Youth Sunday Audio, Learnings, And One Idea

Youth Sunday was a gas, of course, as teenagers ranging from 6th graders to nearly graduated seniors stood before the congregation to greet, call to worship, lead in prayer, read scripture, preach, call for commitment, charge and bless.  You can listen to the entire service led by our junior high students here (the earlier service, […]

Youth Sunday Jitters

The big project I’m working on this week is Youth Led Worship. The 9:30 service this Sunday will be led entirely by high school youth and the 11:00 by 6th-8th graders. The entire service, sermons and everything. They wrote all the parts to the service a week ago Sunday. Youth Led Worship (or Youth Sunday) […]

Formal, Structured Conversation Is Useful for Learning

You learn a lot by talking to the right people. Informal, unstructured conversations over coffee can be surprisingly revealing. But there’s nothing wrong with structuring conversation for particular learning. One on one or with a group, setting aside time to process a particular issue or experience for the sake of harvesting learning and growth is invaluable. […]

The Ones Who Aren’t Here Yet

In youth ministry, your community changes year-by-year. This is true of the whole church, of course, but it’s especially true of the teenagers; every September brings a new crop of participants and parents who have zero experience of the youth programming before they started. Which means, “The way we’ve always done it” develops for some […]

Youth Group Gathering Recipe Box

I want to get really good at leading gatherings with youth, and I want you to help me. So I’m sharing the recipe for a gathering I and three very talented volunteers led for 6th and 7th graders yesterday in the hopes that you’ll look it over and comment. Also, feel free to use it. […]

Should Signing Up Be Difficult?

I’ve embraced an All Online strategy for ministry functions that involve signing people up for something, mostly employing Eventbrite and Google Forms. Want to sign up for the mission trip? It’s online. Want to apply to be a leader on that trip? Online. Want to propose a course for our Youth Summer Bizarre? You do that […]

The church should be the network in our peoples’ lives that is most curious about all the other networks.

Ministry is networking: interfacing with existing networks of people who care deeply about something (food justice, youth, elder care), to add value to the network; caring deeply enough about something (children in worship, adult education, homelessness) to build a network for working on it.   Think of the networks in youth ministry. There’s a network of adults […]

They Are Consistently Hacking My Agenda

If people are using the thing we make for something other than our intended use, maybe we should start perfecting it for how they’re using it and stop judging them for using it wrong.   Take youth group. I may bleed and sweat to design gatherings for, say, junior high kids, that teach them the […]

My Sweater Game Needs No Leveling Up

I’m kind of love with the idea of “leveling up” at the moment. The work we do is multiform, and the only way we get better is by choosing to work on particular pieces of it. Sometimes that’s a choice to seek out a training or a coach. Learning Godly Play was a major leveling […]