Creating A Sense Of Family In Your Ministry
This iVolunteer resource is a COACHING RESOURCE for volunteer youth leaders who want to be the BEST they can be!
Group Magazine did a survey of 10,000 youth and young adults, asking them what the #1 thing was they were looking for in a church. The top answer from an overwhelming majority was "a welcoming, warm environment." The honest truth is, if you "fail the friendliness test in ministry...you've failed." This isn't surprising as we live in a culture of shallow friendships and broken families.
Often our leaders have great intentions, but they don't have a clue where to start. Listen in to this iVolunteer, "Creating A Sense Of Family In Your Ministry," as I share one of my favorite stories that will help your leaders visualize the importance of creating a sense of family. I also give them seven pragmatics to start putting steps behind launching and developing a friendship culture in your youth ministry.
Building A Family,
When I started in youth ministry, I had about 20 kids in the youth group. My idea of success? A night together in youth service where Jesus showed up, kids laughed together and prayed together, and maybe even a new kid or so excitedly decided to give their life to Christ. I mean, back in 1970, that was my idea of a mind-blowing YOUTH MINISTRY SUCCESS.
It took only about three short months to start adding stuff to that original equation. Remember those 20 kids? Well, pretty soon, "real success" needed to include having about 30 kids show up! And somewhere through those opening, exciting months, something NEW to me was "born" in my life and head. It was small and almost a little "cuddly" at the beginning. Kind of like a friendly little "stuffed animal" from my past. But on closer examination, it wasn't that innocent and it sure wasn't that "cuddly." I had given birth to a small, not-too-scary-looking DRAGON.
So my prayerful goal for this message is to remind all of us that the "DRAGON OF SUCCESS" is maybe one of the most ferocious enemies ANY of us will ever face in our own minds...but we'll ALL face him...whether we're the "lead person" on the team, an amazing volunteer assistant, or just a career-orientated person who's just trying to get ahead on the job-site.
I'm LIVING, TRANSPARENT, VULNERABLE PROOF that THE DRAGON OF SUCCESS can hang around for a pretty long time. The point I'm trying to make is that probably all of us have VARIATIONS of this "Dragon" that Jesus and His love wants to slay – dragons that are fed by our insecurities, our fears, our needs for approval and acceptance.
For the final evening, I wanted to take you on an imaginary trip. But though our trip is imaginary, I want to help you envision something that's REALLY GOING TO HAPPEN. A place that the Word of God tells us most all of us will personally experience.
This place I'm taking us in our imagination tonight…it's the place the Holy Spirit often brings to MY mind when I get tired, when I find myself fighting discouragement or when I need to remind myself of the WORTH of this spiritual journey I've enlisted myself in. It's also where I go in my head when I see other Christians who seem pretty disengaged...sometimes even pretty flakey. I mean, lots of great folks don't seem to play by some of the same spiritual ballgame rules Jesus seems to ask of me.
At moments like that, Jesus reminds me of this place. No, it's not the Great White Throne of Judgment. Instead, the place I want to take you in this NYLC15 resource is THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST. It's the SECOND eternal judgment in Heaven...the one only CHRISTIANS will take part in. But I rarely hear anyone talk about it. So let's make a run at it, our final night at NYLC 2015...an imaginary glimpse at YOUR coming moment before The Judgment Seat of Christ. WELCOME, MY FRIENDS, TO YOUR "FINAL ANTHEM."
It doesn't matter how great you are at communicating or loving teenagers, unless you get good at recruiting and keeping volunteer leaders, all of youth ministry will be an uphill battle.
The size and strength of our volunteer leadership team plays such a pivotal role in determining the success of our ministry. Experience tells us that our youth ministry will never grow larger than our leadership base can handle. For it is imperative that we are able to care for the students the Lord entrusts to us.
So, grab a cup of coffee and join me as we tackle perhaps the number one challenge in all of youth ministry, "Effective Recruitment Of Volunteer Leaders."
In this session, Master's Commission students from Jeanne's ministry help you to get the "feel" of a small group night, as they spend the first part of this session recreating one for you. Then Jordan Marcon, the Co-Operational Director of Master's Commission Atlanta, along with a few of the Master's students, share pragmatics of how a small group is run and the reasons behind some of the things that they do.
