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Tag Archives | leadership

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

There are times in ministry (and life for that matter) where I come upon a situation and I really do not know what to do. I get a very angry email from an upset parent and my first response will probably not be the best. There is a leader in which I know is not working out and I need to ask them to step down. There is a student in which seems not to get anything I have been teaching or saying and they just keep doing the same thing over and over again. There is a decision that only you can make but you don’t really want to make it because you know you are going to get back lash. I feel like I have been in a season of all of these things happening at once and I find myself just standing scratching my head thinking, “What do I even do here?”

Here is a few things I do when I do not know what to do:

Stop. Relax. Chances are it’s not the end of the world, it just feels like it. One thing I know for sure, the best decisions are not the ones out of immediate reactions of anger and annoyance.

Forget about the overall outcome. Many times just the thought of what is going to happen down the line will freeze us in making a right decision, or any decision for that matter. When we don’t get too ahead of ourselves, we stop and think, we can make the best leadership decision.

Think about the next right, immediate decision. So instead of thinking so far in the future, ask “What would be the best next decision now to get towards the solution?” We can worry about whether or not this is going to pan out and stay stuck or we can think about what the next move is and move forward.

Pray about it. Sometimes I feel like it’s really easy to skip this step. We get so caught up in the anxiety, we miss probably the most important step. We know what Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” We have the power of the Holy Spirit to help guide us in decision-making. allow God’s peace to guard your heart and your mind. Give it to him.

Respond appropriately. When we give it to God and have spent some time in prayer about it, we can confidently know our decision is the best one we can make and we know we have gone about it the best way we humanly know how. Then respond appropriately and people will be able to see your leadership and how well you handle tough calls.

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Leaps Vs. Steps: Getting Them There

What is the opposite of faith?

It’s a question that deserves to be pondered and I have been thinking about it a lot. I would have to say the answer would be:

Sight.

If you can see something, you don’t need to have faith to know it’s there. When something is not right in front of you but someone tells you it’s there up ahead, you need faith in them because you can’t see it. So the opposite of faith, I would say, is sight.

There is a difference between having faith your ministry will get to a certain point and actually helping your ministry get there. We can have all the vision in the world for where we want our ministries to go but if we don’t have practical steps to get there we will never reach it. As pastors we love to take leaps of faith. The student’s in our ministries are sometimes not ready, mature, willing to take a leap of faith because they don’t know how or because they are afraid. So it’s our responsibility to show steps to how to get where we want them to go.

So a standard goal I’m sure we want to see is for all of our students reach is to be a fully developed follower of Jesus (This is just general to get my point across but I’m sure no one can argue this is something we want to see in student’s lives). We can have all the faith and vision in the world but unless we have tangible steps for students to take to get there, it will never happen. They just don’t leap to this point in their spirituality.

So what would this be? If the goal is a fully developed follower of Jesus, what would be some practical steps in your ministry be to help get them there? They are not going to make the leap to this point but they will take easy, tangible steps.

  • They need to read Scripture. Great. Very important. Do you have a place where they can be taught how to study the Bible? A Sunday school? A small group? A resource? Or do you just say read the Bible?
  • Accountability. It’s a big deal. Do they know HOW to get it and WHY they need to have this in their life? Do you have something they can receive this in their lives?
  • Quiet times. Awesome! Just saying it is not enough. Many students don’t know how to even go about how to read the Bible and have a quiet time and pray to God. Do we just assume they know what we say when we say, “Quiet time”?
  • Sharing the Gospel. Amazing. It’s a big deal. But are we just saying, “Ok, now go out and tell your friends about Jesus” or are there ways in which we can help them take the necessary steps to get to the point where they can confidently be able to articulate the Gospel to their friends? A curriculum? Class? Book? What?

See the difference? Having vision and faith is a huge part of ministry. Without God and the Holy Spirit moving in our lives and ministries we would have nothing. But in order to get students to go from here to there, we need to make sure they are not leaping into an abyss of confusion but stepping towards a firm foundation in their faith. They will hesitate at a huge leap but they will take a simple, tangible step.

