Category Archives: Youth Ministry
As many of you know, I am the Youth Director at Chinese Faith Baptist Church in Lake Oswego, OR. One of my many passions is to see our young people grow up to not only be Christians, but to own their faith, and to live out their faith daily. As I was thinking, I came up with 7 things that I believe about the next generation. Here are seven things I believe about the next generation (people who are 20 and younger)……………………………………
#1 – The next generation will see one of the greatest awakenings the world has ever seen…I really do believe the Lord is setting them up for it. (Which is why I believe the greatest investment in “missions” that the church can make today is the one to have a dynamic youth and children’s ministry!)
#2 – The way the next generation will view and do church will be different than the way we do it today. They will fully know and comprehend how to reach out to themselves…and our role as a church should be to fund it and not fight it (that line is borrowed from Andy Stanley)!
#3 – The next generation seems to be way more serious about their walk with Jesus than my generation has ever been.
#4 – I believe those of us who are “more mature” (OLDER) should seek out those who are in their teens and listen to their questions and frustrations about life and church without coming down on them. If we will listen and patiently explain things there could be way less tension between generations in the church. Might does not make right. And…the “mature” people should always be the first to step into a relationship with the next generation!
#5 – I fully believe that the next generation has no earthly idea what God wants to do in them and through them…and if we will teach them to be fully surrendered on a daily basis, our children, grandchildren, and teens in our youth groups will see God do things we didn’t even think were possible.
#6 – I believe the next generation is not content with borrowing the faith of their parents, they are asking questions and seeking to understand WHAT they believe and WHY they believe it…and them doing that is going to equip them to take the church to the next level (I Peter 3:15).
#7 – I believe the next generation is going to refuse to settle for the way things are…and that as their view of WHO God is begins to increase so will their expectation in regards to what He can do.
I have had many opportunities over the last few years to invest in the lives of children, teens, college students, adults, and seniors. I have found that something is missing among people in general. It was not until my junior year of college that I understood what was missing. What am I talking about? READING!!!!
If anyone hated reading, it was me! I hated books. In fact, I never read a book all the way through until college (Wow, did I just say that for the world to see?). As I work with teens and children, I have found a dislike for reading. As a person who works with, and invests in children, teens, their families, and the church, I feel it is extremely important that we teach parents how to change this downward spiral. Here are some options I have for you:
- Have a lot of books: It is important for us to have books in our homes! I never had ANY books until college. When I got married (right after graduating from college) I had three bookshelves full of books! Now Jenn and I have an office that is filled with books! Books help to stretch our minds, and will help kids/teens/adults in many different ways. Check out this article.
- Have a love for Bibles:Of all the books Jenn and I own, we have more Bibles and Bible resource books (commentaries, Bible dictionaries, concordances, and Bible background information and charts). We have a love for the Bible! It is almost a love of ours to have different Bibles. While we have the Bibles we use daily (NKJV Women’s Study Bible for Jenn, and the ESV Study Bible for me), we also have different Bible translations to reference or read for something different as needed (NIV, NASB, NRSV, Message, Amplified Version, Chronological Bible). If you own a lot of Bibles, you are able to focus your life on the Word. Having different translations helps you have a Bible that your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, parents, and friends can read. NOTE: I believe that which translation you choose does NOT matter as much as finding one that is Faithful.
- Connections: This is probably the HARDEST part of being a parent, teacher, or person who invests in the lives of children and teens. Many people find that the Bible is “boring” because they don’t see how it connects to everyday life. My suggestions
a. Know your Bible: this will allow for you to take everyday situations and connect them to the Scriptures. This will help to show the significance of the Bible in their lives. See where Jennifer did this very thing right here.
b. Encourage your family to read their Bibles! I have friend who has a family reading time before bed. He uses 15 minutes before going to bed to read the Bible. This also allows for a time to pray over your kids, hugging and kissing, and a chance to “tuck them in” Just find a time that works for your family where you can all (YES EVEN YOU) can be in the Scriptures daily!
4. Talk to your spouse about what you are reading: Of all the books, articles and blogs I have read about having a successful marriage, I have found a common thread: Date Night! Jenn and I have a date night weekly. This could be anything from a movie night at home, or going out and eating at your favorite spot (we like Sushi Land). Use these times to talk about what your reading, what your learning, who you talk to (as for ministry things), plans for the next week, etc. These help the two of you to connect, encourage and pray for each other. It also shows your kids that “mommy and daddy” love each other. It also allows for you to join them in their reading and discussing adventure (but on an age appropriate level).
