"Youth group creates an environment where parents and their children can connect spiritually without any awkwardness, which is hard to re-create even at home." I agree, but both student and parent have to agree on some things.
But selfishly speaking, what I learned to love about Camp the most is something I get out of Camp: the time spent with other youth leaders.
As you can only imagine, there are several reasons to make the trip to Israel. Here are just a few...
I want to clearly define my mission and trust God to open doors for me.
Traditionally, preaching has been a one person monologue delivered from the front of the room to a room of observers. What happens when the audience begins to expect a more immersive experience?
The only way to communicate the truth of the unknown is through the known-metaphor.
Because it wasn't the stories alone that made the parables so powerful. It was the combination of story, image, and metaphor. Jesus preached with a SIM card.
And not only are our brains hard-wired for story, but they are re-wired by powerful stories.
Danielle shares four more steps for learning to share your husband with teenagers.
When you get to put personalities, testimonies, and God moments behind the names and faces, it reminds you that it's worth it.
There's a difference between, "Let's eat grandpa" and "Let's eat, grandpa." Context is everything.
I know I've done a good job planning when I'm not running around at Convention like the proverbial headless chicken.
That day as we sat and talked, we learned we shared the goal of developing students who had a strong faith that could stand the test of time.
The enemy wants to take out preachers and preaching because it is the heart of spreading the gospel. If he can take out the heart, he can take out the life.
Want to stay in the loop on youth culture but don't know where/what to turn to? Check out Chris' list of go-to websites for all things current in youth ministry.
Get the latest scoop on #Orlando13 after meeting our new NYD!
The importance of this key relationship can't be over-emphasized.
In no way am I suggesting that these are the only elements needed, but simply that every youth service needs to have, at minimum, these seven.
When he was asked why he runs, he responded, "God made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure."
Check out this podcast as Rod and Marc Turnage discuss the Emmaus Experience trips to Israel for students, parents, and youth leaders!
Sometimes talents are easy to spot and sometimes they need to be dug up and refined.
Each week thousands of youth leaders put together another youth service, hoping to incorporate dynamics that ultimately capture the attention of students
It’s an extraordinary privilege to partner with our missionaries in resourcing them with the tools they need to reach people with the story of God’s love. Yet there are numerous benefits that can be anticipated in an effective STL ministry.
I was excited to see that the pastor was using teenagers in the service, demonstrating that the main service was a place for them to belong. And then, these dreaded words were said to the congregation...
We're frightfully proficient at deflecting blame and intuitively skilled at protecting self. Everyone loses when leaders don't own up.
We can't risk being careless or naive and thinking, "That will never happen to me."
There is a good possibility that you are listening to music while reading this. But does it sound as good as it could?
Is it possible we romanticize the birth of Jesus? In Ricky Bobby's words, He is "eight pound, six ounce, newborn baby Jesus, in your golden fleece diapers...".
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus doesn't mandate us to reach people, but rather to make disciples and to teach them.
We like to order our successes like we were reading off a menu in a restaurant.
As we approach a new year, have you thought about what 2013 will look like for you and your ministry?
Questions matter. And in youth ministry we need to ask the right questions, or we risk focusing on the wrong ‘answers'.
Daniel is only fourteen years old, but he took the information we gave him and ran with it.
I love to encourage students who want to make a difference at their schools but are afraid to step out. And I also love to shoot down those students who are doing something and have become cocky about it.
Not only are you not alone, but there is more help waiting for you than you think there is.
As I travel across Texas, I ask some of the older people I meet this question: If you could go back and do it all over again, what would you do differently?
With our culture growing increasingly godless, it's easy to feel like you are all alone, as if you are the only one left who still desires to live for God. I think a lot of students - and a lot of adults - can't help but feel this way from time to time
If I could get all of our Campus Missionaries together and tell them six things - and only six things - what would those six things be?
It was 1996, the Georgia Dome was full of clergy from all over the world, and Promise Keepers was at the height of the movement. The challenge was moral purity, racial reconciliation and speaker Max Lucado was given the assignment to speak to denominational reconciliation.
In 2011, there were a combined total of 414.6 million desktop, laptop, and tablet computers that were sold, but there were 487.7 million smartphones that were sold.
There have been many times in the process of impacting this emerging generation with the life-transforming message of Christ that I have found myself surrounded by what I have chosen to call porcupine people.
As a volunteer with a life and limited free time, one of my top desires and, dare I say, needs, is for my youth pastor to make it worth my while to show up. There are three ways the YP can do this: Train me, Thank me, and Unleash me.