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Let It Go (Promise It’s Not FROZEN)

I tend to be a creature of habit. On my days off, I have a cup of coffee and watch a few episodes of The Office. Tuesday’s I go in later, so I work on DYM stuff. Wednesday’s are days I like to work on curriculum stuff and so on and so on. The point is, when we find out that something works for us, it can be really easy to keep the same routine going…and going…and going. So what happens when we want to see growth or try something new? What happens when we want to see growth and we get frustrated when we don’t see anything happening? When we keep doing things the way they always have been done you are going to see the same things you have been seeing.

In order to move forward you need to let go the way you have been doing it.

This can be scary. But when we feel the Holy Spirit pushing us to move on in something in ministry because you know it will benefit it, you have to do it. When we read god’s Word we are prompted to move and make disciples. In Psalm 119 it says God’s Word is a lamp upon our feet, not a spotlight into the forest. Like a flashlight in the dark, it only shows us our next step and once we take it we can see further down the road. When we feel God prompt something for our ministries we need to take the step, letting go of the way we have done things, and take a step in faith and lean on God to provide.

Trust me, it is a lot easier said than done. But just imagine the ways God can show up when we move in faith when it comes to changing something up you feel God is telling you its for the benefit of your ministry. It’s something I am currently, and always, trying to think and be aware about.

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First 2 Years: 4 Things My Small Group Students Taught Me (pt 2)

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A few weeks ago, I ended my four-year small group journey with 11 of the best young men on the planet. They were the first group I have ever led, so naturally I have been processing so much about the experience. Through that, I have been able to write down and organize all of my thoughts, feelings, and lessons that I have learned along the way. I thought I’d share some of my most impactful ones with you guys. The first being, learning to have fun!

I am not fun. I will be the first to admit it. In fact, it is actually the first thing I tell the students in my cabin at camps. I am a rule follower through and through. So you can imagine my anxiety when I realized that I got the rowdiest group of students in my Life Group. And I know people often think, “oh, my students are the craziest.” But mine actually were. From almost burning down our cabin at winter camp, to being the only kids to get hurt at our weekend retreat, my guys quickly became known as the most rambunctious group of students in our ministry. I went crazy.

There were actually several nights that I went home after small group and was hurt and frustrated by the actions of my guys. I felt so disrespected and completely defeated. I had no idea why they were not engaging in group and how they couldn’t take anything seriously. Here is what I learned, it wasn’t all their fault… it was mine too! My Life Group program was SO BORING. My lessons were too long, I had too many rules, I didn’t pick my battles, and I just had no room for fun or laughter.

Once I started to change that around, I noticed HUGE changes. I would end group early to save time to just play together. We would spend some nights just getting ice cream and playing handball at elementary schools. We just had fun. Through that, we started being able to find compromises. We had a struggle… they wanted to rebel from my strictness and I wanted to force them to take things seriously. Once I loosened up, they tightened up.

My Life Group taught me such a valuable lesson, not just for ministry, but for life. To have fun. To not take everything so seriously. To break the rules every once in a while. To look the other way. To laugh a ton. And to make incredible memories. They truly revealed a big new piece of relational ministry and made me a better pastor through it.

By this time, the majority of schools should be out for the summer, meaning the end of small groups for many of us. As I continue to write these, share your experiences. Share a funny story or even a lesson of your own!

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How Not to Lead a Small Group

Small groups are an integral part of many youth ministries. Good small group communities foster deep relationships between students and adult leaders. In the process, they push students toward God in very real ways. Unfortunately, small groups aren’t always good. Sometimes, they can be lackluster, the kind people attend only because they feel obligated to do so. The question is, what characteristics distinguish a good small group from a lackluster one?

Over the last year, I’ve gained some insight into the answer to this question as I’ve worked with professor, author, and researcher, Terry Linhart, on a study for InterVarsity, who’s graciously given us permission to blog about some of our findings. During this study, we asked students to describe their worst experience in a small group Bible study. More often than not, the examples students gave came from small group Bible studies they participated in with their youth group. Based on their anecdotes, to facilitate a good Bible study, here are seven things you shouldn’t do.

