YOU STINK!

 —  August 9, 2013 — 4 Comments

 

I don’t like to admit it but there are a lot of ministry “things” at which I’m not very good….Correction; there are a lot of ministry things at which I just flat out STINK! And sadly, just because I stink at certain aspects of ministry doesn’t mean they somehow go away. Wouldn’t it be cool if God said, “Hey you, since you are horrible at X, I’ll just keep X away from you and the ministry you lead.” I don’t know about you, but if He did that for me there would be more stuff taken away from my ministry than left in it!

Because I stink at lots of ministry stuff, I’ve had to develop a three-pronged approach over the years:

1) Be okay being below average at some things.  I’ve simply had to “settle” on the reality that there are some things I’m never gonna be good at, and lower the expectations I put on myself to perform at a top level in those areas.

2) Selectively learn some new skills.  And while I’m learning to be okay with just being okay at some things, I’ve also picked a few key areas at which I stink that I think are worth learning to be good at. I can’t learn to be good at all the stuff at which I stink, but in my case I was SO BAD in a few key areas that I simply had to learn the skills necessary.

3) Surround myself with smarter, more talented people. I’m completely okay not being the smartest or most talented person in the room in most cases…especially when the topic or task involves an area at which I stink and I’m not willing to learn to get better at it. Giving these areas of ministry away to others frees me up and allows people to use their gifts to make our ministry better; a win-win!

Guess what? You stink, too!  In fact, you stink really bad at some stuff that is vital to the success of your youth ministry. And for some of you, it’s hard to admit.  So I’ll get the ball rolling in the hopes that some of you may be willing to share your “stink” in the comments section. Who knows, somebody who’s really good at it may be able to help you out.

MINISTRY STUFF AT WHICH KURT JOHNSTON STINKS (Note: This is just a partial list; actual list is much longer)

- Remembering names.

- Reading and sticking to a budget.

- Keeping track of registration forms or checks handed to me by a parent.

- Not using sarcasm to make a passive-aggresive point.  But if I may brag for just a moment…. I’m REALLY good at using sarcasm to make a passive-aggresive point.

- “Turning the corner spiritually” with students in one-on-one conversations.

- Returning emails, texts and phone calls in a timely manner.

Let’s get the comments going….share a tip for me….share something you stink at….share a tip for somebody else!

 

You have probably seen this.  It isn’t particularly new, but a friend of mine put this on my Facebook wall last week and I loved it.  Not only did it make me laugh it made me realize I could use it with students, volunteers, and as a training tool.

Watch it.  Laugh.

Watch it again.

Write down the top three thoughts that  strike you from the video.

Think about how you will use that as a spring board for a lesson you want to bring home to your students or a point you have been making with your team.

Enjoy!



So thankful to be a part of the Simply Youth Ministry Conference again this year (since the beginning, actually!) and love this video of highlights from the whole thing. Can’t wait to do it all again next year in Columbus!

JG

Pretty excited about the Simply Youth Ministry Conference coming up the first weekend of March – there’s an important deadline/discount available through January 16th – if you’re going to join us you can save right now and sign up. Here’s 10 reasons why I’m pumped!

  • I laugh and learn more in 1 weekend than I do in a month
  • Free MoreThanD0dogeball.com T-shirts – I’ll Tweet about them and leave them all over the place.
  • I get to show off my YouthPastorDiet.com hot bod
  • I’m pumped to hear Jon Acuff and Lecrae
  • A new music video from Jake! Going to be SO fun
  • Meeting new friends and talking youth ministry
  • Hanging with old friends and SYMC alumni
  • Sharing lots of program ideas you can steal right away for your youth group
  • Slowing down (well kinda) and being filled up (for sure)
  • New resources, new ideas, new excitement for my calling – leaving STRONGER!

JG



I’m super excited to go to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Indianapolis in just a couple months. I was in Colorado earlier this week helping plan the evening general sessions and think the lineup of content and fun is going to be something really special. Hope you’ll join us this year – get discounted rates through January 16th, too!

For all the details click here!

JG

Have you ever felt like a failure? Okay, we all have at some point, because we all fail. We all do certain things that may be great ideas, but go about it the wrong way, and utterly fail. One thing that I desire is for others’ to learn from my mistakes and failures. I try to do this with learning from others’ failures, and hopefully they can learn from mine as well. Today, I want to give you the top 5 failures that I have committed in student ministry:

