DYM

 
  • DYM_logo
  • Store
  • Blog
  • Events
  • Scholarships

Author Archive | Christopher Wesley

4 Components Of A Youth Ministry’s Identity

Go ahead and take two minutes to describe your youth ministry.

How did it go?

Every youth ministry has an identity.  The question you need to answer is, “How clear is your youth ministry’s identity?”

Do you know it?  do others?  Is your youth ministry doing what you hope it would do?

If the answer is no, then it’s time to look at the type of ministry God has called you to lead.

To truly understand your youth ministry you need to understand it’s identity.  To understand it’s identity you need to know the main components that shape it.  The 4 components that are essential to your youth ministry’s identity are a(n):

INSPIRING VISION 

If your ministry is going to be a movement it needs a destination.  To get people on board and investing you need to give them a clear picture of where your ministry wants to go.  Decide what it is God is calling your ministry to do.  Describe what that looks like. And then communicate it like crazy.

SOLID MISSION 

It’s not just where you want to go, but how you are going to get there.  Your mission explains to people how you’ll reach that destination.  It’s your behavior and your values all mixed in one.  Your mission tells people what you need to do in order to succeed.

SPECIFIC AUDIENCE 

Your ministry’s identity depends on who you are trying to reach.  You could try to be a youth ministry for all teens, but you’ll struggle to be efficient.  Focus on a group that has the potential for the largest impact on the surrounding community.  At first you’ll draw a select crowd; however, over time your mission will reach more and more.

CORE VALUES

Your values dictate how you behave, and what’s important to your ministry.  What you value is based on the characteristics of it’s leadership.  When you gather people together with similar values your youth ministry will work well together.

Recruit people with similar values and raise like minded leaders.  You’ll not only improve the quality of your ministry, but increase your effectiveness.  A ministry that is confident in it’s values is one willing to take on big challenges.

Your ministry’s identity is essential to it’s growth.  Without an identity your ministry will just exist and eventually burnout.  Take some time to sit with your leaders to discern the vision, mission, target audience and values.  The work will payoff.

What other attributes are important to a youth ministry’s identity?

Tags: , , , , ,

0

4 Moves To Make Your Church Intergenerational

When you look around your church who do you see?  Are teens hidden in the deep confines of the building “doing church”?  Is the next generation invested and involved?  When someone looks at your church are they seeing intergenerational ministry?

When a church is truly intergenerational it means kids, teens and adults are visibly present and involved.  What that means for you, the youth minister is figuring out how to advocate what it is you do.

So, what does that look like?  How can that be done?  Here are 4 moves you need to make to create a more intergenerational church:

HAVE STUDENTS SERVE ALONGSIDE OF ADULTS

Too many times we create service opportunities only for teenagers.  While there is a benefit to that approach serving next to adults gives you at least two advantages:

  • The teens meet adults with the same passions.
  • It shows the rest of your congregation that there are no barriers with age.

Look at having teens serve in the ministries usually occupied by adults.  Look at mission opportunities that are family friendly.  Get everyone on board with intergenerational ministry.

ENCOURAGE THE PASTOR TO ADDRESS THEM IN THE MESSAGE

Your pastor has the most clout in your church.  What he says matter.  Talk with your pastor about addressing the next generation in his messages.  He doesn’t have to give an entire message; however, he can reference teen relevant examples (i.e. stress at school when talking about margin).  If teens feel included they’ll begin to engage and react positively to what’s being said.

CHALLENGE STUDENT LEADERS TO THINK OUTSIDE THE YOUTH GROUP

When you form a student leadership group the tendency is to look at how they can improve the youth ministry.  Change the focus by challenging them to look at the entire church.  Ask them questions like:

  • Why does the church exist?
  • Who are we trying to reach?

Get them to think bigger so that as they grow older they can make that transition.  Invite them to be part of the movement to become more intergenerational.

