At least that was David’s attitude as a teenager. Then he went on a Group Mission Trip and everything changed. Now, as a youth pastor, David takes his own students to serve on a Group Mission Trip every summer because he experienced the life change that happens first-hand.DaveThanepohn_youthgroup - Copy

“I was a typical teen, and I was looking forward to basketball and getting into high school. I didn’t want anything to do with God anymore, but I knew that there was a God. Then in the fall of my freshmen year, there was a new youth pastor at my church and he was taking teens to this thing called Group Workcamps. He called me up and told me that he signed me up and that I was going, then hung up the phone. I went and visited him because I was mad and couldn’t believe he would do that…I decided that I would go and help people. It seemed like the right thing to do, BUT I was not going to go to youth group or Sunday school.

So, summer came and it was time to go to Workcamp. I loved the work, and I loved helping people…God was slowly working in me all week that there was more to the work we were doing. Thursday night hit, and we were told the gospel story. It was the first time I had ever heard it in that way. I had no clue that God wanted to know me personally. He wanted to have a personal relationship with me. He sent His Son for me!! Then I heard the nails being driven in His hands, and I felt for the first time what Jesus actually did for me.

DaveThanepohn - CopyIt changed my life. I went home and became a follower of Christ…I still had my ups and downs of life, but I went from wanting to do nothing with God, Jesus, and all that came with it to being a person that is sold out for Christ. I went on to serve as a worship leader at Group Workcamps for 4 years.

My life changed from being a teen wanting to do nothing with God to an adult doing nothing but serving God…Now I am a youth pastor bringing kids just like me to Group Mission Trips.” – David Thanepohn, Yorksville, IL

When your teenagers see how God can work through them, their lives will be changed forever, much like David and his students. Picture your students bringing joy to others in need through community service and home repair mission trips. Will you join us for life change? Call an advisor today, at 1.888.644.1588 ext 2 or visit GroupMissionTrips.com for more information.

Let’s create moments of #LIFECHANGE this summer!

-Nikki

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medium21This post is focused solely on how to increase your amount of disgruntled volunteers. If you’re already doing some or all of these things then you probably already have a few. So keep it up and watch your group grow.

  1. Be vague – Only share the task. Keep the details and your expectations to yourself.
  2. Don’t communicate – Share as little information as possible. Don’t return emails and/or text in a timely fashion.
  3. Be last minute – Give your leaders no more than two days to plan or prepare to serve at your events…three days if it’s an overnighter. If your leaders want to serve, they should be ready at all times. Also, it’s ok to expect them to stay late and come in early.
  4. Only think about the project/event – Only care about how they best can serve you and never think the other way around.
  5. Don’t appreciate them – They made the choice to serve your ministry, so you’re doing them a favor by letting them. Besides who has time to say thank you anyways.
  6. Don’t train – They were once a student, so they should know what to expect and what to do.
  7. Make time for correction – Even though you may not have time to say thank you, you need to make time for correction.
  8. Don’t be an example – It’s more important that they follow what you say.
  9. Micro-manage  – Make sure you are leading your leaders step-by-step. If they are frustrated with the lack of trust you show in their ability, then you are doing your job.
  10. Don’t support – Think of volunteers as free help. Besides, they should be giving up their time serve the church. It’s what we as Christians are called to do.

If you follow these ten tips faithfully you will be on your way to having the most disgruntled group of youth workers on the planet. If you want the opposite, then do just the OPPOSITE. Any more tips out there that I may have missed?

Hope it helps,

AC

This is a great list of what NOT to do with your volunteers. Want advice on what TO DO? Check out Simply Youth Ministry’s resources for volunteers!



Thiago-nascimento-opera-background-speaker-jpg1In this episode I called on Kurt’s 25 years of youth ministry experience. Check it out!!!

Email any questions or topic suggestions to: talkyouthministry@gmail.com

Also, Don’t forget to Subscribe to get the most current episode emailed to you!!

Hope it helps,

AC & Kurt

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This past weekend I had an interesting opportunity to chaperone a trip for “another” youth group my kids are involved in. It is not one in which I am a leader in any capacity. In this setting I am a mom and a volunteer.  My eyes were opened at just HOW hard it is to be the parent/volunteer on so many levels!

For years I have avoided this position, because I wanted my kids to have someplace they could go where we are not leading everything. They get to have a “genuine”  youth group experience without Mom and Dad around. Yet, this time around I gave in. (They needed a van driver who was over 25.) Often the volunteers who tend to sign up happen to be parents of kids in our group. This experience gave me a HUGE appreciation for the parents who show up to serve.

Here is what I learned:

1.  The Youth Pastor Always Views You Through the Lens of “Your Kid.”

Let’s say you have a suggestion about the way something should go. You think it’s a great idea. It may have nothing to do with your child. Even when they listen and treat you with respect it feels like they don’t take ideas or strategies from you seriously. Why? They appear to run all ideas through a filter of, “So are you truly just trying to do this for your kid?”

