I have the habit of keeping articles from magazines that somehow pique my interest. But there was quite a stack accumulating on my desk and so I decided to work my way through these again. One article I had saved was from the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Group Magazine, in which Rick Lawrence detailed some research about students and being ‘all-in’ for Jesus. [Read more…]
When I started out in youth ministry, I feared pastoral issues the most. I mean: what should I say to struggling teens? I was a afraid I wouldn’t have the profound wisdom they’d be looking for, or the spiritual nuggets they’d need to get through it.
As it turns out, struggling teens don’t need us to say all that much. Sure, there are times when they ask for concrete advice: Rachel, should I break up with my boyfriend or not? What do you think I should major in in college? Do you think I should stop being friends with her? And those times, I help them analyze the situation and come to the best advice. (A pro tip: ask them what they’d advise a friend in that situation…) [Read more…]
I love TED talks. They’re often inspiring, challenging and it’s a quick and easy way to get fresh perspectives and new ideas.
For youth leaders, TED talks are a brilliant resource. I’ve truly learned a lot by watching a few talks each month and in this post, I want to share my favorites with you. Here are the 10 TED talks that every youth leader should watch:
1. Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability
This is the ultimate TED talk in my opinion. It’s brilliant, it’s funny, it’s personal and it will completely change your perspective and paradigm. Literally life changing.
As youth workers, we are striving to make an impact on the life of teens. Ultimately, out goal is to make them into devoted followers of Jesus. But how do we get them there?
I think these all have their place. But sometimes we focus so much on these, that we forget our greatest path of influence with teens: love. Unconditional, selfless, Christ-like love. [Read more…]
Looking back isn’t always easy. Many of us have regrets when we look back on our life and ‘career’ as a youth pastor. We’ve listed four regrets so far in our first post on the 7 regrets of youth pastors: avoiding conflicts, not communicating the vision enough, settling for a low salary and not training a successor. Here are three more regrets many youth pastors have:
5. Not taking care of yourself
As youth pastors, we seem wired to put ourselves last. We take care of everyone else, but we forget to take care of ourselves. Our own physical health, our spiritual health, they don’t get the attention they need to stay healthy. As youth pastor Jason Sansbury tweeted to me: [Read more…]
I am very proud and honored to announce the publication of my very first book: Beyond Small Talk: Connecting with Teenagers through Conversations that Matter. It’s published by Simply Youth Ministry, in the Everyday Youth Ministry series.
We talk a lot with teens as youth workers and youth leaders, but it’s not always easy to have conversations that go beyond small talk. But if we want to make a difference in the lives of our students, it’s imperative that we do get teenagers to talk to us, to open up to us. In this book I share my ‘secrets’ for getting students to talk to you. There’s loads of practical advice on listening, building trust, asking the right questions, responding the right way and also on what not to say. [Read more…]
There’s an old adagio for writers, a golden rule if you wish. It’s this:
Show, don’t tell.
It’s about the difference between telling a reader what he should know, conclude, feel and showing him the situation, allowing for room for his or her own interpretation and emotions.
As a writer (while my main activity is non-fiction writing, I’m very much in love with fiction writing as well), this rule is very familiar to me. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to execute. [Read more…]
There’s no such thing as a perfect family, but some of our teens face a more difficult situation at home than others. Their parents are divorced, they’re growing up in a single parent family, they’re part of a complicated family structure with step- and half-siblings, you name it. Or they have to deal with unsupportive parents who are not doing a good job in raising them, who take their own frustrations out on their kids for instance.
How do we help our teens to deal with difficult situations like this with their parents? Is there anyway we can help them, equip them? Can we in some way compensate for what they miss out? Here are some of my thoughts. [Read more…]
Words are of more importance than we often realize. Words can wound, maybe even kill, but they can also affirm and build up. What we as youth leaders tell our teens matters. The words we use can make a difference. Here are 5 messages teens need to hear from us as youth leaders:
1. God loves you, no matter what
This is the most important truth of them all and one that we should keep repeating every single time we talk to teens. No matter what you have done, no matter what you will do, God will always love you. He loves you even if you’re the biggest sinner that ever walked the face of the earth. He loves you when your depressed and cutting yourself, he loves you when you’re having sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend, he loves you when you’re angry all the time, he loves you whether you’re gay or straight or confused…There is absolutely nothing you could ever do that would make God stop loving you. Let’s tell teens that and affirm them in God’s love for them again and again.