Just finished reading a pre-release copy of Darren Sutton’s new book, Everyone is Called to Youth Ministry (releases tomorrow). It is a great book with a simple premise that in reality is a great resource to challenge you to think creatively how to attract, recruit, train and encourage volunteers in your youth ministry. Excited for you to check out this new resource from LeadersTreks!

If you’re a full time youth worker, you have a lot on your plate. Parent meetings, planning a calendar, budgets, teaching, big events, small groups, keeping your senior pastor in the loop, and oh yeah, building relationships with students. Even if you had multiple people teaming up to take on all the responsibilities of the youth ministry, you still would not be able to get everything done. You need a team, but often building that team seems impossible.

In this bold new look at recruiting and training quality adult staff and volunteers, Darren Sutton challenges our thinking on who is called to serve in the youth ministry. Hint: it’s everyone. Darren’s humor will draw you in, and his wisdom and experience in youth ministry will challenge your perspectives on who to recruit and how to train them. This book will help you look everywhere for adults who can passionately serve in youth ministry. After all, everyone’s called to youth ministry…they just don’t know it yet.

JG

This week we’re talking volunteers! A key part of any youth ministry is the leadership team. If you’re doing ministry all alone, you’re going to bottleneck growth or burn out—take time to build a great team and you’ll never regret it.

But building a great team can be a big challenge! Today we’re going to blast out a few bullet points that we think will help you surround yourself with a great group of like-minded youth workers:

Recruit Well
• Ask God to lead you to the right people within your church.
• Look for key places to find people—men’s/women’s Bible study groups, the college ministry, leaders moving up with their younger students, etc.
• Resist the urge to just make a blanket announcement; you’ll get “zeros” who will hurt you in the long haul or “heroes” who are already volunteering for everything and are overcommitted.
• If you have a red flag at any point in the process, pass on that person. Better to have a difficult conversation before than have to clean up a mess after.

Place Well
• In part of your interview, talk through their passions and gifting.
• Personality plays a big role in success of using volunteers well. Factor in personality.
• Place people based on their available time; if someone is stretching to be a small group leader, it might be too much commitment and you might want to suggest another role.
• Finally, place them according to their gifts and availability…not according to your needs!

Train Well
• Prepare your people for common challenges they will encounter in their role serving students.
• Promise (and deliver on that promise when necessary) that you’ll be there when they face something they don’t feel super prepared for.
• Resource them with articles, books, and back-pocket guides to help them group as a leader.

Encourage Well
• Remember their birthdays, send encouraging notes, etc.
• Be present when you speak to them; pouring into them is, by extension, pouring into your students.
• Gather regularly for celebration, training, and story-telling.

What else needs to be done well in order to build a great team? Add your thoughts!

This post was written by Josh Griffin and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.



Yesterday my friend Matt McGill was talking about delegation to volunteer youth leaders and said something that really stuck with me:  you need to delegate until it stings. Love it!

  • Delegate: when you could do it better
  • Delegate: when you know someone will fail and need coaching
  • Delegate: when it is easier to just do it yourself
  • Delegate: the little stuff
  • Delegate: the big stuff
  • Delegate: the things you’re not good at
  • Delegate: the things you’re the best at
  • Delegate: the things you love
  • Delegate: the things you hate
  • Delegate: something that will really challenge/develop the other person
  • Delegate: until it stings

JG

Today’s Deal of the Day from Simply Youth Ministry is the Volunteer’s Back Pocket Guide to Sex by Craig Gross. Until midnight tonight it is just $2.99 – and a great resource to get in the hands of your team as they talk about God’s plan for their sex life.

Teenagers live in a sex-saturated world. And for many of them, sex has become a purely physical act, fully divorced from spirituality, love, and commitment. Sex, pornography, and “hooking up” are all met with the same response: “It’s no big deal.”

Too many of our students don’t know where to turn to learn about sex, leaving many feeling confused, fearful, and alone. Teenagers who struggle with sexual addiction or unhealthy patterns don’t know how to find freedom and healing from the choices they’ve made, and they’re afraid the church will label them as perverts if they’re open and honest about their deepest struggles.

But amidst these sobering realities, there is good news: Youth workers are on the front lines of the battle to shape, challenge, and encourage teenagers toward sexual wholeness and purity. The Volunteer’s Back Pocket Guide to Sex will help you as you aid students in navigating a path that honestly addresses all the challenges they might face, while honoring God along the way.

Authors Craig Gross—founder of XXXchurch.com—and Cris Clapp Logan—an Internet safety expert, artist, and writer—don’t sugarcoat the realities, and they don’t hold back in bluntly, honestly tackling the toughest topics, including pornography, sexuality, masturbation, and purity. Using God’s truth as the foundation for the conversation, they’ll equip you with practical information and powerful strategies to help you become a volunteer youth worker who helps teenagers live wisely and walk in freedom!

JG



The gang over at LeaderTreks just released a new free volunteer training lesson today to help your volunteers understand the purpose of your youth ministry.

Square One gives you the opportunity to talk to your adult volunteer about youth ministry basics that we often forget. Purpose, structure, strong teaching and building intentional relationships can make your youth ministry great. LeaderTreks has developed these short 30-45 minute training downloads to help you in this process.

This free lesson, The Purpose of Youth Ministry, will help your adults have a correct view of youth ministry. Many adult volunteers think youth ministry is the ministry of the church to students when in reality youth ministry is the ministry of students to their world.

