If you take the time to dig in and study communication and preaching, you will find that one of the most effective methods for connecting with students when you speak is to intentionally use the word, “YOU.” Although that statement sounds obvious and you are probably thinking, “That’s the most blatantly obvious thing I’ve read all day!” Think again…

WHY “YOU”?

Think about the last conversation you had with someone who took the time to ask you about how you were doing or what was really going on in your life. Did you walk away feeling important? Ever have a conversation with someone and they just talk about themselves the whole time? Pretty annoying, right? Being intentional to use the word “you” when speaking or preaching to a group of students will dramatically increase your connection level.

USING “YOU” INSTEAD OF “I”

The next time you prepare a message, try to intentionally change some of your I-statements” to you-statements. If you are honest with yourself, as a youth communicator you probably have the tendency to use the word “I” more than the word “You.” This is an unconscious habit for most youth speakers. We like to tell personal stories. We like to give our opinion. We like to hear ourselves speak (ouch). It’s time for some humility… Less “I”, more “You.” Remember what John the Baptist said about Jesus, “He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30). It’s right there in the Bible… “I must become LESS!”

“YOU” MAKES YOUR POINTS STRONGER

Youth Pastors can have a tendency to cushion the truth by using “we.” While there is nothing wrong with a little humility, using the word “you” strengthens both the students’ connection to the truth you are speaking and individualizes it for their situation. Notice the difference between these two statements:

  • We all feel broken inside. (Good)
  • You feel broken inside. (Better)

Notice how the you-statement cuts straight to the heart. It takes the message and applies it directly to the student personally.

PUTTING “YOU” INTO PRACTICE

1. Use “you” during informal conversation.

Try it the next time you are just hanging out. Use it with a student over coffee. Use it with your spouse. Try an entire conversation without saying “I.”

2. Write some specific you-statements into your next message.

Be intentional to use a few well-placed “you’s” in your next message. Change the “I”-phrasing to “you”-phrasing and notice the difference.

3. Use “You” whenever you are communicating from the stage.

Odds are, the next time you get up front to speak, there is going to be this thought that crosses your mind to say “you” while you are speaking. Don’t be afraid. Do it! The more you practice saying “you,” the better you will become at actually doing it and it will become second nature.

Matt Maiberger has been involved in full-time student ministry for over 16 years. He and his family are currently in the process of moving to Fort Collins, CO where he will become the Associate Pastor of Life Church.  Matt is also the founder of Youth Speaker Coach “ committed to the resourcing of youth pastors, youth workers, and youth speakers to help them become better communicators for the post-modern students represented in youth ministries today.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” -Frank Outlaw

We are given the privelege of making our own choices. This doesn’t mean we always choose what is best for us because, let’s face it, decisions are not always easy to make. Temptations get in the way and sometimes we like to take the easy, more comfortable way of doing things. An occasional slip up is not detrimental to our character. It is when we make the slip ups habits that they begin to have an effect on character.

Thankfully, we serve a God who forgives and loves at all times. A Father who gently redirects us each time we do get off track. His kindness and goodness is no excuse to keep on slipping up though. Because He gives us the privilege of making our own choices, we have the responsibility to do what we know is right no matter the cost. Otherwise, habitually doing the wrong thing will eventually cost us everything we’ve got!

Our habits should be healthy, wholesome, straight up good for you habits. Habits like walking in love as Jesus did with a servants heart, taking care of our mental state and our bodies, abiding in our Heavenly Father, and becoming the best you, you can be!

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Ashley Fordinal is the Children Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.



I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.
• Dr. Seuss

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
• Dr. Seuss

I’m glad we had the times together just to laugh and sing a song, seems like we just got started and then before you know it, the times we had together were gone.
• Dr. Seuss

Imagine if Dr. Suess had a student ministry of some kind. It would be a fun and whimsical place. I think his youth group would be decorated for fun. His games would be positive and silly. The messages would be captivating, they would take you on a journey that ends with a powerful message. I think Dr. Suess would make a great youth worker.

I find the image of Dr. Suess as a youth worker inspiring. In fact I even use some of his books to start discussion. I use One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish to teach students about how God has created them to be unique. I use the Lorax to teach about how God wants us to be good stewards of the earth.

I find so often in my own ministry that I can be dry, stale, dull. I may be saying something powerful; sculpted out of my best theological work; but it lacks lustre. I might be teaching a message but everything leading up to it was boring. When those moments come, I search for new inspiration.

