Archives For October 2012

Small groups can be scary.  Every week you pray, prepare, and expect God to do great things.  But what happens when your 12 students become 3 students?  It is tremendously heart breaking.  We have all faced seasons in ministry when it seems like your students are completely indifferent about God, eternity, much less discipleship.  It would be easy to begin questioning what you are doing wrong?  Why aren’t the students’ families making this a priority?  Do I suck at this?

I have gone through this and there are times I have allowed these circumstances to harden my heart and take my focus off of God and turn that focus to “results”.  My goal is to love God and my family and invite students to be a part of our lives and journey.  I want students to be able to own their faith instead of borrowing from their parents or mine.  That can only be done by God and the student.  It doesn’t make it any easier when you see great potential get lost in an ungodly teenage romantic relationship.  Or the mysterious disappearing student that was always there and now won’t return your text.

I don’t have an answer for why this happens, but I do have a suggestion. Love your ONE and love your 3!  Go after God in ways you normally wouldn’t (i.e. fasting, thanking God instead of just asking, and taking time to just listen for His voice).  Pour into your 3 students and make sure they know you love them and you love being there.

This isn’t a quick fix that will get your group back to 12, but it is A way to stay spiritually healthy and hungry.  I love small groups.  They are honest, irreverent, and open for discussion.  And when everything goes wrong, just love your ONE and love your 3.

Jeremy Bloom is the Youth Ministry Director at Shoreline Church. He blogs at http://theymlife.blogspot.com/ and you can follow him on twitter @finding_jeremy.

Proverbs 18:22-  He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.

So I am getting married in 8 days. There is a lot on my mind as we go into the week of the wedding. I thought it would help my crazy mind if I wrote out a list of all of the things I’m thinking about, and then would appreciate your prayers as I enter this new territory of marriage.

Here is everything that is going through my head:

  • YES! I’m marrying my best friend. The most Godly woman I know. She keeps me grounded and I just can’t wait until she gets to be my new roomie! I’m excited that we get to start this new life together.
  • I pray that my excitement to be with her never fades. I don’t see that happening.
  • I pray we keep our marriage Christ-centered not self-centered.
  • We did the whole wedding ourselves. I hope it all comes together as good as it looks in our head.
  • PRAY FOR NO RAIN! It’s outside!
  • For decent whether! Not too cold!
  • I’m going to have to clean up our place everyday now, not just when I know she is coming over.
  • I ge to wake up to her face everyday in 8 days.
  • My view in ministry is going to change a little bit. My time and energy will have to be adjusted with a wife at home and not an empty house.
  • We are a model of a new, Godly, couple to our students. Not something to take lightly.
  • What presents are we going to get?
  • Who is going to be the crazy one in my family to do the Gangnam Style dance and twist an ankle on the dance floor?
  • What is my bachelor party going to be like? I leave for it tomorrow and I have no idea what they have planned…I’m scared.
  • I ge to see my best friend Jeremiah for the first time in 5 months since he moved to OK to work at Life Church this week.
  • I cannot wait to see in real life what Ephesians 5 is all about when it comes to loving christ and loving my wife.
  • How bad am I going to cry when I see Kristin walk down the aisle? (Prediction: balling like a baby. I tear up when I hear the song she is walking down to now.)
  • How much fun is everyone going to have? I want it to be a huge party.
  • Pray I can take “real” days off. Probably going to leave my phone somewhere else to help that temptation.
  • Im honored to work at a place who wants to see my marriage succeed and is gracious with my time in and out of the office in the next few weeks.
  • I cannot wait to see my friends and family come together to celebrate.
  • I’m getting married in 8 days. Holy crap.

This is such a random list but all things that I am thinking about this week. Can you pray for that?

Thank you! Until I am back, enjoy the guests posts from some awesome people!

