Just a Youth Ministry Geek!

Conversations about modern youth ministry

The Coming American Church Transition April 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dj @ 1:01 pm
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I don’t claim to to know the future.  I’m not a prophet or psychic or anything like that.  But I think there are several murmurs throughout the American church that we need to pay attention to and what it means for us as believers here in America and especially those involved with ministry.

There is an undeniable trend today for churches to “go smaller”.

Small Groups
“House Church”
Church plants
Multi-site, etc…
In my eyes, we are in transition (and the rest of the ministry world says “duh!”)  But what are we in transition to?  Smaller churches.

I think we’re going to start seeing a lot less of the megachurch model in the next 10 to 20 years and a lot more churches under 400, maybe even smaller.

We’re going to see a lot more “lay-ministers”.  Professional ministry will start to be on the decline and people stepping up to fill leadership roles will increase.

Youth ministry will be drastically different.  Right now, youth ministry tends to be it’s own animal.  People in church know theres a youth ministry in their church, but don’t know much about it.  “It’s what they do in their youth area…” will be a thing of the past and youth ministries will start to move towards multigenerational ministry.  We HAVE to!

People are searching for community.  A place to belong.  A place where they feel like they make a difference and matter to the people around them.  Welcome to the smaller church.


And we’re back! March 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dj @ 4:41 pm

Now it seems like things have calmed down a little, I’m going to attempt to continue to contribute to this little space a couple of times a week.  If you have anything you’d like to see on here, feel free to comment a suggestion.


Site Update February 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dj @ 2:27 pm

To be honest, there’s just way too much going on right now for me to effectively run this blog.

I’m not sure when/if there will be future updates.

Thanks for reading.


The Lent Experiment February 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dj @ 7:13 pm
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I’m not from a tradition that observes Ash Wednesday or the events that surround Lent.  In the next couple of weeks I hope to learn a little more about Lent and it’s history.

My goal during the 40 days of Lent is to completely give up video games and devote that time to reading, studying and being silent.  I have a stack of books that I plan to read, some ministry related, some soul related.

What started this?

I go through seasons where I get really into a video game, and then for almost no apparent reason become extremely bored with it and switch to reading.  I decided that I got more out of reading than playing a game.  While video games are primarily social for me (I play with 4 or 5 of my college friends and we talk to each other through headsets) I walk away from a book with a better sense of accomplishment and growth.

It is my hope to finish this stack of books and come out of this a new person.  Pray for me as I start this journey on February 25th.


For Fun! January 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dj @ 1:37 pm
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I’ve seen all the pastor jokes that circulate the internet, until I saw the following and felt it necessary to pass along the laughs.

Call to Another Church
A pastor places his order at the pet store. “I need at least 50 mice, 2,000 ants and as many of those little silverfish you can get.”
The clerk replies, “We can probably do that, but it might take some time. Mind if I ask why you are placing such an unusual order?”
The pastor replies, “I’ve accepted a call to another church and the pastor’s council told me to leave the parsonage the way I found it.”

Farewell Offering
During the last Sunday service that the visiting pastor was to spend at the church he served for some months, his hat was passed around for a goodwill offering.

When it returned to the pastor, it was empty. The pastor didn’t flinch. He raised the hat to Heaven and said, “I thank You, Lord, that I got my hat back from this congregation.”

Holy Communion

Being a new pastor to an aging congregation, I told them I would be serving them prune juice in Holy Communion.
When asked why I would dare entertain such a thought, I said, “If the Holy Spirit won’t move you…the prune juice will!”

Hot Air Hand Dryers

My pastor friend put sanitary hot air hand dryers in the rest rooms at his church and after two weeks, took them out.
I asked him why and he confessed that they worked fine, but when he went in there he saw a sign that read, “For a sample of this week’s sermon, push the button.”


Quick Announcement January 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dj @ 12:28 pm

Whew! What a month it’s been!

Between getting over the holidays, making plans for the baby, and the season of change at church there hasn’t been time for me to give any real updates.

They’re coming, I promise, but for the next couple of months I don’t foresee many in depth Youth Ministry posts. Expect more spiritual insights and reviews.

Upcoming posts:
– The Lent Experiment
– Curriculum Reviews
– How to “Be”


Crisis Counseling part 3 January 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dj @ 5:08 pm
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For the final installment of the Crisis Counseling series, I want to talk about the most common type of counseling that youth workers encounter.  We’ll call this Counseling in the Youth Room – the times when those students approach you after the lesson or while you’re in your office or just after church on Sunday.

When students approach you with an issue, or question concerning something they’re going through, first of all take the time to thank them for coming to you.  It takes a lot of guts for a teenager to approach an adult about an issue.  AND they choose you to talk to you about it.  So that shows they trust you.

Oftentimes, the questions they ask may be the symptoms of a much larger question that they are hesitant to talk about.  So ask questions to figure out what they really want.  Try to dig deeper.  For example, they may approach you about “What to do when you’re feeling depressed…” when really, they may be struggling with self-mutilation.  You could follow up their question of “Well, what do you do when you’re feeling depressed?”  This helps steer the conversation into deeper territories.

Help guide them to do their own thinking.  I’ve mentioned this before, but it is so critical that they do the majority of the talking.  Allow them to find the answers on their own.  They may ask you a direct question, but redirecting the question to them helps them search it out and discover the answer–which in the long run makes for much more effective learning and problem solving.

Use the Bible! Scripture is full of wonderful scriptures and examples of people who need help like we do.  Point to those examples and communicate it in a way that they can understand and how it relates to them.

Give them homework, some kind of assignment that helps work through the situation. For example, a student is struggling with anger towards another student at school.  A great assignment would be for your student to write out a prayer for that particular student every day for the next week and bring it back to you.  The purpose of this is 2 fold: 1) They are living out the command of Jesus to pray for our enemies and 2) they are following through with their issues to help get them resolved.  And then you have a measuring marker to see progress!

Finally, and probably most importantly: Follow up. Either set a date to meet or make a point to ask your student the next time you see them how they are doing.  Make sure you don’t just send your students off to the wolves after a talk.  We need to make sure we follow up with them to make sure they are still on track.