The latest episode of the Simply Youth Ministry Podcast. Enjoy!
The latest episode of the Simply Youth Ministry Podcast. Enjoy!
Have you had the new Domino’s Pizza? Just curious – see my post about The Pizza Turnaround yesterday.
“There comes a time when you know you gotta make a change.”
-Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s Pizza
That’s how the new Domino’s Pizza Turnaround campaign video begins. If you haven’t watched it yet, check it out quick, pretty great stuff:
Domino’s Pizza launched a new website last week and opened 2010 with a major marketing campaign admitting that their product simply didn’t taste good and they were tossing pretty much everything out in their core product and starting over. They listened to what people were saying and worked hard for months to give them what they wanted. The new campaign is an open invitation to try Domino’s Pizza … for the first time all over again.
At the end of the day, I’m 100% sure dollars were a major driving factor behind all of this – decreased sales or the bottom falling out of your company would help anyone see the light – but I’m still impressed a company would risk everything like this. Change isn’t easy. It comes with a great risk. Settling for a little less, which is still a lot, is always easier and always tempting you to play it safe.
So I tried the #newpizza last night at the end of our discipleship retreat. I wanted to reward a couple of amazing HSM volunteers for the love and care they gave a special needs student that attended the event – so had 8 of them delivered up to their room for their guys to destroy. Of course, I planned my little drop by to coincide with the delivery so I could be sure to get in on the action, too.
You know what? The pizza was pretty good!
The price was right ($6/pizza) and it was delivered quickly, just like Domino’s has always been famous for. Now I’ll admit, price and speed are far more important in youth ministry pizza than taste – but it was genuinely good – I think most would see a definite improvement at least. Now obviously, this isn’t a pizza/food blog (although that would be awesome), so what’s the point exactly?
The Church Turnaround
There comes a time when churches must realize they need to make a change – unfortunately, that is usually 10 years after a bunch of people have already realized it. How challenging would it be for us to admit that times have changed – that we simply didn’t taste as good now as we did in the past? Explosive growth was amazing but we can’t rest on the successes of the past to continue to work the present, much less an ever-evolving future. Is it possible that we need to take a hard look at our recipes, how and why we do things, and maybe make some big changes?
It won’t be easy. Change is challenging. Status quo is safe and makes enough people happy to get by. But what if we took a cue from Domino’s and risked it all?
To some degree, we face this right now in our high school ministry. In our upcoming season of ministry we’re taking a long look at everything we do and making sure it tastes great. Nothing is sacred. Everything is on the table. We want to concentrate on the right ingredients and perfect the right recipes to deliver a great product. And it isn’t about sales, souls hang in the balance – this isn’t giving people what they are asking for but praying for God’s guidance to give them what they need in a way they will receive it most effectively. I think we’re having this conversation at the right time, it feels like we’re doing a lot of things right and have a killer team of adults in place to pull it all off. But even a guy like me, who thrives on change and a big challenge, is sweating a little bit.
I’m proud of Domino’s for realizing where they were at and then doing everything they could to fix it. The church should be right there on the front lines doing the exact same thing.
I really liked this post from Josh Herndon’s blog about 10 Things Your Youth Ministry Shouldn’t Do in 2010. Some good stuff, here’s a couple of the highlights:
1. You shouldn’t buy an expensive video camera. $2,000 is a risky investment to make for the industry’s premier camcorder. Instead, pick up a Flip Camera. They run about $200. The picture looks great. The software is user friendly. And you can take it to any event with ease, as it’s the size of your hand.
6. You shouldn’t buy nothing for your small group curriculum. Instead, buy Simply Youth Ministry’s Live Curriculum. The sticker price will shock you at $500 but it’s a 4-year program, making each lesson about $3.50. Well worth the price for a comprehensive, customizable, practical, and theologically grounded youth ministry. I haven’t picked it up yet, but it’s on my docket list.
8. You shouldn’t buy game consoles at a retail store. Picking up a Wii, Xbox, or Play Station will put you $1,000 after picking up some games, controllers, and accessories. Instead, buy one off of your youth. Come Christmas they’ll get the newest consoles and part ways with their old one for a fraction of the cost to you.
