Category Archives: youth ministry tips

Best (Free) Droid Apps for Youth Ministers

Android phones may not have as many apps as the iPhone has, but you don’t need that many when you have quality ones. There are many great apps that will benefit you and your youth ministry, and the ones I’m going to suggest don’t cost anything!

Here are some great, free, apps that will benefit you and your ministry.

Barcode Scanner

Ministry Helps:
Barcode Scanner
This little app is helpful in a couple ways. First, you can scan a book, DVD, or other product and look up its price. When shopping for a youth ministry with a limited budget, this will be very helpful. The other benefit of this app is that you can use it to scan QR codes which can be used to download other apps, contact info, and calendar events. (Use this app in combination with Shopper to find more price information)

Bible

*Bible
There are plenty of Bible apps to get from the Android Market. My suggestion is that you download YouVersion by lifechurch.tv. If you have YouVersion on your desktop, you can sync your reading plan and notes with your phone. This app gives you the ability to find a Scripture quickly, read the Bible when you have a few minutes, or follow along with the sermon when you accidentally leave your Bible in your office.

Dropbox

Dropbox
Dropbox allows you to have access to all of your files (at least the ones you put in your dropbox) while on the go. Put your message notes, list of students going on a trip, or pictures from the past year in your dropbox folder and you have access to them whenever you want, even if you are not in front of your computer.

*Facebook
This app has been recently updated, with some significant improvements. As a youth minister, you will be able to use this app to post updates from your youth trip, comment on students’ pages or quickly update pictures for those not on the trip to view.

*Messaging (already on phone)
Since you have a smart phone that has the ability to use apps, I’m going to assume you have some sort of texting plan. And so do your students and parents – so use this feature. Mine is on the home page because I want to be able to easily access it, so should you.

Google Shopper

Google Shopper

This might seem like a strange app to include on the list, but I have found it to be an invaluable app to have. The ability to scan (works with Barcode Scanner) an item’s UPC and then compare prices, online and in stores, to see what other local stores carry the item will save you time and money. You do not have to drive around looking for the best price or spend hours searching through the internet. Trust me, this app will be worth the price you paid (free) for it and more.

Tweetdeck

*Twitter/Tweetdeck
Having this app on your phone can make connecting to youth workers (or the occasional student who actually has a Twitter account) even easier. You can update without sending a text, you can take a picture or video with your phone and then update it to Twitter. During a ministry trip or while at a convention, set up your account to send you notices with specific mentions or from certain people.

Voice Recorder

Voice Recorder
This is great app for turning your phone into a digital recorder. You can use it to practice a message, remember something you want to write down but don’t have paper, or to record your family talking to you while you are gone on a trip. With the ability to send the recording to your computer via email, this is a much cheaper option than a digital recorder.

Youth Ministry Conventions (YSEvents & SYMC2011)

SYMC 2011

If you are going to the National Youth Workers Convention or Simply Youth Ministry Convention, these are must apps. The apps gives you the list of artists and speakers, the schedule, and the YS app gives you access to local info on each city and the ability to watch a life stream for the big room. Or if you are a fan of youth ministry but can’t make it to the conventions, these will give you access into the world of the convention.

Panic/Stress Minimizers:
*Calendar (already on phone)
This the app for Google calendar, which I did not use at all until I got my Droid. Since I have the ability to sync my phone with my desktop, this app allows me to keep much better track of where I need to be and what I should be doing. Plus, the ability to set up reminders (via email or notification) gives me another avenue to reduce the chance I’ll forget to meet a student for lunch.

Grocery IQ

Grocery IQ
Shopping for the high school cookout, but can’t remember how many hot dogs were left after last year? Use Grocery IQ to help make the shopping list and make comments on “actual use” from event to event. This app will also help you keep track of how much you are spending, too. Use with barcode scanner and Google voice to make adding items easier/faster.

