Connecting with Students

 —  October 23, 2012 — 1 Comment

AC had a solid blog post a couple days ago about connecting with students. He is a master relational youth worker in our ministry – definitely some good stuff we all can learn from him. Here’s a clip of the who article, head there for the rest:

  1. Lead by example and with words. – Preach and promote from first hand experience.  Would you buy a Ford from a salesman who drove a Chevy?
  2. Never miss an opportunity to point the student to Christ. – We believe Christ is the answer, the cure, the end all be all. In my experience a lot of the students problems are centered around where Christ is in their life.  You still have to be mindful of your approach but all roads should lead back to Christ.
  3. Never miss an opportunity to listen. – I cannot stress enough how important it is you become a listener.  I know some people are good at it naturally and some of us have to work at it.  It is truly a quiet mega strength that connects you with any student.


I’m beyond excited about the Simply Youth Ministry Conference – here’s a little invitation to attend the event from my friend Kurt Johnston. The best registration rates expire the end of this month – get on it and sign up today!


Weekend Teaching Series: Stuff Jesus Didn’t Say (series premiere, week 1 of 2)

Service Length: 69 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we kicked off a brand new 2-week series called Stuff Jesus Didn’t Say – a contrast to some things that are usually attributed to Jesus with what He actually said. It was fun to talk about Jesus and shatter the misconceptions many people have about the church and Jesus words and teachings. This week I taught through what it takes to follow Jesus and trust Him for salvation, and what it looks like to follow Jesus ongoing as well. Fun, very different feeling talk this week – instead of a clear 3-step application at the end of the message, I used two discussion questions to challenge students to consider the message on their own. We also used 2 teaching videos to help convey the message this week – I’ll be sure to post them here on the blog later in the week.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we had another HSM Sports Minute, an epic Pumpkinfest promo video but largely it was a very clean, simple service without too much else happening.

Music Playlist: Dancing Generation, Child of God, Came to My Rescue, Majesty

Favorite Moment: I have so much love for our after service debrief. This weekend I changed up my message a TON right before the service and really appreciated the feedback as well as the adjustments to the message after the first service. Having a group of people who believe in me, make me better and challenge me is HUGE.

Up next: Stuff Jesus Didn’t Say (week 2 of 2)

Well, here is my second to last post in this series!  Here are tips numbers 8 and 9.

Tip #8: Have little surprises.

 It’s great to start off with a bang. On our Utah trip we used to bring in fresh, hot, Krispy Kreme donuts immediately following our first night meeting. Other nights you can do very inexpensive things like provide popcorn while watching a movie. Beyond this, I also sought sponsors that might want to give away things as promotion for their company. For our Utah trip I simply went around to local sporting good stores, skate shops, etc. let them know we were doing a trip with college-age people, and asked them if they had anything we could hand out to the people in our meetings. We got everything from stickers to hand warmers to snowboards. It’s crazy how easy it was when I just took a few minutes and personally asked the owners. Anyway, having some very small things like this to give away in meeting times or on the bus can go a long way.

Tip #9: Provide Clear and Helpful Information. 

When the buses pulled up to the hotel for our Utah trip, we had registration ready to go. Students walked in, got their room key, a schedule for the week, and other pertinent details. Having a schedule printed on a half sheet of paper or on the back of their name tag is not expensive. We listed out what times things were, we provided bus schedules to the resort, city bus charts, times certain shops or restaurants were open in the area, movie times, and even gave them a list of options for them to do. Making this short and concise is best. In other words, don’t overwhelm them with a book, but provide clear information so you limit the amount of ongoing information needing to be relayed in your meeting times.

Are you one of the many churches doing some kind of fall festival within the next few weeks? Even as I stop to write this blog, I’m in the middle of writing a game plan for two churches on following up their fall festival outreach event. Why? This is prime-time visibility for seeding your Christmas Eve worship and reaching the ever-illusive young families.
Let me explain: Lots of families with kids are about to step onto your church property over the next two weeks. This is a good thing…’cuz its something that’s not happening that easily these days. So here are a few pointers to maximizing your fall event time with them:
1) Have door prizes that require one adult from each family to fill out a slip to win the prize. These slips turn into your follow up list.
2) Make sure you’re signing children into your fall festival activities. This gives you names and ages, providing the ability for the appropriate age-level ministries in your church to invite each child back to an exciting SS class or holiday kids’ event.
3) Create an “adults only” coffee cafe at your fall event. Place info about your “holiday happenings” on each table. Have your friendliest greeters “working the room” meeting and greeting your guests.
4) Within the 7 days after the event, send a “thank you for attending” note or card. Invite them to something else over the holidays.
5) Use these same contacts to send an invite to Christmas Eve service. they’ll be looking for a place to attend Christmas Eve and it might as well be your church.
Of course, all of this is predicated on the premise that your fall festival is done well and your church people are friendly, making guests WANT to give your church a second try.

I heard it first when I worked with John Maxwell: “Set yourself apart by stealing an hour a day”. In the almost twenty years since I head him say it, I’ve tried to make it a daily habit.

Full-time ministry makes a person busy.
Volunteer ministry makes a person really busy.
Part-time ministry (when you actually have two paying jobs!) makes a person insanely busy.

So how do you juggle the demands of any combination of the following? junior high ministry, a job, a marriage or relationship, raising decent kids, a school schedule, in-laws, a social life, extra-curriculuar interests/hobbies, the desire to speak, write or have additional kingdom impact and “X” (insert something important to you that I forgot)?

John Maxwell would say you start by stealing an hour a day. That’s it. Get up an hour early….or go to bed an hour late….or turn off the TV for an hour….or spend an hour less on Facebook, twitter or Instagram. It’s simple math, really. If you were to steal an hour a day, six days a week you would steal 24 hours a month….OVER HALF A WORK WEEK!

Here’s where it gets interesting. that adds up to 7.5, 40-hour work weeks per year…ALMOST TWO MONTHS OF EXTRA TIME!

What dreams might finally come true; what goals accomplished if you had two extra months each year to work on them?
- Write a book?
- Lose 10 pounds?
- Learn a second language?
- Stay up on current events around the world?
- Get summer camp planned well ahead of time?
- Grow…truly grow…in intimacy with the Father?
- Grow…truly grow…in intimacy with your wife, children or friends?

Very few things in life are free…or even easy. But very few things are as hard as they seem, either…especially if you are willing to start stealing!

A girl needs her family.

Sometimes there are family around her but for whatever reason they are not THERE for her.

Sometimes there is brokenness and pain in their family.

But the fact doesn’t change a girl needs her family.

Our churches should be the family. On Sundays and everyday.

How do we be the family?

1. Eat together! I know that sounds simple but it is the truth, sharing a meal and connecting over food…is where family happens.

2. Ask caring questions. There can be times as youth workers that we can get “list driven.” (do you know what I am talking about…task driven, details oriented…) Take the time to ask the caring questions and really listen. Girls usually want to share what is going on…we just need to initiate the conversation.

3. Open your home. Some of the best ministry to girls has happened in my home with my screaming kids all around. They want to be a part of a family…and when you welcome them in and they see family it is so powerful in their life. Not only does it teach them what family is…it becomes a family for them!

A girl needs a family. Church, be the family!

How can you be the family to hurting girls in your church?


This week’s poll suggested by Brian Seidel (check out his blog here) asking a simple question: in your time in youth ministry – how many different churches have you served in? Vote now!