The Bionic Teenager?

Tony Myles —  August 1, 2013 — 6 Comments

I sat in a planning meeting today with several caring local professionals. They hope to host a youth summit in our area, and our conversation eventually centered on the desired outcomes of the conference. We began brainstorming  what we want to see happen in the students involved. In other words, “Who will they ultimately be when they leave this event because they were a part of it?”

After several minutes on that line of thinking, I raised my hand and offered an observation:

“It feels like we’re trying to create a bionic teenager. I don’t know if everyone remembers that old TV show the Six Million Dollar Man, but there was this concept in its opening theme that it feels like we’re sharing here – that we have the means to make students better than they were before… ‘better, stronger, faster.’

I think everything we’ve talked about are great values for kids to grow into, but if I were to force this on my own son he’d feel immense pressure because he can’t get there overnight (let alone consistently). Maybe we need to include the values of ‘rest’ and ‘journey’ somehow? Students can take steps this way, but they may need to intentionally pause along the way and take stock of their progress so they don’t crash because they feel they’re not yet perfect.”

My thoughts were met with enthusiasm, not to mention a lot of affirmation. I felt like I’d made a real contribution to the discussion.

Only…

praiseI wondered how often I’ve not had that thought in ministry. Maybe you can identify:

  • “Once kids go on this trip, their hearts will be forever transformed for Jesus.”
  • “If I can only get that student baptized, then he/she will become a role model to the others.”
  • “The more often students are consistent with youth group attendance, the more consistent they’ll be with Jesus.”
  • “They have to start (reading the Bible/praying/fasting/tithing/singing) more if they hope to have a real breakthrough.”

Even just writing those made me realize how absurd they all are.

And yet… don’t thoughts like that creep into your head and planning, too?

The thing about bionics is that something unnatural was added to appear natural.

Hmm. Is that the end?

What do you think is reasonable and unreasonable to expect in these matters?

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Yes, yes, I know. This is way too good to be true… but it is! For today only you can get The Simple Truth Bible for just 5 presidential flash cards.

That’s a mere penny per devotional for the priceless result of helping your students grow closer to Jesus!

Doesn’t get better than that folks. Today is the only day for the $5 Simple Truth Bible deal so be sure to get ‘em while they’re hot! *Order now here*

We love you guys! Keep on keepin on.

- Amber Cassady aka The new girl aka AC



Youth Leaders, inspire your students to be part of something amazing…

This spring, your students can serve people in need at the Big Day of Serving….a nationwide tour of “day of service” events created just for students. Christian teens in local communities unite to serve and transform neighborhoods in need. You’re receiving this email because there’s an event in a town near you.

Bring your students and watch them discover the joy of serving in their own community. They’ll paint, tackle minor home repairs, clean city blocks and parks, landscape, and more. Expect a high-energy, Jesus-centered event where your students discover their actions truly can make a difference in the world.

BDOS 4c Logo

Sign up today for an event near you!

Check out all the Big Day of Serving Locations here.

So much of youth ministry seems to be about what “not” to do. Don’t spill Kool-Aid on the carpet. Don’t play games in the sanctuary. Don’t get on the wrong side of this committee or board. Don’t do this. Don’t do that…

The following post by Josh Griffin (with help from Kurt Johnston) does a good job of focusing on what we should “do” in ministry. The post is from Josh’s blog, More Than Dodgeball, and was originally part of the Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter.

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Youth Minsitry Do’s

More Than Dodgeball and SYM Today are great idea resources for you. I encourage you to check them out as often as you can.

 

 



change-is-the-only-constant

Change is one of the only things that is always present in our work with Group Mission Trips. I’ve had at least 6 job titles in my 11 years working with this ministry. I can’t tell you how many different job descriptions I’ve had during that time. We’ve gone from doing only one kind of mission trip, Workcamps, to 3 different mission trips (Week of Hope & Lifetree Adventures) and a single-day of service youth event (The Big Day of Serving). Things have changed from a single team of people focused exclusively on organizing and supporting mission trips to combining forces with our partners Group Youth Ministry/Simply Youth Ministry to help bring everything we can to support youth workers.

But…

Change is hard. Change isn’t easy. Change can cause pain. For some people change is welcome and they jump on board fast but don’t fully take stock of the potential trouble spots. For others change is difficult and they seemingly fight against it every chance they get. And many people fall in the middle of those two extremes.

It’s not any different in church ministry than in a mission organization. How you manage change is just as important and dreaming and thinking of the change. Here’s three great ideas for managing change in your ministry:

  1. Make sure everyone involved in the change is part of the process. One member of out team is constantly preaching the message of communication to the rest of us. And he’s right! Especially when it comes to change. You cannot communicate enough. Before the change is even finalized. When you announce the change. While the change is being implemented. After the change is now the new normal Communicate And the biggest part of communicating – listening. Listen to what people are saying. And try to hear what they are not saying. Involving everyone will help to give people a chance to make the change theirs.
  2. Help people understand how the change will benefit them. In every change there are good things for everyone. New opportunities. New ideas. New responsibilities. New working relationships. New results to shoot for.  New And new can be very unnerving unless you help people know what is in it for them. Even in ministry, your team will want to know how this change will benefit. Them as an individual. The ministry as a whole. The youth who area  part of your ministry. Giving everyone an understanding of how the change is good will go a long way to navigating the process of implementing the change.
  3. Regardless of how good a change is, someone will be negatively affected – at least in their mind. Seek those people out. If a team is getting a new role in the ministry because of the change, spend time with them as they adjust. If it means there isn’t a spot for someone, give the the space and time to grieve the loss and give them your time to process. If possible, implement change in stages or steps so that those affected the most have time to adjust. If the change you are implementing has a bunch of negatives (even small ones), spacing out the change will allow those most affected to move through the process with grace.

Change isn’t always easy (I know) but it can be incredibly good. Keep these steps in mind the next time your team and ministry go through change.

http://vimeo.com/32275339

A buddy told me about some success he was having in his spiritual life using a new service called goTandem. It isn’t simple to explain, so I put the video above in this post to show you more. Seems like should be some good uses for this in youth ministry. Just throwing it out there – looks interesting!

JG



Starting this Friday you’ll be able to see pretty much every member of the Group Mission Trips team at SYMC in Indy. We’re helping in tons of different ways at the conference. There will be members of the GMT team checking you in when you arrive, helping with getting the general sessions ready, working in the resource area, and well… I can’t remember everywhere else.

Toby Rowe and I will be leading several workshops as well. If these topics interest you, we’d love to have to participate in one of these.

Saturday afternoon – “Using Service to Create a Servant’s Heart”

Sunday afternoon – “Making the Most of Your Mission Trip”

Monday morning – “Fundraising for the Big Event”

In addition to all this, you will not want to miss Toby (and a bunch of us) on Sunday Late Night after the general session! He’ll be leading “Games We Never Should’ve Done”. It’s going to be a fun crazy time of reliving some of our best “mistakes” from all our years of Mission Trips and giving other youth ministry vets a chance to share theirs.  It will be a night you won’t soon forget.

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If you’re not registered yet for SYMC, it’s not too late. We are nearly Sold Out but we are not there yet. There is room for you. Go here to register.

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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