Here is a great book that I am in the middle of reading right now called “SERVANTHOOD AS WORSHIP”. There are a ton of books out there about leadership, but this book focuses on serving in ministry not to get ahead or to gain leadership roles, but simply to serve as an act of worship to Jesus. This could be a great resource for your students and/or your adult volunteers. Check it out and let me know what you think!
What kind of leader are you?
Growing up in the church I mostly saw leaders as Supermen. Superman’s only weakness was this little rock called kryptonite, and even when kryptonite was around, Superman still had ways for standing strong. When we have this perception of those who we have as our models, it makes living a similar life near impossible. These models seem pretty much infallible and with little to no weaknesses. Superman was an alien to our culture, a fluke. Likewise, we all have struggles and hardships in our life and when we see our models as Supermen, their life’s seem foreign (alien-like) to us and they seem like a singularity to us.
Are you brave enough to be Batman? I always loved Batman the most because he was a regular man just like us. He didn’t have some special mutation or come from another planet. He grew up out of a broken life and turned into one of the most feared heroes. In all the comics you will see Batman get battered up, bleed and get entrapped but he always found a way to get through it. That takes guts! Likewise, are you gutsy enough to let those who you are a model to see you bleed, see you when you get entrapped and see you seek God and get through those though moments in life?
The most effective leaders in my life were never the all powerful supermen, they were the men who were real with me and gave me the opportunity to see how they turn to God in any situation of their life, just like Batman.
Do people see you as Superman or Batman?
Here is a Facebook message I received from a student that we recently asked to join our student leadership team...Sometimes all it takes to unlock a student's potential is an ask!
New Student Leader:
I just wanted to let you know that I'm super excited about being involved as a student leader and I can't wait to see what God has in store for Saddleback Orange's youth ministry! For the past few months I feel like God has been telling me that I need to step up and get involved in the church, so this is really awesome. I can't wait to get to know everyone better next Sunday!
Vlog on involving students in leading worship in your youth ministry.
Yesterday in part 1, I wrote a post on looking out for the “time wasters” that pull us away from what matters most as youth workers. Today I want to talk about the importance of scheduling your week. If you are a lead youth worker than scheduling your week is super important! You are constantly going to be asked by your church (and parents) to do more, go to more meetings, take on more tasks, etc…and if you don’t schedule your time than you are going to lose ALL of your time!
Scheduling your week is going to look different for every youth worker (everyone is in different stages of life/commitments/family/full time/part time/etc.) but here are some helpful tips on scheduling your week:
1) Look 7 days out: What do you need to accomplish over the next seven days? What meetings are coming up this week? What programs are happening this weekend? At the beginning of your week take some time to just make a list of the things you need to get done during the next seven days.
2) Look 30 days out: What is happening in the upcoming month? Is there a trip/event to be thinking about? What teaching series is coming up in a few weeks? It is super helpful to know what’s coming up a few weeks ahead. It’s so easy to get bogged down with the day to day, that we as youth workers can forget to plan ahead for whats coming up.
3) Break your time into categories: A couple of years ago I started breaking my time into different categories having to do with my youth ministry. For example I have time spent with volunteers, time spent with students, time spent developing new programs, time spent prepping for messages and time spent on administrative tasks (paper work, meetings). If you can categorize these different segments of your time you will begin to see where you need to balance your time in your ministry. After putting it on paper you may begin to realize that you spend more administrative time then time spent with volunteers. Or you may realize that you are spending too much time with students and not enough time with your volunteers.
4) Write it down! This might sound like a “no brainer” but if you want to be a great youth worker and a great time manager, then you need to keep a good calendar! I know WAY too many youth workers who are feeling burned out and over worked because they haven’t taken the time to schedule their time wisely. Because when we don’t know where we are going we will be moved any/everywhere. It’s much easier to say “no” to something if we know where we are going/moving towards. And keeping a calendar doesn’t mean you have to grab a huge/obnoxious day planner and carry that around with you, your calendar can be on your mobile phone. It could be on your laptop. It doesn’t really matter how you write it down, just do something that works for you.
Remember that you have exactly the right amount of time to get everything done that God wants you to do today. Here are just of few of the truths that the Bible gives about managing our time:
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT)
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring it’s own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34 NLT)
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15,16)
Here are some questions to consider this week regarding God’s plan for your time:
1) Read Ecclesiastes3:1-8. What do these verses tell us about priorities and time management?
2) List as many time management principles as you can from Exodus 18:1-27.
