Each week, we scour the web for great articles on youth ministry, social media, and blogging and offer the best of them to you. Here is what we have found to be good reads this week. If you find something you like, let us know what and leave them a comment on their blog.
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With a new year comes new opportunities. The question is not if we will change, change is inevitable. The real question is how will we change? For the better? In a specific direction? You may role your eyes at that because your experience with resolutions is that everyone breaks them and while valid, I challenge you to look beyond that. Of course, with creating new years’ resolutions bring the possibility for the now tacky breaking of such goals. This is not another setup to fail kind of resolutions, but a reorientation to do better this new year.
When creating resolutions, you can try to do a cold start and hope to achieve a goal or you can build off of a recent success and build momentum. At the same time, you can create undefined and unachievable expectations of yourself or have clear and reachable goals that you can reevaluate in a few months if progress is too fast or too slow. Remember that we need direction and motivation, not another setback. Here are four personal goals of mine for the new year:
- Become A True Family Man
I am an achiever, a go-getter, a hard working guy. All of these are good qualities to have and all were instilled in me from my father. But in the last five years, my priorities and goals have changed significantly. I love to be productive, which means doing youth ministry reports or writing a blog entry while watching primetime television with my wife. Unfortunately 75% of my time goes to what I’m working on, 25% goes to the show, and 0% goes to her. Unacceptable. Instead, the goal now will be to not bring work home, EVER! This does translate into not getting home til 6PM, but when I am home, I will be fully present.
- Become Healthier
These two words, while vague are a powerful thing. With a baby on the way, the inevitable late nights, and trying to keep up with this new addition, I need to change some habits. This means no more soda, maybe ever. I am a soda fend and my wife hates it, so I need to change. This means regular bedtimes. Even with the newborn and all of the 2AM diaper changes, I need to try to be in bed by 10PM every night unless ministry or emergency gets in the way. This means that I will be dedicated to at least three hours a week of working out. Not a big goal, but an attainable one for now.
- Stretching Myself.
I will admit that ministry lately has been me doing things that I am comfortable doing. I love working with those I am familiar with, which is one of the reasons why we have such a weak outreach program here. The desire is that I will overcome (or at least work with) my introvertedness and begin to build a well-oiled outreach program. (Any suggestions?) So I will be investing 5 hours a week to outreach and hopefully we can reach more students for Jesus.
- Get Out Of The House
I can easily get into a mode of simply working from the house. I send about 10 hours a week in ministry doing administration work and it is just as easy to do it from my house and saves time. But I can find myself after two days stuck indoors, never having left. My goal is to do at least 50% of the work from a different location than home and be out of the house everyday.
Will you be making any New Years’ Resolutions for self or ministry? If so, what are they?
We will be taking a bit of a different approach to blogging the rest of this year. Instead of approaching each week with “What topic should I write about now?” we will be scheduling out the topics for six weeks to see how this format works compared to before. Granted, this will only be the youth ministry side of our blogging as the technology world is too volatile to plan out more than a couple of weeks in advanced.
We hope that this will also aid in our efforts to start utilizing a weekend guest post system that we are putting into place. While the guest posts are free to write about whatever God leads them to put into a post, we will provide them with a list of topics we are constructing that may spur further thoughts. This is just another set in assisting the whole process for this blog and explore different styles and approaches.
Here are the topics for the next six weeks:
- Essentials in Youth Ministry
- Youth Ministry and Family
- Student Leadership Impact In Ministry
- Parents and Dating Teens
- Volunteer Leadership
- Youth Ministry and Hurting Teens
We are curious, how do you approach blogging? Do you have a schedule, strategy, or tradition? Do you simply write whatever is on your mind at the time and hope that something comes along consistently? Have you heard of other approaches or strategies that are different from the traditional versions being utilized today? Share them in the comments.Continue Reading...
We wrap up the week’s youth ministry series by taking a very practical look at how I had an effective plan for successful youth ministry. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
People measure success in many different ways. In fact, if you do youth ministry, you know all of the different people that have buy-in to it. You, the students, your volunteers, the parents of the students, your senior pastor, the deacons, the congregation, other youth ministries you work with, and more. Each of those people may have a different way of measuring success. And while many think that numbers are evil, you need to be able to actually be able to measure if you are succeeding. Attendance numbers are easily measurable, but that does not quantify real discipleship.
I do want to be clear about one thing. Measuring success is not comparing your ministry to others. They have their ministry that serves that part of the community. If we start to compare ourselves, we begin measuring their goals to our ministry and that always makes someone look bad. Separate your ministry from them and recognize God’s blessing on your specific ministry.
- God’s View Of Greatness.
God’s view of greatness is not what the world would call success. Look at Matthew 5 and see how He wants you to success in life and ministry.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- Ensure Everyone Is On The Same Page.
Find out who has important buy-in to your ministry and include them in on the process of measuring success. Maybe the senior pastor helps you decide what the goals of ministry should be this year. The volunteers are shared with the goals and how they will be incorporated into the plan to success. And the parents hear a monthly or quarterly update on how those goals are being fulfilled. The most important part of this is communication.
- Constantly Evaluate How It Is Going.
This means that we have quantifiable goals that I can achieve, meet ten new friends of students currently attending or have volunteers run 25% more of youth group. We do not have control of who gets saved or even comes to events and so those would be bad goals. Our goals are year-long at USAFA Club Beyond and every quarter we look at the progress. If things are way off, we are just killing it or not doing as well as possible, we look at why. Maybe our goals were unrealistic or we didn’t (and couldn’t) see tough barriers. So we readjust those goals into new twelve month goals. Because we are constantly tweaking and reevaluating the goals, we never actually reach them, but are always growing and improving.
So what would you count as success? What are your goals?Continue Reading...