We hope that 2019 was a fantastic year for you and your youth ministry. We considered it a blessing to have come alongside you and equipped you with Online Articles and Training posts throughout the whole calendar year. Although we hope that every post has been beneficial to you, there were a few that stood out to you and other youth workers like you. To celebrate the end of a year of ministry, we want to revisit those posts today! Look below to see a short message from Jake Rasmussen and below that are the top 5 Online Articles and Training posts of 2019!
I had the opportunity to lead a discussion with a room of folks who are passionate about being better at preaching and teaching the Bible. I wanted to give a framework for some thoughts I have collected over the years about preaching and teaching. And so I organized a list of 10 truths that I believe will help you be an excellent preacher and teacher of the Word. It helped spark a really solid discussion, and so I wanted to share them here as well.
HERE ARE TEN TRUTHS FOR BEING SUPER-AWESOME AT TEACHING THE BIBLE.
Truth 1: We preach out of the overflow of what God is doing in our lives.
One of the biggest traps a teacher can fall into is that sermon/lesson prep replaces their personal time of spiritually connecting with God. You can’t get water from a dry well. If you’re dry spiritually, you don’t have much to offer your people. The most critical element of powerful Bible-teaching is a life lived close to God. E. M. Bounds once said, “Dead men give out dead sermons, and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual character of the [teacher].”
See all 10 truths from this Top Article by CLICKING HERE!
Study after study shows that the overwhelming majority of Christian teenagers in the US aren’t reading their Bibles. Only about 1 in 5 have a regular, meaningful relationship with God’s Word. Most Christian teenagers rarely touch their Bibles, with another nearly 1 in 5 who report never reading their Bibles at all in a given year.
For the American Christian teenager, the Bible simply isn’t something that is holding their interest. When we consider that the Bible is the MAIN way God has chosen to make Himself known to us, this is a particularly alarming truth. How can students follow what they don't know? I believe that as youth workers, we’re in the perfect position to change that.
How do we do it? What can we do to help students develop a passion for God and His Word?
The good news is that I think it's actually much more straightforward than we sometimes make it out to be . . .
First things first, we have to address our students’ values. They have to believe that it is IMPORTANT to engage with the Bible. We have to start with the “why” before we begin with the “how.”
We start doing this by teaching them what the Bible has to say about itself. There are so many places we can go to show them how important the Bible is to their lives. Places like Psalm 119:9–11: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart, I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Or Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Or Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Or 2 Timothy 3:16–17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Or so many others. The Bible makes its own case for how vital it is in the life of the Christ-follower. But God’s Word isn’t the only way we teach students to value the Bible.
Continue Reading this Top Article by CLICKING HERE!
No matter what your title is - youth pastor, student minister, etc. - you are a disciple-maker. That is your calling, your task. And one of the primary things we do as disciple-makers is to facilitate encounters with God.
We create environments and interactions where students are brought into proximity with God, with the intent that He transforms them.
We do this in three main ways: Through the Word. Through prayer. And through worship. You could certainly make the argument that we lead them to encounter God in other ways, but these are the three main ways. And the most foundational of these three main ways is facilitating encounters with God through His Word. After all, the Bible is God’s primary way of making Himself known to us, His people.
We know this is true. We know that it’s vital that our youth ministries be centered on God through His Word. But here’s something that’s also true: there are a lot of youth ministries who don’t have a plan for how to do this. Instead of a pre-determined pathway that guides interactions with the Bible, many youth workers think in terms of week-to-week and topic-to-topic. This isn’t the best way.
Discover the best way to craft a Bible study strategy from this Top Article by CLICKING HERE!
If you do a Google search for elements of a culture, you’ll find a mountain of answers, many of them drastically different. They range from the academic to the corporate and everywhere in between. But let’s step back and ask this same question of our youth ministries.
What elements need to be present for a youth ministry to develop a strong sense of culture, a place where students feel connected to each other and have bought into the purpose of what you're ministry is doing? I believe there are at least five elements that are necessary for building a strong youth ministry culture.
THE FIRST ELEMENT IS CREATIVITY.
A creative presence is an essential part of any culture. It’s especially important to our youth ministries. When we apply the concept of creativity to the cultural considerations of our youth ministries, and specifically to your youth group, it’s interesting to think about how what you create ties you together.
Building a culture that empowers creativity is relatively simple. It just takes intentionality. For instance, do you have a student worship band? That’s a powerful way to foster students to embrace the spirit of creativity. Are you creating music to lead your peers in worshiping God? That’s pretty awesome. Or what about allowing students to make the announcement or promotional videos? Or to help incorporate videos they’ve made into worship or lesson prep?
Do you allow for creative expression? Things like prayer stations or other contemplative activities? What about your environment? Can you empower students to influence it? When you allow students to creatively influence their environments, you enable the creation of culture. You set students up to shape and craft their experience.
See all 5 elements from this Top Article by CLICKING HERE!
The Top Article and Training Post of 2019
I heard some advice from a friend years ago that stuck with me. We were talking about fundraising for non-profits. He made a statement I have never forgotten. He said, “Most non-profits fail because they don’t realize that their number one job every day is fundraising. They want to see fundraising as secondary to the mission they're called to. But without funds, there is no mission." Solid advice for anyone running a non-profit. But there is also a significant application to youth workers when it comes to recruiting and keeping adult volunteers.
The call to disciple teenagers is what drives us in youth ministry. But if we don't have adult volunteers to help us, most of us would find our discipleship efforts severely crippled.
Identifying, recruiting, and keeping adult volunteers is one of the most vital tasks of any youth worker. And because this strikes fear into the hearts of many of us, I wanted to pass along three foolproof ways to recruit volunteers. In almost 20 years of doing youth ministry, I’ve seen these tips work. Here they are:
Tip 1: Refine Your Ask
Many youth workers don’t do a great job with their ask. For many of us, our recruiting efforts consist of an email to our existing youth ministry list asking for warm bodies to fill needs. “We still need two adult males to teach 9th-grade small group at 9:00." If you're lucky (or desperate), you get an insert in the church bulletin that may list needs with checkboxes by them. "Check the box beside "7th-grade girls small group leader" and turn your form in. If I can be direct with you for a moment, this is a pretty uninspiring ask. It makes it incredibly easy to say "no" or ignore it altogether.