Web Page Updates

Hey everyone, Not a Mega Church? has no dropped the wordpress.com portion of the site and is now just simply http://www.notamegachurch.com.

From now on, I will be posting new updates and will be slowly rolling out new things to the page.  It’s a very exciting time for me and this blog, so stay tuned.

Lessons Learned from Outside Teachers

This fall, we began a series on Sex and Dating.  It is not the first time we have talked about this topic but it was the first time in over 2 years that we have done that.  One of the reasons we didn’t talk about it for a bit was because I did the teaching the last time and it was a very awkward time.  I know that is a lame excuse, but it definitely caused me to think twice about teaching it again.

So this year, we decided to bring in a local Christian non-profit come in and teach about it.  They came in and taught for 2 weeks (1 group for the high school students and 1 group for the middle school students).  Although I was grateful that they taught about this subject, it did not go exactly as planned.  Because of this, I thought of many things I that I did wrong during this process.  So, I figured I would pass on my lessons learned on in case anyone is getting ready to bring in an outside person to share to your youth.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Meet with the teacher beforehand and share what you hope to accomplish during their teaching time. Although I did meet with our teacher beforehand, I did not let them know the make-up of our youth program.  Not all youth groups are similar in students that attend, so had they been better prepared for the type of students we have, they might have tweeked their overall presentation a bit.
  2. Make sure you know exactly what they are going to share. You don’t want to be thrown any curveballs during the presentation as they may share something completely outlandish.
  3. Be prepared to follow up afterwards.  When you teach on anything, it is always good to have a follow up strategy.  This is even more important when you teach on such an important subject or an outside teacher comes in to share.  One of the best things Katie, my Associate, did after one of our meetings was she grabbed a bunch of girls immediately after the presentation was over and began to process with them what was said and how they were feeling.  You may not need to do something like that, but following up in the next week would be a great start.
  4. Do a thorough evaluation afterwards. Oftentimes organizations will give you an evaluation to fill out.  However, I have found that most of them are pretty generic.  This particular group’s evaluation was very generic.  Therefore, instead of writing out an evaluation, I went and met with the person who presented and gave them a verbal one.  I have found that when you write up something, people may misconstrue your comments.  So, if you have some harder things to say on an evaluation, it is better to talk it over with them rather than write it.  Speak the truth in love, but definitely speak the truth.

In the past we have had a variety of outside teachers come in and share and overall I highly recommend them.  Working at a non-mega Church, it can get overwhelming and you can drain yourself too much doing multiple teachings every single week.  So, if someone else can come and share competently with your youth, why wouldn’t you take the night off?  But, just great as it can be to have a night off, it can be a lot of work as well if not done right.

Have you had similar experiences and learnings?  Post them so we can all know how to do a better job on the front end so that we don’t have as much to do after they share.

Learning from each other

The other day I had a great conversation with Katie, my Staff Associate, and Rick Beckwith, the VP of Field Initiatives for Young Life.  Rick, Katie and I have been friends for years and we had a great discussion about Young Life, the Church and how we can be reaching students better.  Now, I have blogged before about partnering with other churches and ministries – something I think is a must do.  But, out of this conversation, I had a different thought about partnering with others.

As we talked about youth ministry and leadership, I began to think about why other youth ministers do certain things and how we can inspire each other to follow a good example.  When I was an Intern at my first Church, one of my first training assignments was to go interview 3 other youth ministers and learn from them.  I was to ask them a lot of basic questions as to what they do and why they do it.  As I was reflecting on this time, it made me curious as to how many youth minsters, myself included, take time to learn from and with other youth ministers.  By this, I mean, how often am I meeting with other youth ministers now to process ministry and see how they are doing effective ministry (or, even as Rick said, “Sometimes we learn as much or more from seeing what folks DON’T DO RIGHT”).

To me, this is more than just meeting with other youth ministers regularly to discuss life and ministry.  This was taking it a step further.  I didn’t want to just talk about ministry, I wanted to experience ministry with someone else.  Therefore, I challenged Katie and myself to “shadow” another youth minister and basically see what they do, why they do it and learn from them as I hang with them.  I have an email into a few people to try to coordinate a time I can shadow them for an afternoon and evening.

Have you ever done something like this before?  How did it go?  When did you last shadow someone else?  Shadowing someone else is probably one of many different ways we can learn from each other.  What are those other ways?  Share them so that others can try.

TAKE A MINUTE and…

  1. Think through how you learn best from others?  Is it by talking with another person, reading blogs or shadowing others?
  2. When you’ve picked out a way to learn that works best for you, take a minute to coordinate a time for you to do that.
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