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Tag Archives | kyle corbin

GUEST POST: Do You Review Your Youth Ministry Curriculum?

There is a room full of students watching a video clip and all of a sudden “ *&%#!!!$^&”
You jump up and quickly hit pause. Embarrassed you now have to teach your whole lesson following those words coming out of that characters mouth.

It happened to me once, and many other people I know. We didn’t review that clip, or perhaps even worse we put on a curriculum that could make you snore.

Many youth workers if not most, have to use curriculum in order to keep afloat. That is a fine place to be, we have tons of brilliant content created by people who have the time and resources to do it.

But if you have been around curriculum for a while, you will probably realize that sometimes you have to sift through stuff to find the right message for the right time.This means reviewing your curriculum.

In our ministry we use video or book curriculums for our small group time. The thing is even though I am using curriculum I need to be ahead. I need to order or download my curriculum. Just today I preordered a book to look at for using September of 2014. I have my self set up through to the summer, The reason I ordered it now is so I can take a read and then know whether or not its what I want to use. Does it meet my objectives? Is it well written for students?

In the past when I have used curriculum that was garbage, it undermined my leadership. People were unhappy, and they were skeptical about my next couple choices of material. When I played a video clip with foul language, I undermined myself by making myself look careless.

So how do you review your curriculum? What makes it work for you or not? Not everything is going to work, but there is tons of great resources available.

*Shameless plug here-> Check out DYM’s store for good curriculum.*

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: Knowing Where You Come From

Do you know where you come from? And no, I’m not talking about your mom and dad or even what city you are from. I am asking if you know where your church comes from.
I am currently in the midst of a course on Baptist History and Thought that has shaped the Baptist denominations here within North America. As I have been engaging with the material, I have quickly recognized things that make up who my church is, and why we do things one way or the other. I grew up in a variety of churches of all shapes, sizes, and styles. But now I pastor within a Baptist church in a suburban community. But that church was shifted and shaped by it’s past. Our people react to things a certain way because it’s engrained within our culture. We take part in ordinances like Communion and Baptism a certain way because of the theology we have taken up which was shaped by many men and women of faith.
As I begin to recognize these things it is giving me ideas on how to better to engage in my church community. Where have we come from, and where are we going? Even if you are apart of a para-church organization such as Young Life, you have history which has shaped you. You do that thing you do, because it has been done like that since a certain time for a certain reason.
I am starting to believe that if I learn more about the past, I will be able to better steer us into the future. I will understand our trajectory and will be able to either keep us on it, or hopefully help us avoid some possible bumps along the way. This may be especially important to those of us who weren’t part of that church from our birth. If you move ministries chances are you have moved to a place with a different identity and DNA that make ministry in that place unique.
How much do you know about your organization/church? What are you doing with the knowledge? And how are you going to use it to better steer your ministry?
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: Viewer Optics

“I feel like everyone online is a national speaker, best selling author and social media guru, am I the only one who’s not.”*

I read a line similar to that on Twitter about a week ago, and it resonated with me. I look at everyone’s bios on twitter or blogs and every time I read them I feel a little inadequate. And then I looked at my bio, am I bragging here? Is it more than just factual, does it give a sense of reality?

I also had a conversation with an old friend I haven’t seen in a couple years who mentioned that he felt angry that I had “the perfect life” at least as it appeared on Facebook. This shocked me; I certainly don’t have a terrible life but; my life isn’t perfect.

These hit me because it made me question what my students see when they look at my online accounts. Is it more than links to DYM, cute photos of my family, and Biblical or leadership quotes? When a student sees my page will it make me more approachable or less?

When I went through I realized perhaps there was more I need to do in order to make me more “user friendly”. I am not changing who I am but I am actually trying to show who I am.

My question to you is, what image does your online presence give? Some of you are international speakers, best-selling authors or social media gurus, but is this the image you want to give your students? If it is then good, if not then change it. Ask yourself, if a friend or student who is struggling saw my profile would they be angry that my life is better than theirs? Are you proud or humble? Is your life perfect or just blessed?

So that’s the challenge, take an honest look at what you are portraying and see if it is really who you are. If not, what are you going to do about it.

*I honestly don’t remember who wrote this, if you know let me know so we can give credit.

