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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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” […]

The #1 Pastoral Skill

The #1 Pastoral Skill

The #1 skill that a pastor should master is RECRUITING.* You might say that the #1 skill that a pastor (or any other ministry leader) should master is preaching. A pastor can get pretty good at preaching and build a large audience. But, if he doesn’t master recruiting, find people, and equip them to lead and staff the kids ministry, the […]

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 […]

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 […]

4 Pressure Points on Every Pastor

4 Pressure Points on Every Pastor

It seems to me that there are four pressure points I experience on a weekly basis that seems to be common to all pastors and ministry leaders. These pressure points have no regard for person, giftedness, experience or size of church or ministry. Note: I’m not complaining here. I’m just acknowledging what we all experience. […]

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 […]

A New Way to Manage My Work Schedule

A New Way to Manage My Work Schedule

I’ve decided to develop some new routines in my schedule. Along with these routines, I’ve decided to take a new approach to keeping on track with these routines in my calendar. If you’re good at just looking at a picture and figuring it out from there, go ahead and skip the detailed explanation below. But be sure 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Three Principles for Growth and Balance

As I look back on my life and ministry, I’ve realized that there have been three basic principles that have helped facilitate both growth and balance in my life and ministry. Prioritize Have you read Acts 18:5-6? It says, “When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified […]

Preaching to Youth (Part 3): Creative Use of Stories from Your Own Life as a Teenager

I love using stories in my messages. I usually “hook” them (I use the Hook-Book-Look-Took method) with a personal story from my own life…preferably one from when I was a teenager. I prefer my own stories and not stories and illustrations from books or websites because they allow me to do two things. First, it […]

Preaching to Youth (Part 2): Keep it Positive

The black eye gave it away. There’s no hiding it from mom when you’re 10. Wearing sunglasses is a habit I won’t have developed for another five or six years. So it was pretty obvious to mom that, once again, I got into another fight. It wasn’t my fault. It usually wasn’t my fault. I’m […]

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 […]

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 3): What I Didn’t See Coming

My personality is the type that’s always looking ahead. I have vision documents with goals and objectives from four years ago with projections that are almost on the money today. I think it’s just how I’m wired. But I gotta tell ya…there are some things that I just didn’t see coming with growth of our […]

Pastoral Whiplash

Plan for my youth sermon. Then trouble shoot the sound system. Then meet with a volunteer to recruit them to be a team leader. Then meet with a student to talk about their alcohol addiction. Then try to figure out why my Mac isn’t printing to our printer over Wi-Fi lately. Then meet with the […]

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 […]

Growth Changes Everything (Part 1): Growth Requires Change

I think I’d like to share in the next few posts some of the biggest changes that we’ve experienced and that I’ve personally experienced as we’ve grown. This one is just an introduction. The next one will be “The First Things to Go,” which will talk about the things that I/we had to let go […]

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 […]