*Maps
Making a house call to that seventh grader, but can’t find his house? Maps, especially using the Navigation feature, will help you find anyplace you are looking for. Not only can you use your phone as a GPS, you will also get “Places” which allows you to search for stores or particular locations based on your location. So when you are on that summer trip and realize the van’s gas gauge isn’t working right anymore, you can find the nearest gas station. *Bonus Use* Make a widget that will always give you directions back to your house, the church, or anywhere else you want.

Trip Master

Trip Master
Need to track your mileage for tax reasons or to turn in for reimbursement, but struggle to always right it down. Trip master can help. You can track your mileage using GPS or by entering your odometer reading (manually or voice). When you need this information, you can export either via email or the SD card.

Weather Channel

*Weather Channel
Is it gonna snow? Will we get drenched with rain? Will it be hot enough to go swimming? I’m sure every youth worker has asked these three questions and many more. Planning events is hard enough, then you add in the weather and it is down-right impossible to know what to do. With this app, you can have instant access to the latest weather from weather.com, including the radar map. I use this app at least 5 times a day.

Pandora

Have a few minutes to wait:
*Pandora
A great way to either waste a few minutes or listen to some new music. If you know what Pandora is, then you know why you need this app on your phone. If you haven’t used the website yet, go ahead and try it out. You might even want to use this app to help introduce your students to new music.

Whiteboard

Whiteboard
This is basically a smartboard on your phone (well, minus the ability to write to it from your computer). You can use this app to draw quick diagrams or sketches. You can also write small notes, like a student’s birthday. You can save whatever you write as a .jpg then you can send it to yourself or even use it as your desktop background.

Bubble

Just for Fun:
Bubble (a bubble level)
This app does exactly what you would think it does – it tells you when something is level. Use Bubble when decorating your youth area or office. Plus, if you want to play one of those “Minute to Win It” games that involves a rolling ping pong balls and paper clips, this app will help you get the right angle.

Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam
This is a fun game that will help take your mind off of ministry for just a few minutes. The goal is to get the yellow cab through the traffic to the exit. The levels start out easy and get more difficult as you go.

WordUp

WordUp

This Boggle-type game lets you select the words by highlighting them with your finger. Its easy to play, plus you can quit at any time and start back right where you left off.

 

WordPress

WordPress

If you are a blogger, and use WordPress, you will want to include this app on your phone. You can check comments and stats. You can modify posts or write whole new ones.

 

 

Angry Birds

Three more apps I probably need to at least mention: GMail, MyVerizon, and Angry Birds

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Within each category, the Apps are simply placed alphabetically, not in order of most useful. Apps with an (*) before them are ones I use enough, they are on my home screen.

Journey of starting a new ministry – week 7

(Over the next few months, maybe longer, I will be writing weekly posts on my journey of starting a new youth ministry position. The focus will be on general tips and suggestions for any youth minister starting a new position, but I will add-in moments specific to my situation. My goal is to offer advice to help other youth ministers and not write an online journal of my own personal experiences. In order to make this series of articles as beneficial as I can, I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts. And remember as you read about my journey in a new youth ministry that every situation is different; therefore, these ideas are just ideas and suggestions. You need to know your church culture and adjust your week-by-week to fit those needs.)
By week 7, you will probably be into a routine. You will be more comfortable on Sunday mornings at this point, knowing more of what to expect each week. Your work week is becoming much more of a routine (that is unless you have done 2 weeks of camp and a VBS). You might even be starting to implement a few more changes into the ministry or at least working on helping people adjust to a different perspective.

But, despite things going so well, there are still things to keep in mind. First thing to keep in mind is to act like you’re still new. Even though you are starting to feel more “at home” in your new ministry, you have to remember you are still a newbie. You are still in the honeymoon phase and most people still think you are doing amazing things, even if you are not doing anything special. Do not let this lead you to believe you really know what you are doing. At 7 weeks, you probably do not have a very good grasp on the culture of your congregation, you probably do not know people well enough to know who to ask about volunteering. Make sure you continue to spend time getting to know the people and the congregation. Keep seeing things through a visitor’s eyes.

