Ur YM has kicked off for the fall or is about to. How’s ur voluntold team looking?

Mark DeVries in his epic book, Sustainable Youth Ministry, says u should have 1 adult volunteer (engaged and relational I would add) for every 5 of ur youth. How’s that going for you?

Some of u are doing great. Skip the rest of this blog then and go back to chatting on FB.

For the rest of you: having trouble getting enough good volunteers?

Three reasons why:
1) Have you asked the right people?

2) Have you given them a specific job description with clear cut expectations, boundaries, plans and purpose?

3) Are you spending more time with ur teens than w ur volunteers?

Let any one of these three facts go awry and that’s a place to start figuring out why ur begging and pleading for help. Why ur pulling out hairs u can’t spare from ur head. Why uve even resorted to asking the SP if he would like to help “chaperon” the MS lock-in. Ur are one desperate YP if it comes to that!


PS-u can always tell when i’m posting from my phone. grammer, spelling and abbreviations don’t seem to matter to me.

This summer we took some risks and planned a summer calendar for our high school youth group that looked pretty different than years past. I think for the most part it paid off – here are some of the new ideas (for us) and the results:

Summer camp moved to the beginning of the summer
This was the biggest game-changer for us – for years we’ve let camp be the “end of summer event” that catapulted us into Fall Kickoff and the new school year. I blogged about the Benefits of Early Summer Camp, not in an effort to justify the move but to make sure we took advantage of the strategy behind the move. Camp now kicks off the summer, and gives us momentum in a typical downtime for youth groups. COST: $299

Midweek Bible Study replaces small groups
For the longest time our small groups (now Life Groups) have met only during the school year. But this year we decided to have a discipleship/worship/fellowship gathering call WE(MID)EK all summer long. The consistency was a win – students knew that every Tuesday night we gathered to sing, pray, learn and connect. And yes, I realize that Tuesday isn’t midweek but it was the last day available. Cost: FREE

Bible study just for girls
This year one of the ideas was to have a Bible study just for girls – not necessarily on girl’s issues (it was actually an Old Testament character study) but so girls could learn together away from the distractions of the boys. Bagels & Bibles was a great 8-week success – and the guys want one next summer, too! Donuts & Dudes, here we come! Cost: FREE

Fun and relational time every Friday
Every Friday we spent 2 hours at the park, and 2 hours at The Refinery hanging out and playing games. Athletic kids loved the outdoor games, and everyone loved the cold Cokes at lunch. Great opportunity to bring friends or have a surprisingly deep conversation. Cost: FREE

Lots of guest speakers over the summer at the weekend worship service
This summer I did a significant amount of teaching when our freshman we’re incoming, then turned it over to other voices in our youth ministry team. This past weekend, two volunteers spoke, which was incredible. It gave me a chance to go on vacation and for our students to hear from different personalities, styles and backgrounds. COST: FREE

Two service projects, no mission trips
This summer we didn’t go on any mission trips – saving that for our Spring trips to Kenya and Spring Break trip to New Mexico. But our students were involved in service projects in the community, we did a Pancake Breakfast for a needy area and helped pull off Operation: Backpack. COST: FREE


Here’s a thought-provoking twist on an old game that you can use at a youth group meeting to help kick-off your fall and to generate a great discussion about community and commitment to each other. With this new twist on the classic Hide and Seek, from back in the day, your youth will have to make a decision that will provoke deeper thoughts as to: “Why we hide sometimes,” “Why do we not seek others out” and “How does it feel to be ‘found’.”

Hide and Seek (with a twist)

1 September 2010

posted by Scott Rubin

Some of your churches are like mine, and you encourage some of your volunteers to “take a breath” during the summer months. We push the pause button on our small groups in June & July so that our faithful volunteers can vacation, rest, and be ready to jump back into investing in junior highers once the school year begins. Honestly, our ministry is less effective during those months, and I miss those volunteers like crazy, but for us it’s the best choice in the long run. (and, it probably explains why so many of our volunteers have stuck around for years & years!)

So last week, I was anticipating the “re-arrival” of our school year volunteers. I said to our staff team, “Who’s one person that you’re really really looking forward to serving alongside of this year?” It was fun to hear people’s answers… and look forward to this fun we’re going to have together this year, as we point middle schoolers towards Jesus.

Later that day, I decided to take 4 minutes & jot a note to one of those volunteers… and tell them how much they’re valued around here — and why.
It’s a habit I’m trying to “re-create” — because honestly, I’ve gotten a little sloppy with it! (Which is crazy, because when I get an encouragement note, sometimes I’ll carry it around with me for a few days!) Thoughtful words are really meaningful to me — and in about 4 minutes, I can put some fuel in someone’s tank just by jotting them a snail-mail note. In a mailbox full of credit card offers and cable-tv-advertisements, a card from you would be a welcome site!

Noticed that Doug and Matt’s YM Daily yesterday had some great thoughts about looking back and taking time to debrief, evaluate and celebrate the past season. They had some great questions to think about (which I think I’ll answer in a future blog post) that would be good to think about this week as you enter the new school year.

  • …| What happened during the summer that was great? What do we want to be sure to repeat in the future?
  • …| Where did God show up? What victories could we celebrate?
  • …| Where was I surprised? What last minute “audible” or changes was I forced to make?
  • …| What went wrong? What could have been better?


The official site of SYMC 2011 is live – SO excited to be there with so many of you, too! Killer speakers, great full-day and half-day concentrated learning tracks, total access to speakers, teachers and authors, a live Simply Youth Ministry Podcast and so much more. Be there!


We are excited to finally roll out the new SYMC website for 2011. The new site has the speaker line-up (although there’s more to come there), the great Training options, and all the registration details you need to know. There’s so much there you’ll have to check it out what Doug and the rest of the gang have planned.

We are so excited, I hope you join us in Chicago, March 4 – 7 2011.

Not sure what I think about this… Doug Fields has done it again. Some crazy idea that only makes sense to him…

Check out [doug's] Dumb Idea and see the insanity. A total of something like 30 mission trips given away. And the top prize is worth over $5,000!

I’d enter to win if I was you!