Creating a Parent & KidMin Connection

Creating a parent kidmin connection

6 Ways you benefit when parents serve in their children’s kidmin

So you’re struggling to find enough volunteers for your kids ministry (it’s OK—you’re not alone!). You’ve created job descriptions and added titles to the flowchart. Now you’ve begun asking anyone standing around in the church lobby who doesn’t look busy if they’d like to volunteer. But you’re still coming up short. Let me ask you this: Have you ever considered a strong recruitment push toward the parents of kids in your ministry? 

No, I’m not talking about making another Sunday morning announcement, writing a newsletter article or adding a post to social media. I’m talking about actually sitting down face to face with parents and talking with them about the mutual benefit of serving in the very place where their kids learn.

There are great advantages for both the church and the family when parents serve in kids ministry. Unfortunately, they are hidden benefits, so doing our part to communicate them is vital to getting the word out. But when you do, you’ll find that your church will be healthier when parents serve alongside their kids.

Here are six great reasons that having parents serve in your kidmin is an advantage for you—and them:

1. Direct Access to Your Child’s Pastor

Most children’s pastors are busy. Each week they act as teacher, event planner, financier, stage designer and counselor, so it might be difficult for the average parent to simply sit down and hear the heart of their child’s pastor. When serving on the children’s pastor’s team, parents become part of his flock and the pastor will begin more intentionally to shepherd them directly. For example, instead of a dad awkwardly trying to find a way to let the children’s pastor know about his son’s surgery, he could—as a parent serving on the children’s pastors team—simply mention the prayer request in a preservice huddle.

2. Increased Family Time

With the growing pressure for kids to excel in school, the popularity of traveling sports teams and ever-changing family dynamics, it’s an understatement to say that families today are busy. In most churches, when a family arrives at church they immediately split up to attend church in their separate environments. But when a parent is serving in the kids ministry, the parent gets more time with his or her child. Parents who serve in their kids’ ministry are building memories that most other families will never get to experience.

What’s more, no longer will a kidmin event or outing pull the family apart. Because the parent servers as a volunteer who attends the outing, kidmin gatherings become a family event. That means the kids ministry in hour church actually can be a catalyst to bring families together.

3. Overflow of Sunday’s Lesson Into Weekday Life

When parents pick up their children after church, they usually ask them if they had fun and if they learned something. Unfortunately, the lesson often ends there. It’s not that parents don’t care about their children’s experience. But the conversation goes no further because of the parents’ lack of familiarity with the kidmin and the fact that most of them don’t personally experience the lesson.

This all changes when parents begin preparing for the lesson at the beginning of the week, when they laugh out loud during the skit, when they see firsthand the illustration the teacher presents, when they teach the lesson for themselves. During the week, parents will begin asking their kids if they are applying the Bible lesson they learned at church. This simple engagement leads to a learning opportunity by pointing them back to something they both experienced on Sunday morning.

4. Improved Ministry Effectiveness ]

Instead of creating a parent panel for feedback, simply recruit parents who can give you insight about your ministry’s effectiveness. Ask parents how the lessons are connecting with their kids and which illustrations are making the gospel presentation come to life. Ask the parents who are serving in your ministry to give you feedback on the first-time visitor process—and then empower them to improve the experience. The more diverse a group of parents you have, the more varied their backgrounds and experiences, and the more collective wisdom you’ll have to draw from.

5. Children Connected to Spiritual Mentors

When parents are part of a team of kidmin workers, they get to know the other small-group leaders. This allows them to strategically pursue ones who can help them speak truth into their children. Through consistently serving, parents will see that their kids are developing strong Christ-centered relationships that benefit the family.

It’s weird, but often parents can tell their child a hundred times to do something, without it sticking, but when another adult suggests they do something, it sticks the first time. Through relationships made with other leaders on their team, parents can comfortably find a mentor they trust to speak truth into their child.

