On this week’s show:
1. Nominate a Youth Ministry in Need!!
2. How to Finish Strong with Small Groups!!
3. Apps/Tools That Save TIme.
Hope it helps,
Kurt & AC
This year with my small group I decided to try somethings that I didn’t do with my last group, and boy has it paid off. So I thought I’d share with you five things that I’ve tried this year in my small group that has brought them closer, and has also made them more interested in their life with God. Now, maybe a lot of you are already doing these things, and if that is the case, keep going strong. But if not, I encourage you to try a few:
There are a million more that I could add, but I just wanted to share a few with you that I believe are extremely important in developing a small group that is growing with God and each other. Would love to hear what you are doing.
hope it helps
Recently in a youth ministry seminar the presenter asked the question, “How many of you feel like you have enough volunteers in your ministry?” One guy raised his hand. The rest of the room wanted to punch him in his smug, little, “I’m awesome” nose. Because almost nobody who leads a youth group feels like they have enough volunteers, a popular discussion when we get together is sharing ideas to help persuade/recruit/guilt-trip/trick/entice folks to join our youth ministry team.
I’d like to share with you the world’s easiest way to get new volunteers: JUST ASK.
Ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask. And when you get rejected, ask.
* Bulletin announcements are fine, but not as good as an ask.
* The senior Pastor pleading from the pulpit is great, but not as good as an ask.
* A youth ministry booth at the annual ministry fair is fun, but not as good as an ask.
Who should you ask? Everybody. If there is an adult who loves Jesus and likes teenagers, ask.
Who should do the asking? You, your current volunteers, your students. Believe it or not, the most effective asks usually come not from the “paid spokesperson” (you), but from the “satisfied customers” (current volunteers and students). When a teenager approaches an adult and asks if he/she would be willing to help out in their youth group, it’s tough to turn down! when a current volunteer tells a peer that serving in the youth group is rewarding, and worth the time commitment, it makes a powerful statement.
Don’t say somebody else’s “no”. I first heard this from Bill Hybels. Too often we assume somebody is too busy, uninterested etc. so we say “no” on their behalf without ever actually asking them to serve. Don’t assume. Don’t say somebody else’s “no”.
There are probably more people in your church willing to work with students than you think. You just have to ask!
In my next post, we will take a look at some strategies that will help make “making the ask” a little bit easier.
I had the privilege of hanging out with some our volunteers and doing some training recently. As we were talking and just hanging and swapping stories about students, it really got me thinking about how important our volunteers are to our ministry. We are definitely a million times better with them! Hanging with them got my mind going and I started to think about 5 things I never want to forget concerning them. I want to continue to do these things better and better and better.
Empower – I’ve learned that the more you empower and train your volunteers, the more you can give certain responsibilities of the ministry away. You actually create the capacity to grow healthier when your volunteers are trained and empowered.
Teach to communicate – If your ministry leans heavy on small groups, then your volunteers need to know how to best communicate to students. Your life group leaders will spend way more time with students then you, so equip them to teach well. Now, by no means am I saying that you have to turn them into world renown speakers, but they do need to know what you value when it comes to what’s being taught. Giving them curriculum is not enough. It’s like giving a gun to someone who’s never shot one before, and telling them to shoot a soda can off a roof. They need training and guidance on how to communicate God’s word.
Involve – One of the worst things I believe you can do to a volunteer is under utilize them. I learned that I have to stop thinking of volunteers as hired help and think of them as a part of my team. You will be surprised of the skills your volunteers have and are ready to use, if you acquired about them and used them. I’ve learned that when you are all in with your volunteers in terms of involving them as a team, they will be all in with using their skills, talents and resources to move the ministry forward.
Value – Volunteers stay where they are valued (not just appreciated). The best way to show a volunteer that he/she is valued is not by just simply showering them with gift cards and thank you notes (which by the way are super important and shouldn’t be under valued at all), but you show how much you value them by how much you invest in them. Here are some examples of investing in volunteers:
The truth is, we invest our time in the things we value. So I’ve learned that if I invest in my volunteers, I’ll see more stick around longer.