2.  We Ask Questions For Clarification Not To Annoy You

I knew I wasn’t the leader, I was a volunteer. So I just wanted be clear on what was expected of me. It felt like I asked “too many” questions all the time. I wanted to be proactive, but also wanted to play by the same rules as everyone else not just think about my own kid. I realized that parent/volunteers are very aware of the two hats they are wearing. They/we ask loads of questions to ensure in this setting we are being a “good” volunteer.

JHgirlshulk3.  There Are Times When It’s Really Hard to Have Your Child in the Room

Now my kids are used to me wearing two hats. They have often seen me in situations where I am being the youth worker and then having to put on my “Mom” hat. I know many groups have the “rule” that parent volunteers don’t “teach” their own children. Still there are times when you interact with your kids. When they do things that are not acceptable you have to decide at what point you give them a “Mom” lecture. On the other hand, I had an experience this weekend where another student treated my child really poorly. If it hadn’t been to my child, I 100% would have stepped up and called the student off. However, because it was MY child, I knew the situation would have only been seen as “Mommy saving them.”  It would have made it worse. So I couldn’t do anything but watch my child navigate a hard life lesson. It was excruciating.

4.  Students Actually Like Parental Volunteers

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JH Girls with Leneita

There were several “younger” and “cooler” chaperones on this trip. It was an event where students were required to “check-in” but not spend the whole time with an adult. Somehow I ended up with a posse of 8 Junior High girls who hung with me. I kept telling them they didn’t have to. They kept sticking around. One of the girls actually whispered in my ear, “I like having a Mom around, it makes me feel taken care of.”

In the end as a parent, it made me appreciate my kids way more than I had before. My children are imperfect, quirky and sometimes difficult. Yet, I also came to appreciate the amazing qualities my kids do possess,  and they are mine. As youth people, I think we need to remember that parents who volunteer don’t HAVE to. It isn’t always so they can “spy” on what you are teaching their child or a distrust of their safety. Sometimes it just gives a mechanism to connect with our kids. The feeling that they are “growing up too fast” is overwhelming and sometimes it’s just a way to be where they are.

Just remember to love on those parents, and direct them. I think they are a great addition to any team. (That of course is strictly my biased point of view.)

What’s your thought on parent/volunteers?

Leneita / @leneitafix

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“I can run a ministry alone,” said no youth worker ever. We simply can not do everything ourselves. Yet, so many times we recruit volunteers in a way that acts like it.

Having been on both sides as a volunteer and recruiter I am more convinced than ever that there are some key ways we can shake a really great unpaid team member. (Notice… large doses of sarcasm ahead.)

Never Communicate Expectations or Just Don’t Communicate Anything Ever

This is super simple. Never tell your volunteers what you want from them, don’t reach out to them regularly and merely avoid being clear on much of anything. Along these lines, use the excuse that you are “too busy” or that you “just aren’t administrative,” when they ask simple questions about logistics. Bring them curriculum they should use the day you want them to teach it, without allowing any space for preparation. Run around like a crazed lunatic all the time without directing anyone. They can figure it out as they go, this is a great learning opportunity for them.

Never Ask Anyone Where They WANT to Volunteer

You have ministry needs. If someone shows up to help, just put them wherever there is a gap, without asking them if they are all right with that. Just don’t bother to empower them or give them ownership of anything in the ministry. Make assumptions based on obvious skill sets that this is exactly where someone wants to give their time. In addition make sure to either raise the bar too high, or too low. It is really helpful to treat someone who is giving their time for “free” as if this is the only activity they participate in. You can also create an environment where everyone sort of stands around with no direction. As a matter of fact just give your volunteers a funky name like “Servants” and then you can treat them like this is the only thing they ever do.

Complain That “No One” Is Helping

Ignore the key team members who always show up, drive, go on trips, or generally pour their hearts out. I mean we are all “doing this for Jesus,” so those that are coming don’t really need encouragement. At the end of the year throw a half-hearted gift at them, and hope they feel like they have done something worthwhile. Better yet just send a mass email saying, “Thank You,” with no personalization. Nope, do nothing. This is best. Make sure you spend all of your time whining how you are “doing this by yourself,” then put an “ad” for more help in the bulletin and keep grumbling that the masses don’t come.

Don’t Bother Offering Training- At ALL- Ever

You can’t get anyone to come to meetings, so why would you want to bother to help your team know how to reach teens better? Chances are they are going to do everything their own way, no matter what you say. Never send them an article, suggest a book or video or take them to any sort of conference (one day, local or in house included.) I mean you have heard it said that those who volunteer believe they are there to support the youth pastor, as opposed to loving teens. You have also heard something about most people who “give” their time really don’t intuitively “understand” youth ministry. Ignore these thoughts. Avoid being creative, or brainstorming with your team ways they would like to be better equipped.

I have done all of these. I have had the tables turned and seen just how frustrating it is when they happen to you. Over the years I have come to learn the quality of volunteers matters more than the quantity. It is possible to keep a team member for a long time. The key is to treat them like the precious jewel they are. Stop making it easy for them to walk away. And remember this one thought: most of the time they will feel guilty telling you why they go, because they do see how hard you are trying so they will make an excuse or better yet- just stop coming and never tell you why.

