Posts by ronpowell:
Losing your student leaders?
Keeping student leaders serving year after year with all of the changes going on in their lives can be a challenge. Listed below are a number of factors that will determine the depth and length of a student leaders commitment to the leadership team.…
These 18 commitments I’ve lived by in student ministry. I want to share them with you for the New Year. Some are original to me, some I reworked, and some I can’t remember where they came from.- Hope they bless you and your ministry.…
I Thought I Was Focused but I wasn’t
I was in my quiet time and I couldn’t believe it. My mind was straying all over the place. I seemed to lack the ability to concentrate for more than two minutes without my mind straying. No wonder I’ve been distracted lately! In my busyness I let things slip and realized I needed to get back to these 3 laser-like focusing practices……
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It’s happening to your students
Vanessa looks all around before she takes a seat on the bus. Ever since she was touched inappropriately by a man on her way to school she doesn’t feel safe even when travelling in a group. Her youth worker asked why she didn’t tell the bus driver. She just shrugged.
Jill, 14, was on a mission trip watching the other team members perform a skit when a group of men in the crowd moved in around her and began to push her to the back of the crowd. She wonders what might have happened to her if she hadn’t struggled free and got back to her leader.
Ismay is sick of her jr high classroom. “Why do they always pick on me and the other girls!” she complained in small group.” She had been poked with pencils, found rude sketches with her name underneath, and received lewd comments almost daily. “Why don’t the teachers do anything about it!”
Harassment is a daily occurrence for some of your students. It happens at the mall, in classrooms and sometimes at youth meetings. Here are some things you can do to help your male and female students.…
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-That’s the number of college freshmen reporting that last year they had experienced “overwhelming anxiety!” High school administrators across the US, report “a glut of anxious, overwhelmed students.” In an interview for the New York Times, Laurie Farkas, said . “But there’s just been a steady increase of severely anxious students.” Here is what you need to know so you can help your students…
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Have you seen this?
The room is in darkness except for the laser lights. The youth pastor step into the single spot light on the stage. He begins with a short stand up comedy routine then tells an emotional story about a struggling teen. Students are snapchatting the event. The speaker looks down at his phone and reads a Bible verse and introduces his tag line which he will repeat 6 more times before his final appeal.
The band comes back as he concludes with prayer. The students will respond with 2 more worship songs then make their way out of the room for snacks and a hangout time to return for the worship experience next week.
This is one version of what to expect from the typical youth night in the future. I’d like to propose an alternate future that will produce greater life change in the lives of students and their families.…
Planning a retreat soon?
I’m here at the Youth Ministry Institute annual retreat and I realized that many of you have a retreat coming up this fall. Even if you have your plans made here are 20 hacks you could still use to enhance your time away……
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This opportunity comes only once a year and if you miss it, you’ll never get it back!
In fact if you miss it, for some students it could be your last chance. You may be thinking that this sounds like a one time offer thing but I’m not trying to sell you anything. I just don’t want you to miss the opportunity to connect these vulnerable students with your ministry. Here’s what you need to know and what you can do about it.
One Last chance.
The haemorrhaging faith study showed clearly that about 30% of students never make the transition from the children’s ministry from your church to the youth ministry. You’re probably really tired of hearing how high school graduates leave the church never to return but if you don’t help public school kids get into your jr high, middle school, or high school ministries this year, they won’t be signing up next year or any other year.
Receive the Hand Off
Some forward thinking ministries were on top of this last year when students ended their time in the children’s programs. They graduated to the summer programming that you were running. If you haven’t been working with these students all summer now is the time is get them in your programs and connect them with your leaders.
This is an ancient concept that you can repurpose. In the next few weeks, maybe part of your kick off night or actually on a Sunday, you can receive the parents and the students into your student ministry. It doesn’t have to be long but it can be very powerful.
By demonstrating to the church that these students belong in student ministries everyone recognizes that this is the next step in discipleship for the students and and their families.
It seems like every student ministry takes a different approach to their first night back in the fall. Some do their wildest event of the year so that every student and their 3 closest friends will be there and decide they’re coming back for another year.
Others start with a parent and student registration type night where parents join in with the program for a while, fill out forms, and do a meet and greet with the ministry leaders.
However you run your first night it really matters that you get those students out, they connect with your leaders and you are ready to follow up with them that week. It’s in this vulnerable time that they may choose they are never “coming to youth” or that they are going to give it a try.. This might sound crazy but at one church I went to each home to invite them personally to a day on a house boat before the big event! Out of 24 grade 6 students 22 joined our joined our Jr. High group when they hit grade 7!
Follow the Student
What if you did something radical and a children’s worker or volunteer came up to the youth program with their students. They could come out for a few weeks or they could stay permanently. Some ministries are actually doing this. They are getting great results!
Immediate Follow Up
If you get a big influx of new students you’re going to have to scramble to solidify that families connection with your student ministry. This is one of those all-hands-on-deck situations where all leaders need to be connecting with parents and students.
Do I Matter?
Do I belong? Does anybody like me? However they phrase it, these students don’t automatically feel like they belong. In fact, they are programmed to think the exact opposite. That’s why your students and leaders need to go out of their way to make them feel welcome, accepted, and appreciated!
The tricky thing is that it can’t feel forced. It has to be genuine.
Worth the Effort
I don’t know how some people get it in their heads that it is up to the student and their families whether they choose to join or not. One guy told me, “They know where we are. They can come when they’re ready.” When I consider the way football players will bend over backward to execute a play with no thought to injury or strain I’m inspired to do whatever we can to stretch ourselves to make sure that no student is missed!
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