Last week we had our 2nd annual FAM Conference. It was a great event and there was a lot of talk about how ministries can become more family-friendly. Here’s a few notes I took from conversations. I’ll share more later this week.
1. OVER COMMUNICATE
Life is busy in the home! Teenagers have a lot going on in their life and parents have an incredible task attempting to balance all the different demands on their time. Make the commitment to help your families and clearly communicate with your parents. Make it a goal to try to over communicate. Let them know about upcoming events (which doesn’t mean the week of the event), content that’ll you’ll teaching on, ministry successes, changes, costs, activities, etc. Your communication doesn’t have to be long, but it should be consistent and clear and speaks to the parents’ world. Learning how to plan well will make this much easier.
2. SPEAK HIGHLY OF PARENTS We’re on the “same side” with parents, so make sure to take every opportunity to speak highly of them when you’re around teenagers. Resist the urge to join in when a teenager is verbally bashing his/her parents. Rookie youth workers may try to “build a bridge” with a teenager by trashing parents (i.e. “parents just don’t understand”)…but it doesn’t work long-term. Keep your integrity and speak highly of parents.
3. SPEAK HIGHLY OF THEIR KIDS
Affirmation is a great gift to a parent! Each time you see a parent, try to pass on some time of verbal encouragement about their son/daughter. Parents love to hear great things about their kids and when it comes from someone who knows them and really cares about them, the affirmation is even more powerful. Returning home from camp this summer is a great opportunity to brag to parents about their kids and set a positive tone for post-camp family conversations. There are few things more rewarding to parents than hearing good words about their kids. This is a powerful gift that doesn’t cost you anything.
More ideas coming later this week.
When it comes to being family-friendly, what are your intentional actions? Share them here.
I’m currently at our FAM conference (held at APU) and we’re gathered with a bunch of people who care deeply about the family who are trying to figure out what it means to come alongside families and better care for and help them.
We’re not selling a program for leaders to “buy-into”… rather we’re talking about what it might look like for a church to better help families. We are looking at the values of…
As you may know, I’m a big fan of FREE… a fan of organizations that resource youth workers, and a fan of teenagers being resourced to win with their friends.
For those reasons, I’ve become a big fan and promoter of what my friends at The Life Book are doing for teens when it comes to peer-to-peer evangelism. Here’s the concept in a nutshell: The Life Book contains a short summary of the Old Testament – including creation, the Fall, and God’s redemptive plan–to help unchurched teenagers understand the need for a Savior. It also includes the entire Gospel of John (ESV), interactive student comments and questions, and a challenge to put their trust in Jesus as their Savior (it can be viewed online at: www.thelifebook.com/read).
Student’s love it and love to hand it out. In fact, students have handed out over 7 million Life Books so far! Plus, the Life Book is given only by students, so it fosters personal, ongoing relationships between those giving and those receiving God’s Word.
As a youth worker, this could be an easy “win” for you as it helps you equip your students as missionaries to reach their classmates & encourage them to develop habits that will give them confidence to share the Gospel. Let your students see God’s power to work through His Word. They don’t have to memorize any speeches or know everything about apologetics. They simply give The Life Book as a gift and watch God use His Word. Upon request, you will receive 1,000 FREE LIFE BOOKS for your students to give to their classmates. Life Book is 100% funded and no longer ask for a love offering or anything in return for your FREE 500, 1000, or 1500 Life Books… “No love offering, no strings attached, TOTALLY FREE.”
This could be a great way to kick off the school year or for the week of See You At the Pole, but order now to make sure you get your Life Books in time. They go fast every school year!
How It Works: Your students give the gift of the Gospel and then watch God work…
Show your students the free, short training videos.
Your students hand out 100% of The Life Books. You can do it during a short-term “mission trip” to their school. IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY: They also highly encourages you to have your students hand out one or two Life Books a week throughout the school year as an ongoing evangelistic effort.
When I saw this particular one on logos it made me think of the amount of time that I’ve worked in two churches–11 years in one and 18 in another. My experience has been that when you’re in one location for a long time that you’re able to observe a lot of change. There are times when it feels as if a certain decision is so important that you’ve got to get it right. I’m guessing that’s the case of these original logos–they probably felt like each logo was a “done deal.”
Here’s where my mind went–instead of getting paralyzed by indecision… pull the trigger. Make the decision. It’s probably not a decision that will last forever… chances are good you change it soon. Most of your leadership decisions are not final.
I can hear my mom’s voice saying, “Oh Douglas… I can’t believe you’re going to show that in church.”
“I know mom… I’m sorry. Talk to Jesus about it. I’m going to talk highly of you this weekend when I speak on ‘Everything I needed to know about Jesus I learned from my mom’… you left me great memories and a great example.”
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Almost daily I get an email from a ministry leader who is tired and on the verge of burn out. There is so much about “ministry-world” that is exhausting. I understand this reality… firsthand. It’s real and ugly!
Too many leaders don’t even slow down enough to be faithful to God’s call for a Sabbath rest.
When I was a young leader I received great advice from a mentor who urged me to faithfully guard and protect a weekly day of rest. I’m so grateful for that advice and encouragement! Without intentional action, it’s simply too easy for a leader to slip into justifying non-Sabbath actions like, “I’m just going to pop into the office,” or “I’m so far behind, I just need to catch up” or “They need to spend time with me and I don’t think I can say ‘no’.”
I fully understand that the Sabbath doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all experience, but for what it’s worth, here’s how I try to approach my day of rest:
I want to experience as many of the following as possible:
• Relaxation. I take it easy. I sleep in. I don’t fill the day with a lot of activities. I try to maintain an attitude of rest throughout the day.
• Recreation. I usually feel better and accelerate my rest after some form of exercise. It may be at the gym, but it’s usually a long walk or hike with my wife, Cathy.
• Relationships. Any time I choose to spend time with someone on my Sabbath, I make sure it’s a relationship that inspires me, breathes into me, and is rewarding for me. No work, just friendship.
• Reading. Throughout the week, much of my reading focuses on speaking or sermon preparation, so on my day of rest I usually choose light and fun reading.
• Reflection/Restoration. Reflection describes my extended time with God. I’ll usually reflect on the past week, look through my calendar, and think about what I might have missed that God had laid out for me. A busy week usually doesn’t allow me the time for reflection that I want or need. Restoration describes personal soul-care. It’s my time for worship, prayer, silence, Bible, and journaling.
There is no usual order to these areas… I simply try to experience all these throughout the day.
For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 20:11
Question: What about you? What do you normally do on your Sabbath? Share it here.