Tag Archives: Intergenerational Ministry

10 Lessons Learned from 10 Years in Ministry

Hard to believe…10 years of Youth Ministry.  Praise the Lord for his grace, for the patience of teens and their parents, and the countless times God has brought strength to my weakness.

And get this…my article on the 10 Lessons Learned from 10 Years in Ministry has been published by Youth Specialties.  Go check it out and be encouraged.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

2016 Goals Revisited

In January of this year, I posted my ministry goals for 2016.  When you make goals, it’s a balance of faith, attainability, and measurability.  Let’s take a look and see what God did this year…shutterstock_407994838-800x400

  1. Short Term Mission Trip – Mission trips are a part of our ministry every summer in a cycle of local, out-of-state, international, and work trips. This way, the 4 year high school experience will allow for various types of mission work. This year a trip to New York is in the works.  Grade:  A.  What a tremendous trip.  Click here for the recap.
  2. Inter-generational Ministry Continued Improvement – A tech class for seniors, service projects combined with adult small groups, guest speakers, mentoring initiatives, and integrated mission projects.  Grade:  B.  There is still room for improvement, and that will be reflected in the 2017 goals, but we did host the tech class for seniors, involve adults in combined service projects, and the mentoring initiatives are starting to grow.
  3. Better Timing – Each year I look at my schedule and there is always at least one “why did I schedule that there?”.   This year I want to make a more conscious effort in the timing of events and programs. Team with parents in working out better schedules. Not all conflicts can be avoided, but why not adjust the schedule if it can be.  Grade:  B+.  For the most part, this was much better this year.  I was very strategic in providing rest for leaders, including student leaders, at key times.  Events were pretty well spaced out for maximum impact and family time.
  4. Family Series – I have been trying to find more ways to gather the family together in a youth ministry context. This year, I plan to teach a small series on the family with the entire family.  Grade:  B.  We did it, but it was not as well attended as I had hoped.  It’s difficult when parents are serving in other ministries (not a bad thing) or various other reasons…but the series went well and was well-received.
  5. Co-Mission Event – Continue the annual co-mission, which is a mission conference for students. This year, there may be some changes to enhance and improve the evangelism training for the students.  Grade:  A.  There were several adults and leaders that mentioned this was one of the best Co-Mission events we have had.  We made some practical changes and resulted in a challenging, but encouraging training for the students.
  6. Series on Fear – I read recently teens have a wide array of fears. Fear is often what keeps them from doing right and what tempts them to do wrong. Fear takes them places they don’t want to go and holds them hostage when they want to leave. Fear is something we need to talk about.  Grade:  A.  I tweaked this a little and did a “Fear Factor” event instead and used it as a platform to discuss their fear.  This event was one of the highlights of the year for sure. 
  7. Winter Retreat – In the past, the winter has been difficult to draw up enough interest for a retreat. Part of it is timing with winter sports, weather, and life. But this year we hope will be different having a younger group.  Grade:  A-.   Not greatly attended due to sports conflicts, but overall was a valuable that provided spiritual growth and group unity.
  8. Service – Each year we place a heavy emphasis on service and provide ample opportunity to serve in the church and in the community. This year is no different with continuous plugging in of students in church life and a community/church service project scheduled every month.  Grade:  A.  God blessed us to be able to participate in a service project every month again this year.  That truly is a staple in our youth ministry and the benefits are too numerous to count.
  9. Global Emphasis – With the World in Need month continuing this year, we plan to place an emphasis on the issue of poverty across the world. We hope to encourage the students to not only pray but be a world-changer and do something about global poverty.  Grade:  A.  Whenever you can expand the worldview of a student and raise awareness of poverty, it’s hard not to look at it positively. 
  10. Apprenticeships – Along with having a youth intern this year, I want to encourage the student leaders to seek out mentoring opportunities. These will be called apprenticeships within the student leadership team, but outside the group it is simply the older students helping the younger students with life. Mentoring needs to happen both up and down…being mentored, and mentoring others.  Grade:  A.  What a great experience.  I was blessed to have an incredible intern who was eager to learn and dive into ministry.  I strongly encourage others to consider having an intern work alongside you at some point in the year.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2016 Youth Ministry Goals