As summer is upon us, I would encourage you to take inspiration from Dr. Suess. Try something new and exciting as you go through the fall. Or perhaps you just need time to gear up for the fall, plan something fun with a powerful punch. Who knows you might even learn something from an old cat in a hat.

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kylecorbin.blogspot.com or Twitter: @CorbinKyle

light-bulb90% of my ideas are terrible. No, for real. They are really bad. What sucks is that I’m full of ideas. I’m constantly dreaming up how to tweak or completely transform our approach to student ministry. I generate so many bad ideas that my team often just tunes me out. I get the courtesy, That sounds cool with a plastic smile.  Currently I’m doing my best to convince our team that what we need is a ginormous student building with 5 attached houses. I’m telling you it’s the future for so many reasons. Someday when every church has a student building with 5 attached houses and our church missed the boat everyone will realize how innovative I am and promote me.

Here’s the thing about my ideas. While 90% of them are terrible and following them they could lead to immediate dismissal, the loss of thousands of dollars and probable hospitalization, 10% of them are genius. 10% of my ideas could potentially change the world. The trouble is that I can’t predict which ideas are in the 90% and which ideas are in the 10%. You really don’t want to guess wrong because great ideas invent the Internet and bad ideas take you to a Nickleback concert.

My guess is that whether you realize it or not, you also have more bad than good ideas. The thing is, if we could better discern the quality of our ideas we’d save ourselves and our teams a lot of grief. Nothing is more demoralizing than when the team is chasing down an idea that everyone knows is a dead end.

The good news is that somewhere along the line I stopped implementing all of my bad ideas. When? What was the big moment? It wasn’t a big moment but it was when my ideas were forced into community. When my ideas are stuck spinning within my own head almost all of them sound fabulous. However, when having to verbally explain and defend my ideas, 90% of them are revealed for what they are. Dumb. I know you’ve been there, when you realize that the words coming out of your mouth are exceeding illogical and you wish you never started talking in the first place humbling.

Within the context of community (that is well intentioned debate over the validity of ideas) my 90% was revealed to be what they were and my life and ministry was protected from stupidity. The unforeseen byproduct of submitting my ideas to community is that my good ideas were refined and became significantly more awesome. I like this idea that you call the Internets. But what if we could connect our gaming systems and play each other?  And what if you took the off it and just called it the Internet? GENUIS! You might say that in the context of community my 10% became 90% better. If you’re not strong at math I probably lost you right there. I think I lost myself.

The point is, when you have the humility to submit your ideas to your community before implementing them you will uncover the fact that most of your ideas are terrible but a few of them are genius. Failure is not the best way to learn. Realizing that an idea is a failure before failing is a cleaner and less destructive way to learn. The moral of the story is this: if you don’t have an ideas community, get one! Honest community will save you from your terrible ideas and help reveal and refine your great ones.

Aaron Buer has been a student pastor for 10 years and currently serve as a high school pastor at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI. Read his blog here.



Last week I wrote a post called When One Student Shows to talk about the issue of when only a single student shows up and how to handle it. Let’s look at the opposite problem today.

You have just finished your running around to buy all the food and supplies you needed for tonights big event. You ran through your check-list and have the exact amount of stuff you need to make it all work. You put it all down, organized it then the students start showing up. Quickly you realize all the students your students who are suppose to show are there, but you have another 5 to 10 students (change the values for your church size).

Oh what a problem to have, we always would love to see more numbers but when this moment happens its an uh-oh kind of moment. How are you going to deal with it?

So you have too many students show up and you are suddenly confronted with their eager faces; or their my mom made me come faces. You have to snap into action to make things happen.

A few steps I think are very important to take are:

Be Welcoming
Its not the students fault you aren’t prepared, and they matter just as much as the kids who RSVP’d to the event. If you can take the student do your best to make them feel welcome and bring them into the event.

Have a chain of command
I believe that if you have the volunteers it is important to have roles defined. Make sure you have a person you can rely on to run and grab more supplies or free up a seat in a car to be able to drive (if possible)

Be ready to say no
If for some reason you can’t accept the student for that event, you just have to be able to say no. Stick to deadlines for RSVP’ing if it is a major event that requires pre booking or lots of transportation. But don’t leave it there, be ready to be able to answer that student or parent why they cannot attend

Plan ahead
In my ministry there have been times when too many students have shown up and I get frustrated. I think to myself why can’t they just RSVP?, but I knew there was a good chance extra students might have come. So I have had to think hard about certain events. Well extra people might attend this one, so I make sure each vehicle going has an extra seat so we can fill those up if need be.