1. Don’t praise inconsistent attendance. Offer grace to people who miss but also let them know that they were missed because of the value they bring to the group. True community happens when we notice when people are absent and dare to find out why.

2. Don’t ask poorly phrased questions or questions with obvious answers. Instead, put time and thought into the questions you ask. Your discussion will only be as good as your questions.

3. Don’t talk constantly, without ever allowing participants to share. As the leader, your opinion matters, but so do the opinions of everyone else in your community. Authentic community forms when people are given the opportunity to learn from their peers and see God at work in their lives.

4. Don’t allow one person in the group to dominate the conversation. Value and make your space safe for everyone to contribute to it.

5. Don’t discourage emotions. Instead, allow people to share from both their heads and their hearts. Give them permission to feel whatever they’re feeling. As one student we interviewed said, small groups should be a “space to cry together & pray together.”

6. Don’t ignore Scripture. Remember, students’ views of scripture changed from restrictive to life-giving when they actually began reading it for themselves and applying it to their lives.

7. Don’t ignore applications. Challenge students to discern together what Scripture means for their lives.

Based on your experience, what are some other key things you shouldn’t do when leading small groups?

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Who Is Your Sounding Board?

In ministry we teach “it’s all about the community”. But sometimes we as the ministers don’t really follow our own advice. If you are not careful, leading can be a very lonely, lonely place. Because we are the ones students and leaders go to for help, the amount of time we actually have to get some help for ourselves get tougher. If we are not careful, this can cause some serious damage.

One of the most important things I would say in my own spiritual life is having people I have intentionally placed in my life who can be a sounding board for decisions I need to make in my personal, spiritual, and ministerial life.

These people I trust greatly. These people I know I can go to for anything. These people I know will tell me the truth and not just what I want to hear. They ask me the tough questions, question my reasoning, challenge me in areas of my life I need to be challenged in. All in all, they make me a better Christ follower which makes me a better pastor. When we do not have these people in our lives and ministry, you will not only pay the price but your students will suffer the consequences of your actions and decisions because you had no one to go to.

We really are better together. We were not created to do anything alone. God wants a relationship with us. He wants us to have relationships with others. Pastors and youth workers need relationships to thrive. Thriving ministers have people in their lives who ask them the tough things and thriving ministers have people they can go to for anything in life and ministry to be a sounding board.

So the question is: who is your sounding board and who are you being a sounding board to?

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Summer Interns – Watch, Shadow, Lead

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Here’s a fun picture from our summer intern breakfast the other day – just an early summer (by California standards, anyway) connect with our summer staff in the first 1/3rd of their ministry experience.

I’m excited for them because they are doing really well in the watch and fit in stage. This is where their bubble of how they think ministry gets burst and how they realize there more to youth ministry than pizza and videogames. They’re doing well, some growing pains here and there but really positive so far.

Next up is the shadow stage, where they work hand in hand with another leader to get some second hand experience in ministry. To learn to have good eyes and trust their leaders, instincts and judgement. Some are already dabbling in this area, based on the adeptness of their leader, and starting to reach out.

We’re still a month away from the leadership stage, where they take on huge events and projects on their own. This is coming, but each stage builds on each other and prepares them for what is next. Skip to this step to early and they’ll fall flat on their face, get there too late and they won’t think they got much out of the program. It is all in the timing, and they’re off to a great start!

JG

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3 Social Media Rules for Youth Group Leaders

We love that our volunteers are on Twitter and Facebook! It seems like everyone is enjoying the benefits of social networking these days – so it shouldn’t come as a surprise your volunteers are interested or already involved for sure. Most use the technology to their groups’ benefit, though from time to time we’ve had to have conversations and consider removing volunteers for what they put online. At small group training this I ask our small group leaders to apply these three simple guidelines when updating social networks:

Remember what you post is public
Here’s the big deal – a joke that is funny between a few friends might not be funny at all out of context or in the harsh light of public view. Remember that everything you post – picture, status update or essay, becomes completely public the second you push submit. You can never really take it back once its out there, so be wise and use discernment with everything you post.

