Monthly Archives: June 2009

Working with a Limited Budget

I had an opportunity a while back to go to a meeting at a mega-church in my area.  I had never been to their place before then.  As soon as I turned into their campus, I was utterly amazed.  For starters, I had to park in a parking garage.  Then, as I walked in to the building, I felt that I had just entered a convention center.  It was huge!  In fact, it was so big that in order to get to my meeting, I had to check the floor map – you know, one of those things you find at a mall to find the store you are looking for.  Really?!?  Once I check the map, I was able to navigate the floors to make it to the Youth Room in time for my meeting.

Once I got to the youth room, I was blown away.  It seemed more like a Youth Club than a Youth Group Room.  They had pinball machines and real arcade games (seriously, old school Pac-Man and Dig Dug were 2 of games – how cool is that!).  In addition, they had a nice stage with band equipment, plenty of tables and chairs for people to sit, a kitchen attached, and tons of other great things that youth would love.  And, this was the middle school room!

I am so glad they have this place.  It was truly amazing and I hope that they use it all for the glory of Christ.  But, in the same light, I cannot imagine ever having this kind of money to spend in my budget.  Sure, it would be nice to have these things and I would never say no to any of it.  But I have been doing full time youth ministry for over 12 years now and the most money I have ever had to spend in a given year is $15,000.  I have had as little as $4,000 when I was a Middle School Director and this past year was the first year I have ever had more than $12,000.  Whether or not this seems like a lot to you, the fact is that most budgets at small to medium size churches are very limited and no matter what we do or try, we will never be able to duplicate what mega-churches can.

How, then, do you make the most out of your budget?  After all, you have dreams to do great events and provide a great environment for your students just like mega-churches are able to do.  What do you do with the, often times, limited budget and resources at your disposal?  Here are a few ways that I have been able to work with a limited budget and make the most with the resources I have.

Plan ahead. Before you can start thinking about your budget for each event, you have to look at what you want to do over the course of the year.  What events do you want to offer and what environment do you want your students to walk into?  If you are not used to planning ahead, this can seem overwhelming to plan a whole year but in the long run, you and your students will benefit greatly from it.

As I have mentioned before, at Cedar Run, we plan a few key events every year.  One example is our annual Super Bowl Bash.  Every year, we put on a great event filled with tons of games, lots of food, testimonials and some surprises.  If we wanted to do all that was possible for this event, we would end up spending a lot of our budget.  We cannot afford to do that in the 4th month of our budget.  By properly planning ahead, we keep the long-range goal in mind.  We realize that what we do for that one event, will not make or break our year.  God is bigger than that.  So, as we plan the year, we try to strategically place events, therefore, not getting caught up overspending on any one event.  It is a huge benefit for us to plan ahead.

Think creatively. Once we have planned out our key events and identify some budget drainers, we then have to start thinking creatively.  How can we pull off these events with the least amount of money used?  How can we offer the best experience with the limited funds we have available?  It takes creativity and I am fortunate to have a good team of volunteers to help me process and organize.  In the same way, you have to think creatively.  There are events you probably want to do that, if you do all that you want, will probably cost your budget an arm and a leg.  But, if you get a team of people together, usually great, creative ideas come out of that time.  Now remember, if you do not have a team of volunteers, surround yourself with some students, adults or even parents to help you think creatively.

Now, there are definitely times you want to splurge a little and spend some extra money.  But, you have to identify what are those things or events you want to splurge on.  For example, when I take students out 1-on-1, most of the time, I will treat them.  I like to treat them for a variety of reasons but, that is just me.  You may decide to spend your youth budget differently and that is perfectly fine.  The key is to identify where you want to splurge and stick to it.

Get parents involved. When we started doing our 5th Quarter event on Friday nights in the fall, we realized quickly that we were spending entirely too much money each week on food.  If we were going to have any money left over in the spring, we knew we had to get parents involved.  Therefore, we organized a food needs list and sent it out to the parents in our church and a funny thing happened – they sent an overabundance of food in!  By the time 5th Quarter was over for the fall, we ended up having so much non-perishable food left over, we were able to use it for extra youth events throughout the winter!  Parents are eager and willing to help, especially for a good event that their children are benefiting from.  If you get them a list, they will help out.

Don’t be afraid to charge students money. Very, very few things in life are free.  Whatever youth do today, there is usually a cost.  So, do not be afraid to charge your youth money for events you put on.  You do not need to break even for your event; you just need to get some of the money back.  Otherwise, you will not have very much money left over by the time the summer comes.