GO BEYOND THE USUAL VOLUNTEER

The goal is to recruit young volunteers.  People think because of the age proximity that they’ll have more in common.  The reality is that you get a lot of parents.  The truth is that you need young, middle age and older.  This will show teens how to interact with people of different ages.  It will give them a variety of wisdom.

When the adults in your church experience the next generation they’ll learn to invest in them more.  You need to create those opportunities by bringing them to the student program.  And you need to bring the student program to them.  One of the signs of a healthy church is one where the past, present and the future are visible.

How else can you make your church more intergenerational? 

Tags: , , , ,

0

Helping Your Student Leaders Set Goals

I’m so proud our our student leaders.  We’re just wrapping up two plus days of intensive leadership training at #SLC2014 and they’ve been soaking it all in.  They’re taking notes, building relationships and learning how to be students leaders at home, at church and in the community.  Right now they are all amped up.  The problem is once they go home they’ll start facing reality.

When your teens have an experience like a student leadership conference it’s important to set them up for success on the way home.  One of the steps every youth ministry should take is to help them set goals.  Goals that will help them:

  • Practice the material they learned.
  • Build on the emotional and spiritual energy they’ve captured.
  • Continue to go and grow deeper with Christ and each other.

To help your student leaders set goals you need to:

HAVE THEM WRITE THEM DOWN: When you write down your goals you are more likely to achieve them.  Have your student leaders write down their goals and share them.  Challenge them to write down tangible dates and make a plan to keep them accountable.

PARTNER THEM UP: Partner your student leaders with other students who have gone through the experience.  Challenge them to check-in with each other over the next few months.  And, partner them up with an adult in your ministry.  Have that adult ask them about their experience and pray with them.  Give them accountability to keep on going.

FOLLOW UP WITH THEM: Plan a time 2 or 3 weeks after the event to sit down with your student leaders.  Check-in with them to see what challenges they have faced to continue growing.  Pray with them and cheer them to continue to grow as disciples and student leaders.

COACH THEM THROUGH FAILURE: Some of your student leaders will struggle to meet their goals.  Life will happen, Satan will attack and it will just get difficult.  Write them notes of encouragement, and let them know that failure can be a part of the journey.  Show them how to fail forward and lean on God to receive his grace.

PRAY FOR THEM: Remember that you are embarking your student leaders on a spiritual journey.  Ask God to walk with them and to be a part of their lives.  Do what you can as their youth minister and trust that God will do the rest.

When you student leaders set goals and achieve them they’ll grow confident in their ability and in God’s.  Set them up for success by using the energy from an experience and putting it in a tangible plan.  Walk with them, cheer them on and watch them go.

How have you helped teenagers set goals?

Tags: , , ,

0

How To Receive Feedback

It’s YOU and ME.”  I was a little puzzled.  I didn’t know what she was referring to.

She said, “You said, ‘YOU and I’ yesterday.  That’s not correct.”

She was a volunteer.  Someone I knew fairly well.  She was giving me feedback on a message I had delivered a week ago.

I smiled and said, “Thanks for the feedback.”  In reality I was a little annoyed.  I wanted to say, “Who cares, it was a week ago.”  But experience reminded me that she was trying to be helpful.  And she was right.

Feedback can be difficult.  When it’s good it’s no problem.  In fact it can be affirming.  When it’s negative or a critique it can be humbling.  How you respond and receive feedback is essential to how people perceive you as a leader.  It tells people:

  • Whether or not your are open minded.
  • How well you listen.
  • Whether you are willing to change.

