Watch the newest episode if the IHeartYouthMinistry Podcast now with Dennis Beckner, Nikkie Schuster, Heather Ann Ham and Robert Ham. This weeks show is all about student small groups! :D next week we celebrate hitting our 10th episode! Be sure to join us live next week at 12PM (PST).
Check out Episode #7 of the IHeartYouthMinistry Podcast with Dennis Beckner, Nikkie Schuster, Rob Ham and Andy Schreiber. Our topic: THEOLOGY IN YOUTH MINISTRY!
Hey youth workers! Mark your calendars and shout out to all your youth ministry friends because you won’t want to miss out on the brand new heartyouthministry.com ! July 5th is the official launch of a HUGE redesign/reboot of iheartyouthministry. What’s in store for iheartyouthministry? Glad you asked. Check out some of the new features that are coming your way:
-YOUTH MINISTRY HANGOUTS: Are you looking for other youth workers to connect with? Do you have youth ministry questions that you need answered? Are you looking for free youth ministry training? Is there nothing else good on tv? Then YOUTH MINISTRY HANGOUTS are just what the doctor ordered! Every Thursday at 12PM (PST) iheartyouthministry.com will be hosting YOUTH MINISTRY HANGOUTS. You can log in and video chat with Rob and some of his youth ministry buddies live via GOOGLE+ . Or, if you don’t feel like being in the video chat..no worries! Just grab some grub, kick back and view the YOUTH MINISTRY HANGOUT live streaming from iheartyouthministry.com .
-IHYM RESOURCES: IHYM RESOURCES is going to be a page on our site where churches will be able to access, download and use awesome youth ministry creative content for FREE. It includes youth ministry graphics/series/messages/bumper videos/etc. that the youth ministry staff at DAYBREAK CHURCH has done and will be updated with new content every month.
-IHYM LESSON BUILDER: Looking for quality youth ministry small group studies? Is it coming down to the wire and you need a quick youth ministry lesson ASAP? The IHYM lesson builder will be a FREE resource for youth workers to browse & download youth small group curriculum and use it in their ministries! Did we mention that it’s FREE???!!!
So get ready for the new iheartyouthministry.com coming July 5th! And to celebrate, we will be giving away FREE youth ministry resources all day on July 5th! For more information on how you can win free youth ministry resources, stay tuned by “liking” the new iheartyouthministry.com facebook page by clicking here. See you on the 5th!
This morning I finished up our 6th grade boys lock in at the church. It was an awesome (and exhausting) night of junk food, video games, crazy games and great memories. And even though I am basically comatose at this point after getting near to no sleep here are some quick thoughts:
1) Lock-ins’ are powerful. I know that holding a lock in is super hard, very tiring and takes years off of your life…BUT, a good lock-in is the kind of memory maker that sticks with students. They may not remember a word you taught during their junior high years, but they will remember the relationships that we’re developed at a lock in!
2) When it comes to lock-ins, smaller is better. A couple of years ago I started trying out a new idea, where instead of holding a huge lock-in for the entire youth group, I’ve encouraged our jr. High small group leaders to hold “mini lock-ins” with their small groups once a school year. Here are the advantages: less stress, intentional focus on relationship building, easily manageable, etc. PLUS these events bring our small groups closer together super quickly based off of all the shared memories!
3) Use your lock-in to test out your volunteers. Nothing will make a volunteer show their true colors like being locked in a building all night with smelly, energetic teenagers. Last night at our lock-in I had a new volunteer join me to see how he would handle all the controlled chaos/lack of sleep. He did a great job and I got to see how he reacted in a variety of different situations. Now I’m not saying that you should freak out every new volunteer by forcing them to go to your I overnighter’s…but…it is a perfect way to gage how much one of your volunteers likes teenagers!
And then again…it’s an overnighter. With that in mind, here’s a classic from my friend Jake Rutenbar:
This weekend is our 8th Grade Weekend at IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry) and I am speaking on the three big ideas that jr. high students need to know before they graduate up into high school. I’m using a clip from the tv show “King Of The Hill” which illustrates a hope that our graduating 8th graders won’t “grow out” of Jesus as they move through high school. The clip we are using is 9 minutes 10 seconds into the video. Check it out and let me know what you think.
This weekend our Jr. High ministry finished up our 4-week series on friendships/relationships/sex at Daybreak Church. It was…awkward…and awesome! lol.
A few weeks ago our students were at camp and they had a good bit of time to kill. Some of them caught a nap, some played cards and quite a few students were just hanging out and talking. However, one student caught my eye.
She was reading.
Now the act of reading didn’t catch my eye, rather it was WHAT she was reading grabbed my attention: The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Wow! That’s a very weighty work to read in one’s free time at camp. I started to think about when I read that book and the conviction that it brought about in my own life.
As I thought about that book and discipleship in general, I realized how the 21st century church is moving away from pursuing discipleship. Some churches have classes on Sunday or Wednesday night called “discipleship”, but they barely scratch the surface as to what it means to be a disciple of Christ. We desire a relationship with Christ that is easy to pursue and that can be molded to our schedule. We want all the benefits of being a child of God but none of the difficulties. We take God’s grace and Christ’s work on the cross and cheapen it. Bonhoeffer says it this way:
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
As a church we want the true blessings of the discipleship that come in pursuing Christ: spiritual growth, brotherly/sisterly love, community, an overarching purpose in life, unstoppable joy and a peace that passes all understanding. Yet, as a disciple of Christ we are promised persecution, trials of our faith, personal shortcomings, unmet expectations and backstabbing by those we trusted the most. Just like Peter, we want to pursue Christ as we walked on the water…
…but sometimes we sink. We fail. We are let down by our spiritual mentors. That expectation of sinking steers us away from getting out of the boat, but our pursuit of Christ isn’t about our expectations and needs. Jesus says: ” Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
That is tough to swallow. Jesus says, “I want you to follow Me, but you have to be ready to die to be My follower.” We don’t want to have to let go of everything in our lives. We like a lot of things and people, but count the blessings that come to us in Christ. He becomes our purpose, hope, strength, love, passion, foundation, guiding force, wisdom, trust, truth, healer and salvation. That’s not a bad list of blessings.
