A little video we bought/used for the weekend to end the talk about Jesus giving new life.
A little video we bought/used for the weekend to end the talk about Jesus giving new life.
A video from Worship House Media we used during the countdown on Father’s Day weekend in HSM.
Here’s a shot from this weekend – we gathered up a bunch of students on stage to say goodbye to a couple of long-time staff members and friends. Jared (on staff a few years ago focusing on Student Leadership) and Alanna (on staff currently as worship/music coordinator) are headed to Virginia as youth workers at a great church there. Made me think about something I’ve been learning the last few weeks again – part of youth ministry is saying goodbye:
Goodbye to graduating seniors
This is the time of year when you have to say goodbye to students that have hit for the cycle and are heading out. Some seniors you may be pretty excited to say goodbye to and some you will literally shed tears over. Either way, saying goodbye is part of the gig.
Goodbye to great volunteers
The end of the school year is also a time when volunteers start to think about what’s next. Small group leaders that finish with seniors might think about moving to another ministry. Life stage changes mess with availability and commitments, and parting ways with your student ministry might be part of that evolution.
Goodbye to great members of the staff
This is the toughest – sometimes people on your church staff transition, too. This isn’t always a bad thing! Could be a great promotion, a clear calling from God, a chance to take a step of faith to whatever it is that God has next.
Of course, remember that the end doesn’t have to be the end. The relationships you build with students, volunteers and staff can last way beyond the years where your paths intersect directly. Either way, youth workers who come to terms with having to say goodbye is wise.
Weekend Teaching Series: You Own the Weekend: El Toro HS (week 2 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: God is the Great Rescuer.
Service Length: 69 minutes
Understandable Message: The weekend told the story of the Prodigal Son through a message as well as real-life stories of God rescuing students and bringing them back to him. A powerful combination of the teaching of the passage and illustrations of it on stage.
Volunteer/Student Involvement: This series is about students doing everything – and that’s exactly what they did! Lights, camera sound, band, choir, control room, setup, cleanup, stage, greeting, activity afterward, prayer patio, testimony, speaking, program. Students took over every role, the adult team simply looked for conversations and helped create a welcoming environment.
Element of Fun/Positive Environment: Students created a positive atmosphere with creative school-themed decorations like streamers and posters, as well as had a ton of greeters to make everyone feel welcome. They had a funny video as part of the countdown and used the school drum line as part of the opening to the night, and even included them in the worship songs at the end of the night. Positive, fun, memorable.
Music Playlist: Song of the Broken, Amazing Grace, With Everything
Favorite Moment: My favorite moment came Sunday afternoon – I took my kids to Yogurtland as a treat for doing so well in flag football Saturday morning. The student behind the counter regularly attends HSM, and she mentioned bringing her friend for the first time, and that they absolutely loved it. The weekend is our front door – we work hard to create a positive, welcoming environment with lots of students involved sharing an understandable message – it is always a great feeling when students feel safe enough to bring their friends. Love it!
Up Next: YOTW – Capo HS (week 3 of 5)
Got a great question this week via the contact page, thought I would turn it into a quick post.
QUESTION: If you were going to serve at a church that had no student ministry program, where would you begin?
ANSWER: Great question! There are two things I would jump on immediately:
Behind the scenes, I would begin to build a crack team of volunteers. This is absolutely crucial in starting a youth ministry from scratch. I would evaluate my circle of friends and start there, as well as begin to mine the congregation for star players. Starting a youth ministry from nothing isn’t easy, so you’re going to need to look for great players who can handle the bumpy road of getting this thing off the ground. The first program I would launch is a (the weekend, or whatever time is best) worship service. Building a great entry-level program is a great place to start. Begin with a simple program that is relationship-focused, friendly to outsiders and builds a community. It’ll give you a great base to build on from there!
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment with your answer, too.
Weekend Teaching Series: Stories (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: Stories of students’ life-change told live on stage.
Service Length: 59 minutes
Understandable Message: This weekend was all about stories of life-change: Kristen shared about God’s mercy through a family crisis, Shea shared about accepting Christ and forgiving someone who had hurt him deeply. Martina shared her story of depression and suicide, Ryan and Taylor talked about sponsoring a couple of street kids in Kitale, Angie shared about visiting a local mosque and hoping her new friends would accept Jesus, Arianna told about shoplifting, partying and coming back to God. Very diverse stories with tons of different possible takeaways.
Volunteer/Student Involvement: No adults were on stage at all this weekend – all students, all of the time. Volunteers worked the crowd looking for conversational opportunities with students. Good stuff.
Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend had a couple of fun moments within the stories, though we didn’t program in a significant amount of direct humor. We did play a great little video from SYM Media Store and I wrote up a little script to end the weekend to tie the stories together and end on a positive note, pointing them back to Christ in all of this.
Music Playlist: You’re Not Alone, Safe, Fix You, More Than Anything
Favorite Moment: This weekend my favorite moment was talking to parents. SO many parents visited HSM this weekend, it was exciting to see them supporting their children and cheering them on from the audience. Great conversations, great connections.
Up Next: EASTER at Angel Stadium (no HSM next week!)
I am back from the Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2010 in Chicago! It took me a few days to recover from a packed weekend. I learned a lot of tips and youth ministry ideas, but the biggest thing I learned was this: Every involved youth worker should go to a conference like this. Here are 3 reasons why.
A time of learning – I learned a lot. There were so many opportunities to take a class on a subject that will help me to stay in ministry for the long haul. SYMC offered classes on marriage, volunteer training, games, counseling, conflict resolution, preaching, & teaching. I chose the Helping Hurting Kids track and I benefited from probably one of the least discussed topics but one of the most influential problems all teens face — teen depression and addiction. I believe we all need to learn more if we are going to help teens through their adolescence.
A time of encouragement – The worship and camaraderie I was able to participate in was very therapeutic. I met many people I have had the honor of speaking to online through the SYM Podcast. Getting to meet Doug, Josh, Matt, and Jana in person was awesome. It felt like seeing old friends for the first time in a long time. I also got to meet Andy B in person after so many emails for products. I also met new people like D.C., Matt K., Rick Lawrence, Tom, and many others. Tim Timmons really encouraged me through his worship leading and a few of his songs are STILL stuck in my head.
A time of rest – Youth Ministry is T. O. U. G. H. with a capital STRESSFUL. Dealing with tough kids, tough parents, boards, elders, pastors & ministers can take a lot out of you. We don’t tend to take time for ourselves because we are so committed to getting it right as often as possible. We overwork ourselves to the point we lose much of our drive and passion. Taking a weekend to listen to others who are doing what you do and understand your faith, love, passion, hurts, and struggles can only benefit. I felt loved on. It had been 7 years since I had been to a large convention like this. I forgot how much I needed it. Now that I am back, I feel stronger. There isn’t a huge list of things to tell people about the conference itself other than the encouragement I received. I did come back with this though: the passion and desire to help hurting kids. I think that was worth the admission alone.
Mike Lewis is the Youth Minister for the Westside Church of Christ in Beaverton, Oregon. He writes a blog that might be worth reading at www.bigmikelewis.blogspot.com and will gladly be your friend on Facebook, too.
I’m thinking about leaving my church.
I’m 22 years old. And I work with students at the church that I grew up in.
Now, when I say “grew up in”…I didn’t know Christ until I was a junior in high school, and this was where I met him. When I graduated high school, I didn’t go to college, and since I was staying at home, I decided to give back to the youth ministry that had given so much to me, and started working with 6th graders on Sunday mornings, and helping out with our mid-week youth worship service.
I’ve been doing this since for 3 years and I love it. Students are a fantastic bunch of people to work with, and Youth Workers might be the greatest group of people you’ll ever get to do ministry with. So. I love what I get to do at my church. But I don’t feel fed. I don’t feel the sense of community that my soul longs for. I am struggling and praying through whether or not I should leave this church, and start attending one here in town that I know offers those things. I am hurting over whether or not the students that I know and love at my current church are worth not getting what I feel like I need spiritually.
I know that I can work with students wherever I end up, but I’m talking about going from a 200+ student ministry to a ministry of about 30-40 students. Which honestly has some cons for me, as well as pros. But a big part of it is that I love these kids that I work with now. I’ve invested in them for the past four years. They’ve been a big part of my life, and I hope I’ve made an impact on them.
I’ve wondered if it’s just me. If I need a spiritual attitude adjustment. But the more I think and pray about it, I see that the things that God has put on my heart, are not necessarily what He has put on the hearts of church leadership here. And that’s ok. We don’t have to be going after the same things, because as long as we agree that salvation is through Christ on the cross, and only that. The rest is neither here nor there, honestly.
So am I being selfish? I don’t know. I know that I am not growing spiritually like I have in the past, and I know this is part of the reason why. I don’t know if it’s reason enough to seek out a new community of believers.
Here’s the thing. I want your thoughts. And honestly, I’m sure I’m not the only guy (or girl) out there who is dealing with something like this. So, have you ever had to leave a church or ministry because you were giving a ton, but not getting much out of it for yourself? Is that a valid reason, or that that a line of selfishness to give yourself an out?
Anonymous would love to read your thoughts in the comments section of this post.