How you respond to their feedback will dictate how they respond to you as a leader.  To receive feedback in th most positive way possible you need to make sure you:

  • Actively Listen: If face to face make eye contact.  If over the phone respond with an, “Okay” or “I hear you.”  In an email respond as soon as possible.  When you actively listen it shows the person you are paying attention.  The first thing any person delivering feedback wants to know is whether or not they are being heard.
  • Respond With Affirmation: Whether it’s in an email or in person make sure you thank them for their feedback.  You might not want their feedback, but thanking them serves the same purpose as in the previous point.  Affirmation will also kill any tension.  After all delivering feedback is not always easy.
  • Look At The Content And Dismiss The Emotion: It’s easier to respond to the emotion than it is the content of a comment.  Take a moment to reflect on what was said before you decide whether or not the feedback is helpful.  If it’s all emotion you’ll know the person just wanted to be heard.  If there is truth to the content then it’s something worth considering.
  • Give People Permission: You cannot control everyone who wants to make a comment.  But, you can set up a system where you receive the best feedback.  Give certain people in your life permission to give you the brutal truth.  Ask them what they think.  Encourage them to share with you their honest opinion.  This will allow you weigh their thoughts against someone you might not know.

The better you can be at receiving feedback, the more people will respect you as a leader.  They want someone who is going to listen, even if they do not agree.  The more you respond positively to their thoughts, the more they’ll approach you positively in the future.

What other tips would you offer someone in receiving feedback?

Tags: , , , ,

0

3 Small Adjustments For Greater Impact During The Week

Something did not look right.  The television looked like it was slightly leaning forward from the wall.  I thought to myself, I can deal with this small imperfection.  10 minutes later the television, the mount and I were on the ground cursing the heavens.

After reviewing the instructions I realized that I had used the wrong screw in the wrong place of the bracket.  After making a few small adjustments the television mounted perfectly on the wall.  However, you’ll still catch me day to day looking at it wondering, “When’s that thing going to fall?”

Believe it or not some of the major frustrations you face in youth ministry can be resolved with a few small adjustments.  Such as:

STRAIGHTENING YOUR WORK SPACE: A cluttered desk is the result of a cluttered mind.  Not just your desk, but every space and environment you use should stay clean.  That means designating time to straighten up.  By making a few small adjustments you’ll find yourself saving time.  You’ll also feel better about where you work.

BUILDING IN 5-10 MINUTES OF MARGIN: Give yourself 5-10 minutes at the end of every meeting.  Try to get to work a few minutes ahead of time.  Might not seem like a lot, but it will give you time to:

  • Breathe
  • Prepare
  • Reflect

That way you won’t rush through the day and you’ll make less mistakes.

TAKING A BREAK FROM YOUR DESK: Your desk can feel like a prison.  Whether it’s lunch or a 15 minute break, step away from your desk.  That includes your phone as well.  Do not worry about email or social media.

When you can step out and then walk back in you will be able to tackle your work with a fresh perspective.  It gives you a chance to refocus and clear your mind.

When big problems emerge it doesn’t always mean big solutions.  Look at making small adjustments.  Tweak your environments and habits.  You’ll find these simple changes leading to great results.

What other small adjustments can we make to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our ministry?

Tags: , , , , , ,

0

5 Steps For Successful Parents

You could tell these parents were totally devastated.  Their son was in trouble and they needed someone to help out.  In the past I felt helpless in these situations.  I would sit in a tension of:

WANTING TO HELP and WANTING TO PROTECT MY TIME

As a youth minister you are commissioned to not only serve teenagers, but their families.  Just as you want to set each teen up for success you want to make sure you do the same with parents.  That’s great, but:

  • How do you do that without over extending yourself?  
  • How do you make yourself available to both teens and parents?
  • How is your ministry not just teen friendly, but family friendly as well?

It’s by creating the right systems and pathways.  To set up the parents in your ministry for success you need to:

Overwhelm Them With Resources

There is no perfect guide to parenthood.  Parents like teens will search everywhere (including the Internet) if they need answers to their questions.  While you do not have all the answers provide a place with some.  You can do that by:

  • Creating workshops with guest speakers.
  • Sharing resources on a Facebook page.
  • Build a page on your website that points to books, conferences and websites.
  • Create a newsletter pointing them to the right events and literature.

