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 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 […]

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

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

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” […]

Don’t Organize…Mobilize!

Don’t Organize…Mobilize!

There’s a big difference between organizing ministry and mobilizing ministry. The more we grow, the more gears there are to grease, the more issues we face, the more it’s necessary to recognize the difference. As a ministry grows, it is absolutely necessary to develop more policies, systems, and protocols to try manage the unwieldiness and messiness of […]

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 […]

The Power of Ableton

The Power of Ableton

If you have a pretty good worship band or youth band and you want to help them move from good to great, Ableton Live will help you get there. Of course, nothing can replace the importance of your musicians’ personal proficiencies. But, if they’re already pretty good at their instruments, Ableton will help your band […]

Drums too Loud? Here’s the Silver Bullet!

Drums too Loud? Here’s the Silver Bullet!

The Problem Those drums can be way too loud…even for youth. It’s hard to have a great musical experience when the drums are overpowering everything in the room. Some have tried to solve this by Turning everything else way up. But then your eardrums start bleeding because the human ear cannot handle that kind of volume. […]

Get Your Band to Start Playing to a Click Track

Get Your Band to Start Playing to a Click Track

If you’re tired of your band speeding up and slow songs and slowing down on fast songs or speeding up and slowing down on any song, get ’em on a click.Most of the pros play to a click. Every great worship band plays to a click. Pianists and other classical musicians have played to clicks (metronomes) […]

Get Your Band to Start Using In Ear Monitors

Get Your Band to Start Using In Ear Monitors

You should consider getting your band to get rid of those monstrous stage monitors and get some IEMs (In Ear Monitors). Once you do, you’ll be amazed at how much better your band sounds. Benefits Using IEMs has made a huge difference in our sound. It has significantly reduced the stage noise. The noise from traditional floor wedges […]

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 […]

7 Reasons Why I Don’t Do All the Teaching

7 Reasons Why I Don’t Do All the Teaching

7. Some people are better at teaching than me. 6. I need a break from the rigor of teaching so often. 5. Kids need a little variety in the voices they hear. 4. Kids need to hear the same truths from other people’s perspectives and experiences. 3. I need the space in my schedule to […]

Getting Our Teams Set Up

With all the changes to our staff and ministry teams, we had a lot of work to do clarify our roles, responsibilities, goals and objectives, and values. It was a lot of administrative work. But it was worth the time we put into it. We now have a pretty good idea of what we’re doing and […]

My New Role as NextGen Pastor

My New Role as NextGen Pastor

Okay, so a lot of things have changed at our church and in my job. Over the summer (2014) we 1) made some major changes to our church governance and 2) restructured our staff. It was an extremely full summer keeping up with and adjusting to these changes on top of the normal summer craziness. Changes to our Church’s Governance […]

Let it Grow: Mission of the Church, Role of the Youth Pastor

Like I said in my last post, I’m convinced that God designed the Church with the Spirit-driven desire and the innate ability to grow in depth, breadth, and reach. So what keeps it from growing the way God intended it? I’m calling these obstacles “doors” that shut us in like the door that kept Elsa […]

Focusing our Meetings

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

The Current Edge of Where We’re Growing – Lay Led Mission Trips

We haven’t taken students on a mission trip since 2007. Prior to then, my personal practice was to take students on mission trips every year. After 2007, students would go on inter-generational trips from our church or go with other churches. My reasons for discontinuing were two-fold. 1) Our trips were usually not part of […]

Infrastructure

I’ve heard it said that a ministry without infrastructure is like a body without a skeleton…it’s just a 6 inch puddle of skin, fat and unusable muscles. Your skin can be beautiful on the outside and your muscles can be strong on the inside but they’re both completely useless without a skeleton to help them […]

Growth Changes Everything (Part 2): The First Things to Go

As our youth ministry has grown there have been a few things that we’ve had to let go. Some of them were difficult to let go while others weren’t so hard. Some things had to do with our program, some had to do with the congregation’s expectations, others had to do with my own view […]

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 MoreThanDodgeball.com). 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. […]

The Risky Reality of Releasing Responsibilities

Risk. It’s always there. It’s something that every ministry leader has to calculate almost every day. Calculating the risk of releasing responsibilities is for sure something we all do no matter what size or kind of church or ministry we have. However, it feels like that as the size of our ministry has grown the […]

I Want to Invest More in My Volunteers…

…but I don’t. I’d really like to spend more time meeting with them, talking about the kids, their struggles, their successes, strategic steps for discipling the kids and so on. I’d love to help them better understand the social and emotional issues that kids are dealing with like loneliness, depression, stress, academic pressure, peer pressure, […]

A Fresh Start – Follow Up Strategies

I’m frustrated with our follow up strategies. It worked just fine a few years ago but not so well anymore. I’ll tell you what we do then what the problem is. We use “A Fresh Start: Following Through on Your Commitment to Christ,” a 30 day devotional by Scott Larson that answers many of the […]

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 […]