In Philippians 3:14, Paul was not talking about youth ministry goals.  But I still love the phrase “press on toward the goal”.  In ministry, you must do just that…”press on”.  It is important to reflect on your past accomplishments, like I did last week, and grow from your mistakes and build on your successes.  But, it is also vital in ministry to look ahead, plan, and seek God’s guidance for the year ahead.  Below are 10 goals for the 2016 ministry year.  Hopefully these will provide you with ideas and/or encouragement for the coming year.shutterstock_263635745

  1. Short Term Mission Trip – Mission trips are a part of our ministry every summer in a cycle of local, out-of-state, international, and work trips. This way, the 4 year high school experience will allow for various types of mission work. This year a trip to New York is in the works.
  2. Inter-generational Ministry Continued Improvement – A tech class for seniors, service projects combined with adult small groups, guest speakers, mentoring initiatives, and integrated mission projects.
  3. Better Timing – Each year I look at my schedule and there is always at least one “why did I schedule that there?”.   This year I want to make a more conscious effort in the timing of events and programs. Team with parents in working out better schedules. Not all conflicts can be avoided, but why not adjust the schedule if it can be.
  4. Family Series – I have been trying to find more ways to gather the family together in a youth ministry context. This year, I plan to teach a small series on the family with the entire family.
  5. Co-Mission Event – Continue the annual co-mission, which is a mission conference for students. This year, there may be some changes to enhance and improve the evangelism training for the students.
  6. Series on Fear – I read recently teens have a wide array of fears. Fear is often what keeps them from doing right and what tempts them to do wrong. Fear takes them places they don’t want to go and holds them hostage when they want to leave. Fear is something we need to talk about.
  7. Winter Retreat – In the past, the winter has been difficult to draw up enough interest for a retreat. Part of it is timing with winter sports, weather, and life. But this year we hope will be different having a younger group.
  8. Service – Each year we place a heavy emphasis on service and provide ample opportunity to serve in the church and in the community. This year is no different with continuous plugging in of students in church life and a community/church service project scheduled every month.
  9. Global Emphasis – With the World in Need month continuing this year, we plan to place an emphasis on the issue of poverty across the world. We hope to encourage the students to not only pray but be a world-changer and do something about global poverty.
  10. Apprenticeships – Along with having a youth intern this year, I want to encourage the student leaders to seek out mentoring opportunities. These will be called apprenticeships within the student leadership team, but outside the group it is simply the older students helping the younger students with life. Mentoring needs to happen both up and down…being mentored, and mentoring others.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Happens When Senior Citizens Come to Youth Group?

Bridging the generation gap in our church has always been a goal of mine.  I’m a proponent of inter-generational youth ministry.  If you don’t know what that is, then go here and read this book.  Many churches are going to the model of separation and segregation of age groups so much that the generations never interact with each other.  Do I see value in age-segregated ministries?  Absolutely.  Hello, I’m a youth pastor!  But there is real value in generations coming together, getting to know each other, and truly becoming ONE church.  But it just does not happen over night.  You need to be intentional.  Sure, there are select few older generation that will take time to get to know younger generations.  But, for many, you must have a “Field of Dreams” model of ministry –  if you build it they will come.  if_you_build_it_-_olv_mens_cu_4_1

How does this happen?  Here are few ideas:

Serve Them.  Every year, our teen ministry hosts a lunch for the senior citizens.  The sky is the limit for the theme of the lunch, and thankfully I have very creative and talented youth lady leaders (because I could only host a grilled cheese or hot dog lunch).  We have done Valentine’s Day lunches, Brunches, Tour of Italy…the themes are endless.  And so is the value of teens serving the older generation.  The teens dress up, take the seniors to their seats, take their orders, and serve them lunch.  After everyone is served, the teens then find seats next to them and have genuine conversation.  Sometimes, the conversation is guided, other times it is just natural.  Another idea:  Form a team of teens and adults to serve the elderly through the year – yard work, general house issues, etc.

