Ryanne used this video in her weekend talk to illustrate how students are too often consumed by screens instead of focusing on relationships. Really, really great stuff.


POLL: I Want to Quit

 —  November 28, 2010 — 7 Comments

It is funny how a little thing can trigger me down the path of wanting to quit youth ministry. A bad day, or a gut shot when I’m especially vulnerable seems to hurt me the worst. Seems like I fight it more than I should, especially considering the amazing things God continues to do all around me. Anyone else out there feel like quitting sometimes? Just curious how often in today’s poll. And you may want to check out this article, too – 3 Ways to Fight the Urge to Quit Youth Ministry.


Weekend Teaching Series: Actions > Words (Thanksgiving weekend 1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: Words matter … but actions speak much louder than anything else.
Service Length: 74 minutes

Understandable Message: Ryanne Witt gave the talk this weekend – she did a fantastic job communicating the tension of the holidays and how teenagers typically tend to treat their parents. She wove her own testimony, failures and experiences into her message – it was the best talk she’s given to students and I’m so glad to have her on the team speaking to our student ministry. She used a great object lesson (the clanging gong was fantastic) and a video that was excellent in making her point, too. I’m hoping as students come off of concentrated time with the family and head into Christmas this message will have a lasting impact.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This was a simple weekend coming off of a full week off for both students and staff. We just had some simple Black Friday banter/YouTube videos to warm up the crowd along with some great music and the message.

Music Playlist: Everybody, Tear Down the Walls, Savior King/O Come Let Us Adore Him, Lift My Arms and Surrender

Favorite Moment: One of our students wrote a new worship song that we played for the first time this weekend. It was AMAZING. Easily the best moment of the weekend, so proud of Kyle. I’ll do my best to get it posted on YouTube soon in case you’d like to use it as well. Awesome.

Up Next: The Landing 1-off

Thanks to some much-needed time off over Thanksgiving break, the family Xbox 360 crossed 41,000 in Gamerscore. Still loving the new Kinect, and got a bunch of points from Kinect Sports (A-), Dance Central (A+), Wet (B) and HAWX 2 (B). Good times!


Please humor me, this is just the a Youth Pastor throwing stuff against a wall to see what sticks…

The following questions questions come from some of the planning meetings we are having at our church to set down a 2 year and 5 year plan for the ministries here:

  • As we are looking at the possibilities for the next few years at FBC, maybe we need to focus more on asking the right questions before we present a polished, pretty answer.
  • If we are presenting a polished answer, does that rule out the fact that ministry to imperfect people is messy and ugly sometimes?
  • Who are we as a Church? Really, not on paper, Truly?
  • If you do not know who you are as a church, how can you plan your ministries effectively?
  • If one of our core values is Family, then do we to focus on the ENTIRE family (where are age group holes we are missing?)
  • Example: age 18-30 – NO CHURCH in our county is effectively reaching this age group including us! It’s so much more than students that go off to college… If we fail to reach that age group, does that lessen the impact of the students the youth ministry produces once they are out of that “Safe Zone”? Do they leave the youth ministry prepared with no where to go? Are we willing to invest in “preventative maintenance” –> ie help them at the High School to 25 age to learn life spiritual truths, so that we are less likely to be helping them pick up the pieces at 25-30 that might be failed relationships/marriages, unplanned children, addictions, etc….
  • What other “holes” exist in our ministries?
  • How do these “holes” affect the future of this church?
  • If we do what we’re doing right now for the next 2 or 5 or 10 years, what will FBC look like? If we don’t want that, what are we willing to do to prevent that? Does the vast portion of our congregation (and Parke County at large) care what our church did 50, 10, 5, or 2 years ago? Are they more concerned about what we are doing now and planning to do for Christ?
  • Are we willing to push our congregation to BE the church by showing them how instead of telling them how?
  • What are we doing that makes people want to bring their friends and neighbors and family members to get involved?
  • What are we doing that drives them away?
  • Are we willing to possibly offend parents by pushing them to live a better example to their children? Are we willing to truly call sin what it is?
  • Are we willing to help them take off the masks without fear of what it may reveal?
  • Are we truly producing COMMUNITY among believers – both inside and outside the walls of FBC?
  • Do we have any “clunker fridge ministries” at our church that are there “just because”. (a “clunker fridge” is one from 30 or 40 years ago that kinda sorta keeps soda cold in the garage, but uses 3 or 4 times the electricity of a newer fridge and is long past its prime of usefulness….)
  • Do we need to be willing to admit that we might be part of the problem before we can help produce the solution?

These were some of my questions. I don’t really place any of them higher in priority than any others, but I hope that some of them can help you and challenge you in your ministry.

Brent Lacy is Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church, Rockville, Indiana. He is a Dad to 3 Kids, a Web Developer, an IT Consultant, and Blogs about Ministry, Tech, and Culture at MinistryPlace.net.

Sometimes in ministry, things can either go the way we plan them, or they can take an unexpected turn, for better or for worse. Although we can never plan for every minute to go exactly the way we want, God can. He will always know exactly what your youth group needs. There are a lot of things that can contribute to something not going according to your plan, but we just have to remember that God is in control.

We’re both control freaks, and most of our lives are planned to the second, but we have discovered that when it comes to small group, there is such a thing as “over planning.” We know because we’ve done it, and during the middle of group something just feels wrong. That’s when it’s time to change course and follow where God is leading that night. It doesn’t take an extravagant lesson plan to have God show up. We need to remember that even though we’re the messengers, God is the giving us the message that our students need to hear. Even the nights that it seems like nothing is going right, you probably planted a seed. Even though you won’t see it right then, that seed will develop into something huge down the road. It’s important to remember that God knows who will be there that night, and what they need to hear. In fact, He knew it long before your group was formed because He formed your group! Sometimes the phrase “let go and let God” really applies here.

