Youth Worker: One New Student Project!!

Wanted to share with you all an email I shared with my team.  The idea behind it was to not just assume everyone was doing this or even comfortable with doing it.  I wanted to bring it up so that we could become better at it as a team.  If you are on staff this should be an area you want to grow in.  That does not mean that it has to be your wheel house but it should be something you are trying to get better at.  You must be a model to your volunteers and student leaders.  There is nothing worse than someone telling someone else something to do that they aren’t willing to do themselves.  Also, it’s just better for the ministry. Here it is:

I have been here for 5 months and I have met a lot of great students.  In fact, at camp my intentions were to meet and connect with as many students as I could.  I was very successful in my efforts and I made significant and life changing connections with students, which I know we all have in some way.  About three weeks ago I started thinking about these relationships and how awesome they are, and how I can’t make it through the refinery without being called or hugged which is super awesome.  I also started to think about the last student I introduced myself to that I didn’t know and with a genuine heart just wanted to show that kid the love of Christ for those few seconds of introduction.  It’s been way too long and I have become super comfortable with the kids I know….which is great but sometimes being comfortable can become complacent.
I believe there is power in the hsm t-shirts.  Meaning, when someone wearing an hsm t-shirt stops in the busyness of the weekend and introduces them self to a student it is huge for that student.  I am in no way saying we have to get their life story or fix their problems in the five seconds of introduction. I do think in those five seconds we bring dignity and self-worth to some students who could be constantly rejected by parents and others.  Which I can say after talking to so many of our students that God’s unconditional love is something that our students need.  Now, if you are already doing this that is super great and I encourage you to continue.  If your kind of like me…feeling comfortable with the students you know, super focused on the tasks of the weekend…..I ask that you would try every weekend to meet one new student you haven’t met before.  Be intentional about showing God’s unconditional love in that moment (those five seconds or so).  I believe this would make a huge impact on our ministry.  Just something to think about –when was the last time you introduced yourself to a new student?

The health of your youth group is based on the relationships that are made.  All roads lead back to connections.  Students come to youth group based on some type of connection.  They thrive in youth group is based off of some type of connection.  Also, you must know that you can’t do it alone and instilling the importance of making connections and building relationships in your staff, volunteers and student leaders is crucial.  You can do all the programing, teaching and leader training you want but at the core it should be about making new connections and strengthening existing ones.

I love reading about how Jesus connected with others. He saw everyone in need of the relationship He came to give.  As a youth worker, paid or non paid, that’s how we should see every student that walks through our doors.  They need the relationship that Jesus died for us to have.  Now, no one person should be expected to meet and connect with a dozen of students at one time.  If each leader, volunteer or even student leaders made a commitment to connect with one new student at a time the impact would be huge.  Even if it was a student you saw all the time but never took the time to really connect with them, it would be huge for that student.

hope it helps

ac

A Desicion We Have To Make Everyday!!!

Had great opportunity to share this video in our weekend service.  The main point was that if we follow the voice of Christ, we effect others and ourselves for the better.  Check it out!!

I can only image what would’ve of happened that day if I would’ve listened and followed the voice of Christ.  When we follow the voice of Christ it’s always in the best interest of everyone.  Because the  saving/healing/restoring/loving/forgiving/affirming/etc… affects of you following Christ are infinite.  We just have to trust him and lean on his track record, which points to the fact that we can become a gift to this world when we choose to follow Christ.

hope it helps

ac

Youtube Videos of the Week!!!

So you are probably asking yourself these video’s have nothing to do with youth ministry, and you are right.  But, creativity has a lot to do with youth ministry.  I’m giving you a glimpse into my creative process.  Some people like to steer away from others in their process, I do just the opposite.  I look to others for inspiration.  Watching others think out of the box helps me do the same in my area of creativity.  So here are a few of the videos I’ve watched to challenge my creativity this week.

hope it helps

ac

For Students: Kayla Johnston – Five Learnings From High School!!

