Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chat leaders

Each week I produce a run sheet for both the youth group and kids club. Call me slightly OCD.

And each week I have the same two words multiple times... CHAT LEADERS.

For there are multiple times during each weekly event when connecting conversations are able to naturally occur - when kids arrive, when everyone is eating, when travelling with kids and just before kids leave.

And each week, with my new leaders, I push them to get two stories.

Two stories about the kids week.
And follow up from the two stories from the previous week.

As I outlined earlier, these "How was your week?" questions are vital because they show the young person that, unlike many adults in their life, you actually care.

But, more so, I want the leaders to be comfortable asking the connecting question in the first place.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Leader innoculation

The weeks are quickly counting down until the year 6's are given their first taste of youth group.

Over the last month I've tried an idea which, in an ideal world, would make the transition from children-to-youth ministry MUCH SMOOTHER.

Leader inoculation.

Ideally, you would be able to parachute some of your youth group leaders into the children's ministry activities so that the borderline-high-schoolers can familiarize themselves with some of the youth ministry leadership team.

And anything which takes the unknown out of youth group is a massive step in the right direction.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What to do when a kid thinks you're a dickhead

What do you do when a kid at your church doesn't like you?

I write WHEN because, inevitably, you won't get on with every kid.
And, despite your best efforts, every young person won't get along with you.

But this isn't the end of the world.


Because it's not all about you.

And this is why you have co-leaders.
Leaders who don't look the same. Think the same. Sound the same.
They will connect with teens who you don't have an awesome chemistry with.

But, what if you don't have someone who connects with a kid in your church?

First, don't give up. You might grow on one another as time and trust is developed.
Second, pray for the kid and opportunities to make a stronger connection.
Third, the answer might be to point them towards an alternate ministry. If we truly believe that we aren't in competition with the church around the corner, then pointing the youngster in there direction isn't a great problem. Further, you can try and channel the youth into some of the Christian activities at their school.

Who knows, this tough kid could end up being one of your most valuable leaders in the future, connecting with similar kids who you won't gel with.

All you need to do is get over those first few months.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The last minute inspiration

Earlier this week I posted about the frantic last hour before a ministry event.

Last night I went through the frantic last minutes before speaking.

Normally I'm quite (some would almost say over) prepared, but for this gig, I was only signed up to speak the previous day due to the original bloke having a medical emergency.

And plans were... quite fluid.

Including the start of my talk.

In order to make a stronger connection with the night's theme I added a reflection exercise which only really hit me ten minutes before going on to speak.

Usually this is the blueprint for disaster.

But, on this occasion, it worked fairly well.

In fact, this is just the second time that I can ever remember following through with an idea which not only hit me in the moments prior to speaking but also transformed the structure of a talk.

When would I do it again?

First, only if the point must ACTUALLY adds to what I'm going to say. It's usually unwise to go with the last minute inspiration because it's majorly undercooked and there's no point adding another loosely connected or developed tangent. Better is the aim, not just more.

And second, the addition only makes the cut at the cost of something else. There's little point adding to what you're going to say if you've timed your talk accurately and have a timeframe to work towards. Again, better is the aim, not more.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Defending your turf?

You'd never say it out loud, but you/your church might dare to think it internally...

It's OUR school.
It's OUR service.
It's OUR program.
It's OUR culture.
It's OUR church.

The biggest, most shocking, trouble?

We can claim turf which isn't, and potentially has never been, ours.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The frantic last hour

It happens before Kid's Club.
It happens before youth group.
It happens before services on Sunday.
It definitely happens before big events or camps.

The frantic last hour.

And whilst it might not be the ACTUAL 60 minutes prior to an activity, it's as inevitable as the Sun rising in the East.

Going through my metal checklist I...
Confirm that the room is set up the way you want.
Double check that your technology will work.
Check the microphone works and it at the correct level.
Make sure you have any handouts to give out.
Ensue you have the notes or props for your input.
Take a tinkle.
Have SOMETHING to eat.

As any church secretary I've worked beside can attest I, progressively, run around like a crazy person as the deadline for kids arriving approaches.

And, as I've written before, I love it having to hit the deadline.

In fact, I get a nervous unrest if I get a lot of downtime prior to an activity.

The biggest secret?
Plan for your frantic last hour to finish at least 30 minutes before the event is due to begin.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Someone who doesn't really care is a positive thing

We've been mates for a long, long time.
He was one of the people who stood beside me when I got married, endured two miscarriages and welcomed our daughter into the world.

And he's not a Christian (at least the last time I checked).

In fact, he probably cares about my church as much as I care about the finance (?) company he works for.

And that's a good thing.

Because, when I need an escape from the chaos or stress of ministry, there will always be a guy who wants to do little else than have a chat, grab a feed, knock back a beer and watch some sport.

And sometimes, that's the exact thing you need.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This isn't a great song... but...

I'm not one of those guys who compulsively needs to use a song in every presentation they give.

In fact, I hardly ever use them.

I'm just not a "music guy."

The majority of my CD's are "best of" albums of mainstream bands.
I don't have an iTunes account and I've never downloaded a song. Ever.

But I can respect those who will utilize music to help convey the message they are trying to communicate.

And, occasionally, when someone will play a song they'll give a declaimer...

This song isn't very good... but...

This song is a bit old... but...
This song is a bit slow... but...
This song has a bit of a cringe-worthy video... but...
This song isn't the best recording... but...

BUT... the message contained within is worthwhile and exactly what I want you to hear.

Sometimes, in order to communicate your message, you need to admit that... even though this isn't a great song... keep your ears open for the but.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Postioned to help people get through

Right now life is tough.
Life at church is REALLY tough.
My church is going through one of those events which you hope you'll never personally encounter.

And it's at times like these that you sometimes wonder why you're caught up in the midst of disaster.

Over the last few days I've been increasingly aware that, for some, they are put into a church in order to help the church GET THROUGH the tough times.

Even though it wasn't on the job description they initially signed up for, it is one of the primary reasons they were placed in that church, at that time.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

4 stages of giving

I really liked this post about the stages of maturity people go through in regards to the way they view giving.

Stage 1 - I won't.

Stage 2 - I will, but I won't like it.

Stage 3 - I will because it helps out.

Stage 4 - I will because I want to thank God.

My only issue is that it seems to miss a half stage...

Stage 2.5 - I will, but it will be the equivalent of tipping - Nothing but the loose change I happen to have when the offering bag passes by.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What do I have to feel guilty about?

For non-believers, guilt is a poor strategy.
Unless someone gives some value towards the words of the bible or the church, then guilt won't work.


Because I don't feel guilty about staying in on Saturday and not going to synagogue.
Nor do I feel bad about skipping Islamic prayer times.

But I'm not an observant Jew or Muslim.

So why would someone who's a non-Christian feel bad about missing church or having sex before marriage?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

With one less reason... What do you expect?

This week I spoke about relationships and sex in both a year 10, public high school, scripture class and the youth group at my church.

Unsurprisingly, they responded a tad differently.

Generally, the year 10 class wanted to know where "the line" was and if an action was "too far" or "okay for a Christian."

Going into the lesson, these were the questions I expected.

The reason?
I expect non-Christians to act like unbelievers.

It shouldn't be a surprise.

So, changes are, some in my scripture class are having or have had sex.
And they are getting drunk.
And experimenting with drugs.

They have, at least, one less reason not too act differently (wanting to follow Jesus!) compared to the junior high kids at my church.