6 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started in Youth Ministry

I thought I knew what I was doing but…

… I realized I had a lot to learn!

I was recently looking through some old pictures of all the different youth ministries I’ve had the privilege to lead. After over 20 years in youth ministry, I’ve had my share of successes and failures.  There are many things that I wish I had known way back when I started. Here are 6 of them.

How to Know if We’re Modelling or Faking

We’re supposed to model behaviors that we are trying to develop in our team.

The danger is modeling behaviors that aren’t genuine expressions of who we are. This is especially true when it comes to living out our Christian lives in the public. When our public life doesn’t line up with our private life, we aren’t ‘being an example we’re faking or acting. Here are 4 danger areas for me:

5 Amazing Things You Can Do When No One Shows Up

It looked like a total bust.

We planned an indoor beach party in February and hardly anyone showed up. I was thinking, ‘this is a total disaster.’ The student leaders had worked hard at making a beach volleyball game, a beach themed photo booth, and special slushies with fancy umbrellas. Sadly, only the student leaders showed up. I wish I knew then what I know now about what to do when nobody shows. Here are 5 things you can do:

Are You Worth Following?  4 Criteria to See If You Are

You are involved in youth ministry.  Therefore I have an assumption that you want to impact the lives of students.  In fact you probably want to mentor some of them.

The simple question I have is, “Are you worth following?

I really don’t care how cool you are or if you are immensely talented.  I am talking about other things; deeper things, things that anyone can have, if they are willing to work for them.

Here are 4 criteria that you need to see if students should be following you or not.

A Rant About Airports, Tools and My Greatest Youth Ministry Fear

 I’ve been stuck at an airport in New York City for over 24 hours. 

In between the bouts of frustration I’ve had a lot of time to think.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Every year I take a team of students to New York City for a short term urban missions trip.  It’s always a highlight of my year.  I love seeing the students serving and putting into practice what they’re learning.  It also doesn’t hurt that I get to spend a week every year in one of my favorite cities.

As I sit in this airport I’ve been reflecting.  I’ve been reflecting on conversations I had with students.  I have been reflecting on the churches we visited and ministries we partnered with.  As I reflect I realize I have a great fear in youth ministry.  Here it is…

3 Ways To Be A Great Youth LEADER and 1 TED Talk

If you’re in youth ministry then you’re in leadership.

It’s really that simple.  The question is, “are you a great leader for a bygone era?”

We need to think differently about leadership for the 21st century.  Students deserve solid leadership for the now and future. Here are 3 things we all need to know and a TED Talk every youth leader needs to see!

How to Develop Courageous Leadership

You need courage if you’re going to work with teens.

They can smell fear from 50 feet and they can determine who is in charge in the first minute that they enter your meeting place. Any hesitation on your part and you will be overrun. Sadly, this level of confidence and courage doesn’t automatically come with the title of “youth worker” –it must be developed. Here’s how…