Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 9.58.38 AMAs I mentor people there are a few things that, if I can keep them in mind, bring me rest and peace.  However, if I lose sight of these as I mentor I begin to feel stressed.  So, I thought I’d throw these out to you…maybe they would be of help to you today.

(1) I’m not the Messiah.  People are not a problem to be fixed and even where there are issues to be worked on, it’s not my job to fix them.  Philippians 1:6 tells us that God is going to complete the work.  He may use us, but the job of fixing is not ours.

(2) I’m a part of something bigger.  My role is to follow what God is already doing.  So, I don’t try to find areas that need to be worked on, I try to find the areas that God is already working…and then try to encourage further growth in those areas.

(3) I’m a real person too. I have past and present struggles and I cannot, nor should I, deny those.  So, when I can legitimately identify with a struggle that the person I’m mentoring is experiencing, I make sure to share my experiences.

(4) My hindsight can become foresight. I haven’t been around every block, but this isn’t my first rodeo.  Through experiences of embracing what I know to be true about Jesus, God has given me (and you) some wisdom in areas of life.  When we can see someone walking into a trap that we have fallen victim to, we can help them process through whether or not they actually want to walk down the same path.

Thanks for loving students,



6 Things A Mentor Does

Chuck Bomar —  August 28, 2013 — 1 Comment

Here are 6 things I believe a mentor does or should do:

  1. Gives timely advice.  Their advice seeks to encourage and guides toward Christ-likeness in all facets of life.
  2. Risks own reputation.  At times the mentor backs the mentee, putting his/her own reputation on the line.
  3. Bridges to resources.  Whether the resource is a book or a contact or an opportunity for ministry, mentors resource mentee’s for their growth.
  4. Sets the example.  In all facets of life mentors provide the model to follow – being honest about imperfections, of course.
  5. Shares ministry.  By co-laboring in ministry a mentor intentionally increases the credibility of the mentee.
  6. Pushes up.  Mentors seek to push mentee’s beyond their level of leadership and celebrates how that occurs.

LIVECollegeWell, it’s true…Simply Youth Ministry is giving away 72 weeks of the College LIVE curriculum for FREE.  Sheesh, that is amazing.  Before I say how this giveaway works, let me just briefly share a few things I love about this resource:

  1. It walks through books of the bible and gives your students a great understanding of the flow of each book.  
  2. Every teaching point in this curriculum points to God.  The goal here is to put the focus where it belongs.  In other words, as the content walks through the scriptures we learn about God’s reign (Kingdom), desires and intentions for our lives.
  3. It’s simple and clear, but there is a massive amount of content.  So, whether you use it for mentorship or as a small group resource, this can be a fantastic resource for teaching in larger contexts as well.  So those of you who do a large group gathering as well as small groups, you will be extra thankful!
  4. It’s written by people who work closely with college age people.  You will quickly notice how practical all this is for the issues college age people face on a daily basis.

If you’d like to take a closer look at this, you can get details as well as a free sample here.

Okay, so here is how the giveaway will work.  In the comment box below, tell me your craziest or favorite college ministry story this summer.  Winner will be announced on Wednesday.  It’s that simple.

Okay, go…..

I love our youth nights, I love the buzz, the noise of the crowd, the Worship, the community, the teaching, well basically all of it. The experience of the gathered Church to me is rich, in tradition and off the charts in value. But as mush as I love the bigger stage, I have an equal passion for the relational one on one connection with students and have fought hard to maintain a level of relational connectedness to young people even in the midst of a demanding role in the wider church. When I am going to meet with a student for a coffee, a coke or just going for a walk there are a few questions that are guaranteed to be a part of the conversation.

1 What is something that you are excited about?

This is a great ice-breaker question, its disarming question and allows a student to talk about something they have an easy time talking about, themselves! This is also a strategic question because it gives me some event or opportunity that I can follow up with. If they are excited about their drivers test, a concert or a hot date, I now have intentional opening for a follow up conversation. Remembering these events and following up shows a student they are valued.

2 How are things going in your small group?

Our ministry has small groups on the same night as our youth gather, which means that 100% of our students are in small groups. As a leader there are certain areas of the culture that I can shape, but within the small groups exists its own community and culture and its important to know what is happening. Any chance you have to get a the straight goods on the pulse of ministry, you should take it because the growth and discipleship is happening in the small group more so than the large gather. Also finding out about a problem or challenge allows me I can’t help that leader navigate the scenario that I otherwise might not have known was a concern.

3- How is your heart?

I am so sold out to asking this question because it allows the transition into asking students how their relationship with God is, where they are experiencing Him or not. Asking a student about their heart allows the conversation to address where they feel encouraged and where they feel discourage and takes the conversation to a level of honestly faster than so how are you Really doing? Our leaders have been starting to latch onto the question and some of the students now have heard it enough that they jokingly ask me the same question. Its a great part of the changing culture of our ministry where we are trying to go deeper in our relationships with God and each other.

4 How can I pray for you?

This question is a must ask for obvious reasons, but any meaningful conversation with student that doesn’t include this question is a missed opportunity for me. Students need to know that we are here to journey beside them, to intercede on their behalf and intend to follow up with those things they are in need of prayer for. Praying for our students one on one, in the large group and privately is a core part of what we do.

These are just four of the many questions that we ask our students when we meet with them, are there questions that are on your must ask list?

-Geoff @geoffcstewart

As we continue with our series on things that students need to learn from watching our lives we come to another important topic: Stewardship and Generosity.

Lets face it, you didn’t go into youth ministry to get rich, and we know that serving in any capacity as a Pastor or Youth Worker is not the highest paying gig, but its still the best job in the world.

