader training. This morning I was debriefing the night in my mind and I thought of a few things that may be worth passing along concerning volunteer training.

-You Will Never Cover EVERYTHING! Our training for small group leaders last about 3 hours which seems like a long time until you actually get down to it. The reality is that there is so much involved in leading a small group of junior highers that 3 hours really only allows you to cover the bare necessities. Because of this it’s important to identify what those bare necessities are and make sure your leaders hear the most important stuff at the front end of their volunteer tenure.

-Embrace The Idea Of Ongoing Training. Because you can’t cover it all in one or two training sessions, create a culture of “ongoing training” with your volunteers. Take them to coffee, send them links to websites, attach an article to an email, point them to blogs, books etc. that will encourage them.

- Ease their fears. I have learned that the best thing we can do for our new leaders is often simply help ease their fears. So many leaders come into ministry feeling “called” but very uncertain and nervous. Be sure to fill your training time with lots of stories of success, testimonies from veteran leaders etc.

The End Of An Erra

 —  September 22, 2009 — Leave a comment

Today, Doug Fields made public his resignation from Saddleback Church. A simple little blog post can’t begin to express the level of admiration and gratitude I have for Doug. I met Doug back in the late 80′s when I was taking my very first youth ministry class. Doug, only in his mid-twenties himself, was my professor! We have been friends ever since and I have had the honor of serving under his incredible leadership here at Saddleback since 1997.

Doug doesn’t have his future plans nailed down, but my hunch is that while the youth team at Saddleback will be seeing a little less of him, the “youth ministry world” will be seeing a little more of him. This, of course, is GREAT for the world of youth ministry, but not so great for the world of Kurt. We miss him already.

If you would like to read the letter he wrote to the Saddleback family, you can click the link below.

Random Randomness

 —  September 18, 2009 — Leave a comment

- Ever been way too busy with way too much really good stuff? That’s my world right now. Fun, but a little too stressful for my taste.

- We are kicking off a new, six-week, series this weekend to go along with our church-wide series. The church is calling their series “Life’s Healing Choices” which didn’t seem like it would fly with JH students. Our title: HAPPY

- If your church, or a church you know, is looking for a youth pastor let me know. I have heard from several highly qualified youth pastors who are beginning to look for a position.

- Two fantastic JH events for So. Cal middle school ministries: Stuck In The Middle (Nov. 20-21) andBelieve (Jan. 29-30) Both of these are affordable events that your students will absolutely love! Don’t live in Southern Cal? That’s okay, check their website for a city near you.

- My buddy recently recommended a classic book that I have never read. What Kids Need To Succeed is, I believe, something everybody who cares about kids needs to read. How did I miss it all these years?

- After being mocked for my fantasy football draft which was admittedly a little sketchy, I have jumped out to an impressive 1-0 start to the season. Could this be the start of something big?

Over the years, I have made lots and lots of mistakes…some big and some little. What I’ve learned is that there are some mistakes that seem little but are actually a bigger deal than you may realize. Here are three….add your suggestions:

1) Failure To Communicate With Parents: This can take a variety of shapes…everything from failing to communicate a simple date change to failing to accurately communicate the cost or time-frame of an event to failing to communicate things about their child that they should be aware of. You win the hearts of parents through trust and good communication with them is one of the best ways to build or break that trust.

2) Failure To Empower Leaders: If you only see your adult volunteers as “worker bees” or “task masters” etc. you are missing a huge opportunity. When that is their role, your ministry is limited to your vision and your passion. Instead,encourage them to have vision and passion of their own, and empower them to expand your ministry.

3) Failure To Seek Help: Insecure leaders try to do everything on their own. Insecure leaders think they have the best ideas. Insecure leaders are afraid to admit they need help. You may be smart, but you aren’t as smart as you plus somebody else!

This is hilarious…and certainly a farse?

Weekend Wrap Up

 —  September 14, 2009 — Leave a comment

Lesson: We didn’t have a traditional lesson this weekend. Instead, we shot three, 7 minute “infomercials” showing why our ministry exists and highlighting the various opportunities we have for them to get involved this school year.

Lesson Length:All three videos added up to about 21 minutes

Music: Above average. Primarily because of the song choice and energy the band created.

Volunteer Involvement: High. Saturday night was about average, but we had a ton of leaders on Sunday.

Fun Factor:Way above average.We had some funny “bits”, great games, the informercial videos etc. It was a highly programed weekend that had a few flaws, but was super fun.

Attendance: Way, Way above average. In fact, it was our highest attendance in history.

Up Next: Next week we start a 6-week series on the Beatitudes called “Happy”. This series will coincide with a church-wide series called “Life’s Healing Choices”.

Random Randomness

 —  September 11, 2009 — 3 Comments

- Today I started working on my JH workshop for NYWC in L.A. Are you going? it’s not too late to join the action!

- Speaking of sweet conferences, have you checked out the Simply Youth Ministry Conference coming to Chicago in February?

- And while I don’t know much about it, here is the coolest conference website I have EVER seen!

- Enough about conferences. I think my fantasy football team may beone of the worst in history. Why do I put myself through the pain?

- This weekend is our official “Back To School Weekend”, and I’m super excited about it.We have some really fun stuff planned, we are unveiling three new T-shirt designs and instead of a lesson we filmed three little info-mercials aboutwhy our ministry exists, how we hope to serve them this year etc. Should be fun.

- Ear buds kill my ears. So as I typeI am wearing a borrowed pair of big, thick, fatty headphones borrowed from a friend. I know they don’t look cool, but man are they comfy!

- Ellen as a new judge on American Idol……yes or no?

A friend sent me this list from Perry Noble’s blog and I thought it was worth passing along.


#1 — He refuses to admit his mistakes.

#2 — He begins to blame the problems on people or circumstances rather than actually seeking out what the problem might be.

#3 — He refuses to listen to the team assembled around him.

#4 — He fights every idea that isn’t his own, thinking his originality is what must keep the church afloat.

#5 — He refuses to face reality.

#6 — He is unwilling to make the necessary changes because it would be highly unpopular.

Read the entire list here.