Making Real Men From Scratch

I can’t stand it any more. I have to say something. I am frustrated with the type of commitment I am seeing from the guys in our our youth group. I don’t even think I can blame this on theology as much as as on society. I mean really, what was the last good “Man Movie’ you saw? Consider your choices

Think about the men in these movies. They are all complete morons. They are uncommitted, drunken, sex craved deviants. This is what is shaping today’s young men’s character. We’ve made a full switch from the 80’s I grew up in where there were men in movies like:

  • Rambo
  • Dirty Harry
  • Rocky
  • Terminator

Now, these movies had their own problems in that they had too much violence, or swearing, etc. They showed guys as thugs or that we only knew one way to handle things. In their defense, it takes less energy to tone a young man down than to get him to man up. In addition, however warped some of these movies were, they seemed to esteem some man values. There were rules, justice, and even compassion. We now live in an age where men are more metro, listen to screamo, and  guy-liner. Did we have our share of deviant movies?  Oh yeah. Is my age showing? Yep. Much of this is perception, but I am deeply concerned about the new manliness that is portrayed in our culture.

In a recent seminar at YS, led by Mark Helsel, I learned that :

  1. 39% of men make up a congregation
  2. 90% of men leave the church by age 20. (some come back later and stats differ)

This being true, it burned me to the core. I went back to our church and God hatched a plan in my heart. I don’t have many basketball players in my group so I chose to take March Madness and turn into March Man-Ness. We did a full court press in man games, man messages, and all around manliness. This is a start. No dramatic changes yet. We are moving toward a Christian brotherhood that will rally around the the cause of Christ. Men love a good revolt. I’m not sure I can do a fulll “How To Get Your Boys to Man Up” session yet , but I am working on it.

Here is my March-Maness Plan , if you can glean from it, great.  Got some add on ideas? Let me know. Here’s to our young men discovering the God Man, Jesus and becoming more like Him.  Let’s Man Up!

Let Me Re-Introduce Myself

We recently had a new member or prospective new member luncheon. Each of the staff had a minute or two to introduce themselves and share what they did at the church. I thought I made a good pitch but our Pastor made an interesting observation about all our introductions.

He said, “What I noticed was that each of you introduced yourself as being “over” something. I went back through some of the job descriptions I wrote and saw that the words “over things” does not exist”

It was a keen observation that I took to heart. So, I made a short list of communication flubs which may be keeping  others from wanting to join our team. When we are saying we are “over”something we are unintentionally saying:

  • If you join my team you will be “under me,” “under” my supervision”, “under my thumb” Who wants that?
  • I am the leader of..(too vague, all kinds of leaders good and bad)
  • I am in charge of ( too much responsibility. it all falls on you, no shared value)
  • I am  the Youth Pastor (still very generic and everyone has a their own idea of what that is)

So, what can we say instead of using sabotaging language that kills our opportunity to add more people to our team? These are some of the phrases I came up for myself, feel free to add your own.

  • I am the lead youth discipler
  • I am the minister of fun (you could say that to a group but individually it sounds a little creepy)
  • My role is to  connect students to Christ and adults to students for the purpose of ministry/discipleship/building the kingdom We do this through…. (I like this one best)
  • My passions is …
  • I am privileged to …
  • I  share….
  • I am the lead developer… ( I know, sounds like I am making an app or a video game, I am sorta)

I think you get the point. How we introduce ourselves paints a picture for people. Based on the picture, positive or negative, people desire to join or not join you in your cause or mission. Try using intentional language that best describes what you think your role is (try asking a deacon, he would love to tell you what your job is). Try it out and see what kind of reaction you get. Leave your reconstructed introduction here so others can benefit.

Need more help? Try these links

How To Introduce Yourself

Tips for Introducing Yourself

Videos

My Introduction (great advice)

Is Sunday A Day of Work or Worship For Pastors?

I was just thinking: “When do I get to worship? I mean, really” Sundays are frustrating for pastors and anyone who works in the church. I can see why we feel ripped off. We work/serve all week long for others and then we are suppose to put on our happy faces again on Sunday. Think of all the Sunday “duties” a pastor might have in addition to preaching

  • Touch base with someone
  • Discipline someone
  • Teach someone
  • Counsel someone
  • Make sure certain people know certain things
  • Announce something

The list is endless. In addition, we think about all the other things we have to do next week, not including the things that have cropped up on just this one Sunday. When do we get to worship? I want to sit back and enjoy worship. I want to go to a Sunday School class and not have to teach it.

