Looking Back to Move Forward

The food took to longer to cook than we had planned, we didn’t know the names of the guests and no one came forward after the talk. Sound familiar? As we head into the final push of 2018 it is a perfect time to pause and reflect.

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Improving Your Leaders’ Junior High Memory

“Ah junior high, those are the years I’d love to forget!” That’s a sentence I’ve heard from more than a few adults through the years. It’s a joke that adults LOVE to throw out there because it plays to the idea that junior high is such a hard time for many adults. Instead of forgetting their junior high years, I’ve found that the best junior high youth workers have tapped into their memories as a source of fuel for their ministry. You’ll often hear them say, “Junior high was hard for me and I want to be there for the kid like me who didn’t have anyone.”

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When You’re Jr. High Job is On the Line

It begins with a wiggle in your gut. You’re not sure why but something’s different. You’ve been on staff for awhile and the climate around your job isn’t as “sunny skies” as it used to be. You walk into a room, people stop talking, and you get the sense you were the topic of discussion. Church people you call friends have trouble looking you in the eye. Their smile is a little “less” than it used to be. Uh-oh.

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3 Themed Events that will Pump some Blood into your Ministry

In Student Ministry, fun is part of the game.  But I believe that it’s important to give fun a purpose, so as to utilize it to the maximum potential for the Kingdom.  I think there are a couple of ways we can optimize fun events.  First of all, don’t do them all the time.  I hope and pray that there are fun elements in your weekly programming.  If students aren’t laughing weekly in your environments, that’s no bueno.

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Countdown to a Checkup

Every December 31st as the clock counts down to midnight, upwards of 2 million people pack into New York City’s Time Square; huddling together in the cold eagerly awaiting the 60 second drop of the Waterford Crystal ball atop One Times Square. For the millions of us either too smart or too far away to join the festivities in NYC, most still participate in yet another New Year’s Eve tradition; the making of a list of New Year’s resolutions.

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Planning to Partner with Parents

We all have moments where we wish we could just work with students. We have this ideal of these little lives that we can help mold and steer towards a life lived within the body of Christ. Often, we may find ourselves forgetting that parents are a huge part of that body of Christ too.

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Ministering to Parents Strategically

Serving in student ministry for 15 plus years has allowed for many different scenarios to play out in people’s lives. One of the keys to a fruitful student ministry is to partner with parents. Students have many different things tugging at them from school, sports, jobs, and extracurricular activities. When it comes to church, we must partner with the parents of our students, so we do not add more stress or tension to the busy schedules of our students.

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4 Ways to Get Parents Involved in Your Ministry

Parents can be our biggest ally and advocate, or they can be the catalyst for you moving to another ministry (that’s a nice way of saying, they’ll get you fired). It’s really all about how you approach developing healthy relationships with the parents of your students. Cultivating a partnership with them, as they try to encourage spiritual development in their student’s life, is key to a thriving ministry.

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Parent Partnership is Crucial in Junior High

Parents, especially the ones who have their first born in middle school, are freaking out. New rhythms, new ways of life they didn’t have to walk before, their kid turning into someone else before their eyes. Welcome to middle school. It’s a whole new world when you inherit a middle schooler—and everyone in your house knows it.

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8 Hacks to Make your Overnighter Great

I’ve never understood why youth workers hate overnighters, they are my absolute favorite thing! …Sparingly, admittedly. My first day at my current church, 5 years ago, was an overnighter. The relationships that I built that first day with students and leaders set me up for success. Now, each overnighter, I reflect on it as my “anniversary date,” and try to make each one better than the last.

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Attendance Isn’t Everything

Over the last 3 years, I’ve been working at a smaller church in Northeast Kentucky. When I accepted the position at my current congregation, I was 20 years old and a full-time student. I was young (I’m still young) and inherited a small youth ministry that consisted primarily of young middle school students hungry to learn. Over the next 2-3 years as the youth ministry matured, so did the original middle schoolers.

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Partnering with Parents is Good for Everyone

Hands up if you’ve ever found that working with parents in your youth ministry setting can be tedious? I’m with you. I’ve been in and around youth ministry for nearly a decade in different ways, but it’s only now that I have begun to feel like I’ve made some headway in my partnership with parents.

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A Day at the Beach

A day off of school for some of us who live in Florida, means a day at the beach. There are many beaches to choose from here in Florida, and even in November it was perfect beach weather. Over the years I have experienced many trips to the beach with my family and with youth groups and I have noticed that they usually fall into two categories. First, there is the ‘oh, look the beach, let’s stop’. This is the trip that is spontaneous and has people rolling up their pant legs to wade into the surf.

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Bringing it Back, Old School Style

Any of us who work with Jr. High students know that they are desperate to grow up. They want to be older, gain more independence, be given more responsibility, and basically be mini adults. We also know, they are nowhere close to being grown.

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Their Ministry Matters, Too!

Sometimes it is hard to look beyond ourselves. We see our ministry, and what we are trying to accomplish, and get caught up in the process. We see everything on our calendar and, many times, only view the church through that lens.

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Strategic Programming is Creative Programming

The universal word for junior high is: FUN. When junior high students have FUN they are more likely to feel like they’ve found a place to belong, no matter where they are at in their relationship with Jesus. So, we program our ministries with FUN events, services, camps and more!

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