The second thing you need to remember is to value the other staff members’ time. Over the last few weeks, you have probably spent more time in offices or just “peeking in.” You might have even gotten in the habit of interrupting another staff member to ask a question, because you know they don’t mind. Or at least, that is what they told you. They probably did not mind, but you cannot keep interrupting them. Their time is valuable, just like your time is. If you have not already, start using email to ask questions that do not have to be answered immediately. And if there is something that needs more than email, set up a time to talk – do not just drop in.

As you continue to integrate into the ministry staff, spend time contemplating what you are adding and subtracting to the overall ministry. What do you need to do differently? How can you help the other staff?

Week 7 Bulletpoints:
– Use email to communicate with other staff
– See everything with fresh (visitor’s) eyes
– Share your passion with somebody

Goals of the near future:
– pray more for other staff members
– track and maintain better student information

———–
Previous weekly perspectives: week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5, week 6
Previous monthly perspectives: month 1(part 1), month 1(part 2)

Journey of starting a new ministry – week 6

(Over the next few months, maybe longer, I will be writing weekly posts on my journey of starting a new youth ministry position. The focus will be on general tips and suggestions for any youth minister starting a new position, but I will add-in moments specific to my situation. My goal is to offer advice to help other youth ministers and not write an online journal of my own personal experiences. In order to make this series of articles as beneficial as I can, I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts. And remember as you read about my journey in a new youth ministry that every situation is different; therefore, these ideas are just ideas and suggestions. You need to know your church culture and adjust your week-by-week to fit those needs.)

The big lesson this week (and thing you need to remember 6 weeks into a new ministry) is to be yourself. Do not try to be another minister. This may sound like an obvious statement. It may be the same thing you have been hearing since you were in youth ministry classes at college. But knowing the statement and applying it to your new ministry are two different things.


In most areas of my new ministry this has not been a problem. I know I am going to connect to students and parents differently than past youth workers. I make sure people know I am different than the other ministers on staff. I have never had the same work hours as other ministers, especially if a minister is a morning person. Honestly, I thought this idea of not trying to be like another minister was something I was pretty good at. But then I was asked to lead prayer during the service.

For some reason when I got up to pray, I started trying to pray like others I had heard in the previous five weeks. I am not sure why I thought/felt I needed to pray “like them,” but I did. And I felt awkward doing it. Plus afterward, I actually had someone tell me I looked nervous during the prayer. As I thought about this, I became more and more convinced that I was nervous. I was nervous because I was trying to be someone I was not. And I had to make sure I acted the part.

As you start to take on more responsibilities during a service or just become more visible to those outside of your ministry area, focus on being yourself. Do not attempt to talk like another minister or act like him, either. Know who you are and be who God made you to be.

Week 6 Bulletpoints:
– be yourself
– objectively evaluate the current ministry
– look for someone outside the congregation you can talk to
– make yourself visible beyond your ministry

Goals of the near future:
– read a book on parenting (then loan it to somebody)
– plan a parenting meeting
– build the youth ministry team connection (team bonding)

——–
Previous weekly perspectives: week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5
Previous monthly perspectives: month 1(part 1), month 1(part 2)

Journey of Starting a New Ministry – month 1 (2 of 2)

You might want to read part 1 first, if you haven’t already.

The first month of a new ministry is very important. It is important for both you and the congregation. During this first month, you will be developing habits and routines which you will continue to use for a long time. You are beginning to set the precedent for what people can expect from you. The congregation will use these first four weeks to watch how you interact and listen to how you present yourself. The are interested in what you will bring to the ministry. Most of these people, even some of those who met you prior to being hired, have not had much time to meet you and ask you questions.


No two ministers will have the same first month at a new ministry. You might preach every week or not at all. You might not even be on stage during this month. You might teach multiple classes or you might be able to sit in and observe. You might have a death in the congregation or maybe its a wedding. You might start in the middle of summer or the middle of winter. Despite the fact that every start to a ministry is so vastly different, I believe there are some things that every minister needs to accomplish during this time.