According to Judaism

“A religious Jew tries to bring holiness into everything they do, by doing it as an act that praises God, and honours everything God has done. For such a person the whole of their life becomes an act of worship.”

In thinking about this, it puts what I do on Sunday’s in perspective

  • If I have to discipline one of God’s children for their benefit and for the benefit of the body, this is honoring to God.
  • If I have to counsel someone in trouble this is honoring God.
  • If I have to do announcement so a need is met, this is to the Glory of God.

It boils down to how we use our time all week. What we put out time into. If we are waiting on Sunday to “get out worship on” then we are modeling the wrong thing. We shouldn’t be frustrated if our students or adults do this, they are learning it from us.

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Take some time this week to week God through everything you do. Pray at work. Scriptures while waiting in line. Fasting. Worship in your car instead of the news. This is not a legal list to follow but some suggestions for weaving our worship into everyday life. Have a great worship service every day!

Minute To Win it

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Here it is boys and girls, a youth ministers dream show. When  Minute to Win It came on tonight I was stoked! Game after game I could here youth workers yell out their windows “I am so doing that next week.” The shows premise is simple, be the best at 10 games and and win a million bucks.

The games are simple and the materials are in your house or at the dollar store down the street. This show must stay on forever!! Long live games.

What is your favorite? Which will your groups like best? If you use them , send me a pic or video.

How Do You Deal With Blab-Aholics?

This short learning activity came about because our student leadership team (and I) were gabbing about their day, their relationships, school, food, etc and we were not getting down to Kingdom business. We only have an hour a week and so this lesson helped us realize the weight of our words and that what we share makes a difference.

The kids got it and it was a lot of fun. Try it with your small group, sunday school, adult volunteers, heck, try it with you pastoral staff and see what happens.

Here it is Blabbing Freebie

Do you have a method of keeping your students dialed into a topic? Share it with us.

When Sunday School Teachers Go Rambo

We’ve all been through it. We inherit a volunteer who you think you can work with and then you notice you can’t. Why? In my case it’s about teaching the curriculum, I have asked them to teach, connect with new students, and show up to appropriate meetings,  actually teach scripture, ya know , little things like that. Of course this thing is never easy. He’s taught for along time, the kids like him (of course, what teen woud not like to goof off  for an hour each week in SS. I have tried to work with our volunteer and he just wants to do what he wants to do.

Disclaimer: I like this teacher as a person. His son is on our leadership team (he takes after his mother).

My choices

1. Get rid of him outright (you are not doing the job)

2. Try to get him on board again (I don’t like this option, he’s not going to play ball)

3. Talk to the parents of students in this group ( not a fan of this either, makes me look petty, us vs him)

3. I may install an independent evaluation group. Just like public school teachers who do not make the grade, they are evaluated on progress of their students. I would have other staff members or parents, sit in in the class and evaluate the teacher/class. I like this option best for two reason

a) Parents see what I am talking about. I am not making it up

b) The teacher(s) do not get the backlash from me. They are getting it from independent people. In addition I plan on doing a Parent Poll looking for feedback on what they want in a teen Sunday School Class. The bring that to the teachers. Anyway, back  to the evaluation sheet:

Evaluation standard on the sheet

1. Did the appropriate lesson get taught.

2. Class discipline

3. How did the teacher/class respond to new guest

4. Was there prayer (yeah, you would think that I would not have to ask this)

5. How did the discussion go.

I would keep the list short but you are more than willing to add to it. What would you look for?

Are Your Seniors Spiritually Ready For The World?

How Do You Know Yoyr Senior s Are eady

In the previous posts I shared how the different ways students could graduate. Now, the gate has been narrowed. Most states offer some sort of exit exam. What is the point of an exit exam?

“to make sure no students graduate or move on to other courses without proving they have mastered what they have studied.”

This begs the question “Have our students mastered what they have studied?” Never mind mastering what have studies, but what have they studied? How do we know if a student is prepared to leave our youth ministry?

Your Turn

Here is my question to you. If you could create an exit exam to make sure your students knew what they needed to know to move on to the next level what would it look like? Would it be a written test? How many questions would they have to answer to satisfy you to move them on? Would it me Bible questions? Theology questions? Practical questions? Would it be multiple choice? Essay?

Let collaborate. Share 6 questions, in any form, you wold put on the exam that would satisfy you that a students under your ministry was ready to leave. Ready. Go.