Lessons-learned-300x208I had the privilege of taking a few of my student leaders to a workshop where they were a part of a Q & A panel. There were youth workers there asking questions about their experience in youth ministry. Now, they had a few of the questions beforehand, but I didn’t prep them nor did I shape their answers. I wanted them to be honest about their experiences good or bad.

It was probably one of the greatest moments in youth ministry for me. Not because they made the ministry look good, because they didn’t. They shared the good and the bad. As the youth pastors in the crowd begin to ask questions and the students begin to answer, a few things became very clear to me.

  • Life change is not in the events we do. It’s what takes place at the event that changes lives.
    We spend a lot of time and stressful hours trying to come up with the craziest and greatest events ever. Which is not a bad thing, but if you’re measuring life change based on it you are probably not going to see the fruit you expected. What became clear to me is that I need to focus my time on what happens at the event because that matters more.
  • We can view failure as a loss or a learning experience.
    The saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” should be a universal slogan for youth ministries everywhere. And I would add “try, try something different.” You must not be afraid to fail in ministry, and knowing what works warrants you to know what doesn’t work. We’ve tried a lot of things that haven’t worked. And because we are not afraid to fail, we find what does work. What became clear to me is our youth ministries are too unique to think that their is a one-size-fits all system or plan. You try, you fail, and you learn. You will find what works in the process.
  • Students remember what we do, more than what we say.
    As the students began to speak about their experiences and what has been the most impactful, none of them answered the teachings or curriculum. It was the selfless act of a leader who took time to walk with them through a difficult time in their faith and/or personal life. What became clear to me is that we need to spend more time being and modeling the Word of God to students and not just teaching it.
  • Be relationally intentional.
    I heard more stories about how God worked through relationships than anything else. What became clear to me is that we need to spend time helping our leaders become more intentional concerning relational ministry.

I learned a lot just listening to our students answer questions about our ministry. I would be lying if I said all of it was enjoyable. They spoke of things we tried that didn’t work and we learned from them. I would encourage you to do the same. Let your students speak honestly about your ministry and learn from them. You will be surprised how attentive they are to the ministry.

Hope it helps,

AC

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!



Appearances aren’t everything.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely the “go-to” person for youth ministry in your church. Maybe I’m wrong, but play along with me for a moment.

Now let’s take a quick rabbit trail.

I was looking for an image recently using the keyword “expert.”

Google is normally my friend for this, but in this particular instance I came up short.

expert

Google Images essentially told me that in all of the Internet’s pages, there was no picture that matched this word.

First off, that’s never, ever happened to me before.

Secondly, I found it completely satirical that this was the word Google said couldn’t be matched to anything that represented it.

I thought it might’ve been a fluke, so I typed in searches using other words. They all showed up, but again and again for more than 20 minutes, I couldn’t get an image for the word “expert.”

That all changed when I tried it again an hour later. But for a brief moment in time, there was no “expert” to be found.

Now… how does that relate to you?

expert2Should you have the appearance of being the expert on youth ministry (or whatever your area of responsibility) is in your church?

Or, should you help someone else become the expert on youth ministry (or whatever your area of responsibility is) in your church?

For that matter, should anyone be an expert… or should we all be learners?

Well, what do you know?

Any thoughts?

 

Thiago-nascimento-opera-background-speaker-jpg1In this episode of Let’s Talk Youth Ministry, Kurt Johnston and I give four practical tips to the youth worker who may be feeling disgruntled towards leadership. This is a topic that will come up at some point in your time in ministry. Check it out!!

If you have any questions or topic suggestions send them to: talkyouthministry@gmail.com. Also, Subscribe

 

Hope it helps,

AC & Kurt



hurt

It saddens me to read blogs and hear about so many people in ministry being bruised and hurt by leaders within the church. And while I understand there is another side to the story, I believe the first side should start with us as leaders. So if you are leading a ministry or a leader in a ministry, here are a few things for you to think about and also share with your leaders. These are some things I believe we forget from time to time and as a result people are hurt.

You Are Flawed – Being in leadership does not change this fact. Actually, being in leadership should heighten your sensitivity to the fact that you are flawed, and the depth of the pain and hurt you are able to inflict is immeasurable. So you are flawed, and your logic should never trump scripture.

