Building a Young Adult Ministry 2 – A Church within a Church

Building a Young Adult Ministry 2 – A Church within a Church

Two and a half years ago we shifted our young adult ministry strategy to one more like church planting, a “church within a church.” After using a more “integrative approach” for 8 years, I realized that we just weren’t reaching our potential. I did a little local research and found that there are over 5000 young adults […]

Building a Kids Ministry Team 4 – Recruiting

Building a Kids Ministry Team 4 – Recruiting

Building a great team is vital to building a great ministry with kids. This post is part of a series of posts exploring tangible ways to build a great children’s ministry team. The last three posts were about key roles you’ll need on your team, the various teams you’ll need in your ministry, and the ratios by which you can determine how many leaders you need. […]

Building a Kids Ministry Team 3 – Ratios

Building a Kids Ministry Team 3 – Ratios

Building a great team is vital to building a great ministry with kids. This post is part of a series of posts exploring tangible ways to build a great children’s ministry team. The last two posts were about key roles you’ll need on your team and various teams you’ll need in your ministry. This post is about determining how many people you really need in those roles. […]

Building a Kids Ministry Team 2 – Teams

Building a Kids Ministry Team 2 – Teams

Building a great team is vital to building a great ministry with kids. This post is part of a series of posts exploring tangible ways to build a great children’s ministry team. The last post was about key roles you’ll need on your team. This post is about additional teams that are helpful to have within your larger ministry. Some teams are vital to your ministry with kids. […]

Building a Kids Ministry Team 1 – Key Roles

Building a Kids Ministry Team 1 – Key Roles

Building a great team is vital to building a great ministry with kids. Over these next few posts  you’ll explore tangible ways to change the way you think about recruiting and building a great children’s ministry team. Our model is primarily large group – small group. So the key roles we need are below. If you’re in a small church, you’ll be combining these roles. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

4 Steps to a Great Small Group

4 Steps to a Great Small Group

I’m convinced that there is a sequence to building a great small group experience. One step leads to the other. Unfortunately, many small group leaders, teachers, youth pastors, etc. try to jump to the last stage in the process (content) without working through the first four steps. I’ve categorized them into 4 C’s (and yes, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]