group magazine: May-June, 2008
In FREEBIES right now you’ll find a downloadable PowerPoint presentation comparing world religions to Christianity.
On our MorethanDodgeBall BLOG you’ll find the poll results to: “Do You Organize Your Own Mission Trips?”
From our MENTORS you can read Mark DeVries’ article “Holy Apathy.”
In our FORUM hundreds of youth leaders offer tips on getting kids to read the Bible.
Our first PODCAST targets longevity in youth ministry.
A featured RESOURCE is the Hope Lives kit.
On our MorethandDodgeBall blog at youthministry.com, Josh Griffin (the blog Pooh-Bah) asked youth leaders if they plan their own mission trips:
64% said yes
36% said no
From Sam: “Last year we did our mission trip right here in our own town. At first we were afraid that our youth would not sign up since we weren’t really ‘going anywhere.’ But they realized that, as with past mission experiences, the best thing was the people and the service...Now they drive by the houses they worked on or run into the people they helped in grocery stores, and it’s even more meaningful. It took a lot of planning, but we’ll do it again.”
This new resource, produced in partnership with Compassion International, will challenge your kids to grapple with issues of poverty—both in their own backyard and worldwide. Plunge your kids into good Samaritan living by helping them discover:
• what keeps us from engaging in global issues,
• what Scripture really says about the poor,
• the true nature of poverty,
• how to draw close to the poor in prayer, and
• how to respond to God’s voice.
ask better questions
An excerpt from a downloadable freebie article by Benjamin Wilcox:
Instead of asking...
“How do we keep these kids entertained?”
“What am I willing to do to ensure that the teenagers who come feel truly understood and valued as individuals?”
Instead of asking...
“How do we make it through all the curriculum?”
“Does the curriculum we use encourage risky, open-ended questions that lead to honest revelation, or is there only one right answer?”
Instead of asking...
“How do we make sure our teenagers keep coming back and invite their friends, too?”
“Is the environment in which we hold our meetings inviting, welcoming, and emotionally and physically safe?”
In our youthministry.com community we post insightful articles from site “mentors,” including Greg Stier, Mark DeVries, Jeanne Mayo, Doug Fields, and Walt Meuller. But we also post “in the trenches” articles from youth pastors you’ve likely never heard of—here’s a tasty sampler.
A year or so ago a perceptive, shorter, young man in our youth ministry told me my nose hairs were getting long. After careful self-reflection, I realized that he was right. I’ve now added nose-hair trimming to my hygienic routine. Since the nose-hair ordeal I’ve realized being in leadership exposes all sorts of personal imperfections. When a perceptive follower exposes our flaws, we can ridicule and ignore them, or we can change.
Starting Out Right
I recently transitioned to a new ministry and found that every move requires a time of observing, learning, and adjusting. So get to know a few things:
1. Get to know your culture. Just like missionaries learn their target culture, we must also.
2. Get to know your people. Spend your first year simply listening. Ask plenty of questions.
3. Get to know your purpose. While you’re assessing the culture and people, process your findings to determine a purpose for your ministry.
4. Get to know your limitations. Limitations surface in resources, policy, tradition, and relational equity.
From a Fallen Ministry Guy...
I’ve been faking my youth ministry “expertise” for a long time. Now I’m on the front end of basically rebuilding myself—I’d love to share a few things that have gotten me to this place.
1. Stop lying to yourself. You say that lie enough times, you start to believe it; say it to others, and they start to believe it too.
2. Take responsibility. Own up to your actions and words—and accept the consequences.
3. Get help now. I used to have an amazing accountability circle, and then I let it slide. It's now been rebuilt. I’m also seeking professional help to deal with the junk in my head.
4. Believe this...I confess, He forgives, it's covered with Christ's blood, and now I move forward. I have said this to myself out loud for the past five weeks. I’m starting to believe it.
In youth ministry we often focus on the wrong battles—I’ve seen it over and over in my consulting work. For example, the youth worker who relishes debates about the need for a more contemporary worship service while parents are asking for the mission trip sign-up information a month after it was promised. Holy apathy means we give exactly zero attention to those aspects of our churches and youth ministries we cannot change.