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Lonely in a Crowd

Have you ever been in the middle of a crowd where you didn’t know anyone else? It’s actually pretty easy to feel alone in the middle of a crowd. It’s also a common occurrence in our schools and youth groups and it breaks my heart.

Youth Ministry
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A Follow-Up: Welcoming Young People in Our Congregations

Last week, we had a guest blogger for the Youth Network who did a wonderful job reminding us of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways we label young people and keep them at arm’s length in our congregations. So, if we are going to own this challenge we have with making young people feel welcome, what are we going to do about it?

Youth Ministry
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3 Subtle Ways the Church Talks About Young People

In the mind of Christ, young people are not animals, aliens or closed spaces. Those things scare us. When we are scared of them, we can’t love them. Instead, we call or yell at them from a distance to come to Jesus, come to faith and come to church, but Jesus said, “Go. . .into all the earth,” not get them to come...

Youth Ministry
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Teach Your Children Well (and Teach Them to Tithe)

My oldest son has a part-time job and I’ve realized that our church doesn’t have anything set up to receive his tithing.  Sure, he can drop cash in the offering, but there’s isn’t any communication, offering envelopes, or focus on his tithing. How cool would it be to have a focus in our youth ministry around tithing?

Youth Ministry
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Threats to Evangelical Christianity

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently completed a survey of evangelical protestant leaders and the results show a deep concern around the negative impact of secularism on the future of evangelical Christianity. Do you think your youth group shares that concern? It would make a great discussion topic.

Youth Ministry
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Dealing with Tragedy

If you’ve been a youth leader for a while, you’ve had to work through the pain of tragedy and death with your youth group members. Whether it’s a member of your group, a family member or a friend from school, tragic accidents and death certainly creep into our lives. Youth groups are a healthy place to help students deal with their emotions ...

Youth Ministry
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Whose Job Is It to Raise Godly Teens?

Several years ago, a few teens from the church youth group were caught drinking alcohol in a motel room on a school day. Angry parents demanded to know, “What are you teaching our students in youth group?” It was shocking that parents were so quick to lay blame on the youth pastor and his volunteers.

Youth Ministry
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Coaching and Mentoring for Youth Leaders

In the business world, a significant number of executives rely on coaches or mentors to support their ongoing personal and professional growth. More and more pastors and non-profit leaders are turning to coaches/mentors as well.  Hey, if it works for everyone else, it will probably work for youth leaders too!

Youth Ministry
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Get Your Youth Involved in VBS

Maybe it’s too late for this suggestion, but if your church is running a Vacation Bible School later this summer, consider getting your entire youth group actively involved in the program.  My experience is that this will bring a wonderful energy to the VBS, and it will have a long-lasting impact on both your youth group and youth involvement in the church.

Youth Ministry
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Youth Ministry Networks Revitalize Leaders

A congregation cannot have a healthy youth ministry if the youth leader is not emotionally healthy. I would urge youth leaders to consider forming small networks with 3-4 other youth leaders in order to build up their own well-being and energize each other.

Youth Ministry
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Youth Service Projects that Revitalize the Church

In both the CRC and RCA, there are a number of congregations worshiping in very old sanctuaries that need significant work. For some of these congregations, the contributions of members barely cover assessments and salaries and leave little or no funds for building upkeep.  Rarely do I see youth group service teams come in 

Youth Ministry
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Praying Over Your Youth Group

So how many members of your congregation pray each day for a student in your congregation? Have you asked them to? How many students do you lift up in prayer each day? I believe the one of the most important actions a youth leader can do is to pray for students and offer members of the congregation that same opportunity.

Youth Ministry
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Communicating with Parents of Your Youth Group Members

Last week I blogged about a communication strategy with your students.  I thought I would add some thoughts on how to communicate with the parents of youth group members as well. If you build a partnership with parents and keep them involved in your youth ministry, you’ll have far fewer surprises and far more support.

Youth Ministry
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How are You Getting Your Message to Your Youth Group?

I love to talk about communication strategy and how to ensure the correct message gets to the right people.  I frequently work with congregations, church plants and sometimes youth leaders to figure out how to communicate well with their intended audience. In this case, the focus could be on the best methods to communicate with youth.

Youth Ministry
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Ramping Up our Diversity Discipleship and Resources for Youth

Of all the topics I’ve been asked to provide as a youth leader, diversity discipleship and preparing students for a multiracial future in the Church is not one of them.  I wonder why? As I look at the world through the eyes of our youth, I am even more unsure as to why this topic is so often ignored

Youth Ministry
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Should Young People be at Synod?

Should more youth be represented at Synod? And if so, how would they be represented? By participating? By watching? By participating in various service roles at Synod? Do they want to be at Synod? Lots of folks say that youth are not the church of tomorrow but instead are the church of today. Do we mean that?

Youth Ministry
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Youth Ministry All Summer Long

Does your church stop youth ministry in the summer? If so, you may be missing out on an opportunity to connect with students in a slower, less stressful window in their lives. 

Youth Ministry
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The Belhar Confession and Youth Ministry

At Synod and throughout the next year, the CRC will be considering whether or not the Belhar Confession should become one of the confessions of the CRC. But I’m far more interested in seeing it lived out by the Church.

Youth Ministry
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Is it Important for Youth to Attend Church with Their Parents?

At one of my previous churches where I was a youth pastor, the lead pastor did not want us to pull students out of church for our own youth service.  I now attend a church that has a church plant right on the same campus and some students prefer to go to this service, rather than the regular church service.  We are getting pushback from parents 

Youth Ministry
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Youth Leader Time Management

I don’t think any ministry jobs can be molded into 40-hour a week, five-day schedules. I know that youth ministry positions certainly can’t fit that corporate model. I think that causes friction in some churches where parishioners believe that they should find a youth pastor in the office when they visit church. 

Youth Ministry
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Can Ecumenism Spill Over into Youth Ministry?

In all of my years of youth ministry, I rarely brought our youth groups into interaction with those outside the Reformed tradition. Honestly, many of the parents of our youth members were probably glad I didn’t. I’ve been blessed by my relationships and work with a variety of Christians. So why haven’t I brought that same blessing to our youth group?

Youth Ministry

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