Remember what you post influences students
Your students are checking out your profile. They look up to you. They are eager to make a connection with you, and since they’re always on Facebook they’ll almost always see what you post. But it is so much more than just seeing – what you say, what you value, what you show yourself doing – it all influences students – the good, bad and ugly. When you give an inch, they may take it a mile. Of course, it works the other way as well, when you use social media positively, it can have a significant encouraging influence on them, too.

Remember what you post is a reflection on our student ministry/church
Your character and faith is reflected in every post that you make so if you are doubtful about something, here’s a simple rule to follow: DON’T POST IT. Just like behavior on a youth ministry trip is a reflection on the church and student ministry, know that what you post adds or detracts to the reputation of the church and ministry … and ultimately Christ.

What guidelines do you share with your leaders about Twitter, Instagram and other forms of social media?

JG

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What The World Cup Has Taught Me About Ministry

Everyone is jumping on the World Cup wagon. Some people are mad about it because we are fakes and don’t care about soccer for 3 years until the world cup comes back. That’s true, and I’m okay with it. So when I was over at a students house for his graduation party, almost everyone at the party was watching the USA game. People from the age of 5 to 75, they were watching it and were all in. Cheering, groaning, yelling, celebrating.

I asked one of the students there if they were really into soccer and this is how the conversation went:

Me: Do you follow soccer besides the World Cup?

Student: Not at all. I just watch the World Cup? I thought it was boring.

Me: Why are you so into it?

Student: I was not at first, but all the adults in the family got into it and I started to watch it and I just couldn’t stop. I think it’s exciting now and I can’t get enough.

It got me thinking about anything we do in ministry. If the leaders and staff are “all in” in something, students will naturally follow.

Want students to go crazy in dressing up for rec. games at camp? Have your leaders go all in and lead the way.

Want students to be excited about going to summer camp? Have your leadership go all in promoting it like crazy in everything you do. Facebook, Instagram, service announcements, leaders personally asking if they are going. Make it impossible to not know about it.

Want students to want to be in small groups? Talk about, get excited about how amazing and life changing small groups are. Have leaders talk about them, have student testimonies about how small groups helped them through life and how God changed them through small groups.

Want students to go to events? You have to be excited about it yourself.

This conversation is a great reminder of how students tend to work. They want to go to exciting things. I can be pretty sure if the adults in the room at the party were not watching soccer and not passionate about it, the students in the room would not have been as excited. But they feed off the energy and excitement and see it so they in turn want to be a part of it.

Now it works for soccer, but imagine what could happen if we were able to point that excitement and passion towards Jesus. If they see your staff and leaders excited, passionate, vocal and visually exited about what god is doing in their lives, students will follow and then they won’t be able to get enough.

We can’t just say something is exciting and life changing…we need to show it and be “all in” and the leader’s passion will rub off on the students and you will see them start to follow.

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Criticism and Credit in Youth Ministry

You are probably not as good (or as bad) as people think you are. Be careful not to get a big head when you experience some wins, and be careful not to live in defeat when it all comes crashing down. The best youth workers have experienced and have learned to weather both!

JG

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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?

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Life Group End of Year Thank You Note

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We just finished writing a note to our Life Group leaders to give them a little thank you the day after our Life Groups year ended. Here’s  a copy of it you can copy/paste/adapt for your ministry, too!

HSM Life Group Leaders!

YOU ARE LEGENDARY!

It is hard to believe that another school year is wrapping up and another season of Life Groups is in the books. I know from talking to you this year that it was incredible, challenging and life-changing to both you and your students. You are instrumental part of the discipling of our students, and we are so thankful you followed God’s call to lead students to a stronger relationship with Christ this year.

If you led a freshman group: Thank you! Your gift of patience and grace was largely unseen and un-thanked but has eternal significance. You lived in crazytown and we love you for it.

