Archive - July, 2012

Why Students Don’t Care About Your Message…

A couple of weeks ago I received a promo email from  (You should check them out, they offer great tips, advice, and training for all things preaching and speaking).

Usually I scan these kinds of emails quickly, but this one really caught my attention.

Here’s an excerpt I have been given permission to share with you:

You’ve studied. You’ve prayed. You’ve written and you’ve practiced. 

Despite all that, most people sitting in church aren’t going to sit on the edge of their seats hungry for what you have to say. I wish it wasn’t that way, but unfortunately, that’s reality. 

People won’t automatically listen to you because you’re a preacher. In fact, this may be a strike against you in some people’s minds.  Continue Reading…

ALERT! Deal of the Day: 99 Thoughts on Jesus-Centered Living $2.99

Volunteers – How to Know When it’s Time for Them to Go

There are going to be many opinions and approaches to this topic.  Welcome to mine!  The purpose of this post is to give you permission, nay, the freedom to let go of a volunteer who is just not a good fit for your ministry.  Of course I recognize that they aren’t getting paid.  They are there because they choose to be.  I also have had my fair share of experiences with volunteers who are there to fulfill their own needs and agenda, and not to walk alongside you with the vision that God has given for your youth ministry.  Some may just not be gifted in the role you have placed them.  I also recognize that each situation has its own factors and nuances.  Hopefully this just gives you a helpful perspective to draw from for your own situation.

The purpose of this post is to give you two tools.  First, criteria to judge your volunteers by that will tell you if there is a problem or poor fit.  Second, some simple steps on how to let a volunteer go in the best way possible.  So without further ado…

If you are wondering whether a volunteer is helping or hurting your mission, just consider them in light of the following two lists: Continue Reading…

Volunteer Training: Position, Processes, and Practice

I like to use an American football analogy when it comes to guiding those we call “volunteers,” or “support staff,”  in youth ministry.  (If you knew me you would find this in itself hilarious.)  Still it works.  Imagine your team has shown up for their first game.  You have never practiced together; still you know that you can WIN!  So the team Captain says,  “Alright, the goal today is to make a touch down.   Get the ball from the other team and meet me in end zone as quickly as you can.”    You take your place on the field, wondering why only about one person on your team has followed.   Everyone else looks confused.   “What game is this again?”  one asks.  “We are wearing yellow and they are wearing red, does that matter?”  another chimes in.   “How fast should I run?   Do I knock people down if they get in the way?  I know I am supposed to have a position on the field do I just pick one?”  The questions keep coming.   Those of us who lead the vision are usually in the game because it is intuitive. For the rest of our “team”  his is not always true.    That is why position, processes,  and practice are vital to the growth of our youth ministry.

It isn’t that they don’t want to play,  they are excited to be there.   They want to win the game and simply need some coaching on how to make that happen.

1.   Position:  Not everyone wants to teach a Bible study.  There are those that are relational,  some are administrative,  others like to organize details or make meals.  Yes, yes and yes as far as who you need.   It is  easiest to assess the needs of your ministry and tell people where you will put them.   This is not the most beneficial for everyone involved.    We had a gentleman once who came into our ministry wanting to serve the youth.  Our greatest need at the time was a small group leader.  That is where we “stuck” him.  This lasted about 3 months until he came into my office one day and told me he was going to need to quit.   I could have let him walk out the door,  instead I sat with him and asked “Why” he was leaving.  Had I done something?  He went on to explain that teaching a small group Bible study was just “not for him.”  “I love what you are doing here, I would guess there isn’t anything else you might have?”   Continue Reading…

Recruiting Volunteers: You Need A Job Description… So Do They!

You Need a Job Description….So Do They.

Job descriptions.  Ugh.  That’s how I really feel about them.  They just seem like a waste of good trees and ink.  And they’re tedious.  Have you ever tried to write your own?  I was helping develop my own job description (along with descriptions for a few other staff members) and it felt like all the books in all the world could not contain all the crap that had to go in those documents.

So why bother?

It boils down simply to this – expectations.  Clearly defined expectations are a win-win.  Those doing the expecting win, because they know what they’re asking of you.  You win because you know what you need to do.  Clearly defined parameters.  Easily evaluated performance.  Everyone goes home happy.  (Yes, I know it doesn’t always work that way for staff people – but that’s another blog post for another day.)