In part one of this series, I shared a few random thoughts to remember as you are on your search for new volunteers for your ministry. But that is the easiest part. The real work comes once you have a few potential volunteers that you feel may be a good for fit for your ministry. Once you have a few, the temptation will be to plug them in right away, but don’t get ahead of yourself. There are a few crucial steps that I would encourage you to take before you officially add these new volunteers to your team. Here are three things we do with our potential volunteers that may be good for you to do as well.

  • Application. We have a lengthy application we ask all potential leaders to fill out. It’s lengthy for a reason. We want people who are committed and are willing to take the necessary steps to joining our team. Also, it’s a great way for us to get to know important information about them before we put them on our team. We ask them to write out their testimony, ask them why they want to work with students, see if they are a member of our church, and other important information. If you don’t have an application you give to your potential volunteers I would encourage you to put one together. Once you have one made, keep it on file so you can send it to any potential volunteers that may be joining your team.
  • Background Check. This is huge don’t overlook this! I am always surprised at how many churches don’t require background checks of their potential volunteers. I have been guilty of this, but know always make sure every potential leader has one done. We must protect the students we work with and one way we do that is screening our potential volunteers. It’s an important step that we must never overlook. Before anyone can join our team, we do a background check on them. If you are not doing this I encourage you to start doing it now!
  • One on One Interview. Once a potential volunteers as filled out an application and passed a background check, I sit down with them one on one and do a casual interview with them. This gives me a chance to hear their story as well as hear their heart behind why they want to work with students. I will review their application beforehand and highlight any areas I want to discuss with them. This is a great way to put the paper work aside and hear the heart of a potential volunteer. During this interview, make sure to ask the right questions, but also share the vision and purpose of your ministry. Explain the commitment they will make as part of joining your team and make sure they know exactly what they are signing up for. Pray with them and tell them you will get back to them in a few days.

If you have done these three steps and feel like they are a good fit, add them to your team! Find out where they best fit and unleash them to serve the students in your ministry! You may have a few other steps, but I believe these are three important steps you must take when your selecting new volunteers.

*Austin McCann is the student ministries director at Christ Community Chapel-Stow Campus in Northeast Ohio. He enjoys reading, writing, spending time with his wife, and pointing students towards Jesus. You can check out more of his thoughts at www.austinmccann.com.

 

This last weekend we used these two videos to teach part of the message in HSM. It is the first time we tried to integrate videos in the teaching, but I thought it went really well. Students seemed to love it and remember it.

Volunteers are the key to having an effective student ministry. A student ministry will not last long with a single student pastor; it needs a committed group of volunteers as well. Currently I am in search of some new volunteers in our ministry. We have growing small groups, which means we need more volunteer leaders! Many student pastors are in the same boat I am, on the hunt for more volunteers. I want to share a view thoughts on selecting new volunteers that I hope will help you as you look for new people to add to your team

  • Don’t post an ad. The last thing you want to do is post a “volunteers needed” in your churches bulletin or website. If you do this, you will get a ton of responses from people that may not be close to what you are looking for. You’re opening up yourself to too big of an audience. However, if you do open it up so people can “apply” to be volunteers, make sure they know it’s not something you offer to everyone that signs up. For example, we just did a serve push for our whole congregation. We encouraged everyone to find a place to serve in our church and put together a webpage for them to fill out areas they are interested in serving. I had multiple people express interest in working with students, but that doesn’t mean they will get that opportunity. We want to get the right people for the job when we think about volunteers in student ministry.
  • Intentionally search. Instead of posting an ad, I encourage you to intentionally seek out new volunteers within your congregation. Through relationships and community, look for potential volunteers that would be a good fit for your team. As I meet new people in our church I am always thinking in the back of my head if they would be a good fit for our student ministry. It wouldn’t hurt to always have that in the back of your head as well as you meet new people.
  • Be open to recommendations from your current volunteers. Some of the best people to recommend new volunteers are your current volunteers. Many times they will know people that have an interest in serving students in your ministry. Usually they know a current volunteer and have seen what they have been doing which gives them an idea if it is something they would like to do. Encourage your current volunteers to always be on the lookout for new volunteers.

