Watch episode 14 of the IHeartYouthMinistry Podcast! This week’s episode: “How To Do Youth Ministry On A Budget”.
I have a confession to make: I am a huge movie fan…I love going to the movies! In fact, there is hardly a month that goes by that me and a group of friends aren’t going out to the theater to catch a new flick. Last week I re-watched one of my all time favorite movies, Back To The Future! Seriously, this movie should go down in history as one of the greatest flicks in the world, it’s just a ton of fun.
In the movie, Doc Brown (a very eccentric and genius scientist) has invented a time machine and he invites his young protege Marty McFly (a young teenage goof ball) to witness his invention firsthand. In a series of crazy and random events, Marty McFly is transported back to 1955 (from 1985). and spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out how to get back to the future.
While I was watching this movie, a scene that I’ve seen many times jumped out to me in a brand new way. At one point Mary McFly runs into the Doc Brown from 1955 (a younger version of the scientist) and insists his help to get back to the future. There is a famous movie scene where Doc and Marty are bantering back and forth and working together to try and figure out how they can power the time machine with enough energy (1.21 Jigawatz of electricity) to get back to 1985. The only problem is, the materials necessary to accomplish this task aren’t going to be invented for another 30 years! Finally by talking it out together, Marty and Doc discover the solution, which happens to be harnessing the power of a lighting bolt into the flux capacitor (which makes time travel possible). If you have no idea what I’m talking about…seriously, you need to watch this movie!
Here is the point: In this scene, independent of each other, neither Marty or Doc have the answer they need…they are clueless! It isn’t until the both begin to brainstorm together that they are able to come up with a solution that will work. The same is true in our youth ministries! Sometimes, on our own, we just don’t know the answer to our problems. As youth workers we might not have all the answers we need such as:
-How can we get new volunteers?
-How can we effectively reach out to new students?
-Why do our students seem to be falling through the cracks?
-How can we make this youth ministry event a success?
The truth is that most of the time we need the power of other people working together, brainstorming ideas, to come up with the solutions that will work. In terms of brainstorming there is power in numbers! In our ministry our volunteers get together every other week to plan our weekend services and upcoming events. The reason we do it together as a team is because as the lead youth worker I understand that I don’t have all the answers. I need the thoughts and ideas of other youth workers (and students) to come up with the concepts and programs that really work with our students.
Maybe you are trying to figure everything out on your own in your ministry setting. Don’t do it alone! Grab a team and start brainstorming together. When it comes to finding the answers, youth workers are better together. So what are you waiting for? Start brainstorming today and see what happens! Brainstorming together…it’s what makes youth ministry possible!
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The i Heart Youth Ministry Podcast discusses topics about youth ministry every week. As always you can join us LIVE every Thursday at 12pm (PST) by visiting www.iHeartYouthMinistry.com
INNOVATION IN YOUTH MINISTRY
This weekend in IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry) I was teaching on one of my favorite verses in the Bible, John 10:10. The verse reads:
New Living Translation (NLT)
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
At one point during my message I shared a simple concept with my students: “Nothing happens unless you do something!” I was explaining that God has some amazing plans for their lives, exciting and adventurous plans, but they have to step out in faith and DO SOMETHING in order for Jesus to do some amazing stuff in their lives. So here is my youth ministry thought/question for the day:
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU TRIED SOMETHING, EVEN IF YOU WEREN’T GUARANTEED THAT IT WOULD WORK?
Here are some quick thoughts about innovation in youth ministry:
1) MAKE AT LEAST ONE MISTAKE EVERY DAY…JUST NOT THE SAME ONE! Try, try and try some more. Keep trying new ideas/concepts/strategies/programs, etc. until you find something that works. When I first started working in full time youth ministry I must have tried about 6 different ways to effectively disciple teenagers before I found the method that worked best in the setting where I was at!
2) REMEMBER: LITTLE RISK, LITTLE REWARD. BIG RISK, BIG REWARD! Keep in mind that we serve a BIG God! Nothing is too complicated for Him. Don’t you think that the God who spoke the cosmos into existence can bring the right set of volunteers into your ministry? Of course He can! Take some risks this month in your youth ministry setting. Don’t be afraid to dream big, because the size of our God should determine the size of our dreams!