6. Through-the-Roof Buy-In

Most people never become a raving fan or even an advocate for an organization until it makes a difference in their lives. Sure, the children’s ministry in your church is impacting the kids, but many parents don’t realize the difference it truly makes until they see it firsthand. And when they see it, their buy-in goes through the roof.

They begin recruiting other parents to serve just because they are talking about it in their small groups. Serving parents are in-the-know, and they naturally begin to ask other parents if their kids will be attending events. Some parents might even begin contributing financially to the mission of the church because of the impact your kidmin has had on their family.

Overall, your families and your church will be healthier when parents serve in their kids’ ministry. It might be your responsibility to communicate the benefits. But when you do, God will open the door to these conversations and create a parent-kidmin connection. So take some time today to craft a compelling vision that will reveal the hidden benefits of parents serving in your kidmin.

How the Orange Conference Changes My Perspective Every Year

 

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Did you walk away from your last conference changed? Every year, the Orange Conference has a theme where speakers look at the same topic from different angles to help attendees gain a changed perspective. Over the years we have been taught to “Say yes to the next generation,” “It’s just a phase, don’t miss it,” “Monday is coming,” and “To be for our neighbors.” These themes have radically impacted my life and ministry.

In addition to these themes, each year God has spoken a word to my heart that shifts my outlook.

an173-9b2456b8-47b0-41a1-bddb-a952c92327f3-v2In 2014, I walked away knowing that I needed to work on myself. In order for me to say yes to the next generation, I needed to be a better example and leader.

“The biggest leadership challenge I have is me.” – Jeff Henderson

“Every book you read is worth 2 years of life experience.” – Mark Batterson

“Competency isn’t the issue. Character is.” – Carey Nieuwhof

“Leaders, ask yourself, ‘What is it like to be on the other side of me?’ ‘How are you to work for?’” – Jeff Henderson

“You replace yourself by developing others, not by replicating yourself.” – Jeff Henderson

“It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to stay that way.” Parry Noble

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In 2015, I was challenged to know and act like every week matters. It’s just a phase, don’t miss it, helped me see not only the development of each of the kids but that I was missing opportunities to make an impact with each Sunday.

“100 years from now, the only thing that will matter is a kid’s relationship with God.” – Reggie Joiner

“If you’re the parent of a 9th grader, you only have about 200 weeks left before graduation. Make it count.” – Reggie Joiner

“Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.” – Josh Shipp

“Children’s leaders, you aren’t keeping kids so that adults can go to church. You’re discipling children who will be the Church.” – Reggie Joiner

“Small Group Leaders, there is great power that comes with showing up every week.” – Reggie Joiner

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In 2016, I realized that I was so worried about filling the kids with the head knowledge that I missed what mattered most. Monday is coming helped me see that I was teaching in a way that kids forgot the moment they left the room. I must connect Sunday to Monday.

“It’s not a question of: Will Sunday impact Monday? It already does. The question is: Will we be part of that conversation?“—Jon Acuff

“It’s not: How to we get them to come to us on Sunday? It’s: How do we go to them on Monday?“—Jon Acuff

“On Sunday, grace is expected. On Monday, grace is a surprise.”—Jon Acuff

“Following Jesus will make your life better and will make you better at life.”—Andy Stanley

“When it comes to my personal connection to the local church, it’s simple: the Church saved my life.”—Andy Stanley

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And last year, 2017, I walked away realizing that I allowed busyness to get in the way of loving my neighbor. I must be like Jesus and invest my time in those who are different than me.

“Instead of seeing busyness as a badge of honor, maybe we should see it as a brokenness.” — Doug Fields.

“Some of your neighbors feel like you don’t love them because you act like you don’t like them.” —Reggie Joiner

“If there’s any entity that should lead the way in treating everyone like they’re invited to the party, it should be the church.” —Reggie Joiner

“Young people can download thoughtful preaching but they can’t download thoughtful mentoring.” —Kara Powell

“You can’t dismiss people and be in love with God.” — Andy Stanley

“Your love for God is demonstrated and authenticated by how we treat those around us.” — Andy Stanley

“We’ve got to stop acting like discipleship is about information, and realize discipleship is about relationship.” —Reggie Joiner

“Busy is the enemy of neighborly.” — Doug Fields

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Now is the time to register for the next Orange Conference. I really hope to see you there!