Maybe this isn’t an issue for your ministry, for others this can be a huge issue because of budget, number of volunteers or venue space. But one thing we can all learn from too many students is how we deal with people. Could this even be too many ministry volunteers? (In my dreams).

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kylecorbin.blogspot.com or Twitter: @CorbinKyle

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. -Frank Outlaw

When you wake up in the morning, what words are you speaking? Ugh, not another morning? I just want to sleep! I hate my job, I just want to quit. Why do I always have to be the one to Or are you speaking words that build you up? Today is the day that the Lord has made, this will be a wonderful day! My job is a blessing and I will make the best of it! I am thankful God always gives me the privilege of being the one to There is no doubt about it, words can either build you up or break you down. We know from last week’s blog Watch Your Thoughts, words begin with a thought. So how do you turn those thoughts into words?

Speak positively “ When the alarm that you have set to go off every couple of hours throughout the day goes off and you redirect your thoughts, make sure you tell someone what a lovely day it is or give someone a compliment. It will lift you and them UP!

Speak scripture “ When you read scripture from the post-its you have posted all around you or from the Bible app on your phone, read them out-loud! Let them sink into your spirit.

Sing a song of praise “ As the worship music is blasting, sing! Dance! It will take the focus off of you and your situation and place the focus on the almighty God who is alive and worthy to be praised!

Accountability “ When your friend calls in the middle of the day to see where your thoughts are, share words of encouragement and build each other up while you are at it!

Positive influence “ Your words become like the words of those you hang out with. Choose friends who choose their words wisely.

Words have a powerful impact either for the good or for the bad. When you watch your words, they have power to build your entire well-being up and that power will spread like wild fire to everyone and everything around you! Watch your words and be blessed!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

 



Last night I ran my small group that normally runs at about 5-6 students. Its a senior high group that has a mix of schools, sports and friendships. I love this group as they can have a lot of fun but they can go deep into a conversation and study sometimes.
The challenge was that only one student came.

There were a variety of reason; baseball and field hockey have started; the Vancouver Canucks were losing to the Sharks in hockey it was a busy night. But when only one student showed to discussion group you have to make a quick decision about what to do.

So I decided to take him out to Menchies, which is a frozen yogurt place with a ton of toppings and flavors. I decided to leverage this opportunity to talk with him about things we have chatted about in the past, we talked about everything from the timelessness of God to long boarding.

At the end of the night I dropped him off at home and felt like I had possibly had a huge impact in 2 hours of hanging out. So I started to ask myself why: why did that feel right? Why did we connect so much in that time? What made that into good youth ministry.

And it dawned on me that I was treating a student special. Very few students ever get attention from a role model they have in their life. Sure I probably could have cancelled the group before he got there, but what kind of message would that have sent?

All of this brought me to thinking about having a plan for when just one student shows up. Now some people have a tiny church and this happens all the time, others are in a mid-sized church like myself and it happens rarely, and others again are in a huge church where this would only happen very rarely in a small group setting.

But do you have a plan? Do your small group leaders know how to deal with this scenario? These moments could potentially be the most meaningful moments ever to happen in youth ministry. How are you going to leverage them?

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kylecorbin.blogspot.com or Twitter: @CorbinKyle

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. -Frank Outlaw

In a given day, how often do you think about what you are thinking about? The truth is, most of us do not. We get so caught up in the to-do’s of life and allow our thoughts to run wild. Philippians 4:8 instructs us to fix our thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. It also instructs us to think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Without watching our thoughts, that is just not possible. So, with everything going on in everyday life, here are a few ways you can do to remember to keep your thoughts in line.

Set an alarm- Have it go off every couple of hours throughout the day. When it goes off, hear what you were thinking. Chances are, they need to be redirected. Redirect them!

Post-its- Write scripture on post-its geared toward which thought you want to change. Place them everywhere you might see them throughout the day.

Bible app- Download a Bible app for your phone that will send you a notification with a Bible verse each day.

Worship music- Have it on your phone, in your home, on your iPod, playing in your car, wherever you are. Blast it!

Accountability- Have a friend call you in the middle of your day to see where your thoughts are.

Positive influences- Surround yourself with positive people, who choose to see the good in other’s and in situations.

Truth is, negative thoughts will do anything they can to gain control over your mind. To keep them from taking over, you have got to check-up on your thought life as an ongoing, minute-by-minute basis because your thoughts become words and ultimately your destiny. What are you thinking?

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.