small groups

3 Ways To Stop Being An Ineffective Youth Leader

Being intentional is a key value in ministry.  A key phrase that always comes to mind is “Not Perfectly, But Intentionally.”  We have to realize as leaders that we are not perfect and are not always doing everything that we should or could to accomplish our mission.  There are things we don’t see or  understand and sometimes we even choose sin over godliness.  Shocking I know.  I’m not advocating that it’s okay, but it’s true.

While we may not be perfect, we can be intentional.  We can intentionally share the Gospel.  We can intentionally build relationships.  We can intentionally serve with excellence.  We can’t guarantee effectiveness, since it is ultimately a work of the Holy Spirit that causes any one to accept Christ, be sanctified, or changed in any way.  We can guarantee a clean heart before God as we intentionally seek to become more like His Son, Jesus Christ.

The 3 ways center around a leaders ability to “BE INTENTIONAL.”

3 Ways to Stop Being an Ineffective Youth Leader

3 Ways to Stop Being an Ineffective Youth Leader

By: Adam Ramsey

Making disciples is harder than you could ever imagine, but simpler than you would ever think. For those involved in student ministry, discipling young people is not really complicated—it’s just costly. You don’t need a doctorate in theology, but you do need to have died to yourself.

What exactly makes someone an effective youth leader?

Here’s an example. Melisa is a youth leader who has been leading a group of junior girls at Mars Hill Bellevue. Each week she opens up her Bible with these ladies, listens to their struggles and questions, and points them to Jesus. She also opens up her life by pursuing their hearts relationally outside of a program or event. And when she was away on a family vacation for a couple of weeks, two of her girls stepped up and led their peers the same way Melisa has been leading them.

Melisa is just one of many examples of a godly and effective youth leader. By the grace of God she is making disciples who make disciples, by sharing the gospel, sharing her life, and empowering young people to do likewise.

Paul reveals some powerful practices in the way he discipled those in the church at Thessalonica. His pen drips with insight and sincerity as he writes, “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thess. 2:8).

What follows is the job description of every youth leader at Mars Hill: three simple yet costly characteristics of Paul’s leadership in 1 Thessalonians 2, which we use as a leadership model for anyone serving in student ministry at Mars Hill Church.

1. Be intentional about sharing the gospel

Paul reminded the Thessalonians that the most important gift he shared with them was the gospel: the message about Christ’s finished work on the cross for sinners. An effective youth leader has the gospel on repeat like 90s church kids with a new DC Talk track. When it comes to repeating the best news in the universe, if you feel like a broken record, you’re doing it right.

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The 10 Don’ts Of Leading A Small Group

Small groups are essential to real discipleship.  It is through the context of relationship that we can truly have an impact in the lives of others.  In student ministry having an effective small group ministry will allow your ministry to grow while remaining small.  A persons ability to really know and disciple students is limited to really just a few students.  Small group are essential.  I’ve posted a few other articles about how to improve small groups.  These articles are not groundbreaking.  They are just some practical ways to immediately make improvement in your small group setting.  They can be found here: “5 Things Small Group Leaders Should Say to Parents” and “5 Ways to Enrich Your Small Group Time.”  Below is another such post.  I can admit I have made a few of these “Don’ts.” Check them out yourself so you don’t repeats others mistakes.

The 10 Don’ts Of Leading A Small Group

Being an effective small group leader means doing a lot of things well.

It also means NOT doing a lot of things.

This is a list of what I believe to be some of the most common “don’ts” of being a small group leader. (I’d love to see what you would add.)

1. Don’t play favorites.

This is tough. I think sometimes we do it subconsciously. We will be naturally drawn to some students based on personalities, both ours and theirs. But, we have to be aware of this tendency and work to give each student his or her fair amount of attention.

2. Don’t join with other students in making fun of a student.

Even if it’s good-natured. It’s easy to fall in to this, especially with guys. It starts out with a few guys messing with each other. Seemingly harmless. But the moment your voice is added to the chorus, it changes. You’re an adult. And your words have a lot more weight. Stay away from making fun of a student, even if it’s a joke.

