Teenagers are…

youth ministry

I started reading Fahrenheit 451 last week, and I ran across this quote and had to laugh:

Teenagers:  They’re peculiar, aggravating, yet easy to forgive. They’re so much more, too–they’re creative, ambitious, crazy, sassy, yet more intelligent than adults are sometimes.

I love it.

What are teenagers to you?

Videos for Student Ministry

fun video, lessons, media, music, youth ministry, youthmin.org

HEYOOO!

I would love to tell you about a NEW RESOURCE for STUDENT MINISTRY!

I can’t tell you how many times people in our YouthMin.Org private Facebook Community post the day of youth group, “Hey, does anybody have a video for ______?”

I usually hit up Google and give half-serious, half-kidding, but all-terrible videos for them.  I can’t blame them–how many times have I been an hour before youth group and gone, “I’m gonna need to fill an extra five minutes” or “I bet Francis Chan could explain this wayyy better than me” or “I need something funny to connect this truth to my students.”

That is where VideosForStudentMinistry.Com comes in!

There are many different categories. I’ll share some of my favorites for you!

Funny

Stuff Christian Singles Hear. I’ve heard 100% of these. :)

Sermon Jams

Jesus is the Victorious Ever Present God by Judah Smith. Can’t help but scream AMEN!

Music Videos

“Tell the World” by Lecrae. This is my current favorite song.

Spoken Word.

“GOSPEL” by Propeganda. 100% of youth groups need to watch this. Even white brothers gotta shout.

Clips that teach.

I am Second (Yo Soy Segundo) by Albert Pujols. I had to rep my man, even if he quit repping my city. BONUS: en español!

.

Go to the site, browse, and suggest videos you know! This new site is all a part of the NEW YouthMin.Org that will be launching VERY VERY SOON.  My friend Frank Gil has been working hard on this!

Apathy is not the Problem

christianity, church, leadership, unchurched, youth ministry

Teenagers do well if they want to.  This is a “fact;” there have been many resources trying to help parents, leaders, and youth workers get their teenagers to be less apathetic.  I’ve read some of these, and agree that apathy is certainly a problem.  So, we spend week after week at the pulpits trying to inspire teenagers to commit to change.  We pour into their lives with discipleship, trying to get them to see that someone cares about them, and therefore they should care too.  Yet at the end of the day, we leaders can feel extremely empty and dry.  I know personally that I can pour out everything that I have into students and often times it dries me up emotionally, physically, spiritually.  I read articles that tell me how to motivate, but I feel like I’m doing my best job!  I’m sure everyone who reads this relates to this frustration.

So what if apathy isn’t the problem?

It’s certainly a problem; I mean, if it’s not our teenagers’ lack of motivation, what is stopping them from growing in faith?  Instead of simply trying to inspire them, what if we looked at what they’re apathetic about and encourage change in action and not in behavior?  The mentality is no longer “Teens do well if they want to,” but “Teens do well if the’re able to.”

This model was first described in the book The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene.  Watch him explain more about this idea in this video.  I attended a training session on this idea this last month, and wanted to share what I learned with the youth ministry community.

Under the mentality of “Teenagers do well if they’re able to,” it’s no longer about if they want to or not.  Some teenagers want to advance the gospel but still can’t because all they’re being told is “do it” but they don’t know how.  Some teenagers want to quit a particular sin, but don’t have the tools to stop.  They want to, but can’t.  If you give them the tools, they’ll be able to.  And for those teenagers who don’t want to, even Martin Luther King couldn’t inspire that teen; but if you teach them the tools, they might change without even wanting to.  It’s like a teenager who doesn’t want to go to school–the underlying problem is they think they are stupid.  If you educate them, they can succeed anyway, even if they never wanted to. Ha! Tricksy!

This changes our roles as youth leaders drastically:  We are no longer a motivator, but an equipper.  Greene says that with the old model, our job greatly narrows what the teenager can do in their life–making them want  to do something and nothing more.  Under this new model, pastoring is not as much about transferring our desire for the gospel, but our knowledge of the gospel.  Pastoring isn’t about motivating teenagers with the best fluff and feel-good stuff you got, but about giving them the tools.  Sure, apathy is a problem.  Yes, we should definitely try to inspire and motivate our students to share the same passion as us.  Of course, there will be some teens that don’t change; this model is not the answer to all of your youth ministry problems.  If you give them the tools and they still aren’t changing, then you shouldn’t feel dry as you may have before; you’ve done your best job as a youth pastor.

What do you guys think about this model?  How do you think this may impact the way that you do ministry? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

#LikeForLike

networking, youth ministry

Instagram. I love it. Don’t you? But if you follow your teenagers on there, along with the duck faces and mirror shots, you see a whole lot of:

#likeforlike

#commentforcomment

#followforfollow

Teenagers scream out for affirmation, and in turn they give it to others.  Just look at how popular it is.

securedownload

At first I thought this was a pretty silly idea.  Are you so desperate for people to “like” and comment your pictures, that you will use a hashtag and then like a bunch of other strangers’ stuff?

But then I realized:

  1. It achieves their goals.
  2. So it’s really not that bad of an idea.
  3. We kind of do that as  blogging youth pastors.

