student ministry

Navigating Each Level of Contact Work

Navigating Each Level of Contact Work

Regular and consistent contact work with teenagers (or any of the people within your sphere of influence for that matter) is the most effective way to disciple, lead, and influence others. I believe in the 'program' and what it means for the community, but nothing replaces church - that face-to-face time in the name of Jesus - outside the walls.

I stated my reason for the question of "Why" for Contact Work in my previous post titled, "Doing Healthy, Faithful Contact Work." I want to encourage you to read that post before continuing with this one, especially if you wonder why contact work is necessary. In that post, I share my own story of how one event at a high school football game forever changed how I lead in student ministry. 

Doing Healthy, Faithful Contact Work!

Doing Healthy, Faithful Contact Work!

My very first experiences of 'doing' youth ministry did not occur in a church or youth room. It happened at a high school football game. 

After joining a student ministry outreach organization during my freshman year in college, my supervisor approached me and said, "Clear your calendar for this Friday night. You and I are headed to a high school football game!" While apart of me felt excited for the adventure, another part of me felt a bit confused as to why I would start my tenure in youth ministry at a high school football game. Could my time be better utilized preparing a talk, recruiting volunteers, or starting a small group with a few guys?

Youth Ministry Answers!

Youth Ministry Answers!

Just a couple of days ago, some great people in the field of Student Ministry launched a brand new, fresh podcast called "Youth Ministry Answers." 

Though brand new, it will soon become one of the must-listen-to podcasts in the field, and I highly encourage you to go over to iTunes, download it, and make it a regular rhythm of your podcast diet. 

But what if you are not a Student Pastor? Is it still worth it?

5 Things Great Student Pastors Choose to Believe

5 Things Great Student Pastors Choose to Believe

Yesterday, I shared with you about a new initiative started by a high-impact family-based ministry organization called Orange. This week, they officially released the launch of Orange Books, a digital library of their most recent publications. 

I highly commend this resource to you, regardless of whether you are a full-time Family Pastor at a large church or a caring adult who loves on your neighborhood kids. These resources will equip you to do better work with families in your sphere of influence. 

In his latest book, Ben Crawshaw outlines 5 things that Student Pastors should choose to believe (really, 5 things that everyone should choose to believe) in order to do great in ministry. He lists them as follows, Student Pastors who thrive choose to believe that:

How Should a Christian Respond to Power #loveGodloveMexico

How Should a Christian Respond to Power #loveGodloveMexico

If you follow Jesus, then what does a faithful response to power look like for you?

I want to think about this question with you for 2 reasons:

First, during our time in Mexico together, we confronted a countless number of situations where all of us felt either powerful or powerless. And those feelings shaped how we related to others in Mexico, as well as our faith in Jesus on a personal level, and I believe that this same dynamic holds true for us no matter where we live and visit. Ultimately power shapes our relationships with one another and with God.

And the second reason why I want to address this question with you is because every single one of you is a powerful person. You - every single one of you - possess power.

And what is power? Power simply defined is influence.

You are an influencer.

Conversely, however, you are also influenced. Every one of us in some way or another is influenced by others. Depending on the situation, there are others in positions of power and influence over us - whether that person be a supervisor, family member, friend, or stranger. All of us encounter people who influence us, and still the question remains even in those situations:

“How should a Christian respond to power?” If you follow Jesus, then what does a faithful response to power look like for you?

Professional Initiatives: 5 Habits to Begin Your First Month on the Job

Professional Initiatives: 5 Habits to Begin Your First Month on the Job

I began work at Hillside Church almost 3 years ago. When I started, I knew very little about how to conduct myself on a professional level or use my time. 

I can remember jumping into my first weeks headfirst, working more than 80+ hours for at least the first 6-8 weeks. I met with folks, studied, set up my administrative tasks. 

And I loved it! 

But I almost burnt myself out from ministry altogether within the first couple of months of my new job. Additionally, I spent the next couple of months trying to catch up on the very things that I neglected due to misplaced priorities and poor direction. 

Upon reflection over the recent years, I want to offer 5 healthy professional habits to begin doing during your first month on the job.

7 Reasons Why I Chose Squarespace Over Wordpress

I took the plunge and haven't looked back. 

I created my first Wordpress self-hosted website in December 2009 at the recommendation of one of my seminary professors. She made the argument that a personal website would make myself more marketable to find a job. A couple of my close friends had created websites - mostly for blogging - so I decided to leap off the cliff, too, and see where it could take my job hunt. Plus, it's kind of fun saying that I have my own personal website. Thus, I found my own hosting service, set it up myself, and uploaded a free template to design it. Remarkably, my website did help me land my first job, and I've been using my website as a means of writing and exercising my creative, theological, and ministerial muscle ever since. 

But I must confess: I literally have logged thousands of hours using Wordpress, studying it, and developing mastery of it - only to still feel frustrated and unsatisfied at the limited options for guys like me who don't know code. Everything from exploring themes, finagling templates, updating software, installing plug-ins, you name it! 

4 Ways to Promote Your Ministry Without Selling Your Soul

Last Sunday, I think I may have turned off two girls to our student ministry because I tried to pitch a sales call to them rather than promote our ministry in faithful and realistic terms.

I believe that one of the greatest false temptations for our churches, especially our student ministries, is that we need to compete with Katy Perry.

Selling our ministry for more numbers sells out the Kingdom of God and degrades the only purchase with eternal value: our salvation!

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