I’m a Garmin guy all the way … but this almost pushes me over the line! Brilliant, thanks to Adam for the link there via Twitter.
I’m a Garmin guy all the way … but this almost pushes me over the line! Brilliant, thanks to Adam for the link there via Twitter.
From time to time people ask who are the paid staff behind HSM – and to be honest, we’ve been in some transition over the past seasons of ministry so the answer would vary from year to year. But in case you were wondering who did what and how we’re structured, here’s some insight:
High School Pastor (full-time) – that’s my job! I cast vision, handle conflict, lead the team, teach and direct the ministry. The buck stops with me, so if something goes wrong – it’s on me. It might be the best job in the world, I sure love it, despite the massive challenges. The rest of the team is organzationally flat, and I report to Kurt, the Student Ministries Pastor.
My assistant/team admin Associate (29 hrs/wk) – Alaina just came on the team last week and functions primarily in a support role to my job as well as helping the team with admin tasks.
Volunteer Coordinator (full-time) – Ryanne is an incredible minister to our adults who serve students. She works diligently interviewing, training, encouragement and care. She is our first impression to adults, and pastors them well.
Service/Ministry Coordinator (full-time) - AC is also brand new to the team – he’ll be responsible for all of our service projects in the community and helping get students into ministry. He’ll also work with our guys small groups to help make sure they are cared for.
Events/Missions Coordinator (full-time) - Phil cranks out any event we have planned. The dude is a administrative genius, and his top speed blasts by most people. He plans Summer Camp, missions trips, events and activities.
Life Groups Coordinator (full-time) – Jessica has been with us just over a year and has a huge heart for our small groups effort. She works hard to make sure volunteers are the right fit, helps manage curriculum and makes sure things move smoothy in the puzzle that is small groups.
We also currently have 2 open full-time spots on the team – we just lost Jake (program, 2nd in command) to be the campus pastor at Saddleback Irvine, and in September we’re losing Robby (pastoral care) to be another campus pastor. In addition to this paid team, we’ve also got 3 amazing 2-year interns and 3 summer interns that function as full-on staff people as well – all of them are brilliant and work 40-50 hours a week and own significant parts of our high school ministry.
Every year, the student ministry team gets away for a couple of days for a little getaway to refresh and gear up for the year ahead. It always comes at the perfect time. Here’s a few reasons you might need a little retreat, too:
GO OFFLINE: Really, no email
How often do you go a day without even having your phone on you? I am so attached I instinctively check it like an electronic tether every minute or so. Not this week! Email, calls, even texting on an extrememly limited basis. Just what I needed … a little break from the noise. I only Twittered once!
STAY LONGER: An excuse to stay an extra day with my wife … and the kids
I stayed an extra night with my wife, and two extra nights with the kids and the in-laws. My wife takes the brunt of student ministry’s pace, so some extra time away with her and then the family joining us was really special. Lots and lots of pool time.
WORK AHEAD: We leave for camp in 24 hours
We’re taking a ton of students to camp this summer – couldn’t be more excited about that – we leave July 5th. So did that stand in the way of a real retreat? Honestly, it was difficult to NOT think about camp every once in a while. It is such a critical part of our summer emphasis and a big deal, but we did our best. The team worked hard to make sure we didn’t have to work hard at the retreat.
READ UP: Devour a good book
OK, so I brought 4 books along with to read … and didn’t read any of them! I was too busy spending time with people, sleeping and watching World Cup. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts!
Feels good! Now off to teach 4 services and leave for camp. Here we go!
Two years ago, I became a minimalist. Essentially, minimalism is about removing the nonessentials in life. And a minimalist is one who seeks to live with only the most necessary possessions and removes everything else.
Believe it or not, discarding the physical clutter from my life turned out to be one of the best life decisions I have ever made. As a result of removing the clutter, I found more time, money, and freedom to enjoy the things I truly love. And it has allowed me to intentionally promote the things in life that I most value.
At first, this principle applied only to the physical possessions in my life. But I soon began successfully applying this principle to other areas: goals, time commitments, spoken words, screen time, and social networking (just to name a few). Each time, I found the same lesson to be true. Paring down to only the essentials allows the things I most value to receive more of my time, energy, and resources.
I also found that the principles of minimalism apply to my job as a Pastor of Student Ministries. In youth ministry, too much “stuff” begins to clutter our ministry. We get involved doing so many different programs and tasks that we have no time, energy, or resources left for the most important. I am beginning to understand that in youth ministry, doing less can actually mean doing more.
Consider the reality that we all have a finite number of hours in a workweek, dollars to spend, volunteer hours, and facilities to utilize. Rather than spreading those resources thin by planning too many events, wouldn’t it be far wiser to concentrate our resources into doing just a few things and doing them very well? And in paring down to those essentials, we begin to elevate the most important aspects of our ministry.
To put this into practice, consider minimalizing some of these most common youth ministry activities so that the most valuable can really start to shine:
1. Outreach Events. Rather than doing 1-2 outreach events each month, try organizing just 1-2 each semester. You will find far greater success reaching students with 4 really good events than with 12 mediocre ones.
2. Retreats. Don’t plan more than 1 retreat each winter. It is far more effective to get a large percentage of students together on one weekend than it is to spread them out into smaller percentages over 4 retreats each year.
3. Social Causes. Community service is important to a youth ministry, but you don’t have to meet every need in the entire community. Rather than bouncing between unrelated community service projects, jump into 1-2 social causes completely with both feet and make a deeper impact.
4. Teaching Topics. You get to teach your students for less than 10% of their lifetime. They don’t need to understand every theological topic in your systematic theology book by the day they graduate. Instead, your students would be far better served if you taught on just the most important topics in their life on a recurring basis rather than always charting new ground each week.
