The Internet's Best Practices for Ministry

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Welcoming Guests and First Impressions

The sermon starts in the parking lot, and the impression you make for your guests on Sunday morning during the first 10 minutes will be indelible.

Technology and The Church

Leveraging technology for ministry can be an incredible blessing. But it can also be fraught with problems and pitfalls. Learn how to use technology well.

Vision and Leadership

Our God longs for leaders to request of Him to do that which they cannot. Faith filled vision, leadership and risk are key ingredients for ministry.

Preaching and Communication

You know and understand how challenging it is to communicate. It is hard to get and capture people's attention. Learn how to communicate effectively.

Creativity and Innovation

Being creative means asking the right questions and making new associations. Discover new and creative ideas for your ministry.

Showing posts with label Youth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Youth. Show all posts

5 Guaranteed Ways To Make Your Kids Hate Church

The Ministry Best Practices Staff will be on vacation and will be entering a "tech-free" zone. Therefore for the week we are sharing some of the best of MBP. Some of the content has been repurposed and updated.

1. Make sure your faith is only something you live out in public
Go to church... at least most of the time. Make sure you agree with what you hear the preacher say, and affirm on the way home what was said especially when it has to do with your kids obeying, but let it stop there. Don’t read your bible at home. The pastor will say everything you need to hear on Sundays. Don’t engage your children in questions they have concerning Jesus and God. Live like you want to live during the week so that your kids can see that duplicity is ok.

2. Pray only in front of people
The only times you need to pray are when your family is over, Holiday meals, when someone is sick, and when you want something. Besides that, don’t bother. Your kids will see you pray when other people are watching, no need to do it with them in private.

3. Focus on your morals
Make sure you insist your kids be honest with you. Let them know it is the right thing for them to do, but then feel free to lie in your own life and disregard the need to tell them and others the truth. Get very angry with your children when they say words that are “naughty” and “bad”, but post, read, watch, and say whatever you want on TV, Facebook, and Twitter. Make sure you focus on being a good person. Be ambiguous about what this means.

4. Give financially as long as it doesn't impede your needs
Make a big deal out of giving at church. Stress the need to your children the value of tithing, while not giving sacrificially yourself. Allow them to see you spend a ton of money on what you want, while negating your command from scripture to give sacrificially.

5. Make church community a priority. As long as there is nothing else you want to do
Hey, you are a church going family, right? I mean, that’s what you tell your friends and family anyways. Make sure you attend on Sundays. As long as you didn’t stay up too late Saturday night. Or your family isn’t having a big bar-b-que. Or the big game isn’t on. Or this week you just don’t feel like it. Or... I mean, you are church going family so what’s the big deal?

from original post HERE

Teaching Teenagers In A Post-Christian World

Teaching Teenagers

from Rachel Blom:

This brilliant book by Jake Kircher is a game changer for anyone interested in teaching teenagers. We all know that the standard three or even five-point sermons aren’t working anymore. Not only do they fail to hold students’ attention while you’re talking, they can’t remember much afterwards even if they did attempt to listen.

Even students involved in youth ministry often miss a basic understanding of the core of the Gospel and don’t know much about the Bible. Not only that, but many teens who claim to be Christians don’t lead lives that are different from their non-Christian friends. And there’s no need to mention the all-too-familiar problem of students walking away from their faith in college.

Welcome to a post-Christian world.

Read the rest of Rachel's review HERE

The 5 Most Helpful Ways To Avoid Youth Ministry Burnout

We talk about ministry burnout a lot here at Ministry Best Practices. It seems that ministry burnout and the damage it does (with all of it's different forms and implications) is a rising tide within the church and ministries. No one is exempt, especially those who focus and work with youth.

excerpted from YouthMinistry360 and Heather Bishop

A few months into my first ministry job, I found myself in an interesting position. Because I am a type-A, people-pleaser (recovering), I wanted to "be all things for all people" and said "yes" to any and every opportunity to serve. I loved my job and wanted to work my hardest to minister to the middle school girls in our youth group. However, I found myself easily exhausted. Thankfully, and with the help of others, I learned the following few tips to help me keep from spreading myself too thin:

1. Depend on your fellow youth workers.
Thankfully I work on a staff that encourages me to set some boundaries and utilize the gifted people all around me. Because I've seen ministry burnout first hand within my family, I put my driven personality aside and listened to my fellow staffer's encouragement. I was determined to learn how to maximize my ministry, rely on God's strength and the strength of the people He put in my life.