 

So what do you guys think? I’m thinking that for every like, comment, or share that I get on a post either here or on YouthMin.Org, I’m going to go to that person’s blog and show them some love too.  I blog so that people can read it and interact with me, and if someone DOES (which can be pretty rare…ha. crickets), then I want to interact with THEM.  Act out what I believe about blogging being a communal thing.

 

My friend Jeremy over at 78Productions started a “Commenting Army.”  I am one of about 15 bloggers who vow to read and comment every week on each other’s stuff.  You don’t have to make such a commitment  BUT I encourage you to reciprocate some of the love you receive on YOUR blog.

 

So what do you think?  Teenagers aren’t so crazy, huh? ;)

Women in Youth Ministry: My Story @youth_min

Contributions, women, youth ministry, youthmin.org

Female Youth Workers

This post originally appeared on: http://www.youthmin.org/women-in-youth-ministry-my-story/

I broke the youth minister mold, and I am admittedly proud of it.  I’m young, I’m single, I’m female.  Yet at about 23, I’ve already had multiple internships in churches of differing sizes andserved as the youth minister in a small, Southern Baptist Church for two years.  I’ve surprised myself, surprised others, and have come a long way in a short time.

Growing up SBC, I wasn’t sure about a woman’s role in the church. I heard all these sermons about spreading the Gospel, yet I didn’t see many women who were serving in leadership positions.  In middle school, my youth minister was a female, but she left and a male took over the group.  All of my friends’ churches had male leaders.  When I was called to ministry at 17 years old, it was the conviction within the members of my church that pushed me to embrace the opportunity.  Yet, although everyone saw my calling, it was hard to place me in a role.

I recently graduated from an SBC university with degrees in Youth Ministry and Theology.  Surprisingly all of my ministry professors embraced women in ministry; however there were no female professors within the college of ministry/theology.  Most of the other women in the ministry program did not feel called to the church setting, but a camp or unchurched setting; so I was pretty unique in that.  The church I ministered in was also in the town, and it was well-known throughout my colleagues and professors who I was and what I did.  My male colleagues never challenged my role in the local church, yet voiced their opinions about the ability for a woman to be in ministry in classes of which I was not present.  The most ignorant comments usually came from people who were just meeting me and weren’t within the ministry college: “Women can do that now?!”

When I first got the position at that church as a real, legit “Youth Minister”, I didn’t have feelings of excitement, but overwhelmed.  I had theological convictions, but no examples of women who had “made it” to be a woman in youth ministry.  I knew women could be youth ministers, but I wasn’t convinced they could in my church.  These thoughts were the pins and needles I walked on throughout my two years at this small church.  At larger events, I wouldn’t talk for more than ten minutes for fear that someone would consider me “preaching.”  I had trouble finding a male volunteer to disciple the males in my youth group one-on-one.  I was afraid of over-stepping boundaries because I was a woman.  And why?  Because I had no examples of how to do ministry as a woman, just the assurance that I could.

I sought out an online network of ministers.  I grew encouraged by women who have been doing youth ministry for as long as I have been alive, and also grew with noobs like myself.  Yet there still weren’t a lot of women in these communities; this may be representative of the youth ministry community (especially with similar theological dispositions as mine), representative of women like me who were afraid to speak up, or representative of women who have time to network on top of other things (like raising families).

On my university campus I was an officer for a national organization dedicated to educating and discipling a generation of ministers.  I also intentionally developed relationships with women in the college of ministry/theology, offering a support and model of a woman who “made it” (even in an SBC church!).  This was my baby—I found my voice and became a role model for women in ministry.  This is where I found the ability to be a woman in ministry—a bold leader who embraces her spiritual gift of teaching and womanly gifting of exhortation for the Kingdom of God.

What do I personally want?  I want the stereotypes to end.  I don’t fit the current mold—I’m not athletic, I don’t own TOMS, and my guitar skills are mediocre at best.  And just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I can’t control my PMS and I’m too emotional to give hard truth to people (anyone who knows me can tell you I’m a truth-puncher).  I want people to look at me and not see a little girl wanting to play church, but a woman who is passionate about ministry and is theologically and practically trained.  I want people to stop thinking that because I’m not married, every aspect of my life needs to be devoted to the church and I need to be willing to step in for “extra tasks”.  I don’t want people to expect me to stop ministering when I actually do marry and have children.  And when I do decide to have children, I want a church staff to not find another minister just because I need a pregnancy leave.  I want church staffs to take me seriously, not as “the girl on staff,” but the Youth PASTOR.  I want to be paid the same as a man would in my position, because I’ve worked for it just as hard, if not harder because of the gender-persecution I have overcome.  I want to “preach” and not “share,” and maybe even in “big church” once in a while.  I want churches to quit asking me how I relate to teenage boys, when they don’t ask men how they relate to teenage girls.  More than anything, I want people to understand my Biblical and cultural convictions that women can be leaders within the local church.

I know that I haven’t experienced everything there is to see in ministry.  I’m sure I will see more discrimination.  But even more, I will see a generation of women rising up and embracing opportunities for leading within the Church.  I want to be a part of the generation of youth ministers (both male and female) that don’t just teach theologically that a woman can take part in ministry, but show practically so that women won’t be afraid of leading.