From time to time I post a question that comes into the blog for YOU to answer. What advice would you give this youth pastor who is asking about youth group fun and games. I already answered him personally with a few suggestions but got his permission to share the question here, too. Hoping you could share your thoughts in the comments, too. Weigh in!

Thank you so much for what you do, I find myself coming back to MTDB again and again. I am a 43 yr old youth pastor, after doing the Big Church thing for 20 yrs God changed our direction and now we get to spend our time loving on teens. Recently our youth group flipped on us and we went from a large group of High Schoolers to a smaller group of Jr Highers.  One complaint I have heard is that we need to have more fun, so what does that mean?  Also any advice would be greatly appreciated

Thoughts? Weigh in!

JG

From time to time I post a question that comes into the blog for YOU to answer. What advice would you give this youth pastor who is asking about violence and accidents that happen during youth group. Was hoping you could share your thoughts in the comments, too. Weigh in!

I was wondering, when it comes to youth trips, how are chaperones funded in your ministry?  Does everyone pay out of pocket?  Are all of their costs subsidized by the ministry budget or fundraisers?  Is there a split between the two? I was just curious as to what your policies are.  How many “trips” would an adult leader have the opportunity – or even be expected – to attend in the course of a year with your youth group?

JG



From time to time I post a question that comes into the blog for YOU to answer. What advice would you give this youth pastor who is asking about violence and accidents that happen during youth group. Was hoping you could share your thoughts in the comments, too. Weigh in!

How have you dealt with violence that happens on your watch?  Students fighting, horseplay getting out of hand, etc? I’ve had a few incidents over the years and each time I wonder if there was some systematic problem with our setup that should have prevented it or if this is just something that happens every blue moon and you have to deal with them individually. Help!

JG

From time to time I post a question that comes into the blog for YOU to answer. What advice would you give this youth pastor who is asking about teaching/discipling checkpoints in their youth ministry. Weigh in!

We have a great group of leaders, but my biggest frustration is trying to come up with ways to help grow them as leaders and move them forward in their leadership capacity.  I’ve tried several ways but just haven’t found a way that seems to “click” just right. If you wouldn’t mind sharing, what sorts of things do you guys do to help grow your leaders?  How often do you meet?  What do you talk about?  How do you grow as a team?  

What would you say? Weigh in!

JG



From time to time I post a question that comes into the blog for YOU to answer. What advice would you give this youth pastor who is asking about teaching/discipling checkpoints in their youth ministry. Weigh in!

I have encountered over the short time I’ve been in ministry a host of students that either have gotten a dose of poor theology or have many many questions that if they are believers (which most say they are) they should have a solid grasp of…I’m not sure how you do it, nor do I think there is a cookie cutter way to do it, but I’m seeking advice on how to build our Jr. High ministry from the ground up… I am wondering if maybe I should come up with 6-7…10 things that every student must know before high school? Maybe the concepts and some insights from the book of John, and James…answer critical questions like…

  • What is salvation?
  • How are we saved?
  • Who is God?
  • What is the church?
  • What is sin?

What would you say? Weigh in!

JG

From time to time I post a question that comes into the blog for YOU to answer. What advice would you give this youth pastor who is asking about tracking youth group attendance in their youth ministry. Weigh in!

Hey, I was wondering if you have a process for tracking students so you know when they aren’t there on the weekend. We are struggling with this right now – what are the best practices, tools or systems you use that would inspire us to create one of our own. Would appreciate any insight.

In all honesty … we don’t have a system where I serve currently! Please help him out – and maybe I’ll steal yours, too!

JG



From time to time I post a question that comes into the blog for YOU to answer. What advice would you give this youth pastor who is asking about a good problem – but still definitely a problem. Was hoping you could weigh in with your thoughts, too. Weigh in!

We have a few groups that are growing to the point where it is unsustainable for the two leaders that are already in place.  I’m looking for thoughts on what others would do in a similar circumstance.  Splitting the group is one thing we DON’T want to do.  Do we just add more leaders to the existing group?  Add a new group with no one in it and only add new students there?  I was just curious if you had any thoughts and if this was something anyone else is struggling with?

How would you answer her?

JG

From time to time I’m asked to contribute to the Slant33 blog and this week this scenario was presented: A parent complains about a recent youth group event; how do you respond? Here’s the first half of my timeless wisdom on the subject:

Easiest question in youth ministry history! Seriously?

The first thing you should do is ignore the parent as long as possible. You are taking some well-deserved time off after the world’s Best Overnighter in the History of the Universe (TM). Here’s a handy rating scale to let you know how seriously you should take the criticism they level at you:

If the complaint comes via voicemail… Listen carefully to the voicemail, then shake it off and go back to relaxing. A voicemail tells you that the person is 50+ years old, and to help them take a technological baby step, you need to delay returning the call for at least 48 hours. Unless, of course, they name-drop a key elder, deacon, or even hint they might go over your head to the senior pastor. Deduct 1 hour from the projected response time for each time they cry or scream in the message.

If the complaint comes via written letter…
Don’t even open it for a few days. Snail mail, really? Did someone use a Portal gun and drop me back in 1974? After a few days, simply toss the letter in the trash then claim it must have been “lost in the mail,” and when you see them across the pews, just say you are so sorry you didn’t respond earlier, but you had no idea.

If the complaint comes via text message… Quickly reply with a short apology and promise to make everything right within 24 hours. This is to honor a parent who knows how to text and is also savvy enough to spread some serious thumbs down on social media if you don’t jump into action.

Obviously meant to be funny … lots more of the answer on the Slant blog if you want to head over there to catch it. HA!

JG