You don’t have to use all these ideas, just start somewhere.  Let parents know that you care about them growing as a parent. 

Challenge Them To Grow On Their Own

Parents who are growing deeper in their own spiritual journey will be more successful in helping their own teens grow.  Challenge parents to plug into mission work, ministry and small groups.  Give them resources to grow through scripture and prayer.

If your church does not provide opportunities for adults to grow bring it to your pastor.  Start a conversation on how your church needs to be one of growing disciples of all generations.

Give Them A Clear Path Of Communication

Let parents know the quickest and most successful way of touching base with you.  If you are not good at email let them know they need to call you.  That way they won’t grow frustrated waiting for you to reply to something they sent five days ago.

Set up boundaries (i.e. don’t call on Fridays when you are off) so that you can protect your time.  At first it might seem rude, but then they’ll know when you are available.  This will prevent you from building resentment because they are constantly invading your personal time.

Partner Them Up With Another Adult

You cannot be available 24/7.  Build up your youth ministry by building up your team.  Introduce parents to the adults in your ministry.  Make sure they know their teen’s small group leader.  Make sure small group leaders know their teen’s parents.  Volunteers are key to extending your capacity.

Include Them In On The Journey

Parents are not always going to get a clear report of what their teen is experiencing.  While you cannot force the conversation you can encourage it.  Look at different ways of clueing parents in on what you cover as a ministry.  That might mean:

  • Creating a newsletter that covers the subject.
  • Making available online your small group questions.
  • Record your messages and share them online or through a podcast.

Be transparent with what you do so that parents don’t feel left alone in the dark.

In the end it’s not about doing more but being clear with what you do.  The more parents feel included in your ministry the more confident they’ll be in you.  Include them in, love them and invest in them.  It will be worth it.

How are you setting up parents for success in your ministry?

Tags: , , , ,

0

How To Maximize A Day Off

Grill on.  Sun going down in horizon.  Memorial Day has come and gone.  I used to waste three day weekends.  I would try to do everything and anything with everyone.  Instead of maximizing this golden opportunity I would throw away my day off. I would emerge restless.

One of the most important habits you can practice as a youth minister is rest.  While it might be difficult to find in your day to day schedule, it’s practically given to you certain days of the year.  On a day off you need to find rest, you need to rejuvenate yourself so that you can endure the long haul of youth ministry.  While there are millions of things you can do on your day off, maximize it by:

  • Tuning Out The Noise: Disconnect from anything with a screen or ring tone.  Granted you might not be glued to your phone, but you need to switch up the focus.  Focus on family and friends.  Engage in a book or just listen to the stillness that can surround you.  A quiet mind allows you to think and reflect.  It allows your mind to disconnect from the things that freak you out.
  • Leaving Room In The Schedule: It might be tempting to do as much as humanly possible.  But, if you over plan you’ll see the time fly by leaving you with higher levels of stress than before.  Plan a few things, but put in moments of margin.  If something takes 30 minutes to do, give yourself 45 minutes instead.  Margin will slow down your day and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Pampering Yourself: Do not be afraid to be slightly selfish.  When you have a day off do something that brings you joy.  Maybe it’s going for a run or working in the yard.  It could be catching a film or reading a book.  Go out to eat or order take out.  Treat yourself special.  This might be the only time you really get to focus on yourself.

While these steps will help you find rest they are not fool proof.  Life will happen.  However, do not squander what is given to you.  Do not waste a free day by over planning or whizzing through it.  Embrace it, and enjoy it.

How do you maximize a free day or day off?

Tags: , , , , , ,

2

How To Master The Art Of Delegation

It was a disaster.  I was frustrated.  I could not figure out what went wrong.  I had asked volunteers to do one thing and they did something completely different.  I had even handed them written instructions.  As I took the sheet back from them to figure out why the set-up for the room was backwards it dawned on me.  What I had told them was completely different from what was written.  No wonder they were confused.

