My friend and co-worker AC (who runs yoacblog.com) put together a quick list of relational youth ministry thoughts and tips. Thought I would grab a couple of them and point you there for the rest:

  1. Relational ministry has more to do with the example you set than the words you say.
  2. My walk with Christ and my prayer life plays a huge role in leading and guiding students to Christ.
  3. Be intentional and strategic. ” He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” Corny…I know, but so true!!
  4. Don’t waste students time by hanging out with students to stroke your own ego.
  5. I am a spiritual leader first and friend second. – Your spiritual authority can be easily compromised when you reverse the order.
  6. Honesty is huge in building trust with a student. -You don’t have to be perfect but you do have to be honest.
  7. Be a listener and ask them questions. Check out Conversation Tactics for Youth Workers
  8. Listening and being honest wins you the right to speak into their lives. – Listening shows I care and honesty shows character and realness.
  9. It’s not about the quantity of time spent with students but the quality of time spent with students.
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.
  11. When the opportunitay presents itself for you to disciple, obey Nike and “Just do it”. – nothing else on the agenda is more important.
  12. Never cut a student off when they are sharing. If you can’t remember what you were going to say it probably wasn’t worth you sharing anyway.

JG

Weekend Teaching Series: Before and After: a study through Ephesians (series premiere, week 1 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: The person that I used to be and the person I am in Christ.
Service Length:
66 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend AC taught for the first time in HSM – he walked students through Ephesians 2 and how we were before Christ and the life-change that happens at salvation. He did a great job explaining sin, the traps of Satan and salvation by God’s grace. The highlight of the weekend was when he had a student come up and share the story of her life, including a recent departure from God’s path that cost her things she could never get back. Her story clearly illustrated the amazing grace of God and how

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend was really straightforward with lots of welcoming students, a fun recap of our recent Rwanda mission trip and our 80′s skate night from this past Friday.

Music Playlist: Somebody That I Used to Know (A capella cover), Here For You, Majesty, What Would I Have Done, Savior of the World

Favorite Moment: Cayla sharing her story was incredible – made the whole message come to life. Incredible testimony to God’s grace!

Up next: Before and After (week 2 of 3)



My friend AC has a great new blog about leaders at our weekend services being active and available in our youth group meetings – here’s a clip of how he is leading our volunteer team on the weekend. Read this teaser, and head there for the rest:

  1. Greet – We want to greet students.  We will greet students instead of wait in a corner for them to come to us.  We will reach out to them instead of waiting for them to reach out to us.
  2. Meet – We want to make sure that we genuinely meet them.  Refer to the hand out “Hand Shake Hi to a Hug Goodbye/”.  I also had them refer to this handout I created to help them really connect with the students “Conversation tactics for youth workers“.
  3. Connect – We want to make sure that we are intentional about our conversation with students.  We want to look for ways in the conversation to suggest a next step.  For new students we want to guide them towards community.  That could range from life groups to serving opportunities within the ministry or summer camp.  You can even suggest grabbing coffee, lunch or ice cream with them sometime.  For students who are already in life groups, you can suggest serving in a ministry, missions or summer camp.  We want to make sure students are getting connected.
  4. Pray – We want to pray for students.  While you are connecting through conversations, once an area of struggle, pain, disappointment, hardship and trial appears offer prayer.  We want to avoid saying “I’ll be praying for you”.  Pray for the student right there on the spot.  Even pray for the core students you already know that have been met, greeted and connected.  Go deeper in conversation and pray for them.  Just because they are a part of our core students doesn’t mean they have everything together.  Every situation will be different but when the opportunity presents itself feel free to pray.

JG

My friend AC did a great weekend leader training last night and shared some of it on his blog. He did a great job sharing the heart behind the role of the volunteer at a service and gave some great questions for them to use when greeting students. Here are a few of his suggestions, might be good to rip off copy/paste in a note to your leaders this week!

  • What has been your biggest struggle in high school and why?
  • Do you have a crazy coach and how do you manage his/her craziness?
  • What are you planning on majoring in college and why?
  • Are you close with your parents and how supportive are they about (fill in the blank)?
  • What are some struggles you’re having in your walk with Christ?
  • How long have you been coming to church and what’s got you coming?
  • What’s the attitude towards Christianity in your family?

Head to his place for the rest!

JG



My friend AC posted (on his blog yoacblog.com) a great summary about cutting and self-injury after attending a workshop at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference this past week. Here’s a clip of his notes, head there for the rest. Might make a solid handout/training for your volunteers:

What is Self-Injury?

It’s listed in the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association as a Borderline Personality Disorder.
Self-harm is a response to a profound and overwhelming emotional pain that cannot be resolved in a more functional way.

What Self-Injury is not!

Self-Injury is not a half-hearted attempt at suicide
Demon Possession
A relationally immature attempt to get attention
Body modification taken to the extreme

Notes: You must understand that it is not an attempt at suicide, but if the cycle continues it could be the result at the end of a fighting battle. The self-injurer is trying to save their life not take it. We must understand that we join them in the fight for their life. While there is definitely a spiritual battle going on, self-injury does not automatically equate to Demon Possession. It’s not just about attention, it’s deeper than that and it needs our full undivided attention.

If you’re interested in a program to help students who deal with tough stuff like this, check out The Landing. Our Landing program meets every Friday night at 7pm – good stuff for hurting students.

JG

I’m so blessed to have Aaron Crumbey on the high school team here at Saddleback – he is the epitome of someone who loves Jesus and loves students. He’s been blogging for a few weeks now, and I wanted to point you his way because I think you can learn a lot from him (I know I do) especially how he relates and cares for students. Here’s a clip of his most recent post about hand shakes and hugs. Head there for the whole story, and welcome him to the blogging world, too!

  1. I want to be super intentional. – I want to make the best of every opportunity I get to effect a students life. My intentions are to share Christ love for them through our time of interaction. I do not apologize for my ulterior motive.ha
  2. I make sure they have my attention. – I want them to know that I understand its important that they are here. So for however long I’m with them I’m completely engaged.
  3. I make sure I’m being myself. – The worse thing you can do is try and be your version of hip and cool. You will come off super cheesy and weird. You will be known for being that guy/woman who is super cheesy and to new students visiting for the first time they will tell every other student they know. So just be yourself. Remember you are not just representing yourself but you are representing the ministry.
  4. I ask follow up questions. – this just says to the student “I really want to know how you are doing”. You show their importance/your concern with follow up questions. Even if they just say fine I move to a specific area of life like school, family or sports.

JG