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: Inspire a Student

Do you ever find yourself as a youth worker asking students what they plan on going to school for once they graduate? 
-Have you ever noticed how many students say “I don’t know” or “my parents think I should do ________”
It occurred to me last night that there are times when you can inspire a students direction in life.
One of the guys in my group has a serious thirst for knowledge when it comes to church/religion/faith. A couple months back he asked me my thoughts Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis because he was reading through it. Last night he texts me and asks “do you think that Jesus intended to start a church?”. We then talked about it and discussed what church means, what God intended for the church to look like.
After we had finished a conversation I told him that I could see him being a person who could work in the church. He is the type we need to help others along in faith and to help guide the church. He said he wasn’t sure about that but I just encouraged him to think about it.
Now my words weren’t profound but they were similar to something someone told me when I was in high school. When I had heard those words it began to stir up in my life. And though I ran away from it for a long time, those words never left me. I don’t know if this student is going to be a pastor, or an elder, or a Bible school teacher one day that is between him and God. But I can place the idea in his mind and encourage him to seek after what God wants for his life and be open to the possibility that this is a direction he could take.
Now I don’t think we should do this for every student, because frankly we don’t know all our students well enough. The other problem is sometimes we are unclear ourselves.
But what if you took some time to look into the lives of a couple students you know well. Look at their spiritual gifts and look at their interests and passions and inspire them.
What do you do to inspire students and how do you help direct their lives?
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: Defining a Win

I just finished reading Andy Stanley’s book Deep and Wide. I thought it was a great read and would encourage others to check it out. One thing that I took away from this book is a sense that in our ministry we need to better define what a win looks like.
Every ministry is different and the roles of each person within that ministry are different. Because of this we can have a variety of different definitions of success.
Possible Wins:
  • Student accepts Christ
  • Students getting baptized
  • Student calling you on their own initiative
  • Student bringing a friend to an event
  • A new student returning
  • A student who stops doing drugs or drinking
Each of these are possible wins, for each of our ministries we may have a variety of options. I hope the first two are on every list, but the others may be negotiable.
We have entered into this discussion in our ministry. It’s interesting because our parents, volunteers, my supervisor and myself all have different opinions. We need to find a way to find the most desirable outcomes that are God honoring. I think that for us defining our wins will help put everyone on the same page and create a more positive and God honoring atmosphere.
What methods have you come up with to define a win, and what does a win look like in your ministry environment.
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: The Stigma of Curriculum

This week I engaged in some conversation online with other youth pastors and it went similarly to conversations I’ve had before.

“ What do you think of this curriculum? Have you used it?”- they ask

-I respond about the curriculum

“ I just want you to know normally I like creating my own stuff, I just am so busy and need to use some curriculum to help me out.”

It’s after these conversations I walk away asking myself why everyone has the same response.

If you use curriculum there is something I want you to hear today:

There is nothing wrong with you for using curriculum! It doesn’t make you a bad pastor, in fact it could even make you a great pastor. You don’t need to come up with your own materials.

Each of us is uniquely gifted and for some of us creating content comes easily, for others of us it doesn’t. Each of our ministries is different, some have huge teams where people can focus on specific roles while others are struggling to get everything done by themselves.

Curriculum is a tool, it is published by individuals for you to use. And I believe that as long as you are putting the best time and effort you can into prepping and delivering the most God-honoring curriculum you can…. then you are doing your job. If you are really strong at spending time counseling students and that is how God has gifted you, be an excellent counsellor and do your best teaching you can. If you are great at evangelism but struggle with teaching all the nitty gritty bits of faith: Share and bring others to Christ and use tools to help guide them.

There should be no stigma associated with using curriculum. The only time it becomes a problem is when you use it to cut corners. When you let it do all the work and you don’t dedicate any time to it. But if you are using it to help you whether you need to free up time for a season, or whether you just need help teaching because you are gifted in some other way….please don’t feel guilty! You are doing the best with what you’ve got and God will honor and bless that. Besides its the Holy Spirit that does the heavy lifting anyways we are all just his tools.

So be blessed as you prep your lessons this week, this month, this winter no matter how you do it!

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: Impromptu Events

Text: “Hey I’m loading a car full of guys and we are going to the trampoline park you in?” 