Recently I spent 15 hours in a ‘Speaking To Teenagers’ workshop with Doug Fields, Duffy Robbins and 25 NY youth workers. As I debriefed with Doug and Duffy and thought back on the time together, I was left with 3 clear principles when it comes to preparing and delivering messages to teenagers.
Rodney W. Wardwell II
More than any generation that has gone before us, today dysfunction in the family unit has become an epidemic. As youth workers, the question we are left asking is, “What are we to say to help our students deal with their tough family situations?”
Unfortunately, “relevance” has become an overused buzzword in student ministry. As youth leaders, we often think of relevance on a surface-level only.
The public school campus is the epicenter of student formation in your community. On average, a student in America will spend 1,260 hours being educated each year.
We live in an age of rampant indulgence where more is better—faster trumps slower. It’s easy to allow the current of our culture to sweep us away. So what sets a leader apart? What makes you different? In a society out of control, 1 Peter 5:1 reminds us to “Be self-controlled.”
When you set out to do anything that makes a difference, you will most likely face opposition. In fact, if you don’t face opposition, it’s possible that what you’re doing isn’t truly making a difference.
Stories are powerful, memorable and personal; everyone has one. Helping students “give the reason for the hope you have” can be as simple as training them to know and share their faith story.
Jaroy demonstrates the number game.
In my travels across North Texas over the last four years, I’ve often been asked, “What is the best way to reach students?”
My response is always the same, “Start with the schools.”
Join Mark, Chet, Rod and guest missionary Steve Shoop as they discuss helping students get the most from a short-term summer missions experience.
I suppose part of our fallen nature is the tendency to remember negative words and events more swiftly and vividly than moments of triumph and affirmation.
Join Steve, Chet and Rod as they discuss creative ways to get your students to worship, connect with God and others, grow, serve and go, to reach the lost. You’ll walk away with a fresh perspective on the Acts 2 church and how to implement these keys at the local youth ministry.
Someone once asked, "What are the best and worst things about working in youth ministry?" Here are my converse thoughts on both.
STL is a ministry tool to communicate about generosity, compassion, social justice and the biblical motivation for giving. Generosity is a Gospel reality. It’s important we know the difference.
Delegation can be a beautiful thing if handled correctly. Both the individual delegating and the one to whom the project is being delegated can greatly benefit. You benefit with one less thing to do on your daily task list.
Jaroy Carpenter demonstrating how to prime a crowd for games.
I recently had Johnnie Wilson from Faith AG in Orlando to speak at our Youth Convention. Before the service I casually asked Johnnie what he was speaking on? Johnnie replied “Isaiah 6, "Woe I am undone a Man of unclean lips".
Rodney W. Wardwell II
The other day I was having lunch with a friend, and our conversation crossed over to this topic: The Evolution of the Youth Pastor. Recently, I had the honor of celebrating my fifth anniversary here at Central Assembly of God in Enid, Oklahoma and our tenth anniversary in full-time student ministry.
A local network can rally around many passions and causes, but one of the most obvious is the local school. It is the one thing that all youth networks have in common.
The life of a youth volunteer is filled with all types of tasks and responsibilities. Everything from setting up chairs, running the sound, calling students, helping with worship, running errands, attending events...the list is virtually endless.
One of the greatest joys I have in youth ministry is watching others succeed. While youth pastoring in Wisconsin I was able to see many of my students soar in ministry.
Join Rod, Steve and Chet in this podcast, as they discuss how to maximize student ministry throughout the summer months.
Love them or loath them, big events are a part of youth ministry. How do we maximize and sustain the impact of Conventions, Camps, Retreats and the like? Here are some quick tips.
If a youth leader isn’t doing campus ministry, then he isn’t doing youth ministry. A student's world is at school. If a youth leader does not stay connected to the student's world, the ministry's potential impact dramatically decreases.
When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? We all have things we might like to change about our physical appearance. But I’m not referring to outward appearances.
Our family should always come before ministry, but if we aren't intentional and paying attention to this, it can easily shift to our ministry coming before our family.
As a leader of volunteers, I know full well that when you do your job, it helps me do mine. I don't take you for granted as much as you may think. However, there are three things that would help me do my job even better:
In this Vintage OC article, Mark McGrath, former National AIM Director wrote, "When we give to missions, the Lord helps us go."
A youth worker is someone who lives a life worth sharing and then shares it intentionally, generously and lovingly.
What’s the world going to look like over the next 15-25 years? Why is this question important? Because in a short 15 years, a 12 year-old in your youth ministry will be an adult, 27 years old, probably married, with a job, bills to pay and maybe even children.