2. God does the saving, not me.
There is some bit of release in working hard, but knowing that God is in control of the outcome. Ministry is a healthy balance of encouraging and building up the weak and hurting, while also empowering them to rely on the Lord's help.

3. Serve from the overflow.
Though ministry requires sacrifice and service, a wise woman once advised me to "serve from the overflow in my life." The Lord continues to teach me the fairly obvious truth that we must be poured into before we can pour out. If I'm not taking time to spend with the Lord each day, if I'm not sitting under older and wiser women that can teach and encourage, then my personal resources are slim and will deplete quickly.

4. Parents are vital.
I have worked for ministries in the past that felt parents are too antiquated to "relate" to students. I strongly disagree. The Lord has entrusted these precious students to their parents' discipleship. The student ministry I am currently a part of is working fervently to equip parents to better disciple their children. Developing a partnership with parents is integral to effective student discipleship. These men and women are further along in their faith journey than I am. A clear partnership and encouraging relationship between parents and youth workers help transform ministry exhaustion into JOY and PEACE.

5. Humility is key.
Once I humbled myself before the Lord, relied on his strength, and realized I am not in this alone—ministry became a fun, exciting, and fruitful experience. I am better, healthier, and stronger because of the staff members. Mentors, and God has put in my life.

Teens Bored With Facebook - Now What?

excerpted from AllFacebook:
Research from GlobalWebIndex revealed Tuesday found that the number of teen Facebook users was not decreasing, but the frequency of their visits was. Wednesday, GWI explained why: boredom.

According to GWI:
  • 45 percent of teens are less interested in Facebook than they used to be.
  • 37 percent said they were bored with Facebook.
  • 18 percent said Facebook is no longer as cool as it once was.
For many years, Facebook has been a go-to social media channel of churches in communicating and connecting with their youth. Yet as Facebook activity and interest has been trending down for youth, how do you as a youth minister communicate the most effectively with the youth in your ministry? Or is Facebook still as effective for you as it has always been?

Teen Facebook Infographic

Maybe It's Time To Challenge Your View Of Millennials

from Mashable:
This argument isn't new: Millennials, or those born between 1980 and the mid-'90s, are lazy, apathetic, entitled, narcissistic — the "Selfie Generation," too obsessed with technology to make lasting, meaningful connections. 
But as most millennials will tell you, those are exceedingly unfair generalizations. Gen Y does care. In fact, 84% of millennials say that knowing they're making a positive difference in the world is more important than any professional recognition. Welzoo, an online charity driving service, and Column Five created a new video campaign, dubbed "The Millennial Rebuttal," to fight these stereotypes.
I would agree with this assessments especially based on experience with my ministry CMDA. Having just gotten back from the Global Mission Health Conference, I saw thousands of millennials, who are within healthcare, show and demonstrate a significant desire to make a positive and meaningful difference in the world through their vocation and calling of medicine.

Watch this video below, and you decide if millennials are all too lazy, apathetic and entitled.

How Pornography Addiction Affects The Teenage Brain

Brain Under Construction
There is a rising problem of pornographic addiction in teens. This poses a significant problem and challenge for those working with youth and teens, including teens within the church (they are by no means exempt from this issue). The negative effects of pornography addiction is even greater in teens as their brains are more susceptible to the chemical overload effects that come with continued viewing.

Here is an infographic below from the people at Help Your Teen Now which illustrates the scope and enormity of this problem.

How Pornography Addiction Affects the Teenage Brain – InfographicLearn How Pornography Addiction Affects the Teenage Brain – Infographic

Has A Youth Worker's Influence Shrunk?

Youth Ministry

excerpted from YouthMinistry360:

In conversation after conversation with youth workers, I hear one theme repeated over and over. It's articulated differently, but at its heart, the message is the same:

Many youth workers seem to feel their ability to influence teenagers may be lessening.
I don't have any data here. It's simply an observation I have come to based on the many (and awesome) encounters we get to have with youth workers. And I need to be very clear: I am NOT saying that the youth workers whom I encounter are less capable of influence. On the contrary, I am routinely blessed by the amazing people who devote their lives, or at least large parts of their lives, to journeying with teenagers as they deepen their faith. This is not about a failure on the part of youth workers. It seems the factors I hear over and over again are more environmental.

What are these factors leading to this perceived shrinking of influence? As I have tried to look for trends in the conversations we have, I think it boils down to a few things:

Time: Teenagers are busier now than ever before. With athletics (not only school but travel-teams), the increased demands of school, clubs and other extra-curricular activities, jobs, and so on, youth workers actually have less face-to-face time to influence students through relationships. 