Tips for Month #1(con’t)
5. Learn the culture of the congregation
Technically, I should probably add the words “start to” in front of that phrase. The culture of the congregation is not something you can learn in one month, but you can learn a lot if you try. Ask a lot of questions to the other staff and leadership. Find out what is important, what is not important, and why. As you are sitting in on leadership meetings and discussing the life of the congregation (or should I use the word programs), pay attention to what is being implied about the culture. Learning this early will help you know how to go about changing things when you feel like you need to. 


6. Organize your office
This is a very important part of your first month. If you do not get your office organized (or at least mostly) at this point, it is going to be difficult to get it done. The longer you are there, the less you want to spend your time putting books away and going through files. Spend a few hours each day working on your office and you’ll have it done in no time. Plus, let’s be honest, when a youth worker has an organized office most people will be shocked and impressed.

7. Spend time away from the ministry
This goes right along with #2. As you start a new ministry, you are creating habits and patterns that will be carried on throughout your tenure at this congregation. Make it a point to spend time away from the ministry, including not doing work at home. Go to the park with your family. Go shopping. Rent a movie and enjoy a night at home. Go explore the area and find out what you can do with your family. Make sure your family knows that the new ministry is not more important than they are.


A quick thought on changes.
Whenever you begin a new ministry, you will encounter a number of things you want to change. Or at least I have a difficult time imagining someone not having at least one thing they want to change (if this is you, please contact me I would like to talk). Making changes, though necessary, is not always easy or wise. Although I cannot give you a specific timeline of when/how to make changes within your context, I will offer you a few of my thoughts on the topic.


Remember, you do not have to change everything in the first few weeks. In fact, you may not want to change anything that quickly. Most of the changes you will want to make will probably be grounded in a philosophy of ministry. When changes are based on something like that, you need to make sure those involved with the change have the same philosophy. And this can take time, so allow yourself time (maybe a year or more) to help move people along and work together on determining the reasons behind the changes before you make the changes.

Another thing you can do is to find something small that needs changed and change it. I got this idea from Jim Wideman, in a chapter entitled Fifteen Smart Things to Do During Your First Three Months in Children’s Ministry that Works by Group. All you need to do is find something that you can add or adjust that does not take a lot of effort, but makes something better. Maybe you make it easier for teachers to get their materials or provide a quicker way to notify parents of a ministry event. Even though you do not want to come in and make drastic changes, you want to avoid “not doing anything” for 6 months.

One last thought: There are times when you start a new ministry and there is a change that needs to be made right away. You will know what it is and you will know it needs to be handled. If there needs to be an immediate change, do not hesitate to work on it. You will need to talk with the other staff and leadership, gain understanding from them and share your concerns. Talk with any youth coach who might be involved and then come up with a solution, as a team. Do not try to make the change on your own, but do not ignore it either.

———–
Previous weekly perspectives: week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5

Journey of Starting a New Ministry – month 1 (1 of 2)

The first month of a new ministry is very important. It is important for both you and the congregation. During this first month, you will be developing habits and routines which you will continue to use for a long time. You are beginning to set the precedent for what people can expect from you. The congregation will use these first four weeks to watch how you interact and listen to how you present yourself. The are interested in what you will bring to the ministry. Most of these people, even some of those who met you prior to being hired, have not had much time to meet you and ask you questions.

No two ministers will have the same first month at a new ministry. You might preach every week or not at all. You might not even be on stage during this month. You might teach multiple classes or you might be able to sit in and observe. You might have a death in the congregation or maybe its a wedding. You might start in the middle of summer or the middle of winter. Despite the fact that every start to a ministry is so vastly different, I believe there are some things that every minister needs to accomplish during this time.

Tips for Month #1:
1. Learn names
This goes for those who are good at remembering names and those who forget ten seconds after you are told. Knowing the name of a student or adult makes it much easier to start conversations. Plus everyone likes to know that you care enough to learn their name.

