Back again. Doug, Josh, Matt, and Katie begin the show discussing Josh’s theatrical side and the dueling blogs (Morethandodgeball.com and LoveGodLoveStudents.com). Doug also introduces the first members of the 00 club and if someone can be a “recycled podcast virgin”, plus a brand new intro song. Don’t worry, they still get to your questions and talk about: calendars and scheduling, writing things down, starting with a clean program slate, why matt is cold, guidelines for meeting alone with students, having kids from juvenile hall in your ministry, and the Simply Youth Ministry Conference.

JG

Back again. Doug, Josh, Matt, and Katie begin the show discussing Josh’s theatrical side and the dueling blogs (Morethandodgeball.com and LoveGodLoveStudents.com). Doug also introduces the first members of the 00 club and if someone can be a “recycled podcast virgin”, plus a brand new intro song. Don’t worry, they still get to your questions and talk about: calendars and scheduling, writing things down, starting with a clean program slate, why matt is cold, guidelines for meeting alone with students, having kids from juvenile hall in your ministry, and the Simply Youth Ministry Conference.



In order to build a successful youth group, you need to develop a trusting community among your students. It might seem difficult to get to a point where everyone feels comfortable enough to share what’s going on in their lives, but if you set the proper foundation students will begin to open up as soon as they feel they are in a safe and confidential environment. This is the backbone to getting any student to grow in their faith. So how do I build up trust in a group in order to get them to grow?

Students need to feel that they’re in a safe environment
In our youth group, one of the steps we take to keep confidentiality is have everyone sign a covenant. They agree that whatever happens in the group, stays in the group. That way there’s never a worry that someone will hear an issue with their friend, take it to school, and spread it all around campus. If there were ever an issue with that agreement, it would need to be addressed with the group right away to keep things at a confidential level and to show the group how serious we are about confidentiality. Following these measures goes great lengths to helping students feel comfortable about talking openly with their peers.

As leaders, we need to be available for problem solving
Just because your youth group ends at 8:30, doesn’t mean you’re off the clock. If you want your students to be open about things in their lives, you need to make yourself available. Make it known that you’re available all the time, but set some ground rules. For instance, I don’t want them to call me at two in the morning to ask, “What times does group meet tomorrow?” Give students ways to access you. Give them your cell phone number, tell them to friend you on Facebook, and be ready to talk when the phone rings. This is not an interruption to your life; it’s a responsibility you’ve signed up for as a youth leader. One of the things we do with our small group students is to sit down and have a one-on-one dinner with them (or two on one if you have a co-leader). When you do a one-on-one with a student they tend to open up more than they do in a group. When you’re first building a relationship with your students, this is an excellent way to get to know them, and for them to get to know you.

When one person opens up, the rest will follow
Usually all it takes is one person to get real for the rest of the group to open up. When the group sees that someone is letting their guard down, usually the walls fall down around the others, and they begin to peel back the layers of their lives. Oftentimes, leaders sharing their life experiences is enough to get the ball rolling. If students aren’t naturally opening up, you can start the chain by getting real about your life. All it takes is one person to take the first step, and the rest will follow.

Be proactive
If you see a potential problem forming, don’t wait for it to get out of hand. Be proactive in addressing the situation so that it doesn’t get to a point of no return. It is much easier to approach a problem before it starts than after it has time to take its toll. It shows students that you care about them and are active in their lives if you know what is going on with them. Don’t be afraid to start the conversation – sometimes students are just too embarrassed to start it themselves.

Something that might seem trivial or minor to you can be a huge deal to them. As a student leader, being available to use your life knowledge and your experiences to help a student is one of the best ways to show them you care. Relating your experience and your solutions is a way that you can pass on knowledge and growth from generation to generation.

Matt Reynolds and Steven Orel are volunteer youth workers at Saddleback Church. They approach youth ministry from an older (Matt is 50+) and younger (Steven is maybe 20) perspectives. Look for lots more from them in the future – for now you can follow them on Twitter, too!

Here’s the series bumper video from this weekend in HSM.