But just because the pay isn’t great, doesn’t mean there’s an excuse for us wasting the resources we do have. I have met enough youth pastors who seem to have the latest and greatest gadgets and clothing yet complain that they are living pay cheque to pay cheque. Guess what, your students are watching this pattern as well. Stewardship is defined as the responsible management of resources and in the Christian world how we use our time, talent and treasure.

Time: Youth ministry is a crazy world with late nights, evening meetings, weekend retreats, the hours are all over the place. I often tell students that when I was young I had more time to give than money and now as an adult I have more money than time. For my students I believe it is essential that they see me serving at events and functions that are not a part of my ministry area and invite them to be a part of it. Whether its kids ministry, service hosting or just stacking chairs, your students need to see you serving the Kingdom. The purpose is not to be a show, but to invite students into serving others with a heart to see the Kingdom advance. Be a cheerful giver of your time, it will rub off on your students.

Talent: You are gifted, after all, you got hired! So what are you doing with it? How are you using your gifts to serve the Church? Your community? Students expect your best when it comes to your job but do you put the same amount of effort into the areas of your life you are not being paid to do? I am so inspired when I see youth workers serving as coaches, mentors, music teachers, scout leaders and many other unpaid volunteer positions where they can use their passions and interests to serve others. Social media communicates all aspects of your life and what you value and find important will come through loud and clear.

Treasure: This is the big one because it effects so much of your ministry. The way you manage your personal finances will often be reflected in how you spend your youth ministry budget. Questionable or wasteful spending on your personal or ministry budget will not allow for there to be funds left over for a rainy day or an unexpected expense. The question I wish I could ask every pastor I meet is: Do you tithe? For many, giving is often the first thing to go when money gets tight and poor planning and budgetting can mean our last fruits are what we give God not our first. Youth workers, we need to shape up here and be responsible for that which has been entrusted to us. When we can manage out finances well we are able to be more generous and we are able to mentor students to live a life of generosity. Help students see generous living as empowering, that they can be a part of supporting the work God is doing by giving.

I will be the first to admit that having all of these in order is not a simple task and that many of the challenges each of us face in these areas comes from how these were modelled for us when we were growing up. The call is simply for us to be obedient to God, that we would be generous with our lives and our resources and that students would be challenged by the way we live and seeing us give the first fruits of all we have.  It is not easy and I have made many mistakes, but God continues to show me areas where I can be more generous. I hope that our students can catch a vision of how empowering and addictive generosity can be.

Geoff – Twitter @geoffcstewart

We are embarking on a 6 part series of topics that we need to teach our students through our lives and actions. Students seeing them lived out first will bring integrity to the message we preach.

A few days ago I wrote a post about Conflict In The Internet Age and the growing reality of students who are lacking the skills or in many cases the desire to engage in healthy conflict or disagreement due to the messy nature of interactions like this. In addition to my previous post about a generation that doesn’t have to put up with anything they don’t like here are a few more considerations with conflict:

We Throw Away Things That Break: In my office at work I have a 1938 GE Console Radio (picture below). I love the craftsmanship that went into it. To think that every one of them was made by hand is amazing. No robots, not injection moulds, just hard working people putting tender loving care into it. My grandpa had one just like it and you know what he did if it broke or needed repair? He would load it in his car and take it down the road to the local radio repairman to have it fixed up. We used to fix things. TVs, VCRs, Toaster Ovens you name it, people fixed them. Last year my printer ran out of ink, I went to buy a new cartridge and sure enough, it was cheaper to get a whole new printer with ink in it, so I threw away the old one. If my computer monitor breaks it’s going in the garbage. My ipod? Garbage. My TV? Garbage. My Jeans? Garbage. When things break, we throw them away. So are we surprised when a friendship breaks down that students simply throw them away for a newer, better one?IMG_6568

We Celebrate Conflict, But Rarely Reconciliation: Celebrity gossip and sleaze is a multi-billion dollar industry employing countless people whose sole job is to get the latest dish on peoples favourite celebs. Conflict may not make them famous, but it sure can keep their name in the press. This culture loves a good fight and some good ol’ fashion smack talking. We celebrate the conflict, but how often does our culture celebrate reconciliation?

We Need To Be Champions Of Reconciliation: This is where we come in, where our lives need to reflect the values in Matthew 5 on forgiveness and reconciliation. How this is lived out will reflect our ability to be “the adult” when it comes to challenges with students. If there is a student you know who is frustrated with us, or with something we said we need to be on the front line of engaging them. Not because we want to be liked, but because like my grandpa’s old radio, it is worth the time and energy to fix it. Throwing it away might be easier, but the costs are high. Students need to see how we handle criticism, how we handle an angry parent, or a leader who is not leading well. When it comes to students who have been hurt by other students, it is our responsibility to equip them with the tools and provide objectivity so that they can work out their differences. This could mean very persistent and intentional communication with both parties to help them see the value in meeting. We must champion this value.

So What Do Students See In Your Life: Are you are the type of person that doesn’t get along with a lot of people? Are you a relational Tasmanian Devil going from person to person and not seeking to right your wrongs or ask forgiveness for your words or actions? Or are you a leader who can admit they were wrong, ask forgiveness of a student or leader when required. Are you a leader that will give up your time and make every effort to help a student navigate the deep valley of being hurt by a friend and walk them through a path of Biblical reconciliation?

We have enough of the first type of people, we need the second kind. We need humble leaders who aren’t perfect but can admit when we’re are wrong and whose lives reflect these values.

Are you modelling conflict and reconciliation well for your students? 

Geoff – twitter geoffcstewart