Email: “Hey everyone tonight we are going to hang out at the church and have a snowball fight in the field followed by Nachos, let me know if you can come”

Phone: “Was just thinking about you and wondering if you want to meet at Starbucks for a coffee, my treat”

Students love to receive these types of communication. When something isn’t planned it makes them feel special. Last night I sent out the above email to my grade 10-12’s. Was after school and told them to meet me in 3 hours. Ended up having 8 boys show up for an awesome night. The cool thing about it was I had a random assortment of guys who don’t normally hang out and they all loved it.

Impromptu events give students the feeling that they are special and cared for. This is one of those keys to relational ministry, how do we do it? Even if a student can’t make it they feel invited to “the club”.

The other thing is you can make these events as big or as small as you need. You can do a one-on-one, a car full of people or you whole youth group. It doesn’t matter, because the point is that you are doing something out of the ordinary for your students.

Now some of you who are overbooked are reading this and going “Kyle must not have a life” or “I have no time to add this into my schedule”. And on one hand I am with you. I am the type of guy who likes to put my things on the calendar, have consistency with what night events are and I love to be home with my wife and daughter. So what have I done, I have put these events on my Calendar. Just because it feels improvised to those around me doesn’t mean it has to be for me. Just because it’s on my calendar doesn’t mean those students are any less important.

I would encourage you to think about this as you are tackling Christmas Break. Students are available and you have the opportunity to spend time with them during the day, you don’t get that very often. So whether it is completely random or you need to schedule it for yourself; squeeze a 20min coffee in with a student or take a car full of kids bowling for two hours. It may be the best spent work time you have over the next few weeks.

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: 10 Questions for your Christmas Season in Ministry

These questions are in no particular oder of importance, however I think if you take time to address each one, this season will go much better. This is a challenge I am taking on for myself as well:

Is there a team mate, coworker or boss you can help to ease the burden of the season? 
Are their things you could be doing now to ease your transition into the New Year?
Are their things you need to let go of during this busy season?
What are you doing to refresh the story of Jesus’ Birth? -The story will never change, but will you change how you tell it?
Are you giving students the present of your presence this Christmas season?
Are you giving your family the present of your full and undivided presences this Christmas Season?
What are you doing to stay healthy during this season?
How do you plan on debriefing after Christmas?
How can you incorporate your spiritual life around your family traditions this season?
How much time have you actually devoted to God during this busy time?
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: Hospitality

I love food. If you saw my waistline you would definitely assume this about me. I am not a huge guy, but I have a few extra pounds like lug around with me. This is all to say that I think food is important. Sure it keeps you alive, but food gives you something to experience with other people.

Keeping hydrated is also something I love, I hate being thirsty because well it just sucks. So I love to put beverages out for people to drink.

Welcoming people is so much fun! Nothing is better than when a friendly face asks you about how your week was and chats with you about something the two of you love to talk about.

A clean room, this one I am not so good at providing… but I love to provide a clutter free space. So each week I put away everything that isn’t going to get used. I love that a place feels clear, because it leaves me clear to think.

A well stocked bathroom… ever been in a not well stocked bathroom. I once called my brother to go into another stall and grab me toilet paper! It might seem silly but it is something to make sure you have. Nobody wants an embarrassing moment of having to call out for something they need.

Special perks! I love when something gets pulled out special just for me. Even if it was kept in stock to be used strategically, it feels nice to get something that I don’t really deserve.

All of these things are good to think about when putting on an event or even just hanging out. By providing hospitality, you give a sense of worth. If someone is willing to make a special effort for you, or provide you with something above and beyond it forms a connection. It creates a trust and comfort.

What are you doing to be hospitable in your ministry setting? If you are asking someone to be your guest, what are you doing to stand out above the rest?

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: Setting Up Your Youth Room

Our church just has made a transition to buying a new piece of land where we will be meeting. But currently we are using the existing building on the new property for offices and youth space while we sell the old building to help us fund tearing this new building down to build a new church building.

