Have you ever walked into a really beautiful building, very neat and organized on the inside with friendly faces greeting you and showing you around, then you make a trip to the bathroom and whoa! What happened here? It looks like no one has touched it in months, this is what’s stinking the whole place up! Someone’s got to be willing to take care of the smaller, less desirable jobs. Otherwise, the bigger jobs could tank.

One person cannot do it all
It takes a team to get things done. So if you think you are just the guy who stands-by keeping an eye out for anything that may go wrong or just the girl that cleans the bathroom, stop right there! You couldn’t be more wrong. Without you, the guy in the spotlight wouldn’t be so lit up. The nasty bathroom and the fight in the back of the room would steal the light.

Do it willingly
Put more value on what you are doing, it’s not so bad. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (Colossians 3:23) You are right where God wants you to be. You are not working for the people; you are doing the Lord’s work. You are building up His Kingdom so disregard the value the world places on your position and work with joy in your heart knowing it is for a greater cause.

No matter how small your job may seem, it is a BIG in the Kingdom of God. So keep scrubbing that toilet and do it with joy in your heart and when the Lord comes, you can look forward to Him saying, Well done, good and faithful servant!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

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!


 —  February 7, 2011 — 5 Comments

After five plus years of being in the youth worker game, I have come to the conclusion that the key to youth ministry is the desire to learn. When you break it down, learning is what it is all about:

  • You have to be willing to learn about the teenage brain and how they think. To know who GaGa, Gandolf, Gryffindor, and Garret Gilbert are because they matter to your students.
  • You have to learn how to listen and when to talk, how to not act shocked when you hear of the details of some kid’s lives, and how to convey emotion over Facebook chat.
  • You have to learn how to be (or at least seem) interested in stories that really don’t make sense.
  • You have to learn how to let kids beat you in basketball, teach you things you already know, and the Heimlich in case of a game of Chubby Bunny gone bad.
  • You have to know all the “Q” words that don’t require a “u” in Scrabble, and who has texting on their phones and who doesn’t.
  • You have to know what it means when Master Chief is in his cryo-tube and when the ACOG scope for the FAMAS gets unlocked in your third prestige.
  • You have to be able to cheer for 6 different high school mascots and know where 6 different auditoriums are located within a school.
  • You have to know who is gone every other weekend because they’re at their dad’s house, and who you haven’t seen in church for a couple of weeks.
  • You have to learn the names of all your students, and never ever call them by their sister’s name, even though they are identical twins. You have to learn how to remember the joys amid the deep disappointments, remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes, and always expect the unexpected.
  • You have to learn how to balance church life and “real life”. You have to learn how to leave your work at work. You have to know when the play performance is, the time of the choir concert, and who plays on JV and who made varsity. You also have to know who got cut, and be sure to let him know that it’ll be OK.
  • You have to know who is struggling and who is excelling; who needs help, and who needs space to sort things out on their own. You have to learn to not compare one kid to another, but rather appreciate each for who they are. You have to learn to not get down about who is not there, but rejoice for those who are.
  • You have to know how to Tweet, update, upload, post, poke, promote, and share, sometimes all at the same time. You have to know to avoid what’s so fifteen minutes ago and be aware of what’s cool today. You have to know that you are NOT 16 years old anymore and dress, speak, and style your hair accordingly.
  • You have to know how to say no, and when you have to say yes even though you really don’t want to. You have to know how to clean up messes (both literally and figuratively), and how to say sorry. You have to learn how to appreciate those who may never appreciate you. You have to learn how to sound smart even though you have no idea what you’re saying. You have to learn how to keep your promises and not make one unless you can.
  • You have to be willing to learn from other youth workers and realize you’re not on an island. You have to learn how to meet students where they’re at and not expect immediate change. You have to learn how to be the adult even if you feel like one of the kids. You have to learn that confusion doesn’t mean indifference and busyness doesn’t mean progress. You have to learn how to schedule the unscheduled time, and how to be flexible. You have to learn how to delegate, lest your passion fizzles and dies.
  • You have to learn how to read between the lines and how to say the same thing five different ways. You have to learn how to fill your own cup. You have to know where the Bible says an ass talked to Baalam, and what anthropomorphism means. You have to know how to answer the phone at 3am and how to react to the sobbing brokenhearted. You have to learn that you don’t know everything and you learn twice as much from your students than they do from you. You have to know who your Savior is so that you might be able to share Him when a kid needs it.
  • You have to know what grace is and be willing to show it even when it’s difficult.

But the thing about all these things, and I could go on for another couple of pages, but the thing about these things is we youth people love it! We get to rock out to pop music and listen to kids talk about their days. We get to play Call of Duty and get our butts kicked by kids 1/3 our age. We get to cheer for every sport we never played and paint our faces just to make our one student feel loved. We get to help kids figure stuff out and be with them when they tell their parents about the trouble they got into.

We get to answer the calls at 3am and spend way too much time on Facebook. We get to have inside jokes with teenagers and buy silly gag gifts just because it’ll make them smile. We get to learn from other people who do the same thing we do, and we get to share ideas. We get to grow deeper in our faith so that we might be able to help kids who struggle in theirs. We get to learn about Jesus and see Him work in the lives of the next generation. None of those things are a “have to”, they are all “get to”‘s and that is what makes youth ministry so great!
Learning is what it is all about- and the willingness to learn is what keeps us going day after day. Today I can learn something about someone that I never knew before.

And maybe, just maybe I can tell them something about their Lord and Savior they never knew before. That’s what this is all about.

I am blessed.

Kory Henkel is the Director of Youth Ministries at Bloomington Living Hope Lutheran Church in MN. Check out his blog for more right over here.