  1. Epic Fail #1- Train and Equip Parents- As I have grown in student ministry (not going on 7 total years), I have learned that the parents represented in our ministry is as important as the students we are ministering too. Now, I am trying to teach, share resources with, and help parents become better parents to effectively parent the teens of today’s culture. If you are first starting out in ministry, go ahead and begin equipping the parents to build stronger families.
  2. Epic Fail #2- Recruit a team of adult leaders- In my earlier years of ministry; I had a couple of leaders, but did not set up an adult leadership that would take us to the next level like I should have. Regardless of the number of students in your ministry, it is important to begin building a team to take your ministry to the next level.
  3. Epic Fail #3- Inform parents when disciplining a student- There have been some times where a student gets in trouble, and I do not inform parents, and then the parents come back with a twisted story from their teenager, and I have to backtrack a bit, and build their trust and relationship back. I have learned that when a student gets in trouble or has to be corrected in our student ministry on an event or on Wednesday night, it is always important to mention it to the parents. I do not care how small, but in doing so, it builds relationships with the parents, and builds a greater trust from them to you.
  4. Epic Fail #4- Think through games and pranks- I am a prankster, and am personally okay with pranks. My failure is that we have not totally thought through pranks in our ministry. At camp we decided to play “human clue” and fake a real murder with the students. It seemed like a fantastic idea, but when it played out, we had students crying, had a girl faint, had a young boy call his mom for a lawyer, and upset some families that were at camp. What seemed like a fantastic idea was horrible, because it was not thought out. Think out your ideas of what could happen, and it will save you a lot of problems.
  5. Epic Fail #5- Building relationships with the local schools- Do this first. This should be one of the top things in your ministry that you are consistently doing. I have wasted time in this area at my ministry, and now am trying to play catch up. Building relationships with schools takes a great deal of time, and it is important that you stay at it, and consistently plan time to build this relationship.

So, do not fail at these things, and try your best to learn from the epic fails that I have done in our student ministry.

Josh Evans is the student pastor at Union Grove Baptist Church in the Winston Salem, NC area. He has been a mentor and pastor to students for 4 years. You can connect further with Josh on his blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.



My of my great joys in ministry is being able to train volunteer and youth workers from different Churches and work to equip them to leader better. One of the most important things that I try and help them understand is that they have a voice in their student’s lives that is unlike any other. Students have all kinds of people that influence them and when it comes to adults in their lives, teachers, parents and youth workers are often the big three.

But it’s important that we recognize that our voice is unlike any other in the life of High School students and here is why:

Our Voice is Unique: When it comes to adults in a teen’s life, at some point they have to listen to their parents and they have to listen to their teachers as well.  Students don’t have to listen to us, they choose to. They have to go to school, have to live at home, but choose to go to youth group. The fact that students choose to listen to us means that our voice has weight and influence.  We can meet a student for coffee; something they might be mortified to do with their parent and not allowed to do with a teacher, it’s a great setup for us.

Our Voice Is Respected: When students choose to listen to us, it’s a statement of respect that they value what we say.  Being a youth worker is a bit of a hybrid of the friend / mentor role and with that comes the ability to speak into the life of a student with wisdom and life experience. When our voice is respected, our lives are as well so be mindful of what you endorse, intentionally or accidentally.

Our Voice Can Be Objective:  Being slightly removed from life at home and life at school coupled with the relationship we have with students gives us a unique perspective that has little obvious bias other than to uphold Biblical values. Helping students to look outside themselves and to look at a situation in a different way is challenging but doable. This is a keen opportunity for us to help students experience Matthew 5 conflict resolution and encourage them through the process as a supportive third party.

Recognizing my unique voice was a bit of a Spider-man moment for me, you know? – With great power comes great responsibility, but a better example would be in Luke 12:48 “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded”.  You have an incredibly powerful and influential voice in the life of a young person. Use it wisely to pour into them, challenge them and build them up into young men and women after God’s own heart. We need to know this, our leaders need to know this.

-Geoff (Twitter)

 

Was just thinking through some resources that I’d like to get into the hands of some key players in my youth ministry world, thought I would share a few things I’m processing to push my people (and myself) to the next level. Might inspire you to do the same:

For my upperclassmen Life Group leaders: Apologetics Bible
This year we’re giving all of our junior and senior Life Group leaders the Apologetics Bible from Sean McDowell. They’re handling some big questions and doubts and we want to equip them to build a healthy foundation for their beliefs. This is one of the tools we want to help with that journey! A steal at only $14 from Amazon.

For my underclassmen Life Group leaders: Emergency Response Handbook
New leaders need basic help – this little book gives you a quick list of things to do/not do and say/not say. Think of it as a primer and quick reference guide to a whole bunch of things they may encounter this year. It is still on sale (and has been for a long time) at SYM for $4.99. Incredible deal, we have it in the hands of every new leader on the team.

For my intern: Youthsphere
I actually want to take this course myself, but know it will tremendously benefit some of the younger youth workers out there. Youthsphere is an online youth ministry certificate program from my friend Doug Fields and a few other leading youth ministry experts. Pretty substantial investment, but one that will deliver big returns, too. Check out youthsphere right here and you can get 10% off using promocode: MTDB

For me: Take the Lid Off Your Church
I want to grow as a leader as well – I’m super excited to read Tony Morgan’s new book Take the Lid Off Your Church. He sent me a copy last week and I’m excited to dive in and be challenged by him as well. He’s one of the long-time bloggers I’ve followed for years – I read everything he writes! $2.99 on Amazon Kindle.

For the youth pastor buddy: The New Breed
I like to have a little gift when I have lunch with a youth worker in the area or someone comes to visit. Sometimes I have something around the office or an author copy of something I wrote – but I think I’m going to pick up a few copies of The New Breed by Jonathan McKee – looks like a great resource to help anyone working to develop a volunteer team. On closeout right now (since the 2nd edition is coming out this week I think) for $3.99!

JG