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Just finished reading Deep & Wide by Andy Stanley – easily one of the best books for church leaders of this generation. I loved the candid discussions about the history of North Point Ministries and then a full disclosure about the how and why they do what they do at their church. It was incredible getting an inside look into their values, the vagueness of leadership and blessing that God has given to that church. Couple things really stood out to me:

  • A couple times I immediately bristled at what he wrote – then Andy promptly called me out for it in the next sentence. Loved it.
  • They don’t have it all figured out, which is true of everyone but refreshing to hear!
  • As a leader, Andy constantly stands in the tension of going where the Bible goes and stopping where it doesn’t. Not afraid to tell the truth, not afraid to back away from things we have turned into “truth”
  • The church being a movement … that is an exciting way to see it. Not a building, not people, but a movement.

The books feels like another important book for the church to process as we unapologetically seek and to save the lost. I want to create the type of church!

JG

I love this video for a whole on of reasons, but the biggest one being how supportive senior pastor Mark Beeson is of his student ministry! What a blessing to those youth workers to have such love from the leadership.

JG



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Simple little trick I learned from a great boss years ago: have a file on your desktop called “Talk to Boss” that gives you quick access to what you need to talk to your senior pastor/supervisor about that week. Time with your leader is rare (the larger the church, the less the time for sure) and you need to make the most of it. If they send you an agenda item, drop it in there, too!

JG

Loved this video made by our students to help promote the You Own the Weekend series when Mission Viejo took over. So good!

JG



Youth Leaders, inspire your students to be part of something amazing…

This spring, your students can serve people in need at the Big Day of Serving….a nationwide tour of “day of service” events created just for students. Christian teens in local communities unite to serve and transform neighborhoods in need. You’re receiving this email because there’s an event in a town near you.

Bring your students and watch them discover the joy of serving in their own community. They’ll paint, tackle minor home repairs, clean city blocks and parks, landscape, and more. Expect a high-energy, Jesus-centered event where your students discover their actions truly can make a difference in the world.

BDOS 4c Logo

Sign up today for an event near you!

Check out all the Big Day of Serving Locations here.

I was talking to a youth worker not too long ago who was considering moving back to the church he grew up in as the youth pastor and asked what I thought about someone returning to his home church. My first reaction was excitement – what an incredible honor it would be to return home after getting an education and experience to minister where you grew up. I can imagine how thrilling that would be! But with that excitement comes a caution: I promise you it isn’t going to be easy.

When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?”And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief. Matthew 13: 53-58 (NLT)

So please know that when He went back to his home Temple it was beyond challenging. When he walked the streets of his childhood, they still looked at Him as anything but special – in fact, the exact opposite. They thought they knew him today because they knew Him the past.

Many people at your home church may think the same thing.

Here’s the good news: it can be done! It isn’t easy, but often times a returning to a home church can be an incredible experience. A few thoughts here, would love yours in the comments as well:

Returning to your home church is easier in direct proportion to the size of the church. Simply put, the larger the church, the easier it will be to come back. Larger churches have the propensity to absorb memories faster and chances are the congregation didn’t know you as well in the first place. Inversely, smaller churches typically remember the young you, which could make them more resistant to recognizing your maturity.

You have changed! In fact, everyone and everything has changed! You think you know the church culture and history but a lot has changed since you were there in elementary school. Don’t walk in with a false sense of history and be a learner. Take your time and reevaluate what you think you know.

Usually you remember the good and not the bad. Our childhood church memories tend to be a little more rose-colored than you would have seen if you were an adult. Ask some trusted friends about the current climate of the church. Take your time in the interview process. Don’t make assumptions.

You do have an incredible head start. While I want you to reread the caution about thinking you know too much – you know the streets, some of the key families, the needs and the neighborhoods. While there is certainly some things to be unlearned and reevaluated, coming home can probably give you a head start of a full year or more over someone from the outside.

Just a quick update – the youth worker sent me a reply earlier this week with an update: Thanks for the encouraging words. I am now the full-time director of student ministries at my home church and everything has been great so far. They really have given a lot of support and encouragement to lead as I feel led. Just trying to ease my way in with the students and work on some small things that can be modified or changed to produce big impact with parents and students. Thanks again for you words! Be blessed!

JG



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Ever wondered what your volunteers really think about you, your leadership, and your ministry?

Get an insider’s perspective from Rick Williams, who has seen it all as a volunteer in youth ministry: futile meetings, weak leadership, disorganized events, lax standards, and even the occasional guilt trip. Yet despite all these challenges, he has remained a volunteer for more than 30 years!

—Order A Youth Ministry Volunteer Speaks His Mind Here—

Your volunteers have feedback and suggestions that can help you lead more effectively. Most of them want to serve in meaningful ways. They want to take ownership. They want you and the youth ministry to succeed. But are you listening and truly hearing what they’re saying?

A Youth Ministry Volunteer Speaks His Mind will help you navigate the waters of engaging volunteers in life-changing ministry to teenagers. Rick’s perspective may not align perfectly with the people who serve alongside you, but you’ll discover truckloads of wisdom and experience from his insights. Leading a team of volunteers isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but they’re worth the effort!

About the Author:

Rick Williams has been a youth volunteer since 1981 in both junior high and high school ministries. A native of Southern California, he has spent the majority of his professional life in corporate sales and currently is a Realtor in the North Orange County Area. Rick and his wife, Melissa, are the parents of three children and live in La Habra, California.

You’ll really like this book! It’s AWESOME- Stephanie

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The word “urban” seems simple to define but “urban teenager” is anything but simple to understand and explain. Even if you’re a youth worker in rural Kentucky or suburban California, you have urban students in your midst. The days of identifying and labeling our teenagers based on where they live, what they wear, or the color of their skin are gone. Today, everybody’s urban.

—-Own YOUR copy of Everybody’s Urban NOW!—-

More and more teenagers are stuck in survival mode, unable to see beyond today. Their dreams have been stolen, and they’ve given up on ever recapturing them.

But veteran youth pastors Jeffrey Wallace and Leneita Fix know there’s hope.

Everybody’s Urban is infused with their hard-won insights into the urban youth experience, along with dozens of real-world strategies for ministering to today’s teenagers.

About the Authors:

 NEWleneita_fix_bw Leneita Fix recently celebrated her 20th year in ministry. Her passion is multiplying ALL youth workers (full time, paid, unpaid, volunteer, or bivocational) by aiding them to become better trained and equipped. She is honored to be a part of a family that ministers together, with her husband, John, a niece, and three beautiful children.

jeffrey_wallace_bw Jeffrey Wallace is the president and CEO of Front Line Urban Resources, Inc, which focuses on training and mentoring urban youth pastors and leaders, and providing life-changing youth ministry resources. He’s also founder of Simply Urban Ministry. Jeffrey serves as pastor of youth development at Peace Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia.