Tag Archives: Youth Service

5 Easy Excuses for sub-par Youth Ministry


One of the lies that is easy to buy into, particularly for new Youth Pastors in small towns, is that our ministries are not as effective as others. I mean, this past week, my dad sent me the video his youth pastor made at their church for their Student Ministries Promo, and man, it made you want to be a part of that ministry. It was awesome! There was evidence of lives being changed, kids coming to Christ, Parents supporting the ministry. It was enough to make one jealous.

So if you are feeling in the dumps about the effectiveness of your Ministry, here are five simple excuses to help you feel better about yourself and help your supervisors understand why your not having the same results as down the street;

1. Facilities – if I just had better facilities, we could do so much more.

2. Volunteers – if we just had more volunteers, we could do so much more
3. Student leaders – if I just had some student leaders, we could do so much more
4. Time – if I just had more time, we could do so much more
5. Budget – if we just had more money, we could do so much more
The problem here is that these are all valid excuses. We could do more in our ministries if we had bigger spaces, bigger budgets, and more bodies.
But be that as it may, God doesn’t care. When it all boils down, God has placed you in your specific ministry in your specific church with your specific context to do his specific work. Just because there are other youth groups that can afford to give away iPad’s for door prizes doesn’t mean that that is what your called to do.
Does that mean we shouldn’t seek those things? Absolutely not. You could do more with more space and more money and more bodies.
But should that be an excuse to run a sub-par ministry? Absolutely not. If you can’t find a way to make what you have run effectively, you stand no chance of being more effective with those things.
So quit making excuses, quit being content with sub-par youth events, and make the most with what God has already entrusted you with.
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Weekend in Review Volume #6


Series: He Said What? A look at the words of Jesus Christ, wk. w

Sermon in a sentence: The key to friendships/relationships that last is to Love Differently, Love Unconditionally, and Love out Loud

Understandable Message: We all long for deeper friendships, but sometimes we aren’t aware that friendships take work, they don’t just happen. In John 13, Jesus laid out a model for better relationships, to Love Differently than the world (the world tells us if it feels good, do it, so we do it as long as it feels good, but that leads to the second point…), we must Love Unconditionally, and we must Love Out Loud.

Element of Fun: We are going to be going to the One-by-Youth In St. Louis in a few weeks, and so last night we gave someone the chance to go for free, but to win they had to make an impossible shot. Really all it was was a bucket on one side of the room that they had three chances to throw a ball into. Fairly simple game, but since our participant didn’t win, we will try again next week.

Music playlist: Shane and Shane – Dare2share unending worship cd is what we listened to pre-service. ( we dont have a worship team yet, but check out this post and you’ll see I am working on it)

Memorable Moment: One of our questions in our break out time dealt with the difference between loving with our words and loving with actions, and why words aren’t good enough. Two groups got stuck on this question and couldn’t quite understand it, a guys and a girls group. I gave the same example for the most part, but slightly different, and my guys group that it was pretty great. The guys version involved their city being under attack by evil invaders, and one of them building a wall while the rest sat behind him “encouraging” him. If they really wanted to show love, they would help him by taking action. The girls scenario was that the human race was becoming extinct and one of them was placed in charge of gardening all of the food for the rest of humanity to live on, while her friends sat back and “encouraged” her.

Up Next: He Said what? wk. 4

 

Weekend in Review volume #5


Series: He Said What? A look at the words of Jesus Christ, wk. 2

Sermon in a sentence: Christ offers us full life in him, we can be fully satisfied in Christ

Understandable Message: John 10:10 tells us that the thief comes in the night to steal & kill & destroy, but that Christ came to give us life and life to the fullest. Really, we all face two choices, the choice to continually be seeking more, the next best thing, going down paths that lead to destruction, or we can put our faith in Christ and be fully satisfied by him.

Element of Fun: We played a few games from youth leader stash this week, head catch, which the girls at least all loved and got really into , train wreck, and best of the best.

Music playlist: Until We Feel Alive by Lybecker. I love this band. Sure, I may be partial because im good friends with them and the bassist is my brother, but they are legit, check them out on itunes. My brother was a youth pastor and gives great prices to youth groups for concerts and what not.

