TYMB 005: Youth Ministry Chat with Josh Robinson

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Highlights:

  • The more time you spend in ministry, the LESS events you want to do.
  • Do fewer events and make them higher quality.
  • Put more energy & resources into your WEEKLY ministry.
  • Don’t Event yourself to death.
  • We don’t have to keep our students busy to protect them from the world!
  • “Your job is to mobilize students & volunteers to fulfill God’s calling on their life.”

These are just a FEW of the tips Josh offered us! Take a listen for yourself!

Also, check out Josh’s blog!

We would love to hear from you! Please rate & leave a comment if this podcast was helpful!

Student Pastors, Love Your Wife!

You have heard people say, “a HAPPY WIFE leads to a HAPPY LIFE” or “If SHE ain’t HAPPY then NO ONE is HAPPY” and this is soooooooooo true!

Just like we should make spending time with God a priority, we must make spending time with our wife a priority!! She needs to feel LOVED and feel as though she is more important than your ministry because she is!

If your MARRIAGE FAILS then your MINISTRY FAILS! Make DATING your WIFE a DISCIPLINE! Make LOVING your wife a PRIORITY! Put her on your prayer list not only to pray for her but so you remember her daily and how blessed you are to have her!! Write down special dates in your calendar so you don’t forget to remember days!

HAVE a DATE NIGHT

Pick a night during the week and make that date night for you and your wife. Don’t let anyone interfere with that night. If you have kids, hire a babysitter that night or if that is too expensive make a deal with another couple that you will watch their kids one night if you watch theirs one night. You and your spouse will begin to look forward to that night! We must be INTENTIONAL when it comes to our wives!

SPEAK her LOVE LANGUAGE

I, for the longest time didn’t know my wife’s love language! I was writing her a note instead of figuring out her love language was gifts and quality time. This will help you tremendously by allowing her to FEEL LOVED!

If you don’t know each other’s love languages set aside some time tonight to take the 5-minute test to discover what they are!

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/

God wants you to LOVE your WIFE BETTER than you LOVE His!

Your students and children need to see how much you LOVE your wife and how important she is to you! Students especially need to see more couples who love each other and see examples of Godly dating/marriage!

Don’t let her question for a second that you don’t think she is important!

Ephesians 5:25
New International Version (NIV)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Michael-Hux.png[/author_image] [author_info]

Michael Hux is the Student Pastor of Team Church in Matthews, NC.

Connect with Michael on Twitter or Instagram: @_Hux

 

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The Disciplines of Youth Ministry

Our team has been challenged to think about the rhythms of our work week in order to work together more effectively. As I was looking over a “typical” week in ministry (if there is such a thing) I noticed some recurring themes. There are a few weekly habits that I do every week and I keep doing them in order to have a vibrant life in ministry.

In the Christian life we have daily/weekly/monthly/yearly habits that help us remain connected to our Creator. In student ministry I have habits, or disciplines, that keep me going in the right direction. I’m not saying that my list is the best list, but it’s worked for me and might spur on thoughts for your own life. Some of these disciplines didn’t come naturally early on in my ministry but through constant practice they have become a natural part of my life. That’s what a discipline does, it trains us to become natural at what doesn’t come naturally.

Discipline # 1 – Planned Inefficiency. I realize that inefficiency can have a negative connotation in the American church. We strive for effective time management and productivity. The problem is that when I get to the end of the week and have not slowed down to read/think/pray I end up losing my creative edge and my passion. At the surface, slowing down for reflection seems like the worst use of time, but in the long run it fills my well with great ideas and new ministry direction. So my discipline is to spend at least two hours a week in prayer/reading/reflecting to create the mindset I need.

Discipline # 2 – Time With Teens. This is an obvious one so I’ll make it short. It’s amazing how many youth pastors I know of who don’t spend time with teens of any sort. I don’t get it. It’s like the restaurant owner who never stops to taste a meal. I NEED regular time with teens or else I will go crazy. That’s how I know I still love student ministry. Middle schoolers keep me sane. So my discipline is that I get together for breakfast once a week with a small group of guys. It’s the highlight of my week.

Discipline # 3 – Parent Communication. Each Tuesday I send out a parent email. The content is information, training and encouragement. I’ve found that having this weekly discipline keeps ministry to parents on the forefront of my mind. It reminds me weekly that an effective ministry engages, equips, and partners with parents.

