Friday, June 26, 2009

Youth Ministry Lite #7

Welcome to this weeks Youth Ministry Lite. We have some great resources and ideas so lets get right to it! Our first highlight is the book, Choose Your Top 3...500 Dynamic Discussion Starters to Get Your Teenagers Talking by Brian Schulenburg. This is a must have for anyone involved with Youth Ministry and is a resource you can use as often as you like. You can start off each meeting with one, use it for discussion nites where you choose a couple funny ones and a couple serious ones, and the so on.
Our second highlight is something I came up with and have been using for numerous months with my teens, weekly announcements. At first thought you think, "How boring. Why do this?". The announcements I handout each Wednesday nite consist of a scripture, News (youth group and the world- (funny or very important), a topic to discuss with their parents, prayers/praises, stats, and more. The key is to make them fun and interesting for your teens. They don't take much time to put together and have been a blessing for us.
Our talk-sparker this week is about keeping a positive attitude as a leader, which can be hard to do at times. I was reading Phil. 1:12-30, which tells about Paul when he is in prison. Regardless of where Paul was and what he was going through, he stayed focused on his mission and kept a good attitude when doing it. As a leader, we can either surrender to our circumstances or we can surrender to a cause so great, our circumstances won't matter. So the next time your down because the teens act like they don't care or you're struggling to get through to that one student who just doesn't get it, remember what your purpose is and that a good attitude goes a long ways.

For the Students and Because of Him,
Ashley E.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Youth Ministry Lite #6

Hello Once Again! What a week it has been. Last weekend our church hosted "The Great Youth Event" and had Jason McLeod, who starred in Facing The Giants and Fireproof, as our guest speaker. It was amazing! I realized my next column needed to be written and her I am a bit late. A couple of weekends ago I watched one of the best films I have ever seen, Defiance. Now, while it isn't a "Christian" film per say, I feel safe in recommending it. The film only had a couple of curse words in it, but you can screen the film, know when they are said, and mute or run over them. I only recommend it for high school students and older. The film tells the true story of the Bielski brothers who hid in the forests in order to hide from the Nazis. By the time the brothers were able to safely come out of the forest, they were accompanied by over 1200 fellow Jews. These brothers managed to pull of the biggest Jews saving Jews venture of the WWII. Their story is extremely powerful and relays the message to never give up. This is a great film for movie night. Make sure you let the parents know what you will be showing and how you plan on combating the few curse words. Also explain to them why you are showing this film in particular.
Our second highlight today is the game "Bible Ball". All you need to play is a small-medium sized ball and a group of teens. Have your students sit in a circle and explain how the game works: You (youth leader) will throw the ball to one of the students, upon catching the ball the student must name one thing from the category you have chosen. Let's say the category is men of the bible, the teens must name someone like Moses or Adam. Once they have said their answer they then pass the ball to whoever they want. You will have to make the rules of no hard throws and must give everyone a chance. Have several categories prechosen and when a student cant come up with an answer...they are out. The last 1-2 left are the winners. This is a great game to get the teens loosened up, as well as reinforcing basic bible knowledge.
For this weeks talk sparker, I want to talk about making mistakes and what to do. What I want to say is summed up by this little saying: Good People - Weak Moments. How true this is. As Youth Leaders, we talk a lot about what things the teens should stay away from and how they should act, but have you ever taken the time to talk with them about what they should do WHEN (not if) they mess up. None of us are expected to be perfect, we are human and as humans we are going to slip up at times. You need to make sure that your teens are aware of this often overlooked fact and then walk them through handling the aftermath of their mistake. This little illustration may help them better understand: The only difference between a sinner and a saint, is a saint picks himself back up when he falls down. He doesn't wallow in his mistakes. Give the teens solid real life guidance in what to do. They will appreciate it more than you will know.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Youth Ministry Lite #5

Welcome back for more great ideas and insights into the world of youth ministry. This weeks first highlight is one of my all-time favorite websites to get lesson ideas, video lessons, and handouts: Dare 2 Share Ministries ( in an ace in the hole and Youth Pastor or Youth Leader should be without it in our "little black book" for youth ministry resources. Greg Stier, the founder, does a great job at providing top notch materials for for youth leaders, teens, and parents on his website, all for free! They even do conferences across America, teaching teens how to effectively share their faith with their friends.
Our second highlight is one of the best youth ministry magazines I have come across and you can always count on refreshing ideas, thought provoking articles, and helpful insights when you pick up an issue of Campus Life's Ignite Your Faith. This magazine if written for teens and young adults but is a tool all youth leaders should have within reach. Try a free trial issue and you will be hooked!
Our talk sparker for this week is about actively connecting with the teens in your youth group. How often do you make it a point to make and grow a more personal connection with your teens? Actively connecting with teens requires that we move beyond simply "showing up" on Sunday's and Wednesday's. It requires us to say hello to each of our students, to shake hands, to call on them to read scripture, or close in prayer, as well as to set aside time outside of church. This could mean sending out email or chatting via Facebook through the week or having a teen grill out where getting to know your teens more personally is the purpose. If we want to see their world, gain their trust, and earn their respect, we must draw them out and pursue them. We need to be better listeners, ask more probing questions, and share more of our life experiences. We must show them we deeply care by knowing them by name, knowing their strengths and weaknesses, and when their birthday is. We must form a relationship with each and every one of them and nurture that relationship if we are to having a lasting impact on their lives. All the time respecting proper boundaries and never putting ourselves in potentially compromising situations. If we forget the basic necessity of teens to be heard and be known, we won't be the role model and mentor we are striving to be.

Quote to live by: "You may think you are leading, but if no one is following, all you're doing is taking a walk." Mark Batterson paraphrasing a quote from a beloved leadership guru