22 Leadership Quotes From the #NYWC17

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For the past 48 years, thousands of youth workers gather for training, networking, encouragement, soul care, resources, and much more at the National Youth Workers Convention! Here are 22 leadership quotes that I believe will speak to your heart.

“Let’s start measuring #youthministry careers in decades instead of months.” @joshuagriffin

“If you think someone is hopeless… fail trying – don’t fail watching.” @bobgoff

“The real power in our ministries isn’t the how; it’s The Who.” Mark Yaconelli

“The degree of your intimacy with someone can be measured by the length of time you can be silent with them.” @richvillodas

“How we form our days, is forming us.” @AnnVoskamp

“Stop being Jesus’ lawyer. He doesn’t need one and you suck at it. Just love people.” @bobgoff

“God is killing me softly, with His love.” @efremsmith

“Insecure leaders will never bring out the best in others.” @DougFields

“Christianity can be awkward and confusing but Jesus is compelling” @kpowellFYI

“Love everybody, always. And start with the people who creep you out.” @bobgoff

“We will never reflect the image of Christ to the world unless we see the image of God in everyone.” @AnnVoskamp

“God produces great fruit in the times of the desert.” @richvillodas

“If you are hearing a voice over your shoulder and it isn’t saying ‘beloved,’ it isn’t Jesus.” @bobgoff

“Have a childlike faith, not a childish faith.” @bobgoff

“What we do with our love is where we are in our faith. We’re rivers, not reservoirs.” @bobgoff

“Can you be who you needed when you were younger?” @thebradmontague

“We must help teenagers understand The Great Commission: It’s going to people who look different and calling them family.” @efremsmith

“People don’t follow vision…they follow availability.” @bobgoff

“Lean into the community around you.” @joshuagriffin

“I believe your work is the most important work on the planet.” @thebradmontague

“Remember that taking a sabbath is important. It’s a commandment just like don’t kill someone. Those commands are both equal and need to be followed!”  Mark Yaconelli

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 #NYWC17

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#NYWC17 Conference Seminar Notes with Mark Oestreicher, Mark Matlock, and Steve Argue

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Understanding Teenage Brains

Mark Oestreicher
In what ways might teenagers uniquely reflect the Imago Dei, the doctrine that asserts humans are made in the image of God? Understanding the uniqueness of adolescent development (which really means understanding teenage brains) is critical to effective youth ministry. In this seminar, we’ll look at how teenagers’ brains work and what that means for your youth ministry.

How to maximize ministry:
Most important thing you can do is spend time with Jesus, ministry flows out of your authentic relationship with Jesus.
2nd understanding teenagers and specifically what is going on in their brain.

Adolescence is both a developmental reality and a cultural phenomenon.
Youth culture and external pressure of experience put onto teenagers that is molding and shaping them or just the physiologically side. It’s both. Nature and nurture. Creation stuff. What is God’s creation intention when he created the teenage brains? Basic transformation of the brain and part of God’s design. It’s good at its core.
Culture: why belonging is the lens teenagers view the world. Informs belonging. Where can I belong and that will tell me who I am. Not like when we were kids and asked were to I belong and that shapes and forms who I am. Now it’s the other way around. More and more isolated today. Isolated world from adults. Hard to move towards adulthood because we removed the onramps to adulthood.

The Context: Physical Change

Teenage changes are started in the brain. Hormones released that set off other changes.
2-4 years following the onset of puberty is 2nd largest in terms of the quantity of change in the terms of a human but most significant because awareness of the changes they are going through. Disorienting, confusing, wonderful and terrifying.

One word to describe teenagers: Change
In change: Anxiety and fear. Excitement. If you have agency or choice then you are more excited. This is the everyday experience of teenagers. They see it in the mirror. Kind-of cool and terrifying at the same time. They think they are developing wrong and that is normal. Some short blip while others it sticks with them for years or a lifetime. Too tall, too thin, too whatever. If Christian kids, imprecations for God and belief system. Imply at a subconscious level, God has messed up with me. They are asking, “Does God care? Does He even know?” 
Normalization language into conversations. Seems weird and crazy, but its good and everything will work out.
Illustration of “leg hairs must grow best in the dark.” Wearing jeans all summer long to make leg hairs grow in.
The trauma of the girls hitting puberty before boys. Cultural reality. Age has dropped for the onset of puberty.
1900’s was 14.5 years old for girls.
70’s was 13 years old.

The name of the numeral is not a good measurement of if they are a teenager or not. #Thirteen

Now the average age now is 10 years old. 2-year bell curve. 80% from 8-12.
The short answer to why: Food. 75i(sh)% is the food bad camp with preservatives and modified foods.
25 diversification of food. Globalization and not just our backyard gardens.
The US has the lowest of any country in the world.
Most research is on girls because of the first period.
Another big reason is that girls talk and boys don’t…and the boys lie.
Boys are on average 18 months behind the girls. Not just when the sex-bits are changing but the brains changing.
Girls are cognitively more advanced than boys in this age.
Dropped and extended. Was 18 months long. Now ages 10 to 30-year-old adolescents.
Early ad 10-14. Late teenage or middle adolescence 15-20. Late adolescence of emerging adult 20-30.
When do you take full responsibility for yourself? 20 year spread where we as a culture take full responsibility.
Stanley Hall described it as a time of storm and stress, rebellion, and moody. Built on a faulty assumption that has been debunked.

A developmental capacity and developmental permission.
Who am I?
What do my choices mater?
Where do I belong?

God’s puberty gift: Cognitive Change

Get the gift of the ability to think abstractly. The world is revolutionized.
Dormant muscle (brain capacity), never used before and the capacity grows into usefulness.
Illustration: Inability to move thumb after major surgery.
Abstract thinking is basically thinking about thinking.

Speculation – wrestling with what if and why questions. Journey to Christlikeness. No longer black and white.