Discipline # 4 – Leader Development. My leaders need constant care and empowerment. If I let even one week go by without engaging them then I am draining the lifeblood out of our ministry. I need a discipline of leader development so I don’t try to do ministry on my own. So my discipline is to send a leader email each week and have at least one face to face meeting each week.

Discipline # 5 – Church Connection. Our team leader remarked this morning that some of us come into the office to get stuff done, others come into the office to connect with others. I am definitely a connector. I find that if I spend too much time working from a coffee shop I lose touch with the pulse of the rest of the church. I know that I need to make a habit of being in the office so I can bump into people, share stories and hear what’s going on. When I neglect this discipline I become solo artist instead of a true team player.

What are your weekly disciplines? What habits do you practice to make sure you are heading in the right direction? Are there any that you need to start doing this week?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/LibickHawaiiChristmasPhoto.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]

Boo

Jimmy Kimmel has done a bit the last couple of years where he asks parents to tell their kids that they ate all of their Halloween candy, and then video the response. It’s my favorite part of Halloween. I love to see the kids go absolutely ballistic when they don’t get their way. I need to know who my future politicians will be (low blow?). It makes me excited to be a dad some day. You should pray for my future kids. The rest of Halloween I could do without. You could say I don’t fancy Halloween much. I don’t enjoy all the dark images, demons, and evil that surrounds it and I definitely don’t trust candy from strangers. I know it makes me sound old school, kind of like your grandma, but I have never liked it.

The truth is that the rest of the world seems to be going in the opposite direction. Before I moved to Round Rock, TX (original name I know), I barely saw Halloween decorations, but now our neighborhoods are filled with them… my neighborhood is filled with them. It makes me wonder about the kind of people living around me when their yards are filled with bats, ghosts, tombstones, dead bodies (fake I hope), and all sorts of ghouls. I’m just trying to survive this crazy holiday.

Don’t get the wrong impression though, just because I don’t like Halloween does not mean I’m the kind of youth pastor that rants to my students about how terrible it is. There are battles I choose to fight and spend my time on in youth ministry…this isn’t one of them. I won’t spend Wednesday night talking about how it’s wrong to go to haunted houses or dress up. I will ask my students to be safe and wear appropriate costumes.

As youth pastors we have to be mindful of the tone we take about such matters. Blasting Halloween may remove your opportunity to talk about the deeper issues of the holiday. Halloween carries a ton of spiritual aspects and image struggles for students, whether it’s girls with their body image or people simply wanting to be something else. When discussing topics like Halloween, I do not want to be a ministry that simply lays out a bunch of do’s and don’ts, telling people what to think and never teaching it’s people to think for themselves. Choosing to fight a surface level cultural battle may mean you lose the chance to talk about the spiritual war going on. Here’s what I mean…

The other day some people in our Lifegroup of young married couples were talking about one of those demon movies (aren’t all scary movies these days?) and I made an off hand comment that we don’t watch those. They thought this was weird, you could tell. At this point they felt the need to clarify, they said they don’t watch scary movies that could actually happen, but since demons aren’t real then these are fine. To them, movies with demons are okay because they have no real elements of evil within them. These are “good” church going people and they don’t believe demons are real.

Our world has an odd concept of evil. We agree that murder is wrong, rape is wrong, and bullying is wrong. It seems our world has a concept of what’s wrong with the physical world, but when it comes to a spiritual realm we leave that to people with backwards beliefs in third world countries and the charismatics. Many people in the church today do not know or believe in “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12)

Our churches today have shied away from talking about this realm. We act like it doesn’t exist. Often, celebrating Halloween the way that the world celebrates it, lifts high the spiritual evil and darkness of the world. It magnifies darkness, death, evil, fear, anxiety, and demons. While I will concede that most of this is done in the name of “good fun” and “pretend”, I would contend that this ignorance and embracing of evil is the greater problem. Many people are worshiping darkness without understanding what they are doing.

demon treats

For many students, you are the most spiritual person they know in their lives.
It’s my prayer that when you speak to your students about Halloween you will use it as an example to teach truth about the spiritual realm. This holiday opens up massive opportunities to have honest spiritual conversations. We can not run from it or ban it. Our world today is more interested in it than ever and it’s not going away any time soon, no matter how much you yell about it from the stage. Let’s be youth ministries that respond and teach well, no matter our preferences.

