With fall right around the corner a new season of student ministry is quickly approaching. Many of us have an endless checklist of what needs to get done from writing messages to planning all events. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and I know we constantly think to ourselves, “If I only had a few more ministers this wouldn’t be so overwhelming.” But, where do we get them? How do we recruit? And even if we get ten new ones we feel as if we need a few more. What we need to do is create a culture of personal invites, a culture where we invite people to see more than an hour of volunteering. We get it by painting a picture of vision, but before we paint the picture we need to pray.

It all starts with a prayer. And I know most of us are like, “Well, duh.” But I’m serious pray, but be specific in how many and who you need. If you don’t know the answer to those questions then you need to figure that out. But pray specific and persistent and ask God for those opportunities.

Next comes the ask. There are many of us who have asked people before and we’ve done that through mass emails, or a letter campaign. In a letter or email you can usually paint a picture through the words of your vision, but sometimes the invite needs to be more personal. That’s when we turn to our ministers to recommend someone. They’ll have the capacity to reach out to people you may not know. And while all those methods are important and necessary to do, the most effective way is one that deals with patience.

Doing the Invite. I’ve begun spending my Sundays meeting people in the church, getting to know them, sharing a little bit about myself and then sharing with them a little of what I do. As you get to know them invite them to check out what it is you do in student ministry, then follow up with some time where you can gather their feedback. Do it over a cup of coffee or lunch, but ask them to share with you what they learned about what you do. When you show someone how they are needed they’ll be more willing to invest themselves into the vision you share with them.

So even though we feel like we need ministers now or we can never have enough, it’s important to have patience, to trust that God is working through you and with you. When you take time to paint the picture whether in writing or in person you create a culture where people are invited into the vision.

Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more about his blog Marathon Youth Ministry.

Quite a few emails and comments from people this summer about the new self-service Pastoral Care brochure racks we launched for our High School Ministry. Honestly, it has taken a whole lot longer to produce each brochure than we originally thought, and they’ve gone a lot faster than I expected – so it’s been totally worth it. Anyhow, some youth workers were recently asking about publishing a topic list of the different pamphlets, so here’s the list of ideas as of today. I wish we could have done them all, but some ideas had to get cut and only a few are [done].

Pastoral Care Issues
1. Relationships, Dating [done]
2. Sexual Temptations/Porn [done]
3. Identity/Value/Worth [done]
4. Bullies
5. Anger
6. Peer Pressure
7. Insecurity
8. Loneliness
9. Marriage/Divorce
10. Death
11. Feeling Lost/Purposeless
12. Unplanned Pregnancy/Abortion [done]
13. Gender Issues
14. Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse
15. Addiction
16. Parents
17. Eating Disorders [done]
18. Academic Problems
19. Stress
20. Depression
21. Homosexuality [done]
22. Cutting [done]
23. Grief [done]
24. Forgiveness
25. Suicide [done]
26. Stealing

Christian Life
1. Habits
2. Following Jesus [done]
3. Salvation
4. Serving
6. Purposes [done]
7. What It Means to be a Christian
8. Baptism [done]
9. Communion [done]
10. Small Groups
11. How to Get Connected
12. M Video Games/M Music/R Movies

13. Alcohol/Drugs [done]
14. How To Grow/A Few Ways to Grow

1. The Bible [done]
2. God [done]
3. Heaven/Hell [done]
4. Is Jesus the Only Way [done]
5. Theology Terms
6. Environment [done]
7. Humanity
8. Sin

HSM General/Funny
1. Snuggies
2. Fun In the Refinery
3. HSM Insider Terms
4. Ninjas
5. Star Wars
6. Pirates vs. Ninjas

7. Fashion Don’ts [done]

What are we missing? Leave a comment!


Wow – am I surrounded by chaos! Nothing’s where? the hubby? and I? can find it. Somebody packed the toothbrush holder before the toothbrush found its way inside.? I? can’t put my hands on a pair of scissors. And let me just say its a good thing I scored a 34 on spatial relations on my ACT’s…because its becoming a handy skill in packing my car and the truck. I’m down to the inventory stage of making sure I didn’t underestimate the number of boxes the movers are taking. 30 years of YM books are heavy, btw. Glad the movers have those hand truck thingies.?

The easy decisions about moving forward?

1) What to wear on the road.? I’ll look like I’m at? a? Group Workcamp.? I’m taking two old, staff red shirts, well-washed and very comfy. My oldest pair of jeans are definitely traveling in the driver’s seat.? To complete the road ensemble, my most beat up? Birks? and a baseball cap? from the ’04 Southern Hospitality Workcamp in Valdosta, GA.? Oh, and clean underwear.

2) Which? vehicle I would drive.? ? There was never a question; I was destined for the Saturn. My younger sister, Kim, would drive the Ford Truck. It’s even got the big, kick-butt? tires. After all, she’s a cowboy from TX. I’ll be “the new chick on the block”? ? till I learn how to speak Texan.

