Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 11.39.21 AMIn just a few months, there will be a bunch of college students graduating and entering what they’ve learned to be “the real world.” As leaders in the Church, we have a responsibility here. We have a role to play in helping our students live out the things they understand spiritually in the marketplace.

Here are 3 conversation topics I think we should be addressing with these individuals:

  1. Work ethic speaks.  The things we do or say will speak of something or somebody. The bottom line is our words and actions are telling of many things. That to say, over time, we give a testimony of something. Colossians 3:17 says that everything we do or say is to speak of Jesus. They will want to make sure they are heard in their workplace, but they really should be more focused on their actions of hard work and loyalty speaking for them…and speaking of the character of Jesus.
  2. Humility is critical.  The bottom line is employers are often frustrated with the arrogance of college grads. Yes, they have a lot to offer a company, but they will need to earn the right to be heard through their hard work.  They should only expect to have a voice after they have listened and followed directions for an extended amount of time. Humility will speak louder than arrogant entitlement.
  3. Christian community still matters.  Our role is to help them remain engaged in Christian community. This community will look different for them in this next phase of life, but it’s just as important – if not more. They will need your help engaging with other who are also seeking to live out their Christian identity in the marketplace. How you will help them do this is a VITAL conversation to have.

Thanks for loving college students,

Chuck

@chuckbomar

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Got a chance to share just briefly at the close of the college service last week – our college pastor and his right-hand man are both stepping down and into other leadership positions in and out of the church. My heart was to reassure the students present that everything was going to be OK. I just shared a few words but heard enough comments about it I wanted to post a few of them here as well in case they were helpful to someone else who is helping to navigate transition:

It is OK to leave a church. When God speaks, we listen. When He moves, we follow. In this case it is an incredible example how to leave well. To leave a legacy. So awesome. And with the same clarity we’re excited for God speaking and moving these guys FROM our college ministry, I’m excited about how God has been moving and speaking TO the new leaders our college ministry as well. Come back next week for details on what’s ahead for us leaving.

The night was about celebrating the guys leaving, but it is equally important to reassure the faithful that God is still working and leading new leadership into place in tandem with the exit. I’m not sure what’s ahead for our college ministry, but I’m thankful that God is already leading someone to take it over!

JG



Freshmen Transition

 —  April 3, 2013 — 3 Comments

It is hard to believe that the school year is almost over! That means that it is time to say goodbye to our seniors and hello to our new freshmen! This year, we want to take Freshmen transition to a new level, so we are getting a head start on what we are going to do and how we are going to do it.

The biggest transition piece we are doing is a not-so-new event called Freshmen Frenzy. It is something that we used to do years ago, but we let it rest for a while. Each year we did Frenzy differently and, keeping with tradition, we are completely rethinking how we are going to do it this year. We are already tossing around a few ideas that include the local high schools schools, student leaders, volunteers, videos (high school survival tips, etc.), and other fun/inclusive activities to make our freshmen feel known, loved, and welcome in our ministry.

We are so excited to be at the front end of planning, what could be, one of the most important events we throw all year! We can’t be the only ones rethinking freshmen transition. So here is the question:

What is your ministry doing to transition your incoming freshmen? What worked? What didn’t work? 

Colton [Email||Twitter]

14 days until New Years Eve, Seven days until Christmas and 3 more until the end of the world (At least that’s what the Mayans say).  In the next several weeks a lot will be happening and that’s because everyone is in a season of transition.  During these times it’s so easy for a youth ministry to get derailed because seasons of change are messy, fast moving and crazy.

Especially during this time of year, nothing is of the usual. All of your students are away from school, some go away on vacation, while others are in the midst of midterms. Nothing is normal during a season of change.  But, when the dust settles, it’s important to keep moving as if nothing changed.  You need to keep the momentum of your ministry going.  If not, it’ll be a long winter and rough spring.  So, how does one make the transition from one season to the next?

Embrace God’s Grace: Do what you physically can do and allow God to do the rest.  It’s easy during season of change to overextend yourself.  Unfortunately, if you are depleted of all energy, there is no way to move forward without feeling burned out.  Make sure you schedule in time to sit with God, even if it’s just five minutes a day.  It’s essential that it’s scheduled in.

Pass On Future Tasks: During times of transition it’s easy to get focused on the now and forget what’s coming up.  Before you get in the midst of the chaos pass off future responsibilities to volunteers or coworkers.  Doesn’t matter if it’s as simple as stapling paper, just get it off your plate so that you can do what only you can do.  When the chaos settles down you can walk into the next because everything has been prepped.

Write Down Goals: Make a check-list of tasks that need to be done.  When you get moving it’s easy to overlook simple tasks and responsibilities.  Each day check that list several times and use it as a way of measuring your progress.  Celebrate each time you eliminate an item and then move forward.

Sleep, Rest and Sleep: As hard as it might seem try to get as much sleep and rest as possible.  During times of high stress it’s tempting to resort to staying up late, eating, and other bad habits that will slow you down.  You need to maintain your energy; therefore, with the free time you do have, take it to refuel and refresh.

Transitions and seasons of change can be difficult; however, with a healthy pace and focus you’ll make it through.  Build a system, don’t be afraid to rely on others and above all else know that God is walking with you.