These are just some of the ideas you can conserve money so that you do not overspend and have to tighten your spending as spring and summer approaches.

What are some things worth spending money on?

Even with a limited budget, I believe that there are a few things worth spending money on.

  • Treat students to food. This is not the same as charging for youth events.  I like to treat students for food when I am hanging out with them 1-on-1.  I do this for a few reasons.  For starters, I treat because there is something about food that makes conversation go better.  I cannot explain it, but if students have a drink or food in front of them, it usually makes for better conversation. In addition, money can be scarce at their home and I don’t want anyone to ever turn down an invitation because of money.  So, I make it clear to students that whenever I ask them to lunch or dinner, it is my treat.

  • Prizes (especially at big events).  At every major event we do, we offer a prize(s) that is a draw so it adds an additional attraction for the students coming to an event.  For instance, we have given away a few iPods Nanos and $50 gift cards before.  They are not cheap but when someone hears about the giveaway, it gives them one more hook to come to your event.  And, who knows, maybe the Holy Spirit will work in their life that night and be drawn back to your church and begin to follow Christ.

  • Safety first.  Thinking conservatively is great, but when safety is involved, it is always best to splurge.  For example, we have a church van that has given us fits and we have recently deemed as unsafe.  Therefore, in our effort to conserve money, we tried to borrow vans from members of our church.  Although it was a good idea in our effort to conserve money, we finally decided that it was in the best interest of our students and church to rent a van from a rental company.  Safety is always important, so do not skim on providing safe equipment and a safe environment for your students.

There may be more things that are worth spending money on, but these are three that I believe are important.  What you deem as non-negotiable may look different than what I suggested and that is perfectly fine.

My hope is to encourage and help you work with the limited resources smaller and medium size churches usually have to deal with.  Over the past 6 years at Cedar Run, I have been under budget in all but 1 year.  The reason I was over budget that one year was because I lost focus and I did a poor job of planning.  I hope and pray that you can stay focused and plan ahead well enough so that you can use the resources that God has blessed you with and help provide an environment and events that will give hope to students and praises to God.

TAKE A MINUTE and….

  1. Start looking ahead to the fall and plan a few key events and identify where you will spend money.   The summer is the perfect opportunity for you to begin planning and focus on what you want to accomplish for the year.  If you are eager and so incline, start planning the spring as well.
  2. With your planning started, begin to look at our potential budget for the new fiscal year.  What did you spend last year?  With what you want to do in the fall and spring cause an increase in your budget?  If so, make sure you have just cause and there is a reason behind the increase so that you can defend your increase to you budget committee.

Questions, experiences or thoughts?  Feel free to post them here so we can be encouraging each other.

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Summer Plans

Summer has officially begun in Northern Virginia.  Depending on your county, Thursday or Friday was the students last day of school.  I alway appreciate the start of summer because it gives me a chance to take a quick breather from the year that was and all the graduation festivities in June.

But, just as the school year ends, a new season begins – SUMMER!  This is when the age old question is asked – what do you, as Youth Pastor, do during the summer?  Do you take the summer off, do a light program or do you go full force just like you would during the school year?  I know many different Youth Pastors who feel strongly about any of these three options.  In fact, Tim Schmoyer, who writes the “Life in Student Ministry” blog says there are 7 benefits to shutting down for the season.  Tim has some great points, as do everyone who argues their reasons for shutting down or going strong during the summer.  It is a tough decision as I have gone back in forth myself over the years. What do you feel is the best for your program?

In this day and age, I believe that shutting down is not the best use of your time during the summer.  In the long run, it will be better for program if you continue during the summer AS LONG AS you scale back a bit.  This is for a variety of reasons.  For starters, you should scale back because many students are very busy during the summer with vacation, camps and summer school.  So, it does not makes sense to put a lot of effort and organization into something that will draw a lot less than during the year.  However, there are plenty of students who are around over the summer who would welcome something to do, especially something that is positive and Christ centered like what you can offer.