Sign up and begin praying today to not only be move through the theme but also open yourself up for God to speak to your soul. REGISTER BY FEBRUARY 15 TO SAVE $50!

35+ Game Ideas from the Kidmin Nation Christmas Party

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At this year’s Kidmin Nation Christmas Party Ryan asked us to share what our favorite Christmas game is to play with kids. Everyone chatted in their favorite games and I organized a list of a few of my favorites. Here are a few game ideas that you can use for your next Christmas Party!

Corey’s Picks!

Haley Forrest : Gingerbread House on your Face! We give four to five different groups a collection of graham crackers, m&m’s, icing, etc. They are to create the best house possible!

Kerry Cressey : Wrapping paper game – teams have a time limit to wrap one person up in paper and decorate, and then a winner is chosen.

Becky Loughridge : Wrap leaders in Christmas paper and other decorations to simulate a Christmas tree.

Ashley Medina : Deck the Tree-Leader:  Kids have 60 seconds green streamers and bows to decorate their small group leader as Christmas tree.  It is super fun!

Susan Rutledge : One Hoof-Two Hoof – online game.  Kids hold up one, two or no hands (hoofs) and if it matches where the video lands – they stay standing.  Others sit. Whoever is left standing is the winner.

Laurie Alvarez : Snowball Fight with Pom Poms or crumpled up paper. Divide the kids into two and give them two minutes to throw them at each other over a dividing line. At the end of two minutes, the team with the least amount on their side wins!

Nativity Games

Jennifer Westering : Hide and Seek the Nativity. Hide all nativity characters. Tell Christmas story when each character is found. Characters are ornaments that kids can put on their trees to take home

Anette Shanks : From Anette Shanks to Everyone – Nativity Game…You share the Nativity story with the kids with the characters.  Then you have the kids close their eyes and you take a couple of the characters away.  They have to tell which people are missing and what part they have in the story.

Donna Osborne : Put the babe in the manger (like pin tail on donkey)

Melody McGuire : Nativity Bingo.

Gift Games

Amber Pike : The Syran Wrap Game. Kids roll dice and unwrap that many layers to get the candy

Rachel Nuckels : left, right game!!! read a story with left and right throughout. when each word is said, kids pass gifts to right or left!

Connie Lawyer : Guess the present! Wrap presents and the kids have to feel the present and try to guess what is in it! Then remind them the greatest gift of all – Jesus!

Nicole Strine : pass the present, roll a dice and pass left/right etc

Cazi Murvine : Musical Presents! We wrap gifts for the classroom. Each gift gets wrapped 4-8 times in different wrapping paper for each layer. We play music and when the music stops whoever is holding the gift gets to unwrap one layer.

Jerry Wages : We play All I Want For Christmas Whoever comes up with the best gift wins a prize.

Lorraine Hart : Unwrap the gift with kitchen mittens. If you roll doubles you get to start opening the gift. The kids continue to pass dice and when the next person rolls dice they can steal gift and begin to open. Continue till gift is opened by someone. I wrap the gift several times.

Dan Jenkins : A power point game called name that gift. We have items wrapped on the screen and they guess what it is based on the shape.

Minute To Win It

Sherri Gaskill : Candy Cane Drop. Tie a string onto two chairs placed about 3 feet apart. Give a kid a bunch of candy canes. Have them drop a candy cane from their chin. The object is to see how many candy canes they can get on to the string in 1 minute.

Amy Harder : Candy Cane Hook — Pour out candy canes on the table. Players take a candy cane in their mouths, hook side out. The players have to use the hook from the candy cane to pick up other candy canes and fill a bucket. The player with the most canes in their bucket at the end of time wins.