Have Fun Together.  Typically, either following lunch or another time during the year, we will have an informal time of generations coming together.  I’ve hosted a “Man Day” which includes a Bible study, hearty breakfast, and man games like “Name That Tool” and “Power Drill Relay.  Other ideas include:  speed dating & board game night.

Serve Together.  Our youth group has a service project every month, and we often invite adult small groups to participate with us.  This is a great way to bring generations together, by serving together.  Often, they see how teens can be hard-working, caring, and approachable.  It breaks down walls when you are serving Christ together.

Worship Together.  Please do not make the mistake of never allowing generations to worship together.  I’m a proponent of children’s and youth ministries as much as the next guy, but it is important that the generations have opportunities to worship and hear God’s Word together over the course of the year.  Maybe consider trimming down the age of children’s church, save holidays for all-church gatherings, and do not host a youth service during main worship times.

Pray for One Another.  Before I arrived at my current church, they already had this wonderful practice in place.  The senior citizen group had a prayer sign up list of all the teens and college/young adults.  What better way to bring generations together than to pray for them.  Our teens often pray for our seniors as well.

Invite Them to Youth Group.  Last but not least, invite them to your youth group!  Sure, many youth groups have a parent night which is a great idea.  But let’s take it a step further and invite the senior citizen group to your youth group.  A friend of mine in ministry gave me this idea, and we tried it yesterday.  Judging by the picture below, how do you think it went?  Seeing the elder generation, singing, playing games, and praying with the younger generation…it was incredible.  IMG_1376[1]

Sure, we are not there yet.  But we are intentionally trying to bridge the generations together.  Praying, serving, having fun,  and worshiping together as ONE church.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Book Review: Inter-Generational Youth Ministry

Book Review:  Inter-Generational Youth Ministry by Mel Walker

The Good: 

Intergenerational Cover FinalThose in youth ministry are up to our ears in statistics of high school and young adults leaving the church. True, statistics tell a story, and are valuable in evaluating cultural trends. However, statistics are like a home run hitter that only hits home runs when no one is on base. It is helpful, but it will rarely give your team the win. Statistics are helpful, but they rarely get results. That is, unless you couple those statistics with solutions. When you provide solutions, you have a book worth reading.

This book begins with a youth culture history lesson. It was fascinating, and set up the rest of the book perfectly. In fact, I found it so helpful, I used much of the material in my message at the teen/senior citizen luncheon. It was a perfect tie in of generations. Basically, I gave the history of youth ministry, the current state of youth ministry, and what you as the elder generation can do to help.

In the following chapters, each ministry of the church is dissected and examined. From children’s ministry to the senior saints, the evaluation of the current church models were scrutinized respectfully, and given helpful solutions to issues that exist in churches across the nation.

As a reader of scores of youth ministry books, what separates the good from the bad is the “how”. Sure, anyone can observe and articulate the problems that exist in youth ministry. Anyone can verbalize problems like a popular news network. But what makes this a good youth ministry book, is it provides the “how”. Each chapter includes multiple, practical steps to implement the solution to the existing issues. In addition to the how, each solution is accompanied with Biblical support. What a combo! So, when you as a youth worker, youth pastor, church staff member, parent, or church member begin to employ some of these solutions in your church and inevitably get the “why” question. You now have practical reasons and Biblical reasons for the changes and new ministry practices you are implementing in your church. That’s what I call armed and dangerous…OK, maybe I should stick with practical and Biblical.

The Bad:

Frankly, it was difficult to find the bad in this book (you will see why when I give out the grade), but there was one thing. On occasion, there is a repetition of illustrations or concepts. Some of this, I realize, was done for emphasis of certain points. However, there were other idioms or illustrations that were repeated, and could have used some more originality.

