Last week’s poll was interesting and made me want to do a follow-up on the same subject. Spending time with Jesus every day is certainly a discipline, one that apparently many of us are faking or failing at. Vote today and help share some insight into why!

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.



After two years of youth ministry I felt like I got in a groove.  I knew my roles and responsibilities.  I wasn’t shocked when a parent addressed a concern with emotion.  I was comfortable asking others to get involved; life was good.  Then five years rolled by and everything started to click.  I felt like I understood systems and structures.  I was okay with droughts in creativity and multitasking.

As each year ticks by your level of confidence as a youth minister will grow.  And that’s because with each year you gain experiential wisdom.  It’s priceless and so beneficial; however, it alone will not take your youth ministry to the next level.  There are going to be opportunities that you need to take advantage of that will launch you to the next level.

These opportunities are like launching pads.  You focus on them, you make them a part of your mantra and they take you to the next level.  Three of those launching pads are:

Spiritual Accountability – On a daily basis you are pouring into others.  Whether it’s teenagers, their parents or your own team, you are draining yourself continuously.  While we know the source for replenishment lies with God, we need men and women who are going to help us out.  Three ways you should embrace spiritual accountability are through an Adult Small Group and One on One Spiritual Direction.  You need people reminding you to trust in the Lord, because without Him nothing is possible.

Embrace Risk – Taking chances is a habit that many of us need to embrace.  It’s not about being clumsy or careless, taking risk means getting over our fears to do something big.  To embrace risk properly you need to Trust in God, Gather Insight and Lean Into The Tension. Granted it might be scary; however, people will want to follow you, because they’ll see your courage.  People want a leader who isn’t afraid to fail and will do what it takes to succeed.

Collaborate With Peers – If you aren’t working and networking with other youth ministers than you are traveling a very lonely road.  When you can network with peers in youth ministry you open yourself up to some awesome ideas.  You give yourself the opportunity to learn, think outside the box and problem solve with a new perspective.  When you work with the other guys, they’ll show you how to get to the next level.  Three places to collaborate are Through Social Media, Over A Cup Of Coffee and Attending Conferences.  Get together with others.

It’s important to ask yourself the question, “How can I continue to grow as a professional youth minister?” When you utilize the right launching pads you answer that question.

What other opportunities can we embrace to take youth ministry to the next level?

Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more great youth ministry articles and thoughts on his exceptional blog Marathon Youth Ministry.

In my first few years as a youth pastor I keenly remember a faithful student named Scott. He was the child of a single parent, and like many students he struggled as a result of not having a father figure at home. I was like a father to Scott, and he looked at me the same. I was a voice of encouragement that took pride in his efforts and successes. He required extra care and time and in many cases grace as they things you would expect that he know were not fair to assume.

So many students are fatherless, motherless, spiritually orphaned or from a home that claims to be rich in their spiritual lives but in actuality is bankrupt. Your encouragement to them, your willingness to pray for them, to value their opinion and to be a good role model to them can make a world of difference. Don’t take lightly the fact that you are the best example of a man or a woman in their lives and that can have lasting implications on who they become and eventually marry.

It is for these students that we need to remind them often that in the midst of a void in the area of an earthly father that there is a heavenly father and He is the father to fatherless. While pointing our students to Him, you need to know that these are the students that need more of your time; they crave it to know that they are acceptable and loved. This is an incredible opportunity to show these students who Jesus is and what He is about and I challenged to seek out these students and make time for them.

4 quick takeaway points to think about today as you youth pastor-parent:

  • Think like a parent — What are the needs of that student? If they were my son or daughter, what would I say or do. Be that spiritual voice of truth like they were your own kid.
  • Share your pride of your students — Tell them you are proud of them and why. Notice the little things they say and do. Balance correction and hard truth with lavish and genuine praise.
  • Remind them that they are loved — By God, by your leaders, by you.
  • Be a solid role model — You might be the best image of what a man or a woman is to them.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. -Psalm 68:5

JG