Mary Beavers : Wrap the Gift. Teams of 4 work together to wrap a box using only one hand each.

Sharon Alexander : kids like throwing candy canes in a Santa Stocking. they have 1 minute.

Sara Hlava : Snowman Face Race – vaseline, cotton balls & scooters – Go!

Mary Smith : Gift Wrap Scramble- kids work in teams wrapping gift with one hand behind their back

Christy Zentz : Candy cane relay.  Kids put a candy cane in their mouths, pick up red & green hardware nuts without using their hands and carry them up on the candy canes to a table.

Music Games

Ronnie Fernandez Lee : Christmas Song Scramble

Andy Penney : Christmas Carol Karaoke – We let the kids pick out a Christmas song and do karaoke

Ronnie Fernandez Lee : Christmas Song Scramble   Print large lyrics to Christmas songs on heavy paper,  cut them up in phrases, create teams and time the teams who build them in correct order on the floor, they have to sing it

Games with a Christmas Twist

Jennifer Nier : Reverse Christmas Charades-2 people up front-clue on screen behind them-everyone in the crowd act out the clue

Emily Hill : Steal the Bacon with jingle bells. Kids line up in 2 teams and a leader sits blindfolded in a chair with jingle bells under his chair.  Kids try to steal the jingle bells without getting hit with a pool noodle the leader is swinging.

Rick Moody : J-E-S-U-S instead of B-I-N-G-O and each square has something to do with the Christmas story.

Matt Cannon : Candy Cane/Ornament Cup Pong…. Use candy canes and Christmas ornaments. We use the ping pong table and red solo cups. We use candy canes and Christmas Ornaments to ring the cup and every time you ring it the opposite team has to chug milk

Vicki Ejibe : Hungry Hungry Hippos. Scooters, baskets, and marshmallows. Kid rides scooter and other kids holds legs and pushes scooter holding basket into the center of the circle to catch marshmallow.

Dan Jenkins : Santa, reindeer, sleigh – two kids partner up against two other kids and call out each of these things. They have to act out the one I give them and if their team guesses they win.

Jame Vallejo : Christmas Jeopardy.  Split into 2 teams and answer questions from 4 categories. At the end is a final question. Kids have to bet points and most points at the end win.

Judy Hiebert : Review Game: Christmas Acrostic, the answers are filling in letters.

Rhonda Bischoff : Signs – everyone makes up a sign, someone in center tries to see who is passing their sign to another person.

What game is missing from this list? Write your suggestion in the comments to be added!

Waiting with Great Anticipation For The Savior

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Can you remember the anticipation and excitement you felt as a child waiting for Christmas? You saw Christmas lights popping up around town, you heard parents whispering about gifts to come, and you counted down the days until Christmas morning would finally arrive. This nervous anticipation caused you to be on your best behavior as you yearned for Christmas day.

Before the birth of Jesus, mankind was waiting for the Messiah or promised anointed one to come and save them from their sins. Prophecies were written 200 to 1000 years before Jesus was born and the people anxiously anticipated His arrival.

They knew prophecies such as Isaiah 7:14, “All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” Because of Micah 5:2, they knew the Christ would come from Bethlehem; “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” And they understood that Jesus would come through the bloodline of David from Isaiah 9:7, “His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.”

There are over fifty predictions specifically about the Messiah’s birth which Jesus fulfilled.Peter Stoner, a professor of mathematics, helps illustrate the improbability of one man fulfilling these predictions by looking at the odds of one simply fulfilling eight prophecies. Stoner’s conservative estimate is one in 10^28. That’s 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000! To make an even more conservative number, if you were to divide it by the estimated number of people who have lived since the time of these prophecies (88 billion) the odds decrease to “only” one in 10^17, or 1 in one hundred quadrillion.

Peter Stoner helps us understand the magnitude of this number by writing:

Suppose that we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up the one silver dollar that has the special mark on it. What chance would he have of getting the right one?” – Science Speaks: An Evaluation of Certain Christian Evidences

And that’s just eight prophesies!