Noise: What I mean by noise is a competition for attention. In his book You Lost Me, David Kinnaman calls this "Access." Our teenagers are constantly connected (nearly 60% of US teenagers have a smart phone) and therefore are constantly exposed to a landslide of voices, messaging, and opinions. The youth worker of a generation ago was a main source of truth and wisdom. While the youth worker of today is no less wise, there is unbelievable competition for teenagers' attention.

Culture: I am no alarmist, but let's face it: the culture our teenagers are growing up in is not exactly an environment that is conducive to absolute truth, monotheism, and so on. So, by nature of this cultural affect on students, they may be predisposed to give less weight to a voice that is in conflict what much of what they experience in their worlds.

I'm sure we could come up with more factors. The point is that it seems to me that many youth workers are experiencing a drop off in opportunities for face-to-face, relational influence, and that when they get these opportunities, they're finding it's more difficult to break through.

If this is the case, what can we do about it?

Read the rest of the post HERE

Why The Global Church Needs Greater Resources For Youth

Having traveled overseas (especially in countries that have been war torn at sometime over the past 30 years) - the trend is less that of an aging population (i.e. the U.S.) but rather a high proportion of the population 25 and younger. That means the church's investment in the youth within that country is of paramount importance. Below is an infographic illustrating the importance of the global church needing to focus on youth ministry and yet why the needed resources needed to accomplish that task are lacking.

The global church needs to invest more time, energy, and resources to address global youth issues and unlock the potential that lies within this largely untapped source of transformation.

Global Youth Ministry

Snapchat Continues To Be Popular Among Millennials

Snapchat is now more popular than Twitter among U.S. millennials. A report, from comScore, finds that 32.9% of Americans aged 18-34 had installed the Snapchat app on their phones in June 2014, trailing only Facebook (75.6%) and Instagram (43.1%).

While the data says nothing about actual usage of social media apps, it does indicate that Snapchat's reach among young adults is remarkably high, especially when compared to a multi-billion dollar company such as Twitter.

Infographic: Snapchat More Popular Than Twitter Among Millennials | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

This trend is a significant challenge to those of us in youth, college and young adult ministry. How do you address and confront the popularity of this App among your youth and those in your church?  Do you even believe you should? I and manny others (see Adam McLane) would claim this is a dangerous App. In fact, it is an App that needs to be deleted from every phone.

Why? Because it's not an innocent App. It is built on the objective and promise that images can be sent without the fear of consequences - images just simply disappear. This promise opens people up to sending inappropriate and sexually explicit pics among each other.

But the truth is - those pics don't disappear. There are consequences from sending sexually explicit pictures and comments. There is no "real privacy" and anonymity with an App such as Snapchat.

How do you address Snapchat in your ministry context?

Are Teens Addicted To The Internet?

Here are some highlights from the infographic:

  • The average teen spends between 14 and 19 hours / week online. (those numbers may be on the low side)
  • 50% of students have 3 devices that can access the internet. 10% have five. Usually that breaks down to a family computer, a personal laptop, a smartphone, a tablet, and the TV / Gaming system. 
  • 62% of teens say that they need the internet to function on a daily basis.
Although it is almost impossible to avoid any degree of computer and internet use these days, the key for parents and youth leaders is to assess when normal usage has moved into addiction. Some things and signs to keep an eye out for that may signal addiction are...

Does you teen sleep with their smartphone? Or take their phone to the bathroom with them?

Is their internet use affecting or changing their mood? (usually in a detrimental way...depression, anxiety etc..)

Do they become anxious, angry or irritable when they are removed or don't have access to the internet? (or when they loose or misplace their smartphone)

Is their performance at school and grades suffering?

The Day In The Life Of A Mobile Teen

Here are some interesting stats from the infographic below.

  • 75% of teens have phones. (this stat probably is higher)
  • A typical teen sends 49 texts a day
  • 54% of teens text their friends every day
The point of this infographic and it's stats is that teens are inseparable from their phones and their preferred mode of communication is still texting. So let me ask, why are so many youth groups still relying on email (or even Facebook - which is becoming more passé among teens) as their primary mode of communication?

There are all kinds of helpful and easy to use programs and services, such as ProTexting and EZTexting  (many with a cost attached- but definitely worth it). How are you using and leveraging technology and their phones to communicate and connect better with your youth?

