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How To Effectively Change Up Your Summer Youth Ministry Schedule

One of the age-old debates in youth ministry is,  “Do we take the summer off?” I have always landed on the side of NO!  As a matter of fact just last week I asked some of my students if they would like to have an intentional “leadership” group over the summer.  Crickets.   Then came the excuses of impending vacations, family reunions, sports camps and of course summer jobs.  Ironically, when I asked which of them might like to help out  with some of the elementary aged day camps we run,  they all clamored to be included.   This triggered a realization for me that it isn’t about IF we do something during the summer, it’s WHAT we do for the summer.

Youth Ministry Summer

Here are the key elements I take into account: Continue Reading…

Youth Ministry & The Art of Running the Race…

A couple of months ago the ministry I work for decided to use the NJ Long Branch Marathon as a fundraiser.  At first I didn’t think much of it.  I’m not a runner.  As a matter of fact I am an asthmatic who is beyond athletically challenged.  This race was for my husband to complete, look at him,  he is built like a runner.   Then our office needed someone to step up and be part of a two person half-marathon relay.  This would mean an almost 7 mile “race.”  Can we revisit that I AM NOT A RUNNER?  Yes, you’re already there I had to start training.

marathon youth ministry

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The Essential Leadership Qualities Of Effective Youth Ministry Veterans

Today we continue our series looking at leadership in youth ministry. If you and I want to be successful in youth ministry and have a lasting impact, there are some key qualities we should be aware of and strive for. Take a look:

Youth Ministry Essential Leader

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Help Students Get Back To The Heart Of Worship

For a variety of reasons in the last 8 months my family and I have had the privilege to visit a combination of about 25 churches, conferences and retreats.   Each of them has had a unique flavor of what they define as “worship.”  To most this is a combination of the music played, the service brought, and traditions displayed.  We have read written prayers, sang hymns, rocked out with a “contemporary” band, and taken communion in a myriad of ways.  Here is what is interesting in our journey:

Worship Praise

1.  My children have been exposed to many approaches to teaching about Christ.

2.  EVERY single leader I have met loves Jesus, with a desire to lead their congregation in “worship.” (Whether or not the people they shepherd respond.)

We have heard it said that worship is more than music and singing, it is about a life poured out for the Lord.   I believe each of us connect with Him in different ways.  Worship to me is about taking the time for our total and complete focus to be on Him alone.  My children have come out of each arena and have learned to critique what they do and don’t get out of it.   I would argue this has little to do with worship and more to do about style. My son has expressed a couple of times,  “You can tell the pastor really cares about Christ, and sharing Him with us.”

This is a life lived in worship.  Their eye is to see the Lord first and foremost.

In this process my children had a chance to stand in front of a large congregation recently and ask a crowd of people they didn’t know, to support a cause they have started to support Haiti.  They hated it.  It pushed them to remember who they were in this for:  their comfort or their Savior.   My family has seen in their own lives ways they CAN worship the Lord.  Sometimes it is through singing or the Word, other times it is in service, always it is in the everyday learning to know Christ and bring the Good News to a broken world.

A couple of weeks ago at one church we were lead to sing something that is quite popular on Christian radio right now.  Afterwards as a family we discussed it.  My daughter mentioned,  “I like the song, but I don’t get why we were singing more about us than the Lord.”   Learning to see his face in every setting is a valuable lesson.  Too often we compartmentalize our worship and teach students to do the same.   We intimate,  “Here at church, or youth group,  the conference,  at camp,  in this setting this is where we worship God.”  While it is amazing to be in a gathering with other Believers “worshipping” it is hardly the definition of this word.  Instead 25 settings have taught us this:

Worship is about learning to be in awe of God in every setting, in every moment of every day. Can we teach this to the generation behind and ahead? How are you coming back to the heart of worship with your students?


photo credit: via

How to Create a Culture of Service in your Youth Ministry

Recently I videoed a bunch of the teens in my youth program and asked the ambiguous question:  “Why do you come?”

