Evaluating your student ministry can be hard for most youth pastors or workers because it causes you to take an honest look at yourself and the ministry that you’re running. Evaluations can be very intimidating; they are not necessarily a pleasant experience, but a necessary one if you hope to improve. Try this process… …
We’ve Never Done it that Way Before
We’ve all heard these statements: – “We’ve never done it that way before” and “It’s always been done like this.” Change is inevitable in life; we change as individuals. Our cities grow and change, and we face change in our jobs and families. A person can’t live without change affecting them. Yet some people resist or feel uncomfortable with change. Here’s what we need to know and do about this……
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……
Are you ready for it…?
One of my favorite commercials is the Staples commercial the shows a Mom dancing through the aisles of Staples picking up school supplies while her children are walking behind her with dread on their faces. All to the song “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
It’s hilarious watch it here! Click
This is marketing at its finest! It’s hard to believe that September is here and not only is school starting, but youth ministries are also getting ready to kick off a new season. I always loved this time of year; it’s a time of anticipation of what God is going to do in the lives of the students. As you look forward to the new season, what steps should you take?…
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!
Are you killing this important relationship?
Too often student ministry pastors don’t work on their relationship with the lead pastor. If you’re not careful you may miss these important steps to develop a growing and healthy relationship. The lead pastor can be your biggest ally, advocate, and supporter! Like any relationship, this one needs to be developed. It is going to take time, understanding and trust. Here are the 6 steps I’ve found the most useful.…
If your group isn’t already playing this they’re missing out.
Dozens of students line up for their turn. Leaders want to get in on the act. Some stick around just to play after the students are gone. Nine Square isn’t new but if your students aren’t playing it they are missing out. The game practically runs itself and if you can get the pieces, its pretty easy to put together. You can have it up and running in no time.
Here are the rules and instructions!…
Please don’t mess up in this area. It’s easier than you realize!
Social media has changed how many interact with each other. It’s how many connect, communicate and sadly for some, live their lives. I can remember when I first heard students talking about Myspace, then Facebook, and all the other platforms that have followed. Social media can be an effective tool for youth ministry in promoting the ministry and connecting with students.
It can also be dangerous. I’ve heard stories and seen how youth workers have gotten into trouble because of how they have used social media. It’s important that youth ministries set guidelines for how their leaders and their youth ministry will use social media. Here are 8 crucial social media guidelines. …