These prophecies all came true through one man, Jesus. God’s plan for mankind was to send His son to save the world. As you anticipate this coming Christmas, remember the anticipation people felt for a thousand years before the coming Messiah. Set aside time to read through Luke chapters 1 and 2 to remember the coming of the promised Messiah.

Register Now for #OC18 – We Can Do More Together

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“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” – Mother Teresa

Momentum is never an accident. It happens when everyone on the team is moving together in ONE direction. If you want momentum you have to stay focused, clear, and synchronized about what matters most.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…What matters most matters more.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…Parent and volunteers move in the same direction.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…Your core message becomes clearer and louder.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…What you do every week makes a greater impact.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…The next generation wins!

There is a unique kind of momentum that happens when everyone in a church leads together as ONE VOICE. OC18 will be an opportunity to re-imagine the potential you can have as ONE VOICE

“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Romans 12:4-5 (NLT)

Register today to join me at this year’s Orange Conference in Atlanta, April 25-27. 

 

 

Bonus: Enjoy a #OC18 phone backdrop!
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Volunteer Gift Guide from I Love KidMin

 

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Are you looking for a small thoughtful gift for your volunteers? Do you need a bulk supply with a limited budget? I asked the “I Love KidMin” Facebook Group for help and here is an ever-growing Volunteer Gift Guide. Comment your ideas and they may get added to this post!

Christmas Theme

Annie Double The last two years I did a Movie Night with the Redbox Code and popcorn and that was a huge hit (that’s why I did it 2 years in a row).

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Courtney Moseley Kirk Last year I gave each teacher gifts wrap, wrapping tape and a poem I found on Pinterest. I got the best response from them compared to years past. It was inexpensive and practice. https://itsalwayscrafttime.blogspot.com/2010/12/neighbor-gift-idea.html

Image courtesy of Brad Waggoner 

Melody McGuire Christmas socks tied with a ribbon and stuffed with candy.

Dema Kohen Advent Calendar/Daily devotions and activities. Give it every year to the families in our church as part of the Mahger Project activity. (https://www.amazon.com/Journe…/dp/1589978242/ref=sr_1_2…)

Megan McGarvey our staff has a fun photo shoot and makes a Christmas card! We also send a gift card with it. (but people love the pictures)

Jessica Pryer I’m doing fleece throw blankets. I found some for $2.50 a person, and I found Christmas themed ones for a little over $5 at Walmart. There are multiple patterns and colors. Fun present that I wouldn’t mind getting myself.

Melinda Robison We do an ornament every year so less than $1 per person on oriental trading

Dema Kohen Love this set. Bought 10 of these two weeks ago. (https://www.amazon.com/Teeny…/dp/0762460903/ref=sr_1_1…) Comes with a little book too. $8 USD

Kayla Holbrook Ornaments! I like the wooden ones from Christian Book.

Terri Johnson Last year apple cinnamon ornaments! Apple butter, Christmas ornaments, magnets. This yr I am giving a card with a small ornament.

Missy Silassy This is my first year and I’m doing cards with a personal note and ornament for the adult teachers and cards with a note and mustard seed coin for my teen helpers.

Crafts

Mark Jones Our children’s ministry team made this for each of our teachers. I barely had enough barn wood! https://mrmarksclassroom.com/blog/2017/04/18/star-teacher-gift/

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Sandra Hiegel Hauenstein Bible tabs from Etsy!!! Biggest hit. Close second gourmet goodies from local shop! https://www.etsy.com/search?q=bible%20tabs

Nikki Steiner I just saw this on Pinterest and thought of this post. It was called Pick A Promise. Placing verses in a jar and rolling them up, then when having a bad day, you can pick one to read. You could do a variation of this with words of encouragement and appreciation from the kids and others in CE at your church.

