Tag Archives: technology

Small Church Youth Group

I don’t like to be told I can’t do something, I feel like when I’m told I can’t do something, thats  the one thing I want to do.

Now obviously, I don’t feel this way about everything. If you were to tell me I can’t murder someone, I’m not going to go out and want to murder someone (though sometimes, we feel that way towards the students in our ministry).

But I think it has been shown for this to be true for a majority of people. I mean how many movies are all about someone beating the odds. In Lost we see John Locke in the earlier seasons repeatedly telling people “Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do.” And it brings up all sorts of emotions/encouragement/whatever.

We see it in movies like Miracle, Ray, and even sandlot.

But it seems to me as though Youth Pastors in small towns, no matter how much they feel this way towards most of the things in their life, forget this attitude in ministry.

I’m sitting here in North Carolina at the Transformational Church retreat/conference and am attending the affinity group for Youth Pastors. And I feel like I have over heard a number of them say something along the lines of “We could never do that, were not big enough” or “we could never do that, we don’t have the budget” among other things.

Where’s our sense of beating the odds?

Where’s our sense of trusting God to do the improbable? And yes, maybe I am talking a little bit about things like building a Youth Pastor’s Secret Lair of Awesomeness and youth pastors not thinking they have the budget for those things, or Youth groups not thinking they can do certain things with their group like laser tag trips or missions trips. Those things that aren’t necessarily needed in youth ministry, but things we would love to do if we could.

Like I feel sometimes like some of us Youth Pastors in small youth groups feel we could never have a video ministry. We could never do some of the stuff these other youth groups do.

And part of me wants to say if you only want to do something because you saw another youth group do it, don’t do it. But odds are you wouldn’t be able to anyways, because you don’t have the passion for it.

But if you see something that another youth group has done, and you get its purpose and think “we gotta do that,” don’t let the stigmas of being a “small church youth group” hold you back. Find a way to get it done, because you can. Any youth group can do the things that any other youth group does. And sure, they may not be as good, but we aren’t doing them to try and do them better.


Thoughts on SYMC Day 2

I learned a few things about myself today, which I’m quite thankful for. And these two facts about myself are things I hope to go home and put to use in our ministry right away.

I love that statement, because I feel like so many people come to conferences and learn all these new things and want to get home and put them to use right away. Some times thats a Great thing, other times , not so much.

If you are at a conference looking for a quick fix for your youth program, you won’t typically find it.

Having said that, I feel like I found a quick fix for mine. But first how the day went.

For starters, Louie Giglio flippin’ brought it this morning. I absolutely loved his talk. And having been on plane rides similar to his, seeing the same thing, I totally resonate with this illustration (and this may not be exactly what he was saying, as well, I’ve had a long day). But he closed with this story of a flight he took from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, B.C. and how the planes get just above the cloud line and you see the peaks of the mountains sticking out. And from my personal experience, this truly is one of the most beautiful things in the whole world. Taking off from a dark, gloomy, rainy land and going up to where the sun is shining above the clouds and you just see the peaks.

Louie shared how it seemed no one else on the plane even noticed, and he wanted to just grab the microphone and “tell everyone to shut up and look out the window out flippin Mt. Raineer. ”

And thats what Youth Ministers need to be doing. Forget the other distractions, set your eyes on the Lord, and get others attention on him. He’s far better than whatever else your doing.

At least, thats what I got out of it.

The rest of my day was bleh. I went to a seminar on Developing Student Leaders that basically just said “Get rid of Leadership Teams and just mentor students.” And for me, I have a problem when anyone says “this way is wrong, just do it this way,” because more often than not, it isnt One way or the Other, its how can these two seperate way compliment each other. (And please dont hear me saying that about everything, at first I had written coexist and instantly had flashes of a bumper sticker, thats not what I am saying).

But for me, I don’t think a student leadership team is at its strongest if you aren’t mentoring the students, and mentoring the students isn’t the strongest unless they are part of a bigger team, otherwise we just develop them living in a silo mindset to carry through out their ministry.

More general thoughts on that in a second.

The second training I went to was all about free resources to enhance your ministry. It should be noted both of these sessions were last minute changes where I thought, nah I think this one will be good, and then I got stuck in a seat I couldn’t leave the room from, or else I would have.

I wish that there would have been an asterisk on the description of this second workshop “*if You own a smartphone, dont come, if you have been on the internet in the last several months, dont come. Will not benefit you.”

I was amazed at some of the free resources this guy was talking and how amazed some of these people were at the sites. Like, honestly, 95% of them had never heard of 95% of this stuff. I mean sure, its one thing to not know every site he talked about, but to not know any was for me just a wow moment.

And the first training had those two. Just the moments of “wow, people really don’t know this yet?”

And so it taught me some things about myself. But in all honesty, this post is getting too long. I’ll post what I learned about myself seperately.

Friday’s Frustration 11.12.10

Every Friday I post a frustration of living in a small town having grown up in a big city. Usually it has nothing to do with ministry, but rather is just an annoyance about small town culture.

I’m very blessed to own a smart phone. I realize that not all Youth Pastors can afford one, and really im not sure that I can afford one either, but I have made sacrifices to allow myself to have an iPhone. A few weeks ago I was getting ready to write Friday’s Frustration about living in a small town on the fact that we didnt have 3G, so my iphone was practically useless. Then that same day AT&T flipped the switch and expanded the 3G network, which included Trenton. I was ecstatic.

But one thing they can’t fix with the flip of the switch is the lack of locations to check in. I’m talking about Gowalla, foursquare, yelp!, etc. I love the idea behind these location based games, and I do play them, but I can only check in at like 3 places a week because there is nothing to check in to in Trenton. Sure, I can check in at IGA or the corner store if I add them to the database, but the whole Idea behind these things that I love is the ability for businesses to know who comes to their places the most often, and reward brand loyalty. Granted, that doesnt always happen and isn’t really a driving force, but it’s there, and I would love to use it in ministry.

See, in a small town, not only is there a lack of places to check in, there is a lack of people who even could check in. I feel like I am one of the only people in this town who is interested in new technology (they will tell you they are too, but their technology is not my technology. They are talking about what new specifications are on the new Tractors this year), and people really just don’t understand technology.

But what I am getting at is that I would love it if more of my students had smart phones. This location based gaming seems like it could be awesome for Youth Ministry, and I would love to harness its capabilities. And I dont know if it would be any easier in a big town, I think it would depend on the town, because I don’t think a million students have smart phones yet. But I do know, its nearly impossible here right now to even think about incorporating this into my youth ministry, and that frustrates me.

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