stop

Just Stop It Already!…

“Why do we do this ministry every year?”

“Well…kinda because we’ve always been the ones to do It?….”

We have all had that conversation in our churches. There seems to be that one ministry in every church that is a sacred cow that happens every year only because it happened the year before. Many times, the people who originally started the ministry are long gone by the point that the church experiences the “critical mass necessary to kill it”.  The transition process in our church has led to the leadership team looking at most all of the ministry opportunities in our church and asking “why do we still do this?”.

At the end of the day, we were a church trying to do far more than it should. We had to let some things go, and be ok with it. One of the things that was let go was a back to school cookout that our church sponsored for a local collegiate ministry. One of the other churches in our fellowship of churches locally picked it up with fresh people and vision. They had a blast with it. Last night at a meeting of the local churches, the report thanked our church for allowing the new church to get the blessing of taking on this new ministry opportunity.

There are two things we can learn form this:

1) Ask why we do what we do. Is it for God’s Kingdom growth, or because you did it last year?

2) Killing a ministry doesn’t always mean its dead. Maybe its that God wants to carry it on through someone else as He leads you in another direction.

Who can you bless by killing a ministry? God knows.

What is a ministry your church “killed for the glory of God?” Share in the comments below.

MCHS June 2013

Campus Ministry

As schools across the country have started back and fall is in the air, youth ministers around the country are shifting their thinking to campus ministry. If you are a youth minister and you do not have a presence on your local school campus you are missing out on a large ministry opportunity. Now some schools are closed, youth ministers are not allowed to come eat lunch or be on campus during school hours. There are ways to still have a presence on campus and we are going to look at ways for open and closed campuses.

Lunch:
The old tried and true stand by for youth ministers. If you campus does allow you on to eat lunch it is a tremendous opportunity to connect with your students and it puts your face in front of the other teens.

Games, Arts, and Competitions:
Even if you have a closed school on your hands they cannot keep you from attending games, chorus recitals, band competitions, or tournaments. I just attended a middle school softball game the other day and four of our middle school girls were shouting, “That’s my youth pastor!” Imagine this in your head. Your students are telling their friends who you are, their friends see them hanging out with you having fun, and maybe you even get your students who are on the team together for a quick prayer and have one of your students lead it. What a great witness!

FCA:
I love FCA. I used to be a FCA Endurance Adult huddle leader. I have multiple schools represented in my ministry, (Two High Schools, Three Middle Schools, one private Christian School, and home school students). First thing I did at the start of the school year? Find out who the local FCA sponsors at each school are. I contacted them and asked if there was any way our student ministry could help support them. I’ve been invited to help with every single FCA group and I know the bridges I build through helping with FCA will impact students that may never grace my ministry but its about the bigger game plan not just my ministry.

Sports Teams:
We get the opportunity to feed our high school football teams prior to a game every year. Not only do we get to be the hands and feet of Christ by allowing students to see us serving them, but with both teams I get a short time to have a devotional and prayer with them before they leave. Awesome sauce!

Team Chaplain:
Some schools allow teams to have a volunteer team chaplain. How awesome would it be to have students who may not be in your student ministry asking you for spiritual advice? What an awesome way to expand your ministry influence!

Just a few campus ministry ideas we had this year? What are some of yours? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

facebook

Lets Start a Facebook Prayer Meeting…

I received an interesting Facbook notification first thing this morning. Late last night Kevin Patterson tagged me and 9 other people, stating that he was challenged by a friend to choose 10 people publicly on social media to pray for in the coming week. Kevin added the ministries those people represented as well as their spouse/significant other.

I am going to up the ante a little more and hopefully make this a great, positive, far-reaching thing for all that are involved.

1) Create your post with the ten people that you are praying for (I recommend that you choose 5 in your church, 5 that are not.

2) This week, pray for that person daily, including their family and ministry

3) Tag each person, including the person who challenged you.

4) Now The Hard Part… Actually pray for those people this week.

Feel free to add a link to this article as part of of your challenge post.

Let’s do this, expecting to see God do great things for His kingdom as we pray for others both inside and outside our churches/ministries.

When the week is over, come back and share the great things God has done!!

did god say

Teen Devotion Ideas

One of the largest challenges in youth ministry is keeping students growing in their faith. One of the tools we have available to help in this area are daily devotions to help students think through having a daily time focused on prayer and God’s word. Here are some great resources available to help your students.

