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 […]

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 […]

Mission Trips

Mission Trips

The Problem: How I Did Missions Then For years, I took students on annual mission trips. Some were domestic (in the U.S.) and some were international (outside the U.S.). They were always great experiences. But one day I realized a few things that made me really uncomfortable with doing them anymore. I think we were guilty […]

What Grows Your Group?

What Grows Your Group?

Four Things that DON’T Grow Your Youth Group 4. Fun Games It’s fun to play games at church or youth group. In fact, fun and laughter are great for building community in your group. But games don’t grow your youth group. In fact, if you play the wrong games, you can actually drive kids away who think they’re […]

13 Easy ways to Get Students Involved in Church

13 Easy ways to Get Students Involved in Church

Ask them to read scripture during worship services, youth group, and small groups Ask them to pray during worship services, youth group, and small groups Ask them to teach/speak at youth group and other gatherings (maybe even preach on a Sunday) Ask them to be ushers and greeters Ask them to play in the band […]

7 Do’s and Don’ts of Getting and Keeping Your Group’s Attention

It’s your responsibility to gain and retain the attention of the students in your group. I don’t think you can expect students to automatically grant attention to you as speaker/leader just because you’re an adult or just because you’re up front. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts of getting and keeping their attention.

A Relational Approach to Staff Reviews

Here’s what I try to do when it comes to doing staff reviews. Pave the Way First, write the into the “Terms of Hire.” This is the document that accompanies the job description that outlines the details of pay, hours, employment status, expected working days (even hours if appropriate) and special events, termination rights and process, […]

6 Things I’m not doing at Youth Group Tonight

1. Leading Worship – I used to do that, but now someone else is doing that. 2. Giving the Welcome and Announcements – I used to do that, but now we have 2 student hosts each week giving the welcome and announcements. They’re doing great as long as we give them cue cards. 3. Teaching/Speaking […]

Let it Grow

I can’t help it…I’m humming the now famous song “Let it Go” performed by Idina Mensel, the voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen. We’ve seen it probably four times now. And every time I hear the song I honestly think of the Church. We need to “Let it Grow!” We need to unlock the doors […]

Defining Roles on our Youth Ministry Team

The more recent conversation in our Student Life Leadership Team has been about defining our roles (this post) and focusing our meetings (next post). Now that we’ve established some large-frame infrastructures to support our ministry, we’ve developed some new growing edges around our roles and the need to more clearly define them. Here’s what we’ve […]

Sticky Faith: Get Students Involved

If you were to visit our church, you’d see students involved in just about every area of ministry at just about every level. On Wednesday nights you’d see students helping in the kitchen serving the family dinner. You’d see students greeting other students as they enter into the worship center. You’d see students on the […]

Sticky Faith: Partnering with Parents

What are we doing to help our students form a Sticky Faith? We Partner with Parents. Building a partnership with parents is vital to any healthy, growing ministry that cares about helping students be disciples of Christ––now and into their adulthood––and not just building or maintaining a cool program. Helping students develop a faith that […]

If Nothing Else … Grace, Identity, Mission

Our annual Senior Banquet is coming up soon. It’s a milestone…a rite of passage. We invite graduating seniors and their immediate families to a nice dinner free of charge. We celebrate their stories, their successes, and their promise-filled futures. We laugh together. We cry together. We pray together. This year, for their gift, we’re creating […]

Limiting Our Growth on Purpose

Our growth started reaching into a certain direction the last couple of months. But, it’s too much for us to handle well. So, we had to put a cap on it. We had to limit our growth in that direction. I hated having to do it but it had to be done. We’ve been attracting […]

Preaching to Youth (Part 1): Keep Preaching

Yes… …we all know that kids learn & grow effectively in a variety of ways. They learn by doing & practicing. They grow through extended and stretching experiences. They learn through discussion. They learn visually through the arts. They grow by exercising logic and reason. There are a million ways that kids (and adults) grow […]

4 Step Process for Behavior Management

To help our small group leaders stay in control, we use simple a four step process for behavior management (4 R’s inspired by Josh Griffin’s post on his blog at Request Ask the student very clear and certain words to change the exact behavior that is disruptive. If you’re too vague he won’t understand. […]

My Role as a Youth Pastor

I’ve always seen my role as a youth pastor as having four major objectives. Pastor the People. Mobilize the Ministry. Cultivate the Climate. Voice the Vision. Pastor the People As a pastor, my primary calling is to care for people God has brought within my influence. This includes sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, biblical […]