Many times it’s best to just let God take control. (Matt: Recently my high school small group had a night where we veered away from the planned message for the whole night and ended up talking about being accountable and the importance of accountability partners. My co-leader and I just sat back and let God work that night through the guys and it ended up being one of the most amazing nights we have had at small group.)

There have been weeks in small group where the group veered off on another subject and we didn’t want it to go that way. When that happens, if it’s productive and the majority of the group is involved in the different discussion, we just let it go there. In the past we would bring the discussion back to what WE wanted to talk about. Later it dawned on us, the guys in our groups had a different need that night, and we should have just let them take over but we didn’t and we quickly lost their attention on our original subject that we wanted to talk about. What a huge mistake!

With that being said, it’s also okay to change plans when you don’t feel like they’re being effective. It’s alright to call an audible in the middle of the play. If your students can’t pay attention, turn it into a fellowship night. Sure, your original plan didn’t go through, but at least your students will be getting something useful out of their time. As a youth group leader, you need to be fast, fluid, and flexible. Teens live in a world that changes faster every single day. Information is hurled at them in a record pace. We need to be able to change and adjust on the fly in order to be successful.

You need to get to your students’ levels, don’t try and bring them to your level. It doesn’t work that way, and you will fail miserably. It’s not about getting your point across, it’s about delivering God’s message to your students; a message they can pass on from generation to generation.

Matt Reynolds and Steven Orel are volunteer youth workers at Saddleback Church. They approach youth ministry from two different generations and perspectives. Look for lots more from them in the future — for now you can follow them on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gentogenym) and check out their previous blog posts (http://www.volunteeryouthministry.com/category/generation-to-generation).

it was a wednesday. when i woke up that morning, my plans were to go get an oil change with the free coupon i had, get things ready for fuel that night, go to fuel, and get in bed early. i had planned to get in bed early because i had planned to leave early the next morning to drive home to see the girl. i haven’t been home to see her since mid-september. she had been making the drive to knoxville the past few times we’d seen each other and it was my turn to come home.

i woke up, got some work done at home, and then drove over to get my free oil change. as i was sitting there in the waiting room working on things for fuel that night, the guy at the oil change place called me over to the desk. he told me that he wanted to show me something and immediately i thought, “well crap, this can’t be good.” he walked me out to the garage where my car was still raised up and started pointing things out to me.

my tires had no usable tread.

the tread cap on one tire was about to be exposed.

the steel on another tire was about to pop through the rubber.

my face dropped. that changed all of my plans completely. i had to call nicole and tell her that i couldn’t come home. everything that i had planned for that weekend was now down the drain and i was back at square one and only this time, square one included a huge bill for new tires a year before i had planned.

everything ended up working out and nicole ended up surprising me that night right before fuel started. we were able to go to an event at two rivers called quiet waters that was actually very good for both of us. we spent the weekend together and on sunday morning i told her bye and wished her a safe trip home.

in the small group that i co-lead, we have a thing called “high lows.” at the end of the night, after the lesson, we go around and everyone tells what the high point of their week was, what their low point of the week was, and if they had any prayer requests. that sunday night i told them the low point was finding out about my tires and my prayer request was that i could figure out how to pay for them.

after small group that night, without me knowing it, two of my guys decided that they were going to pool their money together to help me get new tires. not only did they do that, but they started asking their friends to help. they started asking other guys in the group to help. they went around saying they had a friend who needed tires so that he could go home for thanksgiving and see his family and his girlfriend.

these guys were freshmen in high school.

when i was a freshman i was completely dork, had a terrible mustache, and did things to try and fit in. i didn’t really think about helping other people. i thought about girls and upperclassmen and who i had a crush on that day (it changed a lot). i didn’t think up ways how i could give what little money i had to someone else.

but this group of guys thought that way.

last night at youth group they came up to me and handed me some money. they told me that was only part of it and that the rest was coming. today i’m meeting up with one of their dad’s to go get tires at a reduced price and him, along with these freshmen, are going to take care of the cost.

i’m so proud that i get to be a part of these guy’s lives.

i’m so proud that i get to help them grow in their relationship with jesus.

i’m so proud that i get to call them my friends.

i couldn’t think of a better way to start off this “this is the church” idea than to brag on these guys. they didn’t have to do what they did. by every normal line of thinking, they shouldn’t have done what they did. they should’ve kept their money and bought a video game or went to a movie or something other than giving it away.

but they saw a need, and they wanted to fix it.

they saw an opportunity to be help someone out, and they did.

they saw a chance to be the church, and they took it.

if the church that we’re raising up right now looks like this group of 14 and 15 year olds then we’re in store for a revolution of the church that most of us can’t even begin to fathom. these guys get it. they get what it means to be a christian. and the beauty of all of this is that they’ve got their entire lives ahead of them. they have the ability to do great things for god.

they have the ability to change the world.

say your prayers and take your vitamins.

have a nice day.

Jonathan just recently graduated with a master of arts in student ministry and works as an intern in high school ministry in a church in Tennessee. Check out his blog right here.

Random trip into my tryptofan-laced mind…

1) Churches that are savvy enough to bring in diagnostic help before firing their YP.

2) The Game of Spoons.

3) Group Magazine and Rick Lawrence. (If u read nothing else, read this!)

4) Students who just love hanging around you.

5) Former students who still want to know you “after all these years.”

6) YM conferences where you get to hang w peeps who “get you.”

7) The glimpses God gives u into the lives you’ve impacted.

8) A nice full air mattress and ur fan at the end of a mission trip day.

9) Ear plugs. ‘Nuff said.

10) Dear, dear ministry friends from all around the country. And in a few other countries, too!