These are just a few random thoughts on selecting new volunteers. Finding the right people for your team is important so take your time and get the right people. Don’t forget who is really in control when it comes to finding new volunteers. God will direct your path and will bring you the right people at the right time. Trust Him and do your best to follow His guidance as you look for new volunteers.

*Austin McCann is the student ministries director at Christ Community Chapel-Stow Campus in Northeast Ohio. He enjoys reading, writing, spending time with his wife, and pointing students towards Jesus. You can check out more of his thoughts at www.austinmccann.com.

Lions, Bears, and Goliath

October 22, 2012 — 2 Comments

Everyone has heard of the story of David and Goliath a thousand times. But the great thing about the Bible is that when you read it, you can get something new out of it even if you read the same passage ten times in a row. This happened with me a few days ago while reading through 1 Samuel 17.

Now to give you some background, David was just anointed to be king over Israel by Samuel. They didn’t give an exact date when he was going to take over, but God had told him that he was going to. Now, during this time, The Israelite people and the Philistines were about to go to war and David’s father sent him to deliver gods to his brothers on the front line. There he volunteers to go after Goliath and King Saul cautions David. This is where I read something that I never noticed before:

1 Samuel 17:34-37: But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

For the most part, many of us have not reach the Goliath in our lives. Something that seems to be impossible and will be life changing. But, God has always been faithful to us in our difficult situations in the past. David was able to continue and fight Goliath because he realized that God with him while being attacked by bears and lions, and God delivered him through those I’m sure scary times.

It was because God was faithful in the past that David was able to take on the Goliath in the future with confidence.

Whatever you are going through at the moment, this may be your Goliath or it might be a lion or bear, we need to reflect as David did and realize that God has delivered us from difficult times in the past and He will be doing it again and again in the future. This right now is our training for our Goliath and when we begin to trust God with the lions and bears God will deliver with the Goliath as well.

And that is comforting.

HSM Weekend Videos

October 21, 2012 — Leave a comment

Some awesome videos we are playing this weekend. Pretty epic promos to get our students excited for HSM’s Halloween Party. Also, continuing our high school sports recaps, where we cover our local schools sports in one minute.

Videos are huge in our services. It adds a great dynamic to the service and with this generation that we preach too, nothing gets student’s attention like video. There is something about it that just makes them quiet and so focused.

Pumpkinfest Promo!

Sports Minute Vol. 4

How To Speak To Teenagers

October 17, 2012 — 1 Comment

A couple of weeks ago at Saddleback Church, we had Doug Fields and Duffy Robbins (easily the top two youth ministry communicators in the world) and give an open presentation of their workshop of “Speaking To Teenagers”. This was a workshop that was basically picking their brains, getting an inside look in their heads on how they go about communicating to teenagers. It was open to any youth pastor who wanted to come and it was awesome to see and hang out with 170 pastors and youth workers and volunteers come and learn. I thought I would writ down some of the points we went over to share with you all.

Question: How do we communicate warmth and likability to a roomful of kids in the middle of a talk?

  1. Use their names in illustrations, in referencing common memories- anyway you can.
  2. Use humor. We never laugh with our enemies.
  3. Avoid profanity and vulgar language  Research has shown that “people who casually use profanities and vulgarities to pepper their speech are often perceived as abrasive and lacking character, maturity, intelligence, manners, and emotional control.”
  4. Draw references to what you in common with your students.
  5. As often as possible, when you’re using rebuke, correction, warning or accusatory type language, speak in the first person plural. 
  6. Stand as close as possible tot he group and if feasible speak from the same level as your students.
  7. Be conversational.

