You’ve got some leaders showing up to youth group – but after a few weeks they fall into the dreaded trap of standing in the back of the room as chaperones instead of shepherds. They need modeling on how to talk to teenagers and some training! Saw this on the YS Blog and am going to steal it for our ministry, too. Here’s a clip from 10 Tips to a 1st Encounter:
1. Say hello!
Don’t be shy! Take the initiative to introduce yourself. Although their body language may be showing otherwise, students want a warm welcome!
2. Understand the context
Let your surroundings and circumstances dictate how to begin the conversation. For instance, if you’re meeting at a food place, talk about what’s good to eat, at a movie theater, what movie to see, etc.
3. Pay attention
You’ll learn a lot about people from their body language and the words and phrases they use. Listen and watch carefully
4. Pay attention, part 2
Your own body language will determine how willing and interested you are to actually have a conversation. Be authentic. Students know whether you are genuinely interested or not.
5. Let’em shine!
Encourage students to talk about themselves by asking about their interests, tattoos, jewelry, bad breath, etc.
Posted by Kurt Johnston
Okay, I should probably start by saying that I had a hand in creating all four of these resources….BUT even if I didn’t, I’m pretty sure they would all still be in my current list of JH ministry resources that I think are WELL worth considering! Here we go…great things to add to your arsenal as you kick off the fall:
1) The Middle School Campference! Please join us for this event. You will be so very very glad you did. Instead of a link to the website,here is a link to Marko’s most recent blog post about the event. Good stuff!
2)TheChatorChallenge Ball: I think it is fair to say that this is my favorite JH resource of all time (or dang near close)! It plays like a clean, risk-free version of Truth or Dare. Students bat the ball around and when the leader yells, “stop” whoever has the ball looks at his/her left thumb….if it is sitting on a “chat”, they talk about the topic, If it is sitting on a “challenge”, they do the funny challenge. This thing is AWESOME for small groups…..unless you have a group full of kids with no left thumbs. Look at the picture at the top of this post…..how do you say no to THAT!
3)Teaching Series: “Flipped”. This 3-week super series takes a look at three times Jesus took the common wisdom of culture…and flipped it upside down to reveal a kingdom truth. This is a great series to help students begin to recognize that Jesus’ ways are often completely different from the ways of the world.
4) Small group video curriculum: “Tempting Stuff”. This is our best selling video curriculum…likely due to the fact that I am joined by Katie Edwards. This 5-week curriculum tackles the tough topic of temptation, and how we can overcome it.
As part of our LAUNCH series we gave students the option of opting-in on some SMS devotions that some students wrote for them. If you want to get them yourself over a couple weeks, text “HSM Bible” to 39970 and I’ve listed them out here if you want to edit/use them for something in your ministry, too:
Yes! You just subscribed to the HSM LAUNCH devotions. I’m excited you want to walk with Jesus as we start the school year. The devotions will start arriving tomorrow – I’m praying that you’ll have an incredible year serving Him! Josh
HSM LAUNCH DEVOTIONS: START TODAY WITH PRAYER Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he’s done. Then you will experience Gods peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Phil 4
HSM LAUNCH DEVOTIONS: PARENTS My son, obey your fathers commands, and dont neglect your mothers instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Proverbs 6
HSM LAUNCH DEVOTIONS: GOD’S PATH This is what the LORD says your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48:17 NIV
HSM DEVOTIONS: GOD’S POWER OVER SIN AND TEMPTATION I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27
HSM DEVOTIONS:RUN THE RACE You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? -Galatians 5:7 Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1 What race are you running?
HSM DEVOTIONS: DEVELOP A NEW SPIRITUAL HABIT No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
HSM DEVOTIONS: FRIENDS BUILD UP OR TEAR DOWN As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 Accountability partners are a great way to stay on Gods path. Who is speaking truth into your life this week?
HSM DEVOTIONS: GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. 2 Samuel 22:37 God made the best way to live our life, are you following it? Pray over changes you may need to make.
HSM DEVOTIONS: THE RECKLESS LIFE The angel of the LORD asked him, Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. Numbers 22:32 Are you on the right path? Stay faithful to God in your actions today!
HSM DEVOTIONS: LISTEN TO GOD’S VOICE I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8 Where are you hearing from God? Is he using a peer or an adult to speak to you? If so, follow their wise instruction.
HSM DEVOTIONS: LOVE GOD WITH EVERYTHING And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul…” Deuteronomy 10:12
HSM DEVOTIONS: SHINE BRIGHT TODAY …to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace. Luke 1:79
HSM LAUNCH DEVOTIONS: GOD LOVES YOU God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16,17 Pray for a friend at your school to trust Christ!