Student guest post #3 is from Kayla Johnston, a former member of my youth group. She is a freshman in college at APU.  I asked her to share some learning’s from high school. Check it out!!

Be All In – Looking back, I always tell people that my biggest regret was never getting involved in anything at my high school. I wish I had pushed myself to be a bigger part of my school, whether it was running for a position in ASB or starting a club with my friends. I see now that there were so many missed opportunities that I could have taken advantage of that would have allowed to make more friends or leave a lasting impression on my high school.

I thought that going to weekend services, small group, and events was enough to consider myself “involved” in my high school church ministry, but I wish I had taken more time out of my schedule to become a bigger part of the ministry. I regret never volunteering in the children’s ministry or junior high departments because I feel like I had so much I could have contributed to younger people but I was held back by the business of my high school schedule. I never fully took advantage of the many ministries that my high school ministry had to offer!

Care More  – There were only two teachers throughout all of my high school years that I distinctly remember having good conversations with and being closer with than any of my other teachers. I was always the girl who wanted to get my work done, leave class right away, and go see my friends rather than stick around and ask how my teacher’s day was going. As a student, you have such a great opportunity to reach out to your teachers, and most people don’t even realize it. I wish I had taken the time to get to know more of my teachers throughout high school.

Care Even More – My little brother and I only went to high school together for one year, but I wish it had not gone by so fast! I miss driving him to school in the morning and seeing him around campus throughout the day. Whether it is a younger sibling or just a younger student who you are close with, try to take time out of your week to spend time with them! Bring them lunch or meet with them after school to do homework. You have such a huge impact on younger students and I wish I had realized how much I loved going to school with my little brother.

Take Risks On Relationships – All of my best friends that I had grown up with went to different high schools. I had a lot of friends at my school, but never a group of people that I would consider my best, closest friends.  I wish I had taken the time to get to know more people on a deeper level at school rather than only spending time with them during the school day. I always hear people talk about their “high school friends” and I realize that I will probably never stay friends with kids from high school because I never gave them a chance to be close to me. Even if you have a great group of friends outside of school, like I did, take the time to seek out deeper relationships at school, too!

HS Relationships – I’ve learned from the experiences of others in this area and took their advice, If you’re going to date in high school, date someone that does NOT go to your school!  Of course, there are relationships that work out great that way, but it is important to have time apart, make separate friends, and live a portion of your own life away from the person you are dating.  Don’t date at the same school and you won’t have to deal with stupid arguments over why my boyfriend chose the prettiest girl in class to be his lab partner or why I walked to class with another boy. Dating is a big deal and should not be taken lightly. Of course, not dating at all in high school will save you from a lot of stress and arguments as well!

For Student: One Huge Mistake I Made In High School!!!

Student guest post #2 is from Taylor Jacobs, a former member of my youth group. He is a Sophomore at the University of Washington.  I asked him to share one mistake he made while he was in high school that affected him in college. Check it out!!

I found that during high school, I had made my community my god, instead of allowing God to shape my community.  When I was taken out of my community, my relationship with God suffered because I had let my community define how I interacted with God, instead of letting God define my community.  I had fallen into the trap that many of us do. I had elevated a gift from the creator above the creator. When we start making the gifts of God an end, instead of a mean, we miss out. Because the true end is life in Jesus Christ.  I was abusing the gifts that God had given me because I didn’t understand who I was in Christ or God’s gift of community. I had to realize that Jesus cares so much about me, he has given me gifts so that I am pointed to Him! Nothing God gives lacks purpose.  If He has given it to you it must be for a purpose.

We must view our relationships through the eyes of Jesus. Because He is in perfect union with God, and He is the living Word of God and every time we choose to follow his way we win.

There is a good example in Scripture of idolizing things that are of God, but incomplete.  All of Colossians 2 pleads with people to find their identity in Christ alone. Read the passage.  Our identity must always be rooted in the “soma (body, reality, fullness)” of Jesus Christ, and never in the good things that God gives us. In order for community to be for you what God intended, you must make Christ the facilitator of community in your life. Within Christ alone lies the fullness of life!