All this to say that I now have the opportunity to step in to create my own “student ministry room” twice. Right now I am adjusting the new property and eventually I will get to start from square one.
I am writing this post not necessarily just to convey information but to look for advice and ideas. So read ahead and let me know what you think and what you would do.
We have an open 45×22’ room with two pillars in it. I have floor to ceiling cupboards which are getting stocked with everything from Bibles, to board games. But the space is half carpet and half cement pad.
So far on the carpeted area I have placed a couple couches with a coffee table to create a hang out/discussion area.  Then on the other half I have a couple tables with chairs around them.
On the cement slab on the other end of the room I have a foosball table and nothing else. I still have to figure out a solution for a teaching space.
I would love to hear inexpensive ideas for using such a space! Remember in about a year or two this place is getting torn down so we don’t want to invest a ton of money structurally, but if it can move to a new location dream big. I’d love arrangement ideas, decoration ideas etc..
Things we currently have that aren’t decoration or stocked away:
3 Couches, 2 Tables, 1 Foosball Table, 1 Pingpong table, chairs
Thanks for your input and I look forward to getting fresh ideas!
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: How to Get Students to Serve

I was recently challenged by a couple people because I said that I wanted to replace some of our “fun” and “outreach” events with service events. I said that they would be fun, “outreachy” and help fulfill the call to serve. One person outright laughed at me, while others were skeptical whether or not it could be done.
Tomorrow night is our second “Service event”. We will be baking goods and taking them down to a local shelter. The first time we did the event we had a bunch of students who rarely come out to events want to come because it is fun to bake, and they loved the idea of doing it for the homeless in our community. And a bonus is that we have the same kind of attendance for doing it again tomorrow.
So what was the trick? Finding a way your students would love to serve. I have a huge group of girls that love baking, even the girls who don’t love it come because their friends are into it. And then the boys come because the girls are coming. We even have group who come because they are passionate about Social Justice.
Students will serve if you find their niche. I had a student ask if we could get together as a group and bake some cookies and cupcakes… so I took that idea and simply added a service aspect. I am pretty sure if you looked at things your students were passionate about, you would find things you could turn into service events.
These times of serving could be run in a number of different ways. Have a small or mid sized youth group? Get all the students together and do it as a big baking party. Have a huge size ministry? Do it in pockets as a small group event.
This may seem like common sense but I know for myself, I have overlooked so many opportunities because I didn’t think to put a student together with a service option. I am still working on it and don’t have it all figured out yet, but the more I look, the more opportunities I find.
What are some ways you have found that gets students to serve?
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: Broken Lines of Communication

Before you read this post you have to recognize two things:
  1. I am not an expert in communication
  2. This post won’t solve your communication problems
This post comes out of my recognition in my own ministry that I need to improve my communication. I try to deal with all emails within 24hrs. I send out weekly emails in order to keep students and their families updated on what is happening in our ministry. Monthly I send out a Parent Newsletter, which I base on  and edited Parent Update from right here at DYM. And additionally I make phone calls, text, Facebook and talk to people in person.
I like to think generally my communication within my ministry is decent (though I am always looking to improve it) but there is a line which has not been taken care of often enough. The line that connects our ministry and the broader church. Now the congregation does get information during service, online and through me talking personally to individuals. However, I realized that I don’t often enough share the ups and downs of what is going on within our ministry.
Now Ups are easy to share: Johnny excepted Christ, Louise has committed to and succeeded reading her Bible everyday for a month.  But the downs; oh the downs; they are hard to share. Here is something we need prayer for because it isn’t working, or I need help in this area.
But as a ministry within the church context I also have to recognize that it is about far more than the ministry I am involved in. I need to communicate to gain greater support and more help. If no one knows what to pray for, how are they supposed to pray.
I am starting to realize and definitely believe that in order for the ministry I lead to be more successful, I need to bring it forward to the church body more often.
 
