Youth Questions on Youtube

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Tim Schmoyer is launching a youtube channel specifically for students who have questions about faith and life. He, along with a panel of youth leaders will be answering students questions on a weekly basis. Spread the word with your teens:

Youtube.com/youthquestions

Facebook.com/youthquestions

Twitter.com/youthquestions/

Transitioning in Youth Ministry: In Transit – Tim Ciccone

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A few weeks back, I posted a book review about In Transit – A Youth Workers Guide to Navigating a New Beginning, by Tim Ciccone. This week I came across a video interview of Tim explaining the book a little more. If you are considering making a transition, this book is a must read that will help you finish well and begin strong.

You can follow Tim on Twitter or check out his website: relationalyouthministry.com

 

 

 

Family Focused Student Ministry – Part 5: Students

Many of the students in our ministries come from broken homes or difficult situations, (not all, but many). Statistically many of them are living with only one parent and have seen divorce. It’s important that I see the big picture of my ministry as a model to these students who need to see how a dad / husband acts and lives. In the same way, many of my students need to see how a mom / wife acts and lives through the example of my wife. Even if students come from great families, it’s vital that my students get the inside scoop to myself, my wife, my kids, and the way we live… Scary thought?

Here’s what I do: Read more

Family Focused Student Ministry – Part 4: Parents

Many parents are busy, stretched, and stressed. Everything I do must be intentional about their helping families – not hurting them. The way I schedule, the way I communicate, and the way individually support parents should be a passage to helping them (and ultimately helping their kids). If I can partner with parents effectively, it could be one of the best ministry investments I make!

It’s God’s design that parents disciple their kids, (Deuteronomy 6:7). Unfortunately, many models of youth ministry either take over the role of parents, or do not intentionally partner with parents to support them. Read more

Family Focused Student Ministry – Part 3: Volunteers

In my previous post I talked about how a successful ministry goes hand in hand with a leaders who care well for their own family. Today I want to talk about the importance of caring well for volunteer leaders and supporting a healthy family focus for them too. Many of them work full-time, or have teenagers of their own and busy lives. Therefore, it’s imperative that I create an environment that is conducive to healthy family ministry for them too…

I could start by telling you what I do to promote a healthy family focus for my leaders, but I will let some of them start by telling you instead: Read more

Family Focused Student Ministry – Part 2: You

Yesterday I began a five-part series reflecting on why it’s important to be family focused in our student ministries. I also gave a quick snapshot of how I keep this focus. Today I want to continue this focus by looking closer at one aspect I mentioned in my previous post:

IT STARTS WITH ME (OR YOU): In 1 Timothy 3 Paul gives Timothy the charge of calling overseers and deacons. Read more

Family Focused Student Ministry – Part 1

Today I am beginning a five-part series on family focused student ministries. In the last few years I have intentionally changed my focus of ministry to focus on the family as a whole. Here’s why:

Every student that we see in our ministry is part of a family system and is impacted by the health of their family. Given that we typically will have only a few hours a week of contact time with our students, I have had to realize that my impact on my students is greater when I can impact and support the whole family.

In addition, students value relationships and family more than ever. Many of them have been raised in a world of broken families or have seen the impact the of broken families in their friends. Out of this brokenness, they are desperate for answers as they look to their future. Therefore, it is imperative that we not only look to support their families with healthy family focused ministry, but we also look for ways to model healthy family through our own lives as volunteers and paid youth workers.

In the next four days I will take a look at how I am attempting to model and support healthy family ministry for myself, my volunteer leaders, my students parents, and for my students. I don’t claim to have all the answers, I am simply on a journey to discover the answers. Here is a snapshot of where I am going this week:

For Me: In 1 Timothy 3 Paul gives Timothy the charge of calling overseers and deacons. He insists, “if anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church”? In the same way, as a church leader, I have to realize that healthy family ministry starts with me and how I model health for students and their families. It’s crucial that I understand how my ministry will reflect my own life and family…

For My Volunteer Leaders: My volunteers have families and are an example to our students on a weekly basis. Many of them work full-time, or have teenagers of their own. The time they volunteer in student ministry is over and above their work week, is over and above their family time, and ultimately takes them away from their families. Therefore, it’s imperative that I create an environment that is conducive to healthy family ministry for them…

For My Parents: Families are busy, stretched, and stressed. Everything I do must be intentional about helping families – not hurting them. The way I schedule, the way I communicate, and the way individually support parents should be a passage to helping them (and ultimately helping their kids). Again, if I can impact parents positively, I am helping my students for the long-term. If however, I choose to lead a silo ministry that runs incredible programs, I might feel like I am helping students, but in reality I am not.

