Thought this little video from YS was clever and rereshing today – youth ministry bootcamp!

JG

SYMC

I’m beyond excited to hang out with youth workers at the Simply Youth MInistry Conference this year in Louisville – I’m actually taking our high school team along with on the trip and think it is going to be game-changing for our ministry.

Want to join us? Killer lineup, including Francis Chan, Derwin Gray, Jon Acuff, Shane & Shane, Jeremy Camp and 77 more speakers, musicians and mentors. Couldn’t be more excited! The Early Bird rate expires on October 31 so get in now!

JG



In thirty years of youth ministry, I can honestly say I’ve tried every recruiting style possible. Take a look at these four fall-back recruiting approaches:

The “Cruise Director
‘Come join the youth team! Free trips, free food, hotels, fun and you’ll have a great time! No, you won’t have to chaperone at lock-ins!’”

The “Beggar
‘If you don’t join come on this trip, we’ll have to cancel it and lose our $2,000 deposit. We really, really, really need you! PLEASE???????’”

The “Lone Ranger
‘Hey, great having you on the team! Here’s your job description. Thanks for doing your part. You know? Let me do that for you…the kids are used to it being done a certain way. Oh, and I’ll do that, too. Why don’t you just watch for awhile?’”

The “Do-It-Yourselfer
Building a team? What’s that? Nobody wants to volunteer so I don’t even ask.’”
See yourself here? (I’m a combo of the Cruise Director and the Lone Ranger.)

Don’t do these!

Instead, I’ve learned a little something from Jesus’ example when he put a pretty awesome team of 12 together. I call it, “The Five I’s:

Invoke: Bring the Holy Spirit into the process anything. Go somewhere and pray.

Identify: Listen for who the Spirit lifts up. Identify those people He reveals would be an asset to the team. Don’t assume anyone will say “no.”

Invite: Talk to them one-on-one and ask them to pray for a week before saying “yes” or “no.”

Initiate: Let them come and check things out; give them a peek into what you’re asking them to do.

Inform: Hand them a volunteer packet so they can make a well-informed decision. Info would include a specific job description, volunteer guidelines, a ministry covenant, program purpose statement, 12 month youth ministry calendar and something fun, like a $5 card from Starbucks to enjoy a hot cuppa while reading and praying.

That’s how I do it, anyway. Hoep this helps!

Stephanie Caro is a youth ministry blogger at Small Church Youth Ministry and has written a book on the subject you might want to check out, too.

This is the first week of HSM’s small groups all together at church! In recent years we’ve taken a few weeks before we split up into homes and walk students and leaders through the first few nights together. It gives us a chance to be relational with all of our leaders and to pour into and train them while we’re getting their groups off the ground.

So tonight I was walking all of our Life Group students through HSM’s small group commitment and covenant sheet. Earlier today I had a risky idea tied to it that I wasn’t sure would work … but it did! I wanted to illustrate the speed and the reach of gossip – and how it has no place in our small groups because of its destructive power. I sent a text message to a few students and leaders, and asked anyone if they got the message to forward it to a few other people who were in the room as well.

Did people look at their phones during the rest of the message? Occasionally, yes. But it was worth it. At the end of the challenge (which included a strong word to uphold confidentiality and fight the temptation to gossip) I asked how many of them got the message. A huge percentage of the group had already gotten the text! It had spread quietly and like wildfire through the room – I had no idea if the social networks of friends would extend to the whole room, but it sure did.

All it said was: “this is how fast and how far gossip spreads. :)

I hope it was a meaningful moment for everyone and a fresh take on the old game of “telephone” in the past.

JG



Super excited to play a part in the Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2012. Hope you’ll join us – here’s a digital version of the new SYMC2012 brochure that just was mailed out. So excited – see you in March!

JG

We’re heading into fall … which means a ton of new volunteers are going to be needed to help with your youth ministry. What a great time! Now … this is a must in today’s culture – have all of them been background checked? This is a non-negotiable for us – vote in today’s poll where your ministry fits in!

JG

UPDATE: The gang over at Simply Youth Ministry told me that SYMTools has a great solution for the youth ministry that doesn’t have background checks yet. Be sure to check out their TEAM online volunteer software – might just be perfect fit!



I love hanging out at camp and want these students to feel like this is a special place where they are free from expectations, peer pressure, or distractions (Xbox or cell phones). But while I want them to feel free to do a lot of fun and amazing things, I think a couple of times the volunteers and myself need to stand up and say no. Here are three that happened at middle school camp that I have shared with my volunteers:

Don’t Cut Girls Hair
Since we keep different cabins for the boys and girls, after 9PM I have little control over what happens in their cabin. So I received a surprise when the girls came up and each had a new haircut. At the time I chalked it up to crazy girl time that I did not understand, but when the parents saw it after we got home, I received an ear full. Apparently one of the girl’s felt pressured to do it and hated the results. At that point, it did not matter that she rededicated her life or really made some amazing connections.

Make Sure They Eat
It was not reported to us that one girl was anorexic, but at the beginning of camp she was not eating much of her meals. After sitting down with her and having he promise to eat, it did not become a problem the rest of the year. It really was not a big deal until her parents talked with us after camp. Apparently, our encouragement and non-judgmental attitudes completely removed her doubt of self-worth. Those few days back, she ate more at family meals without putting up a fight than she had in years.

Support The Parents
A lot of junk comes out at camp, in cabin time and one-on-one’s. Some of the time, those conversations lead to how much they do not feel loved by their parents or that they wish thy were around more. This is not the time to give false hope, but we want to support an uphold the family. Reminding them of good memories, love even in busyness, and sharing in what could be after camp is a perfect way to honor the parents.

Jeremy Smith is a 26-year old youth pastor at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Master”s of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years — check out his blog at Seventy8Productions.

Here’s the final few funny-but-serious rules for Summer Camp. You can view the first one here and a few others here to see the complete yet. Anything for youth ministry, right?

JG