3rd Person Perspective – considering what other people think of me or what other people think of someone else or even an idea. Preteen and child perceive their own perspective and put that into another person.
Put a 7-year-old in front of a mirror and describe self, will say what she has heard.
16 year old is mostly speculation about what she thinks other people think about her.
Literal leap of faith vs. figurative. Make it concrete so that you can bring them to the abstract.
I think I want to become a Christian but I’m afraid to jump off the tower. The girl thought it was literal.

“MarkO wanted me to share about how I lead a lot of people to Christ but that’s not what really happened…God lead a lot of people to Himself through me.”
An incredible clash of abstract thinking.

Implementing:


Emotional implications.
Wild emotional rollercoaster ride. They want to hang out with you and think you’re great and then they hate you.
Preteens and children have a small primary pallet of colors of emotions. Teenagers have a giant pallet of colors that they don’t understand. It takes years of practice before they really understand Color Theory (understanding and interpreting emotions) They often paint why to bright and bold (girls) everything extreme bright and bold or they mix in all the colors too much (guys) and get beige. Cray to observe but imagine what it’s like to experience it. You feel the emotions that are huge but you don’t even know what those emotions are. We are called to normalize this experience.
Hit a button where the teenager explodes in emotion, think, “She’s showing me her brain.” John 10:10 Jesus promises us to give us life to the full. Because we are made in the image of God we have been given emotions to have the full and rich emotions of life. You had little kid emotions but are growing into adult emotions so that you can have the best life. It’s taking time to get used to emotions. Once you get used to them you will experience this full life.

Relational Implications
Teenage friendship has abstract thinking. 
Children and preteen friendship are based on proximity.
What are you thinking about me right now? Who has power and who doesn’t?
Teenagers build a friendship by affinity. Like or value the same things. 
Teenagers are developing a new way of forming friendships and relationships as well as an upheaval of losing friends because it doesn’t fit the new qualifications for friendship but also have not figure out the new thing. Social death risk when hanging out with old friends.

Genderalization
Girls tend to form friendship groups of 2 or 3 girls. Can’t sustain 4 or more. They will break into 2 and 2 or vote someone off the island. Girls have extremely high value on vulnerability and intimacy and this can’t be sustained in a large group. Get included in or voted off because of this.
Girls are friends because we talk about stuff together
Boys not about vulnerability. 16-year-old boys use about 5k words a day. Girls 20k words a day.
Boys extremes of an affinity group, together because of the things we like to do together or the other extreme of just being alone. They haven’t figured out the process so they are alone and lonely.
Boys are friends because we do stuff together (or did one thing together once.)
Host opportunities for boys to do things together.

Spiritual Implications
What we talk about in youth group is very abstract.
Childlike faith is praised, childish faith is not.
Faith needs to grow and change in the teenage years.
The backpack of faith with tinker toys. Systematic theology of beliefs. God answers prayer but it can’t be a selfish prayer and I really have to mean it. But then he finds out his grandpa has cancer. If I have the faith of a mustard seed then I can move a mountain so he prays that cancer mountain. But then his grandpa dies and his belief system is challenged. The scaffolding erodes. Questions and doubts are good and we can walk alongside teenagers.
Think Thomas and Jesus. Jesus doesn’t let him off the hook. He helps him process the doubt. Not a shaming but an encouragement. We processed this and now you can set it aside. Your doubts are a gift to you. Normal. Essential to faith development. Let’s find something better to replace your doubt.

Some New Findings

Preface: Do we see teenagers as a problem to be solved or a wonder to behold?
90% of adults in our world see teenagers as a problem to be solved. Broken and problematic.
We spend time telling them what they are supposed to be like and they are good at falling into the norms. We can change this and give them a new norm.

15 years ago, the medical community had a misunderstanding. Thought brain was developed by 6 or 7. MRI taught us that it’s not finished developing until the mid-20’s.

Physical maturing = Age 16
Knowledge maturity = Age 18-20
Wisdom maturity = Age 25

Two primary areas that are underdeveloped in teenagers
The Pre-Frontal Cortex – Logical and Rational part of the brain.
“the frontal lobe” 4 lobes x 2. What separates us from animals. CEO or executive office. Hire order thinking.
The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for decision making, wisdom, propitiation, impulse control, planning, empathy, organization, focus.
Wonder to behold. Teenagers are not incapable of these, they just struggle. How can we help them with this? How might the struggle actually be a benefit? What might God have intended it this?

This must be a good thing.
We are risk adverse but teenagers are really good at trying new things in order to figure out how things work. This is a strength.

Temporal Lobes
Responsible for emotional understanding and interpretation (among other things)
Showing emotions on someone’s face. Generalization. We would get 8-9 right and girls would get 5 right and boys would get 2 right.
Emotional interpretations. We need to help students with this.
Be a surrogate temporal lobe. What emotion do you see on his face? I think what is happening is this, explain.

Neuron Proliferation and Winnowing
Prior to puberty, the brain grows additional million’s of neurons. Weird spike before and after puberty. Electronic Superhighway.
Dismantling of neurons. Use it or lose it principle. Those used will stay in play and those that don’t are dismantled and repurposed.
The brain is hardwired for the rest of its life. Think accents and the age 14. Childhood accent is hardwired and stays that way forever.
How are you stewarding the hardwiring of the brains of your teenagers and their faith? What are you doing with this opportunity?
How are we hardwiring their brains?
Stuff them full of the right information or do we want to hardwire their brains on how to pursue God, process doubts, experience God.

Amygdala. The lizard brain. Responsible for fear (and anger)
Highly developed amygdala. If you allow that part of the brain to be overly developed then you can’t logically process what you have fear about.
Haunted house, you know logically it’s a person in a costume but in that moment the amygdala is going crazy.
Fear-based faith. Understand God as wrathful and judgmental. Lean to legalism.

Anterior Cingulate
The Anterior Cingulate rests between the prefrontal cortex. Buffer zone.
Fulcrum between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.
Understand God as compassionate and loving. See the needs of others.
Have a thriving faith and understands a caring and loving God.