2. Implement office hours & your day off
As you are starting your new ministry, you are forming new habits and routines. One of those routines needs to be setting up, and following through with, the hours you will spend in the office and what day you will be staying away from the office. There is plenty of “work” to be done at the beginning of a ministry and you will leave many days knowing there is much more you can do. Do not let the feeling that you need to prove yourself keep you from setting up limitations.

3. Plan informal gatherings with youth
You need to get to know the students, and that will not completely happen in the classroom setting. So plan some time to hang out with them away from church. You can plan a day in the park, go out to lunch, plan a game night or just plan a day to hang out at someone’s house. Do not use this time to give a devotional or plan upcoming events, just spend time talking and listening.

4. Get to know the adults (parents, youth coaches, elders…)
Aside from the students you will be ministering to, you need to learn more about the adults you will be working with. Meet for lunch or stop by their house (call beforehand). Ask a few questions about their family. Learn about their passions and what drives them. Share your heart for ministry. 

Teaching Tips: #1 Silence is Okay

Teaching Tip #1 – Silence is Okay
 
 
I was fresh out of Bible college, in my first youth ministry, sitting on a couch teaching high school students. I had spent hours preparing this lesson, studying the Bible, and crafting great questions to get the students talking. As I sat there going through my lesson notes, there was only one thing wrong: no one was answering. I was beginning to wonder what I had done wrong. Maybe my questions were too difficult or unclear. Maybe the students didn’t like me. As I thought through my concerns, all I could hear from them was silence. So I just kept moving. I answered the questions myself or just moved on to the next one. And when it was all over, I left feeling like I just wasted an hour of their life.

Have you ever had that same feeling?

What I have learned since then is that it was not necessarily my questions that were at fault, it was the way I was teaching. I was not allowing the students time to process the questions and formulate an answer. I assumed that silence meant they were either not interested or clueless. The silence scared me as a teacher. This fear of silence was a manifestation of my lack of confidence. Maybe you have the same fear of silence, too. If you do, let me share with you some things I have learned over the years.

Silence can mean a few things:
1. There is a fear of being wrong.
Sometimes, the students are silent after a question because they do not want to get the question wrong. School is a place with right and wrong answers and this mentality carries over into the youth ministry. As the teacher, one of your goals is to create a safe environment, where the students trust that their thoughts are valuable.

2. There answer is too personal to share with the group.
There are some questions we ask that go straight to the heart of a student. These are questions that spark life application and change. These are the questions that really affect the students. These are also the questions that need not always be answered verbally. Are you expecting a student to tell everyone else in class something that might be too personal?

3. The students do not have an answer.
Remember that time you were at a seminar and the speaker asked a question and you could not think of an answer. It happens to our students, too. Every student does not enter the room having spent the last week preparing to discuss the topic of the day. Some students enter the room with a dozen other things on their mind, all of which are competing for their attention. These mental distractions can make it difficult to quickly come up with answer, so try to remember not to rush them.

4. They are processing the question.
After you ask a question, especially an open-ended question, you need to give the students a chance to process. As the teacher, you have had days to think about the questions. The students, on the other hand, have only had seconds. You cannot expect a student to immediately answer. So stop expecting it and allow them time to think.

How to handle silence:
1. Give the students time.
After you ask a question, allow the students a few minutes to formulate their answers. One of the worst things you can do is to continually talk while you wait. You might need to offer suggestions and helps, but do not immediately start with them.

2. Pick students to answer.
If you have some questions to ask that are based off of a Scripture you will be reading, let a few students know that you will be asking them a question after the Scripture is read. This “warning” should encourage them to pay more attention to what is being read.

3. Start with questions everyone needs to answer.
This is especially helpful one of the first times the group is together, but it will help anytime. At the beginning of class, ask a couple questions that need to be answered by everyone. Do not make them too difficult or too narrow. You want the students to start thinking and to feel more comfortable talking in the group.