And for all you Halloween people, enjoy seeing all the foxes, Miley Cyrus’, Monsters’ U, Minions, and whatever else is popular right now. I’ll be on my front porch chilling, handing out candy and watching out for crazy neighbors.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/BrandonWeir.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Brandon Weir is the Student Pastor at The Fellowship Round Rock near Austin, TX. What does Brandon love? “I love my wife Jules, my dog Ranger, Texas Tech, being outdoors, the Texas Rangers, camping, hiking, reading, Torchy’s Tacos and I love me some Jesus.”

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Tips on Planning a Retreat

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One of my favorite kind of events that leads students to grow spiritually are retreats. It creates an opportunity to get away and focus upon investing in their lives.

But how do we plan effective, life-changing retreats?

The first question we must ask is, “Why are you doing it?”

Purpose of retreat: Leading students to imitate Christ through spiritual growth, building relationships and worship.

Steps to planning

Retreat parent letter with info (mail out 3-4 weeks before the event)
- Create a promo video that highlights the event (Answer these questions: Why should I go? What is it? What will I miss if I don’t go?)
Scholarship Form 2013 (allows us to help students who can’t come up with the money for the retreat)
– T-shirt design
– Small Group team names for the retreat
– Online sign-ups
– Brochure sign-ups with medical release form included
– Decrease Schedule
Mega Relay Challenge (big relay race on Saturday of the retreat)
– Name tags (the front is for students to write their names in with sharpies and the back is pre-made with the schedule)
– Food (breakdown each meal to a cost per student)

Leaders

– Small group books
– Host Homes
– Transportation list

Strategy

- We planned a “pump up” night the week prior to the retreat to prepare small groups and help them grow in unity before the retreat even started.
– We enjoyed a recap night the following week so students could share testimonies in their small groups of life-change.

Examples of what I use to plan a retreat:
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What would you add to the list of tips on planning a retreat? 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/joshrobinson.png[/author_image] [author_info]Josh is the student pastor at Church @ The Springs in Ocala, Florida (www.thesprings.net). Josh has served in student ministry for 9+ years and has a passion to lead students to imitate Christ and influence the world! He has a personal blog at http://joshrobinson.cc[/author_info] [/author]

Ministry is a PRIVILEGE!

Ministry isn’t the easiest job at all. It’s extremely messy because I’m a sinner dealing with other sinners. It takes a lot of prayer. It’s sometimes inconvenient and there are times that are very tough but this isn’t something that you should dread and it is something that you should look forward to every Monday morning!

Because…

Never forget that people are giving their lives around the world to do what we do!

Praise God every chance you get that He has given you the opportunity to carry His name and share His name.

We GET to share GOOD NEWS!

We GET to teach any student anything from GODS WORD!

We GET to help parents point their student to JESUS!

We GET to get PAID for it! (Even if it’s not that much)

We should not expect our society or the news media or the entertainment industry to honor us as we carry out our Lord’s commands.

“Ministry is not a right, it is a privilege. Its not about the messenger, its about the MESSAGE!” –James MacDonald

By nature we are not worthy to be called one of his children, let alone his spokesman or ambassador. Nevertheless he gives us that glorious privilege to serve him in this way.

Psalm 115:1
Not to us, Lord, not to us 
but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Michael-Hux.png[/author_image] [author_info]

Michael Hux is the Student Pastor of Team Church in Matthews, NC.

Connect with Michael on Twitter or Instagram: @_Hux

 

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Make the Most of Flop Events

I can see it coming already. Sometimes you realize that events are a bust when the doors open. This time I know it’s going to be poorly attended already a few days out. This Friday is the perfect storm of school dances, homecoming games and birthday parties that compete with a small group fellowship game night. Even the guys from my own small group students aren’t coming because of a school dance. These scheduling conflicts are things I didn’t know about when we put the calendar together months ago. I was really excited about this event. We really felt like it was creative and risky and would be a great way to give our small groups ownership and community.

In the midst of the discouragement. I am finding joy and contentment because I know that this just one event…one of hundreds I’ve put on over the years. Most of which I can’t really remember. Some of them were amazing and some were busts. When facing the reality of a flop event remember these things.

