Would love to get your response in this week’s poll – when is the best time for your as a youth worker to spend time with God yourself? Lots of different options for you to choose from – vote now!


article.2013.05.07The quarterback takes the ball, and hands it to the running back. The running back forgot the play for a second, maybe the quarterback goofed and was a split-second late either way there’s a problem with the exchange and before you know it the ball squirts from his hands on to the AstroTurf. FUMBLE!

Something went wrong and the end of the play usually leaves everybody wondering what it was and how to make sure it never happens again.

The children’s ministry is doing their own thing. The college ministry is on their own page, too. Big church is doing something completely different. Oh boy. Here come the kids there go the seniors. How can we be better at the crucial handoffs between our ministries? Is it possible not to fumble this important part of youth ministry?

That’s what we’re going after this week: lots of practical stuff coming tomorrow, but today let’s focus on the big picture.

1) The handoff is critically important.
Often times students leave in the transition. In junior high they were forced to come to church with the family. In high school they have some options. In college the have total freedom. In each life stage the handoff is a vulnerable time to lose students as they move from one ministry to another.

2) It is difficult to move from a ministry you love to the unknown.
Students who LOVE their junior high ministry might be intimidated by the bearded upperclassmen in the high school ministry, or maybe a young adult is so comfortable with the college ministry they have a hard time moving up to big church because it is largely unknown to them.

3) Change is challenging.
Even people who thrive on change feel the intimidation of it they just have a different response to it from there. Feel the pain of change, even if you love and trust the leaders in the ministry a student is heading to next!

  • Some things for you to journal about today:
  • What was your experience in the youth ministry handoff as a young person in the church?
  • Think of some people by name who have transitioned well, and some people who didn’t make it to the next level.
  • Describe the perfect spiritual life development plan from birth to big church.
  • Answer the question when is the best time to transition students up in your ministry?
  • What can I do today to make the handoff better for those entering my ministry and for those graduating?
  • Take some time to figure out where you’re at right now. Pray about where you believe God wants you to go!

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter.Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

freeMore free stuff links. We play a game almost every week in our youth services and these sites help me look good. Here are a handful of very helpful resources that have games for you to download freely. Click, browse, and get ready for teens!


What great, free game sites are you using that I am missing?


Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. -Frank Outlaw

When you wake up in the morning, what words are you speaking? Ugh, not another morning? I just want to sleep! I hate my job, I just want to quit. Why do I always have to be the one to Or are you speaking words that build you up? Today is the day that the Lord has made, this will be a wonderful day! My job is a blessing and I will make the best of it! I am thankful God always gives me the privilege of being the one to There is no doubt about it, words can either build you up or break you down. We know from last week’s blog Watch Your Thoughts, words begin with a thought. So how do you turn those thoughts into words?

Speak positively “ When the alarm that you have set to go off every couple of hours throughout the day goes off and you redirect your thoughts, make sure you tell someone what a lovely day it is or give someone a compliment. It will lift you and them UP!

Speak scripture “ When you read scripture from the post-its you have posted all around you or from the Bible app on your phone, read them out-loud! Let them sink into your spirit.

Sing a song of praise “ As the worship music is blasting, sing! Dance! It will take the focus off of you and your situation and place the focus on the almighty God who is alive and worthy to be praised!

Accountability “ When your friend calls in the middle of the day to see where your thoughts are, share words of encouragement and build each other up while you are at it!

Positive influence “ Your words become like the words of those you hang out with. Choose friends who choose their words wisely.

Words have a powerful impact either for the good or for the bad. When you watch your words, they have power to build your entire well-being up and that power will spread like wild fire to everyone and everything around you! Watch your words and be blessed!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.


Last night I ran my small group that normally runs at about 5-6 students. Its a senior high group that has a mix of schools, sports and friendships. I love this group as they can have a lot of fun but they can go deep into a conversation and study sometimes.
The challenge was that only one student came.

There were a variety of reason; baseball and field hockey have started; the Vancouver Canucks were losing to the Sharks in hockey it was a busy night. But when only one student showed to discussion group you have to make a quick decision about what to do.

So I decided to take him out to Menchies, which is a frozen yogurt place with a ton of toppings and flavors. I decided to leverage this opportunity to talk with him about things we have chatted about in the past, we talked about everything from the timelessness of God to long boarding.

At the end of the night I dropped him off at home and felt like I had possibly had a huge impact in 2 hours of hanging out. So I started to ask myself why: why did that feel right? Why did we connect so much in that time? What made that into good youth ministry.

