Important Starbucks Secrets

I am sitting here at Starbucks

…and yet another group of teens is lined up at the till ordering, chatting, flirting; feeling very much at home. At the long table, a grade 12 student seems to be studying for an exam. She seems fairly comfortable in this space, with her head phones, latte, and free Wi-Fi, as she pauses to text. As I am sitting here, I realize the teens own this space and I am wishing that they would feel this much at home at their youth group.

As I look around I can see why teens like it here and realize that there are ideas that we can steal for our youth ministries…

A Youth Ministry Rant about Lack of Depth

We have a problem in our youth ministries.  Actually it is a problem with us youth workers.  The problem is that we like results.  Now results in and of themselves are not bad.  The problem is that we are drawn to these results like a fish to that worm on the hook.  We want it so bad and it is not until it is too late that we realize that we should have been chasing something else.

My problem is that we will do anything for those results, within reason, and the odd time outside of reason.  We will bribe, guilt and manipulate students to come to youth.  But if we don’t go that far then we will worry more about what the students want that will make them like us or our ministry.  Or probably the most subtle but dangerous problem is that we become more concerned with how things look, style, than really anything else.

What we need are youth workers that are more committed to depth in their lives and their ministries.

Here is something we all need to continually develop in order to dig into the depth required for ministering to students.

Getting Started in One-to-One Discipleship

So you are sold on the idea of getting your leaders to meet with students one to one but like a lot of things in youth work getting started is the hardest part. Where do you begin? Some teens, in one of the groups mentioned in a previous blog, may come to you to ask for extra help. Other times parents may ask for extra help with their teen. What has worked for me was to announce the program of one to one meetings and I have had kids approach me afterward explaining that they would like extra help in their spiritual development. You could also encourage your small group leaders or adult leaders to take a student under their wing for a season… The relationship is established… but what happens after that?

3 Choices to Avoid Crisis

Don’t you hate it when you find yourself running from one crisis to another?

Suddenly everything you planned goes out the window and you are forced to drop everything to run to the passport office, get your car fixed, hold an emergency meeting, dash to the FedEx depot, or fly out to a store.

When I am in the midst of a crisis, my heart races, temperature rises, my patience is as short as my shallow breaths and I begin to hate my life. Panic can set in along with these last minute problems that jump me when I am least prepared.

Because I hate crises so much, I have determined to avoid them like the plague by making and sticking to these three proactive choices.

How To Bring Control To A Chaotic Situation

Nothing good comes from chaos…

As I said in my last blog there was a season when we saw many new students come to the youth ministry.  The immediate reaction was “Great!”  Don’t get me wrong, it was great but it was also extremely chaotic.

Imagine walking around your youth ministry and instead of students praying or encouraging each other you hear F-bombs – also finding remnants of weed in the bathroom, and alcohol being sneaked in.  In short it was chaos.  This is not what I envisioned youth ministry to be like and I was not trained to deal with all of this.  As a result I learned these lessons through the school of hard knocks.

For whatever reason, if your youth ministry is chaotic how do you bring control without losing all of the students.  These three lessons were learned the hard way but I think they could benefit you.

One-on-One Discipleship

 You mean Coaching?

One of the big buzz words among church people these days is coaching. By “coaching” what is meant, is that you find a caring person who will challenge you to grow in areas of your life. There is an element of coaching involved as that person helps you to set goals then keeps you accountable to reaching those goals. At the Youth Ministry Institute, we take this so seriously that every student does One-on-Ones with a prof.