Newest Brain Research

#1 way to grow the Anterior Cingulate is through prayer and medication.
8-10 minutes a day 6 days a week. Measure the Anterior Cingulate activity. At 2 month mark noticed a 50% increase in the strength and ability of the Anterior Cingulate. This is how prayer changes us. Prayer changes the brain. It grows the Anterior Cingulate and allows you to understand God as compassionate and personal as well as seeing the needs around you. The second way to grow the Anterior Cingulate, a distance second, is through faith-based singing. A consistent and regular practice of prayer and medication. Actually sing it out loud and you will rewire your brain to the way it is supposed to be. Maybe our number 1 priority is to help teenagers develop a practice of prayer, medication, and singing. We’ve got to be Anterior Cingulate superheroes!

Book for further study: How God Changes Your Brain

health


What Research Is Telling Us About Flouring In Ministry

Mark Matlock

Millions of dollars have been spent researching how ministers flourish, but do you know what the findings are and how to implement them in your life? We’ll look at cutting-edge research from Notre Dame’s Flourishing in Ministry project along with recent research from Barna and practices recommended by Full Strength Network to help you thrive.

Brotherhood Mutual: Not directly doing ministry but aligned with kingdom values. Not reduce youth Ministry claims, just want to help. Insurance goes up, what could be used for ministry is going to insurance. Churches suffer deeply and often divide or split. Harm to the neighborhood and reputation of Jesus. Brotherhood mutual turning 100 and want to give something back to the church. Want to create an organization that can help ministers and their families thrive. In August, they launched Full Strength Network: Strengthening pastors and their families.

Findings from my conversations with pastors.
Tweeted out a survey about being burned out and 36 hours later 200 responses.
Would you be willing to have a 1-hour phone call about responses? 70 share experiences.
10 interviews. 60 others sent them a link to share the story. Some responded.

Barna on the state of pastors.
On the whole, people are doing well and experiencing health. Questions to see risk and see many are at risk. Positive net effect but a sense of fragility.
And those who were not doing well were really not doing well.
Also found the aging of pastors. Median age was 44 and in 2016 the number was 54. We don’t have younger pastors coming into the pipeline.
The financial collapse in 2008, they couldn’t retire because of a strength of finances, and they are holding onto their place longer.
Youth ministry pool will be pulled.
In Christian Colleges the numbers are low because it’s not an attractive field of work.

Surprised by Pride

Seen it happen to others but didn’t believe it could happen to them.
They believed initially it would pass and they didn’t realize how far in they were.
After repeated appeals, they would believe that they needed to listen.
Relationships help us identify and see when we enter into these moments.

Isolation

The number of friendships outside of the church congregation.
Don’t know where to turn to in their greatest moment of need.
Most didn’t even feel they could talk with their spouse about it.

The Power of Human Contact

What transformed their lives or brought them into awareness was the relationship with a person.
They couldn’t read anymore. They could watch TV and be present at sporting events but when it came to actually reading they lost that ability.
Am I aware of the fact that I might be in need?
Am I able to sit down and read?
Am I feeling more alone then I’ve ever felt before?

The Science of Pastoral Wellbeing Matt Bloom

Hedonic Well-Being – Daily happiness.

Daily Affect (affect=modes+emotions)
Life Satisfaction
Losada Ratio (5 times more positive experiences than negative experiences. Observing couples and predicting longterm)
Succeed vs. Failing. Have more daily wins than losses. You can create more wins in your daily happiness. Cooking dinner.

Eudaimonic Well_Being – Thriving.

Sense of meaning and purpose
Ability to invest one’s resources to attain cherished goals.
Clean knowledge of one’s knowledge, skills, abilities (Strengthfinder and assessments to discover who you are)
Living authentically, being able to live in accordance with one’s true self
MCORE – https://motivationalcore.com 27 motivational themes. Why we do what we do. There 6 themes that showed up in the top of all but two of the youth pastors surveyed. Are we training correctly to begin with? Experience the Ideal. 36% had this in their top 3. Motivate to make concrete something that is an idea of value inside of you. Might be an idea for an event or the ideal in Jesus Christ. Clear knowledge helps you thrive. Bring the skills you need and build the team to thrive.
You can change yourself: Add skills to add to reach the goals. Do I need to add skills?
Adapt the environment: Use knowledge, skills, and abilities the reach goals. Do I need to change?
Select new environment: Go where you can accomplish the goals. Do I need to move?

The line between positive and negative sacrifice
The sacrifice of Jesus is one of the reasons we have gotten into ministry. We entered into a vocation of self-sacrifice.
Thinking you are a superhero. What will these students do if I’m not there or if I don’t respond to them?
Be mindful and check in with yourself to see if you have crossed the line.
We can only sacrifice to the amount that we are connected to the vine. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

Articulating Your Narrative

Write down your experiences.
We have many ways to know and remember things. Story unites what we cautiously and unconsciously know. This brings healing to our brains. Confess your sins is telling the story and in the process, it brings healing to your brain. Biologically and spiritually.

Mindfulness

Take a minute to breathe.
Scripture reading.
Pastors who practice spatial disciples had less risk matrix for burnout.

Pastors who regularly practiced meditation or contemplation–almost every day–had lower levels of burnout, reported experiencing less stress, and had higher levels of both daily happiness and thriving. – Matt Bloom

Help You Monitor Your Wellbeing
Connect to Strengthening Resources
Receive Confidential Assistance when they need it

Build Narrative Presence: Taking the time to write down a story. Share it with a community or one person. Interact with a story.