3) The decision to move in the first place.? God started putting the pieces into place back in August of ’09. Little by little, God was dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ‘t’ to make this? a wonderful step into the plans He knew for us. A joyful life? awaits in our new home with family close around. I’m blessed by blessings by the tens of thousands in serving in? glocal ym.

God is good. God is WAY smart. God wants to give us His favor? as He sends us? down the road.? He? surrounds us in familiar, comfortable things to soften the jolt of change.? “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort? me”? look like? a comfy shirt, a? new set of tires, great road snacks and Him.


PS-If any of this sounds familiar to your ministry life,? a stirring towards something unknown? Don’t fight it. Go with it. Fighting it only short changes everyone, especially you.

Do you work with junior high students? Check out the BELIEVE Tour (an awesome junior high-only event put on by CIY). Love what they do – our junior high ministry at Saddleback goes every year! All you have to do is leave a comment with the city you would want to win the tickets in – I’ll pick one at random next Friday and you win a pack of 5!

  • January 28-29 Anaheim
  • February 4-5 Tulsa
  • February 11-12 Peoria
  • February 18-19 Cincinnati
  • February 25-26 St. Louis
  • March 11-12 Kissimmee
  • March 18-19 Arlington
  • March 25-26 Portland
  • April 8-9 Atlanta
  • April 15-17 Anderson
  • April 29-30 Holland


My Rookie Season

 —  August 13, 2010 — Leave a comment

Posted By Jared Moine


For the past couple weeks, I have noticed more and more that my service seems like “The Jared Show.” I preach, I run games, I give the announcements. I would probably also lead the music, if I wasn’t afraid my singing would turn students away from Jesus! I have always known that volunteers were important, I was one for years, but now the importance of adult volunteers is really hitting home for me. I have come into this new position of middle school pastor, and as I’m learning a new church, two things have really hit me about volunteers.

One, you can never have enough. Finding more volunteers and learning more about the ones I already have is going to determine the effectiveness of my youth ministry in the first year. I’ll be the first one to admit that this is hard. I love students; that’s why I’m doing youth ministry, but I need adult volunteers if I hope to have a youth ministry larger than ten. I need caring adults to help make my weekend service run; I need small group leaders to help grow a healthy ministry where students are known. I just need a team that I can rely on and empower to do more than I could ever do on my own. The plan is already in place to recruit more and work is being done to get to know better the adults who have already been serving at my new church. If you’re not in the season of recruiting more leaders I urge you to do it. Its hard and sometimes painful but well worth it because the second thing I have been learning about volunteers is that amazing, Godly adult volunteers are the backbone, hands, feet and really every other body part of a healthy youth ministry. I’m reminded of this point whenever I get to observe one of my volunteers being used by God. Whatever it might be, as volunteers are being used in the areas of their giftedness, God is given the glory. I’m trying to think of ways to better use, encourage, and grow the few volunteers I have and trusting God to multiply my workforce. I need more but I also need to use what I have to the best ability right now. Last week I had my first “design team meeting” where I had some adults and high school students come to the office to help me come up with ideas for our next series. I think it went well and I think they enjoyed being able to speak into to vision for the services. Plus, we had a great time laughing at some of the more ridiculous ideas…like having Alex Ovechkin (hockey player and hometown hero in the DC area) show up to a service just for shock value. I also took a risk and allowed one of my college age volunteers run a game this weekend. He did a great job, and it was nice to NOT be on stage for a few minutes.

If you aren’t recruiting volunteers I would encourage you to do so now, before the fall hits. As summer winds down and the school year starts, this is a great time to ask people to volunteer for your ministry. Promise to support them and do your best to train them, but don’t be afraid to ask them to help. If you have volunteers, spend this last month of summer getting to know them better and helping them to do even better ministry.

I know I need to do both!

Book Review: Soup

 —  August 12, 2010 — Leave a comment

Just finished up reading Soup, another business fable from Jon Gordon. This time he goes after the ingredients of what make a healthy team and focuses on creating a winning team culture that rallies your people to the cause and around an optimistic leader. Honestly the first few chapters really drew me in – not because I’ll ever run a company called Soup, Inc but because he outlines what I’ve felt but been unable to articulate about the importance of team culture. Couple of standout quotes:

  • You create a culture of greatness by expecting great things to happen – even during challenging times.
  • Leadership is foremost a transfer of belief.
  • People follow the leader first and the vision second.
  • It is through relationships that you can shape people to be their best.
  • We are transformed by our spiritual relationship with God and our relationship with family, mentors, and coaches and we transformothers through our relationship with them.
  • Lukewarm isn’t an option. No one likes cold soup.

Good stuff – loved it! Super simple, easy read.


What do you think – should I add a youth ministry job openings page here on the blog? I’m curious if it would benefit you in some way. I’m thinking of something ultra-select, not just a free-for-all. Thoughts?


Usually, when Doug speaks people listen. And his ideas are usually brilliant. But this time … giving away nearly $10,000 of stuff in a contest in exchange for you checking out or considering Group Workcamps? The prize list is impressive, head over there to throw your name in the hat.