capo_owns_the_weekend

If you’ve been reading my blog for a few years – you know that our annual student-run series called You Own the Weekend is one of the highlights of our youth ministry year. The idea came from a student who wondered what would happen if students took over everything – we merged and melted the idea into a series where for 5-6 weeks, students from each of the major high schools collaborate and pull off the entire weekend service. And they go all-out, too! Here’s a silly picture from this weekend where Capo High School even got the football team’s inflatable tunnel to use for decoration! Our mantra is that every student from every school gets an invitation to church.

So we’ve been doing this for 5 years now – tons of students come, everyone brings their friends and lots of parents show up to cheer on their teenagers, too. But, we had a first happen this past weekend. The high school principal came to his high school’s weekend service! It was incredible! Made me thrilled for our students, thrilled for the leadership they sit under each week! Thrilled what God is up to next. #awesomemoment

JG

Our ministry is very evangelistic. How did it become that way? Good question—and one we’ve been processing in our own discussions this week, too. Here are a few of the reasons a student develops a heart for his or her lost friends, and how a whole bunch of teenagers like that create an infectious ministry.

Lead people to Jesus yourself.
Your ministry is usually a direct reflection of you. Want students to develop a deep sense of community? Be in one yourself and talk about its importance often. Want students to share about their failures and problems? Model vulnerability from the stage and you’ll get it in return. So if you want to produce evangelistic students—you can see it coming by now, can’t you?—share your faith with friends, families and neighbors often. Talk about the lost friend you’re praying for, show them how a conversation can point people to Christ.

Make sure everyone knows their own story.
Students need practical ways to share their faith with their friends—one of the best ways is helping them articulate their own spiritual journey. If their story is filled with sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll…that’s okay because it’s THEIR story—but make sure the focus rests squarely on Christ and his redemptive work. If their story isn’t quite that dramatic, encourage them to point out how much God saved them from and the potential they have following Jesus’ ways without the painful past. Either way, having everyone write out their personal story is a great way to help build evangelistic confidence.

Make prayer cards.
A super practical idea might be to help students simply jot down the names of friends who don’t know Jesus on a little card, and keep it in their wallets or purses. Whenever they see those names, they can pray that God would open the door for a spiritual conversation with a friend.

Create series that are easy to invite people to.
We need to be sure to teach the whole counsel of God—every word is ordained and inspired but not as easy for a first-timer to church to handle. At least once a year have a “bring a friend” series that’s designed to give them an easy felt-need they can invite someone to.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.



Thought this was a good observation from Stephanie Caro over at SmallChurchYouthMinistry.com – we may be telling students all of the time to “bring their friends to church” but hardly equip them to actually make such a huge ask. Here’s a little clip of her thoughts, head there for the complete article:

1 - Tell your students to call you ahead of time with the heads-up that they’re bringing a friend. You can make sure you’re ready and not running around setting up.

2 - Ask the students to pick their friends up instead of meeting them at the location so that the member can show the friend the secret to knowing where to find the youth room. I’ve seen some that were harder to find than what Nicolas Cage went through finding the National Treasure. (Throw up some signs, people!)

3 - Teach the students how to introduce their friends around to the others, where to sit, how to jump in on games, not to abandon their friends, etc.

4 - Have your students go over the typical evening’s schedule with their friends, so the friends feel like they’ve got the 411. A list of that night’s time frame might be nice to put up near the check-in table. I just use a dry erase board.

JG

Kickoff for the fall, there is nothing like it.  Everyone is focused on getting plugged in, connected, signed up and registered.  The summer dreams have come to an end, school is back in session and the thought, “Here we go again.” races through your mind.

For some of us the beginning of the year stresses us out and for others it excites us.  There is so much to do, so much to get done and then BOOM! The year starts and we are off.  It’s like a marathon where the anticipation before the race is killer; however, once you get moving you settle down.

Kickoff is a season that can race by; however, it’s also a season that needs to be embraced.  On top of fun memories of moon bounces and wild games, it’s really a season when you can strengthen your foundation.  It’s a season when you need to:

Recruit New Ministers – The best time to recruit other ministers is when the program is in full swing.  That way potential volunteers can:

  1. See the program in action.
  2. Talk to actively serving ministers
  3. Ask questions they might not have known to ask if inquiring during the summer

When you recruit new ministers right after kickoff you’ll have a positive excitement that will be contagious.

Invite More Teens – It makes sense to invite someone to an event before it happens; however, your ministry isn’t an event.  While you want to build up hype and momentum before the program begins you’ll want to put more afterwards.  By continuously inviting teens to your program your creating an open enrollment feeling.  So many times we give up on a class or a program because we miss the first session.  Ministry should be treated like any relationship, where you can step in at any time.

Build Margin – Once the year begins we feel our margin slip away; however, there is no better time.  You should be letting your leaders loose, let them fail, succeed and problem solve.  As the point person you should be able to take a step back, observe and take in the experience.  As soon as the year gets going, slow down and find that pace because it’s going to be a long year.

Kickoff is not the end of summer and it isn’t just the beginning of your ministry year.  It’s a mile marker that you should utilize to grow stronger.  Look for the opportunities in every situation and continue to move forward.

What other opportunities do you see during kickoff?

Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more great youth ministry articles and thoughts on his exceptional blog Marathon Youth Ministry.



Dare2Share and Greg Stier are doing a free webinar on “The Missing Link in Discipleship” tomorrow (Tuesday August 7th) that includes a free giveaway of my brand new book “Firing Jesus” to everyone who attends. The goal is to help youth leaders walk away with tools/ideas to become way more effective in equipping teens to share their faith.

  • Tuesday August 7th: 12:00-1:00 PM CST(10-11 AM Pacific, 11-Noon Mountain,1-2 PM Eastern)
  • Tuesday August 7th: 7:30-8:30 PM CST(5:30-6:30 PM Pacific, 6:30-7:30 PM Mountain,8:30-9:30 PM Eastern)

JG

Do we really need to wear nametags at youth group? We’re in the middle of refocusing on them right now in HSM so I say yes and here’s why:

  • Nametags say: you want to be introduced
  • Nametags say: everyone is equal
  • Nametages say: bring friends
  • Nametags say: I’m a leader
  • Nametags say: you can ask me a question
  • Nametags say: I know where the restrooms are
  • Nametags say: you expect people not to know you

What do you say about nametags?

JG



We just finished up a huge evangelism effort during our The Book series (40 Days in the Word church-wide campaign student series) where we ended with a Life Book saturation. We put together a whole bunch of packs of 10. Then we put a little card on top that said this:

These are Life Books – it is a tool that includes the Gospel that will change your life. The top copy is for you, the 9 others are for your friends. When you give one away, write their name on this card and remember to pray for them that they will know and follow the ways of Jesus, too.

1 ___________________________
2 ___________________________
3 ___________________________
4 ___________________________
5 ___________________________
6 ___________________________
7 ___________________________
8 ___________________________
9 ___________________________

For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Romans 10:13-15

I’m really proud of our students – a TON of them took a stack over that weekend are actively sharing their faith with their friends. We ended up with a few packs on the table in the back of the youth room that are still being whittled down each weekend!

I’m excited to hear that you can get in on this, too – they are already taking requests for Fall – and expecting 100,000 students to hand out a couple of million more Life Books. Amazing. Get the details here!

JG

GospelJourney.com

 —  February 1, 2012 — 1 Comment

Got a note from Greg over at Dare2Share about their new website for Gospel Journey. Loved their new video trailer and website – check it out!
JG