The Grade: A

This book is a MUST READ for all those involved in the church. Notice I did not just say those involved in youth ministry. This is an all-hands-on-deck experience. This is a total church makeover that is worth a look. These concepts and ideas have been part of my ministry philosophy for years, and for someone to write down specific ways to implement them, it is like long-lost friends being reunited.

Not only is this book immensely practical and useful, but as was mentioned before, it is Biblical. Without the Biblical support, you could get excited about new ministry ideals, but they would have no weight, no substance, and fade away like a passing fad. The Bible’s eternal principles are worth exploring, and are priceless when a writer can articulate those in your context, and flesh our practical ways to accomplish those principles.

Honestly, this was one of my favorite youth ministry books I have read. It deserves to be put into practice in your ministry today. It’s time we do something about the problems of our young people leaving the church, instead of just pointing out the problem. This book will give you solutions, and step-by-step instructions to putting those solutions to work.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mocking Evangelism

What’s wrong with me, I’m currently reading a book called “Questioning Evangelism”, and I’m about to blog about Mocking Evangelism. Before you start throwing stones at your computer, let me straighten things out here. Questioning Evangelism is a book about using questions in evangelism. And I’m not encouraging mocking evangelism, but the use of Mock Evangelism events.
Mock Evangelism events are a staged event where students can practice sharing the Gospel with those they know and trust. How is it done? Well, let me help you explain by answering 3 Questions: Why, Where, & Who?evangelism4

Why? Maybe your youth ministry is different, but I’m entering my 3rd year in my current ministry, and when I polled the high schoolers, very few have ever led anyone to the Gospel. So I wanted them to learn how to do it in a “safe environment”. So the Mock Event allows the students to practice their gospel presentations with familiar faces before they go out and share with strangers.
Where? My goal is to make it real as possible. One time I set the gym up like a lunchroom, another was a park, and last year was the streets of Chicago. Also sounds are effective. So, in that lunchroom setting, I was the principal and would give announcements from the sound system. Or for a mission trip to Chicago, I showed slides with sights and sounds of downtown Chicago.
Who? In the past, I’ve mentioned the importance of intergenerational ministry.  Well, here is one way to accomplish bridging the generations together. Each time, I invite several adult small groups to come and participate. For the student lunch room, I had adults dress up like cheerleaders, athletes, or in goth costumes. For the park, one guy was passed out on a bench, another was painting portraits, and another was playing catch with his kids. BEST PART: Gave permission to adults to “step out” of character when needed and instruct or encourage the teen. Say things like “Here’s what you can say here” when they get stuck or “that was really good, keep going”. This is a real opportunity for natural discipleship/mentoring to take place.

Extra: Be Creative. Use sounds, people of your church, PowerPoint, decorations. Make it real, so when you do take your students out, they will be as ready as they can be. Cater to your Trip. For example: I knew part of the Chicago trip would be to invite people from their homes. So I had “actors” in side rooms ready to answer the door. The teens had no idea who they would meet on the other side. Hilarious! But it gave them experience of what they would face on the trip, and in real life.

Hopefully you can see the value of Mock Evangelism Events, particularly in the mission trip training process. However, I’ve used these events concluding series on the importance of sharing the Gospel. Please, don’t allow this event to be a replacement for the real thing, but as a training ground for your students to be sent out as missionaries in their homes, neighborhoods, schools, communities, and around the world.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Youth Ministry Goals 2014

Here are some specific and practical goals for the coming year that God has placed on my heart.  Looking forward to what God will do with these things…

1.       “Bible Doing” – We know what a Bible Study is, but what about a “Bible Doing”.  It is taking a passage of Scripture and going out and doing it!  (Idea taken from book “Love Does”)

2.       Wedding & Funeral Message Outlines/Scripts – This is something that has been on my mental list for some time.  Now it is time to get this together.

3.       Music Training Class – With my guitar player graduating this year, I look at my youth group and see very little musical ability.  Singing maybe, but not instrumental.  Part of my responsibility is to train our young people in ministry…well this may need to start in elementary, so they are ready to play in the praise band in junior high or high school.

