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Tag Archives | relationships

Students Mess Up My Work Day

Today was a non-stop kind of day for me. Ever have one of those. I had a meeting with a volunteer, then a long, tough phone conversation with a parent, edit a sermon that a high school student is giving this weekend and meet with a friend who needed some encouraging words. Non-stop. If I am being honest, I would have not felt as rushed if it was not spring break in our area and if we did not have a bunch of students coming in and out of our offices all day long and if I didn’t have students come sit on my office couch and interrupt me while I was working. When asked, “Why are you here, in our offices? On your spring break?”

They say, “Because you guys (HSM staff) are here.”

I love it.

Jesus was available. When he was asked to come to a guys house to heal his child a woman touched his cloak and he stopped to engage her. He had stuff to do, but he chose the relationship with the women over the task that was on His “desk”. Look what happened when he did that.

Obviously my tone above is one of a joking manner. Hopefully you got it. Was my day stressful? Yes, it really was. Was it interrupted at least 5 times today by students coming in and sitting on my couch? Yes, it actually was. Would I trade that for getting my work done quicker? Absolutely not.

As youth workers, I think when we get interrupted from our office hours because students want to hang out with you, it means we are doing something right. It means we are not only locked to our desk (which sometimes we clearly need to get stuff done) but we are making lasting, meaningful relationships with students who are choosing to come to a lousy office to hang out with you instead of being somewhere else. That is amazing.

So stop. Pay attention. Turn to that student on your couch and engage them in a great conversation. A fun conversation. Take them to Starbuck’s really quick. Yes your work will be pushed back a bit but that relational time with them is priceless. Know you are doing something right outside your office when students are willing to come chill with you while you need to be in your office.

Be available. Be present. Enjoy it. We have the best jobs on the planet. Students mess up my work day, but I love it.

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Discipleship = Time + Relationships

Matthew 28:18-20 – “Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’”.

I have been thinking a lot about discipleship lately. It’s hard. It’s so worth it. I have been thinking about how I myself have become a disciple of Jesus. I have been thinking about how we as a ministry are making sure we discipling students in a way that they would be making other disciples. My office mate and I were talking and he said something pretty great which got me thinking. He said, “I’m not concerned with how many students we baptize, I’m concerned with how many of those we baptize end up baptizing others. How do we get better in this?” Such a great question isn’t it? It’s a challenge we all need to take seriously and step back and look at how we are doing this.

Looking at what a disciple is: 1) someone who is willing to “go”. They knew what they saw about Jesus and had to go out and tell others about Him. We need to make sure our students KNOW what they believe to go out and tell others. 2) Disciples challenge others who believe to be baptized. While baptism is not what saves a person, it is the public confession of allegiance to Christ and willingness to enter into Christian discipleship. 3) a disciple reproduces themselves. While only some believers are gifted in teaching, all believers are called to share what they know about Jesus with others growing in their knowledge of Christ.

So what does this look like for you? How can you measure this in your ministry? I don’t know. I do believe that our small groups are the beginning of where many disciples are started but we always need to be striving to be better. I just know it takes a lot of time and it mostly stems out of a lot of relationships. As I look back on my own journey of discipleship, I can pin point certain people who were instrumental in my faith. They time they spent with me and the things they talked to me about regarding my faith made me who I am today and I’m grateful. Those people were Greg Tisor, who I used to volunteer for and now is a senior pastor and Mike Brook, who is now the college pastor here at Saddleback. They spent so much time and intentional in their relationship with me pointing me to Jesus.

I’m sure many of us can look at our stories and realize the same thing. There was a lot of time and a relationship in which helped us turn towards Jesus even more and I would love to hear your stories! DYM is a family and how do you get to know your family better? You share stories, so share in the comments below:

 How did you become a disciple?