How do you move through seasons of transition and chaos?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)



Over the past few months I have been wrestling with a few ideas about bridging the gap between youth and life out of high school. Our experience has not been as bleak as what many studies show about the number of students leaving the Church and their faith behind after high school but it is still a concern. Part of my wrestle is that the jump from Youth to Young adults is often pretty substantial in style and values even in the same Church. Over the past few years a trend that has begun to happen in the Vancouver area where I live is combining Youth and Young Adults into the same group encompassing grade 8 to age 23.

At first it seems crazy having that large of a spread of young people in the same room, but I have visited the groups and it is actually a really healthy environment. If you think these are small Churches with limited resources, it is just not the case. One of the Churches is around 1000 people and the other around 2500 and both are thriving with this organization. Students are making the jump more seamlessly after high school, becoming leaders and staying connected to the Church in a meaningful way. They have events outside of their weekly gather for specific age groups throughout the year and one of them breaks their summer camp up into 3 age groups as well. I am no there yet, but could be convinced to combine resources to develop one ministry of HS and College.

It seems to be working really well here, but have you tried it? Seen it done? What do you think?

If you want to check out the groups you can right here:

Relate Church  www.relategeneration.ca

CLA Church www.therevolutionmovement.com

-Geoff (Twitter)

 


Random question today – just wondering how long you’ve been in your current youth worker position at your church. Would love for you to participate – wondering if the average snapshot here will exceed the much-maligned statistic about 9 months before we move on to the next church. Vote now!

JG



This month I got to contribute another Slant33 article on the topic of leaving a youth ministry. There are a couple of great responses to the question, wise words from Tash McGill and Ian McDonald. Here’s a clip of what I shared there as well:

Leave at the right time. It isn’t always possible, but leaving at a natural break is best. The end of summer is ideal but not always possible. But even more than leaving at the right time in the calendar, pray through leaving at the right time in the church culture as well. Stay too long after you know you’re done, and it’ll be painfully obvious. Leave too soon, and you’ll blindside people.

Make the transition short. I understand the need for a transition time to help prepare students or ensure a peaceful exchange of leadership, but there’s nothing worse than a lame duck who is out but still in. Pray through the timing of your announcement and the timing of your last day. Typically I wouldn’t put these more than a month or two apart at the most.

JG

At anytime there are Churches all over the world in the process of searching for a lead pastor or recovering from the departure of the last one. It’s not an easy place to be, but the statistics would say that many of you reading this have been through this or are in the middle of it right now. I am currently entering the 15th month in my church without a lead pastor and it has been a challenging season for sure, but I thought it might be helpful to share about the good and bad of a time that each of us will likely face at some point. For some, this transition period is healthy, and the successor simply steps into place taking the baton and running with it but many on the other hand are sudden departures, with no one to fill the position in the wings and it is these transitions that are the most challenging and painful, mine has been the latter.

The obvious challenge of being leaderless has been a loss in momentum of the Church as despite the effort of our team, losing the “face” of the Church has meant a partial loss of identity and we have spent many months trying to regain lost momentum. For us loss of momentum came with a noticeable migration of attendance and the subsequent drop of in giving. It was not long before budgets tightened and decisions became tougher to make.

There have been staff casualties; hours cut back, positions not filled after departures increasing the amount of work to be shouldered by a decreasing number of people. In the midst of these challenges and growing collateral damage of the reality of Pastoral transition, I am thankful that of all the groups in the Church, our students have remained almost unaffected by the process. Even as parents decide to move churches, students have remained where their friends are.

While the youth have remained fairly unscathed, the same cannot be said for their volunteer leaders and quite frankly myself. It has been very challenging to lead in this uncertain time, with no clear voice or vision to execute; it has taken a great amount of patience and trust in the Lord believing that there are better days ahead. I have had to manage my expectations of what decisions can and will be made in the past 14 months. Even changing obviously broken systems is not easy in with out a leader.

Much of what has changed in the past months has been incremental as stability is often the focus in times like this, and thus a young, passionate leader can become frustrated when we have to put a pause on new initiatives and programs for an indefinite period of time. For some churches it could be 6 months to find a new leader, for us we are going to be 16-20 months at a minimum.

In the midst of a growing portfolio of work, I have had to remind myself that my first priority is my students, their spiritual growth and shepherding. When I look at the relative health that has remained in the youth group, I am actually excited because I am deeply convicted that from this health is an opportunity to shape the future of our church and to be an encouragement in a discouraging time.

Working in a Church without a lead pastor is challenging to say the least, its often difficult, and could seem like a logical place to jump ship. But please, please, please consider what you have been called to. Like a marriage, I chose to work at my Church in sickness and in health and it is not until the moment I am called away that I would even consider leaving no matter how challenging the circumstances.

Chances are each of you will experience a time of lead pastoral transition, I pray for you that it is not as long as ours. Stick with it, trust the He has better days in store for your Church. The workload may seem like too much and the road too tough, stick with it and serve the Church. The refining process for lack of a better word stinks, you feel overwhelmed with work, disheartened by declining attendance and longing for the day when the right leader arrives and takes the reigns. In the mean time, I have to stay faithful and love my students, my Church and focus on doing what I can to lead well in a challenging season of ministry.

PS – If you are in the midst of this and want to chat sometime, email me! We are in this together geoffs@peaceportalalliance.com

-Geoff (Twitter)