Delegation is an art.  If it was easy everyone would do it…seriously.  Delegating means:

  • Sharing the burden
  • Expanding your capacity
  • Replacing yourself

If you properly delegate you can grow and effective and healthy ministry.  To master the art of delegation you need to:

Start Small And Build: Delegation is a great way of boosting confidence in your leaders.  Start small and then build responsibility later on.  If you are not sure where to start think of something that has low consequences.  If they fail, in the end it’s not big deal.  You can always recover.

Treat It Like An Investment: It’s not just about clearing your plate.  Delegation is about growing leaders.  If there is failure look at it as a learning lesson.  Use this opportunity to build confidence and independence in your leaders.  If they see that you are trusting them, they’ll come to you when the task is over their head.

Always Strive For Clarity: If you want something done correctly make sure your instruction is clear.  Write it out, and go through your request with them.  Have them repeat what you’ve instructed.  No matter what make sure you are both saying, hearing and thinking the same thing.  When delegation is clear so are the results.

Follow Up: Quality will dip at first.  This is not a bad thing, it just means there is room for growth.  To take advantage of this growth opportunity follow up with the person.  Reflect on what went well, what did not and what you all learned.  The more you dissect the situation the more clarity you’ll have. 

Do not fear the risk of delegating because the benefits are greater.  Find people you trust to give it a go and build on your success.  The more you share the burden and responsibilities of your ministry the more teens you’ll be able to reach.

What of these four steps do you struggle with the most?

0

3 Action Steps To Improve Your Ministry

Two weeks left and then we’re done.  Thursday, May 1st we are going to wrap up the regular season of our student ministry.  Then we’ll break for a month before heading into summer programming.  Usually summer is organic with little structure.  It’s a time for us to be SIMPLY AVAILABLE.  

The reason for the change in structure is because we focus most of our energy to improve by fall.  Granted we are always tweaking and readjusting, but there are certain seasons when we break things open and really take a deeper look at what needs to be done to create a more effective ministry.  Three action steps we take to improve our ministry are:

ACTION STEP #1 – Survey The Rookies: No one has a fresher perspective of your ministry then the men and women who started serving in the last year.  Ask them to give you the brutal truth of what went well, what was not clear and where you could improve.  Their feedback might be sobering; however, it will help you get out of the trenches and see the big picture.

ACTION STEP #2 – Feed Your Team: During the year most of your focus is on the teens and their families.  Block out certain seasons where you just pour into your volunteers.  Survey where they would like to grow as ministers.  Give them resources to review.  Take them out for a bite one on one and just let them know how grateful you are for their commitment.  A team that feels fed will strengthen the core of your ministry.

ACTION STEP #3 – Rest: Everyone needs to take a break.  If you don’t find time to stop and breathe you’ll only find yourself resenting the job you love.  Their are spiritual, physical, and emotional consequences to not giving yourself some time to walk away.  Look at your calendar and plan a day (Or a week) where you just focus on enjoying life.  Put up away messages and turn off the wifi.  When you return you’ll have a clear perspective and a whole lot of energy.

You should always look to improve your ministry.  There are always more teens to reach and more families to impact.  Set aside seasons in your ministry when you can perform the right action steps.  Put them down, share them with others and watch your ministry grow.

What other action steps should youth ministers take to improve their ministry?

Tags: , , , ,

0

3 Ways You Can Serve Your Volunteers

He was hurting.  He didn’t want to let me down, but he knew his family needed him.  I told this volunteer that we would be fine if he needed a break.  As much as I wanted to keep him around I knew I needed to serve him.  He took the next two months off and came back with a stronger commitment.