Online Devotions:

Dare2Share Soul Fuel

A weekly teen devotional that you can use with your students as a small group curriculum, Bible study, Sunday School lesson, or to help them in their personal quiet time. Topically driven, these devotions help your students keep the gospel central in their lives and provide practical ways to bring their faith up with their friends.

Daily Devotion from Josh McDowell

Josh McDowell has been an apologetics voice in youth ministry for over 30 years.

Offline Devotions

The Simple Truth Bible

The Simple Truth Bible features 366 daily devotionals—each one a tasty, bite-size morsel that powerfully reveals what it means to deeply love and trust God, to lead a Jesus-centered life, and to lean on Scripture for guidance and wisdom.

Teenagers will discover how to experience hope in the middle of tough times, how God deeply and passionately loves them, how to build an authentic friendship with Jesus, and how they were created to lead a life of impact in this world and for eternity.

Stripped Clean

This is a unique devotional geared toward those with an “artistic/creative” bent.

My Life, His Mission

Get inspired to look beyond yourself and see a world that desperately needs Christ through this six-week study. You’ll learn about following the call of God and experience firsthand accounts from other teens who have joined God in his worldwide work. Biblical principles on the Great Commission and how God uses ordinary people to carry His message to the lost will motivate you and spiritually prepare you for a mission adventure. Topics include: Hearing God’s call, trusting God, praying for world missions, sharing the faith, being flexible, and taking risks. With amazing stories and Scripture, you’ll be challenged as you work on this study alone or with a group.

 

What devotions do you recommend to your students? Please Share in the comments area below…

trends

A Rural Church Millenial Story…

There was much to do over the release of the 2012 SBC Annual Church Profile statistics a few weeks ago. One of the most staggering stats was the fact that the SBC churches baptized very few or no Millennials or Youth in 2012 (the latest year we have statistics for…).

I was unsure just exactly how to process the numbers, aside from sharing an experience in our local church. I am not an expert on Millenials (Thom Rainer has some great insight in that area). I can share a couple things that I have observed in our local church.

1) The desire to serve and be part of something bigger than themselves.

2) The desire for older adults to come beside them and show them how to handle finances, parent, etc…

3) The desire to “take ownership” of some area their ministry service.

4) The desire for older adults to ask the tough questions.

This story from our church shares about how a young lady had a few people from our church come alongside her with the love and care to ask where her relationship with Christ stood. Be that person that shows up with a bucket of ice cream that is willing to ask if they can come in and talk.

 

 

 

bible

Bible Study Tools I Use…

If you are just starting out in ministry, you have a few great advantages that those before you have not enjoyed. One of those advantages is the Bible study tools available to you. When I started in Youth Ministry 14 years ago, we were just starting to drift out of the age of dial-up internet access, so the tools were limited at best. Tablets and smartphones were not yet in the marketplace either.

Fast Forward to today and here are  a few tools that I use in ministry and personal study:

1) Logos.com – Logos has an extensive Bible study library that you can purchase, but they also give away the base engine and a few books for free. You also can get a free resource each month for joining their mailing list. They also have apps for mobile devices that you can sync notes and highlights with.

2) YouVersion.com – In the iOS store, this is called the Bible App. It is an excellent tool for free that has some great mobile apps with the Bible available in many languages and versions. If you have several students in your ministry with web connected devices, check into the Live Event backend for the app that allows you to put teaching notes, prayer requests, teaching videos and more at their fingertips.

3) BibleGateway.com – This was one of my first “go-to” tools, and still one that I use often. It is web-based with many languages and translations. They also have access to some great commentary resources as well.

4) Kindle App – Not specifically a Bible study resource, but the Amazon Kindle store often has great new and classic Bible studies and resources on sale or free during certain promotional periods. I have saved a lot of money just by watching for deals.

There you have it. It is a pretty simple list.

What Bible Study Tools are you using in your ministry? Share them in the comments area below!

