Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Youth Ministry Lite #9

Here we are with out next Youth Ministry Lite, your source for the best ideas, tips, and resources for Youth Ministry. Our first resource can be found at your nearest Lifeway Christian store and is titled, The Invitation. It is a cd which contains music by a variety of artists, scripture, and narration by Rick Warren, which takes the listener through an invitation to accept Christ. This is great to hand out to first time visitors, regulars whom you arent sure of their salvation, and for the teens to hand out themselves. They are only a buck a pop, a deal you can't pass by!
Our second resource is a tool which I have learned to use often, a poll/survey. You can create a survey on your lesson topic and let the teens fill it out and hand it in prior to class or you can create one to simply get to know the teens on a more personal level. The possiblities are endless and from my experience, the teens love to take a survey and they like hearing what their peers answered.
For our talk-sparker I want to discuss a very tricky topic. It's tricky because it requires the youth leader to take a stand. The topic is "creating a safe-haven" youth group. Now when I say safe-haven, I mean having a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bullying and picking. Every teen should be able to walk into your youth group and know that they will not be berated, bullied, or picked on. I am a stickler for this in my youth group and my teens know that so long as I am their youth leader, I am will not tolerate it. So how do you go about creating this environment? Here are a few tips to help you make your youth group a "safe-haven":

1. It starts by letting the teens know that you mean business.

2. Hold your teens accountable. Talk one on one with any offenders, build them up and let them know they are better than that. If you have repeat offenders, find out why they bully and come up with a plan to prevent it from happening again.

3. When you see it happen (since we arent living in a perfect world), handle it immediately! You've got to keep your eyes and ears open at all times.

4. Make sure there is always a teen to youth leader ratio of 5:1. If this isnt possible right off the bat, begin recruiting! Pray and begin asking. Enlist the help of adults whose sole purpose is to be your "Eagle Eyes", you can even come up with a clever name for them. Meet with them as a group and train them in how you want them to handle any bullying situations and what constitues bullying. Always talk with them about any incidents they handle.

Have a great week and I'll see you soon!

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