Memorable Moment: I gave a bit of a testimony last night about a friend of mine from high school named Jenna, one of my friends who had my number for emergencies, who knew they could call me anytime they were in trouble and needed a ride and I’d come help. Jenna got in a lot of bad situations but I was always trying to show her God’s Love, and for me remembering her and just wondering where she is now, kind of broke my heart a bit. It was a good part of the sermon, but  I hope these students know how much I love them and how much God loves them, because I don’t want them to turn out like Jenna, who felt so unloved by people she got into those situations.

Up Next: He Said what? wk. 3

When tool’s are no longer tools


One of my frustrations is that I don’t think I am a good small group teacher. Every week, I pour into a lesson, then the night comes, we go through the lesson, I ask some questions which students give answers too, and thats it. There isn’t a whole lot of conversation that comes from the lesson. But every week, with out fail, we close in prayer and say Amen, and then discussion starts about who knows what.

Last night, we got, somehow, on the topic of tracts. Now I personally am extremely against tracts. I think one of the reasons why I hate them is because of living in Lynchburg, VA the last 4 or 5 years, and just seeing how waiters and waitresses hated working on Sunday afternoons because the church folk would come out and instead of leaving a tip, they would leave a tract.

I think the main reason why I hate them, though, is because to me they symbolize the weakness of the american church when it comes to discipleship, because in essence, when most people give out a tract, they are saying to the person receiving it “Here, Go save yourself. Good luck with the rest of life.”

What’s frustrating about that is that the great commission doesn’t say “Go out and make converts” but rather it says “Go and make disciples.” Handing someone a tract is something that people do if they are trying to just get people saved and then they move on.

So I hate tracts with a passion.

But as I am explaining this to our students, my wife butts in to tell of how her Mother got saved because of a tract. But she also noted that it wasn’t just the tract that saved her, but the people who gave her the tract went through it with her, and invited her to church and to their home.

See for this couple that saved my mother-in-law, a tract served a purpose for their discipleship, it led to a further conversation. But for many who hand out tracts, this idea is foreign.

So it got me thinking about the idea that maybe its not necessarily tracts that I hate, but the fact that people don’t know how to use them that I hate. And that got me going on one of the buzzwords that has been going around youth ministry the last decade or so: Programs.

If you have read anything Youth Ministry related since 2000, you have read how evil programs are and we need to get rid of them. The Pizza nights don’t serve a purpose and aren’t making any converts or disciples. “What you save people with is what you save people to.” You know what I am talking about.

But if my mother-in-law got saved with a tract, shouldn’t she still be only reading tracts?

I get the notion of that saying, I do. But I also think, maybe we are just a little off with that sort of thinking. Maybe we need to realize that there are tools we can use to get people saved. But if something doesn’t have a clear purpose behind it to move that person to the next level, then yeah, we are just saving them to that level.

So if a tract has a purpose of starting a conversation to open doors for other conversations, then it has a purpose. If we just hand someone a tract and walk away praying “God let them see you in that tract” then yeah, maybe we have great faith, but we really aren’t being purposeful.

In that same way, If I am having a Pizza night to bring in students who don’t come to my ministry so that I can build a relationship with them and get them back to a regular youth service, then I think Pizza Nights are great tools. But if the Pizza Night is the end of the line, If I get up and think “this is my one chance to reach these kids, I better preach the heck out of them right now,” then I would say thats a bad purpose. I’m not pouring into them, I’m just hoping to get them to say a prayer and then maybe they will come back.

I don’t know if that resonates with you. But these are just the thoughts I get challenged with after hanging out with my students.

Weekend in Review Volume #4


Series: He Said What? A look at the words of Jesus Christ, wk. 1

Sermon in a sentence: The most important things in life Can Not be earned

Understandable Message: John 3:16 lays out a clear cause and effect of salvation, God loves us =  he sent his son to die to pay for our sins, we believe in him = eternal life. We can’t earn salvation based off anything that we do, no matter what we do or how hard we try.

Element of Fun: The students played human battleship and poop deck, i have no idea how it went as you’ll see later

Music playlist: The last few weeks we have just been having the new Hillsong United CD, Aftermath, playing before and after the service

Memorable Moment: Memorable moment for me was this was the first weekend we did video. I recorded the message earlier this week and had a student help me out in editing it (as well as some other stuff) so that he can get into some video editing. I wasn’t able to be there this week and none of my volunteers ready to speak were going to be able to make it (except my wife, but she was swamped with other stuff already). So it was fun in that aspect, and from what I hear, it went pretty well

Up Next: He Said what? wk. 2

 

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