So if clearly defined expectation equals a win-win relationship, why don’t we do this for volunteers within our ministry?

It’s a lot of work.  #truth   But it’s work that yields long-term results.  It’s much more productive than, say, driving all over the city trying to find shaving cream that doesn’t contain menthol. Continue Reading…

FREEBIE FRIDAY: Volunteer Training Lesson from Leadertreks!

This free lesson, , will help your adults have a correct view of youth ministry. Many adult volunteers think youth ministry is the ministry of the church to students when in reality youth ministry is the ministry of students to their world.

Phil <><

ALERT: Deal of The Day – Volunteer’s Back Pocket Guide to Sex by Craig Gross

Wow! What a GREAT deal! With this kind of deal you could by your volunteers a copy and still be able to afford a cup of Pike Place Roast! This is a super practical resource for your volunteers and they will thank you for it!

Click on the banner to get the deal!

Phil <><

The Second Most Important Part of Message Prep

When you are in ‘crazy busy  ministry mode’ and you have to put a good message together, what are the elements you spend most time on? That’s the question we’re looking at today…

Last weekend I preached in ‘big church’ on Philippians 2. It’s always a great privilege to preach in church and It’s always a great opportunity for me to advocate for our student ministry. It’s comforting for parents of teenagers to know that their kids are in safe hands… Well, that’s the plan at least!

As I prepared the message last week, I did not feel I had as much time to run through my presentation and transitions. I felt like I had good time to dig into and unpack the passage, (that’s the most important part of message prep), but by the end of the week I had many commitments to take care of and ‘presentation practice’ as I call it, did not get as much attention as I would liked. You see, every message that I give, I try to practice and make sure that I fully ‘own it’ by the time I present it. As Andy Stanley says something like, “if you don’t own your message, why should you expect the people to own it when they leave?”

So what do you do when you are short for time and have not been able run through your whole message sufficiently? My advice: Practice the ‘take off’ and the ‘landing.’

1) The Take Off – This is the introduction where you gain attention, present a problem and give your audience a compelling reason to hang with you throughout the message. Just like an actual take off in a plane, people want to be able get up safely above the clouds and see where they are going without being stuck in the ‘clouds of confusion’ for too long. In other words, it’s imperative that we present the issue and clearly help our audience see where we are going for the next 20 minutes or so. Having a clear ‘take off’ off is essential and will set up the rest of message well.  Continue Reading…

Win a $5000 Back to School Event from Simply Youth Ministry.

If you have not seen the latest Simply Youth Ministry Show podcast, you really should check it out now. On the show, announces how your youth ministry could win a $5000 back to school event. Watch the video to find out how.

You’ll also get some great tips and training from these brilliant guys!


5 Steps To Move Teenagers From Apathy To Service

Coming around the corner at the grocery store an audible groan escaped my lips.  Seriously, there were three lanes open in a store that called for 15?   As you can imagine each line swayed and wrapped back far.  Looking at the frozen food in my cart I hoped we would make it home intact.

About 10 minutes into the wait a woman from another line started huffing and puffing throughout each line complaining loudly at how awful the service was.  Just then another register opened,  but I couldn’t get there fast enough.  Finally another 5 minutes and the manager pointed to me, and said,  “C’mon over!”  Noticing a gentleman with fewer groceries trying to make his way over, I could see his obvious frustration that my bulging cart would jump to the forefront.   Thinking I was being “Christian,” I invited him to go first; as I knew he had been waiting awhile as well.   “Would you mind if we let this woman be in front?”  he inquired,  “She has been waiting a long time too.”  “Of course I responded.”  My thought was,  “What a nice guy, he gets offered the first slot and gives it away.”  I believed he would then take his place right behind me.  Instead he made space for the woman and then himself. I admit, I was annoyed.  My offer was for one not two people with full carts to skip me.   Looking at my face the guy let out a half- hearted,  “Is this all right?”   Mumbling under my breath I sputtered,  “Well I would have stayed in my own line if it was going to be like this.” Continue Reading…

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