The distinction between 'male' and 'female' clothing is disappearing. Some clothing stores have even stopped posting signs where men and women's clothing sections begin and end.
How could I create a safe place for these students to grow their faith? I came up with the acronym S.A.F.E. to describe our Sunday morning class. The S.A.F.E. acronym has helped us to discipline in a positive manner and reinforce appropriate behavior.
Ever have trouble getting started in the morning? Be honest - how many times do you hit snooze? I ease into big projects. Sometimes I’m a slower starter. Once I get going, it seems to flow, but it’s the getting started that can be a challenge.
Dealing with disappointment in ministry is a major aspect to survival and long-term significance when it comes to serving Christ as a pastor or leader. Disappointment comes in many varieties: disappointment with God, others, family or just in our personal ministry progress. Here’s how it happens:
I love it when a plan comes together! Every Wednesday night somewhere in America there is a guy or gal that is working their tail off in order to provide a life changing experience for kids to come to and desire to come back to...what about you? How much effort do you put into the 2 hours, or even less, that you have to make a difference in eternity?
This is not an article on leadership. It is an article on Spirituality that crosses over into leadership mindsets and dispositions. "Don't do as I do, do as I say!" Have you ever heard that statement? It's probably one of the dumbest things that I've ever heard from a Christian.
Recently, on a flight from Detroit to St. Louis, I discovered a copy of Fortune magazine in the seatback pocket in front of me. As I flipped through it, I ran across an article entitled “Seeing is Believing.”
In over twenty five years of youth ministry experience, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly that games produce. Probably the most requested component in youth ministry is, “Where can I find games that really work?” I have always said, “It isn’t necessarily the game, its how you use the game.”
Often I am reminded of how much God accomplishes with my little investment. I had what could only be described as a comedy of errors during a recent Sunday morning speaking engagement.
In this edition of ONCOURSE Unboxed, we’ll take a closer look at some of the fears people have when sharing the good news of Jesus and what the Apostle Paul means when he says, “I have become all things to all people” for the sake of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).
It’s important that we lead by example and encourage our students to live out their faith, not cower or shy away from what they believe, but to live boldly. In this edition of ONCOURSE Unboxed, we’ll take a closer look at the kind of impact we have on others when we really live our lives “radically” for Jesus.
The Bible is the primary way God has chosen to communicate with us. Because of this, it’s important that we take the necessary steps to not only understand, but also apply the Bible in our every day lives. As students desire to know God more and understand His plan for their lives, it’s important for us, as leaders, to lead by example and show them the significance of Bible study. In this edition of ONCOURSE Unboxed, we’ll take a closer look at some Bible basics, the history of the King James Bible, and the importance of studying God’s Word.
So you've got students who seem ready to go to the next level in their walk with Christ, but where do you go from here? What characteristics should you look for in a student leader and how can you help them fulfill this potential? Read this week's article to discover some answers to these essential and timely questions.
Not a day goes by without another gut-wrenching tale of bullying making headlines. Despite all the media attention, adults often remain in the dark about what actions to take when it happens to their student — or when their student bullies others.
We know that we should pray for each another, but it’s equally important to discuss our struggles with people we can trust.
An experience loses the ability to encourage, challenge, and motivate others if it is not shared. How many stories are left untold and miss a God opportunity to shape others?
Each of us has unique personalities, needs and backgrounds. As unique individuals, we wear different types of clothing, listen to different styles of music and ultimately respond differently to the world around us. As such, we won’t all respond the same way to a traditional-style gospel presentation. There are many ways to share the gospel. While the message won’t change, the way we share it might.
In this edition of ONCOURSE Unboxed, we’ll take a closer look at Fine Arts and the importance of using our God-given gifts and talents to let Christ’s light shine. As leaders, we can encourage students to be dedicated to excellence and develop a life-long love of learning, all while keeping our focus on Christ.
In this edition of OnCourse Unboxed, we’ll take a closer look at the importance of reaching others with the love of Christ. Compelled by Christ’s love, we can learn to effectively reach out to our home, campus, and community. As leaders, we can lead by example and encourage students to be youth-in-ministry for this time and this place: compelled by love for the cause of Christ.
ONCOURSE Unboxed: Compassion
ONCOURSE Unboxed: Same Sex Crush
ONCOURSE Unboxed: Religions, Part 2
ONCOURSE Unboxed: Religions, Part 1
ONCOURSE Unboxed: The Call
ONCOURSE Unboxed: Relationships
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ONCOURSE Unboxed: Acceptance