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Tag Archives | attitude

GUEST POST: What Makes a Great Team

Youth Specialties just had a great team training that had been promoting a tag line, “alone we go fast, togeth¬er we go far.” I believe that is right on, which is why it is so important to have a great team. You can have a fully staffed team and feel like because you have so many people it is going to be great, but the key part of that tag line is together. I was talking to my father-in-law about what makes a great team in ministry, and all his life he has been into rowing. He grew up on a lake and today owns a marina on that same lake. Still competitive at rowing, he mentioned that he could watch a local college team in a 4-person rowing shell out on the lake and that he could still beat them in a single. At first I thought, yeah right, then he continued to explain… “So long as one of the rowers is out of sync.”

That’s all it takes for a rowing team to slow down and begin to lose, one person out of sync.

Again the keyword is together. As a leader in youth ministry it is so important to surround yourself with the right people so that the whole ministry team is going in the same direction, rowing on the same beat, fulfilling the vision and mission that you have set forward in order to bring the gospel and the love of Jesus to those in your community and influence.

On the other end, it might be tempting to just accept that your team is not in sync and try to go fast alone. The problem is that youth ministry is a long distance race and you will eventually run out of energy. It’s always best when you have a strong team that can go far, stay on the same stroke and win in the end.

Some things to look for in a good team:

First and foremost – a leader at the helm who is first at all he/she asks of the team.

1. A team that is trying to be spiritually healthy first.
2. A team that is full of people that believe in the same vision and that are going in the same direction.
3. Team members that are positive. For too long I was negative about many things in life, this does not help a team. Constructive criticism in the right context is needed, but there should be no room for negativity.
4. Team members that are willing to stack hands at the end of the day. There will always be competing ideas, but at the end of the day – are you willing to set aside that your idea didn’t get chosen and move forward with the strength of the team?

Which of these 4 have you found working well in your ministry? Where is your team struggling? What changes, as a leader, can be made to help inspire others?

Kevin Klas has been in youth ministry for 10 years. He is currently the director of student ministries at Lake City Community Church in Lakewood, WA.

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Kick Yourself Off Youth Ministry Island

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When my rowboat finally hit land, I loved what I saw. Palm trees, coconuts, crystal-clear water…perfection. Everything was mine. I was in charge. I’d made it. For years, I’d wandered at sea, but this paradise quickly erased the pains of the journey. I found shelter, gathered food, and swam. It was incredible…for a while.

Let me back up. For a long time, I cared about the whole church. I was “all in,” wearing every hat on the giant ship. Being an all-around crew member rather than just the activities director was exhausting. I performed multiple tasks on every deck. More than once, I wanted to toss a few people overboard.

One day, I snuck away on a little rowboat to find dry land. I was free to do my own thing—to build the youth ministry and nothing else. It was oddly exhilarating to work with teenagers, not caring if they ended up at my church or not. (After all, if the church weren’t paying me, I probably wouldn’t even go there.)

If you’ve ever been to Youth Ministry Island, you know it quickly loses its luster. The place pulls an awful bait-and-switch, and here’s what remains:

Loneliness—The excitement upon arrival is intoxicating, yet over time you feel isolated. While fighting the elements, you realize survival would be more possible if you were part of a crew.
Invisibility—Being off the radar seems like a win initially. Then you notice you’re left out of celebrations. You realize your freedom has come at the expense of team. Longevity, after all, is birthed from being part of a much greater whole.
Martyrdom—To top it off, you feel like a victim. “I’m the one who should be getting credit,” you think. “Everyone else is out to get me.” Paranoia wins because you’re alone and invisible.

As fall approaches, what boat will you be on? If you’re alone, invisible, or playing the martyr, you may have set sail for Youth Ministry Island. Take these steps now to get back aboard the big ship:
• Care about the whole church and speak highly of it.
• Support the senior pastor and leadership.
• Offer to assist with “out of your area” opportunities.
• Help design a church that welcomes back graduating students.