10

10 Blogs to Watch If You’re a Youth Worker…

I have been blessed to be around some folks that are smarter and more experienced than I am in the 10last several years. That can cause you to learn and can keep you humble. Some of them regularly blog. Here are 10 blogs that you can glean some great things from, especially if you are new to Youth Ministry (in no particular order):

1). Greg Stier

2). YouthMinistry360

3). YouthMinistry.com (aka MoreThanDodgeball.com)

4). DownloadYouthMinistry

5). 100 Posts I hope You Write @ Studentministry.org

6). YouthSpecialties Blog

7). Adam McLane

8). Mark Oestericher (whyismarko)

9). Christian Web Trends

10). EdStetzer.com (Not specifically Youth Ministry, but some great research and trends information)

 

SYATP2014-copy

What does See You At the Pole Look Like if you Homeschool?

See you at the pole is a basic staple in youth ministry, with its roots dating back to 1990. I was involved at our school’s events as early as 1993 as a freshman in high school. I have seen some great things happen in unified prayer at the local school. The mission of SYATP can be summed up like this

From that very first year in 1990, See You at the Pole has been about one simple act—prayer. Today, SYATP is still about students humbling themselves, turning to God, and interceding for their generation. 

Last year, I had a parent who homeschools ask the question “how do I involve my children?”.SYATP2014-copy That hit me like a ton of bricks. That was one angle I had never considered, and I am a homeschool parent myself (whose children are fast approaching the teens years!). There are obviously two schools of thought that include either 1)just take the kids on public school “turf” and 2) have a place for the homeschool students to meet.

I have chosen to take the second approach to acclimate the students to the idea of SYATP, and it gathers them with other students who are homeschooled. We chose the county courthouse as a location. The county officials loved the idea. They saw it as a positive thing for teenagers in our community. Our courthouse flag area is also home to a National Day of Prayer gathering in May, so the idea is not foreign to them.

This also brings the homeschool students on board with being involved with SYATP, in the event you have any type of pre or post SYATP rallies/gatherings/talk sessions. This year our church is hosting a post-event rally that evening for the local youth ministries to gather and share what happened at the local campuses, and continue in praying for unsaved friends.

So, as you do your SYATP planning, I pray that you will take those doing homeschool and online public school into your planning thoughts, and help them be a part of whatever you do.

 

poll

Poll: The Biggest Issue in Rural Youth Ministry is…

We are constantly working on new ideas and resources here at MinistryPlace.Net. One of the upcoming ideas involves a lot of feedback from our readers. We are taking a poll looking into the biggest issues of the Rural youth worker.

Here are the rules. Vote for the issue that is the largest issue in your ministry. If the answer is “Other”, please leave a comment sharing the issue. It’s that simple.

pollPlease share this poll with as many Rural youth workers as you know. The larger the sample size, the better we can make content and resources that will help Rural youth workers.

The Biggest Issue in Rural Youth Ministry Today is...

View Results

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kickoff

Guest Post: Are You Ready For Kick-Off?

Editors Note: This is a guest post by my friend Ryan Campos. Here is a little about him… 

I’m a student minister who lives in Hermitage, MO with my lovely wife and two beautiful children (one is probably pushing her luck as you read this). I am passionate about students, and enjoy seeing how many tacos I can eat. Above all, I love serving God and hope to help other youth ministers along the way.

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In just short few days our media pages, televisions, and youth ministries will be flooded with trash talk and football jerseys. Kick-off for pre-season football is in a matter of days! I’m not sure how it works in your family, but I know my family absolutely loves football season. My dad and I are Chiefs fans; my kickoffwife is a Chargers fan, my oldest brother roots for the Packers, and my other brother and my mom root for the forbidden team (Raiders). You can imagine how that goes…This got me thinking. There’s something else that will be starting up in a few weeks that our students won’t be looking forward to as much…school! The question is, “Are you ready for kick-off?” The beginning of the school year provides opportunity to really connect with new students, connect with your area schools, and make any changes in your ministry. Here are a few ideas to help.

1. Develop a Playbook ( Brainstorming)
Developing your playbook is your plan to reach unconnected students. One of the things our youth ministry does to connect is throw a Back2School Lock-in, and then do a massive follow up. Other ideas could be; having lunch with your students at school, getting involved with their FCA, friendship evangelism, your fall activities, etc.

2. Make the Right Play Call (Executing)
If you’re anything like me, thinking of exciting things to do that will likely land your students in an emergency room isn’t too difficult. Ideas are great, but we must be able to execute our “plays” well. Not only do we develop a plan, we must develop a plan for successful execution.