3) UNDER-PROMISE, OVER-DELIVER! When Jesus gives you a God-sized vision, you don’t necessarily have to share that entire vision with everybody right away. Begin to practicing under-promising and over-delivering and watch the momentum that will start to develop in your youth ministry!
What about you? What are some innovative ideas that you have tried in your youth ministry setting (even if they ended up failing completely!) Share your ideas in the comments section below. I’m very interested to hear some of your ideas.
At the moment I am prepping for our new summer mid-week here at IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry) and a few youth ministry related ideas are bouncing around in my head. Here they are in no particular order!
-YOUTH MINISTRY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT. We are going to be playing around with this idea beginning this week. We have opened up an INSTAGRAM account for our youth ministry and we are going to begin taking photos and letting our students submit photos as well.
-STICKY FAITH WITH VOLUNTEERS. This summer our volunteers are going to be studying through my friend Kara Powell’s book “Sticky Faith: Developing Faith That Lasts In Teenagers”. We will be reading a chapter every week and discussing it together to find ways to create a multi generational model of youth ministry at our church.
-NEW STRATEGIES TO STOP STUDENTS FROM SLIPPING THROUGH THE CRACKS. We are going to be implementing some new assimilation techniques this summer to make sure that every student in our ministry is known by name by a caring adult in our ministry. This summer will be the summer of relational youth ministry.
-SYMT TOOLS. This summer we are going to really dig deep and learn as much as we can about utilizing our SYM Tools software. Check it out today! It’s the best out there.
One of my favorite parts of working in youth ministry is seeing students step up to the plate and begin to serve. I love watching jr. high and high school students discover their gifts and then use them to serve the church in a variety of different ways. At IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry) one of our core values is having students lead the ministry. We really value having student-led ministry teams, and a great set of student leaders.
On a typical weekend service, we have students on stage giving announcements, running the tech booth, greeting at the doors, leading worship and more! It is so cool to see, and the best part is, when students LEAD…they don’t LEAVE! The truth is that when students begin serving in your youth ministry it creates a real sense of ownership in our teenagers. They stop sitting and soaking and start leading and learning.
So how do you shift from a environment where the staff & volunteers run everything (where students are spectators) to an environment where your teenagers help lead (where students are servants)?
START SMALL AND TRUST BIG! First things first. You need to start small. Begin by having some of your students serve in little ways. Ask a couple of students to help set up chairs before your service begins. Have a few students pass out pens and outlines as other students arrive. Maybe you could call up a student in the middle of the week and ask him/her to go pick up supplies with you for your youth ministries’ mid-week or weekend program. You don’t have to create a complicated student leadership strategy right away. Just start small and trust that God will start to develop a servant’s heart in your students lives.
DREAM BIG AND PLAN SMALL. We all want our students to grow and to take that “next step” towards spiritual maturity. One of the most effective ways for students to grow spiritually is to begin to serve in ministry. Take some time to dream big and ask God what His vision is for your youth ministry. Then ask the question, “how can our students help us achieve the goal/dream that God has given us?” Start to create a strategy to develop your students into servant leaders. Once you have your strategy mapped out, take it one step at a time! Don’t try and do something in 2 weeks that will probably take 2 years. While it might be ideal to have students running a ton of elements in your programs, don’t rush the process. Again, start small and realize that the character quality of servanthood doesn’t develop overnight!
Series: “Welcome To The Middle”
Title: 6th Grade Weekend
Sermon In A Sentence: Now that you know all about our jr. high ministry, you need to ask yourself “where can I PLUG into the PLAN?”
MESSAGE SUMMARY: This past weekend at IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry) was our promotion Sunday where we received all of our brand new 6th graders. We had a ton of fun with this weekend service. We played with the concept that “all the best stuff happens in the middle” (i.e. Oreo cookies, stuffed crust pizza, etc.) to get our new students excited about entering middle school. In terms of the message, I basically walked our students through our summer calendar while highlighting which programs they needed to come to that would correspond to one of the purposes of our ministry (worship, discipleship, evangelism, ministry, fellowship).
WORSHIP PLAYLIST: ”Our God”, “Your Love Never Fails”