Glenys Nellist The most meaningful gift was when we took photos of our teachers with the kids and then put them in a simple frame. We wrote something like ‘thanks for making a difference.’ Above everything else, or any gift, I think teachers need to know that they’re making a difference

Shelley Ward I made these Praise Jars for our Pastors and Children’s Leaders too. I decorated mason jars and filled them with inspirational bible verses. I thought this would make a good Christmas gift!

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Church Merch

Casey Satterfield Last year we gave a special Seahawks style T-shirt navy blue with green lettering with our kids logo on it with Jesus had 12 men too on the back. It was a hit and requested by our new team members!!

Lynn Peters This year it will be a new T-shirt with our new kids logo and a home baked loaf of pumpkin bread

Activities

Carla Garms Wiederhold This year instead of doing gifts I have asked my leaders if they wanted to serve together at Feed My Starving Children. They love the idea … We have scheduled for January and I will donate the dollars I would have spent to FMSC

Jennifer Rath Scott I’m taking them out to a movie this Sunday. 🙂 Time together is wonderful.

Donations

Katie Storm A donation in their name to world vision

Dean Christianson I started a couple years ago, “purchasing” farm animals for overseas organizations that give them to families to provide a living for them. I write out a card to each of the volunteers and they really seem to enjoy this rather than “getting” something. They seem to buy in to helping someone rather than getting something. https://www.heifer.org/gift-catalog/animals-nutrition/index.html

Shelly Lantz Akins I donate to a local charity in honor of my volunteers. I print out a card and give it to them that a donation was made in honor of the St. Andrew’s volunteers. Then I bake cookies and give them each 4 with the card attached.

Music

Yancy Wideman Richmond I have a lot of churches give my “Roots for the Journey” CD for this.

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Carla Champ-Hefner Jumpstart3 Cds Jeff McCullough

Mary Rice Hopkins I will send you CD’s or DVD’s for $5.00 a person plus shipping. Most popular one has sold 1/4 of a million copies. Great deal. Message me.

Books

Becky Wescoat A Journey to Bethlehem: Inspiring Thoughts for Christmas and Hope for the New Year http://a.co/gj1Flel

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Theresa Plemmons Reiter The book Simply Pray by Archie Buie. It is the only gift my volunteers thanked me over and over.

Shawn Howell ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas https://www.amazon.com/…/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_9aycAb7XA6M3X

Kimbell Dicken Botto This is awesome. It’s like the rip off calendars but it’s not dated (so you don’t feel bad if you miss a day) Beautifully illustrated and has short story with Bible reference to read more and a couple questions to get families talking. Amazon sometimes has the price as low as $12-15. http://a.co/hClZBlR

Food and Drink

Marta Cortez Two biscotti with a coffee gift card packaged nicely in a reusable Starbucks cup.

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Lauren Webb Rtic 30oz tumblers are only $7 right now on their website! Then you can cut a logo or something out of vinyl!!

Lauren Webb I bought the Christmas mini loaf pans from Lifeway. They are on sale right now for $3 each. I’ll bake some kind of bread and wrap them in a cellophane package.

Dana Sartin Find a candy shop or someone who makes. Gourmet Apples. Mine love them!!!

Tom Bump We made a sweet spicy Chex mix. Put in gift bags with a nice card attached. The team loved them. We made 110 bags. Was a lot of work but so worth it. We had 0 budget so I purchased it out of my own pocket.

Andrea Joy Rossignol Homemade fudge or cookies or something like that. It’s likely to be something everyone will enjoy, won’t create clutter in anyone’s house, and you’re giving of yourself rather than something from a store. The downside – you’ll have to MAKE all those treats!

Mandi McKibben I made freezer meals for my volunteers one year…talk about a gift that was appreciated!

Nicole Underwood I made salsa last year for them.

Christine Gerard Garner Wendy’s frosty tag!!! https://davethomasfoundation.org/contribute-through-wendys/

Libby Rinne We made these cute cocoas for our volunteers, cheap and cute!:)

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From The Store

Sue Edgerton We like to have teens fill out brief questions about their favorites at the beginning when they serve. Questions like: your favorite soda, your favorite candy, your favorite sport, your favorite color. These come in very handy when wanting to give a little thank you or a Christmas gift.