Do you have any other suggestions for handling silence?

Journey of starting a new ministry – week 5

(Over the next few months, maybe longer, I will be writing weekly posts on my journey of starting a new youth ministry position. The focus will be on general tips and suggestions for any youth minister starting a new position, but I will add-in moments specific to my situation. My goal is to offer advice to help other youth ministers and not write an online journal of my own personal experiences. In order to make this series of articles as beneficial as I can, I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts. And remember as you read about my journey in a new youth ministry that every situation is different; therefore, these ideas are just ideas and suggestions. You need to know your church culture and adjust your week-by-week to fit those needs.)

Week 5

At this point in a new ministry, you have started to settle in and should be feeling more comfortable. You will probably be in a routine. You will want to make sure your routine is a good one and you are not wasting time throughout the week. You should also be starting to build relationships with the students and the adults. And if you are not careful, you’ll forget that you are still only in your second month on the job.


This week I was able to do a couple things that I have been trying to accomplish. First, I was able to start meeting with one of the youth coaches. It was the first of an on-going series of meetings. We are going to try to meet once a week and talk about the youth ministry. Beyond that, he wanted to meet and talk about how he can be a better teacher. I am looking forward to the mentoring and training that is going to take place over lunch each week.

The second thing I was able to do was start planning for a “thank you” lunch for all of the teachers. This is something I have been wanting to do since I first got hired. I know that all of the teachers have been giving so much of their time and money to minister to the kids. Some have been doing it for years, others just started – but all are essential to an effective ministry. I know there is no way the youth ministry will reach the kids without the ministry of the adult volunteers. So I am excited about planning this lunch to show the volunteers that they are appreciated and important.

The last thing I am really excited about from this week was the changes I am starting to see in how the youth interact with me. This is a result of the relationships that are forming and the trust that is being built. They are starting to email/text/message me without my initiation. And not just me, but I am seeing a change in how they interact with my wife and kids (my kids are starting to feel comfortable around the teens, too). There is a lot of things I want to see happen in the lives of the students, but without a sense of trusting me they will not listen. (I am not trying to take the credit for something only God can do, just saying as a vehicle of that message I need to be trusted and respected.)

At this point, you should have a decent grasp on people’s names. If you are still struggling with names and faces, start studying the newest photo directory every day. People still do not expect you to get everyone’s name right, but they will be impressed when you do. If you are not already, you need to be intentional about this seemingly small aspect of your ministry.   

Week 5 Bulletpoints:
– have time for people over projects
– start a list of changes you think need to be made (don’t share it with anyone, yet)
– find one change and start working toward it
– go to lunch with a youth coach or church leader
– listen to people without talking

Goals of the near future:
– encourage a teacher
– sit in on several different classes
– learn more about the church culture

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Previous weekly perspectives: week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4

Journey of starting a new ministry – week 4

(Over the next few months, maybe longer, I will be writing weekly posts on my journey of starting a new youth ministry position. The focus will be on general tips and suggestions for any youth minister starting a new position, but I will add-in moments specific to my situation. My goal is to offer advice to help other youth ministers and not write an online journal of my own personal experiences. In order to make this series of articles as beneficial as I can, I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts. And remember as you read about my journey in a new youth ministry that every situation is different; therefore, these ideas are just ideas and suggestions. You need to know your church culture and adjust your week-by-week to fit those needs.)

Week 4
Last week was about little things, this week was more about surprises.

This was the week I was glad I spent the first few weeks getting my office organized (well, mostly organized). You see, this week I needed to know where certain books were and find old information. I felt like I was really starting to settle into the ministry and spending a lot more time dreaming/planning/ministering during the week. This week was the first week that felt “normal” (if there is such a thing as a normal week for a youth minister) when I think of what I want to do each week. I still know that this is just the beginning and I have a long way to go before I get to where I want to be. To put it another way, this was the first week I did not feel completely new to this position and that surprised me.