(ht: YouthMinistryMedia)

Requests For Every Worship Pastor

Here, in this video below, stand up comedian Tim Hawkins shares a couple requests he has for worship pastors. Does Tim Hawkins speak for you? What requests would you have for your worship pastor?

Youth Ministry Burnout

Did you know?

40% of youth workers are burnt out right now!
80% of youth workers believe their work contributes to unhealthy diet and exercise habits

More important information in the infographic below from Smarter Youth Ministry

(ht: Smarter Youth Ministry)

Millennials And Fame

from YPulse:

Millennials have been positioned as a fame-hungry generation for years, and have developed a reputation for wanting 15-minutes in the spotlight whether or not they have any talent. But how true is the idea that the generation prioritizes being famous? When we asked 14-29-year-olds for their thoughts on fame, we got a much more complex picture of their desires:
(ht: YPulse)

Millennials: Generation Unaffiliated

Millennials, a.k.a. Generation Y, are more disassociated from mainstream institutions – political parties, organized religion, marriage – than are older Americans. In fact, they're the most politically unaffiliated group the Pew poll has ever seen.

Millennials’ “don’t join ‘em” attitude extends somewhat to their views on organized religion, with almost 30 percent saying they are unaffiliated with any religion. That’s in contrast to 21 percent of Gen Xers, 16 percent of boomers, and 9 percent of Silents who report no religious affiliation.

But that doesn’t mean Millennials aren’t interested in religious matters. In fact, 86 percent of Millennials say they believe in God, and about 58 percent say they’re “absolutely certain” that God exists, according to a 2012 survey by Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.

(ht: Yahoo)

The Challenges Of Being A Teen - Infographic

Just like any year, there were both positive and negative events that shaped our society. Teens in 2013 were exposed to a multitude of new challenges that parents and youth workers need to not only be aware of but be able to sit down and talk to their teens about. 

This infographic was created to provide parents and youth workers a road map to help them understand what their teens were exposed to in 2013.

Being a Teen in 2013 - Year in Review

Courtesy of: Help Your Teen Now

Teen Trends With Social Media - Infographic

If you work with teens and youth in your church or ministry, you know first-hand the challenges and opportunities that come with ministering to these digital natives.
Teens in this new digital world, view the world differently. They aren't as concerned with privacy as with older adults - 53% of teens have posted their email on social sites and 20% have posted their cell phone number there too.
Their connection, reliance and love of technology, seems to know no bounds. This infographic below illustrates some of the behaviors and trends concerning teens - information that will help you as you connect with them and minister to them.

Youth Dependance On Mobile

If your ministry isn't  being series about your mobile online presence (making sure information/web are accessible and formatted for their mobile devices) will miss out in engaging many people, especially the young generation.

from YPulse:

When we asked Millennials to name the one device they can’t live without, more said they can’t live without their smartphones than those who named laptop, tablet, and television combined. This generation is passionate about their mobile devices, and they carry them nearly everywhere they are. 45% of Millennials say that they spend two-ten hours a day on their smartphones, and 44% say they look at their phone over six times in a given hour. 

With so much of the time and attention of this very desired generation of consumers devoted to their smartphones, it is no wonder that the war around smartphone tech and who can capture the young, often fickle, tech-savvy audience is continuing to rage on. 

Only 15% of Millennials ages 14-29 tell us they don’t currently own a smartphone.

Youth Groups Driving Christian Teens To Abandon Faith

Here is a study worth revisiting and readdressing:

from Charisma:
A new study might reveal why a majority of Christian teens abandon their faith upon high school graduation. Some time ago, Christian pollster George Barna documented that 61 percent of today's 20-somethings who had been churched at one point during their teen years are now spiritually disengaged. They do not attend church, read their Bible or pray.
According to a new five-week, three-question national survey sponsored by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC), the youth group itself is the problem. 
Fifty-five percent of American Christians are concerned with modern youth ministry because it's too shallow and too entertainment-focused, resulting in an inability to train mature believers. But even if church youth groups had the gravitas of Dallas Theological Seminary, 36 percent of today's believers are convinced youth groups themselves are not even biblical.
This video, although humorous, I believe aptly illustrates the problem - the church's need and desire for youth ministry to be cool and entertaining - therefore becoming shallow and irrelevant.

Amazing Mobile Stats Among Teens

If you are a youth worker, then you are well aware of the use (and abuse) of cell phones and texting among teens. As you and the parents you partners with work among teens, you may find these statistics in the infographic below helpful to know.

  • Teens send over 48,000 texts a year. Many of them in the middle of the night. 
  • 70% of teens receive a text

(ht: Safely)