As high schoolers, it is very easy take community and idolize it without even realizing it, even within a church community! We start allowing our community to replace our daily relationship with Christ, we stop reading about him, talking to him and ultimately we stop listening to him. Then, when you are taken out of that community, you feel like you are not loved or accepted by God anymore because there is no perceptible(capable of being perceived by the senses or the mind) acceptance, encouragement, or praise! But the truth is you must look to Christ for those things and not your community.  Learn from my mistake and keep the gifts God gives you in their proper place.

Youth Worker: 6 Steps To Connecting With Students!!

My first experience in youth ministry was taking a group of guys out for pizza, and then a sleepover full of snacks, movies, video games and conversation.  No one in the church I was attending told me to do it, I just did it.  The time I spent with those students and the things we did, was basically based off of what I would’ve loved to have happen to me when I was a student.  I wanted to be someone they could share their struggles with but also enjoy a lighthearted conversation.  I wanted to be able to speak into their lives God’s truth and also be the one they came to when they had questions.

My motive behind connecting with students was not just to be their friend, but also be someone who they could connect with when they needed guidance in the spiritual and the natural areas of life.  Now, I know some people would say well the way you connect with students is you find a leader that’s a great fit for the student you are trying to get connected.  I also know that the majority of youth groups don’t have that luxury, and personally I don’t think they need to.

Connecting with students has more to do with the leader than the student.  The cool kids, geeks, jocks, cheerleaders, the indie kids, the gamer and all of the other students we stereotype could careless about what you’re into.  They just want to know that you care.  I listed some transferable things that I’ve learned through trail and error, that has helped me connect with all types of students on a deeper level.

  1. Lead by example and with words. – Preach and promote from first hand experience.  Would you buy a Ford from a salesman who drove a Chevy?
  2. Never miss an opportunity to point the student to Christ. – We believe Christ is the answer, the cure, the end all be all. In my experience a lot of the students problems are centered around where Christ is in their life.  You still have to be mindful of your approach but all roads should lead back to Christ.
  3. Never miss an opportunity to listen. – I cannot stress enough how important it is you become a listener.  I know some people are good at it naturally and some of us have to work at it.  It is truly a quiet mega strength that connects you with any student.
  4. Never miss an opportunity to share your life experience. – Nothing makes a point like a life experience.  When you share your flaws and failures it gives hope to others.  God does not waste our hurts but he uses them in powerful ways.
  5. Be honest and a learner. – it’s hard to fake interest so don’t try.  You do not have to have anything in common with the student to connect with them.  Take this as an opportunity to learn something new.  Allow them to teach you about their hobbies, sports or activities. Example: I had an hour and a half conversation with two students who loved screamo music. (Google it:) ) I didn’t even know it existed.  I was honest that I had never heard it but interested in learning about it.  We had a conversation that went from screamo to Christ.  I learned how they grew up, what type of music their parents liked and found out that they both had questions about Christianity.  I believe connecting with students has everything to do with you and little to do with them.
  6. Don’t make connecting with them about the deep talk every time. – they also need to know that they can just talk to you without expectations.  Discussing movies, music, fashion and funny stuff should be a normal thing.

I hope this gets you thinking about ways to connect on a deeper level with students.  I know small groups are starting up and I would encourage you to share this post with your leaders.  Be intentional in speaking and training on this subject.  It will give your leaders more confidence.

hope it helps

ac

For Students: Youtube Video of the Week!!!

Check this video out.  It’s about God’s grace…..If you know someone who struggles with this share this post!!  Here’s a little back story to the skit.. Jesus knew he was going to be captured and crucified.  When he told the disciples what would happen to him, one of them named Peter said “no, we will not let that happen, we will fight for you.  Jesus said to him “before the rooster crows you will have denied even knowing me three times.  Peter says “no, I would never do that”.  So Peter does exactly what Jesus told him he would do.  He denied to know Jesus three times to the people who had recognized him as a follower of Christ.  This is where the skit ties in.
hope it helps

ac