I’m glad we took a risk. Once a year I like to try an event we’ve never done before. It’s easy to do the old standard events year after year, but innovation and imagination aren’t sparked that way. The moment you stop trying new ideas is the moment you stop growing as a leader. Sometimes the risk will pay off big time, other times they will flop. You’ll never discover the great ideas unless you are willing to risk the flop. This week I was blindsided by something I didn’t even think about (school dances). Next time, I will remember to ask when they are. It’s a lesson I can learn for our next calendar.

“Where is everyone?” NEVER, EVER ASK THIS QUESTION to students at an event. This will give the impressions to the kids who DID show up that it’s OTHER kids who are important. A wise person reminded me long ago that God always brings students into our ministry who need to be there. The students at who show up at a low turnout event are the ones that God wants you to be minister to. Don’t think about who didn’t show up. Think about the ones who did!

Bring the energy anyway. It’s tempting to phone in the energy level when there is a low turnout for an event. Less kids = less effort. As a leader this is death. It’s not fair to the students who did come the event and a bad example for your leaders. I’ve found that you can turn a flop into a success simply by bringing my best energy and excitement along with me.

So when the doors open Friday night I’m going to bring my best energy, be thankful for who shows up and be glad we took a risk. It’s a choice all of us can make when faced with a flop event.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/LibickHawaiiChristmasPhoto.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]

In-take and Create

It’s happened to us all, we sit down to create something for ministry and there’s nothing. We’ve pulled up to Starbucks or closed the door to our study to write another sermon, curriculum or blog deadline (gulp) and we’ve got nothing… I mean nothing. Everyone is looking to you for the next great idea for your upcoming event and you have no idea how you are going to engage your group’s imagination. Or maybe you are at the other end of of the spectrum right now; you finally have the time to take a break and refresh your soul in the Lord, but you’re getting nothing from it. For a month you have looked forward to that free Saturday that you blocked out to spend time with the Lord, but you don’t feel like you got anything from it. The job of a pastor is learning how to consistently and creatively pour out from a place of being filled up by God. We seem to be in a constant fluctuation between taking in and creating. Finding a productive balance that is not completely draining is difficult. For some of us, balance may seem elusive, a myth, like it’s the Yeti of ministry. 
 
I preach/teach a lot in my current role, more than I feel comfortable with but this is my current stage in life. I know, I know, you’re going to link some article about students needing to hear other voices or training up other teachers but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.The reality is that as difficult as it can be at times, it’s been good for me as a young pastor. I’ve learned so much about finding a rhythm, trusting God, and striking a balance between in-take and create that I would not have found otherwise. I wish I could tell you that I learned this truth without messing up and wearing myself down, but it would not be true…I’m a slow learner. Yet God is faithful, and He has used this period of my life tremendously to grow me as a communicator and a creator, but mainly as a follower of Christ. 
 
Whether you know it or not, finding balance is important to your life as a pastor. It’s a question of health. Young ministers coming out of school seem to fall victim to this at an alarming rate. They have spent years building up all these ideas and thoughts, only to exhaust themselves and their ideas six months into ministry. Like a person who has dove (dived, doven, diven?) too deep and is struggling to make it back to the surface, they desperately need air to breathe (refreshment). Often, we hide behind the excuse of being too busy. If you are ministering well, you will live a busy lifestyle. You might need to cut some things out of your life to find balance. Skip the Grey’s Anatomy Netflix marathon this weekend. Get off of Twitter. Stop listening to the podcast. We can not just resign ourselves to being on the razor’s edge of burnout forever. Striking a balance of taking in and creating leads us to a healthier place.
 
In-Take
 
This is the beginning stage of creating anything for God. Do you have grandiose aspirations of being an author some day? Are you tired of singing every one else’s songs? If you have ever wanted to create then you must refresh your soul in the Lord on a daily basis. This is the time we spend with the Lord, thinking on the Lord and learning new things about the Lord (note: this is not sermon preparation). As a minister, you have to spend time with the Lord. It’s probably not a new revelation to you that Jesus retired away to a quiet place to be with God, but it’s still true. Jonathan Edwards used these verses to show that Christians need to wake up early to spend time with God. I will not go this far, but I will tell you that you must allow your personal relationship with Christ to remain a priority if you ever hope to minister effectively. It’s important to realize that we do not spend time with the Lord so we can write an inspiring blog or paint a beautiful painting; we do it to know the Lord. Outside of this, reading books, listening to music, sitting silently, and being around God’s creation are just some of the many ways we can refresh our souls.
 