Jennifer Martin Burks Chick-fil-A calendars, blankets from Kohl’s (add initials for fun), travel mug with logo, anything with church logo really. Maybe a T-shirt with it on there.

Monica Piszczek Bath and Body Works soaps. I got 6 bottles for $19.00. Wrap it in cellophane or tissue and put a bow on them. Who can’t use soap!!!

Kate Sweitzer Wanted to share a truly last minute idea. I have a few young adult volunteers and I’m gifting them these EOS lip balms for Christmas tomorrow.

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Other Resources and Sites

Corinne Noble Here are some ideas I have used! https://www.kidmincorinne.com/blog/8-easy-ways-you-can-appreciate-your-volunteers?rq=appreciate%20volunteers

Lori Todd Baker Check out CTA, Inc. They have some very affordable gifts for all occasions. http://www.ctainc.com/

Melody McGuire I go to Harbor Freight and purchase an inexpensive tool tie with ribbon and candy.

Brad Waggoner I am going to do succulents in a fun little container. I haven’t decided on the container yet though…lots of options depending on budget. I get the succulents here…they are great! https://thesucculentsource.com/

Beth Kuhar Welman www.ctainc.com has great nativity-themed products for kids & adults (And seasonal stuff, with devotionals). Also, Oriental Trading has faith-based crafts & goodies.

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What would you add to this list? Comment to be added!

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The Tangibles and Intangibles of an Excellent Preteen Environment​

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The moment you walk in the door you begin to judge the atmosphere of any business. If you walk into a coffee shop you are trying to find where you place your order and what coffee options are available. You begin judging whether or not you will ever return based on the tangible things you see, taste, and experience as well as the intangible things you feel, smell, and hear. The same is true with the preteens that walk in our preteen environments. We might not have full control over the smells in the room, but we must do our part to create an engaging, affirming, and irresistible preteen environment.

Think About Your First Impression

As a preteen navigates your church, are you helping them find where to go with clear signage? And as they walk into your preteen environment, does the atmosphere communicate that you were expecting them? Walk through your environment and think about the seen and unseen obstacles a ten-year-old will be experiencing. Or better yet, talk with one and ask them about what they saw and felt. First impressions go beyond the first moment that someone walks through your doors. Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had a great experience up until the point the food was served? Think through how you cue a preteen throughout the service and help them understand what is about to happen. Do your part to help them feel comfortable as a visitor from the moment they pull onto campus until they are talking with their parents on the way home.

Create a Safe Place

Look around your preteen area to see if there is anything broken, outdated, or out of place and do your part to clean it up and keep it safe. When you walk into a department store and see the merchandise scattered on the shelves or a drink spilled in the aisle, you might turn around and walk out. Deep down you know it was a customer that made the mess, but you still wonder why the workers have failed to create an excellent environment for shopping. Your preteens might not ever need policies and procedures for things like an active intruder, but these must still be outlined and explained to leaders. The students might not see everything that has happened behind the scenes to keep them safe, but they will surely find out if it’s missing.

Design an Atmosphere That Lends Itself to Returning

Early every morning people faithfully return to their fitness center because they know that it’s both helpful and healthy. Are you communicating to preteens and their families the benefits of regularly attending church? And when they show up, are you helping them take their next step or are you trying to pile on too much and making them feel overwhelmed? In a fitness center there are people of varying degrees of health, but yet they all come to the same place to take their next step. In our preteen environments, we must realize we have different levels of health and lead small in such a way that we help each preteen continue to grow. We can do this through sharing a gospel truth through a game or fun illustration, by asking compelling questions, or by coming alongside preteens to help them discover the truth on their own.

The tangible and intangible environment you are creating for preteens will determine the success of your preteen ministry. Work at creating an excellent environment that preteens will come back to week after week.