What ways do you keep the lines of communication open and working?
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: An Alternative to Discipline

Discipline is considered a dirty word for a lot of people within the church. We don’t like coming across strict or being rule bound because we hate that image people have of the church. I also think if a lot of us are honest we don’t like it in youth ministry because we don’t like being the bad guy, or we are worried about losing students!
I have been working full time with my current youth for a number of years and they have become very accustom to me. Along with this familiarity and the many relationship I have, comes the inevitable. They push a little more, and sometimes just down right don’t listen to me.
It is in these moments that I find myself being tested. My patience gets worn away and on occasion I have to discipline a student.
At the end of the 2012/2013 school year I began to notice that a number of my students were repeatedly not listening. They were being disrupted while I preached or led a small group. They were tuning me out. At first I thought it was just a phase they were going through, because honestly some days students just don’t have it in them to focus. But it became more than that. So what did I do? I threw a table!
Now that sounds bad, but I was teaching on Jesus overturning the temple. So I acted as Jesus acted. I was just going to tell the story but instead I acted out the story! The students got pumped! They began to listen to the story and began to ask questions about what it was like.
“Why would Jesus throw over a table?”
“Why was he so mad?”
That got me to thinking. Perhaps my teaching had become a little to formulaic. Perhaps it was me being boring and not engaging that led some students to wander. So I decided to test out the hypothesis. I started doing some Science experiments and acting things out, changing up how I use multimedia… and what do you know, those disinterested students began to come back. And more than just returning their attention they began to grow in interest and curiosity about the things I was teaching. For some it even fanned a flame for their faith.
I was reminded about the power of changing things up. Of not being stuck within the status quo. Perhaps a part of discipline, is being preemptive. Get students who might be disruptive to help you with an object lesson. Do something out of character( or in character as the case may be). By engaging the students in a new way, we work a different part of their brain or turn on a part that has been turned off.
What are some times you have changed it up in order to regain your students hearts and minds?

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: Is Anyone Listening

It is 15 minutes before you are supposed to do something important and one of your students comes up to you and needs to talk. What kind of attention do you give them?
Another student is talking to you and another approaches and begins to talk, how do you deal with this situation?
Your attention is crucial to many more students than you would realize. You may be the most busy youth worker in the world, but the fact is your undivided attention needs to go to listening to a student at times.
This one has been a struggle for me at times. I am the type of person who multitasks. I can be writing an email and listening and engage in a conversation. I can often hold 2 or 3 conversations at once. I believe this has come from my childhood growing up between two different age groups in church and friendships. I wanted to fit in with both, and would often manage this in the same youth group night.
But the downside of this is even if I am listening to someone, I am often not giving them my undivided attention. Unfortunately, more often than I would like to admit I have not listened fully to someone. Most of the time it doesn’t make a big difference. The person goes off without realizing I didn’t listen and I don’t need to follow up.
BUT…. there have been times when I have missed the opportunity to talk to someone more in depth, or have had the individual walk away only to realize they were really hurting.
While listening isn’t always my best skill nor have I always worked on it. But it is one that I have realized I need to work on. I need to work on giving undivided attention. I need to work on going beyond the words the individual says, but listen to what they are really saying. I need to recognize when I can’t give attention and make sure I follow up with the individual and care for them in a way that suits them best.
What has your experience of listening been? What tips/tricks/skills do you utilize to be a better listener?
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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GUEST POST: Making It Your Own

Most of us work in churches where we can’t get away with skipping church-wide events. If we are missing our church notices. Sometimes we want to be at these events and other times it feel like we are so busy and we wish we could be doing something else.

For me, I have come to realize that I need to take every church wide event and make it a win for our youth ministry. Today we did a “Walk Thru the Old Testament” with an organization called ‘Walk Thru The Bible’. I was apart of bringing them to our church because I think we need to help our people grasp the bigger picture of the Old Testament. That being said, it’s a tough event even for the best teenager. It is 8 hours long and you learn a ton of information (even though it’s fun). So I did what I could to make it a win for our youth. I gave them pop instead of the water and juice the kids were receiving( We did make sure it was hidden from younger kids sight with glasses). I spent time talking to each of them one on one through the breaks (this was easy with the number we had out) And I made sure that I was a great example and did every action alongside of them.

We do a number of yearly church-wide activities: A movie night, a games night, an Amazing race, a BBQ, and other various activities. Each of these presents itself as a chance to either just slink the the background, or make it an event the youth will love. I don’t get many crowd students, but I do get a lot of core students to these events. And this is a time I can pour into them in ways I can’t with larger numbers.

I have come to believe; because there were times when I have just slinked through events; that if you leverage these opportunities you make a greater relational impact with your students.

How do you leverage church body events to your ministries advantage?

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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