…tomorrow’s post: “The Importance Of Saying NO!”
Every month I want to highlight one of my good friends who are amazing leaders in the arena of youth ministry. This month’s interview is with my boss Kurt Johnston who is the Pastor to Students at Saddleback Church. Enjoy!
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING/WHERE DO YOU SERVE IN MINISTRY? I serve as the Pastor to Students at Saddleback Church in Orange County, California. Basically my role is to serve the junior high, high school and college ministry teams.
WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST REGRETS AS YOU HAVE WORKED IN MINISTRY? Oh, man….too many to count! If I can only pick one, I would have to say that for much of my ministry career I have had real hard time drawing healthy boundaries regarding ministry vs. family time. My wife would probably defend me on this, but that’s mostly because she is the most amazing woman in the world. If pressed, I think she would agree that because I love ministry so stinkin’ much, and because I tend to be a people pleaser, I have sometimes let ministry crowd out what is most important.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESSES WHILE WORKING IN MINISTRY? I think my biggest success is simply longevity. When you stay involved for a long time, and send the majority of that time in one setting…good things begin to happen. A mistake many young youth workers make is to move around too much, hoping that they will land in a better scenario somehow. I have a cheesy saying that I like to live by: “Instead of looking at the greener grass, water your own grass.”
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES THAT ARE FACING THE CHURCH? I think the biggest challenge facing the church is how to boldly proclaim the name of Jesus in a culture that is becoming less and less open to the message. And I think the real challenge is that culture has the wrong picture of Jesus…a picture that, sadly, the church has help paint! So…maybe our biggest challenge is ourself.
WHAT ARE THE MARKS OF A GODLY LEADER? Servant leadership. Inspiring, Equipping and Empowering people to figure out and accomplish God’s agenda for their lives. Not using them as a way to accomplish God’s agenda for my life. Sadly, by that definition I seem to come up short quite often.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE OUT THERE WHO ARE SERVING IN YOUTH MINISTRY? First, thank you! Second, keep on doing what you are doing…you are making a HUGE difference. Third, make a friend with a youth worker from a different church or denomination…learn a few things from him\her. Fourth, Thank you!
Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend time with one of my favorite people in the entire world, John Selbak. John is a long time friend (almost 10 years now) and one of my most important ministry mentors. Later on this week I will be posting an interview with John about his life/ministry and his thoughts on leadership and the church.
Today I want to take a moment to share 3 BIG REASONS why placing good mentors in your life will impact your youth ministry in powerful ways.
1) YOU DON’T KNOW IT ALL! Sometimes it can be hard for those of us who are in leadership roles to admit that we don’t have all the answers. But one of the marks of a great leader is having the ability to say “what am i not seeing?”. One of the huge blessings of having an older/wiser person speaking into your life is that they can help you avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that they have already experienced themselves. My parents always used to say “trust me…I’ve been there. I know what I’m talking about!”. You and I can save ourselves the trouble of certain failures (not all…but some) by learning the lessons from those who have walked in our ministry shoes before. In the book of Proverbs it says:
“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.” (Proverbs 15:22 NLT)
2) IF YOU ARE A LEADER, YOU NEED TO KEEP LEARNING! The truth is that as soon as you stop learning, you have stopped leading. Things in youth ministry are constantly changing. Youth culture is evolving at a very fast rate and we need to continue to grow/learn/engage culture as much as we can so that we can acquire the skills/knowledge necessary to reach students in the most effective ways. And one of the best ways to know where things are going is to understand where they have been in the past. Having mentors in our lives is like having a library of experience and knowledge right in front of us at our disposal! I believe having a strong ministry mentor is just as important as attending youth conferences/trainings/seminary. The Bible says:
“Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.” (Proverbs 19:20 NLT)
3) YOU NEED TRUSTWORTHY PEOPLE TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH! For those of us in youth ministry, we need to allow certain people in our lives to hold us accountable. There are times when we are going to mess up and make mistakes (trust me, you will make mistakes!). And when those times occur, you need to have someone honest enough and strong enough in your life that can sit you down and say “Hey! Knock it off. You screwed up and you need to make a change!”. As youth workers we need sounding boards. We need to have people strategically placed in our inner circle who know our hearts/hurts/hangups/failures/successes, who can speak the truth in love to each of us and motivate us to grow closer to Jesus. The writer of Hebrews writes:
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return in drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT)
Remember you weren’t meant to do life alone. We are better together!