If you want loyal and dedicated volunteers you need to serve them.  Without them you are limited with who you can reach.  Your volunteers enable you to extend your capacity.  If you love your volunteers you need to know how to serve them.  3 ways you can serve your volunteers is by:

  • Giving Them Permission To Rest: It’s easy to get sucked in and overwhelmed by a commitment.  Your volunteers might not want to let you down by asking for a break.  You know ministry is a long journey, make sure your volunteers know it’s okay to take a break.  Schedule in seasons of rest or create terms of service.  Help them last for the long run.
  • Rewarding Them For Their Sacrifice: Serve your volunteers by rewarding them.  When you point out the good that they are doing you’ll boost their confidence.  Confident volunteers become confident leaders.  Reward your leaders by giving them gift cards, send them thank you notes or just give them a shout out on Facebook.
  • Challenging Them In Their Discipleship: Your volunteers need to grow.  The more they grow in their relationship with Christ the better they can serve the next generation.  Your volunteers need to be growing disciples who are growing young disciples.  Encourage them to join a small group of their own or connect them with a devotional.  Empower them to continuously go deeper.

While your ministry is to teenagers, you need to make sure your volunteers are at the forefront of your attention.  They are more than people giving their time, they care about your vision and mission.  When you serve your volunteers they’ll know that you care them as people.

In what ways do you serve your volunteers?

0

5 Steps To Highly Effective Meetings

There was a meeting I used to attend that consistently went over it’s designated time.  It was frustrating and I found myself resenting the leader.  I was not alone so we addressed them.  They had not been aware of the issue and were thankful for the feedback.  That very next meeting…we still went over.

Running a meeting is difficult because the amount of pressure people put on you for using their time.  If you waste it  people are not going to be happy.  To avoid wasting people’s time and energy in a meeting you need the right steps to run it effectively.

Here are five steps I use to make sure tasks are accomplished and people feel like I’ve used their time wisely:

STEP 1: Set an Agenda

Meetings that have no direction are the most painful ones to sit through.  By creating an agenda you give people a framework of what to expect.  If the conversation goes off on a tangent you have a path to get people back on task.  Before your next meeting:

  • Take a few minutes to develop one.
  • Share it ahead of the meeting with the attendees. 
  • Ask for their feedback (i.e. what they would like to add).

STEP 2: Stay True To The Time

If a meeting starts late you will rush through important material.  To make sure you maximize your time, start when promised (even if everyone isn’t there) and be prepared.  If you promise people an end time then keep to it.  If you start to go over make a plan to continue at another time or ask people if it’s okay to go over.  When people see that you use their time wisely, they’ll trust your leadership.

STEP 3: Allow Conflict

In order for a meeting to be productive their needs to be conflict.  That does not mean fighting and yelling; however, tension can be good.  It allows people to express their thoughts which could lead to better ideas and outcomes.  If someone disagrees with you and holds that back they are doing you a disservice.  Also, unaddressed conflict can turn into resentment.  In the end it might feel uncomfortable, but it will allow everyone to be honest and authentic.

STEP 4: Conclude With A Plan

Your team needs to know what’s next at the end of a meeting.  If you do not develop action steps to take care of the topics of discussion your meetings will become repetitive and redundant.  Delegate responsibilities with tangible steps.  Write them down and review them at the conclusion of your meeting.

STEP 5: Follow Up

Doesn’t matter if it’s in an email or with another meeting, follow up is important.  It’s a way of holding other accountable and making sure deadlines are reached.  If your team accomplishes the goals that you have set forth then morale will increase.  Everyone loves being set up for success.

Make meetings worth it by putting effort and energy into the preparation.  Communicate the meeting’s expectations and allow feedback.  When people see that you care about their time, they’ll give you grace when you mess up.  They’ll also honor the time and energy you pour into becoming a leader.

What other steps would add to creating a highly effective meeting?

