Saturday, May 23, 2009

Youth Ministry Lite #4

This weeks highlights go together like pb & j! Our first highlight is the film Faith Like Potatoes, which is based on the true story of Angus Buchan, who's faith was grown just like potatoes. Sounds goofy but it tells of how we should never give up or box God in by our circumstances. Our 2nd highlight is Movie Night itself. It is an affordable and fun event that any youth ministry can put on. The key is simply to make it a fun experience. Show a film that will get the teens to thinking (they want content). Don't forget to decorate the space. You want the teens to get the feeling that they are at the theater. You can make posters up to look like the movie posters on the side of the theater to advertise your event. Once the teens are there, pop several bags of popcorn and pour up some sodas. If your church has a projector and you have access to a laptop, tack up a sheet and show the film that way (it is sssooooo much better).
For our talk sparker this week I want us to think about insuring that we are helping our teens discover, develop, and deploy their spiritual gifts. The teenage years should be the launching pad finding their groove (or atleast starting the process) when it comes to serving God using the spiritual gifts He gave them. Pick up books like "Generation Change" by Zach Hunter or "Do Hard Things" by Alex and Brett Harris, read them and develop a master list of possible student led ministries, give to the group, and discuss it with them. Since so many teens are shy or just won't know where and how to begin serving, come up with some immediate positions for them to sign up for and begin a rotation. You can include things such as cleaning up the youth area each week, aiding the teacher, and so forth. This is a continuous process, not one lesson and they are good to go. We must stay on top of it and encourage them to delve deeper into the ministry. You get an extra this week because it goes along with keeping up with what each of your students are gifted at. Keep a file on each child and keep quick notes on their strengths, weaknesses, characteristics, problems, contact info, etc. This is an invaluable tool that you will greatly appreciate. Have a great week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Youth Ministry Lite #3

Youth Ministry Lite
By. Ashley Engleford

Our highlighted website this week is At this website you can investigate your faith, Christianity, Jesus, etc. through excellent video clips featuring Lee discussing the topic and the evidence. This website is a must visit for you and your teens. Send them to Strobels website with their questions and they will walk away with answers.

Parents Nite Out is our highlighted event this week and it is great for the youth and parents alike. The event gives your teens the opportunity to serve others in the church and at the same time provides the parents of little ones safe, reliable babysitting and a couple hours free time to go out on a date with their spouse, make a grocery run, or maybe some simple peace and quiet. This costs nothing unless you buy snacks and drinks (which I suggest). To advertise the event, come up with an invitation you can have the teens hand deliver after worship services 2-3 weeks prior to the event (is a great opportunity for an artistic teen to put their talent to use).

For our talk sparker this week I want to talk about inspiring our teens. Inspiration is what we youth leaders should be passing out by the handfuls. If we are constantly giving them a list of do’s and don’t do’s, they will quickly grow tired of attending and we will have lost them. Inspiration is what will take apathetic, complacent teens and turn them into driven and passionate teens. Today’s times require that we be nifty and clever, while keeping the gospel pure at all costs. Teens don’t want a place that’s all fun all the time. They are searching for somewhere that walks the walk and gives the clear message of Jesus Christ all the time. So don’t be fooled into becoming an entertainment venue. Take the time to do the research and to try a variety of curriculums until you find the best fit for your students. Ask yourself “Am I giving them real life examples of teens like Alex & Brett Harris who are changing what it means to be a Christian Teen?” It is even possible to take your group to camps/conferences that have teen speakers, which is always inspiring to fellow teens. Society has set such low standards for our teens and battling those low standards is just that….a battle. There are going to be victories and loses but when your teens graduate and move on from your youth group, they will know how to fight and to not give up and to praise God no matter what..

Youth Ministry Lite #2

Youth Ministry Lite
By. Ashley Engleford

Welcome back youth ministry addicts! I hope all is well in your little corner of the ministry. In my youth group, we youth leaders are finishing up the preparation for our 1st ever Parent/Teen Grill Out. We are praying for great weather and a great turnout. This month I am highlighting The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel.. Lee has a law degree from Yale University and used to write for The Chicago Tribune as their Legal Editor. He considered himself an atheist but God had other plans. His wife, Leslie, inspired him to investigate Jesus Christ and the resurrection because of the amazing transformations he saw taking place in her after accepting Christ as her personal Savior in 1979. In this must read book for believers and unbelievers alike, Lee leaves no stone unturned. He interviewed many of the leading experts of the bible, asking tough questions many of us have asked ourselves. Lee studied the bible throughout his journey and in the end makes the only logical decision he saw, accepting Christ as his personal Savior. Despite his Law degree from Yale, Lee writes in a very blatant manner so you don’t get “lost in the evidence”. Lee has even come out with a student edition to his books for teens.

