Youtube Video Of The Week!!!

This weeks youtube of the week is a bumper video we did for our stories weekend were students give their testimony. Usually we have someone speak, but at story weekend the students who share their story is the message.

ac

Youth Worker: A Serving Opportunity Overlooked!!

472192_10151458957492646_1092250979_oI asked Michaela Coon, who is a senior in high school and apart of our youth ministry, to write some of her thoughts on encouragement. She has a huge heart for encouraging others. I can remember a while back when she came to me with this idea that she had started doing on her own. She bought blankets from the dollar store and if she was by the beach or any where else and saw a homeless person she would just give them one. My first thought was “this is brilliant” second thought was “what if we taught other students to do the same?”.  So we came up with a bunch of ways to serve as individuals or as a group.  We put them in our life group training packets as opportunities to serve. She now leads our encouragement ministry!  It’s a super easy way to get students connected and it’s a ministry that is low maintenance. I believe it’s revolutionary because it’s something you can do at a personal level and at the group level. So here is her heart on the power of encouragement.

Encouragement is a spiritual gift that is often overlooked.  However, it is actually a vital part to the Body of Christ that we need to be instructed in!  We are called to encourage one another daily.  Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  I’ve found that encouraging others is an easy way to selflessly serve on a daily basis.  Words are lasting, and speaking the truth in love to others can show the enormity of Christ’s love.  In Latin, the prefix “en” means “to put into,” and “cor” means “heart.”  So, being intentional and personal can develop a powerful presence in someone’s life. During finals week of last school year I gave my friends note cards with Bible verses on them, and I still them in their binders!  Also, within the church it is important to encourage other believers in their walk.  The journey can be weary at times, and encouragement can serve as a reminder of God’s lasting promises.

There are many practical ways to encourage, either in a group or as an individual:

  • Letters: Writing letters of thanks to a leader within the church or even just the Starbucks guy!  Groups can target a specific person and shower them with personal letters.  Even one letter can mean a lot.
  • Make use of conversations: Fill your words with grace and put your focus on the lives of others.
  • Keep a blanket in your car to give to someone in need (at the beach, in the city, etc.)
  • At the drive-thru window of a fast food joint, pay for the person behind you. This is a simple and humbling act of service.
  • Pray for those in need- homeless, jobless, hungry, hopeless, broken…
  • Pray for your church family and those leading it.
  • Pray for the Persecuted Church, and those serving around the world.
  • Pray for your peers at HSM services and at school.
  • Pray for local schools and local churches.
  • Do a chore at home without being asked.
  • Write an encouraging note to someone who needs it.
  • Get a group of friends together to purchase food and cook a meal for a family who is struggling financially.

-Use your talents: From baking to technology, any skill or talent can be used creatively to uplift another.

hope it helps

ac

Youth Worker: A Response To Justin Bieber!!!!

No signThis is really nothing new. I’ve seen this so many times where the young star comes out and caters to the parents of young fans by playing the role model part.  When it’s time to grow their career up they start with racy behavior.  Cathleen Falsani who is an award winning writer wrote a blog post to Justin Bieber concerning the recent video of him smoking weed.  I thought it was pretty thoughtful and insightful so I’m sharing it.  Read below and then head to her site for the rest.

“…Last year you reached a milestone when you turned 18. You are living in a liminal state, standing at the threshold between childhood and adulthood, still more boy than man.  Times of transition and change are difficult for anyone, never mind someone whose every move in public is chronicled by relentless paparazzi and other members of the media. You must be gentle with yourself as you navigate these new waters, but you also must be diligent to guard your heart and mind more now than ever.  Whether you’ve partaken of the “sacred herb” just once or burn more cabbage than Tommy Chong at a Furthur show is not the issue that most concerns me. Click here to READ the rest!

Do we talk at all about things like this knowing that our students are buying their music and going to their concerts? I would love to hear your thoughts on how you approach these types of things with your students!!

Youth Worker: We Are Confusing Students!!!!