How do you lose volunteers?

– Leneita

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Leveraging Chaos

 —  August 25, 2014 — Leave a comment

chaosYouth ministry brings with it a built in level of uncertainty, disorder and chaos. While many youth workers feel the need to minimize these aspects (books have been written, seminars taught, and blog posts written to help), I think a better strategy is to leverage them to your advantage. Here are a few thoughts:

Leveraging Chaos

– Many people find that they are most creative in a crisis or under pressure. Use the most chaotic times in your ministry…when your brain is firing like crazy…to think of areas in your ministry that need an extra dose of creativity. When you are problem solving in one area, leverage that energy to problem solve in others, too!

– Make a change! Most people simply try to survive the chaotic seasons of ministry. But when there’s a lot going on, why not add one more thing…like a significant change or course correction. People like smooth sailing, which is why they dislike change. So, making a change when the water is already a little rough oftentimes is the most strategic time.

– Ask for more resources! Times of tangible chaos (high growth seasons, busy seasons, when your church is adding multi-site campuses, etc.) is a great time to ask for more help. Financial help, volunteer help, etc. It’s always good to be able to point to something obvious and tangible as a reason you are making an extra ask.

– Reassess. Use chaotic seasons to make a fresh assessment of things. What is causing the chaos? Is this chaos the good kind (the result of growth, God’s spirit moving in unexpected ways, etc.) or the bad kind (result of poor planning, trying to do too much, doing the wrong stuff, etc.)? Youth ministry is always going to be busy, but are you busy doing the right stuff, the stuff that matters to you, your church and the kingdom (and…do you, your church and the kingdom agree on what that stuff is!)?

Don’t fear Chaos; leverage it!

– Kurt / @kurtjohnston

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Want to hear more on the topic of chaos in youth ministry from Kurt Johnston? Download his talk, Controlling Chaos here! 



…and I don’t mean parents. I’m talking grandparents, the old ladies in the women’s group, the crotchety dudes who grumble when students wear hats in the Sanctuary. The answer to the title question? Of course they do!

Can you believe that I STILL run into YP’s who say their counselors really shouldn’t be older than college-age? I consult with search committees who still describe their perfect youth pastor as a guitar-playing, b-ball throwing, surfboard-skimming, young married dude whose wife will also serve FT in the YM (for free, of course).

So as we’re all recruiting volunteers for the new school/youth ministry year, do yourself (and your students) a big favor: start with older people in your church. The secret? Ask them the right questions. Put them in the places they feel comfortable, where they can use their giftedness. Oftentimes, we frighten off potential older volunteers (who have time available and are WAY more dependable than many other vols) by our approach: too fast, too quickly asked, too confusing, too big, etc.

Older people can do more than just bring cookies. Here’s a list of volunteer roles older folks can fulfill in your YM:

1) Closet Coordinator: Every youth room has a supply closet that needs a mom’s touch.

2) Weekly Supply Organizer: Get your SS teachers s what they need by having a team get the SS rooms ready.

3) Garage Sale Gurus: Have a list of upcoming supplies/props the YM will need and put these folks on the hunt.

4) Prayer Partners: Have each student in your YM prayed for daily by an older person.

5) Divine Design: Your youth room is a MESS! Have someone come in once a month and straighten it up!

6) Data Divas: Many older folks are computer savvy. Have them keep your student data/attendance up-to-date.

7) Craft Coordinators: There is a segment of your students who are the creative, artsy, crafty type and someone to teach crochet (or whatever) would be cool.

8) Paperwork Police: Yeah, why not lesson the chaos for the adult chaperones at events or when leaving on a trip by bringing in a few folks to collect the paperwork? Can’t hire an admin? Schedule older vols for a few hours each day.

9) Who-knows-who: Older folks know a lot of people and they know others in your church that can help with what you need. Put them on your recruiting team.

10) ADULT COUNSELORS!: Of course older people can be a part of your team in face-to-faith ministry with students. The best way I can share this precept is from a friend of mine, Amanda Berger, who is the president of a ministry to girls called Soul Sisterhood. She runs “girls only” camp weeks and for the last 2 years, she brought a Camp Grandma on staff and has had HUGE positive results. You’ll hear from her on a few days and then a few days after that? You’ll hear from the Camp Grandma herself. Stay tuned.

Stephanie

 

 

frozenThere is no shortage of parodies surrounding the movie “Frozen.” 

You’ve likely seen your share.

I apologize for sharing another one.

The leadership team at this church came together to create their own, all related to a pastor who is working on his sermon and won’t come out of his study.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScxTsuRMMS0

Cheesy? Sure.

Unnecessary? Perhaps.

I do have a few questions of my own, though:

  • How do you think the church reacted after seeing this on a Sunday?
  • Why?
  • What in your church/ministry could elicit a similar reaction?

My opinion? Without knowing this church, I see a snapshot of leaders who love doing life together. Everyone got involved… and I can only assume you felt that, too. I wonder how they’re nurturing that.

Any applications or desires for your ministry?