Tags: , , , , ,

0

Build Up Your Teens

Teens are facing voices every day of their life.  Some of these voices attack their image and integrity.  It’s a lot to handle, especially with all the responsibility they have on their plates.  This means that each week a few of them are walking into your ministry a little knocked down.  You and your ministry need to know how to build them up.  Here are a few step you can take:

  • Write Them A Note: One of the best ways to build up your students is with a note.  Take a few minutes each week to write some of your teenagers a note.  You do not have to write to every student, in fact it’s better if it’s random.  Encourage them in their gifts, thank them for their presence or encourage them where they need to grow.  A note is personal and will influence them greatly.
  • Greet Them At The Door: Nothing says, “So glad that you are here.” like greeting someone at the door.  Make it a priority to place an adult (or even yourself) at the door each week saying hello to the students.  It will break the tension and build them up to take on the world.
  • Brag To Their Parents: Parents need to know they are doing a great job and their kids aren’t going to always tell them.  Call a parent and let them know the good that is happening.  Encourage them to keep doing what they are doing.  It’ll be the pep talk a parent needs to walk with their child through adolescence.
  • Put Them On The Pastor’s Radar: Let your pastor (and the rest of the staff) know who is shining in your ministry.  Encourage your coworkers to recognize and build up your student leaders.  This will help your teens feel like they are a part of the larger church.  It’ll give them a feeling of ownership and in response many will raise up their level of leadership.
  • Invest In Them: Equip your teens like you would your volunteers.  Give them books on personal growth.  Take them to conferences.  Sit down one on one with them over a meal.  Get to know them and let them know that you want them to succeed.  When a teen feels valued he or she will be motivated to give back.

Build up your teens and you’ll find the mood and morale of your ministry deepen.  What you do inside your ministry will pour into their every day lives.  Someone who feels loved is going to want to share that with others.  Build up your teens and you’ll be building up the Kingdom.

How do you motivate or encourage teens in your ministry?

Tags: , , , ,

0

Effective Volunteer Recruiting

Courtesy of libertygrace0/CreativeCommons LIcense

Courtesy of libertygrace0/CreativeCommons LIcense

This is the time of year when we start looking at the fall.  Granted summer has even started; however, it’s important for us to get ahead in order to be effective by fall.  One of those areas to be effective is recruiting volunteers.

Whether you have turnover or just a growing ministry it’s important to stay on top of recruiting.  While there are hundreds of ways to recruit volunteers, it’s important to know which methods are most effective.  A few of those methods (from least to most effective) are:

  • Utilizing Technology: Create a video or design a template to make your invitation attractive.  Email it out, post it on Facebook or post the video on your website.  The most important step is making sure people know what you want them to know and what you want them to do.  While it might not be the most effective you’ll hit your biggest audience.
  • Preaching It From The Pulpit: The person with the most clout in your church is the pastor.  Ask him to make an announcement or weave into his message your need for volunteers.  When he speaks he’s able to reach an audience you might not have had access too.  On top of it he’ll be validating your ministry.  This might be a challenge, depending on the relationship you have with your pastor.  That is why you need to start the conversation now and help him see the importance of his platform.
  • Advocating On The Weekend: Your presence on the weekend matters.  Spend time between services meeting people and forming relationships.  Over time you may discover people with unique talents who will be great for your ministry.  Your presence will help put a face to your ministry.  Even if you are not successful in recruiting, you will at least give your ministry more of a presence in the church.
  • Personal Invite: Do not let the burden of finding volunteers fall on your shoulders alone.  Encourage your current team to think of people they can invite into ministry.  Not only will people know who to ask, they’ll know how to ask.  When you have that type of focus you’ll find more success.  The highest level of effectiveness comes from a personal invitation.

By knowing what’s most effective you’ll know where to pour most of your energy.  Casting vision to your current team should take priority over the amount of stress you’ll expel on an email.  While what you craft in an electronic invite is important, the payoff will not nearly be as high.  Prioritize your methods so that you can be effective when it comes to recruiting volunteers.

Do you agree with this list?  Would you add any other effective methods?

Tags: , , , ,

0

How To Lead Up

I’ve known my pastor for 10 years.  While our relationship is strong, it hasn’t always been that way.  I would get frustrated when he would say, “No.”  And then there were times when it felt like he didn’t care about youth ministry.  I grew miserable.