Its-really-confusingThere are church words and phrases that we use all the time that are probably confusing our students. I remember this one lady in church who would always respond when people would ask her “how are you doing” she would respond with “blessed and highly favored of the Lord”. I would think, “what do you mean by highly favored? I mean, does God favor you more than me?”  I think about this incident and how it has made me conscious about the terms I use talking to students.  Now, I grew up knowing all of the Christianized lingo, and I still know it and I use it when it’s appropriate. It is not appropriate when I’m talking to students who are coming to church for the fist time or a student you are mentoring.  The last thing I want them doing is decoding what I’m trying to say while I’m speaking.  Here are some of the words and phrases I replace with regular language.

  • Resting in the arms of God
  • Sovereign
  • Spiritual high
  • Just give it to God
  • Surrender your heart
  • Quiet time
  • Walk with God
  • Christ increase while I decrease
  • Be all you can be in Christ
  • Not my will but thy will
  • Leave it in the hands of God

We use these words and phrases all the time with good intentions, but the likely hood of students knowing what we are really talking about is slim to none.  Be intentional about using regular language so everyone understands you.  If you do need to use words like sovereign give the meaning so students can follow.  Saying ” we all need to have a quiet time with God” is totally true but it’s a metaphor; it’s not really explaining what you mean.  Think about it.

What other Christianized words and phrases do we use that are probably confusing to our students?

hope it helps

ac

Youth Workers: My Child Is Gay!!

respondToday, I got the opportunity to be on The Simply Youth Ministry Show.  We got an email about a youth worker who had parents come and tell him that their son is gay.  While this topic deserves more than 12 minutes, we took it on. I thought I would elaborate more on the topic.

Popular opinion says it’s OK and to each its own and the only people that are speaking out loud in opposition are the people who are screaming God hates gays. Which is completely untrue. I believe that as culture continues to push embracing this life style as the norm, you will have a lot more students with questions.  We need to talk about it.

I’ve had enough conversations to know that there is no easy solution when dealing with students who struggle with homosexuality because every situation is different.  However, I do believe there is a framework that can help you best support and mentor students. As you tackle this hot topic, here are a few things that have helped me tremendously as I support and mentor students in this area.

Knowing the views of your church –  If you haven’t had a conversation with your pastor, elders or who ever does pastoral care with the adults in your church, you need to do it.  It will give you confidence in caring for students when you know the church has your back and supports you.  If you find out that you don’t agree on some things in this area, at least you know where you stand and can start working towards a resolution.  You can also collaborate on a plan on how to best support students. You don’t have to do it on your own.  How you handle this topic is a really big deal.  Remember, since you represent your church, how you minister to gay teenagers needs to reflect your church’s views on the subject.  Inconsistency will only cause confusion in an already tough to navigate situation.

Educate yourself   It’s one thing to know the scriptures stating that homosexuality is wrong; it’s another thing to support someone and mentor someone who is struggling with it in their life.  You must know more about it than just what Leviticus says when it comes to mentoring and supporting students who are struggling or questioning their sexuality.  Read up on both sides of the topic.  Simply Youth Ministry has a new resource written by Shawn Harrison Ministering to gay teenagers.  There is a free sample of the book you can read and check it out.  There are plenty of websites and articles that are pushing a popular opinion driven agenda that you can read up on.  You need to know what they are hearing from culture concerning homosexuality.  Just as important, you must know what the bible says about it.  So do some research because students need to know you care and the more you know the more you are able to be passionate about reaching out and supporting them.

Allow God’s word to guide you   There is a bible verse that speaks to how we should approach sharing the truth of God’s word. Ephesians 4:15 talks about speaking the truth in love.  Paul is saying we as believers must do two things.  One, we must always speak the truth.  We are not called to sugar coat it or hide it in some politically correct lingo.  We are to speak the truth of God’s word.  With that being said, we must also handle God’s word of truth correctly (2 Timothy 2:15), so that we don’t speak truth in a way that misrepresents God’s position.  Secondly, We are also called to speak the truth in love.  That means:

I hope this gives you some type of direction and if nothing else something to talk about in your next staff/leader/volunteer meeting.  Allow God to put a burden on your heart for these students if you don’t have one already.

