Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sticking out the milestones

Youth ministry happens over a series of milestones.

First year.
Third year.
Fifth year.
Seventh year.
Tenth year.

Each milestone has unique challenges and up-sides.

It is worth sticking it out at a church in order to reap the benefits.

For, in the first year, you get the lay of the land and can set the foundation for...

The third year, when you've built solid relationships and trust, in order to develop in...

The fifth year, when you'll see the fruit of a solid foundation and established relationships with a generation of kids behind you. This flows into...

The seventh year, where you're leadership development and culture permeates through a generation of leaders who've risen up. Connecting with...

The tenth year. A time when you begin to cycle yourself out of hands-on leadership and focus on a leadership-mentor role.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Moving the starting blocks

I just got back from the National Youthy Ministry Conference, so there will be a flood of posts coming in compared to the last few months...

Probably 12-25.

These are the ages which are on job descriptions for most youth ministers.

I've written about the drop out points in youth ministry previously.

With the first one soo young (year 6), it makes sense for those who work with teens to lower the age they begin to interact with "teens."

If one of the reasons those about to transition into high school drop out is due to the disconnection with the older activities, then time invested in tweens is time well invested.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sexuality idols

Last Sunday the evening service at my church kicked off a series on the Song of Songs. In short, I'm pretty excited to be speaking about the book a couple of times over the next month.

This Sunday I'll be speaking about dating and the value of waiting and putting in the work of courtship which we ready about in 3:5.

As I've been doing prep I noticed three common themes popping up and a common danger for each.

When it comes to orgasms, virginity, honeymoon sex we can drift into idolatry and place these three things above God.

As important as the three subjects are, they are not God.
They are not to be the aim nor guarantee of a quality marriage.

Orgasms are good, but they are not guaranteed for a believer every time.

Virginity is to be valued and honoured but it should be kept in a proper perspective. You're not defined by your sexual purity prior to wedlock.

Just like orgasms, mind-blowing honeymoon sex isn't assured for those who get hitched. No matter how much they love Jesus.

When the church does speak about sex/relationships, and I've written before that it should fairly often (at least yearly), it should be clear about setting realistic expectations for sex and what REALLY matters.

God should be first and foremost, not the three idols which all too often jostle for prime position.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The grass isn't even greener in your head

In ministry you often hear, at the neighbouring church, the grass is NOT greener.

You might imagine it that way, but it isn't the case.

The people aren't nicer.
The politics aren't less.
The opportunities don't arise easier.
The kids aren't more receptive.
The traditions aren't more flexible.
The facilities aren't everything they appear on the outside.

As anyone who has worked for a church, any church, can tell you, every church has its own, unique, crop of problems.

And... deep down... we know that.

But we covert anyway.

But we also play "the grass is greener" game in our minds.
With ourselves and our past.

We wonder if we should have taken the alternate option and walked through that sliding door of ministry past.

We wonder if life would be better if we'd stuck it out just a little longer.
Or had that difficult conversation just a little sooner.
Or focused our efforts in an alternate place.
Of made that change at a different time or in a slightly different way.
Or cared for those people better.
Or caved into their demands just once more.
Or... whatever...

But, just like the church down the road, it's just as harmful to what you have now to be perpetually looking in the rear-view mirror as it is to be gazing over the back fence.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The personal connection chain

Call > Text > Mail > Email > Facebook > Hopeful Osmosis

As you work your way down the communication chain the personal connection reduces.

Normally, at the start of each term I will launch the usual communication deluge through Facebook, Email & Mail.

This term I've encouraged my leaders to touch base using one of the first two links (and I'm hoping they use the first one).

For many in youth ministry, this won't be groundbreaking.

In fact, you might wonder why I wasn't doing this in the past.

I'm wondering it myself.

But, with the leaders getting just a few kids each, I'm hoping this personal connection sees a bump in attendance from the usual first week lull.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

When a sermon illustration unfolds before your eyes

Some people don't know it yet, but they are immanent sermon illustrations.

People who make stupid decisions.
People who overcome great obstacles.
People who step out in faith.
People who ignore advice.

At times, you can see a situation unfold and know that you'll inevitably be pointing people back to that time.

All you need to do is wait to be preaching on the right passage and have enough time and space elapsed to reference them.

I assume I'm not the only one who does this...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Remember your...

In the subject I'm doing currently we had a good chat about the sacrament of baptism. It was noted that the church should continually point believers back to their baptism.

It is something they should live out.
It is something they should look back to as the start of a journey.

The same should be true for marriage.

It is something they should live out.
It is something they should look back to as the start of a journey.

This, for those present, is the blessing for those attending.

They remember... And hopefully look to live out the promises they made anew.