JG

What makes a great small group discussion for you?  Is it the teens consistently talking?  Is it about controversial debates?  Is it one teen opening up about a huge issue in their life?  What makes a great small group discussion will differ from person to person; however, if what you are talking about isn’t bringing the group closer together and to Christ you might want to rethink structure and content.

While you can’t force deep and engaging conversation there are things you can do to create a framework that will make them possible.

Some of those factors are:

Preparing Your Team In Advance – Not that conversations need to be orchestrated; however, if you want teens to go deeper in certain areas of their faith you need to create a path to lead them down.  This means preparing your small group ministers to lead them.  Get them the questions out early enough, make sure they don’t have any questions and give them resources to widen their knowledge of the subject.

Setting Up The Right Environment – If teens are uncomfortable they’ll be distracted from engaging in conversation.  Make sure the room is clean, comfortable and set up for engaging conversation.

Embracing Silence – If it’s a heavy subject give them the time to process the question.  The tendency is to blow through the questions because silence is awkward; however, you might be cutting off a thought, question or idea that will move the discussion to a deeper level.

Gauging The Mood – It might not be the right night to talk about certain subjects; therefore, don’t force it.  If there is pushback on a subject ask the teens, “Why?” if they aren’t ready to talk about it, then have the conversation move to something they want to discuss.  By gauging the mood you are showing them that you care about what’s on their heart and mind.

Great discussions are ones that move us into a deeper relationship with one another.  However, don’t get frustrated if every small group isn’t profound and deep.  There are going to be times when you are amazed by what comes forth and others when you feel like a failure.  Small groups need to be organic, which means growth.  But a small group that grows through discussion is one that will strengthen and last.

What else can create great discussion in small group?

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.



You know these daily deals go fast – last month’s big sale sold out in 4 hours! Get in on this one quick if you’re interested. A solid resource to put in the hands of your volunteers or small group leaders to equip them to handle the tough stuff students throw their way. Half price today only!

JG

As student minister’s one thing we have to always strive for is to be a perpetual student of our craft. We can never know too much about youth ministry. This is one thing that I defiantly do not have a problem with. No matter what I have done in my life I always threw myself into it full force. When I played drums in band in high school I studied, not only in school, but on my own. I listen to instructional by well known drummers at the time, I went to drum clinics, and dissected drums solos by popular drummers. When I joined the Army as a Military Police officer, I took baton instructor classes, correspondence courses, and unarmed self defense training. As youth ministers we must constantly be students of our own art. How do we do that? Here are some quick sources for training!

1: The Bible: I know I know, you’ve heard it a million times but that doesn’t make it any less true. The better your relationship with God the better off your ministry is.

2: Blogs: The cheapest form of training out there! Find a youth ministry mentor such as Josh Griffin at morethandodgeball.com, Doug Fields’ Blog, Stephanie Caro’s blog, or even my own at lifeintheymfishbowl.com. Want find great ideas to try? Read a blog. Want training on ideas to help grow your youth group? Read a Blog. Also there are non blog websites out there that are great. One I love is youthministry.com. Great articles and great ideas.

3: Certificates: Many colleges offer online youth minister training for a small price. Plus you get a handy certificate to hang up on the wall. Another place to check out is youthsphere.tv. This site offers a great certificate and great training under the giants of youth ministry. Use promo code MTDB for 10% off, too!

4: Group Magazine: Some of the best youth ministry ideas delivered to your door once every two months. Nuff said!

5: Other youth ministers: Your local youth minister’s network is a great source of training. You can pick up great life lessons while sitting down for a cup of coffee.

6: Youth Minister’s support networks: many denominations offer great youth minister support networks who can offer great advice and ideas.

7: Conferences: I’ve often heard conferences called the poor man’s seminary. That’s about the truth. With SYMC coming up you have the option of the large conference and it’s many options but also don’t over look the smaller local conferences that are out there, if money is an issue.

8: College: This option is not for everyone, but if you feel like God is calling you for a deeper commitment this is a great option. I’m currently enrolled online for a degree with a Student Ministry emphasis. There are many great colleges that offer Youth Ministry Masters degrees also many Seminaries that offer degrees with youth ministry minors.

9: Books: Some of the best training I’ve ever received was through two books, “Purpose Driven Youth Ministry” and “My First Two Years in Youth Ministry” both by Doug Fields. Books are the best way to glean ideas from well renowned youth ministers. Not just Doug but many giants of youth ministry have published books that are great training resources.

10: Last but not least: This one may strike you as odd…..your senior pastor. I know your thinking “He did not just say I could get training from the old man/woman” Yep I went there! Some of our senior pastors were youth ministers once. They can be great resources for ideas and wonderful sounding blocks. I was thinking about revamping our “Sunday School” class and asked our senior pastor what he thought. Low and behold we had the same idea and he had many small details that I hadn’t pondered.

If you look around there are many great resources out there for youth ministers to learn from. We really have no excuse to not stay on top of our game. You owe it to you church, your kids, and yourself to be the most well trained youth minister you can be.

Kevin Patterson is the youth pastor at Dawson Springs First Baptist Church in Dawson Spring, KY. Be sure to check out http://www.lifeintheymfishbowl.blogspot.com/ to regularly get in on his learnings, too!