If you need someone to talk some things through regarding the topic, feel free to email me at acrumbey@gmail.com.  Praying for you all!!!

hope it helps

ac

              

Youth Worker: First Timer Vs Follow-Up

follow-upI get asked about follow-up a lot.  To be honest, this is an area that is constantly changing.  We are always trying new things. What works we keep and we cut what doesn’t work.  I think what you do on the front end is just as important as the follow-up, if not more.  I would even go as far to say that the art of the follow up is thinking through experience of the first-timer.

There are two types of students that come to youth group.  There are students who’s parents go to big church, so they really don’t have a choice and even if they do have a choice their parents are committed to the church so more than likely they attend.  Then there are students who are invited by their friends.  These are students who’s parents may not go to church or students who’s parents belong to another church but come to the youth group because of friends.  I believe students get connected to youth ministry by levels.  Each level has the potential of making a first-timer become a returner.  Lets check them out:

  • First level is invited by friends or parents being members.  Believe it or not students who’s parents are new and join the church have a higher probability of being the most disengaged students in the ministry.  This is because they come knowing no one. Their goal for every service becomes about leaving two minutes before service is over so they don’t look awkward walking out alone.  The other group that comes with their friends are a little less awkward because they are with someone they know.  Nevertheless, this is a level of connection for a student.
  • Second level is the atmosphere which includes the people.  Students can feel the love, care, kindness, and the freedom to be yourself type of atmosphere.  They can also feel judgmental, cold, no real community type of atmosphere.  This has more to do with the people staffed/volunteered during your youth group.  I know getting volunteers can be tough and you can’t be too picky, but if this plays a factor in a student coming back or getting connected, it’s worth you asking for more intentionality from your staff/volunteers.
  • Third level is the service.  Making the service relevant to the needs of students is most important – key word being “needs”.  Students are facing all kinds of crap these days. Students are dealing with things today that 50 years ago they would’ve dealt with in college.  Our job is to bring the hope of Christ to every area of the student’s life.  That may include us sharing with them things they need to hear, which may not be what they want to hear.
  • Fourth level is the opportunities students have within the ministry to get connected.  It’s important that you think about how you can make it easy for students to get connected, regardless to whether they are Christian or not.  I use to coach at a high school and the thing that amazed me the most was the fact that students would sign up just to be connected with others.  They didn’t even know how to play, but saw it as an easy way to make friends and build relationships that could last for a long time.  Create super easy steps and advertise them for students to get connected.  Serving projects have been the easiest way to get students connected. Whether that’s them serving in a ministry or just at a serving event.  Promoting team based atmospheres in those serving opportunities is key.

Now, I’ve had students say they’ve wanted to be a part of the youth group because everyone is just so chill.  Which means they feel like everyone is so real and comfortable with each other.  They said nothing about the service but it was the atmosphere that brought them back.  I tell you this because you need to know there is no perfect formula and there are definitely more levels than 4. What I hope you get from this is that whatever you do be intentional about it because it matters.  I hope this post gets you thinking in this area of the ministry.

What is most successful for us is using a response card…from that card students can let us know if they are new, given their life to Christ, want to get baptized, serve in a ministry, be contacted by a leader, etc…  First-timers are greeted by leaders as they turn in their response card to receive a free ice cream coupon.  We have very intentional conversations with them and they get a free ice cream coupon and so does the friend that brought them.  We are constantly trying new things, because we believe it’s important that no one falls through the cracks.

What are you doing concerning first-timers and follow up?

hope it helps

ac

2012 In Review: yoacblog.com Top 10 most viewed Post!!!!

logo19AI have really enjoyed writing and sharing my learning’s and insights with others in youth ministry.  God has definitely shown me a lot in ministry over the years,  He has also helped me share my thoughts with others in hopes it would help someone else.  Here are the 10 most viewed post on yoacbolg.com.

Also, I started having some of my students share and write some guest post to their peers.  The response has been great, feel free to use them.  Looking forward to more in 2013.

hope it helps

Happy New Year

ac