7 Things Youth Pastors Tell Me In Private
We think that this quarter's topic could be a game-changer for your ALLIANCE group. I think all of us enter youth ministry with high expectations and some UNREALISTIC ones. It's easy to become disillusioned when youth ministry doesn't work out the way we envisioned it. I created this coaching session from many of my talks with ALL OF YOU. The points I share are some of the repeating themes youth pastors and leaders tell me confidentially when they feel SAFE ENOUGH to open up their honest hearts. That's why we call this Alliance, "7 Things Youth Pastors Tell Me In Private."So, as you discuss with your gang some of the things that they may quietly wrestle with, may you hear each other all the way. It's not nearly as challenging when you know others deal with some of the same thoughts. Know, too, that we're all cheering you on from Atlanta.
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.
Most of the time when you make mistakes, you don't want to broadcast them for the world to hear. Instead, you'd rather sweep them under the carpet and pretend they never happened. The only problem is that what entangled you is often entangling others and they don't even realize it.
In this Youth Leader's Coach, you'll hear me share my ten biggest mistakes in youth ministry. While there are a few I'm still fighting to conquer on a daily basis, I've made headway on many. Why do I air them out loud? Simply because my desire to be an authentic coach in your life is greater than my desire to save face. Perhaps by recognizing that you too are struggling in some of the same areas, you'll disarm them and overcome their crippling effect long before I did.
In the trenches with you,
Login and download FREE
Even though statistics show that depression is a huge issue in today's youth culture, I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone talk about it in the church world. Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide in our country and the third leading cause of death among teenagers. In fact, 20% of our kids will experience some level of serious depression before they reach adulthood. Those statistics are alarming to say the least...too alarming not to address the topic in our youth services.
This message, "The Dungeon of Depression," is part of our "Dirty Little Secrets Series" covering topics the church world often find difficult to address. It's jam packed with statistics, solutions, stories and skits that will help illustrate the message for your students in a very real way. So, lean in and listen deeply as I touch on a subject that hits closer to home for more of the teenagers and young adults in your youth ministry than you probably realize.
In the trenches with you,
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."
A divided house will not stand, nor will a divided youth group. In this Youth Leader's Coach - "Dealing with Youth Ministry's #1 Enemy" - we reveal and address two of the most detrimental forces in youth ministries across the nation.
Listen in as we give some pointers on how to take aim and eliminate these deadly forces. Restoring health by confronting these issues head on is our goal during our time together this month.
In the trenches with you,
"Cow Manure!" Very odd message title, don't you think? But, dealing with repeated sin patterns in our lives feels a little like cow manure. The question is, "How do you get to the point of refusing to 'step into it' again?" Strangely enough, the answer lies in the word "hate."
In Proverbs 8:13 it says, "The fear of the Lord is to HATE evil." When we truly hate something, the temptation pull is not nearly so strong. In fact, unless we are forced to, we are not likely to do anything we hate to do. So, if we can begin to have God's heart and attitude toward our sin, we can progressively walk in new levels of freedom.
How do you gain God's heart and grow to "hate" evil? Great question! Grab a cup of coffee and listen in. As always, thanks for allowing me to be a part of your life.
This Youth Leader's Coach, "A Youth Leader's Guide To Clean Fights," focuses on how to handle the normal conflict situations that inevitably arise in youth ministry. I suggest six principles to help you get angry without becoming destructive. These principles will be effective with your students, your senior pastor, your leadership team, your deacon board and even your family. As a matter of fact, these principles work when I deal with anger directed towards my most common challenge-myself.
So it really is possible, even in youth ministry, to "fight clean." It's not only possible, it's essential for solid youth ministry and lasting relationships. Happy Listening.
Living out Ephesians 4:26,
"Effective discipline in youth ministry, that's a tough one to figure out. Lots of times we swing the pendulum from one side to the other, we either have very little discipline and the kids run over us if we have more than 20 students involved, or we go to the other side of the fence and we're very militaristic.
In over 35 years of youth ministry, I've seen it all. In this Youth Leader's Coach, "Effective Discipline In Your Youth Ministry," listen as I walk you through in some ways that I have used successfully to not just discipline my kids, but used them as opportunities to disciple them, bring them closer to Jesus Christ and start them on a lifetime of success.
This Source, "The Silent Agony Of Cutting," is on a touchy subject that you have probably never heard addressed in the church and probably never will again. Sadly enough, statistics say that at least 4% of the general population suffers from "this new anorexia" more commonly known as "cutting."
Listen in on a family night in Oxygen where we go after this area, no holds barred, in which the Enemy has so mercilessly gone after our students.
Though not all your students may deal with what counselors call "self-injury," chances are they know or will know someone who deals with this addictive disorder. In fact this resource will be powerfully helpful for you as you address all kinds of addictions.
Still going for the jugular,
Ever been discouraged because the teenagers in your youth ministry kept falling back into some of the same temptation areas? I know I sure have been. That's why I shared "Avoiding The Black Hole" with the teenagers in Oxygen.
Join with us as I attempt to drive home the point that "sin has energy." I wanted desperately for my gang to realize that biblically, we handle temptation and evil differently. It also gave me a great excuse to show clips from some old Sci-Fi movies. There's an old expression, "It's better to build a fence at the top of the mountain than to drive an ambulance at the bottom." In short, this Source is focused on "building the fence."