(Originally posted the Orange 252 Kids blog at http://orangeblogs.org/252basics/the-tangibles-and-intangibles-of-an-excellent-preteen-enviornment/)

SaveSave

SaveSave

Helping a Family Through the Salvation Discussion

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Don’t you just love seeing a family come together around Jesus? I love seeing a family take the time to sit together, open up their bible and have a spiritual conversation. And this is God’s intent. God established the family as the primary spiritual leader for children, 1400 years before the church was ever established.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Parents are to be the primary spiritual leaders of their children. Impressing the love of the Lord into their hearts every day of the week. But then when it comes to one of the biggest milestones of faith, the salvation discussion, what most pastors do…is grab hold of the reigns and take over. But why? It’s not our role. And we will never know the heart of a child better than their parents.

What could happen spiritually for a family, if instead of a pastor taking over and leading their child to Christ, we empowered the parents in this faith milestone? This could truly change the culture of a family and be a moment that brings them together focused on God.

Many people grow up and doubt the decision they made for Christ as a child. What if that’s our fault? And what if we could do something about that today to change the lives of those in our church, forever?

So how do we do that? How do you help a family through the salvation discussion?

First: Identify conversation triggers
What happens in the life of a child that triggers a spiritual conversation or the desire to give their life to Christ? Ofen times we see kids begin to ask questions through communion. When they see someone take the Lord’s supper it sparks questions. Another trigger can be the baptism of friends. They wonder why their friend is making such a big deal of getting dunked. They begin to ask why and this can lead to many more questions. Another trigger is definitely the death of a loved one. They begin to grapple with the brevity of life and wonder what exactly happens when we die. After you have identified triggers, it’s time to do something about it.

Next: Help parents leverage these triggers for a family discussion.
Resource your parents with scriptures to read with their children and consider even making them an easy to follow guide. Provide questions for parents to ask their kids to further the conversation. Find resources like “The Baptism Book” and make these resources easily accessible.

Third: Help parents share their own salvation story.
Encourage parents to make their faith journey visual. Challenge parents to take their kids to the church or place where they accept Jesus as their personal savior. Motivate parents to bring in other people who were influential in their faith journey. And if going some on a trip or bringing people into the conversation is not an option then at least encourage the parents to bring a prop that helps share their story.

Fourth: Make the salvation discussion easy for families.
In your ministry, there are many different backgrounds and different depth of conversations. Consider creating different on-ramps for families to have an in-depth conversation. At our church, we have Family Baptism Classes. These classes create a family-centered structure where we help parents win by creating a user-friendly discussion guide. We provide everything a family will need from scripture, questions, and answers, to supplies, food, and props to keep the conversation flowing. Make sure you end the class by providing the next steps and give the family an easy on-ramp to the next thing.

Fifth: Encourage them to widen the circle.
Help families take full advantage of the people they have around them who are willing to help disciple their children. Bring in the outside voices to speak the truth. Point to different voices such as a small group leader, coaches, grandparents, and even other staff members.

Sixth: Make it memorable.
This is the biggest decision a person will ever make but we often fail to make it memorable. Consider recording a video testimony of the student and give gifts or keepsakes they can hold onto. Provide a new bible or devotional book. Print off a baptism certificate marking the date. Record the baptism and make a baptism video available for the family. Encourage families to save cards, write notes, record the moment. Find ways to capture the moment and share these moments with the family.

Finally: Follow up
Does your church offer a Next Steps class? Is this something that a family could go to together to learn more? Mark your calendar to celebrate spiritual birthdays year after year. And maybe even follow up with more Scripture verses for them to look at to continue growing and learning.

Salvation is why we do what we do. This is making disciples, who will go and make more disciples. So let do our part in ”Helping a Family Through the Salvation Discussion”. Let’s make this the priority it truly is.

For additional resources check out the following:

Baptism Guide

Baptism Scripture List

Baptism Certificate

10 Questions for a Child Who Wants to be Baptized

 

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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