An “Orange” NextGen Leader Handbook

An “Orange” NextGen Leader Handbook

We’ve put together a handbook for all the leaders and staff in NextGen Ministries at our church. While every church is different in scope, size, and culture, some ideas are scalable and cross-platform. Here’s what we do in our church. Maybe there’s something helpful here for you? Maybe not. We just like to share. It begins with […]

NextGen Policies for Safe & Healthy Ministry

NextGen Policies for Safe & Healthy Ministry

Developing policies is time consuming but super important for purposes of safety and risk management as well as the continuity of healthy practices. We require that every volunteer read and sign an agreement to abide by these policies. These policies continue to develop and evolve every year. But here’s a snapshot of our current policies as […]

The Do’s and Don’ts of NextGen Ministry

The Do’s and Don’ts of NextGen Ministry

I was a youth pastor for 20 years before our church adopted a NextGen model and I became the NextGen Pastor. The transition has been challenging but totally worth it! Here, I’d like to dive in a little deeper and get more specific about some do’s and don’ts that I’ve learned in my own journey into NextGen Ministry.

Essential Skills: Managing Your Personal Calendar

Essential Skills: Managing Your Personal Calendar

There are many skills that ministry leaders need to develop. Among them are skills like teaching & preaching, leading meetings, planning events, caring for people, responding to crises, and so on. However, there are some less fashionable skills that are just as essential. Here’s the second of five skills that have been on my mind lately. Managing […]

Essential Skills: Managing Checklists

Essential Skills: Managing Checklists

There are many skills that ministry leaders need to develop. Among them are skills like teaching & preaching, leading meetings, planning events, caring for people, responding to crises, and so on. However, there are some less fashionable skills that are just as essential. Here are five of them that have been on my mind lately. Managing Checklists […]

NextGen Ninja: The Master Communicator Rule #1 – Be Prepared

NextGen Ninja: The Master Communicator Rule #1 – Be Prepared

YEARLY OR QUARTERLY Prior to each year, take time with your team (your staff and/or your most trusted key volunteers) to map out your teaching schedule for the year. If this is a new discipline for you, perhaps you should start out by quarter or semester. For more on how to do this, read A Student-Centered Process […]

NextGen Ninja – The Master Communicator

NextGen Ninja – The Master Communicator

Welcome young padawan ninja. With much practice and discipline, you, too, can become a Master Communicator. Time out. Before I go any further, I’m definitely not presuming to be a master communicator! It’s just really fun to use the ninja lingo. The truth is, I still have a lot to learn about being a good […]

Essential Skills for Ministry Leadership

Essential Skills for Ministry Leadership

There are many skills that ministry leaders need to develop. Among them are skills like teaching & preaching, leading meetings, planning events, caring for people, responding to crises, and so on. However, there are some less fashionable skills that are just as essential and are just hard, dirty work. There are five in particular that have been […]

Using Basecamp to Manage Church and Ministry Projects, Event Planning, and Key Processes

Using Basecamp to Manage Church and Ministry Projects, Event Planning, and Key Processes

We use Basecamp to manage all our ministry’s major projects, plan events, and manage some key processes. It’s an intuitive, simple online

What is a NextGen Pastor?

What is a NextGen Pastor?

A NextGen Pastor (or Pastor/Director of Next Generation Ministries) is also sometimes referred to as a Family Pastor (or Pastor/Director of Family Ministries). Most NextGen Pastors oversee multiple staff and multiple age groups, some of which can include college and young adults. A Family Pastor […]

There When They Need You

There When They Need You

A while back, I got an email from the parent of a kid that hadn’t been part of our ministry in years. They just stopped coming. She talked about how influential I had been in their kid’s life and that he was hurting and in need of some care. All sorts of thoughts and feelings […]

When Teens Are Gay

When Teens Are Gay

  We have teens and young adults in our church who are gay, bisexual, and transgendered. At one point not too long ago, we had to deal with two girls who were actually kind of making out with each other during our large group time. I eventually had a private conversation with the two of them […]

Defining the Wins

Defining the Wins

It can be really hard to tell if you’re #winning as a small group leader. Showing up week after week to lead sometimes seemingly meaningless discussions only to have kids bounce around in the conversation to whatever happens to be on their mind, or even literally bouncing around on the floor. A small group leader may not […]

NEXT: What I Learned from a Gathering of NextGen Leaders

NEXT: What I Learned from a Gathering of NextGen Leaders

Last week, I spent three days with 80 of the best NextGen and Family Ministry leaders in the country learning from some of the top church and business leaders in the country. Hosted by Reggie Joiner and the Orange team (including Kenny & Elle Campbell, Sue Miller, Kristen Ivy, Kenny Conley, etc.) and held in their office / creative […]

The NextGen Way

The NextGen Way

  NextGen and Family ministry models are a rising trend in the world of ministry to children, youth, and families. We’ve recently made this shift ourselves. Previously, our children’s ministry, youth ministry, college and young adults ministry, and marriage and family ministries all operated with separate leadership, separate values and vision, and separate strategies and language. We’ve […]

The Apps We Use for Ministry

The Apps We Use for Ministry

We use all sorts of apps to pull off what we do on a weekly basis––apps that help us preach and teach better, communicate better, manage our people better, plan services better, manage our events and projects better, produce sound, video, and lighting better, and manage our time

When Driving with Students

When Driving with Students

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s the kid who needs a ride home after youth group or the kid who can’t get a ride to come meet you at Starbucks, the scenario is the same. You and a teenager alone in a car. Should you be concerned or is it no big deal? I say it’s a […]

When a Kid is Suicidal

When a Kid is Suicidal

If you’re in youth ministry, you will inevitably encounter a teen who is at least somewhat suicidal. It’s a scary thing that must be taken seriously. Because of it’s danger, I’ll cut to the chase here and get to the most important things that you must do when a kid is suicidal.

When Kids are Cutting

When Kids are Cutting

I’ve been in youth ministry for more than 20 years and have come to realize that there is no end to the steady stream of kids who experience deep pain in their lives and resort to cutting (and other destructive behaviors) as a means of coping. Every time I talk with a young boy or girl […]

Hate Recruiting Volunteers?

Hate Recruiting Volunteers?

A major part of me hates recruiting volunteers. It takes a lot of energy just to work up the motivation to ask people to volunteer. I think most ministry leaders pretty much hate recruiting volunteers. We don’t like asking for help. We don’t want to make all those phone calls only to be told “no” […]