It’s that time of year where most people are fighting some sort of sickness. That’s the case for me. Tonight for youth group I couldn’t lead worship and teach. My body and voice wouldn’t make it all the way through. So, as I was thinking about what to do for worship I needed a creative way to run it. As I was picking up my son from his friends house it hit me. Let’s do something new with the technology that is at our fingertips. The answer is polleverywhere.com.

I made 3 free text polls that were projected on the screen…one at a time. One poll said, “God, to me you are…“, “God, thank you for…“, and “God, I pray for…“. Kids texted in their finished sentences and it was projected on the screen…live. While they were texting I had music playing in the background.

Very cool to see what kids responses.

Our regular fall schedule started up again last week. Personally, I felt we did great attendance wise. 20+ each night. (See, we have Jr. High meet on Wednesday nights and Sr. High meets on Thursday nights.) I felt the desire to start out with talking to our regulars. They are the ones that start out with us right away. Then, hopefully, we grow a little. So my messages were geared toward those who have a commitment with Jesus.

In Jr. High, I started out talking about evangelism and how to do it. It seems, now correct me if I’m wrong, that Jr. High students are more bold about talking about faith, Jesus, and church than high school students. I think they took my challenge. Guess what happened? The next week, we had almost doubled our attendance!!!

You might be thinking, “It’s not about the numbers.” YES IT IS! That’s more souls we can reach for Christ. More lives we’ll hopefully see in heaven. That’s more people we can turn from darkness to the light. Don’t tell me it not about the numbers.

I’m super excited to see what God is going to do in our ministry this year.

I wanted to take something old and put a new spin on it for our fall kick-offs. What a better way to make something new than to add black lights! It was too much money and too time consuming to change all the lights in our “gym” so I found a place where you can rent them. I rented 2 from Blank Extreme Entertainment.

Friday Night – we rented laser tag! Games2u is a great company that will work with you. They brag about having out door laser tag (which we’ve done a couple of time…very fun.) but we asked about doing indoor and they were able to accommodate! Kids loved the laser tag in the black lights.

Saturday Night – I bought Finger Rockets from Buckets-O-Fun. Great product and lasted the whole night! I’ve played with other brands and in one shot they brake…not these! I put a strip of neon tape so that in the black light it looked like tracer bullets flying through the air. We played a variety of different games, but ended up in an all out war, every person for themselves!

All in all, a great weekend for kicking off the school year and our fall ministry.

So It Begins

Posted: September 8, 2011 in Balance, Events, Leadership, Programming, Youth Ministry

This is the time of year where my ministry runs in overdrive. We’ve got kick-off events, retreats, regular youth group nights coming, leadership training & recruiting, and a TON of planning. It doesn’t seem like it will get all done, but it has to and it will! This is just the ministry side of things.

On a personal note, my two boys just start school. #1 son started all-day kindergarden and #2 son started morning preschool. Add that into the mix and there is no rest for the weary.

With the peddle to the metal, we’re off!

Can I Handle It?

Posted: September 7, 2011 in Balance, Leadership, Youth Ministry

Here’s a draft I found that I wrote a long time ago. Thought I’d share it with you.

There’s one thing in ministry that’s hard to handle… criticism. What makes it so hard? Well, the ministry you run is your ‘baby’. You care deeply for those in your flock, those you’ve placed in leadership, it’s a huge part of who you are.  Someone criticizes your ministry or your character and it’s like a sword in your heart. It’s painful.

How do you handle it? Here’s what I did today after a striking blow…I hit the gym and I hit it HARD. The feelings in me came out in my push jerks where I PR’d by 40 pounds! I killed the WOD in my crossfit gym. Sure, that felt good, but the rest of the day was…off. I had little energy to want to deal with people.

Here’s to better days!

One of the things I hate doing in youth ministry is saying good-bye to great leaders who are moving on from youth ministry. Unfortunately, it’s part of the ministry. What makes it harder is when it’s a leader who has invested many years into the lives of students. These are the leaders youth pastors dream of…they’re irreplaceable. So how do you fill their spot? There lies my problem. I’ve had such longevity of great, quality youth volunteers that I have almost lost the art of recruiting. Time to recall those skills and get to work!

There are things you hate about doing in youth ministry and there are things you love. I love to brag on people in my youth ministry. This post is bragging about 2 people. One is a student that graduated out of our youth ministry a few years ago and the other is a Senior this year. I asked for graphics in promoting the start of our school year and our kick-off events. Here’s what they came up with. So proud of Levi and Arianna. They did great work. I’m so excited about they’ll come up with next!