Weekend Teaching Series: Step by Step (series finale, week 3 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: Too often we are part of the crowd that is watching Jesus do miracles – when he wants to do a miracle in our individual lives, too.
Service Length: 66 minutes
Bible: Mark 7:31-37
Understandable Message: Special guest speaker Chuck Bomar (who was in town for our annual discipleship retreat) gave the weekend message. It was an examination of the story where Jesus heals the deaf/dumb man and he challenged students to move out of the crowd and into the committed. Very good connection to the concentric circles from Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, some good stuff..
Volunteer/Student Involvement: This weekend our staff was all up at the retreat, except for me! Volunteers, students and student leaders all jumped in to work the services – it was a great weekend and went off without a hitch. I think this was a major step forward in continuing to move HSM toward simple, effective and clean programming. Good stuff!
Element of Fun/Positive Environment: Jake appeared on video this weekend for the final segment of the Bible-evangelist Dr. Eugene Henry. Silly little video – we also opened with a fun YouTube music video of some of our female students made of Party in the USA. Taffy and I did the welcome/announcements with some random bits thrown in as well – promoting both the upcoming 2-week sex series and the killball event next weekend.
Music Playlist: Your Name High, After Your Heart, Consuming Fire, The Stand
Favorite Moment: My favorite moment was having our team of staff and volunteers gone for the weekend focusing on students that were at the retreat. It was cool to see everyone really slow down and just hang with students.
Up Next: The SEX (week 1 of 2)
Talked to a youth pastor not too long ago about transitioning the reputation and image of this church in his community. The church didn’t have a positive image or reputation, so he was asking about some strategies for helping move them forward in this process. Up front, let me tell you that a church in transition is always challenging. How do you let them know about the new direction you’re going? Here are a couple of thoughts that might help or springboard you to the right direction if you’re in this position:
The first strategy is for people to SEE about the change – so you can focus on increasing your marketing in your community. Take out some modest newspaper ads, Google ads and set up a “under new management” banner (only somewhat kidding). Announce your shift in priorities, direction or style.
Seeing probably isn’t enough – they need to FEEL the change. Get out in the community. Send hand-written letters to everyone in your town. Get behind mass service projects, random acts of kindness, open a foodbank, etc. Get out there and let them know the changes they are reading on a banner outside the church are making a difference in the hearts of people inside it, too.
Then, word of mouth kicks in and they HEAR about your church. They break down and come give it a shot, and you’re there to invite them to trust Jesus and become part of the movement that is emerging in your community.
Had a question the other day about which weeks of the year are typically the biggest for our youth ministry. There are weekends that perform well because of content (a sex series, a series with high student involvement like You Own the Weekend = we save these for the typically slower times), but here are a few weeks that naturally draw in students:
Fall kickoff weekend
The first weekend back as school in the fall is always our biggest of the year. Summer is over and students are anxious to see each other and get back into the school year routines. We typically put a ton of energy into the fall launch of our youth group and do our best to encourage everyone we can to to attend. As you wrap up next summer, consider putting extra energy, promotion and effort into the Fall kickoff and see what happens. It could be big!
Every fall we also do a church-wide campaign. Typically they lose steam by the end of the series, but the kickoff and first few weeks are usually very strong. Consider working with the leadership of your ministry to pull together a campaign that the whole church gets behind and see what happens in your youth ministry.
Post-Thanksgiving heading into Christmas
Typically the week after the Thanksgiving break is good for student attendance – many students were gone over the holidays and in the stretch to Christmas things slow down and they make more time for church. We plan a Christmas series that usually does well heading into the holidays. Make Christmas extra special – people are more likely to head to church that time of the year.
The first of the New Year
It is natural for students (and their parents for that matter) to concentrate on turning over a new leaf in the new year. Our New Year kickoff is similar to the fall kickoff – lots of effort and energy as we focus on new beginnings and goals.
Now that I look at the list, its interesting to see how they are all stacked in the first half of the school year. Huh.