Do you use Social Media? Should pastors, youth pastors, parents, teachers, and business owners use social media? I was talking with a friend a while back about this very issue. I would like to share a few thoughts I have regarding this very issue. When I say “Social Media” I am talking about sites like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Pinterest, Instagram, and blogs like this one (just to name a few). I hope that through these things pastors, parents, and business owners will find the value of and choose to use social media.
- KEEPS YOU CONNECTED: Social Media sites were designed to help people to stay connected with each other. This is the same reason churches, businesses, and even writers have web-sites. The sole purpose is to help keep you connected with others.
- GIVES YOU EYES: As a parent being a part of these social media sites allows you to see what friends your kids have, and what kinds of things your kids are up to. As a Pastor these sites allow you the same as above (see as a parent) and it also allows you to encourage your flock. You can use these site’s as a way to put friendly reminders about events, and even put an uplifting comment or two reminding them about your sermon and challenge. (keep your eyes open for future posts about this)
However, there are a few things I would like to say about this. Before you go and write me off (as a dumb writer) or do something stupid, please heed these warnings.
- BEING IGNORANT IS NOT A GOOD EXCUSE! Many parents, ministers, leaders claim that these types of things are out of their control. They claim they know nothing about them, so its easier to just let the kids/flock do what they are doing. NO!! Kids and younger generations do know more about technology than say my parents or most pastors and business men. But this is a completely dumb reason to act clueless about what they are doing on-line. It is highly counterproductive to let them use these “free” resources and not have a clue about them. IT”S FREE to have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, account.
- DON”T STALK: I had a friend in High School who got a Facebook account, so their parents did to. The only problem was that his mom asked to be his friend, posted on his page daily little notes that said things like “mommy misses you” and “Mommy loves you” (give me a break, he’s in High school). If you are going to use these networks, please DON’T be like my friends mom.
- Please DON’T post things you don’t know what they mean. One common shortcut in texting, Facebook and twitter is LOL. There was this lady who thought that LOL meant “lots of love”. So she would write a note to her son (text) or family member and would write LOL at the end. However, the people who got the message read it as “laugh out loud” So the messages she sent made no sense. BE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SAYING!!!!!!!
I was looking around on some Youth Ministry blogs, and I ran into an interesting post by Tim Schmoyer entitled “Using expensify.com to track ministry receipts” you can check out his post at http://www.studentministry.org/expensify-track-ministry-receipts/
This seems like a great idea that I might have to try! (I must admit though that I won’t quit holding onto my reciepts until I know this works for me).
What do you think? Is this a good idea? or is it something that you see problems with?
I want to hear what you all have to say.
There are many different views out there on how to do youth ministry! I have been trying to figure out how to put what I strongly believe into words that others could understand. In my experience of working with youth groups, there seems to be 2 types of groups: Those where the teens come & those where the teens have a passion to serve the Lord. I’ve always wondered what the difference was. As I have started a few youth groups, and worked with previous existing youth groups, I have come to this conclusion:
WE MUST PLACE EXPECTATIONS OF GODLINESS ON THE YOUTH (reading the Bible and putting it into practice, coming to youth group regularly, going to church, loving the newcomer etc.) and strive to see 1 Timothy 4:12 & 2 Timothy 2:22 in action. – This has always been my goal. And, as I’ve done this, I’ve seen two different responses. One response is that a number of young people rise to the occasion and actually walk the walk, take Jesus seriously and grow in their faith. However, there is another response from the youth—and opposite reaction to growing in their faith.
It seems as though many youth don’t actually want to be all that godly. They are content with simply showing up and not taking Jesus with much degree of seriousness. These youth tend to drop out of the group or slowly fade away as time goes by.
Now, please hear me, I’m not saying that their leaving is a good thing. Far from it. However, this doesn’t mean that we simply adopt the “just show up and we’ll all be happy principle”. We must shape our youth ministries to encourage and equip godly behavior. In fact, this must be the expectation placed on those who claim to want to follow Jesus. Think Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler – Jesus places godly demands on him, the young man walks.
The one great thing is, when the godly rise to the challenge, everyone wins and the program begins to hum. Bible study is appreciated, worship is hearty, prayer is expected and desired and evangelism is seen as crucial.
So, in short, here is what I’m saying:
-Placing godly expectations on your youth group is a wise, Biblical thing to do (eg. Colossians 1:28).
-Realize that there will be two different reactions (eg. Luke 18:18-25).
-While one will be sad and somewhat painful, the other will be glorious, and, offsets the negative.