5. Mentoring Relationships. Rather than feeling like you need to mentor every student in your ministry, choose 2-3 students to really mentor effectively. Then, surround yourself with quality adults who will also mentor 2-3 students. Trust me, if you allow others to do the ministry, you’ll find enough adults for every student who wants to be mentored.
6. Email Announcements. Refuse to send out e-mails or texts every week. Instead, pick your opportunities carefully. Spreading only your most important announcements this way will insure that they will always be received as the most important. (As a side note, this does not apply to social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Always send announcements there on a regular basis.)
7. Weekly Programming. By the way, it wouldn’t hurt to take a week off once in a while either.
Remember, more is not always better. Sometimes, more is just more.
Joshua Becker is the Pastor of Student Ministries at Essex Alliance Church in Essex Junction, VT. He blogs regularly at Becoming Minimalist, a blog dedicated to inspiring others to minimalize their possessions and simplify their life. I think you’ll kinda like it.
The impending shift to 3D television really intrigues me.
I get the draw of 3D in theaters – a unique and somewhat novel experience on a few big budget films specifically made to fully utilize the format – but I’m not sure it is going to work at home. In the last couple of years people already hopped onto the flat panel TV craze – are they going to be so quick to make another $1,500+ purchase to make the jump to 3D? The droves of people dropping cable and satellite subscriptions in favor of Hulu and mobile TV surely can’t be relied upon to make the upgrade either.
I read a feature article in Wired a month ago (1 of 6 magazines I read religiously) that showed how Sony is betting essentially their whole organization that you and I will gleefully board the 3D bandwagon this summer. Right after reading it a buddy told me that the Sony Style store was demoing the new technology and that I had to at least check it out. Being the early adopter wannabe that I am (you have to be somewhat loaded to be one for real), I grabbed the kids and made a special trip just to see the 3D TV demo.
It was really, really impressive.
My Twitter from inside the store was full of respect and awe for the new TV, I’m a believer. I wish they had been playing some different genres of clips – but Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs looked incredible. Made me wish that George Lucas would get moving on Star Wars 3D. 3D at home looked better than 3D in the theater – brighter, richer and ultra clear.
So will we be hi-5ing each other after a 3D touchdown, all wearing our special 3D glasses in the living room? Will we dish out major dollars for a new TV and put the old flat-screen for the Xbox360 in the kids’ room? I’m not totally sure (I’m a pastor, not a prophet) but the future looks really, really good. And it’s in 3D.
While I was at the Sony Style store I learned about the X10 Blogger Contest. As a finalist, Sony provided me with a free Sony Ericsson X10 phone and a PSPgo and FIFA Soccer 10 game in connection with my participation in the Sony Ericsson/Sony Style X10 Blogger Contest, which requires me to blog about Sony and/or Sony Ericsson Products.
The latest SYM Podcast now hits Blip.tv – and Katie Edwards first show! Enjoy.
Weekend Teaching Series: You Own the Weekend: Mission Viejo HS (week 4 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: Treasure He who treasures you (or “Ye” – since it rhymes!).
Service Length: 65 minutes
Understandable Message: Students chose the two parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl (Matthew 13:44-46). The message was broken up into two parts (one part for each parable). I think both messages had strong biblical truths in them, but the parables weren’t necessarily the right support for them. Students walked away the knowledge that they were treasured by God, but there may be some confusion of what each parable really means. You can watch the intro video they made here.
Volunteer/Student Involvement: This ENTIRE service was put on by students from start to end. Students made the videos, did the speaking, greeted at the doors, decorated the room, played in the band, picked the songs and hosted the weekend. It is always a little hard for our volunteers during a student-run weekend because they feel like they are searching for jobs.
Element of Fun/Positive Environment: The opening song “Meet Me Halfway” was a super fun way to get people pumped up. Two girls entered from outside to do the rap and dance with the band. The surprise was fun, and gave the song lots of energy.
Music Playlist: Meet Me Halfway (Black Eyed Peas cover), Inside Out, How He Loves Us, and Your Love is Strong
Favorite Moment: Students handed out gold coins as a takeaway for students to keep in their pockets, purses, backpacks etc. and be reminded that God treasures them.
Up Next: YOTW: Tesoro HS (series finale, week 5 of 5)
[this report was written by HSM staff and volunteer recruiter extraordinaire Ryanne Witt]
Jessica Torres (on the HSM team) is responsible for mentoring and shaping the final weekend of the You Own the Weekend teaching series in our ministry. She’s been coaching her Tesoro High School students on a great greeting ministry and shared some great thoughts with them this week. I asked her if I could share them here on the blog – thought it might be helpful in your ministry setting, too:
Before the service
Everyone be in “places” 10 minutes prior to service starting.
Open doors 5 minutes before service starts.
Greeters in room – encourage students to “move in”, carry bulletins and pens in hand.
Greeters at doors – welcome students, pass out pens and bulletins.
There must always be a greeter in the theater by the doors welcoming and passing out pens/bulletins to latecomers.
Quickly help students coming in late to find a seat.
Sit with a student who is alone and be engaged during the service (singing, listening, taking notes-you are part of setting the mood).
Be available to pass out pens/bulletins to students we missed as they entered the theater.
Don’t be afraid to politely ask “chatty” students to please step outside if they wish to have a conversation.
DO NOT stand in the back of the theater blocking the doorway.
End of service
Make sure to prop doors open right before the service ends. Be in position before all of the students are dismissed.
All greeters be at doors at end of service to collect pens.
Clean theater. Pick up trash, pens, etc. that might be left on the floor.
Make sure you’re all stocked up with pens/bulletins for the next service.