Resources:
Read Flourishing in Ministry – Emerging Research Insights on the Well-Being of Pastors
Sign up for this community to Champion your Growth and Wellbeing 

adult

You, Parents and Your Post High School Students

Steve Argue

These days, it takes longer for young people to “adult.” This phenomenon is raising new questions for ministry leaders and parents as they reimagine parenting for emerging adults. These parents are seeking advice, resources, and support as they forge new relationships with their children. In this seminar, we’ll highlight key topics pertaining to emerging adults and offer helpful insights for parents. We’ll address the questions parents are asking: Is taking a gap year a good idea? A Christian college or secular college? Is college a hostile place for Christian students? What do I do when they come back home? If you’re a leader seeking resources for your students’ parents or a parent of an emerging adult, this seminar is for you.

Emerging adulthood.
The path to get to adulthood is much further than it used to be.
If my kids are at home longer, what does that mean for me?
If it takes more education and longer, how do I coach them through that?
If they are getting married later, how do I parent them?

Questions: ‘Would you reply “yes” or “no.”
Have we always had emerging adults?
Emerging adults and millennial are synonymous.
Emerging adulthood is a problem in society.
Emerging adults feel like adults when they get a job or become a parent.
30 is the new 20.
A college is a good place for Christian, emerging adults.
Emerging adults are leaving the church.

The judgments we make on young people are usually based on assumptions and expectations that we have on them. 
If you’re not making a judgment, someone you are working for, an elder, a parent, or someone does have these judgments.
There is an ambiguity around how we are supposed to support an emerging adult.

Perspective

What do we mean by emerging adulthood? ESA
18-29
“Begins with biology and ends with culture.” Santrock 1990.
This is changing though.
Biology: Young people are entering into puberty younger and younger.
Culture: Is changing. Most adults do not see younger people becoming adults until their late 20’s. 18 vote but not drink until 21.
No longer a transition of 5 years, but 20 years. This is no longer transitional but two decades of life.
Your role as a pastor in a young persons’ life is powerful. You are relationship force they need during this time.
Early, Mid, Late, Extended Adolescence.
Arnett, 2000 18-29.

Growing up looks different
More and more expectations are being placed on young people. Generations ago with a high school diploma, you can get a job and a pension.
More education, more responsibility, more involvement, more competition in global jobs.
Less and less support is being offered. Not always for the benefit of them but for the benefit of themselves. Support so that schools have a higher graduation rate, not necessarily for the students. Is it possible that we love bigger youth ministries because it is powering the business of the church?
The Gap is Social Capital: Used to be in the positive, but around 1970 we entered into a social capital deficit. Hire expectations with less support.
Ripple effect with a higher rate of unemployment. Higher school doubt.
Acknowledge that the deck is stacked against the emerging adults

Five main features of EA’s.
Identity explorations, instability, self-focused, feeling in-between, faced with unparalleled possibilities.
Instability: The difference between a fire drill and a lock-down drill.
Self-focused vs. selfish. If my world is unstable and my development is unstable, where is my attention going to be? On myself so that I don’t blow it.
Feeling in-between: Not college ministry…do they go in singles ministry? They are in-between in areas.

Identity Formation: 
Love: What relationships look like.
Work: What is their vocation
Belief: What is the belief system I have and how do I hold that?

“Adulthood” for EAs
Not marriage/job
Taking responsibility for yourself
Making indecent decisions
Becoming financially independent

Same icon but with a different interpretation. So staying home with parents because they want to become financially independent.
Cues of past generations are different for the adults today.

A Tension – Our expectations need to change

“It takes time to grow up today” Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

“Emerging adults must use this period wisely.” Meg Jay

What and how they know:
Intellectual

The starting point. Trying to tell their colleagues the examples and illustrations they use need to connect with this generation.
Beloit College Mindset List 2021

Perspective Taking
Binge Watching/Studying
Watch TV everywhere except TV
The first generation educated by video
Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland FL 60M library with no books there.
How do they learn?

Paradox of Privacy
Can hide everything from parents online
Aware of massive mining of data. NSA? Facebook?
Who do they trust?

Diversity and Commonality
A generation that has grown up with ethnic and gender diversity as bot normal and desirable
With the emphasis on diversity…what do they see as having in common?
What does a community church mean to an emerging adult?
How do they connect?

Political Polarity
This generation for who police polarity has always been normal.
These students were born six years after the Cold War and during the super ascent of Cable TV narrowcasting.
How do they dialogue?
How do we seek to understand each other?

Sexual Assault
This generation will enter college during a time when concern about sexual assault is at an all-time rise.
Rising female empowerment, opportunity, and role models.
How do they perceive roles and relationship?
How do I treat my neighbor?

“When I was your age…”
(never say this phrase ever again) We say this to try to connect but the moment we say that they are thinking it was a different world.
This shuts down the sensitivity that we need to say to emerging adults. We need to seek to understand.

What they Feel:
Emotional

Smith 2009. Lost in Transition
Emerging Adult Psyche
Optimistic and lonely
Overwhelmed
Disconnected on their own
Anxious and worries

Pause for a moment and ask if any of this is going on. A perpetual feeling of always being behind.

Emerging Adult Hurtles:
Poor moral reasoning
Damaging sexual experiences
Mass consumer materials
Civic, communal, and political disconnection.

Activism is more on the twitter feed than actually doing something. Not joining massive movements but local grassroots organizations. How many causes come across your social media feed on a given day?

“Tell Me More…”
A place for conversation. A place away from technology. A place away from distractions.
Pause long enough to engage.
How did you navigate that?
What do you think you are going to do next?

How do they relate to one another:
Relationally

Emerging adults’ relationships with parents changes
A lot of parenting books are strategies of how to get your kid to do something without any skin in the game for the adults.
Learner: 14-18 Adolescent stage. How to take responsibility. How to do things on their own.
Explorer: 18-24 Education stage. Choose their own adventure.
Focuser: 24-30 Decisions stage. Discovering what is most important to them and where they want to go.

Relationally, who are we to become as our kids move through these phases?
Learner: Saw parents as Teachers. Give agency to help them grow and learn.
Explorer: Move from being a teacher to being a Guide. Come alongside. Moral support. Times we take the lead, times we walk alongside.
Focuser: Parents become the Resource. Exercise patience and keep our mouths shut for when they come to us.