You Are Held To A Higher Standard – God holds us to a higher standard because it protects us and the people we lead, not because we are special. God created standards for protection not punishment. Viewing them as punishment sets you on the road to not keeping them. Yes, in ministry you have someone to report to, but the truth of the matter is in the end we will all have to report to God. And the standards your direct report sets for you does not relinquish you from the standards God has already set as a minister of the gospel. This is something we must remember as we lead.

A Life Of Duality Ends In Destruction – It’s only a matter of time before you are exposed. Reach out for help NOW, because being found out does you and everyone you know more HARM than good.

Being Prideful Is A Sin – There is a reason why being prideful is a sin. It’s because the very meaning of pride is to take pleasure in ones own accomplishments. As a leader, taking pride in anything becomes a slippery slope you can’t afford. How about taking a position of humility in everything. Recognizing God and those he’s placed in your life to help you become the person you are today. Pride displays a false sense of the truth, so don’t buy the lie. I’m not saying you can’t receive a complement. I’m just saying, receive it in perspective.

Now, I didn’t write this to bash on leaders. I wrote it because as a leader in ministry I need to be reminded of these things. If we don’t put ourselves in check, we will be checked by the consequences of our actions. So what are some other things we need to remember that causes harm to those we lead?

Hope it helps,

AC

491398827_640Evangelizing can be weird for students. I felt like a salesman trying to share my faith when I was in school. And not just any salesman, but a salesman who sells things people don’t know they want or even need. A perfect example of this is the person at the kiosk booths at the mall. They pace up and down talking to people who aren’t paying them any attention. Trying to sell them something they didn’t even come to the mall to get. I used to feel that way when I would have to go out and share my faith. I would think to myself, these people don’t want to hear what I have to say. It wasn’t until I got older that I understood that it will always be about sharing something with people who don’t know they need it.

Now, I personally believe God uses a lot of different ways to share His message through us. So I will never say one way is better. Because in some way or another God uses them all. But in this post I want to discuss evangelizing through relationship.

While I wouldn’t say it’s better, I will say it’s my favorite when it comes to teaching students how to evangelize to their friends. Evangelizing through relationships teaches students three things:

  1. It reinforces the main point of the gospel, which is God’s longing to be in relationship with us.
  2. It helps students not see the person being evangelized as a project or a deal needing closing, but a person God loves.
  3. It helps them speak through their own relationship with God, and from their own story and experiences which can’t be disputed.

So here are the four steps I like to walk students through when it comes to sharing there faith with their friends.

I Teach Them To Know The Gospel - Have you ever lead someone to a destination you didn’t know the directions to? I’m guessing your answer is NO. Well, it’s the same when it comes to sharing our faith. You gotta know how you got to where you are, in order to show people how to get there.

I Teach Them To Know Their Story – A lot of times students are paralyzed by fear because they don’t know what to say. So I’ll have students write their story out using a template if needed. And it will be about how God has changed their life. They will use this information to share the gospel. I’ve learned that people are more interested in hearing what God has done in your life, than just hearing what He can possibly do in theirs. So teach them to know their story.

I Teach Them To Get To Know Their Friends Story - A lot of times we know people and are friends with them, but we never engage in any conversations concerning the issues of life. So it’s important they know you care about the details of their life, because you are modeling how much God cares about them. Also, you have to earn the right to speak into their life, the same way people have to earn the right to speak into yours. We do that through getting to know who they are. Learning someone else’s journey is the quickest way to grow in relationship with that person. Get to know there story.

I Teach Them To Understand The Gospel And How It Intersects Their Story. – The gospel becomes more real once you understand how it applies to you. And for the most part we are most comfortable talking about ourselves. So it’s important that we don’t just know the verses and the right christianized language. We need to understand the gospel in light of how it relates to our story. And there is a confidence that comes to the one who understands this point.

Hope it  helps,

AC



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

Thiago-nascimento-opera-background-speaker-jpg1Our 25th episode is HERE!!! In this episode we give you four ways that has helped us support our students, in their spiritual growth. We love sharing our experiences and learnings with you, so thanks for watching. Don’t forget to Subscribe to get the newest show straight to email.

 

Hope it helps,

AC & Kurt