If you led a sophomore group: Thank you for your sacrifice, your time, your hard work and your willingness to hang out with crazy high school students during the week. What a pivotal year for them in their adolescent and spiritual development.

If you led a junior group this year: We just wanted to take time to say, “Thank you.” It really has been an incredible year – and this one is SO important to students as they make their faith their own, and be grounded in the Word as they navigate big life decisions.

If you led a senior group this year: WAY TO GO! You made it! We celebrate with you today – this is a huge milestone and for many of you a tearful, joyful end to 4 years of serving students. The Instagram pictures and stories have been absolutely incredible.

We’ve got a full summer planned and are excited about what God is going to until we kick off Life Groups in the fall. Feel free to join us at HSM Summer Camp and more over the next couple of months. Your presence always makes it better.  So again, you are appreciated and we are so thankful for your heart to love God and love students!

JG

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5 Benefits Of Involving Volunteers In Future Planning

We are winding down the small groups year this week. Most of our groups take a break for the summer. But just because groups are winding down doesn’t mean we get to stop working. We are already planning ahead for next years groups. One thing we are doing is putting together a meeting with some of our key volunteers to get their input on the direction of small groups and curriculum we are going to be going through next year. It is a simple brain storming meetings asking for their thoughts on the direction we should be going, what they think their students need to hear, and what was missed in the material we provided for them this year. I figured, who would have a better pulse on our students than the ones who spent the most time with them?

Here are some benefits for asking for volunteer’s inputs:

They feel/are valued - In general, when people are included in something, they feel valued. In instances like this, they are valued greatly. what they bring to the table is the best weapon for prepping for next year.

They feel they have a voice - When volunteers have an input in direction of anything, they feel like we actually listen to them. It’s not as easy to be given something and be passionate about it as it is to have your hand in something and be passionate about it. Curriculum and structure won’t be something ordered rather than something they helped create.

They feel ownership - When you have a say in something you feel like you own it. You’re proud of the end result. Therefore, you are excited about it and want to get others in on it. this is exactly what involving volunteers in brainstorming meetings does. Especially if you are going to change things up a little bit (which we are next year), it’s important they feel like they have a part in it.

They have the inside scoop - Small group leaders are in the trenches like we are. Yes, we might be paid for it (or not even) but they are the ones who are talking with, hanging out with, spending time with the students in your ministry. they know what topics are right on and they know what topics are missing. Lean into that.

We have a ton to learn from them - We have so many leaders who are just total studs. Leaders in which I get to hang out with and I end up walking away challenged and encouraged because of the ministry they are doing. There is a ton of great things to be learned when it comes to leading groups from some leaders. When we get all of our leaders together, they get a chance to share their wisdom and experiences with each other and they walk away feeling heard, inspired and challenged.

Moral of the story? Get your leaders involved, it will only make you better.

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Summer Leadership Lessons

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Summer is almost here.  (For some it is here, for some of use we are literally limping through the end of school. Seriously, will it ever end? That is a post for another day though I think.)  Yes,  this space after school is usually filled with camp and trips.  However,  what I love most about summer-time and my students is they relax.  What I mean is the pressure feels off for a little while with merely a focus on vacation, sports camp and perhaps an occasional job.  There is just something about the lack of school that goes a long way. I have this idea for the summer to teach “leadership lessons” in a practical sense. There is always a small group of  students we want to cultivate.  We mentor, use curriculum and may even attend a leadership type conference with our students.  However, I think what we often fail to remember is that leadership is an everyday adventure.    It isn’t just about organizing an event or being in charge of something “major” it begins with creating some habits. Here are some things we are going to try:

Eye Contact And Name Calling:   Dale Carnegie said this: “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”  Take a trip to the mall or really anyplace that has employees that wear name tags.  They will need some spending money.  (If you want to make it an added bonus see  below.)  The goal is to start a conversation with the person checking them out,  looking them in the eye and call them by name. The person at the check out will probably say something like, “How are you today?”  They need to respond with, “Good, How are you?” Then learn small talk, while at then end of the purchase say, “Thank you (insert name.)”  People notice when you call them by name, and acknowledge them.  I have had more than one person in retail thank me for hanging up my phone when I am checking out with them.  They are people not robots.  We will discuss what they got out of it after the fact.  If they can interact with a store employee by asking them questions, this is a bonus. Learning to acknowledge people, look them in the eye and be cordial is a valuable leadership lesson.