Due to the number of presenters involved in this session, the audio quality is not up to our usual standards, but the information shared is worth the listen.
More important than creating an amazing weekly service, God calls youth pastors and leaders to be spiritual coaches and spiritual parents. Kids could care less about how much you know, until they know how much you care. The three most important things we can give our kids are Time, Talk and Touch.
In this session, Marty Darracott, Pastor of re:Generation Youth Church in Flowery Branch, GA shares his own experiences from when God first called him as a "reluctant" youth pastor to an incredible spiritual voice to this generation of young people today and what God has taught him along the way.
Want to know what makes your students tick? Sometime privately ask them to talk to you about their relationship with their parents. Then don't preach - listen. If you do this, you'll get a powerful understanding of their struggles and their strengths.
This Source, "The Power Of Your Parents' Approval," while it might not sound exciting, is one of the most critically important messages you'll share this year. It's not a "take the hill" message, but it's one that touches so many students. Counselors tell us that there's nothing more significant in the overall formation of a teenager's life and personality than their relationship with their parents.
Don't underestimate the power of teaching your students how to sort through this area in their life. You can do so much for them by giving them an understanding of the "complete acceptance" that their Heavenly Father has for them!
Living in the "Acceptance" of Our Father,
If your calendar could speak, what would it say? If you look at a typical youth pastor's weekly schedule, often times you'll find a great deal of time being spent creating a "fast-paced, high-tech, entertaining youth service." However, according to Group Publishing's "Cool Church Survey" of 10,000 students, it ranked dead last in the importance of 10 factors that influence a student's commitment to church.
What was #1? "A welcoming atmosphere where you can be yourself." So, in this Youth Leader's Coach, listen in on seven strategic elements in building a Christ-honoring, welcoming environment. Refuse to fail at this youth ministry success test, choose instead to up the ante when it comes to the friendship/family tenor of your ministry.
This Source, "The Challenge: Fighting For Your Family," was one that I developed years ago while I was still a student in Bible College. It was during that time, while studying for the ministry, that I was desperately praying for my own parents' salvation.
Most of us, including your students, so passionately want to make a true difference in our families and friends to hopefully bring them to a relationship with Christ. In this message I give some pragmatic principles that you can share with your team so they can begin to positively affect their families through faith!
While listening to this message, you'll hear me become painfully transparent about my own struggle in bringing my parents to the Lord. I allow my team to get a glimpse of my honest vulnerability because I believe "You lead people through your strengths, but you connect to them through your weaknesses." May I challenge you to allow your gang to see you a little more transparent.
And once more, thank you for allowing me to share this time with you.
Your "long-distance" cheerleader,
How do we...me, you, all of us...allow ourselves to be slowly "taken" by the Enemy? There aren't any of us that haven't, in some regard, let him wreak havoc in our life. Sometimes it's just mind games in our head, while other times it's a result of gradual compromise and unforgiveness. Spiritual deception has always been a slippery slope. One that the Enemy walks us down so gradually and convincingly that we often barely realize we are on the journey.
While the Enemy's M.O. is that of a thief, Jesus has come to give us life and life more abundantly. Using the movie "Taken" as our backdrop, John 10 as our Scripture and the song "You Are For Me" as our anthem, in this Source we are given a fresh reminder of the Father's pursuing love for us. He is a Father that has shown Himself faithful to do whatever it takes to "find us."
Jesus casts His vote "for us" on the cross, the Enemy casts his vote against us, but we cast the deciding vote.
My vote is in,
Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 4:14-15, "I am not writing this to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, you do not have many fathers." Don't those verses pierce your soul?
Not only that, but let's take it a step further. While there are a lot of great youth communicators and youth ministry CEO's out there, the years have taught me that it's not been my communication skills or the size of my ministry that people I've impacted reference, but "how the Jesus Christ inside of me made them feel" as I became an adopted "big sis" or "spiritual mom."
Bottom line, one of the most eternally significant things you can do is to stir up inside of you the heart of a spiritual parent. In addition to hearing some sobering stats, listen in and get insight on how to live this out.