Doug and Duffy are not only the best communicators, they are also some of the funniest people on the stage. I’m talking hilarious. They gave some tips on how to use humor in a message. Here are some notes on that:

  1. Exaggeration: Any kind of overstatement related to people, places, sizes, the way people feel or act, and personal experiences.
  2. Surprise: Making use of unexpected or unusual feelings, events, etc.
  3. Absurdity: Using materials that are illogical in thinking or in language.
  4. Human Problems: Situations in which a person appears foolish or is simply the victim of everyday life (bloopers, candid camera, etc.) Doug and Duffy both said to try and use our own faults and mistakes as much as possible. It makes for better illustrations and makes it more personal.
  5. Sarcasm: Teasing or bringing attention to someone’s faults (this is the lowest hanging fruit on the humor tree).

This Friday we are having this really fun event. 4 of our biggest schools are playing each other in football this week. 2 of the biggest rivalies in the area. So HSM is throwing two tailgate parties for both the games. Each one will be at a different park where both teams that are playing eachother will meet in the parking lot for free food, drinks, games and music, where we will be friends and then all go to the games after. This is going to be awesome!

 

As much fun as ministry is and can be there always is a time in which you need to confront a student with life choices they are making or they are being disruptive in service. Let’s be honest, no one loves confrontation. It can be very hard at times. Even though it’s tough it is important in ministry to handle conflict with students well. A confrontation handled well can help launch them into the next level of personal growth in life and with Jesus. A confrontation handled badly can cause way more damage to the situation than their was before you entered into the situation. Hence, the importance of handling conflict well.

I have had quite a few times where I have needed to confront and I thought I would write down some practical tips in doing so, and doing so well that is beneficial to both parties:

  • Pray before- Seems obvious but if I do forget to one thing the most, it’s this one. It’s so easily overlooked but it really is the most important. There is nothing better than going into what can be a very difficult conversation than going in knowing that you went before the King and gave Him the situation before you even began with the student. I pray that He gives me the correct words to say in ministering to the student and discernment when counseling them.
  • Be up front- There is no use to dancing around the situation. I would always try to “warm them up” before actually getting to the meat. As soon as they sit down, I lovingly let them know that I want to talk about something that can be hard to hear but it important because I love and care for them, then I go into it.
  • Be on their side- Confrontation is exactly that when two people are going head to head. If you can’t confront someone with love and with a positive end in mind for them (redemption, restoration, growth), you shouldn’t be confronting them in the first place.  Remind them of this as well—that you’re on their side—and that you want to see this issue resolved in a way that everyone learns and grows through it.
  • Go in private-  Go in private according to Matthew 18:15. A one-on-one conversation. If you cannot overlook the issue then attempt to resolve the conflict or misunderstanding by applying God’s principle of going one on one whenever possible. There is no benefit in calling them out in front of their friends after service or small group about something they have been doing (Finish reading Matthew 18 if one-on-one doesn’t get through).
  • When it gets heated, slow down –When things get heated it can be really easy  to get revved up with them. The other week a had a student sit all the way in the back of the room when their was plenty of seats closer. We had the entire back blocked off and I went over and kindly asked him if he would be willing to move up to join us. With a rude response back that took me off-guard I asked him again to come up just to the last row of the blocked off area at least. More disrespect back, yelling back at me at this point about how he did not want to be there and didn’t know anyone and to leave him alone. I didn’t. Instead, I took a breath, sat down next to him, eye level, calmly said, “Have you ever thought the reason why you don’t know anyone is because you sit all the way back here? If you want to know people, I know almost everyone here, I will literally walk around and introduce you to everyone we come in contact with. Then you will be the most popular guy here. Even more popular than me. I’m not trying to be “that guy” to make you do something but I’m just asking you to move up a few rows so you’re not the only one back here.” With a different attitude, he said, “My name is Even” shook my hand and moved up. And after service we went around meeting people. It was awesome.
  • Point Them To Jesus- Overall, you are to point them to Jesus. As ministers that is what we are supposed to do. We need to use these times of confrontation as teaching and learning for our students and for us as pastors as well. If we can leave the conversation with the students leaning on Jesus more, than it is a success.

What else would you put? Add to the list?