Creating An Atmosphere Of Friendship And Family
If your calendar could speak, what would it say? If you look at a typical youth pastor's weekly schedule, often times you'll find a great deal of time being spent creating a "fast-paced, high-tech, entertaining youth service." However, according to Group Publishing's "Cool Church Survey" of 10,000 students, it ranked dead last in the importance of 10 factors that influence a student's commitment to church.
What was #1? "A welcoming atmosphere where you can be yourself." So, in this Youth Leader's Coach, listen in on seven strategic elements in building a Christ-honoring, welcoming environment. Refuse to fail at this youth ministry success test, choose instead to up the ante when it comes to the friendship/family tenor of your ministry.
It doesn't matter how great you are at communicating or loving teenagers, unless you get good at recruiting and keeping volunteer leaders, all of youth ministry will be an uphill battle.
The size and strength of our volunteer leadership team plays such a pivotal role in determining the success of our ministry. Experience tells us that our youth ministry will never grow larger than our leadership base can handle. For it is imperative that we are able to care for the students the Lord entrusts to us.
So, grab a cup of coffee and join me as we tackle perhaps the number one challenge in all of youth ministry, "Effective Recruitment Of Volunteer Leaders."
In this session, Master's Commission students from Jeanne's ministry help you to get the "feel" of a small group night, as they spend the first part of this session recreating one for you. Then Jordan Marcon, the Co-Operational Director of Master's Commission Atlanta, along with a few of the Master's students, share pragmatics of how a small group is run and the reasons behind some of the things that they do.
Due to the number of presenters involved in this session, the audio quality is not up to our usual standards, but the information shared is worth the listen.
More important than creating an amazing weekly service, God calls youth pastors and leaders to be spiritual coaches and spiritual parents. Kids could care less about how much you know, until they know how much you care. The three most important things we can give our kids are Time, Talk and Touch.
In this session, Marty Darracott, Pastor of re:Generation Youth Church in Flowery Branch, GA shares his own experiences from when God first called him as a "reluctant" youth pastor to an incredible spiritual voice to this generation of young people today and what God has taught him along the way.
Want to know what makes your students tick? Sometime privately ask them to talk to you about their relationship with their parents. Then don't preach - listen. If you do this, you'll get a powerful understanding of their struggles and their strengths.
This Source, "The Power Of Your Parents' Approval," while it might not sound exciting, is one of the most critically important messages you'll share this year. It's not a "take the hill" message, but it's one that touches so many students. Counselors tell us that there's nothing more significant in the overall formation of a teenager's life and personality than their relationship with their parents.
Don't underestimate the power of teaching your students how to sort through this area in their life. You can do so much for them by giving them an understanding of the "complete acceptance" that their Heavenly Father has for them!
Living in the "Acceptance" of Our Father,
This Source, "The Challenge: Fighting For Your Family," was one that I developed years ago while I was still a student in Bible College. It was during that time, while studying for the ministry, that I was desperately praying for my own parents' salvation.
Most of us, including your students, so passionately want to make a true difference in our families and friends to hopefully bring them to a relationship with Christ. In this message I give some pragmatic principles that you can share with your team so they can begin to positively affect their families through faith!
While listening to this message, you'll hear me become painfully transparent about my own struggle in bringing my parents to the Lord. I allow my team to get a glimpse of my honest vulnerability because I believe "You lead people through your strengths, but you connect to them through your weaknesses." May I challenge you to allow your gang to see you a little more transparent.
And once more, thank you for allowing me to share this time with you.
Your "long-distance" cheerleader,
How do we...me, you, all of us...allow ourselves to be slowly "taken" by the Enemy? There aren't any of us that haven't, in some regard, let him wreak havoc in our life. Sometimes it's just mind games in our head, while other times it's a result of gradual compromise and unforgiveness. Spiritual deception has always been a slippery slope. One that the Enemy walks us down so gradually and convincingly that we often barely realize we are on the journey.
While the Enemy's M.O. is that of a thief, Jesus has come to give us life and life more abundantly. Using the movie "Taken" as our backdrop, John 10 as our Scripture and the song "You Are For Me" as our anthem, in this Source we are given a fresh reminder of the Father's pursuing love for us. He is a Father that has shown Himself faithful to do whatever it takes to "find us."
Jesus casts His vote "for us" on the cross, the Enemy casts his vote against us, but we cast the deciding vote.
My vote is in,
Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 4:14-15, "I am not writing this to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, you do not have many fathers." Don't those verses pierce your soul?
Not only that, but let's take it a step further. While there are a lot of great youth communicators and youth ministry CEO's out there, the years have taught me that it's not been my communication skills or the size of my ministry that people I've impacted reference, but "how the Jesus Christ inside of me made them feel" as I became an adopted "big sis" or "spiritual mom."
Bottom line, one of the most eternally significant things you can do is to stir up inside of you the heart of a spiritual parent. In addition to hearing some sobering stats, listen in and get insight on how to live this out.
In our youth ministry, Oxygen, "family" is a big deal. In fact, we intentionally "do" things each week to make our environment feel less like a "church auditorium" and more like a "family room." And, every once in awhile, we'll even take an extended amount of time to "verbally" remind our students why "family" is such an integral part of our DNA. This Source, "The Family Room," was one of those nights designed to refresh our students' memories on what it looks like to take care of each other well.
Using the visual of a "friendship sandwich" to make the message stick, we look to John 15:12-17 where Jesus lays out what it means to "love one another, just as He has loved us." Drawing upon an opening skit that will make you laugh, a TV family montage that will bring back fond memories, a heart-wrenching story that will fill your eyes with tears, and a fun closing that will not too easily be forgotten, I pray this stirs up or rekindles a desire in your students to live and love in such a way that the world rises up and takes notice.
In our desire for church growth, it seems that more and more leaders are falling into the category of "CEO," and have forgotten their call to be the "shepherds" of God's people. Though it's true that both are important in leading a church, Scripture and Jesus' example show us that fulfilling the role of a "true shepherd" is of the highest priority.
In this Youth Leader's Coach, I share seven principles that will help you "Cultivate The Heart Of A Shepherd" in your youth ministry. So, put on your running shoes, and let's go "chase" some sheep...together! There is no greater calling!
Unfortunately, we live in a society of broken families. Instead of being surrounded with unconditional love and acceptance, teenagers often face homes devastated by divorce and absent parents, or houses filled with arguments and discord. With such shattered trust in today's youth, there has never been a greater need to be more than just a spiritual leader, but rather, a spiritual parent.
So, we must stop and ask ourselves if our ministry is a safe place where these teenagers do feel loved and accepted. Is family a part of our youth group's heartbeat? Listen in to this Youth Leader's Coach, "Cultivating The Father Heart Of God In Your Leadership," as I share my heart on becoming a conduit of the Father Heart of God in your own life and youth ministry.