The overwhelming answer was, “I love to come and serve.”

This answer shocked me a little… From the answers I was getting, you would think I have this awesome structure where each teen is that learning service is beyond a one day “event” or trip. Instead we have been working on this “idea” far more than it feels like we have “done” anything. The question I was asking was,

“How did we arrive at a place where our students love to serve?”

I bet you’re wondering too… Keep reading!

youth ministry rake and run

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What My Own Kids Taught Me About Youth Ministry Discipleship

I used to think I knew something about discipleship.   It was about pouring into students who were walking with Christ, and helping them grow.  Sure I would teach them to read the Bible, what church is all about, have a “Quiet Time,” you know the regular stuff you teach someone about what you do when you follow Jesus.  Then my own children started to grow up.

I went from pastoring a youth group to living with one.  My perspective changed radically.

Youth Ministry Discipleship Perspective

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Creating a Community that Welcomes New Students to your Youth Ministry

When the Lord moves your family for his plan and purpose, it is never easy. This means new ministry for you. For your children it also means NEW: Home, School, Church, Youth Group, & Friends…

Everything is about starting over.  It takes a toll on all of you in ways you never knew. This has been my own family for 8 months now.

Newbie Youth Ministry

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Roadblocks to Evangelism: Three Excuses Why Students Don’t Talk to Others

Romans 10:9 tells us,  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Evangelism Roadblock

Just last week I was discussing this verse with my small group of student leaders.  I asked them to explain the verse to me.  They went on to talk of what it means to “believe” in our heart who Christ is and how that brings us into a relationship with him.  We talked about how confessing here is agreeing with Jesus that we can’t “DO” anything to be “saved,” instead it is believing in who Jesus is and what he did for us.  Someone pointed out the idea that we are confessing Jesus to be Lord, and understanding what we are saved from.

Pressing even further I put out this suggestion:  “Although telling others about your relationship isn’t mentioned in this verse, what do you think about that idea? “  They of course gave me the “Sunday School” answer (these are my student leaders after all) and said they thought it was a good idea. After all if you love Jesus you should tell others right? So I asked,  “When is the last time you told someone about your relationship with Jesus,  and inquired if they have one too?”

Silence.   Followed by looking everywhere but me in the eye.   Followed by more silence.

“What stops you? “  I asked. This is when they discussed three major roadblocks to students “evangelizing.” Continue Reading…

Part 4: FREE Training Video: Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry – Dealing with Angry Parents

I remember the first time a parent called and yelled at me.  No I mean literally,  came through the phone and almost strangled me.  It threw me off guard and I had no real idea on how to respond.  This video walks us through the process of how to deal well with that angry parent and how to reach out to them with integrity.

Here’s our final video this week. To check out the rest of these videos and more, go to our


Talking to Angry Parents Discussion Notes

  • What is one thing you can do to diffuse an angry parent?
  • How can your team get involved with talking to parents when they get angry?


Part 3: FREE Training Videos: Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry – Conversations…

Our post today involves two videos.  For some of us having a conversation with parents is easy.  However,  if you have students who come and their parents do not attend your church,  have you thought about how to start a relationship with parents?  Sure “cold” communication is easy.  Send an email, or have a passing conversation asking a parent for something gets us what we need.  However, if we are genuinely having a “partnering” mentality we are opening the conversation to ask the parent what THEY need.  Even if these conversation ideas seem simple to you, take the time to share them with your team.  I have found,  training my team,  is often reminding them of simplicity they already know.

Take the time to wrestle with ideas of how to open dialogue with EVERY parent in your group.  While both videos start the same, they do have a slightly different piece of information. Watch them with your team and use them as a training opportunity. It’s our gift free to you!


Here’s the second video: 

First Conversations WIth Parent Discussion Notes (click here)
  • Who is one parent you have never talked with you could reach out to this week?
  • How are some ways your whole team can start talking to parents in your group?
  • How can you have an attitude of partnering with all parents?  How could that happen?


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