Another reason to stay open during the summer is because the summer is a great opportunity for you build upon relationships and spend more time with students.  With students out of school, it provides you with plenty of time for you to meet up and invest in them throughout the summer.  Lastly, there are plenty of things you can do during the summer that you can not do during the year that can give your program a fresh look.  For example, you could:

  1. Take Day Trips.  I live so close to Washington, DC, we often take our students into the city to go to the Zoo or one of the museums.  But, there are so many other places you can go as well.  You can go hiking, rock climbing, or see a Christian concert.  Anything that is out of the ordinary for these students to go is a draw.  These events are great to because we encourage our students to bring their friends.  It is the perfect, non-threatening bridge that will hopefully draw new students into our program.
  2. Plan Mission Trips,  Summer Camps or Help out at V.B.S.  These are great opportunities to take a week (or long weekend) away with some of the youth in your program and spur them on in Christ while having some serious time with them.  Very little builds relationships more than spending 24 hours a day with them over the course of 4-7 days!  That time can go a long way in those relationships.  Also, when you help out at your church’s V.B.S., it promotes working well with other ministries in your church.  It is also a great way for your students to invest in the future youth program.
  3. Eliminate Sunday Night Meetings. Instead, do a weekly Wednesday Brunch time or a BBQ Fellowship time.  Center your time around food and fellowship. Then, after brunch or the BBQ is over, conclude the time with a devotional or challenge for the students to take with them the rest of the week.
  4. Have returning College students speak to your youth. This helps you in 2 ways: 1. give you a break from speaking regularly.  2. gives the college students a chance to come back to share what they have learned during the year and how God has worked in their lives.  It is a powerful example for the youth so see how you can still follow Christ in college.

These are just some of the opportunities you have to tone down, but stay strong and active during the summer.  When you tone down, you give yourself a little breather to refocus and get organized for the fall.  But, more importantly, you remain active enough where life transformation is still encouraged.

TAKE A MINUTE and…

  1. Review what you are doing this summer.  Where is the time for fellowship, outreach and discipleship encouraged?  If you do not have any of these things planned, spend time seeking the Lord’s direction and see if you need to incorporate these into your program.  Remember, you don’t need to go all out as summer provides opportunities for you to do different activities and events.
  2. Plan some time for you to start planning, dreaming for the fall program.  If you don’t plan ahead, you will get caught behind in September.

Questions, experiences or thoughts?  Feel free to post them here so we can be encouraging each other.

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Getting the Right Students Involved

Years ago, and I mean years ago, like 1960 to 1980s years ago, there was a youth ministry theory called the Key Kid Theory.  Have you ever heard of this before?  Unfortunately, if you try to google it, you cannot find it.  I first heard about it when I was attending classes at Messiah College, working towards a Christian Education degree.

The Key Kid Theory is a strategy that if you, as the Youth Pastor or Head Youth Leader, focus on beginning and developing relationships with the key (i.e. popular) students at the local high school or in the youth program, you would be able to draw many more students to you youth program or event.  It is a theory that requires you to spend most of your time and energy building and developing relationships with these select students.  The benefit is that hopefully you will be able to draw more students into your program because now you have the “cool” factor as you have “cool” students coming to whatever you are doing. It is very controversial and I have found that a simple discussion on this can often turn very heated.

What do you think of this kind of approach?  Do you think this is the right approach to take in attracting key students?  Does this still happen in today’s ministry?

Unfortunately, I believe that many youth ministries still operate on this theory today.  I say unfortunately because I do not believe that this is the right approach to take for a few reasons:

  1. There are no more key kids. Back when this theory was in prominence, you had your all-star quarterback and head cheerleader that everyone wanted to be around.  If you wanted to draw students to an event you were hosting, having them there would cause others to follow.  However, in this day and age, the all-star quarterback and the head cheerleader are the heads of just 2 of the numerous groups in the local middle and high schools.  There are so many other groups in school now that you cannot simply focus on building relationships or winning the right with just a group or two.  If you do, you will miss out on the majority of the students in your school or your ministry.
  2. This theory encourages favoritism. When you focus on a few key students, you are choosing to alienate the others in your program. You are creating a class system – the cool and the uncool, the haves and have-nots.  Sure, you can argue that you are taking this approach because you want to and will reach the have-nots.  But, you focus on them only after you get the haves, only after you win the better students. This is counter to all Christ was about.  He constantly spent time with and won the right with everyone, especially the uncool, poor, desolute and the have nots (Mark 2:13-17). James 2:1-10 also highlights the importance of loving everyone the same, not matter what they look like or do.

Even though I am not advocating a key kid theory, I do believe you can and should surround yourself with the right students in your program.  You need students to help you for a variety of reason.  For starters, it gives them ownership of the program and allows them to use their gifts for the Lord.  Secondly, it provides you with additional leaders to minister.  Working at a non-mega church, it can be hard to find the right leaders to help you minister to your youth.  By having these students involved, you have additional leaders you can use at any given time.  Lastly and most importantly, surrounding yourself with the right students is a perfect opportunity to take students deeper in Christ.

