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So much of youth ministry seems to be about what “not” to do. Don’t spill Kool-Aid on the carpet. Don’t play games in the sanctuary. Don’t get on the wrong side of this committee or board. Don’t do this. Don’t do that…
The following post by Josh Griffin (with help from Kurt Johnston) does a good job of focusing on what we should “do” in ministry. The post is from Josh’s blog, More Than Dodgeball, and was originally part of the Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter.
More Than Dodgeball and SYM Today are great idea resources for you. I encourage you to check them out as often as you can.
Change is one of the only things that is always present in our work with Group Mission Trips. I’ve had at least 6 job titles in my 11 years working with this ministry. I can’t tell you how many different job descriptions I’ve had during that time. We’ve gone from doing only one kind of mission trip, Workcamps, to 3 different mission trips (Week of Hope & Lifetree Adventures) and a single-day of service youth event (The Big Day of Serving). Things have changed from a single team of people focused exclusively on organizing and supporting mission trips to combining forces with our partners Group Youth Ministry/Simply Youth Ministry to help bring everything we can to support youth workers.
Change is hard. Change isn’t easy. Change can cause pain. For some people change is welcome and they jump on board fast but don’t fully take stock of the potential trouble spots. For others change is difficult and they seemingly fight against it every chance they get. And many people fall in the middle of those two extremes.
It’s not any different in church ministry than in a mission organization. How you manage change is just as important and dreaming and thinking of the change. Here’s three great ideas for managing change in your ministry:
- Make sure everyone involved in the change is part of the process. One member of out team is constantly preaching the message of communication to the rest of us. And he’s right! Especially when it comes to change. You cannot communicate enough. Before the change is even finalized. When you announce the change. While the change is being implemented. After the change is now the new normal. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. And the biggest part of communicating – listening. Listen to what people are saying. And try to hear what they are not saying. Involving everyone will help to give people a chance to make the change theirs.
- Help people understand how the change will benefit them. In every change there are good things for everyone. New opportunities. New ideas. New responsibilities. New working relationships. New results to shoot for. New. New. New. And new can be very unnerving unless you help people know what is in it for them. Even in ministry, your team will want to know how this change will benefit. Them as an individual. The ministry as a whole. The youth who area part of your ministry. Giving everyone an understanding of how the change is good will go a long way to navigating the process of implementing the change.
- Regardless of how good a change is, someone will be negatively affected – at least in their mind. Seek those people out. If a team is getting a new role in the ministry because of the change, spend time with them as they adjust. If it means there isn’t a spot for someone, give the the space and time to grieve the loss and give them your time to process. If possible, implement change in stages or steps so that those affected the most have time to adjust. If the change you are implementing has a bunch of negatives (even small ones), spacing out the change will allow those most affected to move through the process with grace.
Change isn’t always easy (I know) but it can be incredibly good. Keep these steps in mind the next time your team and ministry go through change.
Starting this Friday you’ll be able to see pretty much every member of the Group Mission Trips team at SYMC in Indy. We’re helping in tons of different ways at the conference. There will be members of the GMT team checking you in when you arrive, helping with getting the general sessions ready, working in the resource area, and well… I can’t remember everywhere else.
Toby Rowe and I will be leading several workshops as well. If these topics interest you, we’d love to have to participate in one of these.
Saturday afternoon – “Using Service to Create a Servant’s Heart”
Sunday afternoon – “Making the Most of Your Mission Trip”
Monday morning – “Fundraising for the Big Event”
In addition to all this, you will not want to miss Toby (and a bunch of us) on Sunday Late Night after the general session! He’ll be leading “Games We Never Should’ve Done”. It’s going to be a fun crazy time of reliving some of our best “mistakes” from all our years of Mission Trips and giving other youth ministry vets a chance to share theirs. It will be a night you won’t soon forget.
If you’re not registered yet for SYMC, it’s not too late. We are nearly Sold Out but we are not there yet. There is room for you. Go here to register.
A couple months ago I came across this article – “The Secrets of Generation Flux.”
I found it fascinating and very applicable to ministry life today. These younger leaders and the description of how to lead a new generation speak directly to who we serve and lead with.
I would love to know what you think? Did you find parallels to your ministry? Did the article ring true for you? Or did it seem too far fetched for you – off base?
And yet… don’t we need to? Jesus basically started new things every day for the years he was working publicly and developing his disciples. Everything was new. And it was excited. It was impossible to prepare for. It failed and succeeded in ways that no one involved could predict.
The scary process of starting new things is part of the history of Group Mission Trips. For almost 30 years we only did one kind of mission trip – our Workcamp program. And we new exactly how that worked. How to prepare and plan. How to lead. Bu then several years ago we felt God leading us to start a new ministry. A new direction for us. A new way to serve those with needs. That’s how Week of Hope was born.
The crazy, fun thing is since the moment we chose to start something new (Week of Hope) we haven’t stopped. From that choice Lifetree Adventures, Leading Edge Outreach, and The Big Day of Serving have all come (and gone). One of those was a “failure” in the sense that it didn’t work for us and the churches we serve. But we still tried and there are even more new things on the horizon now.
What about your ministry? When the last time you dared to venture out and start something completely new? Change the night of your main youth group meeting? That’s crazy talk. Stop doing your favorite outreach program for something new? Impossible. Take your students on a mission trip far from home? Just too difficult. Or it it…
What “new thing” could God be calling you to if you listened?
Our friends at Simply Youth Ministry have created a great new resource for your students. I wanted to share it with you. Imagine empowering your students to spend just a few minutes each day discovering a life-shaping, thought-provoking, Jesus-centered truth that can transform them into the kind of people God crafted them to be.
Sounds like a worthwhile investment, doesn’t it?
The Simple Truth Bible features 366 daily devotionals—each one a tasty, bite-size morsel that powerfully reveals what it means to deeply love and trust God, to lead a Jesus-centered life, and to lean on Scripture for guidance and wisdom.
Teenagers will discover how to experience hope in the middle of tough times, how God deeply and passionately loves them, how to build an authentic friendship with Jesus, and how they were created to lead a life of impact in this world and for eternity.
Each devotion includes:
- Thoughts on a specific passage of Scripture and how it relates to students’ lives
- Insights to help teenagers turn their thoughts into prayers as they spend time with God
- Ideas to follow if students want to spend more than a few minutes each day with God
- Perspective on how that day’s passage fits into the big picture of the Bible