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3 Wins of a Youth Ministry Built on Relationships

Relational youth ministry is the foundation for our ministry to students. We want to care for them, share life together and journey through the highs and lows of life. So what are the benefits of relational youth ministry? Here’s the “why” we make it a top priority to build relationships:

A focus on relational youth ministry gives …

students an increased ownership of ministry/faith.
Students who have a significant relationship with a caring adult stick. Students don’t fall through the cracks when they are known, loved and cared for. Connected students still fall away, but we’ve done everything in our power to pour into them to keep the faith. As a general rule, the students with the most relational investment have the highest percentage chance of owning their faith and ministry for a lifetime.

leaders a more holistic picture of student’s life.
Ministering to your student for the 2 hours a week of “official” small group time is the absolute minimum. What would it look like if we just added a wide open “+” to that time. The “+” could be simple – a text, a phone call, a Tweet, a Facebook message. The “+” could be huge, too – a visit to a students’ game, a visit to the home, showing up at a school play. Whatever the effort may be, it will give you as the small group leader a better glimpse into the world of your students. You’ll better understand them and how to minister to their needs.

both students and leaders increased openness.
When there is relational equity stored up in a small group there is more discussion. There is more trust. There is more authenticity. Discussions go beyond shallow chatter. There will always be nights when groups clam up, but as a general rule, if you want your group to share, get invested in their lives.

What are the other benefits of a relational youth ministry?

JG

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An Agenda Of No Agenda

Ministry can be busy. I think we all know this. When it comes to meetings and when it comes to our weeks we have an agenda that we go by. There are people to meet with about certain things. There are meetings that have agendas about programming, planning events, people to touch base with, things to reserve. There are one-on-one meetings with a purpose because they need help or they are helping us. Our week is jam-packed with agendas. This is not a bad thing. Stuff needs to get done, ministry needs to happen people are going to need things and talk to us.

I feel sometimes we lose the simple pleasure of meeting with students with no agenda. I got reminded of this the other night. A group of students I got to hang out with for a good amount of time up at our winter retreat invited me to come to dinner with them. I did. We went to Chick-fil-a and it was delicious. It was myself and 7 other students. There was no agenda. We literally were just there eating and hanging out. We talked about movies, the classes they were in, favorite TV shows and what their parents do that bug them. No agenda. No motives. Just a pure hang out and quality time laughing and just being together. There was another night were I hung out with two guys in my small group for 2 hours at Starbucks just hanging and talking life. Again, no agenda. Just being with.

It was refreshing. 

We as youth workers and ministers get caught up in the hustle and bustle of meetings and people needing things from us and the fact that we need some things from people in order to make our ministry and our church run. There has to be an agenda otherwise nothing gets done.

I think sometimes we need to make in our agenda a “no agenda time” just to be with students. 

No plans. No motives. No agenda. Let’s not get caught up in the craziness of running a ministry and miss out on some of the greatest ministry moments we can have with students… simply just being with them, laughing with them, talking with them about nothing.

When they feel comfortable enough to just hang with you when the “big stuff” in their life goes down you will be the first one they come to and you can speak God’s truth into their lives during that time, furthering your relationship with them and helping them further their relationship with God.

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WINNERS: Louie Giglio’s Boy Meets Girl DVD Sets

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Congrats to James Hauptman, Tlane and Seth_ccc for scoring the new Louie Giglio new Boy Meets Girl DVD set in a little giveaway we ran last week. Their new resources comes out today, looks awesome:

Dating… who can figure it out? Boy Meets Girl takes an honest and straightforward look at dating relationships and the challenges they bring. Beginning with our Creator, this series approaches guy-girl relationships from His perspective, helping lay the ground work for meaningful relationships now and a marriage that will last. Digging below the surface, Boy Meets Girl uncovers potential dangers and offers practical help for anyone seeking a long term relationship that is all God intended it to be.

JG

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What is Relational Youth Ministry?

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Recently in our small group training my goal was to emphasize the culture of relational youth ministry we are trying to create in our church. I want to talk more about it this week here on the blog, but know it would be best if we agree on a definition first. Here’s my take:

Relational Youth Ministry is any step toward building a relationship with a student in your small group. It could be big, it could be small – either way, it is an effort toward truly living in community and sharing life together.

I want our ministry to be known for this! I want our students known, loved and cared for. It all takes time – but not as much as you might think. You went to a students’ water polo game? Amazing. You couldn’t make it to the game, but sent them a text asking if they won or not? Still incredible. You thought about them, or prayed for them while they played? I’ll take it! Leaders this week talked about simple ways they connected with students – from road trips to camp outs, from birthday parties to a “good luck on the SAT” text. All make a difference and build relationship.