Random Acts of Giving: For an added bonus,  have students buy some things they can give away in random acts of kindness.  One summer we made up baskets and dropped them off at a retirement home.  We included small gifts, candy, bath products, ways to be giving.  They can buy something for a neighbor, or a church member.  The goal is to purchase something and give it away unnoticed.  Giving without being noticed is a great lesson in stepping up because it teaches us that accolades isn’t the point.

Customer Service: There are three stores KNOWN for their service: Starbucks, Chik-Fil-A and Apple.  If you have one of these near you, spend an hour there.  Have students observe employees.  How do they treat their customers?  Is there anything that stands out to them about these employees?  If you don’t have these stores,  just spend an hour in a busy fast food place.  Which employees stand out?  Which are not helpful? Discuss it as it is going on, or afterwards.  Learning to treat people with respect that goes above and beyond is a huge leadership lesson.

Media Log: Part of leading is understanding integrity.  To me this is about “practicing what you preach.”   Students need to know that their decisions do make a difference.  What they watch, or hear gets stuck in their thought life.  The issue isn’t about judgement, but we can end up looking so much like the “world” that unbelievers don’t see a difference.  For two weeks keep a log along with your students about what you watch (T.V., Movies, YouTube, etc.),  play (video games, tablet/smart phone games), read (books for and not for school, graphic novels etc.), listen to (music or anything that goes in their ears.) or post (anything you are putting on social media, or thoughts you are texting to others.)  Have them track their favorites.  Answer these questions:  Does this help me think on God (honestly?)  If the answer is No: then does it make you think about things that hurt your relationship with Him? (Honestly)  Is it not “good” or “bad?”  What do you want to see, listen to, etc, that you are choosing not to?  Why?  Then talk about this log.  Use this as a launching point to discuss integrity and how these are our first choices, but our choices do affect our relationship with Lord. Everything that doesn’t actively bring us closer to the Lord isn’t “bad,” but we do need to be careful. This is not about keeping a list of “rules,”  this is about helping them to understand how to stand out in a dark world.

I have a couple of other tricks up my sleeve.  We are going to read a leadership book together. I am thinking about “Master Leaders,” by George Barna because it gives a great overview on the topic.  Some of these students are only 14, but I am excited to help them practically see that their faith and leadership goes hand in hand.  We may talk about the importance of accountability.  I know we are going to talk about service going far beyond any trip.  So many lessons are out there.  I can’t wait to use the summer to show them in actions.

What would you do?

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The Best Gift To Give Your Seniors

It’s that time of the year when we say good-bye to the seniors. It’s sad but amazing time because for most of them, they just spent 4 years in the ministry. What a great time it has been, am I right? This is the time of the year where we think about the perfect give to give the seniors during their last few moments in our ministry? Do we get them a book? A gift card? A slide show? Some sort of gift with the ministry logo on it so they always carry it around? Sure, why not. Who doesn’t like free stuff? While I think it is great to want to give them a tangible something to take with them, I think we need to focus on the most valuable, something you can’t take back, type gift.

TIME.

My small group guys are all graduating in the next few weeks. Almost all of them are going away for college. I am getting them a little something to take with them at our end of the year party next week. But I also have texted them individually saying that I want to get as much one-on-one time with them before they leave to move out to their school. And you know what? Almost every single one of them jumped on the opportunity and already scheduled a coffee, a lunch, or hang out.

Whether it’s your small group, or all your seniors, after you pick out hat you want to send them off with, try to get time with them. You will love it. They will appreciate it. You can’t put a price on it. It’s most valuable. It’s most effective.

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