the_basics_video_curriculum

I’m excited to let you know about a new resource that Simply Youth Ministry and I will release next week – The Basics: Foundations for Your Faith is a new 4-week DVD curriculum for small groups. It might be a good series for a new believer’s class as well. Here’s a little blurb from the official description:

The best coaches, the most effective teachers, and the strongest leaders all know this truth: If you want to build something that endures, you have to start with the basics.

That idea applies to our spiritual journey, too. The Basics will help students explore, discuss, and apply some of the core truths of the Christian faith. The truths in this series aren’t called “basic” because they’re childish or simplistic; they’re “basic” because they’re foundational and essential to leading a life that honors God.

Each week, your teenagers will explore key Scriptures that relate to these topics, discuss the significance of each biblical truth, and consider how it relates to their lives today.

The Basics is ideal for students who have recently become Christ-followers or for teenagers who are exploring the claims and truths of the Christian faith—but students who’ve been followers of Jesus for years will benefit, too.

You can order it right here!

JG

I have been having discussions with my team lately about what ways we can make our ministry have more impact for less work. Where can we find some little things or create some little things to really help our students think more about their faith.

Shortly after talking about this with my wife came an email asking for me to be a summer camp staff reference. Within that reference they ask me about the students spiritual life. That’s when it hit me, what if I turned this into a time of talking with each one of my students who wants to work at camp.

This began my new criteria for each of my students asking me to be a reference. When that reference has something to do with faith, I sit down and ask them three questions:

  • How do you think your spiritual life is going right now?
  • What are some ways you can start to improve it? (this is the step where I can encourage and hold them accountable)
  • What do you hope to learn this summer at camp?

The cool thing is every student has been willing to answer this for me. Some of them might take a day or two to reflect on it and get back to me, others already know exactly how they are doing in their journey with Christ. The really awesome opportunity that has presented itself through this is that I get to talk one-on-one with each student who asks me to be a reference, pray with them, and then hold them accountable with some encouragement.

What are some ways that you are trying to make big impact with small movements?

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.



Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr Day, a day when we reflect on the sacrifice and leadership of not just a great man; but, a powerful church leader.  Honestly, I’ve never really celebrated or reflected on what this day has meant until recently.  It’s a day that not only commemorates how this country moved forward; but, the church as well.  It’s a day that commemorates how the church was a part of a great movement.

Your youth ministry isn’t just a program, activity or a club, it’s a movement.  It’s easy to forget how much of an impact your ministry can have on the community.  You get lost in the details of meetings, paperwork and disappointment.  For us it’s hard enough to:

  • Write A Talk
  • Plan A Game
  • Show A Video
  • Serve Pizza

For us to challenge, encourage and commission your teens to go out and change the world is exhausing.  Sometimes it’s not just about what you say; but, what you do.  So how do you, in the midst of the business, transfer your ministry into a movement?

  • Include Application: Whether it’s an activity, or a message make sure that there is an action step for you teens to take.  Give them a vision so that they are inspired and the steps that will take them there.  The best action steps are tangible, clear and simple.  Once you set them up for success you will see the momentum and enthusiasm build.  They’ll realize, “I can be a part of something.”
  • Empower Through Small Groups:  It takes a lot of work to create big crowd mission trips and events.  You have to multiply your efforts which can lead to error and stress.  With small groups you put ownership on the leaders who will empower their 6-8 students.  Once you get one group going, you can use them as an example and inspiration to get the other moving.
  • Partner With The Community: While working in the trenches and sitting with the students is important, a youth minister needs to be working with schools, community organizations and local businesses to really increase influence.  Sometimes change happens by working within the systems.  As a youth leader that means looking at yourself a community partner.

There are times when youth ministries just need to sit back, relax and have fun; however, in the end it needs to also move.  A youth ministry that moves is one that creates change.  A youth ministry that moves is one that grows.  Next time you feel the ministry is growing stale or mundane, ask yourself, “Where does this need to move?”

How do you make your ministry a movement?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)

Our high school ministry does really well with funny videos and usually comes up with some pretty strong programming bits for our youth group services. What I like about this video is that is sets up the students’ sharing time so well. Good stuff!

JG



Here’s a little video made to help support the message of the Life Groups: STORIES weekend. Good, clean promotion and shows the impact a great leader and group can have on your life!

JG

stories_life_groups

Weekend Teaching Series: Life Group: STORIES (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: Real-life stories where Christian Community makes a huge difference.
Service Length: 68 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we continued a regular 1-off we do on occasion called STORIES. Students share their life and faith on stage in front of their peers – the idea started a couple years ago and has been so successful we now have a Stories weekend every 4-5 months. This time the stories all focused on the power of Christian community, and we tied it into a mid-year push to join a Life Group as well. Really powerful stories of how God has used students, leaders and groups for His glory!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week the program was very straightforward – lots of student stories, some strong video content and great music. Not a whole lot of extra programming, but really well put together and powerful.

Music Playlist: Break Free, Always, Grace, Everything, Christ in Me

Favorite Moment: I loved the last song and how it tied into the message so well. “Let my story lift you high.” So strong – LOVE it when students share their faith on stage.

Up next: You Are Here [What On Earth Am I Here For? Campaign] (series premiere, week 1 of 6)




Andrew suggested this week’s poll question: when and where do your small groups meet? Would love to know what you’re doing and help others get an idea about what’s out there, too! In my current ministry we have small groups during the week, unattached to a program. How about you? Vote now!

JG

Why Small Groups Last

 —  December 20, 2012 — 1 Comment

As my small group of high school guys entered into their junior year of high school I remember feeling a little anxiety.  Typically this is the year that small groups are tested because of the amount of distractions and obstacles the students face.  Teens are beginning to think about college, and classes are more intense.  For many of them they are making the varsity team which means a different commitment.  Some of them are looking to get their driver’s license, which means they have a little more freedom and a little less accountability to show up from their parents.  As the teens get older, their commitment to the group is tested.

But, there are those groups that last.  There are those groups that not only stay strong; but, withstand the transitions of seasons.  Why is that?  Is it the leader? The teens?  While those are huge factors there are a few steps every leader should take to ensure their small groups last through the years.  Those steps are:

Communicating Consistently – Your group needs to hear your voice more than just at the weekly gatherings.  Check-in with them during the week.  Talk with their parents.  Make your relationship with them consistent.  Communicating consistently helps you become a regular voice in their life.  Whether it’s an invitation to join group each week or a shout out on Twitter, letting them know you’re invested will go far.

Meeting Outside The Usual – On top of your weekly gatherings try to get together for a mission project or fellowship gathering.  It’s easy to forget how hard it is for these teens to find healthy social opportunities.  By getting them together outside of the small group you turn it from a “church” thing into a life group.

Connecting One On One – It might be a challenge, but when you can meet one on one with your teens you begin to understand the dynamics of the group.  This helps you lead discussions in your group in a way that promotes depth.  The teens will feel like you know them personally because of your private conversations.  It will encourage them to open up in ways they couldn’t have before.

Setting Goals And Vision – Every church needs goals and vision.  Doesn’t matter if it’s thousands of people or half a dozen, without vision the people will perish.  Your small group needs goals and vision to grow and go deeper.  It allows the group to go from a social hour into something lasting.

Leading a small group is an investment.  It will be tested; however, by getting to know each individual and challenging them with different opportunities, the group will strengthen.

How do you strengthen your small groups?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)