Archive for the ‘Youth Connection’ Category

This post is a part of the Youth Connections, articles on youth ministry that we send out to GYMN graduates every other month.

Technology is bringing about new social, political, and business orders. It is affecting how governments, organizations and people interact.1

And it is probably already affecting the dynamics of your youth ministry. For young people are the most likely group to make use of new technologies.

Take cell phones: although people of all ages use cell phones, young people are much more likely to use the text messaging and other data services on their mobile phones than their elders. One reason being that younger users are more willing to adopt to new forms of communication and technology in general. What has this to do with our youth ministry? If we are able to harness technology in our ministry, it will be one way of meeting young people where they are.

Also, we would be able to enhance the way we minister. Video and computer presentation programs help to convey a message to the youth in ways impossible before.  Cell phones, E-mails and communication software make it easy and cost-effective to talk and coordinate over long distances.  And the Internet has an excess of useful information for youth ministry.

Tangled Technology

Indeed there are already a multitude of tech tools already available that we may be overwhelmed in choosing what to use amongst a multitude of options. Therefore, even before we integrate new technology into our ministry we must already have a picture of what we want to do and where we want to go in our ministry.

Here are some ways that youth ministries have made use of new technology for its purposes: (more…)


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I am convinced that we have to be sure to keep track of and evaluate three major components in our lives. These three form what I believe to be a 3 legged stool. The three areas are those of spiritual, emotional and physical well-being. These three are tightly integrated together for you and I as leaders and in those we lead as well. To illustrate the integration, the 3 legged stool shows us that if one leg is not healthy then the seat is out of balance. You may think that balance is not a big issue, but balance is essential in order for the seat to perform its intended function.

Scripture speaks loudly about these areas of our lives and honestly we as Christians probably could fall prey to the idea that all that matters is the spiritual aspect. But let me challenge you to allow God’s Spirit to whisper to you in the midst of this article and His Word. In Luke 2:52, we see that Jesus grew in wisdom (intellectually), stature (physically), with God (spiritually) and man (emotionally/socially).  Did you get that? Jesus, the Messiah, fully God and fully man, needed to grow as well in a multitude of areas. Jesus continues to discuss emotion as well in Matthew 22:37, where he mentions the need to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind (emphasis added).

I want to mainly deal with the area of emotional health in this article. One way to view your emotional health is to see it as a bank account.

In banking, to keep in the black is to have a positive balance. It requires that you save more than you spend when it comes to finances. Put another way, you have to have more in deposits than in withdrawals. That is easy to understand and even to monitor as well. Most banks will give you a simple print out to show your balance and you can easily see if your deposits for a given time period are more or less than the withdrawals.

I wish it was that easy for us emotionally. I have yet to receive an emotional “bank account statement” in the mail telling me of my status. So how do we really know how we are doing in this area, not just for ourselves but even for those who we serve in our leadership teams?


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By far one of the greatest risk areas and potential areas of frustration for youth leaders is their relationship with those in authority over them within the church. Youth ministries will not be effective without a proper authority structure. In addition an understanding and obedience to those structures by the youth leadership is essential.


I know that as young leaders you and I have so many brilliant ideas on changing the world. We have plans, vision and a ton of energy to put toward that effort. Allow me to give you a warning. Following these passions without authority can lead to destruction. Destruction in your church, your own life and in the spiritual lives of the youth you care so much for.  So, my dear youth leader friends, be very careful of how you walk and talk. (more…)

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Youth-owned ministry was the big reason I came into Christian fellowship. Indeed, I came to the church on a midweek evening service and there were around 10 people present that evening. The message that night I have long since forgotten along with who the speaker was. What stood out though was that most of those who were present and part of the service were young people. Some gave their testimonies and they all shook my hand as the program came to a close. One young person who couldn’t be a few years older than I said “I hope you would return.” That was the start. I attended that service week after week and to my amazement it was indeed the young people who were in charge of not just that service but other ministries I had only before seen adults in charge of. Later I finally became a part of the church, but the vast portion of my time was spent with the youth group. I had found a place to belong.

Here are some insights from my ministry:
Youth-owned ministry starts when the leaders take the dreams of the young seriously. If you are a youth leader, you should be the initiator for this. Take a moment and think of the young people you have right now. Do you know what they hope the youth group could be? Or what their dreams are for the ministry? Talk to them about it and you may be surprised at their ideas and thoughts.