3. Don’t let details fall through the cracks.

This one owns me. I struggle more with this than anything on this list. Just this week I put a mother in an not so great position with her son because I had not communicated as clearly as I should have. Details will kill you. Do not let them slip through the cracks.

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5 Things Small Group Leaders Should say to Parents

As a follow-up to last weeks post, 1 Goal and 5 Ways to Enrich Your Small Group Time, I wanted to include a great post from What is Orange about what small group leaders should be saying to parents.  Small groups are essential to Gospel relationships so we should work hard to improve them as leaders.  Orange has multiple posts on the subject.

Orange is a ministry philosophy that focuses on ministering to the family as a whole.  In student and children’s ministry, that means spending as much if not more attention on parents.  This is not a new philosophy, but Orange has done a very good job of packaging, communicating the essentials of this philosophy, and providing resources.

I could simply give you the 5 things, but then you would be tempted to not read the entire article, although that might be what you do anyway.  I would encourage you to read the article and look around the Orange Leaders blog.  It is full of other great resources.  Next week I’ll look at the question, “What is my role as a parent in spiritual discipleship of my kids?”

Five Things Small Group Leaders Should say to Parents

by Jeff Brodie

Rethinking the Way we Communicate to Teens

Parents don’t walk around over-encouraged. They just don’t. Most parents feel like they aren’t doing a good job of raising their kids. Parenting resources make them feel guilty, and the Facebook feed of their friends’ seemingly perfect families doesn’t help. It’s isolating. For some families, the only time they hear from an adult who knows their child is from the principal or the police.

Here’s the truth we need to remember: Kids are an incredible gift, and hold unlimited potential to impact the world around them. Their parents are their primary influence, and Jesus is their only hope.

A number of years ago, I realized the Small Group Leaders in our student ministry had very little contact with parents, so we started to create events that needed the Small Group Leader to call the parent in order for the event to succeed (sneaky, I know).

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1 Goal and 5 Ways to Enrich Your Small Group Time!

One goal that I have in creating and maintaining this blog, which is yet to be seen, is to pass along stuff I like or find interesting.  Essentially that is articles or blog post that I didn’t write nor had anything to do with but I found beneficial.  Below is one such post.  I’m not familiar with the rules of blogging, so I don’t know if what I’m doing is frowned upon or not.  I just want to pass on that information and if that means you pass through my blog to a better blog, I’m okay with that.  It doesn’t bother me that you skip right over the paragraph (this paragraph) that I’ll try to write to introduce the actual blog that I’m highlighting.

Today’s blog is from “More than Dodgeball.” I’m highlighting a post about 5 way to improve or enrich your small group experience.  I’ve lead multiple small groups and could probably come up with my own list of ways to improve your small group experience, but “More than Dodgeball” has already done it.  Plus they’ve come up with a bunch of other good stuff that you might stumble across  on their site.  So check them out!

I can attest to each of the 5 points that are made, but would actually add at least 1 more.

6. Be Flexible – Be open to the leading of the Spirit.  Be open to the direction of the discussion.  Be open to how it’s suppose to look.  The goal is growth.  That is achieved in many different ways.  Be flexible to adjust to how the Spirit leads you, your plan, the conversation, and how you think this is all suppose to take place.

5 Ways to Enrich Your Small Group Time!

Aaron Crumby

This year with my small group I decided to try somethings that I didn’t do with my last group, and boy has it paid off. So I thought I’d share with you five things that I’ve tried this year in my small group that has brought them closer, and has also made them more interested in their life with God. Now, maybe a lot of you are already doing these things, and if that is the case, keep going strong. But if not, I encourage you to try a few:

  1. Remove all social media devices. Make sure you let parents know that this is happening and how important it is that their child cooperates with this rule. Let them know your phone will be on if they need to reach their child.

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