What is your role in this situation? What should you be doing as a parent?

“I’m here…”
For you. This is not a static statement, it’s dynamic. It’s moving and repositioning around the emerging adult.

Parenting those leaving high school
College or no college? Future success and future debt. Does the training go to a job that exists in the future?
Christian College or Public College? It depends. A college is an option but not the only option. Online options, community college options, no college options.
Preparation (not gap) year? Maybe. Preparation year or find yourself year. Focus year. Most people are up for it but parents are rarely.
We put undue pressure on ourselves that colleges push.
Give each other grace and young people grace.
Key to preparation year: It needs to have a goal and process. What’s the end result?
Help the students envision why this college or why this place.
Think long and hard about the debt young people are collecting and the pressure this will add to their life.
College is a good investment if you use it in the right way.
Taking out debt without finishing a degree is hurting. On top of that, when they marry they add on even more debt.

Parenting and Pastering those ages 18-23
Communicate good news to those, where they are at.
Year 1: Daily Life Management
Year 2-3: Existential questions (work, love, belief)
Year 4: What’s next…

Emerging Adults and Faith

Faith:
Faith -> faith-ing – a verb life quality. We Faith. Dynamic, changing, and looks different tomorrow. Doubt is a friend of faith, rather than an enemy of faith. Embracing faith for their own. When or if they walk away, it’s not the end, it’s a gut-wrenching step in their story.
Intellectual
Emotional
Relational

Questions:
Intellectual question can lead to relational fallout
Meaning making, not rebellion
Ask: “What do you believe that you don’t think I believe?”
New questions need new resources.

Doubts: We shut them down, not so that they feel better but so that I feel better.
We communicate, why did you leave us.

Contagiousness:
The anxiety we feel is about our own faith.
We must address our own faith journeys, not fix theirs.
Their journeys will not be ours (and our journey will not be theirs)

“Parenting is an improvisational and courageous act.” Steve Argue
Article: Connecting with college students over break: they’re bringing home more than their laundry.

Emerging Adults + Churches and Parents’ Voices

The million dollar question – What are you doing with EA’s? 
EA’s who stay and go
Transition(s)
Formation forward and backward
Defining the relationship (yes, DTR) – Who are you and who am I?
Once defined, we know how to move forward. KidMin, defined very well. YouthMin, decently clear. Post HS has no definition. So what do we do? Create another program because it makes me feel good although the relationship hasn’t changed. This is formation backward not formation forwards. We are so worried about our young people being in the church that we pressure the church because we don’t know what to do. Short-term fixes to a long-term problem. We see you as a contributing member, you have a voice and a talent that is worth investing in, your ideas are often better than ours, we will fund you and hold you accountable because we believe in you and your perspective. Who is going to believe in them? They have the ideas. We have the capital. As a church, we need to recognize the fact that sometimes they leave the church as an act of faithfulness. Not that our church is bad or drifting off to nothingness but that sometimes we have other needs and can’t meet theirs. Maybe we send them to the people or organization that can help them where they are at. If the goal is to keep them in our seats we missed the point. Give them tools to go to their next step. It’s not that they are leaving the church for the wrong reasons or that if we keep them that we are right. We might be doing them a disservice if we keep them when we should send them.

If you ask an emerging adult what they want they will describe youth group.
When we give them what they want, we are not giving them what they need.
We are putting off the inevitable which is inviting them to be become fully invested members of our faith community.

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#NYWC Notes on Ministry Social Media and Growing Young Churches

NWYC171

Ministering Through Social Media For Beginners

Corey Jones Interviewed by Scott Osbourne

83% of Americans have a social media account. You know it’s important to engage with students online but how do you find the time? At this Idea Lab, you will explore tips and tools to painlessly take full advantage of social media.

Why is this important?
The families in your church. 83 percent of Americans have a social media account. *Hootsuite

The families outside of your church who may one day come in. 28% of people would rather engage with a brand or organization on social media vs. visiting the physical location. *HS

Matthew 25 Jesus tells the parable of the talents
21 “His master replied, ‘You have done well, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Vs. 26 “You evil, lazy slave!”

What is the Goal: Engagement – You want to be social on social media. You want people to be involved with your content. To see it, to interact. 

Likes, replies, comments, shares, downloads, reads, plays, lists, pins, follows or fans, click-throughs. I love the tip that I got from Beau Coffron, the social media manager for Life Church, “Social media should be more like a telephone than a megaphone!”

Of the Social Media Giants: What is the biggest?
Text Messaging: 4.5B Active Monthly Users (https://www.statista.com/statistics Aug 2017)
97% of Americans using it at least once a day
Text messages have a 98% open rate, while email has only a 20% open rate.
90% of all text messages are read in under 3 minutes.
What is our Strategy: Change your thinking. Create a plan. What is your sequence? When you send a text, what is the response?

Facebook: 2B Active Monthly Users
70% of all Americans are active on Facebook. *Pew Research
Facebook Ads: no more yellow pages or billboards
100 million hours of video content are watched on Facebook daily. FB
What is our Strategy: Engage with families through both: Pages vs Groups

Youtube: 1.5B Active Monthly Users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and everyday people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
2nd biggest search engine
What is #1 viewed video? Despacito 3.94B views. Posted January 12, 2017, and amassed 1B views in 97 days. And August 4, 2017, passed 3B views making it the most viewed video on youtube.
Who have you subscribed to?
Who do your students and parents watch?
What is our Strategy: Engage with your volunteers by posting “How to” videos
What about a Strategy for students: Engage with your students by posting videos they would like to share with friends. Videos of them. Testimonies.