JG



Weekend Teaching Series: 2020: The Future is Now (Series premiere, week 1 of 6)
Sermon in a Sentence: God has a calling and purpose for your life – make plans and submit them to Him and become who He wants you to be.
Service Length: 66 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we kicked off the new church-wide series (the adults are calling it Decade of Destiny) talking about our future as a church and as an individual. The weekend message included several illustrations of how the future has let us down, how life is short and how we are all on a path toward becoming an adult even today as a high school student. Students seemed to really connect with the topic – my goal was to challenge them to live with the big picture in mind and make goals to help them accomplish it.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We debuted a new character this weekend – Parker the Pizza Delivery Guy from the Future. The costume was inspired by Will Ferrell in a recent issue of Wired, and Parker delivered a pizza from the future that had to be eaten or the space-time continuum would be broken. Basically, it was an excuse for a little bit of fun and a pizza eating contest.

Music Playlist: All the Right Moves [OneRepublic cover], Our God is Love, From the Inside Out, Breathe on Me, Rise and Sing

Favorite Moment: My personal favorite moment was when I got to shoot a painball gun in church! I introduced the concept of “trajectory” and demonstrated it by shooting all around my friend Chris as my human target. It was a total blast and I think made a marker in students’ memory that small changes can make a huge difference if they make them as a student.

Up Next: The Future is Now: week 2 (church-wide campaign)

Swept Away

General —  October 16, 2010 — 10 Comments

As I come back from hiatus from this blog, my mind is spinning of things I want to say and so many issues I love talking about with you guys. Where to begin??
First things first. I truly struggled through this summer. Jeff traveled a lot, more than ever. I really just barely held it together for the kids. But I knew it was important for his ministry and our family and knew it was just for a short season, so I “grinned and bared” it. Then school started, and is it just our side of the world, or do your husbands disappear when September rolls around? Back to school stuff, planning small groups… etc, it seems to always be the “kick-off” or “launch” of some program in Youth Ministry. So again, since I knew it was for a short season, I (sort-of) “grinned and bared” it. Now there are some “new” things going on in ministry and I am finding that we (mostly he) are our 4-5 nights a week. I am so tired as well as our kids, I am hanging on my last, short, very thin thread. I know, as in everything this too is only for a short season. But I cannot “grin and bare” anything anymore. Something’s gotta give, and it looks like it might be my sanity! So Jeff and I have sat down and had a little “heart to heart”. (And if you know me or have read any of these blogs, you know that sounds too nice-y nice, and you’re right). We plain had it out. This girl is done. No grinning around here. Things are going to change PERIOD. The Maguire’s are getting off this crazy train.

We (Jeff and I) HAVE to take control of our schedules and family again. No more excuses of “seasons”. Something “important”, and “urgent” is always going to come up. We have to exercise our “NO”. I have to take responsibility of this as well. I let myself get lost in the shuffle. In no way is this only Jeff’s issue. I have a voice as well. And a smart brain that listens to God’s voice and can hear what’s good and bad or unhealthy for myself, my marriage, and my kids. I really got swept away (and right under the carpet).

I say this a lot… “After 14 years in full time ministry, you’d think I would have this down!”

I know it sounds crazy, but I hope this is an encouragement to you. Knowing that none of us has it all together. We are all in the same boat. I am riding through this journey right along side of you. 1 year, or 14 years, or 30 years, its all wisdom, joys, and pains to be shared.
I DO love this journey. God has shown me a lot about my character through all of this. And I have rediscovered that I miss, and LOVE encouraging you through your wonderful, amazing, difficult, stretching, awesome journey of ministry as well!



So…do we or do we not? give money to the guy on the street corner with a cardboard sign?

S

Here is my quick review of the last Group Magazine sent out.

Something I liked: Doug Fields’ voices article on the “power of non-significance” was excellent. I love to create “remember when” moments with my kids (hey Mark you remember when we wiped out on the sky slope together…). Doug talks a lot about the importance of presence in our kids’ lives — awesome stuff.

???: Steve Argue’s voices article “gospel = good news” had a great title. But as I started reading it I was going “Huh?” more than “O — I get it.” When I got close to the end of the article I got what he was trying to communicate but it took a little while to get there.

Key Statement: Duffy Robbins said, “In over 30 years of youth ministry I’ve discovered it’s relatively easy to get teenagers to say yes to Jesus. What’s difficult is getting them to say no to those things in their lives that have nothing to do with Jesus.”

Creative idea: Brenda Seefeldt article, “Growing a Youth ministry that looks a lot like your church” had some great thoughts as well as practical ideas in it. I sent her an email for one of her brain-storm ideas she talked about in the article and she sent it to me in just a couple days — thx Brenda for being such a great resource.