Too often we default to the big ideas and instead should be happy with any and all steps. Some weeks they’ll be huge steps. Some weeks, small ones. Some weeks your students will go backwards. But as a small group leader, commit to relational youth ministry and build community with the students God has entrusted to you!
JG

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GIVEAWAY: Win 1 of 3 Louie Giglio’s Boy Meets Girl DVD Sets

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We’re so excited to give you a chance to win Louie Giglio’s Boy Meets Girl DVD series! The series has over 5 hours of content, and releases on February 4th. Want to win? Just leave a comment on this post to enter!

Dating… who can figure it out? Boy Meets Girl takes an honest and straightforward look at dating relationships and the challenges they bring. Beginning with our Creator, this series approaches guy-girl relationships from His perspective, helping lay the ground work for meaningful relationships now and a marriage that will last. Digging below the surface, Boy Meets Girl uncovers potential dangers and offers practical help for anyone seeking a long term relationship that is all God intended it to be.

JG

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33% Off Love, Sex and Relationship Resources at DYM

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DYM is excited this week to offer all love, relationship and sex resources on sale for 33% off! That means some of our most popular resources and tools for these challenging topics and now cheaper than ever! Get Facebook Official, Love is in the Air, Crazytown and more! Click the banner above to check out everything on sale this week.

JG

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How To Reach “That Kid” In Your Ministry

I know you know who I am talking about when I say, “That kid” in your youth ministry. Am I right? They come but you sort of don’t know why. They sit in the back, on their phone and seem to not pay attention. You are usually surrounded by the students who come all the time because they actually engage in conversation so you sped most of your time with them, not really paying attention to “That kid” who doesn’t seem to want to be there anyways. I used to (and still sometimes catch myself) do this all of the time. But I read this story about Jesus and it convicted me so I have been trying to make it a point to reach out to “that kid” because they need Jesus just as much as I do.

You know the story of Zacchaeus. The regions tax collector and was hated among the people. He was on the outside, not in the “in crowd”, not in the religious know. People knew he was there but did not engage him in conversation. Yet, he was still there and people didn’t know why. He just wanted to see Jesus. He was short so he climbed a tree to see Jesus. What Jesus did next is a lesson we all can learn in youth ministry about those kids who are “that kid” in the back and how to react to them:

Notice them.- 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. 

  • Jesus interacted with them. He was surrounded by a huge crowd yet he took the time to stop and engage in a conversation with him. He need to do the same. Trust me, I know its way easier to talk to the students you already have a relationship with. But if we are to follow Jesus and how he interacted with the fringe people, we need to be intentional with knowing them.

Get to know them. -I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

  • Maybe they are “that kid” because simply because you don’t know them. Jesus invited himself over to his house. Zacchaeus didn’t seem to mind. He seemed a little shocked and welcomed it greatly. I would imagine that every kid who just seems to come to come and not be involved wouldn’t mind being invited to Chick-fil-a or Starbucks after service if you are buying simply because you want to get to know them better.

Others have ignored them and might not get their “normal time” with you. -7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

  • The Pharisees were a little upset Jesus chose to hang out with a “sinner” rather than them. I would think some of your regulars might be mad if you have a tradition after services and you interrupted it to hang out with a new student. I would encourage them to invite “that kid” to come with. How will our students know how to reach out to new people if we as their leaders are not showing them how it’s done?

Change happens because you show them Jesus. - 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

  • We don’t know the conversation Jesus had with Zacchaeus to make him change his heart. We just know Jesus spent time with him and he was changed. I know when we reach out to students we are showing them the same love as Jesus would have shown them. I know we can’t change people, only Jesus can, but when we spend time with students like Jesus spent time with people, they see Jesus, they want to know more of Jesus and they keep wanting to come to your service to learn about Him. Life change happens this way. It’s what Jesus does. It’s what I want to be addicted too.

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Meeting With Parents (and enjoying it)

Courtesy of Congressman George Miller/Creative Commons License

Courtesy of Congressman George Miller/Creative Commons License

I used to hate meeting with parents because it meant another night away from home dealing with people I didn’t understand.  When I became a parent I saw the importance; but the annoyance was still there.  That’s because my experience of parent meetings were miserable.  They were filled with lecturing, and were highly disorganized.  Then I realized parent meetings didn’t need to stink.  They can be engaging and should be approached as a big opportunity.