Instagram: 700M Active Monthly Users
Most Instagram users are between 18-29 years old, about six-in-ten online adults. *PewResearch
Image sharing today vs. 15 years ago
?’s for attendees – What is the most Instagrammed food: Pizza, then steak and sushi.
Most popular filter: Mayfair
What is our Strategy: Create a social media volunteer team. You don’t have to do this alone.
Short video devotions. Weekly every Monday in Stories.
Collecting videos from students to post the next day is a fun highlight idea.
Get them to all take their phones out at the same moment and get a 10-second clip then put them together to capture the same moment from different perspectives.
Do you use any apps to make this happen?: Apps for IG Stories is CutStory and InShot. CutStory trims clips into 15 sec increments for Stories and can also just re-export an old clip to be used.

Twitter: 328M Active Monthly Users
81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day. Pew Research
Right now, no penalty for inactive. Sunday only strategy.
Katy Perry 105M, Justin Bieber 102M, Barack Obama 95.6M
On Twitter, more people follow the profile YouTube than Twitter.
Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks than tweets without images.
What is our Strategy: Engage with influencers

Snapchat: 255M Active Monthly Users
Controversy. Bad intentions at the start of the app. How about we redeem it?
On any given day, Snapchat reaches 41% of 18 to 34-year-olds in the US. SnapChat
60% of daily active Snapchatters create Snaps every day. SC
Percent of Snapchat users that are under 25 years old: 71%
What is our Strategy: Create a filter ($5), (pepperfilter)
(Depending on time we can cover LinkedIn and/or Pinterest:)

LinkedIn: 106M Active Monthly Users
LinkedIn more than 450 million user profiles.
Professional social network.
Digital endorsements
What is our Strategy: Engage with other Youth Ministers, and update your bio

Pinterest: 175M Active Monthly Users
Visual content.
Boards pulling in content from all over the web.
Stage design, signage, Experience community nursery design
New parents. If they walk in and it looks old, what impression are you leaving?
What is our Strategy: Create a shared board for your next environment redesign.

What Tools do you recommend for beginners?:
Build a Team, Hootsuite (facebook penalty), Buffer,
Go Weekly, DYM, StuffYouCanUse.

How to painlessly take full advantage of this tremendous tool for you and the families in your church, what is your final challenge? 

Change your thinking from an obligation to ministry. You can help the families in your church get closer to God and each other when they pull out their device. Let’s use this resource for God’s glory, to build God’s kingdom so that in the end we hear the words, well done good and faithful servant. Take advantage of this tool.

Thanks and Encouragement to stick around for the Genius Bar.

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Why Are Youth People Drawn to Certain Churches

Kara Powell Interviewed by Corey Jones

All churches grow old…but strategic churches are growing young! In this Idea Lab, Kara Powell from the Fuller Youth Institute will help leaders listen to the needs of the next generation without making excuses or being intimidated by change.

“Multiple studies highlight that 40 to 50 percent of youth group seniors—like the young people in your church—drift from God and the faith community after they graduate from high school.”

6 Core Commitments of a Growing Young church:

1 Unlock keychain leadership. Instead of centralizing authority, empower others—especially young people.

Key-loaning leaders: Often taking keys off the keychain and letting others borrow them temporarily, they make sure the keys are returned quickly.

Keychain leaders: Very aware of the keys they hold, they’re constantly opening doors for some while training and entrusting others who are ready for their own set of keys.

A keychain leader is something that young people are drawn to.
Why are leaders resistant to becoming a true keychain leader?
How would you challenge me to move towards these changes?

2 Empathize with today’s young people. Instead of judging or criticizing, step into the shoes.

We don’t want to make excuses and we do want to changes. Where are we, as youth pastors, in general, guilty of failing at this? How are we shooting ourselves in the foot?

3 Take Jesus’ message seriously.

In our teaching, our words matter. We can draw students in or we can accidentally repel them.  My biggest takeaway was (Students don’t want to be saved from something but saved for something). How we present Jesus matters. Do you have other examples of words that matter, when it comes to teaching students?

4 Fuel a warm community.

“When someone says the name of your church, what image comes to your mind? A building? A worship service?” In a growing young church, nearly 1 in 3 shares about its warmth. This chapter is rich in ways churches can fuel a warm community. Since the book has been out, how have you seen churches across America actually change and start warming up?

5 Prioritize young people

If there is a group of people who prioritize young people and understand their value its these folks here. But, generally, we are not in charge. We don’t set the budget. So how can we be an advocate for the young people in our church without being the final authority?

6 Be the best neighbors. 

This generation has many complexities in their culture, but what is something we could teach this week to our students on how to be the best neighbors?

Thank you. Appreciation for the years of research. Repetitive conversations around the same topic. Truly making a difference.

Leave us with this. What hope is there for the church? Is the future still bright?

Using Social Media To Grow, Inform, and Disciple Students

Corey Jones Interviewed by Paul Turner

You can help the families in your church get closer to God and each other when they pull out their device. Let’s use social media for God’s glory, to build God’s Kingdom so that in the end we hear the words, well done good and faithful servant.

Introductions and overview
Engaging Content / Stop the Scroll

Where do you start?
Build a Team
Street Team – a group of people who ‘hit the streets’ promoting an event or a product.
Share with your sphere of influence. Expand organic reach.
Sharing someone’s post is an endorsement. Thank these students. See if they will view this as their ministry. Make it easy for them.
Videos average 27x more shares than images. (Church Communications)

What if you have already done this? How could you go further?
Street Team 2.0
Give access or passwords
Let them follow their friends, like their friends’ posts, make a story, and make a post.

Now you have your team, how can you begin to reach students the other 167 hours in a week?
Minister to the youth where they are currently at.
Ask Engaging Questions:
What is your biggest takeaway from this weekend?
Anything I can pray about?
What is God doing in your life?
How are they living out the message? Share a video #YouthGroup Name or #CoreValue like #JesusFamily

Sermon quotes and sermon clips.
Does the clip make sense without further context?
Subtitles are more important than sound. 85% social media is consumed on mobile.
On mobile 47% of a video’s value is delivered in the first three seconds and 74% is in the first ten seconds. Then people start to tune out.