Good youth ministry isn’t just about caring for teenagers. Find passion for everything God is doing so you don’t get stranded on Youth Ministry Island.

Youth Ministry Island by Josh Griffin originally appeared in the July/August issue of Group Magazine where he is a regular contributor for his “In the Trenches” column.

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Married 7 days a week_Day 7: Say "YES"


This isn’t a free day…it may not sound as “serious” as the other six days, but today is just as big!

If you didn’t read last week’s posts, here was the challenge: do something simple every day that could impact/change/redirect the course of your marriage (over time).

Day 7 (Sunday) is Say “Yes!”

YES is attitude! Yes is sexy! A little more “yes” and there might be a little more fun, spark, romance and joy in your marriage.

It seems as though I hear troubled spouses say, “He/She never wants to do anything” or “I make suggestions, but they’re met with a ‘no’ or ‘I’m tired.’” Don’t allow that to describe your marriage. Add a little “YES” to it!

Review the other 6 actions from this “Marriage Week” blog and practice:
1. I’m going to minimize my spouse’s annoying behaviors. YES.
2. I’m going to look for ways to connect and listen and talk. YES
3. I’m going to stretch myself and use words that affirm. YES
4. I am going to become an expert in sexual/non-sexual touch. YES.
5. I’m going to figure out some fun & laugher & shatter routine. YES
6. I’m going to become an expert on my spouse & serve. YES.

If your spouse takes any step toward making your marriage better, please meet it with a YES.
• Let’s toilet paper the neighbors’ house! YES
• I’ve signed us up for ballroom dancing lessons. YES
• Let’s go on a walk tonight instead of watch TV. YES
• Let’s put up a tent in the backyard and go “camping”. YES
• Let’s go on this hill and watch the sunset and yodel. YES
• Let’s buy Doug Fields some Laker tickets. YES

Give it a try. Put it into action. Change your “no” and “not now” into a “YES” and see what happens.

Question: What specific “yes” would make your spouse happy? Share it here.


 

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Married 7 days a week: Monday…Minimize


This week Cathy and I are adding a Monday-Friday vacation to a Saturday/Sunday speaking engagement that I have in New Hampshire. Because I’ll be with my wife and best friend 24/7 this week, I thought it would be fun to focus on marriage for this week’s posts.

It’s no secret that marriages are in trouble. Half of them end in divorce and many that stay together have morphed into nothing more than compatible roommates.


Obviously there are hundreds of reasons marriages deteriorate, but one thing I’ve observed is that many couples have allowed the “little things” or “the basics” to disappear in their marriage.

• It’s often the “little things” that lead to big issues.
• And, it can be the “little things” that can also lead to big change.

Obviously, there are many “little things”, but I’ve come up with 7—one for each day of the week—that are worthy to consider.

Monday: Minimize

Obviously there are some issues that are so big that they can’t be ignored. Painful Issues left unresolved can and will destroy a marriage. I’m not referring to “those types of issues” when I challenge you to minimize. I’m referring to the “little annoyances.”

Identify the “little annoyances” and train/disciple yourself to let them go and now have power over your attitude toward your spouse. Your energy, passion and concern toward “little annoyances” isn’t worth the fight… because there’s always “something.”

“Little things” might be:

  • The toilet seat being left up.
  • Toothpaste being squeezed in the “wrong” way.
  • Clothes left on the floor.
  • Milk returned to the wrong shelf.
  • Toilet paper not replaced.
  • Leaving the cap off the shampoo.
  • You get the picture!

Here’s how you might define the “little things” in your marriage: You’d most likely be embarrassed if you told them to a marriage counselor. You can almost anticipate his/her response: “Really? That [action] actually bothers you?”

When you come up against this kind of raw, everyday stuff that bugs you… how do you respond? Do you pull back? Withdraw? Go passive/aggressive? Do you retreat into your emotionally gated heart and hide? Do any of those actions help?

Chances are very high that some “little things” your spouse does won’t ever change. If that’s true, why maximize them? Who wins with that attitude? It results in disappointment, arguing, and constant tension. No one wants to live in that house!

