Tell the Story

Christmas season is one of the most busy and exciting times of the year in church. My experience of Christmas season at church is probably pretty similar to your experience. The church has Christmas parties, “Living Nativities” (you know where everyone dresses up as shepherds and the weird guy in your church somehow has a camel he brings), we all have community Christmas dinners and Christmas Eve Service with candles.

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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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The New Year is Coming!!

December is here and for many of us that means that there are many things to begin thinking about; summer schedules, retreats, upcoming sermon series, Christmas Eve services, budgets, and much, much more. All of those things are of immense importance BUT there is one thing we should ALL be thinking about that sadly gets overlooked at this time of year…transitions.

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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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Get Vulnerable

Several years ago, I was struggling desperately in my personal life. Depression had clouded every aspect of my life, making it difficult to do normal daily tasks, let alone lead a group of students. Growing up, I wasn’t taught how to properly deal with my own struggles in a public setting. I mean, there really wasn’t a need. On the contrary, problems were dealt with internally. However, when we take a position of leadership in ministry, so much of what we do is on display, for better or worse, for eyes to see. So, when I realized how deep my depression was, I had a choice to make. Either I would address it or pretend like it wasn’t there.

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Programming with a Purpose

What message is your programming sending? Just yesterday, our student ministries team was talking philosophy for an upcoming event. We’re essentially rebuilding this event from the ground up. With that, comes a long conversation about philosophy. In student ministry there should be a purpose and a clearly put together philosophy for everything you do. This applies to weekend gatherings, mid-week small groups, lock-ins, service projects, etc.

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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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Making Intentional Changes

It was two years into my first student ministry position when it became evident, I had a problem. My students–especially my leaders–had negative, critical attitudes toward just about everything the church did. It seemed that any sermon, event, or activity the church engaged in, if it wasn’t new, deep, or against the norm my students would quickly tear it apart and claim it wasn’t from God. Somehow, a culture had been created that believed things had to be revolutionary in order to be from God. It was a culture that was critical and pessimistic toward most of the day-to-day church life.

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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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