This approach is different than the key kid theory because with key kids you are using the popularity of a few to gain attendance and prominence of your program.  The right student approach is designed to focus on students first, program second.  It is a great opportunity to take your students to that next level.

Who are your right students?

What makes up the right student?  For starters, anyone could be one.  Unlike the key kid theory, you are not alienating anyone because being the right student has nothing to do with popularity, race or gender.  It has everything to do with surrounding yourself with students who are ready to take that next step in their relationship with Christ.  They are the ones that have a desire to go deeper, have a heart to reach others and have the ability to make an impact for Christ!  In the Youth Specialties Artsource Clip Art, they have a clip art called F.A.T.  You may have heard it before, but it stands for someone who is Faithful, Available and Teachable.  Your right students will be someone who embodies these three characteristics.

Faithful: Finding the right student requires you to find someone who is faithful to Christ first and foremost.  In Matthew 6:33, Christ challenges us all to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.  When you are looking for that right student, you have to find someone who has a desire to grow in his/her relationship with Christ.

I have encountered a lot of students in my time that have had a lot of potential to do great things.  They are funny and very charismatic, but their desire and passion for Christ is very little.  No matter how much time I spent with them, they just did not want Christ that much.  Unless your potential right student knows Christ and is actively seeking him first, they are the wrong student for what you want to accomplish.

Available: You may have a student who is very faithful to Christ and your program and wants to help out in some way.  However, this student is not always available because he/she plays a sport(s), is highly involved at school, has a job or other recreational conflicts that prevent them from help out very much.  We live in a very busy world where people and programs are tugging on our students left and right.  They are not always bad things as there are many good things for them to do.  If a student has so much on their plate, they are probably the wrong student for you because they have limited availability.

For example, I had this great student a few years ago who was well grounded, had a servants heart and had a desire for his friends to come to know Christ.  The problem was that he was involved in so much!  He had a girlfriend, was very involved in Young Life, played, coached and refereed sports.  Not only that but he was very involved in school activities!  This person would have been great to have serve with us at the Church, but he was never available.  Did that limit what Christ did in his life?  No Way!  God did some great things in his life and the life of others.  But, it did limit what he could do at Cedar Run.

Deciding whether or not someone is available or not is a tough call to make, but it needs to be made.  In the long run, there are few things more frustrating for students and Youth Pastors alike when the desire for them to be involved is there, but the actuality for them doing what is needed is NOT there.  In order for a student to be the right student, he or she needs to be available.

Teachable: Being teachable is key.  Being faithful and available are very important, but if you have a student who fits the first 2 categories but is not teachable, he/she is not worth the investment you will put into them.  When someone is teachable, that means they are willing to be taught and desire to learn.

I have been doing youth ministry full time for over 12 years and following Christ whole heartedly for over 16 years.  I could easily say that I know it all and that there is nothing more for me to learn.  But that is not the case.  As Proverbs 12:15 says, “Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others.”  The moment we think we know it all and are not willing to learn is the moment we lose our effectiveness for Christ.

In order to be the right student, someone has to be teachable.  God has so much He wants us to know and learn that we have to be open to his leading and direction, no matter how well versed we feel that we are.

Once you have set up the criteria, students can decide for themselves if they are ready to be the right students for what you are looking for.  You are not alienating anyone, you are simply taking students who want to, go to that next level.

How to Invest in them?

Now that you have identified the right students, it is important to invest in them properly.  Investing and building into them is very similar to how you invest in your leaders.  You want to give them skills to be successful in ministry, but you also want to help them out with life skills.  What is it they need to hear or know about a followers of Christ in today’s world?   For each youth program, your training time with the students will look different depending on what your mission statement and primary focus is.  However, here are a few suggestions you could use for your F.A.T. Training Times:

  • Spend time digesting Scripture together.  This is not another Bible Study, but use this opportunity to build into your leader students and inspire them to take leaps of faith similar to what is found in the Bible.
  • Give them ownership of your program.  They are available to help, so include them in planning and preparing.  At Cedar Run, we created Ministry Teams for students to serve in.  Having them being able to meet in those Teams during this time is important.
  • Walk through a book together.  There are great books out there that you all can spend time covering like “Improving Your Serve” by Charles Swindoll, “Holy Sweat” by Tim Hansel or “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster.  Reading and processing books like these will inspire your students to take that next step and continue to pursue Christ all the more.
  • Use this time as a way to teach and live out community and accountability.  Over the course of your meeting time, break up into guy and girl small groups where you are getting real with each other.  Break down walls (not literally please) by building trust and support with each other.  It can be a powerful time.