Chances are also very high that you’re spouse isn’t performing these little acts of defiance to wound you. When I leave the toilet seat up in the middle of the night, I’m not thinking, “Hmmm… how can I make Cathy’s life more miserable? Yeah! That’s it… I’ll leave the seat up.” No. I’m just not thinking.

Who cares? Let it go. Minimize it.

I can hear some people’s thoughts: “Wait! Doug, are you saying that I should ‘give up’ on some of the stuff I’ve been fighting for… for so long?”

YES!

Question: What is one thing you need to minimize in your marriage? Share it here and help others see that we’re not alone in our psychosis.


 

[Are you getting this daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it’s real easy–go here.

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GUEST POST: 8 Keys to Dealing with Conflict


My grandma passed a saying on to my mom who passed it on to me. The saying is in reference to marriage and goes like this, “If two people always agree one of them isn’t necessary.” Perhaps it is simplistic, but it is also profound. Conflict in marriage and in ministry is normal and to be expected, yet so much of the time we make mistakes in handling conflict. If you handle conflict poorly you loose credibility or even your job. If you handle it well, you gain credibility, you usually keep your job, and you might even get some leadership cred.

Here are some principles I’ve picked up in dealing with conflict:

1. Attitude matters

Humility is something that is generally lacking in our culture. Instead we are told to believe in ourselves, be confident, and don’t let others look down on us. This is not what Jesus did. Instead Paul reminds us in Philippians 2 to have the humility of Jesus, to do nothing out of conceit, and to count others as more significant than ourselves. Approaching conflict with humility is essential.

2. Be Teachable

There is often an arrogance seen in youth pastors that has a stubbornness preventing them from learning. It is important to remember that our bosses usually have more experience than we do and even if they don’t, they have been put in a position of authority for a reason. If we open our ears more than our mouths we might learn something.

3. Communicate Clearly

For some this is not a problem, but for many this is the main problem. I have had many conversations over the years with guys who had a problem with their Senior Pastor, but they never told him or they simply hinted at the problem. Does your boss know there is a problem? If they do, do they know precisely what it is?

4. Be Confident

This is not the opposite of humility, that would be pride… and there’s a difference. Confidence is what you need to deal with the possibility that you might be wrong. The confident person can distinguish between personal attacks and critiques. The confident person can confront without being defensive. The confident person can submit to authority. The prideful person has trouble doing any of these.

5. Be committed

When conflict becomes heated and egos get out of hand it is commitment to God, to the ministry, and to person that will help you see it through. Too often we throw in the towel too soon. The kingdom of God, the ministry, and the relationship will almost always be better off if we will be committed to the process and hang in there just a little longer. The goal is resolution for the benefit of everyone.

6. Don’t email, text, or Facebook

Words on a screen do not communicate tone or intent. This kind of communication is easy to misunderstand. You can use these mediums to set up a face-to-face discussion, but not to resolve it.

7. Know your place

The word “submit” has become a bad word, but it is a concept clearly taught throughout Scripture. Submitting to those whom God has given authority is not a bad thing, it is an honorable thing. There are appropriate places to question authority and inappropriate places. Develop a sensitivity to the situation and act appropriately.

8. Say your piece and move on

It is human nature to want to be right and think the other person doesn’t understand, but there comes a time to just move on. In reality our boss often does understand and simply disagrees. If you have communicated clearly and the message has been rejected, submit to authority and move on.

Over the years I have ended up in some pretty heated conversations with my boss. I can honestly say that when I followed these principles it turns out well. Having conflict is normal and how you deal with it is of the utmost importance.

Question: What’s most important to you as you deal with conflict?

God has blessed John Byrne with 18 years of ministry experience in 7a variety of contexts and it is that experience that gives John a unique perspective. John enjoys writing, (Blog: YMTheology) speaking, and his church (The Rock of Southwest) in Littleton, CO. Most of all he loves his wife Christa and his two kids Catrina (12) and Jo (6).

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