And it dawned on me that I was treating a student special. Very few students ever get attention from a role model they have in their life. Sure I probably could have cancelled the group before he got there, but what kind of message would that have sent?

All of this brought me to thinking about having a plan for when just one student shows up. Now some people have a tiny church and this happens all the time, others are in a mid-sized church like myself and it happens rarely, and others again are in a huge church where this would only happen very rarely in a small group setting.

But do you have a plan? Do your small group leaders know how to deal with this scenario? These moments could potentially be the most meaningful moments ever to happen in youth ministry. How are you going to leverage them?

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kylecorbin.blogspot.com or Twitter: @CorbinKyle

We have been hearing a lot about cliques and other problems with student leaders. In the past, we talked about how our goal is never to try to eliminate the perception of cliques. Merely attacking the perception of cliques can be an impossible goal because, unfortunately, there will always be the few that will still voice their unhappiness. And chasing after an impossible goal can be incredibly discouraging.

What the goal should be is for your students to be doing everything they can to be loving other students and to be as inclusive as possible. This goal wasn’t new to our student leadership team, but we noticed that the student leaders were no longer doing their best to love other students. So we decided to talk about what it means to be a student leader. Instead of talking about the actions we can take, we talked about the characteristics of a student leader. That student leader is one that can’t help but to love and serve people. After compiling a list of the characteristics, we had a time where we could intentionally pray for those things to be true of them.

We are stoked about this exercise because it will, hopefully, not just combat cliques, but several other problems we have been seeing in our student leaders (setting an example on social media being a BIG one probably a subject that deserves its own blog post!).


Here is the list our student leaders put together:

SL Characteristics

What are you doing to motivate your students into being more inclusive in your ministry?


Colton [Email||Twitter]

Swag-Swag-Swag-Swag-Swag---Baseball-Long-Sleeve-ShirtI shared 5 of my favorite “FREE STUFF” websites in the January/February 2012 issue of Group Magazine (If you are not a subscriber consider doing so here, (it will be a great use of your resources). I have more words available to me in the blogosphere so here are those 5 plus so much more. If you need some sermon series ideas, graphic design help, and a few other things you just entered the awesome zone!


What great, free resources sites are you using that I am missing?


I love our youth nights, I love the buzz, the noise of the crowd, the Worship, the community, the teaching, well basically all of it. The experience of the gathered Church to me is rich, in tradition and off the charts in value. But as mush as I love the bigger stage, I have an equal passion for the relational one on one connection with students and have fought hard to maintain a level of relational connectedness to young people even in the midst of a demanding role in the wider church. When I am going to meet with a student for a coffee, a coke or just going for a walk there are a few questions that are guaranteed to be a part of the conversation.

1 What is something that you are excited about?

This is a great ice-breaker question, its disarming question and allows a student to talk about something they have an easy time talking about, themselves! This is also a strategic question because it gives me some event or opportunity that I can follow up with. If they are excited about their drivers test, a concert or a hot date, I now have intentional opening for a follow up conversation. Remembering these events and following up shows a student they are valued.

2 How are things going in your small group?

Our ministry has small groups on the same night as our youth gather, which means that 100% of our students are in small groups. As a leader there are certain areas of the culture that I can shape, but within the small groups exists its own community and culture and its important to know what is happening. Any chance you have to get a the straight goods on the pulse of ministry, you should take it because the growth and discipleship is happening in the small group more so than the large gather. Also finding out about a problem or challenge allows me I can’t help that leader navigate the scenario that I otherwise might not have known was a concern.

3- How is your heart?

I am so sold out to asking this question because it allows the transition into asking students how their relationship with God is, where they are experiencing Him or not. Asking a student about their heart allows the conversation to address where they feel encouraged and where they feel discourage and takes the conversation to a level of honestly faster than so how are you Really doing? Our leaders have been starting to latch onto the question and some of the students now have heard it enough that they jokingly ask me the same question. Its a great part of the changing culture of our ministry where we are trying to go deeper in our relationships with God and each other.

4 How can I pray for you?

This question is a must ask for obvious reasons, but any meaningful conversation with student that doesn’t include this question is a missed opportunity for me. Students need to know that we are here to journey beside them, to intercede on their behalf and intend to follow up with those things they are in need of prayer for. Praying for our students one on one, in the large group and privately is a core part of what we do.

These are just four of the many questions that we ask our students when we meet with them, are there questions that are on your must ask list?

-Geoff @geoffcstewart