That is the end of the HSM LAUNCH Back to School devotional texts. Want to keep going? HSM students and leaers will be writing them all year long! We’ll send out 2-3 a week to help you walk with Jesus. Reply to this text with “hsm devotions” to get them sent your way starting next week!
This past Sunday the youth took over the big house.
As our students helped lead the church in worship, I found myself overwhelmed with love, pride and sadness.
These students represent stories. Stories filled with pain, joy and Jesus. I couldn’t love them more…or be filled with more pride at their passion for our Savior.
And there was sadness. The natural of ministry is that you sometimes watch students walk away- decide not to follow Jesus. And usually those stories are so painful. Not only do you grieve their decision but you feel some pain of rejection…what should/could I have done differently?
The reality is that it happens…not because of you or your ministry.
So, I took a moment and prayed for a few students who came to mind that have recently left our ministry. Prayed for their hearts and for a God moment in their lives with or without me….
Ministry for the long run is filled with joy, pain and hopefully lots of Jesus. Youth sunday was a great moment to celebrate all of it!
How did you spend your holiday weekend?
Weekend Teaching Series: LAUNCH (series finale, week 3 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: Get ready to go back to school by starting the habit of spending time with God every day – walk with Jesus.
Service Length: 72 minutes
Understandable Message: This weekend we want to send students back to school armed and prepared for each day ahead. The best way to live life is to walk with Jesus – so we challenged them to spend time with God everyday in His Word and in prayer. I challenged students to live out Proverbs 4: 20-27 and to pay attention to God’s Words so that they stay on the right path. I asked a couple students to help teach this weekend and they did a super job helping make spending time with God seem possible. It was important this week to make sure we went from ideological to practical, so we created 14 days of text devotionals (I’ll post them later this week) and gave away a TON of 1-Minute Bibles by Doug Fields.
Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We had a fun Life Group rap called “Life Groups Win” to promote the upcoming deadline for small groups, and had a funny tribute parody video to the “Footprints in the Sand” infamous Christian poem. Everything played well and for a holiday weekend attendance was up and so was the energy. Must be about time to go back to school!
Music Playlist: Our God, God Above All, Forever Reign, Burning Ones
Favorite Moment: This weekend I used 2 students to help me teach the talk this weekend – one was a senior and the other a sophomore. They did great! Seeing them teach was an incredible experience – made me think I should do that more often! Just picked out the next 2-3 who will do it in the future …
Up next: No HSM – 9/11 Memorial services in big church
When crisis hits your youth group … think of it as an incredible opportunity to serve your students and their families. Time to jump into action! In future articles we’ll cover some specific things to say or to avoid — this is more of a take from 50,000 ft. that we hope will be helpful as you serve students this school year.
Let’s say that someone in your youth ministry was in a pretty bad car accident and it is midnight. How do you respond to a crisis like this? Here are some principles that should translate to this and other situations:
Be the First to Show Up
In a real way, you are a tangible expression of Jesus Christ in the lives of your students. Showing up immediately in crisis assures them of their connection to God and of God’s love for them. They find incredible value in your presence, so show up as soon as possible. Assure them that God loves them and there is hope. If you have any question whether or not you’re welcome, go and be turned away rather than not go and regret it later.
When you’re there, make sure you’ve got time to give them your full attention. There’s nothing worse than something that is an all-consuming-crisis for someone else that doesn’t carry that same weight with you. Turn off your cell phone, make great eye contact, cancel other appointments so you can give the situation proper time. In short… give them your full attention.
In times of crisis a family or student may make some special requests of you. Do everything in your power to make it happen, even if it isn’t in your talent wheelhouse. Lean into your team to help you pull of whatever you can.
Show Up Later
When someone is in crisis — usually a ton of people jump at the chance to help. That’s the beauty of the church and the power of community in action. The problem is that people’s problems lose some of their attraction over time. Make sure that you show up at the front of a crisis, and circle back when everyone else is gone. You might find an incredible window to minister to people when there’s less of a crowd around.
Thank you for serving students! Thank you for being there when their young lives hit a serious crisis. It is a privilege and heavy responsibility to walk through tough times with them. Thanks for doing what you do!
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.
This year instead of featuring a growth/discipleship booth with a ton of different options, we’re going to feature just one resource and hope to push most all of our students that way. This fall we started (just this past weekend) promoting the One Minute Bible by Doug Fields. We gave a TON of them away and think it has the potential to be a game-changer in helping students grow on their own. We even had a student come on stage and try to beat a 1-minute timer by reading a day’s devotion out loud. He was always close … I guess 1-Minute Bible was a better title than “53-second Bible”. Anyhow, thought one of these ideas might trigger a discipleship idea that would work in your context, too!