Teens’ Surprising Easter Confessions We Need to Hear

I was scrambling for an idea for the youth group at Easter. Other youth groups were shut down. Other kids had a family life. Not my group and not my kids. So it was hours before they would gather and I had nothing that we hadn’t done before.

At a loss, I came across a lame idea to make teens write Haiku? “Haiku?!” I flipped the page and kept going. Then stopped. “I don’t even know what Haiku is… some kind of poem?” I thought. “My group writing poetry?” I scoffed… but I was desperate and it was worth a risk that I will never regret.

They shuffled into the room. We sang some songs, watched a bit of the Jesus movie and just when I thought they were ready, I had them finish lines in a poem that I started. The only words I gave them were, “because Jesus is alive…” The results broke me… 

3 Ways to Have Parents Working With You Not Against You

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I recently bought a new vehicle.  I hated the process.  I am so paranoid of getting a bad deal that the entire experience frustrates me.

The funny thing is I love buying houses.  A much larger investment but for some reason I like doing that instead.  Probably one of the reasons is that it is simple advice on a good real estate purchase.

You ask any real estate agent and they will tell the three most important things are, location, location, location.

What does this have to do with youth workers and parents? Actually a lot.

If you want to have parents partnering with you to make the ministry even better then there are three things you have to do.

Startling Discovery! Jesus Found Living in Teen’s Home

No, this is not like an Elvis sighting but you have probably guessed what I am getting at. Would you put a sign on your lawn that says: “Jesus lives here?” Probably not and neither would I but if he doesn’t live at our house we are probably in more trouble than we know. Now, more than ever, it is important that Christ be a reality for teens in their homes. How do we do this without making our homes as weird as the title of this blog?

I don’t think that we have this completely figured out, but I think that we have learned some things from other great families that help make Jesus come alive in their homes. Here are some ideas that work.

4 Risky Steps to go from Rejection to Acceptance

Last Saturday morning the room was filled with a wide assortment of dedicated teens. I looked at them and prayed inside, “God help them understand that the way they accept or reject others can mean the difference between life and death….”

As I measured up the excellent youth group I was speaking to, I still felt desperate to get them to take radical steps to courageously move beyond their friendship circles to accept others.

I knew that if I was going to get this point across, I was going to do something risky. Here’s what I did…

2 Magic Words to Get Parents on Board With the Youth Ministry

If there were no parents then there would be no students.  I know basic biology, right.  But let’s be honest, we all have wished at one point or another that we could do youth ministry without dealing with parents.  I know that in the moment of frustration this thought can creep into your mind but it is dangerous to entertain.

If you truly want your students to continually look more and more like Jesus then you need to work with parents.  Every parent is an important part of a student’s spiritual development.  Yes even the unbelieving parent is important.  If they do not allow their student come to the church it will be much harder for you to spiritually impact the student.

I have found over the years that the vast majority of parents are great to work with if you remember two magic words.

Shut Out? How to Help Your Teen Open Up.

Everyone says that communication is the key to parenting but what happens when your teen has shut you out? He or she seems to be texting their friends but never talking to you. Bit by bit you feel like you don’t know what is going on in your son or daughter’s life any more.

As I have said before in a previous blog it seems that my wife is better at getting the girls to talk than I am. She practices some great skills that all the experts suggest. Here are four that work.

Evil, Teens, and God

“I was raped by a man when I was 12,” a young man once told me.  A youth leader that I worked with, was sexually abused by her father for 8 years before she ran away at 13. Thousands of boys and girls are forced into prostitution each week. …Evil… sick, devastating wickedness is everywhere.

No wonder some teens and young adults have trouble believing that God exists. –Or, if He does exist, that He cares about us. There’s no easy explanation for the suffering in our world, but as I work with teens and young adults, I am learning how to respond. Here is a way to approach the question of evil which seems to work with teens and young adults…

2 Ways to Discover God’s will

Just recently I had to make a big decision about the direction of my life.

When these big forks in the road present themselves we can get stressed and feel paralyzed.  Or we can make a decision and move confidently in that direction.

I think everyone would choose to make a confident decision but let’s be honest, right now you are saying, “that is easier said than done.”  In some ways you are right, but in fact it can be just that easy.

When I was in college one of my mentors told me of two things we need to keep in mind when we try to discover what God’s will is for our lives.  I have been practicing this for the past 15 years and I can say it has gotten easier over time.

So what are these two things you have to do?  They’re really quite easy.