Another interesting thing happened to me this week. Last week, I planned two lunch gatherings for the students. Both days went well and I knew I would do it again, maybe every other week. This week I did not plan any lunches, but on two different occasions I had a couple students ask when they were. I did not expect that question, but am glad I was asked. I was planning on continuing with an every other week schedule through the rest of the summer, but might switch to every week – only once a week, instead of twice. These lunches will be a good way to build relationships with the students in a very informal setting.

Another surprising part of the week was when I realized that some aspects of ministry never change. No, I’m not talking about the fact that students don’t change, they just change names. I’m not even talking about the job descriptions or responsibilities placed on a youth minister. I am talking about some of the tendencies and habits a youth minister acquires based on certain situations. Let’s say, for example, a youth worker is undermined and threatened early in his ministry and develops a tendency to be defensive when talking with those in leadership. You would think this behavior would stop when the youth worker is years removed from the incident and at a new location. I was reminded this week that it is not always that easy.

There is one last thing I would suggest you remember at this point in your ministry because it will help with the transition. I would suggest that you intentionally work with those who were planning and organizing the different aspects of the ministry before you arrived. As much as the person might want to just dump the responsibility into your lap, do not let them. Try to work with them and learn from what they were doing. You might just pick up a nugget of wisdom that was learned through mistakes, thus helping you avoid the same mistakes. Wisdom like: making sure you remind teachers it is there month when the first or second of the month lands on a Sunday.

Week 4 Bulletpoints:
– try to meet with the parents of those “exiting” your ministry
– find a small, positive change you can make & make it
– continue making initial contacts with parents
– be visible during the church services

Goals of the near future:
– develop a vision & goals that coincide with those of the entire church
– learn the passion/heart of the youth coaches
– encourage youth coaches
– learn more names




———–
Previous weekly perspectives: week 1, week 2, week 3,

Journey of Starting a New Ministry: week 3

(Over the next few months, maybe longer, I will be writing weekly posts on my journey of starting a new youth ministry position. The focus will be on general tips and suggestions for any youth minister starting a new position, but I will add-in moments specific to my situation. My goal is to offer advice to help other youth ministers and not write an online journal of my own personal experiences. In order to make this series of articles as beneficial as I can, I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts. And remember as you read about my journey in a new youth ministry that every situation is different; therefore, these ideas are just ideas and suggestions. You need to know your church culture and adjust your week-by-week to fit those needs.)

week 3

This week was more about little things than anything else.


I intentionally tried to make a few small changes in my my week. Over the past few weeks I have spent a lot of my time in the office rearranging and organizing. While I was unpacking and organizing, I was fitting in the necessary ministry work whenever I had a chance. It meant working on the lesson after a box was unpacked or whenever there was room on my desk. But starting this week, I tried to move from this less scheduled (possibly unscheduled) work week to a more structured one. 


While I was trying to maintain a semblance of office hours and such, the framework during my work week was pretty loose. I wanted to take this week and start moving toward the more structured layout of planned and allotted time for ministry work. In my last ministry I found a good breakdown of when to accomplish certain tasks, and now I need to start doing that here. Because I know I have changed and the environment is different, I am intentionally going to try a few different “schedules” within my work day.

I know ministry does not solely happen inside the walls of my office, I added a few chances to hang out with some students to my week. I was not sure how they would respond or if they would make it – since it is prime vacation time and fall sports are starting practices. I offered two different times to get together for lunch during the week. During each lunch we had a great chance to talk and get to know the students and let them get to know my family a little bit. I want to continue lunches or dinners throughout the year as an informal way to build relationships with the students and their friends. 


Being in my first month of ministry, I know there are certain changes that need to wait. One of the changes I want to implement is going to have to wait at least a few months, if not a year. But I started working on developing and putting onto paper an explanation and game-plan for this change. I know it will take a little time to process and implement, but I want to be ready when the right time arises.