You have an awesome opportunity to surround yourself with all sorts of students when you are in ministry.  But, if you can identify some of the right students to catch your vision and run with you, you, your ministry and most importantly, they will be much better off.  You are going to be training and equipping your students who could have a far greater impact in life and in ministry than you will.  What’s not to like about that?

TAKE A MINUTE and…

  1. Examine if you have the right students in your program.  Are the F.A.T.?
  2. How are you going to raise them up?  Use the summer months to start planning out a fall training and leadership time.
  3. Invite some new students to become the right students you surround yourself with.  Encourage your other volunteer leaders to identify students as well so that you can kick this off successfully in the fall.

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Walking with our Students and Reinforcing Ideas

Recently, my family and I went to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA.  If you have never been to a Great Wolf Lodge before, check them out as it’s a great family place.  Basically, it’s an indoor water park attached to a hotel!  It is pretty amazing and extremely exhausting.

While were there, I had an interesting experience with my 3 year old that lead me to come to 2 conclusions about youth ministry.   She reminded me how important it is to be walking with our students regularly and the value of reinforcement.

Walking with our Students

My 3 year old is very adventurous and bold.  She loves to try new things and can be very independent from my wife and I, which as you can imagine, can be very heart-wrenching for a parent.  However, when we got to the water park inside the Lodge, she immediately froze up and didn’t know what to do with all the water, slides and things to do.  She became very timid and scared on taking a step in any one direction.  We eventually decided to go to the kiddie slides.  When we got there, she did not want to go down, even though she had been on those types of slides before.  So, I showed her what to do by going down the slide myself and waited for her to come afterwards.  She was still very hesitant, but eventually sat down on the slide, ready to go.  But, before she would allow herself to go down the slide she made sure that I had my arms out at the end of the slide, ready to catch her.  She came down, I caught her and she said, “Let’s do it again”!  So, we did it again, and again, and again, til, eventually, she didn’t need me to help her anymore.  She was fully comfortable doing it herself.

This act shows the importance of us, Youth Pastors and Head Youth Leaders, walking through life with our students.  As their leaders, we are in charge of presenting Christ to them and in case you didn’t know, that is not one of the top 3 most popular things to do as a tween or teenager.  Therefore, we have our work cut out for us.  But, if we walk with our students by building relationships with them and showing them how to live their life for Christ through our example, we can help them know and understand the great value of being in a relationship with Him.  My daughter was scared to death to go down the slide by herself, but because she saw me go down it and she trusted me to catch her when she came down, that helped her overcome that fear.

The same can be true when we walk with our students and help show them how to live for Christ by the way we live our lives and do things.  Christ models this clearly in Matthew 4:19 when he says to come follow him, for he will make them fishers of men.  How do you think he made them fishers of men?  Do you think he relied on their great fishing ability to hook men and women?  No, he helped them become fishers of men by walking through life with them and modeling how to live their lives.  He didn’t just teach them, he showed them how to do it.  We need to be walking through life with our students and modeling Christ to them.

Reinforcement is Key

The very next day, I had a similar experience with my daughter which revealed another powerful truth about youth ministry.  As we came into the water park, my daughter decided she wanted to go down those slides again.  I thought to myself, “Great, she’s going to be able to go down by herself and all I have to do is watch and make sure something drastic doesn’t happen”.  Well, that’s not exactly what happened.  As soon as we got to the stairs to go up the slide, she became scared and timid again.  It was like she never went on the slide before!  I quickly became very frustrated with her because I couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t go down.  But, non-the-less, I walked her up and went down the slide again to show her it was ok.  Then, before she would come down, I had to hold out my arms to catch her, just like I had to do the day earlier.  When she came down, she realized how fun it was and then pick up right where we left the day before – not needing my help to go up and down the slides, just be an observer.

My daughter had completely forgotten what it meant to go down that slide and the fun she had until she experienced it again.  She needed that joy reinforced.  In the same way, our students tend to forget the joys and benefits of following Christ on a daily basis.  It is a tough world we live in today where trials and struggles happen daily.  When we experience those trials, it can zap out all we know to be true about Christ.  It’s not suppose to happen that way, but depending on the trail, our students can become very discouraged and forget about all Christ has done for them and others.

