Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Use Your Requests Wisely...

There are tons of ways to get a hold of students. Some are obviously checked more frequently (twitter, Instagram, text, calls) and some not so much (Facebook, email). Its pretty easy to send out a message to get a hold of someone, but the biggest thing is the response. Sure you can send out tons of messages and even get some responses back, but many times they get left out in their inbox without any action.

Even times of personal invitation to come to something, you get mixed responses. We are in the generation of "maybe." Everything is maybe, we'll see, or possibly. Theres a great lacking of reservation or commitment present.

With this said, for both you and your students, multiple requests without attendance gets old. This brings us to the great wisdom I'm writing about. Use your requests wisely. Make sure the thing you are asking your students to come to will be positive, impactful, fun, and full. More events equals less attendance, more work, and lots of awkwardness. Less events (at least right now) equals more attendance, positive feedback, and a fun time.

Another great thing to consider is if this event is worth the invite. Is this an event that will lead them to Christ, or help them follow Jesus? Will it lead to another event that will help them in their walk?

These are the things I tend to forget to ask myself.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Consistency Is Key

As a youth leader, one of the toughest things I've experienced is having students remember events and then getting them there. Once they are there, you're golden.

I've tried to schedule things throughout the week and have had some moderate success with attendance. But when you get to the nitty gritty, an inconsistent schedule has led to mostly failure. The type of schedule I'm talking about is meeting for a small group on a Sunday, and then a Monday, and then a... you get the point.  With this said, there's no consistency with meet ups and students are lost. Who's to blame them, people forget church is on Sunday too (that may be too much).

Wednesday nights and events that have been annual are what works. Anything in between, although it may be completely awesome, usually fall short on attendance.

With this said, a lessoned learned by experience is devote your time where its most meaningful. If Wednesdays are going to be your day, make them rock! Put time in where students are already...are.

Friday, July 12, 2013

So... Christian Music Festivals

I just survived my first trip with our Youth Group to a Christian Music Festival. Lets just say, more work than you think.

As a kid, and still today, I love Christian Music. I love seeing the bands play, hearing about songs, and discovering new music. I remember as a kid, I moshed it up with whatever band possible and worked my way to the front to touch the hands of Skillet, TFK, or ABR (I havent washed my hands since- is that gross?). I remember always coming away with wanting more music, or a new band to check out.

As a future Youth Pastor, I want my students to be sponges. I want them to dive into the bands, hear a powerful message through songs, and leave wanting more. But sometimes, it doesnt work like that.

Youth are youth! They are lovers of activity(extra), food, and checking out the opposite sex. Which I totally get, I've been there, but how do plug them into wanting more? How do I give them the desire to go out discovering new bands or using the festival for what its really intended for, rather than stuffing your face with cheese curds (which actually sounds delicious)?

My completely under qualified attempt at the answer: Dont take a large group.

We here have the luxury of having a lot of Festivals within 40 minutes. Most of these festivals are multiday trips. My thought is on these festivals is promote it in your youth group, maybe even buy group rate tickets, but dont go as a group. Then you as a leader/pastor open it up to take a car full of students who really want to see the bands. Have them know that your intent is, which is to be with them and explore the music together. This way you are connecting, having them hear the concerts/messages, and seeing how you worship.

Maybe you even take a new group each day of the festival.  But all in all, I think its way more beneficial of your yearly stress-o-meter and time to take a small group.

Tips for those taking large groups:
  • Take more than 1 leader per 10 students- trust me, you're going to want them
  • Have meet up times with the youth
  • Bring a chair
  • Hydrate them
  • Meet at concerts
  • Have them see you rocking out the way you actually do

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lesson 3 - Expect rule benders

In whatever game, analogy, or "guideline," expect rule benders (or breakers- however you want to put it). You'll come to a time where you have this awesome game or activity planned all the way out to the specifics and see it going so well in your head, but then all of a sudden there will be this group who takes it to the next level. Whatever this level is, it allows them to get an unfair advantage and ruin it for the rest. Its fun and games until it comes to decision time.

With this said, be ready to be firm and decisive on whats "in" and whats "out." From my experience, its always better to error on the side of strictness than being lenient on game-demolishers.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lesson 1.859 - Have some "go-to" students

When you host a large Youth Group, there are a few students who slide between the cracks, as well as students who seem to be with you every step. Embrace the students who are leaders and are in sync with your plans. You as a leader are only 10% of the influence. Peer influence works and is what gets new students. Use those students to help you get the students to whatever event, message, retreat, etc, and then you help those students see the beauty of following Jesus!

With this said, its always great to have a few go-to students to know you'll have on board and show up. They are tough to come across, but when you do, dont let them go to waste.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Lesson 1.0 Pray before planning

You know that new guy in the group who thinks they know what works and doesnt work? That guy who has endless ideas, whether crazy or not, events, and thoughts on how to do a job?

Well thats me. I'm a planner, and I love to get things rolling as soon as they come to mind. Fortunately, I've had a ton of success, as well as many disasterful (thats not a word) ideas.

For example:
Kickball and Sodas for Middle School Students- Success
Planning a camping without committment from other adult leaders- Failure

All in all, being a planner and a person full of ideas is a skill God has given many Youth Leaders. But, I think sometimes we get so wound up and excited with our ideas that we forget to ask God if thats what He truly wants. If we want God to be in control of our Youth Group, we need to remember to keep Him in the coverstation.

Potential Youth Pastor Ordinance 1.0 - Pray before Planning

Who am I?

My name is Aaron, and I'm just a dude taking it day to day. I recently finished up a teaching degree in Spanish and Elementary/Middle School Ed, yet am now pursuing my life long dream - Youth Ministry.

I recently started an internship at my home church in pursuit of being a Youth Pastor someday. With this said I'm all about late nights, chaotic games, and being a life long student (or kid). Ultimately Jesus is the director of me and has certainly turned my life around, which I hope to pass on to every student I encounter.

Throughout this blog, I tend to post from my experiences in ministry. I'm sure we'll hit the highs and lows, mistakes and successes, and the gut wrenchers to tear jerkers along the journey.

Who am I, to have the ability to be who I am and love everything about it?