3. Coach Well (Communicate)
This is simply communicating with your leaders and students what your goals are for this school year. For example, I tell me students we are doing our B2S Lock-In as an evangelizing attempt. I explain we really want to connect with students who aren’t involved in a student ministry. This helps to get everyone on the same page.

4. 2 Point Conversion (All In)
With your plan in place go all in! Don’t hold back. We only have a short time with our students before they’re gone. The time you spend with unconnected students may determine if they come back or turn away the Gospel. Just love on them and leave the rest up to God.

5. Watch the Replay (Evaluate)
Lastly don’t forget to evaluate your game plan before, during, and after your “Back to School” outreach. We always want to improve our “game” and this is crucial in doing so.
Feel free to comment it up on this post or shoot me a tweet @ryancampos10. I’d love to hear your “Back2School” ideas! Keep serving!

Ryan.

My agent was obviously not a Ramsey ELP....

Getting the Whole Story OR the Meaning of MT on Twitter…

I was reminded of a very important fact the other day. The importance of taking the time to get the whole story before acting on a situation. I had a story happen in a meeting with my new agent from an insurance company that I have dealt with for many years. The previous agent in my small town retired, and the new agent was sent to contact all the existing customers.

My agent was obviously not a Ramsey ELP....

My agent was obviously not a Ramsey ELP….

I was not exactly thrilled with what I heard, in the agent trying to sell me things I did not feel I needed. I mentioned that Dave Ramsey suggested that whole life insurance was a bad investment. Then the agent said this…

I tweeted the story out to @daveramsey. I thought nothing more of it. Dave did an MT or modified tweet. I did not know what an MT was( like many people on twitter), so I looked it up. Here is what the Twitter Glossary says :

MT

Similar to RT, an abbreviation for “Modified Tweet.” Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message with modifications, for example shortening a Tweet.

https://support.twitter.com/articles/166337-the-twitter-glossary

Here is what Dave’s tweet looked like:

Wow. Part of my everyday life shared with almost 600,000 people. Very neat. However, in the short few minutes to come, I realized that how the Modified Tweet was worded, It wasn’t clear WHO Dave was calling a liar, whether I was in support or attacking Dave. I got a few nasty tweets hurled in my direction. One of the nicer things I was called was “an internet vulture”. It died down when someone shared the concept “hey, check out the original tweet”, which tells the whole story.

Moral of the story. Twitter is 140 characters. It is very hard to get someone’s meaning and heart in that little slice of information.  When shared by others, it is even harder. Take a breath, and try to see the whole story. Reach out to the person before you assume things. You may find your assumption is opposite of reality.

family

The Importance of Families in Youth Ministry…

The longer I serve in Rural Ministry, there are a few things that I have seen that catch my attention and scream their importance. One of these important factors is the role of Family in youth ministry. If you asked 100 youth pastors if they believed that it was vital that the whole family is involved in the local church, at least 98 of them would say yes. However, many of their churches are not aligned to make that happen.family

In what I am about to say, do not take in the least that I am bashing van/bus ministry (my dad once helped start and run a van ministry…). Nor am I advocating the “Family Integrated Church” concept (you are smart enough to Google that…). What I am saying is this – As churches we need to seriously live out  the rhetoric that we are sharing about the importance of the whole family being involved in church.

There are some churches where I live that do some great ministry picking up bus and van loads of children and youth to attend their programs. Many of them come from unchurched homes that need the redeeming power of Christ in those homes. There are many ladies singing songs, baking cookies and praying. All that is awesome. It is needed. The follow-up question I have that no one seems to be asking is this – OK, you have reached the kids, how are you going to reach mom and dad? Most of us know the tired old stats about reaching dad first = 85% of family involved in church, mom =30ish%, kids = single digits. This is too important to miss.

I was in a meeting this week where the instructor described a childrens or youth program that is not supported by the church wholeheartedly as a part of the overall mission of the church as a “one-eared-Mickey”. It kind of looks like that mouse, but its not quite the same effect.

So here is my challenge to you… How can your church align or adjust its vision/mission/”buzzword of the week” to reach the whole family and bring them all into your fellowship of believers? I would love to see you ideas in the comments section below.

#RuralMinistry and More.

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