Two things changed.  I stopped always making everything about me and I realized that being a leader isn’t easy.  For one, it can be lonely.  You are out there in the public eye and you are vulnerable.  Instead of setting unrealistic expectations, I had to learn how to lead up.

To lead up means honoring your leadership and showing them that you are trustworthy.  In the end they’ll see you as a worthy advocate and allow you to have influence.  To build that trust and become a serious player at the leadership table you need to make sure you are:

  • Asking, “What Can I Do For You?”: If you want to build loyalty show your leader that you care about them.  People are demanding of their leaders, this turns the table.  That question, “What can I do for you?” shows them that your relationship isn’t always about you.   If they see that you care for them, they’ll trust you.
  • Never Criticizing Them Publicly: There are appropriate venues to vent frustration regarding the relationship you have with leadership.  However, every time you do it publicly you are creating several impressions.  People will form negative opinions about your leader as well as about you.  They’ll see you as someone who only complains instead of facing the issue.
  • Keeping Short Accounts: Leaders will make decisions you won’t always agree with.  They’ll do things to set you off.  Instead of storing them inside and allowing them to fester, release them.  This means finding the appropriate time to confront the situation.  If your pastor upsets you go to him in a time where’s able to hear your feedback.  When you keep short accounts, you keep the communication flowing.  When people are upfront and authentic with one another it builds a healthier team.
  • Praying For Them: They like you are in the trenches and facing spiritual battles.  To have a healthy organization you need a healthy leader and that means praying for him.  They are being tested, pushed and pulled.  By having their back you are showing that your church is more than one.

Lead your leadership by loving them and showing them that you are there.  When they discover that they aren’t alone and that you stand in their corner not only will they trust you, but invest in you.  When you lead up you show everyone that you are worth following.

How do you lead up?

Tags: , , , ,

0

Finding Youth Ministry Exposure

I used to get jealous when people would talk about our church.  All they raved about was the preaching, the band, the children’s program, the parking lot and even the coffee.  What about the youth ministry?

The problem? LACK OF EXPOSURE

Like many, our youth ministry meets at times when most people aren’t in the building.  Some youth ministries meet in the depths of the church basement.  It’s no wonder people have no clue what your youth ministry does.

Instead of allowing feelings of jealousy and frustration take over, develop a strategy to get the word out.  Granted it won’t happen over night, but there are a few steps you can take now to build momentum.  Such as:

  • Connecting With Leadership: Whether you have an elders’ board or a parish council you need to make sure you have a relationship with it’s members.  When leadership is aware and educated you’ll see the exposure climb.  They’ll begin see it as an important part of the church’s investment.
  • Bring Them The Ministry: If you cannot bring people to youth ministry, bring it to them.  Encouraging your students to get involved alongside of adults is one of easiest and most organic ways to gain exposure.  You can also find opportunities to bring groups like the student band to play or present in front of the adult congregation.  Put together video promos that can advertise or showcase the youth ministry.  Show them online or in front of the main church.
  • Discover Key Advocates: While you might feel alone, you do have fans.  Ask parents you know who are on board to get the word out to fellow parents.  Ask volunteers who are key to ministry to share what they do on a regular basis.  Do not put the sole responsibility of advocacy on your shoulders.
  • Get The Pastor On Board: This might be a challenge depending on your relationship; however, get the pastor on board and people will follow.  Ask him to mention teenagers and/or the ministry in his message.  Bring him up to date on the good, the bad and the ugly of what’s going on.  Make him feel like he’s a part of the team.  The more confident he feels about your ministry, the more he’ll back it.

Finding youth ministry exposure is a challenge.  It takes a little extra work to get the word out because your location and times are usually not optimal.  Teenagers can be intimidating and it’s your job to show otherwise.  While gaining exposure might be difficult, embrace the challenge so that you can help the entire church grow.

How do you bring your ministry more exposure?

0