Archive for the ‘Youth Ministry’ Category

our 100th face

So last night marked the 100th unique face that has come through the doors of the student ministry at sawmill covenant church. pretty cool.

if anyone told me that we’d had that many faces through the doors, i would have though they were lieing or inflating the numbers. It sure feels small. It sure feels like a family of friends.

anyways, number don’t matter. faces do. hearts do. people do. I could care less if it was 100 or 10 or 50 or 500.

numbers are for accountants, not youth pastors……

(in all reality, it is actually probably higher since we just started keeping super accurate records about 4 months ago…)

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Why your teenagers act the way they do.

I know a lot of parents of students read this blog. I thought I’d share some resources that may help you understand why your teenagers act the way I do.

If you’ve got a middle school students, this link may help bring some clarity: http://www.aacap.org/page.ww?name=Normal+Adolescent+Development+Part+I&section=Facts+for+Families

If you’ve got a high school student, this link may help: http://www.aacap.org/page.ww?name=Normal+Adolescent+Development+Part+II&section=Facts+for+Families

10 questions to ask yourself (youth pastor edition)

  1. what am I doing that is distracting students from Jesus instead of pointing them towards him?
  2. am I setting up students to carry their faith beyond high school?
  3. how can I allocate my budget to better reflect my mission?
  4. is my faith evident outside of lessons and programs?
  5. in what ways am I perpetuating a weak/lame version of christianity and church life?
  6. am I really called to this?
  7. am I running to God to get filled up or to something else?
  8. do I have too much planned?
  9. do I have too little planned?
  10. am I talking ABOUT God more than I’m taking WITH God?

success in youth ministry

Last week I sat down with some of my volunteers at Starbucks to chat. I’d been serving at Sawmill Covenant Church for almost a year.

I asked them this question: “As we look back at the first year, where have we seen God show up?”

For the next hour, we told stories. Stories of meeting new students. Stories of working with pain. Stories of trying really hard to make small groups work and failing. Lots of stories.

The one thing in common with all those stories. They didn’t involve me teaching. They didn’t involve a game. Almost every single story of God’s hand moving in our ministry was tied directly to a time where we opted for less structure over more.

My goal for the second year: carve out more time to listen to God. I want to carve out more space on Sunday nights for students to meet with God. I want to carve out more time in our volunteer meetings to pray. I want to carve out more time in my own life to slow down, shut up, and listen to God.

A Book You Must Read

I was given Mike Yaconelli’s Getting Fired for the Glory of God by a pastor who used to work in youth ministry. I’m reading it. Blowing me away. You should read it to. Or maybe you shouldn’t. Maybe it is just awesome because God is using it to speak to me right now. Either way, I’ll recommend it.d_1200

Faith in Student Ministry

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ~Hebrews 11:1~

In student ministry, we have the difficult blessing of striving to teach adolescents – who are develoing (but haven’t mastered) the ability to think abstractly – to act upon something which they cannot see.

If you figure out how to do this, let me know. Actually, let everyone know because it is pretty obvious that we’re not getting it. There are a million different theories, methods, values, and ideas about how to make that happen.

What Acts 2:42-47 means today

Acts 2:42-47:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Here is what I think this passage means for me/the Church today:

We ought to be “devoted to the apostles‘ teaching and to fellowship and to breaking of bread and to prayer.” I don’t think we ought to do this simply because it’s in the Bible, but I think, when looking at how we ought to follow Christ, we ought to observe those who literally “followed” christ. They probalby had a pretty accurate view on how to apply Christ’s teachings. So, does that mean that we need a church service with communion every day? I don’t think so. I do however, think we would do well to move in this direction.

We ought to be “filled with awe and wonder.” In our western culture, beauty is a bit lost. Miracles are less evident and much less publicized. Amazing transformations are happening in our midst. I know high school students who have seen there situations dramatically change. There aren’t too many times when a church will stop and simply marvel at God’s creation (unless you count using a nature scene as the backdrop of a powerpoint slide). Does this mean that if we’re not performing miracles on a regular basis, we ought to give up? Nope. But the Western church would do good to move in this direction.

We ought to be united as believers and have everything in common. Does this mean that we all live in a commune and share are produce, cars, and clothes? It doesn’t have to, but I think churches definitely need to move in this direction. We (me included) are doing a freaking horrible job at this in America (though there are some who aren’t doing such a horrible job).

We ought to sell our possessions and goods and provide for those in need. Does that mean that we have to be homeless? Nope. I do think we’d do well tois at a  sell things that we have and give the money to those in need. I write this thinking of two friends. One friend has a summer car (an expensive car that they joy ride around in the summer) and the other friend doesn’t have a job. So, if we apply this passage (or – frankly – many many other passages) what would the result be? You decide….

We ought to meet regularly. We do this in church services, however, many of our church serves aren’t condusive to community (if they were, why would we sit in rows?).

We ought to “eat together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God.” I think this one is obvious.

I think the last part of the passage – “enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – is more descriptive of the results of this Jesus community.