Communicating with parents is essential to what you do.  There will be times when you need to connect with one and then other times with all of them.  Instead of reluctantly gathering parents together on a weeknight when no one wants to be there, turn it into one of your greatest features as a youth ministry.  The topic might not matter, all you need to do is make it a worth while experience.  Which means you need to:

  • Give Plenty Of Notice: Parent’s might not come to your meetings because you are throwing the event on them last minute.  If the topic is engaging (i.e. How to talk to my kid about sex and dating) it might not matter.  If it’s something slightly less attractive (i.e. Mission trip logistics meeting) you need plenty of time to inform, remind and compel them to come.  Plus the more notice you give them, the more time you have to prepare.
  • Have Someone At The Door: Make your meeting an experience where everyone is welcomed by standing at the door as parents come in.  You don’t know what their day is like and having someone greet them with love and show them where to go is key.  They might be anxious, nervous or reluctant to go.  Starting the evening with hospitality will combat any negative feelings and show that you are hospitable.
  • Keep To The Time: Start on time and end on time.  It not only shows you are organized but conscious of other people’s schedules.  Set an agenda and find someone to hold you accountable.  People will appreciate you more when you do not waste their time.
  • Cast Vision: You might be discussing policy in the student ministry; however, this is also a great time to share why you exist.  Parent’s might not get to hear the vision of your ministry in other capacities.  Make sure you do not miss out on this time to let them know how your ministry is more than babysitting teens.
  • Leave Room For Connecting: Make sure you give yourself time at the end of the meeting to hang around and chat with parents.  They might have been anticipating this as a moment to speak with you about their teen.  This gives you the opportunity to recruit, and grow more leaders and advocates for the ministry.

If you can create effective and engaging parent meetings then you will build community with parents.  If you value the relationship you have with parents they’ll trust you with their child that much more.  Do not waste the opportunity of a meeting, embrace it and be intentional.

How do you make parent meetings worth your while and theirs?

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GUEST POST: Seek God’s Love

It is hard choosing to someone who doesn’t love you back but so easy to love someone who already loves you. As I sit back and observe, I witness this happen far too often. Our flesh is naturally drawn to people who already love and accept us. But we are not called to be loved by people. We are loved by God, called to love people.

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4:16) Our trust is in His love for us. We should be eager for God’s love and for a relationship with Him. Every day, we should open our Bibles to read about the love He has specifically for you and me. His love is eternal, forever more. He is our creator and has designed us out of love. He is love.
Once you grasp this, you will realize that even though people may fail you, people may not be kind to or like you, God still loves you! The creator of the entire universe…loves you. And when He is on your side, there is not one single person (who likes you or not) that can obstruct God’s plan for you! He is the almighty, sovereign One and you are His precious child whom He loves.

We should seek God’s love before going into the world to love others. Love will overflow from our hearts and reach the unloving. We will no longer seek love from others, but seek to give love to others. And that’s what it’s all about…LOVE! “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:12) And the way to do that is to seek God’s love first!

I challenge you to get so filled up with the love of God that His love overflows into the lives around you and touches them in a mighty and powerful way!!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

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10 Questions for a Relational Leader

Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk about Relational Leadership to a group of seasoned pastors (who all oversee paid staff). While very few youth workers have the opportunity to lead a paid staff, most have the privilege of leading volunteers and can definitely set their sights on being a relational leader (all that to say—I thought of you and figured you might be able to glean something from this post).

It’s my observation that the busier the leader, the less he/she has the space to genuinely care for people they work with and their leadership slowly (and often unknowingly) morphs into a transactional leadership.

Relational leader: “I care for you as a person. I want to help you win.”
Transactional leader: “I want you to do this for me. I need to win.”

Below are some questions that might be worthy of your time and reflection. It’s my experience that a leader will tend to think a little deeper when they can slow down and make time to reflect and evaluate. I find that many church leaders are intentional about the doing (maybe even overly strategic), but they give little intentional value to the slowing down and reflecting segment that is required of good leaders.

Here are 10 questions to get you thinking about your own leadership emphasis.