What tips do you have for creating videos that actually engage students?
If the goal is to stop the scroll, you will want to cut out as many distractions as possible. This is what vertical sizing does.
Optimal video sizes / Vertical vs horizontal video
Facebook: Vertical: 2×3
Instagram: Vertical: 4×5
Youtube: Horizontal 16×9
Twitter: Square 1×1

Celebrating: Holidays, Special Events, Baptisms.
Post a quality picture with a short story.
Content that shares the Gospel or makes it easy for them to share the Gospel.

What Apps are helpful in making this happen.
Basics like: Hootsuite or Buffer for scheduling.
Grammarly so you sound smart.
WordSwag to create graphics
IFTTT Geolocation and hashtag management.
The Houseparty App – Small group video meet up
WhatsApp Group Chats
InShot: Video Edits and great for getting pictures and videos into different sized formats.
CutStory: Cut video into story length (Instagram 15 seconds, seamlessly. And older videos are given a new date so 24-hour barrier is removed from Instagram stories.)
Snapseed: Photo editing.
Video to Gif.

So we are talking about “Using Social Media To Grow, Inform, and Disciple Students” what else do you see out there that is working?
Testimony Videos / Baptism Videos / Life Change Videos
Promotions that don’t feel promotional.
Church recruiting workers. Instead of making a graphic and paying to promote, why not go show appreciation to current workers. Go live or take some pictures to share. Content will do much better, the volunteer will know they are appreciated, and you will generate the excitement around your ministry that grows volunteer teams.
Social posts that are just social. NOT promotional or announcements.

Where would you point someone who wants more?
Stick around for the Genius Bar.
DYM Pictures and Videos – InstaFaith, Scripturegrams, InstaPrayer Challenge
DigitalDevotionals.com by Stuff you can use: monthly subscription – 30 done-for-you images and 30 pre-written devotionals for you to post and share with your followers to help them engage with God’s Word all week long. $10/mo
Social Networks:
At this conference, follow #NYWC17 people.
Facebook Group: Youth Specialties: Advancing Youth Ministry
Facebook Group: Visual Church Media
Facebook Group: Church Social Media Managers
Facebook Group: Church Communications

Thanks and Encouragement to stick around for the Genius Bar.

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#NYWC Games-A-Palooza Notes

We kicked off the Idea Lab on Thursday with a party and some guidance on how youth leaders can avoid messing up game leadership. Also, we explained the plan for the Idea Lab sessions. Thank you for joining us for games galore as we kicked off the NYWC. Thank you for taking the time to learn some new games, play some old games and win some prizes.

 

Dan Istvanik: Read My Lips
Sara Galyon: The Question Game
Kent Bjurstrom: Stiff Arm
Dan Istvanik: Santa Frost Rudolph
Paul Turner: Head, Shoulders, Knees, Cups:
Kent Bjurstrom: Giant Team Tic Tac Toe
Chase Snyder: Fast Math
Ryan Schmall: The Bang Game
Dan Istvanik: Tunnel Rats
Nick Mance: Lightsaber
Corey Jones: What Are The Odds?
Scott Osborne: Round Robin
Dan Istvnick: Name Tag Spelling Bee
Kent Bjurstrom: Pressure

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What Are The Odds Instructions

You get two students to face off. Contestant one will ask contestant two what the odds are that he will complete a dare. For instance, “What are the odds that you post a duck face selfie to your Instagram story.” Contestant two will pick a number based on the severity of the dare and so he might say, “One in 7.” (or no big deal, 1 in 3) was Then the two contestants will agree, shake hands, and begin to count down 3,2,1 and then say a random number between 1 and 7. If the numbers match then contestant two must complete the dare. If the numbers add up to 7 (i.e. one contestant says 3 and the other 4) then contestant one must complete the dare. And if the numbers do not match or add up then they both breathe a sigh of relief and move on. This game can continue as long as you want and as long as contestants come up with dares. (I can also write down some suggestions to help the game progress smoothly).

What are the odds…you allow us to record you singing “Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer” and share that to youtube?
What are the odds…you try to hug everyone who you make eye contact with tonight?
What are the odds…you do a model runway walk every time you walk down an aisle at NYWC?
What are the odds…you give all the money in your wallet to Bob Goff?
What are the odds…you compete the next challenge drawn from the hat (w/o knowing it)?
What are the odds…you use another person’s phone to prank call your pastor?
What are the odds…you eat a tablespoon of hot sauce?
What are the odds…you make up a new dance and teach it to this group?
What are the odds…you chug a soda in 10 seconds?
What are the odds…you text your last 10 text conversation and say, “Miss you Bea”
What are the odds…you allow a stranger to style your hair and post a selfie to Instagram?
What are the odds…you make a headdress out of toilet paper and wear it til bed?
What are the odds…you find something to wear as a cape and wear it for the rest of NYWC?
What are the odds…you find a stranger to give you a piggyback ride around the exhibit hall?
What are the odds…you rhyme everything you say for the rest of the day?
What are the odds…you draw a mustache on your face using a permanent marker?\
What are the odds…you create a short poem about NYWC and share on social media a video of you reading it?
What are the odds…you act our your favorite movie scene for everyone?
What are the odds…you share with us your most embarrassing moment?
What are the odds…you show us your best break dance moves for 15 seconds?
What are the odds…you share your best Trump impersonation

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How to Host an Innovative Silent Event

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Are you looking for an event to draw students in and build momentum for your ministry? A silent event is a one of a kind event mixing technology and music to create a high energy atmosphere of community. Students wear wireless headphones and tune into their preferred channel, so at one venue there can be multiple styles of music being enjoyed simultaneously. Even if some of your students don’t enjoy dancing, they might really enjoy people watching and just singing along. With a little research and planning, a silent event might just be the next big event for your youth ministry!