So when I count the cost of discipleship….I should also count its blessings.
(this guest post was submitted by COLLIDE STUDENT MINISTRIES . Check them out!)
Are you working in youth ministry and are interested in getting some of your ideas out there? I am looking for some youth worker friends who are interested in being a guest blogger on iheartyouthministry.com . All you have to do is click the link above to submit your post to be featured here on my site. There’s nothing better than youth workers working together to share great ideas. So on you mark…get set…start submitting! :D
Alright babe, so I want to welcome you to your first post here on iheartyouthministry.com . Why don't you let everyone know a little bit about who you are (hobbies, likes/dislikes, and how you serve in youth ministry). On your mark..get set...go!
Well, um...as far as hobbies go I enjoy going to the movies, and I love watching t.v. shows (The Office, The Biggest Loser and Once upon A Time). I hate the taste of mint and I enjoy watching musicals. And as far as youth ministry goes, I serve as a volunteer Jr. High youth worker at Daybreak Church in Carlsbad, CA. I help out at our weekend services and I lead a 6th grade girls small group during the week.
Awesome. So beginning next week I am super excited to announce that you are going to become a guest blogger on this site writing about issues surrounding volunteers in youth ministry as well as being the spouse of a lead youth worker. But for now, what have been your biggest joys and biggest struggles over the years while serving in youth ministry?
Let's see, I think the moments I love the most in youth ministry are getting to be present when the students in our ministry begin to "get it". You know, those "light bulb" moments when our students really realize how much Jesus really loves them. There is really nothing cooler than getting to be a part of that exciting journey. Probably one of my biggest struggles is trying to find the balance between attending every meeting, every youth event, weekend service, etc. and making sure that I take enough time just for myself. Personal soul care is so important and unfortunately it's easily overlooked when my calendar is full of youth ministry events.
What kinds of things will you be writing about when you post on iheartyouthminstry.com? Give us a sample of some of the topics that our readers can expect reading from you.
I look forward to sharing my youth ministry experience from the perspective of not only a volunteer, but also as the spouse of a full time youth pastor. I'll be posting on the importance of spending quality time with your spouses (away from church), how to combat the expectations that go along with being a youth pastor's spouse, as well as any helpful ideas/resources/thoughts that might benefit other volunteer youth workers & spouses.
Awesome. Well you know that I am super stoked to have you join us here at iheartyouthministry.com (let's face it, you will definitely up the hotness quotient of the bloggers.) ;D So stay tuned for more youth ministry tips/resources/thoughts from my wife Heather Ham every Wednesday right here on iheartyouthministry.com
Rob & Heather
Every two weeks our core team gets together to plan out our weekend services for IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry). What we usually do is pass out a bunch of blank personal sized marker boards and let the entire team start dreaming up the different elements that make up our weekend service. Here are the elements that we plan for during every weekend at IGNITION (in no particular order):
1) Worship: We plan out which worship songs we will do, whether or not we will have the band do any cover songs, etc. Our song choices center around the theme of the weekend message.
2) Games: We usually plan on two games per service. One game is an “up front” game, where we bring students up on stage for some activity. The second is a “crowd game” which is more of a “everyone plays at the same time” type of challenge. Again, we usually (but not always) create games that fit the theme of the weekend.
3) Elements of Fun: This is where we think up different types of bits/skits/prizes/giveaways/etc. This can be as small as giving away free hot-cocoa after one of our Christmas services as students leave, or as complicated as a full on costumed skit with smoke machines and more!
4) Understandable Message: Every planning meeting we ask ourselves the question “what is the simplest way we can say this?”. We try to determine how to take a complex spiritual truth and make it easy to understand and relevant to teenagers lives.
5) Graphics/Video: This part is pretty straight forward. We think about what kinds of bumper videos do we need to make for the current series, whether or not we need to shoot any funny/thought provoking videos. We also get some great ideas from youtube!
6) Grade Groups: During a small portion of our weekend services (about 10 minutes) we have students move into smaller groups called grade groups. These groups are always same age/same gender. We use this time to try and get to know all of the students by name. It’s a great way to make the large crowd seem smaller. During planning meetings we determine where in the service these groups should be go, and if we want them to talk about anything in particular relating to the weekend message.
7) Environment: This is where we dream about what we want to do in terms of set design. It could be as simple as putting a chair and table on the stage, or super complex like building a rocket to sit on the stage. We usually draw out all of our ideas so we can really get creative. (You’d be surprised how a little bit of time spent on the environment of your youth room can go a long way. And it doesn’t always have to be expensive. In fact, grab a few of your student leaders and let them go nuts designing your youth room for your next series!)
8) Announcements: As of last week we just switched over to trying out video announcements (versus somebody standing on the stage giving announcements). We’ve been finding that students aren’t focusing a ton on the announcement time, so we are experimenting with doing some super funny announcement videos to try and capture our jr. high student’s attention a little more. :)
Not sure if any of this was useful, but I’d love to know how you all plan your youth programs. Share your own process for building your crowd programs in the comments section below. :D