John Piper: Youth Ministry

I recently listened to John Piper talk on the topic of Youth Ministry.
His sermon was very good and really challenged me.
It is a free listen at desiring God.com, where you can stream it or download it.
I highly recommend listening to it.

Here are some things that are stirring me still as I reflect on his sermon:

Let the Word of God burn in our hearts!
If we youth ministers really let the Word of God resonate in our hearts and minds, if we truly reflected on and memorized the Word before we began teaching our students…can you imagine what our sermons would sound like? Imagine the impact of the Word in our students’ hearts and minds?
If the Word of God was burning in our hearts, then it would begin to burn in our students’ hearts as well.
We would start a revolution, a fire for God!
Sometimes we just work week-in, week-out. We do enough to get by, maybe read over our message twice and the Word of God is not quite resonating in our own hearts, let alone our students’!

Let us pray over the Word before we begin studying for our sermon/talk. Let us slow down! Let us settle on the Word. Let us delight in the Word. Let the Word BURN in our hearts! Open our eyes Lord to the WORD of God! Let the Word shock our students’ lives. Let us have ONENESS with God and His Word! That is radical but it is real.
This is how to start a revolution! Take delight in God’s Word in your own life. Take care of your walk. Let the passion of God’s Word pour out and infect our students!

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Question Time….

How do we go about making church, a family ordeal? More family oriented?
It has been my experience that teenagers stay at church when their families (their parents) are committed, involved with, or at least encouraging their teens to go regularly.
The past two years, several teenager have left our ministry. Many of them did not have too much agianst us or our ministry, they simply did not have the encouragement from parents and other family to continue going.
When their parents quite going or started slacking off, slowly they began to follow suit.

So I am asking my blog audience for some ideas, suggestions, on how wto connect with parents and keep the entire family churched…

Websites I check compusevely (Not everyday)

Besides my emails, Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter profiles:

Most of these websites send me email subscriptions (so I don’t access their web page directly very often but I do read the articles in the emails) sometimes I click on a link in the email that leads me to their site.

http://www.preaching.com/
– Culture Connection Updates

http://homeword.com/
– Daily Devotions

www.tjosm.com – The Journal of Student Ministries Updates

http://www.SimplyYouthMinistry.com – Simply Youth Newsletter and Podcast reminders

The Boundless Show– Boundless Webzine

Plugged In – Focus on the Family’s Culture Connection

Youth Walk – Walk through the Bible Ministry for Youth leaders, weekly devotionals

Youth Ministry / Group Magazine – Youth Ministry.com Newsletters

CPYU.org – CPYU Newsletter: Youth Culture, articles

http://www.cyfm.net/– Center for Youth and Family Ministry Newsletters

I wish to work my way out of a job

In a perfect world, there would be no need for a “youth minister.”
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Can you imagine the power of an effective godly family?
Picture mom and dad sharing the Word of God with the kids after the dinner meal around the dinner table everyday.
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Good Biblical training and teaching starts at home not the youth minister’s office or youth room at the church.
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My job as a youth minister is not just about helping and leading students to Christ, but when possible, I help parents train their students. I give parents resource to help them. I spend time with the old guys too.

Parents sometimes rely on youth ministry too much. Just dropping off the kids and then leave. It is sad, but it is where our culture is at today. I pray that parents stay for church too.

I pray that youth ministry could rely on parents, not the other way around. I pray for godly parenting. Here are some great parenting links:

http://www.cpyu.org/Default.aspx
www.homeword.com
www.cyfm.net

more normal than I thought

We always hear about the great stuff big churches are doing. But what about the rest of us? Mel Walker addressed that question in the May/June issue of YouthWorker Journal.

Here’s part of what he said:

We seem to glorify today’s megachurches, with their impressive facilities, attendance records, growing budgets and programming abilities. Even many youth workers tend to be attracted to the trappings of what large churches have to offer.

Yet most of us youth workers serve in small churches. According to a 2003 report from The Barna Group, fewer than 2 percent of churches in the United States have 1,000 or more adult attendees. In fact, the typical Protestant church has fewer than 90 adults in attendance on an average weekend, according to Barna, a prominent research organization.

Statistics from my fellowship of churches, the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, substantiate Barna’s numbers. A few years ago our denominational publishing office commissioned a survey of its customer base, which included more than 10,000 churches from several different denominations. Among the results was this note: The average church size was around 80 people, with approximately four teenagers.

Sure, the big churches get all the attention and may be able to attract more students through their programs and facilities. It’s understandable for adult youth workers in smaller churches to feel frustrated at times about the lack of money, facilities, volunteers and even the overall lack of kids, but the truth is the vast majority of churches do not have impressive buildings, budgets or numbers to garner a interest from anyone other than the regular members or attendees.

Yet, a friend of mine has observed, “Every large church is doing its best to get smaller and every small church is trying to get larger.”

Maybe he’s on to something there. The current trend toward small groups in student ministry certainly is reflective of youth workers’ observations that there are incredible strengths in small groups. Large church youth workers understand the value of dividing the larger group into smaller units to facilitate relationship-building, adult-to-student mentoring and the development of more effective lines of communication.

Perhaps it’s time to rehearse the positive characteristics of what student ministry in smaller churches has to offer.

For more about this topic, see the May/June issue of YouthWorker Journal.

For me this is encouraging, as I lead a group of typically less than 10 students, sometimes more.

Light bulb idea!: My faith and my small groups

A real life realization about Small Groups

I made a connection today. It was a connection about my life and how I am probably the worse small group leader and youth minister ever.
I have compartmentalized my life and put my role as a small groups leader in a small box, far away from the rest of my life. I am at a point in my spiritual life where I know I should show/display/live out God’s love in my life. I want to do that, in every way. In my Quiet time today it said that sometimes we need to take action instead of giving everything to God and forgetting about it all. It is balance between prayer and action. I had been praying recently about my youth ministry, a lot. I felt that things were not right. I felt that God had a bigger plan for this youth ministry, my small group specifically and those fruits were not sprouting. I was crying out to God about it. Something clicked and these three things came together. I had compartmentalized small groups to my Sundays. I have been limiting my time and energy that I give to my men, limiting it to only one day. I realized that firstly that is not enough. Secondly, I had not taken much action to change this. Thirdly that I am inconsistent – go figure – but I am at a point where I want to show God’s love to people, but yet one of the biggest ares of my life that God has given me a chance to do this is right in front of me. It is on my mind, I am praying for these guys everyday. Why don’t I show them more love. Spend more time with them and try to become a better small group leader?
Here are some articles I have been reading lately that maybe will help you be a better small group leader too!:
Doug Fields- 10 things a great Small Groups leader does

Kevin Mahaffey Jr – 11 steps to effictive Small Groups

steve jobs and youth ministry

This is such an interesting video. While Steve Jobs makes some great points that really do relate to youth ministry, which makes it funny and makes the video…I did some research and and there is no way that Steve is really talking about Youth ministry. Steve is not a Christian and has experimented with Eastern religions. Others say that Apple is a religion. I am guessing this video is edited assortment of clips. Yet I still enjoy it and agree with the concepts that are being applied to youth ministry.