article.2013.03.19If you’re like us, it takes you 45 minutes to spill all of the details of the 60-minute workshop you attended that changed your life last week at a youth conference. Inspired by it, you lay out a vision for your youth ministry for the next five years. The volunteers sit there like a deer in the headlights; then one of them timidly raises her hand, “Sounds like somebody went to a youth worker conference last week,” she says.

It happens! Sometimes at an incredible event we come down with a case of Let’s Change Everything Syndrome (LCES). If you’ve ever had LCES, you know the temptation to overhaul every aspect of your ministry in the first five days after you get back. Beware of the side effects: volunteer abandonment, blurry vision and upset supervisors.

Post-conference excitement is natural, and there’s nothing wrong with the desire to make changes when we’ve been exposed to new ideas. But LCES can do more harm than good. Here are a few tips to avoid it.

Pray about what God is asking you to do.
Sometimes after reading an incredible book or hearing an inspiring speaker we think about what we want to do as a result or what worked for them instead of what God’s voice is clearly directing. The only way to distinguish between competing visions is to spend time with God and ask for his vision. Usually taking some time to process, decompress, and pray are the best steps to hearing from him after you’ve been exposed to new ideas.

Wait for the right season to change.
The right time for changes is typically not the Spring or the middle of Fall (which, coincidently is when lots of training events happen). Think strategically about when to bring about significant changes to your ministry. Lay an infrastructure for the move to small groups all summer long; then release them in January. Prepare your volunteers for the junior high/senior high split at the start of the school year this Fall, rather than eagerly announcing it out of the blue tonight at youth group.

Start with one thing.
Reflect in your Moleskin journal or iPad app on some of the biggest things you learned at the event, or conversations you were inspired by. Make a list of everything that is considered an “action step” and prioritize them and map out a 1-2 year plan of action. Update it occasionally as you retreat or receive additional training and insight.

Keep a dialogue going.
Don’t make changes in isolation! While the church might not have been able to send your whole volunteer team to an event, take the time to share your “one thing” with your spouse, your volunteers, or student leaders. Once you’ve taken the ball down the court, don’t be afraid to rally support and analyze it to make the ideas better and increase ownership.

Any learnings you want to share after coming home from a youth worker training event?

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

Hey everyone from NYWC 2012 – Dallas!

Thanks for making our youth ministry workshop on small group leaders so fun this weekend — I enjoyed meeting many of you and here are the links from the 99 Thoughts for Small Group Leader workshop that I promised you yesterday:

If you remember something from the session I forgot – let me know in the comments and I’ll track it down for you!

JG



 

SYMC is not too far off in the distance, and after a great few days at Group World HQ working out many of the details, I am positive this will be the best SYMC to date. With that said, youth workers from all over the world will converge on Indianapolis March 1-4th and each of them has an important decision to make: How do I wear or not wear my conference lanyard. There are four distinct phases to the evolution of lanyard style and they are as follows.

1 – The “Standard”: The most common form of lanyard style, with it worn as intended around the neck with your name in a place where people can read your name and greet you with it. Often covered in buttons and other flair, the standard position is helpful to everyone else at the conference.

2 – The “Awkward / Cool”: Bored with the standard position many people choose to place their lanyard near or below waist level which causes awkward gazes to the nether regions when greeting new people. This style makes it easy for you to know who has truly forgotten your name as they will be unable to look natural reading this strategically placed lanyard tag.  You might be tricked into thinking this is “cool” but its more uncomfortable than anything.

3 – The “I think People Know Me”: If you have been to the conference enough, you are tempted to think that people will recognize you and thus a lanyard might not be necessary, after all do they know who you are? right? Stage three is marked with an intentional concealing of the name card, but with lanyard strap in view so that if necessary you can reveal your credentials at the door if someone has possibly not been graced by your presence in the past.

4 – The “People Definitely Know Me”: Stage 4 is all in, no lanyard in sight or on your person. People know you, and when you walk through the door, no one asks questions. This is the riskiest of all the phases because if it backfires, its a long way back to your hotel room to get it.

I can’t wait to see you all in Indianapolis, I am a phase 1 guy, with my Canadian connect group pin for added flair. SYMC Stronger 2013 BE THERE!

-Geoff (Twitter)


Just wondering – are you headed to a youth ministry conference in the next 12 months? Vote in today’s poll! I’m going to be at several of them this year (you can check them out on the Youth Pastor 1st, Speaker Guy 2nd page) including the Simply Youth Ministry Conference – hope to see you there!

JG



I Love My Job Video

Josh Griffin —  May 18, 2012 — 3 Comments

Just saw this great video today that I’ve lived out many times as a youth worker. Really well done and thought it might be an encouragement to you today. I’m going to YS in both San Diego and Dallas this fall to teach a workshop based on my book with Simply Youth Ministry, 99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders. If you’re there I’d love to meet you!

JG

Hey everyone from YS Palooza!

Thanks for making our youth ministry workshop on small group leaders so fun this weekend — I enjoyed meeting many of you and here are a bunch of links from the 99 Thoughts for Small Group Leader trainings I promised you as well:

JG