RESEARCH EQUIPMENT

Not all headphones are created equal. With a tech-dependent event, failing to research the rental companies can make or break the entire night. When we hosted our Silent Event we used the highly recommended Silent Events® Company (HTTPS://WWW.SILENTEVENTS.COM) and were blown away by their plug & play ease of use and attention to detail. We rented light-up headphones with 3 channels so students could choose which of 3 songs they wanted to listen to. Our students enjoyed controlling the volume of their headphones and it was crazy to see the wave of color change in the headphones as a song grew in popularity.

If renting the complete system is out of your budget, consider renting headphones that do not light up with only one channel or wireless receivers where students can plug in their own headphones.

Watch the videos and read the tutorials to fully understand how the equipment can work for your event.

PLAN YOUR VENUE

Does your regular meeting space create the environment for which you are striving? Maybe you need to switch things up and add special lighting or decorations to your room. Or maybe you can take this event off campus and bring your students to a unique venue for their unique event. You might also consider hosting two events in one night to get the most use out of your equipment rental.

For our junior high students, we hosted a blacklight rave in a large, dimly lit room in the church and asked everyone to wear white. The students showed up to a room filled with black lights, optional blacklight face paint they all took advantage of, and the glowing LED lights on each individual’s headphones. Later that night, for our high school students we threw a throwback party in an old mansion downtown and asked the students to wear their best throwback outfit. Having two events in one day allowed us to rent a smaller number of headphones, keeping the cost down.

Bring your best party planners into the making of this event to ensure your venue adds to the fun.

CREATE MULTIPLE PLAYLISTS

Renting the highest tier headphones, the unique technology allows for your students to listen to one of three channels. If you want your event to flop, only pick songs that you enjoy. If you want success, get help in creating your playlists. Ask students for input and research lyrics to avoid embarrassment. You have so many options to choose from so you might want to create a theme for your playlists.

At our silent event, we had these three playlists:

Party

Random

Throwback

If you click: The Party Playlist you will see these are generic songs with more modern dance options.

The Random Playlist is weird and fun songs to switch things up.

The Throwback Playlist includes popular songs from past decades.

Let your students know that if they don’t like a certain song they can change to another station on their headphones. Pay attention to how the songs will flow through the night and make sure you save a crowd favorite to end the night on a good note. Our last song for our high schoolers was “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi and the entire group sang it together at the top of their lungs!

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Reach Your Goal

In youth ministry, there is always a goal behind your events. If you are using a silent event to bring in new students, how are you going to collect their information and get them plugged into your youth ministry after the event? If your silent event is to build community, how will you further leverage this technology to bring people together and how will you measure if it was successful?

The goal of our silent event was to unite and build up life groups, so in order to attend students had to be involved in one of these faith communities. At the event, we leveraged the technology by creating a Mp3 Experiment where students participated together in their small groups in an audio adventure. Students listened to synchronized instructions to complete humorous coordinated tasks. We started the night with the Mp3 Experiment, which made for an easy transition into the dance music. For ideas on creating your own Mp3 Experiment check out the amazing work of Improv Everywhere.

A silent event might just be the innovative event you have been looking for in your youth ministry. Take the necessary time to research and plan to ensure this event is something your students will love. If you’ve seen a fresh event that you would like to share with our readers, let us know in the comments!

(Originally shared to the Youth Specialties Blog at https://youthspecialties.com/blog/host-innovative-silent-event/)

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5 Reasons Why The Star Is a Must-See Movie

star

Can you remember the last faith-based animated film that you enjoyed in the theater? Yeah, me neither. That’s because the last major release animate faith-based film was the Prince of Egypt in 1998! But that’s about to change because, on November 17th, The Star will be released nationwide!

The Star is an inspiring and uplifting story of the birth of Jesus, told from the animal’s point of view. My wife and I had the opportunity to prescreen this movie and were pleasantly surprised by how funny the whole film was. You will enjoy The Star just as much as your kids so buy your tickets now.

Here are 5 Reasons Why The Star Is a Must-See Movie:

1. The Star can bring the story of Jesus to people who will never enter the doors of a church.

2. When we purchase a ticket, we are voting for what we want Hollywood to produce more of and we need more animated Bible stories for our kids.

3. The Star has the potential to positively impact your church, your community, and our society.

4. The Star will help you organically return to the reason for the season.

5. When a little girl cheers, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” after The Star Movie, you know it’s an inspiring story the whole family will enjoy.

In Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.

Get your tickets here: http://www.thestarmovie-tickets.com

Book Review & 4 Book Giveaway: The Impossible by Joyce Smith

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There is no denying the power of story. When you read a story of amazing faith, it captures your attention. You lean in and begin putting yourself in the shoes of the author. The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection by Joyce Smith shows readers the power of prayer as a mother pleads with God to save her son.

The Impossible pulls readers in by reminding us that our lives can change in a moment. Joyce Smith writes, “I’ve heard about these scenes. I’ve seen them in plenty of movies. But never would I have imagined that the one sitting in a hospital waiting room and needing consolation would be me. I didn’t want their pity, I didn’t even want their words of comfort. I yearned for—I needed—their prayers.”

As Joyce approached her lifeless son, she pleaded with God. “All of a sudden, everyone and everything in that room faded away and it was just me and John and God. With a voice that I thought was quiet, but that actually bellowed through the room, down the hallway, and throughout the entire emergency room, I declared, ‘I believe in a God who can do miracles! Holy Spirit, I need you right now to come and breathe life back into my son!’ I sobbed an exhale and closed my eyes. And in that instant, I heard the sound of a miracle. Beep…beep…beep…John’s heart monitor—and John’s heart—sprang back to life.”

This moment in time will impact everyone who comes in contact with John Smith. Pediatric critical care physician Jeremy Garrett said it best when he explained, “There was no controversy in the sequence of events. If we put it into a medical algorithm, we’d say, ‘Patient’s dead. Mother prayed. Patient came back to life.’”

This book will be available beginning November 7th and you can find it on Amazon.
For more information, please visit: www.theimpossiblebook.com

To be entered into the drawing for one of these 4 books: Share this post to social media!