For My Students: Many of the students in our ministries come from broken homes or difficult situations. Statistically many of them are living with only one parent and have seen divorce. It’s important that I see the big picture of my ministry as a model to these students who need to see how a dad / husband acts and lives. In the same way, many of my students need to see how a mom / wife acts and lives through the example of my wife. It’s vital that my students get the inside scoop to myself, my wife, my kids, and the way we live… Scary thought?

In the next four days I will be exploring each area and brainstorming the ways that I currently support families and how I hope to support them in the future.

Phil <><

Why Does God Allow Earthquakes?

This weekend many of our students might be thinking (or asking) the question, “Why does God allow natural disasters like the one that hit Japan and much of the Pacific?

A few weeks ago I did some searching for some good articles that go some way to answer that question. Here are a few sites I found useful that might be helpful to you as you tackle this question with your students:

Why Does God Allow Natural Disasters? gotquestions.org

Do Natural Disasters Disprove God’s Existence? whypain.org

Why Would A Good God Allow Earthquakes (mp3) reasons.org – This is a short and to the point podcast from reasons.org responding to the recent earthquake in New Zealand. It gives some good basic scientific background too.

These are just a few that I found a couple of weeks ago. If you have any good links, I would love for you to comment! In the meantime, I hope this helps youth workers as they tackle this tough question…

Great Conference! Looking forward to 2012

SYMC (The Simply Youth Ministry Conference), was brilliant for all the reasons mentioned in my previous post. I took a team of adult volunteers who had an incredible time and grew in some great ways!

I am excited for next year! Here is a quick video promo for the conference for next year. Check it out:

SYMC Louisville Promo from Matthew Wheatley on Vimeo.

5 Reason I am Excited for SYMC 2011

On Friday I head to The Simply Youth Ministry Conference with a group of my friends, (and some of the most incredible volunteer youth workers I could ask for). I am super excited for this conference and it has come at a crucial time for me. Recently I took an emergency trip back to the U.K to support my family there. I returned tired, drained, and emotionally spent. This conference could not come at a more valuable time.

Here are 5 good reasons I am excited for this conference:

1) SYMC is AUTHENTIC: I have been to this conference over the last few years and I always find the people, atmosphere, and speakers to be so real and authentic. At some conferences you can get the idea that certain people have “arrived” as youth ministry “rock stars”.  At this conference, the speakers actually sign an agreement that requires them to be “on the floor” with everyone. No green room, no hiding, no “them and us”. It’s about speakers meeting with “in the trenches” youth workers like you and me…

2) SYMC is JESUS CENTERED: You would hope that would be the case (and it is)! For me, what makes the difference for this conference are the worship times. Rick Lawrence and his team do an incredible job of helping create some wonderful times to reflect, refuel, and focus on Jesus.

3) SYMC is IN DEPTH: SYMC has been intentional about creating environments where youth workers can have greater discussion, greater access to the speakers, and greater focus on specific areas of ministry. This is perhaps best displayed in the tracks and half-tracks they offer. The tracks are two day / 8 hour workshops focused on one area of ministry. While that might seem too much for some people, I prefer this over a smorgasbord of workshops that give me a great deal of information and ideas, yet leave me walking away with very little concrete application… With that said, they also many great stand alone workshops to choose from that have a discussional atmosphere and invite questions that truly apply to our contexts. It’s more of a conversation than a presentation… This, I believe, creates greater depth…

4) SYMC is ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS: From the hundreds of sack chairs all over the place to the seminars being set up with tables for discussion, the whole conference points towards connection and relationships. Again, the speakers are available to talk to and every youth worker can be a part of a “connect group” that focuses in on their stage of ministry, or a particular area they wish to work through. From the previous few years at this conference, I have many good friends in ministry who know me well and connect with me continuously throughout the year. It’s about ongoing relationships…

5) SYMC is INNOVATIVE: The people behind this conference are not content to continue with the norm of what has gone before. The conference in many ways stands for the shift that we are all seeing in youth ministry. As SYMC has developed over the years it has led the shifts and patterns of youth ministry and has led the way in tackling the newest and best ways to reach the next generation of students…

Finally, the conference is sold-out… Enough said!

Phil <><

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