Sunday was a crazy day for me. I had a lot of little conversations with people – all good. I think out of the two services and Sunday School, I was only on-time for 1st service. But I am not complaining, I loved the chance to talk and listen to people.

Week 3 Bulletpoints:
– continue talking with students & parents
– spend more time getting to know the youth coaches
– start figuring out how to structure your work day

Goals of the near future:
– improve the ministry with a small/simple change
– learn the passion/heart of the youth coaches
– encourage youth coaches
– learn more names

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Previous weekly perspectives: week 1, week 2



Journey of starting a new ministry – week 2


(Over the next few months, maybe longer, I will be writing weekly posts on my journey of starting a new youth ministry position. The focus will be on general tips and suggestions for any youth minister starting a new position, but I will add-in moments specific to my situation. My goal is to offer advice to help other youth ministers and not write an online journal of my own personal experiences. In order to make this series of articles as beneficial as I can, I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts. And remember as you read about my journey in a new youth ministry that every situation is different; therefore, these ideas are just ideas and suggestions. You need to know your church culture and adjust your week-by-week to fit those needs.)

Week 2
I’m not exactly sure how long it takes to get settled into a new ministry, but I don’t think it’s two weeks. While I believe you get used to each part of the ministry on different levels and at different speeds, I wish it all came faster. Over the past week, I have had at least a dozen people ask me, “So, you getting settled in yet?” I know this is simply part of the normal process of moving and starting a new job (and I bet the questions will stop within a week or two) but I am left to wonder what specifically they mean by their question. Do they want to know if I’m getting settled into my office or into the overall culture of the congregation?

This week my goal has been to finish getting settled into the office. I believe this is an important step early in your ministry for a couple reasons. 1) It is easier to work in an organized and clean office. (Hopefully, you will keep it that way, too) 2) When people stop by to talk, they will see a clean office. And seeing a clean youth minister’s office helps people understand that you, the youth minister, take your job seriously. 3) Once you really get into the rhythm of ministry, you will not regularly take the time to clean your office – you’ll be too busy doing what you love to do. 4) There are people who will be more willing to support you and your ministry when your office does not look like a junior high locker room.

This does not mean that you lock yourself in your office and refuse to come out. There are still people to see and probably meetings to attend. And depending on how busy your office is, or how long you’ve been in ministry, it might take you a few weeks to get settled in. Most of my second week in the office was quiet, since the sr. minister is on the mission trip, so I have been able to get most of the boxes unpacked and put away. One of the last things I have yet to do is put up all of my “memories” – the trinkets and knick-knacks I’ve collected over the years and display proudly around the office.

For my second Sunday, I was able to spend more time meeting and talking with people. I did not teach, so I was able to sit in a few more classes. I stayed in the high school room for Sunday School (my goal is to spend a month in each Sunday School class before I move to another one). Seeing that I oversee all ages from 2 years old to high school, I sat in on the 2’s and 3’s class during Jr. Church. During the first few months, I really want to get a better sense of what the classes are like and how each teacher is different from the others. I know this is something that will take much longer to fully grasp, but it is important to get a good understanding early in ministry.

This week, I was able to get involved “up front” a little bit. A group of students and adults left on Sunday to go on a mission trip, so during the the beginning of our Sunday School we took time to pray for them as a congregation. I was asked to be one of the prayers. I was honored they asked me and more than happy to participate.

I wanted to start meeting with people this week. I was able to meet with two local ministers (a sr. minister and a youth minister) over lunch. I am looking forward to being able to work together and minister alongside each other over the years. I was hoping to meet with one of the youth coaches this week, but it didn’t happen. I’ll try again next week – there are plenty of people to meet with.

Week 2 Bulletpoints:
– finish unpacking office
– look over upcoming calendar of events
– start talking with students & parents
– learn more about the youth coaches

Goals of the near future:
– one “big” event for each age group planned
– meet with others in charge
– spend more time with students (outside of Sunday events)

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Previous weekly perspectives: week 1