1. How might I build in space for rest and reflection?
2. Is it possible to lead a ministry and create a rhythm for myself and my team that’s sustainable?
3. Am I personally leading out of having space (margin) in my life?
4. Can I be refreshed and energized at the current pace that I’m living?
5. Am I creating space for my team to love one another and consider the spiritual needs of our target audience?
6. What is required of me as a leader to help others win?
7. Can spiritual formation and leadership development go together?
8. Am I using people to get tasks accomplished or am I developing them to trust Jesus, follow Jesus, and reflect Jesus?
9. I may not be able to set the vision for the church, but I can set the values of how I’m going to treat and lead people.
10. Am I genuinely excited for the success of the leaders I oversee?

I hope you’ll find some time to honestly answer these questions and think deeply about your leadership style.

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If Jesus Were In Charge Of Small Groups

If Jesus was in charge of small groups at a church, what would they look like? What would he focus on? Why? What would be his priorities? It actually is really fun to think about and I think it’s relatively easy to figure it out because we just need to look how Jesus lead. I think if we are doing these things, we ought to be doing pretty good.

It’s all about relationships. Jesus had a small group. His disciples. He poured his heart and life out for this group of men. He spent time with them. Ate with them. Lounged with them. Prayed with them. Prayed for them. Yes he loved the crowds and did miracles but a majority of his time was with his small group and he poured into them.

His curriculum was story based with real life application. Jesus is the ultimate story-teller. Everything thing he taught he taught with an illustration and story. He brought up scripture, then a story, then application. “Go and do likewise. Go and sin no more. Truly I tell you…”. When it comes to high school small groups, we need to have Scripture and then stories of real life and then an application they can actually do that has to do with that lesson.

Invested in the core leaders. Jesus had the 3 close disciples. The one who we took on the mountain with him. They were his core. He knew what they were going to do later so he wanted to make sure they were properly poured into. Same with our small groups and leaders. There are some we see have major potential so we want to make sure we pour into the core so they in turn can pour into others.

Put his foot down. Small groups need to be fun and about relationships but they need to be structured. Jesus knew when to put his foot down. He knew when to speak into someone’s life, always with grace and truth, but he still had that conversation. When things got out of control in the temple, he made a whip! Imagine the phone calls we would get now if we whipped those who got out of hand in group last night. Small group is a great place to teach discipline in many factors of life and as leaders we need to help our students realize these things. Disciplines in: respect, reading daily, praying, knowing when to mess around, when to be serious, how to talk and interact with others.

Spent one-on-one time with God. Many times in the Bible Jesus went off to a quiet place to be with the Lord. I would like to think if a man who could predict his own death and resurrection we should be doing all of the things we was doing while on this planet. If Jesus went off to pray we need to be doing the same. As leaders of small groups, we should be praying for our hearts, the groups we are leading, the leaders and the students all year-long because I really do believe that life change happens in small groups!

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5 Lies Girl Believe – Part 2

Last week, I started a series about the lies that girls believe and how they impact the way they live.

Over the series we’ll cover the top 5 lies that girls believe. We’ll look at how we can come along them to help them overcome the lie with the truth about themselves, God and the church. {Part 1 here}

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Lie #2 - Other Girls Can’t Be Trusted

Here’s what we know, teenagers begin to distance themselves from their families and look more to their peers and to media for their information and validation.

There is a repeated message communicated about girls and friendships. It’s simple- girls can’t be trusted, friendships are not sacred and this is coming from movies, television, books and magazines. Mean Girls, Gossip Girls, Pretty Little Liars…the list goes on and on.

Gossip and cliques become the norm. When you walk into a school cafeteria you see a scene right out of Mean Girls- lines are drawn between people based on their appearance, interests and socio-ecomonics. Social exclusion is one of the most common, and therefore normalized, form of bullying. This is the most common among girls. 1 in 3 girls have stated that they have experienced this forced isolation.

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One of the greatest needs of teen girls is for connectedness to others, for friendship. This great need is met with great fear and insecurity.  This lie that no one can be trusted leaves girls lonely and isolated OR worse it turns wounded girls into bullies.

What can we do? How we help girls experience genuine friendships?