Create
 
We are all made to create. From the beginning of humankind, we have been called to create. It’s a purpose given to both Adam and Eve. It is a natural outflow from the worship rising within our hearts and a release for us as human beings. God created beauty for us to interact with. It’s not just looking at a beautiful sunset, but it’s writing, drawing, making music, and a hundred other expressions to God. If you do not think you are creative, it simply means you have not found your creative expression. Creativity has nothing to do with talent. You are not creating for others, you are creating for God. We express the new life we have in Christ by being creative. In a recent keynote, Tim Cook of Apple (yes that Apple) said that “designing something requires focus.” This is true of creativity… it will require focus and time. Let’s be people that create for the glory of God. 
 
These two worlds have to be balanced. If we are simply taking in we will quickly become spiritual gluttons. If we are creating too much then we will always be running on empty. Here’s a few things I’ve observed:
 
1. There’s beauty and immense value in both of these working together.
 
2. Habitual unconfessed sin disrupts these processes. 
 
3. You have to make time for both. The Enemy will tell you that you don’t have time, but this is a way of keeping you unhealthy. 
4. You will need to plan small moments of refreshment and larger moments of refreshment. You cannot hope to run to the point of exhaustion and just plan a day away and hope to get refreshed. It needs to be a regular part of your life, even if it’s 10 minutes of quiet a day. (car ride home!)
5. Schedules and discipline is vital for both of these. Do you have a set time for both of these? If you don’t, it’s the first step towards health and balance.
6. We all have different ways that we do both of these.
What are some of the ways you in-take and create? 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/BrandonWeir.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Brandon Weir is the Student Pastor at The Fellowship Round Rock near Austin, TX. What does Brandon love? “I love my wife Jules, my dog Ranger, Texas Tech, being outdoors, the Texas Rangers, camping, hiking, reading, Torchy’s Tacos and I love me some Jesus.”

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It’s a Boy

It’s 5 am. My wife is resting, and my new born son is laying in the crib next to my fold out hospital bed/couch.

Life. Is. Good.
God. Is. Good.

My ministry just got a little bit bigger.

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My prayer is that Benjamin will be a man of God, passionate about seeing others know, love, and worship Jesus. My prayer is that I will father him in a way that stirs his affections for Christ.

Life. Is. Good.
God. Is. Good.

Love Jesus More Than Your Ministry

If you’re anything like me you get caught up in wanting your ministry to get better and better and better and better and you spend a lot of time DOING Ministry but don’t spend as much time BEING WITH JESUS!! I’m so GUILTY of this!!

We get busy doing stuff FOR JESUS but neglect to spend time WITH JESUS!!!

LOVE JESUS more than ANYTHING ELSE!!

If we want our MARRIAGES to get better, SPENDING TIME WITH JESUS is a MUST!!
If we want to be the best PARENTS, SPENDING TIME WITH JESUS is a MUST!!

You can never SPEND ENOUGH TIME with JESUS!!

-One of the most important things you can do before you leave your house for the day is to SPEND TIME WITH JESUS!

-If we want to REFLECT JESUS in PUBLIC we must SPEND TIME with JESUS in PRIVATE!!

 

“Whatever you do don’t get these OUT of ORDER!!”

-Love Jesus First, then your Wife and Kids, then your Ministry!!
-Your FIRST MINISTRY that God gave you is your FAMILY!!
-Ministry starts at HOME!! Don’t lose your FAMILY trying to serve the CHURCH.
-“FAMILY is your #1 CONGREGATION”!! –Larry Osborne
-“LOVE your WIFE more than you LOVE the CHURCH. The church is JESUS’ BRIDE, not yours!” –Craig Groeschel
-“Don’t allow increasing ministry to decrease your 
intimacy, and don’t let your service exceed your 
worship.” –Doug Fields

The best thing you can do for your
students and ministry is to love Jesus more than both of them.

Philippians 3:8-10
New International Version (NIV)

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death!!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Michael-Hux.png[/author_image] [author_info]

Michael Hux is the Student Pastor of Team Church in Matthews, NC.

Connect with Michael on Twitter or Instagram: @_Hux

 

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