Also highlighted this week is the website, This is a great website to pass on to your students. You will find articles on a variety of subjects, true life stories from teens, a humor section, and much more. The site is geared towards teens and college age students.

Answer me this……….Have you ever had a student make false accusation
against you? Maybe you have a teen that is simply rebelling against your authority and they don’t want to hear any advice you give them. How did you handle the situation? How would you handle the situation? Everyone involved in Youth Ministry needs to prepare themselves for such an occasion because it will happen to all of us, possibly multiple times the longer you are in the ministry. Here are my suggestions for just such an occasion. (If accusations are more than you being mean, calling them names, etc. you need to immediately go to your Pastor.)
1. A. Attempt to resolve the situation with the teen, searching for a reason for their behavior. B. If A fails, visit their home and talk with the teen and their parent(s).
2. If 1 fails, talk with another youth leader and both of you sit down with the teen and attempt 1A.
3. If 1 & 2 fail, talk with your Pastor, letting him know what has happened and both of you have a sit down with the student to gain resolution
4. If 1-3 fail I suggest you give them the choice of coming clean and talking the issue over with you or not being aloud to attend youth group until the issue is resolved.
Teens are at a very tender stage in their lives. They need to find their niche, to know they are loved unconditionally, and need at least one godly role model. Some teens will have divorced parents, others come from a single parent home, or maybe the whole family attends church. The point is that you must truly get to know each student and form a personal relationship with them showing them you care. Don’t get discouraged and try not to take it personally. Continue to offer unconditional love and forgiveness before they ask for it (if they ask for it). Stay strong and know you aren’t alone in this fight! HH

Youth Ministry Lite #1

Youth Ministry Lite
By. Ashley Engleford

Welcome to the very 1st column of Youth Ministry Lite! I am honored to have the opportunity to share with you each week illustrations, lesson ideas, games, and personal experiences. To start here is a bit of my story: My life prior to accepting Christ was full of immoral relationships, drugs, and alcohol. My greatest accomplishment during those years of living my way was graduating from The University of Alabama ( Huntsville ) with my Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry. Since accepting Christ, my life has still been a struggle at times. I have learned that my circumstances will constantly change but my faith in Christ remains solid. The Lord has blessed me so much and done incredible transformations since the night I heard Him call my name at a revival.
My connection with the teens began the night I gave my testimony. I was a “newbie” (~ 2-3 months old). We had a packed room that night and my story captivated them, bringing some to tears (myself included). I was a sinner and I had traveled all the roads that led to destruction, the same roads they are tempted to walk down every day. I gained trust, respect, and credibility that night with them. The time I have spent with them since then has allowed me to form personal relationships which have allowed me a front row seat into their lives. I have to work to maintain that seat though. If I don’t continue to work to get to know them, if I don’t show them that I love them unconditionally, if I don’t show up for them, if they don’t see me living the life that I am teaching them to live, I lose that seat. They aren’t going to just let us in. The key is to go through the list of things I just provided consistently. No kid is a hopeless case.

Youth Ministry is a full-time job, even as a volunteer. I spend countless hours emailing the teens, giving them a ride, surfing the internet looking for illustrations, lesson ideas, games, preparing the lesson, and so on. I have a full-time job in my career field to pay the bills and put food on the table but I also am a full-time volunteer Youth Leader. My life’s purpose is Youth Ministry. It can be discouraging at times because maybe your teens aren’t stepping up like you want them too or maybe you don’t think some of them are really listening to the lesson. Know this; we can have a profound affect on their lives even under those circumstances.

I just began reading “Generation Change” by Zach Hunter. Zach is a teen who is following Gods’ Word by taking a stand against modern day slavery and challenging his peers to make some change of their own. I recommend this book to every teen and any youth leaders who want to challenge their students to be change. I want to highlight the website this week. At this site you can download free sermons, lesson notes, listen to a podcast on youth ministry, or buy resources. It has been a very helpful site for me. Well that’s it for this weeks’ column. I look forward to our next encounter and remember you have a partner in this fight.