Secondly, youth-owned ministry entrusts the youth with servant leadership. In an environment of love and acceptance from adult leaders who truly believe in their youth’s capacity to lead, young people will engage in ministry quite naturally. Eagerly too. Joel Van Dyke’s experience in his ministry shows an example of this: (more…)

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Youth-Owned Ministry

This post is part of a collection of articles sent as a follow-up to GYMN trainings. You can use these posts in your youth ministry. At the end of the article are questions for you to reflect on or for your youth leadership team to discuss.

Several years ago I found myself tired, discouraged and frustrated with the ministry to youth that I was involved with in North Philadelphia (USA).  I had been a youth pastor at a small urban church for about 5 years and had tried all the things I had ever read and heard that I was supposed to do to be an effective shepherd of young lives but it just didn’t seem to be working.  I had tried to get youth involved with many of “my great ideas” and all the “divinely inspired” ministry strategies that I was sure would work but there always seemed to be a lack of commitment and zeal on behalf of the youth. The teens had little or no ownership in the ministry and no desire to reach out to their peers.

One day as I was walking through a hallway in the church towards my office I heard someone playing the piano.  I didn’t recognize the song or the voice so I made my way up to the sanctuary to see if someone had gotten into the building that was not supposed to be there.  What I saw and heard has forever transformed my view of youth ministry. (more…)

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This post is part of a collection of articles sent as a follow-up to GYMN trainings. You can use these posts in your youth ministry. At the end of the article are questions for you to reflect on or for your youth leadership team to discuss.

In the city, where I first got involved in youth ministry, is a mountain rising high above sea level. Hikers traveling along the well-worn path can reach a resting place where the peak of the mountain can be seen. But to reach that mountain top requires passage along a difficult path that goes up steeply and is troublesome to pass. From this point in the journey people stop and enjoy the limited view of the scenery. Most of them, seeing that going farther will be difficult, linger for a while and then head back down. Only those who persevere get to see the view from above, a breath-taking view, of the entire city and the sea beyond.

There is an analogy to this story in our youth ministry. (more…)

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This post is part of a collection of articles sent as a follow-up to GYMN trainings. You can get a pdf version of this file to download or print out here: april_2008_youth_connection.

picture by ToastyKen

As a young Christian I was once invited by my friend to join a course on world missions. I was hesitant at first, little did I know that that would be the start of a love for missions that has brought me to remote islands of my country and placed me in an organization that is reaching youth globally. By missions, I refer to the effort of all the body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission as found at the end of Matthew:“And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:17-20

My plea is that you include world-missions in your overall strategy and make it more central in your teaching. Consider the following reasons why missions is so important:

1: Missions is Biblical

The verses often talked about on this topic are Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8 which we will look into later, but these are only two among hundreds of verses in the Bible that show God’s concern for the nations! From Genesis where he calls Abraham and blesses him and says to Abraham “…in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” to the book of Revelations where the following song is sung to Jesus “… you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” We cannot escape the fact that missions is one of the major themes of the Bible. If we do not tackle missions in our youth group we are missing a big part of what the Bible is all about.

2: It is the Greatest Cause

Human beings give their life for great causes and no cause is greater than this one. From my own experience, I am not a person easily moved but many times I have been in tears at the greatness of God in missions. Youth especially love a challenge and the Great Commission is the biggest challenge there is. It is more important than creating solutions to any global crisis, for those deal with this short life while missions deals with where people will spend eternity.1

3: We Get More of God’s Greatness

Missions is important most of all because it enlarges our view of God. This is true not just for our youth but also for us, as youth leaders. As we look into missions and deepen our involvement in it we get to see more of the magnificence of God’s character. As we begin to discover God’s concern for every family of the earth we begin to comprehend just how deep the love of God is. When we look into how God has worked from history until today we start to understand the power of a God who watches the nations like ordinary men watch over sheep.

To put it negatively: If we do not have a world-view of missions we risk belittling our God. John Stott once told a story of visiting a tiny church in England while on a study leave. He worshipped with them every Sunday, participated in their fellowship, and heard their discussions. He related his dismay when week after week, the pastor would preach about issues facing the village, pray about concerns in the church, and discuss decisions related only to their congregation. “I came to the conclusion,” Stott observed, “that these people worship a village God.” 2

We cannot allow the same things to happen to us. We cannot afford for us and our youth to have a small view of God. (more…)

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