Archive for September, 2007

Expectations To Hold For Any Youth Worker Volunteer

(Again, inspiration from Tim over at Life in Student Ministry for the idea on this post.)

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I’ve had this on file for quite some time and I know that I have handed it out to many of our youth staff but it bears repeating…

  • Commit 3 hours per week to the youth group – mostly at Impact and weekends
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to all scheduled events and stay until the end.
  • Call or email me as soon as you know of a conflict that will prevent you from attending any event.
  • Attend a bi-monthly leader training event
  • For your small group – Learn every teens name and an interest that they have.
  • Interact with every member of your small group, being careful to spend equal time with all of them.
  • Participate enthusiastically in scheduled events.
  • Receive a weekly update from me – with prayer points and areas of need to recruit in the small groups.
  • Come to me any time with concerns or suggestions.
  • Experience successful and not so successful gatherings.
  • Feel energized after youth events.
  • Feel tired after youth events.
  • Communicate regularly with the parents of the students in your small groups.
  • Celebrate students victories with them & share these victories with their parents.  (parents love to hear the good stuff that their students are caught doing!)
  • Communicate with me (PK) if there are any behavioral issue that need discipline. (don’t go this alone.)
  • Communicate with students outside of Impact and GCC (but clear it with their parents first)  Use a variety of communication methods – MySpace, Facbook, IM, email, text & cell, face time is always best but many times a simple connection can make all the difference in the world to a student.
  • Never allow yourself to be alone with a student of the opposite gender. (Protect yourself and the students that we minister to.)
  • We are not licensed counselors.  (and that is o.k.!)  Understand your limitations and look to others who are better trained for professional help.
  • Passion!  We are not looking for warm bodies at Impact.  We want people who are passionate about connecting with students and helping them connect with Jesus.
  • Criminal Background checks will be run on all youth staff.
  • No adult youth worker is to date a youth or be romantically involved with a youth.  (Any adult with prior incident of sexual misconduct in this regard will not be a youth worker or serve in any capacity of youth ministry at Impact.  There are no exceptions.)
  • To serve on the youth staff at Impact you must be a member of Grace Capital Church.

The bottom line is Youth ministry is not the easiest ministry in which to serve, but it can be one of the most rewarding.  It is o.k. to feel inadequate about your skills.  Your confidence will grow the more you are around the students and experience how God can use inadequate people (like us) to do great things.
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Student Ministry (by & for)

I am so glad that we have developed Impact as a student led ministry!  The perspective that the students bring to the table with what we do makes a world of difference.

It has been a few years now since we transitioned from an adult only leadership and the benefits have been amazing.  We have seen students own this ministry – so much so that they sometimes have things planned all on their own that we know nothing about!

From greeters to worship teams to our small group leaders, we have youth involved in all aspects of our ministry. There is a dramatic difference in the reception of a new person walking through our doors when there are students meeting them and greeting them and introducing them to other students.  Rather than having an adult be the first person they meet they are connected immediately with other students just like themselves.  This sets the tone from the onset that Impact is a place for them.  Having students make the welcome and announcements again sends the message to the students that we as the adults are more interested in sitting with them and getting to know them than in getting up on stage and “putting on a show” for them.

In our small groups we have a great mix of adult leaders and student leaders.  We are always on the lookout for up and coming student leaders that we can work with and get ready to grab a small group of their own.

While there is always the danger of leadership going to their heads and having the students develop some sort of messianic complex we do well to keep an eye on all the leaders and help them remain humble.  No leader is above being corrected – myself included – but that comes from making the invitation to all of the leaders to speak freely if there is anything seen in our lives that does not line up.

First and foremost when identifying new leaders we look for people who are already doing the work.  We look for the natural leaders who just can’t help but serve, and then we work with them and help develop them into even more effective leaders.

The video below shows just one more reason why we empower and release students into leadership.  If we didn’t do this I can think of 2 students (Doug & Drew) that would be outside of Starbucks right now doing the “Frappe Rap”.  Thank God they lead worship instead…

(The idea for this post came from Tim Schmoyer over at Life in Student Ministry) 

Using Podcasts at Impact

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It’s been over a year now that we have been podcasting our weekly messages to the youth here at Impact. We do this for several reasons:

1. Communication to Parents

2. Accountability to Parents and Leaders
3. Students miss a week

4. Online Listeners

As we plan out our messages in series we work right along with our Sunday message series. By sending one central message to not only the adults but also to the students there is much more family interaction that can take place. Imagine families talking about what God is doing in their lives through each generation! We podcast these messages specifically so that parents can tune in and listen along. Parents can now listen in and ask direct questions of their students that will draw out more information and help empower the parents to disciple their own kids. If the parents can use this as a tool to communicate with their students then we all win.

This also adds a level of accountability to the students and myself. There have been times a statement has been made by me in the message that has been taken out of context by a student. By podcasting the messages there is the ability to listen along and clear up any confusion. It also helps when the students give the standard answer, “Nothing” to the question, “What did you talk about tonight?”

I’d like to think that there are youth that tune in and listen when they miss a week so they won’t feel like they missed out on an awesome message. (but I am also a realist and acknowledge that they are probably just IMing their friends and checking their MySpace…) Podcasting does give students the ability to catch up on what they may have missed out on. I know of one family that heads off to Florida each winter and their daughter keeps in touch with what is going on here each week by subscribing to the podcast.

I have actually received emails from people in Scotland and Vietnam who tune into the podcast each week. I am still humbled to think that we have a worldwide audience for Impact.

If you have not yet tuned into our podcast now is a great time to subscribe. You can tune in at home or take us with you on your iPod.

(the idea for this post came from Tim Schmoyer over at “Life in Student Ministry”)

The Office: Summer Files

I can’t wait! Just a few more days and then back to the grind…

Tonight…

I’ve been waiting long enough.

Clean Water Wells

I am so excited! At the B.A.B.E. Event that we had this past weekend they took a collection to help raise the $20,000 that we are shooting to raise before December 31, 2007.

They collected $704.61

Thank you B.A.B.E.S! Your generosity will help bring life to many people for years to come.

Joy…

Just got this picture from the Smyths over in Rwanda. Tina & Brock Harriman have J.P., their new baby boy! The picture says it all…

B.A.B.E. Event

I am so proud of Kim (my wife) and the whole team of Youth leaders that we have for getting this B.A.B.E. Event put together!  It begins tomorrow morning at 8:30 and there is a great level of excitement in the air.

B. = Beautiful

A. = Accepted

B. = Blessed

E. = Eternally Significant

I can not wait to hear the testimonies that will come from this day with all the girls from around the Northern New England area.  We have Andrea Stephens and Lisa Velthouse here with us this weekend to speak and share with the our young ladies and I know that the message they bring is one that will help correct the twisted, broken message that girls hear from the world that make them try and fit into an image that they are not created to fit into.

Please join me in praying for an amazing day for these girls!

Distractions & Hope

I don’t think I need to write anything more about this other than the simple encouragement to all of us to not allow anything to distract us from following Jesus every day of our lives…

If you are struggling in your life with temptations, addictions, misdirected affections – allow Jesus to free you from those things.  Ask Him for help, connect with other people who can walk with you and help you.  You are not alone, you are loved by Him and many others who have yet to even meet you.

There is great HOPE in Him!

Creativity At It’s Finest

I’m not much of a romantic at all (just ask Kim), but this guy just won BIG points!  To anyone who is looking to ask your girlfriend the biggest question of your life – the bar has just been raised…

What length would you go to in creatively presenting the “Greatest Message Ever” to someone else?  How can we as the church be this kind of creative in communicating to people a life changing & life giving message?