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1. Communicate the Expectation

Teach about God’s plan for relationships. Help girls see that this deep need for friendship comes from their Creator. But not only does the need come from Him, the plan for how to do friendships comes from Him too. Teach all of the “love one anothers”. Along with the teaching about God’s plan, we need to be REAL clear about what we won’t allow in our youth rooms. We won’t allow for bullying or for social exclusion. Our youth room WILL NOT look like the school cafeteria. Don’t let one or two students control the experience for the others. In the past, I have used a kindness commitment to help communicate our standards. We did it as a 30 day challenge. Everyone signed one and  tied on a friendship bracelet as a way to remind themselves of their commitment. (Boys did this too.)

2. Girl Only Small Groups

I believe small groups is the easiest and most effective way to teach girls about authentic friendships. Not only will they grow spiritually but they will lay the foundation for years of friendship. Last summer, I attended a wedding of a former student, two of her bridesmaids were girls from her church small group. Life long friendships formed in a safe place BECAUSE expectations had been communicated.

3. Model Healthy Female Friendships

Allow for some of your female volunteers or staff members to share about their significant friendships. Let them share honestly about the struggle that they had with friendships and how they overcame the challenges of friendships with other girls. I love telling the story of when my best friend in high school smacked my face (in anger) on a mission trip…and how we overcame that moment.  By sharing and modeling friendships, we are teaching them the skills they need to build real relationships.

4. Care for the Wounded

Be intentional with caring for those who are wounded. And not just the ones that appear wounded but those who lash out at others. Be willing to ask tough questions about why they hurt other people. Offer help and encouragement to deal with the pain in their life.

If it is true that teens are looking to their friendship more now than ever, we need to facilitate opportunities for them to have safe friendships at church. We most be the place that counters the lie that other girls can’t be trusted by teaching girls how to build trustworthy friendships. How do you counter this lie in your youth room?

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Who is in your audience?

A few months back I spoke at a church that looked like most of the churches I speak at—think modern, worship service, a big crowd, suburban. I hate to write this, but the congregation looked like they could have been from my hometown (Orange County, CA)… they looked predominately white, upper, middle class.

That was until I went to lunch with one of the pastors (who oversees missions… and lives it out too). We didn’t go alone, we dined with several people from the congregation. When he took me to the airport, I said, “That was a really enjoyable bunch of people! It felt like I didn’t even see those people while I was speaking today.” He said, “They have quite the story–I wish I had more time to tell you about them.” When I got home, I had the following email from this pastor.

Today’s lunch in the Kingdom included:

The heroin addict with the new baby.

The mom pregnant by her daughter’s ex boyfriend.

The transgender hoping to become a man.

The single mom still trying to find her value in dysfunctional relationships since her boyfriend committed suicide in front of her.

The formerly homeless kid from the projects of St Louis desperately trying to be part of a family.

The mom using her story of pain, love and redemption to change how Christians view gays.

The kids adopted from Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Foster Care and the families trying to love them through their difficult pasts.

The single girl with chronic health issues getting licensed for foster care.

The girl from a non-Christian family of wealth who would rather serve Jesus: a lesson she learned at youth group when she was invited at 13 after her dad died suddenly.

The thirty year old mom who adopted a 15 year old Sudanese refugee who needed a family and is now the captain of his high school football team.

The Christians of privilege who count it a blessing to be able to love the incredible cast of characters God has placed in our lives.

The pastor from California who brought a powerful message that touched each and everyone of them. Thank you!

I didn’t see all those people from stage. I saw “same-ol-same-ol”… my bad. Seriously, my bad.

This experience got me thinking about youth ministry and the youth groups that we’re responsible to oversee. Here are some questions that I wrote down for an upcoming leader training:

1. What are the stories that are being written in the young lives in our youth group that we (as adult leaders) don’t know?

2. Are we spending so much time preparing to teach them… that we don’t really know them?

3. Are we so “busy” with the “doing” of youth ministry that we’re not investing into the very lives and connected to the stories that are sitting in our groups?

4. Do we really know the hurts, needs, and longing of our audience?

5. Are we helping them see, know and draw close to Jesus?

This eclectic lunch bunch got me thinking about crowds/congregations/groups. There’s so much more than meets the eye. Consider giving that a second thought next time you go to youth group. I know I will.

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