Therefore, we  have to keep on reminding them and reinforcing the material and experiences they have.   Christ is the perfect model of this as well.  Throughout the gospels, Christ taught numerous times on love and service.  Then, in John 13:1-17, he reinforced his teaching with actions.  He showed just how important these teachings were by reinforcing them later.  Spiritual highs and lows will come and go for the students.  But, if we are there affirming them and reinforcing the greatness of God, they have the opportunity to never forget the power of the living God and benefit greatly!

TAKE A MINUTE and…

  1. Examine who you are walking with.  Which students are benefiting from spending time with you ?  If you are not currently investing in any students, make a list of students you would like to begin to invest in and seek to begin to build those relationships.
  2. How are you reinforcing material learned and giving your students experiences that will encourage them and help them constantly know the joys and benefits of following Christ?  If you are not currently reinforcing ideas, now, with the of school here, it is a great time to review and reinforce ideas and teaching from earlier in the year.

Questions, experiences or thoughts?  Feel free to post them here so we can be encouraging each other.

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Are we preparing for the future of the children?

Have you ever heard an athlete or celebrity say that they are doing a good work “for the kids”?  I’ve heard it many times and when a person says this, they are saying that their actions and deeds were inspired by or are meant to benefit the children.  Well, over the Memorial Day weekend, I had a “for the kids” moment.  Over the weekend,  my family and I went to a BBQ with a bunch of friends and their families. It was a great day with tons of food, lots of laughter and lots of children and young teens hanging out and playing.

While we were at the BBQ, I looked at all the children having fun and I began to think of their future.  Unfortunately, when I did that, it broke my heart.  I thought that although these are innocent, playful children right now, some or most of them would end up getting involved in partying, drugs, sexting or whatever the new craz is when they get older. Talk about a “Debbie Downer“!   I know it’s the age old question, but what is it that drives them to these temporal pleasures? What is it that causes them to search these things out? How can these children, playing around with water guns and swinging on swings sets branch out to these things?  More importantly, I began to wonder how can we help?  How can we, as believers and ministers, meet their needs and show them Christ so that they do not need to venture into this area?

First, it starts with you and your family in your neighborhood.  My wife heard Elle Lofaro speak at our Church’s Women Retreat a few years ago and she challenged all the women to be the oak tree of the neighborhood.   An Oak tree is a big tree that stretches out wide, thus it is a source of shade for people to come under.  People can come to it during or after a long hot day in the sun and rest under the shade to restore their strength.  In the same way, your neighbors can come and rest under your oak tree – your house.  Your house can be the oak tree of the neighborhood where people will want to come, catch some shade and go on with your day.  It can be a place where they regain strength and move on with their day.

By being followers of Christ, we can offer our neighbors something they can’t find anywhere else.  As Christ said to the woman at the well, “whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst (John 4:13-14).”  As a family, we can offer them this living water in which they do not have to be thirsty anymore.  Can your neighbors find this water at your house?  Can they find rest there or is your house just like everyone else?  As followers of Christ, we are called to be witnesses for him (Matthew 28:19-20).  Therefore, our houses should reflect Christ to all who come into it and when we do that, children and adults alike can be impacted for His glory.

Secondly, as ministers, we need to be thinking strategically with our Children’s Ministry or Christian Education Director. Students don’t become sex crazed, beer bingeing students overnight. Nor will they become youth who are passionate about Christ and all he has for them overnight as well. By coordinating a strategic plan from childhood to young adulthood, you can give the children and youth a knowledge base that can help them handle each of life’s situations that they encounter.  Of course we know that knowledge does not always result in appropriate actions, but it is our responsibility to help our students process that knowledge so that they can make the right decisions.

In life and ministry there is only so much we can control.  Ultimately, children and youth are going to make their own decisions about life.  But, what are you doing for the kids?  What can you do in your neighborhood and in your ministry that will help provide them with a godly perspective?

TAKE A MINUTE and…

  1. Brainstorm ways that you and your family can be the oak tree in your neighborhood
  2. Set up a meeting with your Church’s Christian Ed of Children’s Ministry Director to start thinking strategically about a plan to minister to the children and youth at your Church.

Do you have some thoughts on this?  What are other ways we can be strategic in caring for our next generation of Christ followers?  Post a comment or suggestion.

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