Appreciate – While volunteers don’t do what they do to be appreciated, it’s a must that you show your appreciation to them. Your appreciation to your volunteers communicates 3 things:
It’s our job to appreciate our volunteers. Make it a rule of thumb that however you decide to show them appreciation take it up another level.
Now, I know there are definitely more then five so what I’m I missing or what would you add to the list?
hope it helps
I’m a firm believer that small groups are messy and not as clear cut as some may make them out to be. Therefore, discipleship within small groups is not as clear cut either. I believe the many hats a small group leader has to wear shows the messiness of small groups, and also presents a reason as to why small groups are messy.
Small Group Leader Hats
Wearing this many hats makes a checklist discipleship system impossible. I’ve worn many hat’s being a small group leader and many of them at the same time. What has helped me the most are the principles Jesus used discipling his disciples. When I look at how Jesus discipled, I see a more patterns of principles than methods or structure. Principles deal with the important intangibles that effect areas of our life long term.
We must understand that every time you interact with your students you are discipling them. Whether you know it or not you are discipling with your life and with the choices you make. How you live and the choices you make effect your students for the better or worst. And that’s why I believe Jesus discipled based on principles. Discipling through these principles has been encouraging and literally life changing for me and my small group. So here are the three principles I feel like Jesus used with his disciples:
I got the chance to let our small group leaders know that how you disciple is super important. And again, I’m not talking about method or structure, I’m talking about in principle. There are a million methods out there and they are all great in their own right, but Jesus gave us some principles that can be used no matter what the method or the structure looks like.
Would love for the youth ministry nation to weigh-in. What are some other principles Jesus Christ displayed that we can use to disciple our students?
hope it helps
There we were. Our small groups simply weren’t “working.”
Sure, there were weeks when leaders felt great about what they preached. It was usually the week when the same students would complain about their small group.
This is when I embarked on my grand experiment.
First I started with small group leaders. We brainstormed ideas and got their frustrations on the table.
It’s messy. It’s not easy. As students share more and more I see the pain that is so deep. Many of them have already experienced abandonment, abuse and loss at such early ages. They are angry and disappointed that God has allowed this. They are sharing so much. We are loving them. Jesus is big enough for this and He’s up for the challenge.
I guess in short, the experiment is about realizing it’s ok to believe Jesus wants a generation to belong to Him totally today, and He will do the work it will take to get them there.
What do you think?
Let me know your thoughts!
I totally revamped my approach to small groups in our ministry recently.
We have tried a multitude of curriculums, ideas, books, formulas and approaches. It has been topical and as simple as opening the Bible and walking verse by verse. Still I was finding an interesting trend. Many of my students who had grown up with us still stared at me blankly when I asked the question:
“What’s your relationship with Jesus look like?”
As I started to dig deeper, I learned some things about my students:
What did this mean for my students?
What did this mean for my small group leaders?
(In a discussion with one leader recently she actually used the words, “Just let me talk to them more, I can save them.”)
Ouch! This was becoming a lose/lose for everyone. No one felt heard or understood even when the “heart” was in the right place.
So I sat down, prayed, and decided to seek Jesus. I knew He wanted to reach these students in a way that caused them to understand His love. I knew it would take HIS salvation and moving and that I wouldn’t fine a “formula” to put into action.
So what did I do? Tune in tomorrow to find out how I threw my small groups on their head.
Have you noticed any of these trends with your students or leaders?
Let me know your thoughts,
My 8th grade small group last night, by the numbers:
– Students present: 14
– Leaders absent: 1
– Overwhelmed leaders present: 1 (yours truly)
– Oreo cookies consumed: 71
– Hamster Eulogies performed: 2
– References to cute girls: 9
– Shirtless wrestling matches: 3
– Boys locked into bathroom: 1
– Pairs of dirty socks worn as mittens: 1
– Unsuspecting faces rubbed by “mittens”: 11
– Prayer requests: 9
– Reports of answered prayer: 1
– Rounds of “chat or challenge”: 6
– Minutes of quality Bible discussion: 13
– Minutes of less-than-quality Bible discussion: 21
– Prayers of thankfulness for being allowed to work with JH guys by leaders on way home: 1
Thanks for being there for your students,