Have you ever gone through "Desert Times" in your life? You know...the dry times when God feels a billion miles away and any sense of "feeling" in your walk with the Lord is long gone. It's when the voices of failure, discouragement and inferiority get real loud in your head. We are forever giving out in youth ministry and it can become incredibly depleting.
We need to understand that sometimes we break God's heart long before we break His Commandments.
When my boys were younger, I only allowed myself to travel two days out of every month. Each time I returned from a trip, my precious children scurried, squealing, "Momma, Momma, what did you bring us?"
Gossip isn’t the only dangerous enemy in our youth groups. It has an ugly cousin that I call sarcasm or “scar-casm.” Because our youth culture so loves humor, it is often viewed as a friend rather than a foe. The reality is sarcasm pushes this idea of “humor at any price.” I’ve watched many “cool” youth leaders that choose to use sarcasm to communicate with their teenagers.
When you first move to a new town, how do you find out where all the teenagers are "hanging out"? When was the last time you privately invited a small group of students to help you brainstorm or launch an outreach or a change in your youth group? If you haven't, I guarantee you're missing out on what could potentially be your secret allies.
When I was training in college to enter youth ministry, I often mentally bemoaned the lack of "real world courses" that would prepare me for my journey. Now, more than four decades along, I stand by my youthful thoughts. One such course could have been titled, "Conflict Resolution 101."
If you have been around me for any length of time, then you know that I am a woman on a mission to leave a legacy that honors Christ. So let me take a few minutes and share with you 6 thoughts on what it looks like to craft your own legacy:
Once upon a time, a well-meaning Sunday school leader declared to the teenagers that showed up Sunday morning after Sunday morning, “You guys are going to like each other or else we’re going to die trying to make you…” The truth is many of us have felt like we’ve already died trying. Creating a family feeling in our youth groups is easier said than done.
Real marriage isn't moonlight and roses. Real marriage is bad smells and bad sounds.
Jeanne talks candidly to a group of women who asked her..."What do you wish people would have told you when you were younger about marriage?"
Great executives know how to do one thing well – surround themselves with amazing individuals. The president chooses his cabinet wisely, a CEO carefully selects his staff, and a youth pastor must handpick solid leaders to take the group forward. One of the first things I have done in every ministry I began is to search out good leaders.
Does your ministry need a shot in the arm? Here are a few simple steps you can use to generate or re-generate excitement about your ministry.
Late one night my phone rang and before I could finish saying, "Hello," the voice on the other end frantically spoke.
"I'm so sorry to call you late. I don't know what to do. I love where I'm at. I just need to take care of my family, and this is such a great opportunity... hello?"
If you're in ministry, remember, God doesn't call you to be His business associate, He calls you to be His son or His daughter. It is still agonizing to me how many people are in the ministry and don't carve out a consistent time, even if it's 10 minutes in the Word and 10 minutes in prayer each day, with the Lord. For me, it's my back porch time, for my husband, it was his appointment with the Lord. I don't know that it ever happens unless you consistently have a certain time of day you do it. For me, it's the first thing in the morning.
Often during the "Desert Times"... those times when things are dry and sometimes a little overwhelming... we can trust our Heavenly Father to holds us close and say, "I've got you!"
Most churches are not large enough to have separate ministries for their youth so they have the challenge of creating harmony in a group of energetic junior highers, high school students and sometimes young college and career age adults.
Your senior high and college/career kids can be annoyed for a thousand different reasons, and especially by the energy of a kid in junior high. They will not be annoyed though if they feel like they own a few of those junior high kids. Almost like a big brother or big sister.
We are trying to reach a generation that has seen very little commitment to standards and morals from their parents. So we should not be surprised that the word "commitment" is a nice word on a spelling list, but rarely seen. Our kids so want to be committed and here are a few ways that we can help them live that out.
In Cadre emails, I'm frequently asked to share some of my tips on developing a great leadership team. I thought you might enjoy hearing a few too. While some of the points may not sound too "glamorous," please just know that they work if you have the guts and endurance to keep doing them.
I've always been a woman on a mission... to leave a genuine legacy that honors Christ. I recently did a Source message where I challenge each of us with the question, "What's going to be the SIGNATURE OF YOUR LIFE?" I ask you to be audacious enough to answer the unspoken question that everybody will be trying to casually ask in the "reunion" celebrations of your life, "WHAT DID YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE?" We all want to do something AMAZING and WORLD-CHANGING with our lives, but really, what does that even look like today?
We just came off of our 3rd Year Intern Advance and will be leaving on Thursday for our 2nd Year Advance... in between we’re doing a huge outreach tomorrow night. It’s during these times, as I stand at the front of the room looking at all the amazing diverse faces starring back at me, I’m reminded of who is in my midst... particularly the Stephens and the Drews. Allow me to share their story…
My mind reeled with an entire list of things that needed to be done before 6 pm, and the day was flying away from me. Two phone appointments, a brief game plan meeting, a lunch appointment with an eagle, and then finally after resolving a conflict between two staff members, I raced back to my office. I knew I wouldn’t have time to run home and change, so I threw my outfit together and brought it with me in the morning so I could quickly get ready for the service.