Three Things the Olympics Taught on How to be a Better Youth Worker

Photo Credit: kenyee via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: kenyee via Compfight cc

I won’t lie, I love it when the Olympics are on.  All TV watching rules are thrown out of the window in our house and we consume hours upon hours of watching athletes compete for their country.  It is exciting, patriotic and exhilarating to watch.  The two weeks never seem to be long enough.

This year as I was watching the Winter Olympics I realized these athletes could teach us something on being a better youth worker.

NHL Game Changing Secrets

He Shoots! He Scores!

I love these words. I love the sense of accomplishment and victory! But that big win isn’t pure luck. That thrilling moment is the result of hard work, determination and strategic secrets that we can apply to youth work.

Here’s an example. Right now I am coaching a young youth worker. She feels that she is making all the right moves, but can’t “get the puck in the net.” She is working really hard but no matter how hard she works, it seems that nothing is changing.

I have been there too but I stumbled on to some game changing NHL Secrets that I am sharing with her and would like to share with you.

I don’t claim to know a ton about hockey but there are a few surprising applications to youth work. Here are some that I pointed out to my student who is working with a youth ministry that is kind of stuck.

The 6 Keys to Keeping Your Best Volunteers!

I was failing when it came to holding on to excellent volunteers at a Canadian Mega Church. These were quality leaders and they were leaving my youth ministry. Desperately I began to read everything I could get my eyes on to figure out why they were leaving and how I could get them to stay. In a short time I developed an effective plan.

The first thing I began to do was to realize that…

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?