Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Numbers Game

Just got back from youth night at our Fall Revival. Here are my thoughts.

You would think after almost 15 years in student ministry the number of students that show up for an event wouldnt get to me. But tonight it sure did. We have had this youth night for the revival planned for the longest time. Real simple. FREE PIZZA and a more youth friendly service. The student drama team had a drama that was awesome and the students were excited to get kids there. 72 was thier goal.

So all afternoon I kept messages via text, facebook etc that their friends were backing out and some of the regulars weren't even coming. So by the time I left for church I was convinced no one was going to come. I spent the good first 45 minutes of the time there sulking and stressing about students showing up.

Dont get me wrong. My heart was in the right place. I wanted so many students to come. To see lives changed. To see God's power move. But I let it get to me. You think after this much time I realize that God is going to bring exactly who He wants to bring there. The numbers are up to Him, not me.

I won't get into the numbers, but we had more show up then we usually have on a wednesday night. We had 9 new students and alot of parents of our regulars who arent believers came. SO that was awesome. Then the Lord slapped me silly when we had 2 salvations and 1 rededication. Man was I humbled. It reminded me of a important lesson I needed to learn again.

Luke 15:10 (New International Version)
"In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Praise the Lord for tonight.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Wife’s Side: Working with Broken Families

Just about every youth group on the planet will have at least one blended family or family of divorce. This group is becoming larger and larger every year as divorce and remarriage become more common and accepted. I personally didn’t realize just how hard it can be to work with these families until we moved to our current church. I would estimate that 90% of our youth come from these types of families! It’s shocking!

In these families there are whole new dynamics, new problems, and new pitfalls to avoid. Often the roles of parents are confused and students are given too much freedom too soon. Or the other side of that coin is that they may have no freedom and receive no attention that they so desperately crave. So what do I do about it? I’m just the youth minister’s wife. What’s my role in all of this?

Here are 5 Guidelines I use when Working with Blended & Broken Families.
1. Do your best to figure out the family structure. Who belongs to whom? Who are half-siblings? Step siblings, etc.? Who do the students live with?
2. Don’t take sides between the parents (if at all possible), but act in the students’ best interest.
3. Always listen but don’t take for granted that you are hearing the absolute truth. Everyone has their own take on the situation.
4. Show lots of care and attention but proceed with caution as their family situations are often volatile.
5. Love on them and be Jesus to them no matter how they might treat you. You may be the only witness in their lives.

Colossians 3:12 &13 “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Am I only the youth minister?

I have come to find that most churches break their staff into sections. Or ministries if you may. There is the pastor, associate pastor, Music, children’s and youth. Maybe there is also senior adults, education, missions etc. Everyone has their respected area of focus. The question, I wonder, is when does the areas overlap. And how much say do each staff member get in the overall vision and direction of the church?

First I want to say, that whatever the vision the pastor has for the church, my ministry (students) should fall in line and compliment that vision. You cannot take the student ministry in total opposite of your pastors. The thought here is, does the pastor and the pastor only decide what is best for the church and the vision? I am blessed that I have a pastor that takes a more team approach and likes input from all staff members. But there are some that only go with what the Lord tells them, and think that each minister should just stay in their "area" or ministry.

I think that if you dichotomize yourself and only stay in your bubble then you are missing out on extra blessings. My ministry has always tried (and failed) to help all the ministries of the church where it can. In the children's ministry, our church would not survive VBS if not for the youth that are working. In the music ministry the students help play in the band. When all the ministries come together and work as a team. The whole church does great things. Its not just the youth. the pastoral stuff. the music. Its all parts working as one.