4.       Junior High Mission Trip – Local trip where junior high students can participate.  Evaluate whether this can continue from year to year.

5.       Community Project – Connect with neighborhoods and communities, find needs and do what we can as a church to meet those needs.

6.       Host “Ask Your Leaders” Night – Provide a night where students can ask those questions on their mind, address doubts, and converse about questions that may not come up in regular discussions.

7.       Sunday School Rehab – Conduct Sunday school in a way that promotes the gifts of the teacher; evaluate forming a junior high Sunday school

8.       Equip Parents/Families – Continue/Broaden Spiritual Growth Planning, Parent Seminar/Meetings, other Parent training opportunities

9.       Continue Inter-generational and Discipleship Ministry– Find ways where generations can minister to each other, promote mentoring/discipleship

10.   Outreach – Continue to improve outreach which includes:  better visitor follow-up, Community Easter Egg Hunt, and promotion of outreach events.2014-goals

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Reasons Why Your Church Should Have an Encouragement Month

At our church, there is only one month where we encourage each other.  So we set aside October each year, and call it Encouragement Month, and get all the encouraging out of the way before the holidays.  Kidding. Kidding.

Encouragement month is where the church family is asked to attend kid & teen extracurricular (sports, band, drama, etc) activities.  The month prior, we ask parents and guardians to turn in their children’s schedules, so we can put together a master calendar of activities.  That calendar is blown up, and displayed in the lobby.  At the display, there are also copies of the schedule to take home.17.-Encourage-sunset

So what’s the point?  Seems like a great deal of organizing, for what purpose?  I’m glad you asked.  Here are 4 reasons why it is worth it, and why your church should consider doing it.

Kids Like Encouragement.  Imagine that.  Kids and teens like to be encouraged.  And let me tell you, when those students have a cheering section from their church, it means the world to them.  Never underestimate attending a ball game, play, or band concert.  All you have to do is sit there, and cheer when appropriate – apparently school plays aren’t the place for the wave.  Who knew?

Bring Generations Together.  I loved hearing stories of older generations attending some of the games or concerts.  When a young person sees the older generation taking interest in them, they begin to see them in a different light.  This small step can help bond the church together tighter, and can go a long way in the unity that churches crave.

A Youth Leader’s Best Friend.  As much as we would like to, it would be difficult for most youth pastors or leaders to be able to attend every student’s activities.  Or, if you are a smaller ministry, you may feel pressure to attend several games of the students you have, but your schedule doesn’t allow it.  Well, committing to attending games in October allows you to make sure a representative from your youth ministry comes to the game, and show that student support and keep the connection to your ministry.  And, for the smaller ministries, it allows you to streamline your schedule more effectively, and keeps you accountable in supporting your students in their extracurricular activities.

Connection to the Schools.  While your main purpose is not to make a connection with the school, it is to encourage the student.  Your attendance does provide an opportunity to meet administration, teachers, and coaches.  This connection could begin to develop into a larger ministry role in the future, when the school administration knows and sees your support.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2013 Goals

2013 Goals:

  1. Student Takeover   Broaden & Heighten the expectations of students in ministry & youth group participation.  Continue personal discipleship & Leader Training.
  2. Parent Connection    Parent Seminar & Improve with weekly youth culture updates
  3. Family Life Planning     Begin offering life planning for student ministry parents.
  4. Easter Outreach Community    Easter Egg Hunt planned by leadership students
  5. Youth Pastor Network    Launch a network in SW Columbus.
  6. Public School Ministry    Still working on ways to enter public schools to share Jesus.
  7. Youth Leader Equip    Improve equipping & discipleship in meetings.  More opportunities to equip for service.
  8. Better Documentation of MSM    I’m talking pictures/video.
  9. WIN Event    World in Need Event to promote spiritual and physical needs globally
  10. Inter-generational Church    Promote events and ways to bridge generations in church, church programs, church events, 2013 goalsand outside of church.
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,