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The Hunger Games Discussion Guide

The Hunger Games

A Thoughtful Discussion Guide for Parents

Whether or not you want your high school students and preteen kids to be reading the books and watching the movie, chances are high that families in your church are coming into contact with the current excitement surrounding The Hunger Games.

Our student ministry team has developed a response that we’re distributing to parents of our kids to encourage them to dialogue with their children and talk through some of the serious content and questions that The Hunger Games is bringing into the lives of our youth.

Feel free to take this resource and run with it.  I think a part of our jobs, as those who are called to serve kids and families in our communities, is to resource them to have significant conversations around their dinner tables about stuff like this.  And, I think that part of my job is to share neat things like this that our student ministry team made for our families.

Sharing is a good thing, right?

Hunger Games Discussion Guide (PDF)

CLICK HERE

A special thanks to our Student Ministry intern, Kailyn King, for doing the footwork to make this resource a reality.  One day, you’ll be allowed to hire her at your church to run your student ministry.  But… not yet – we want to keep her for a while :)

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Orange, Resources

 

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Finding a Job in Ministry

Finding a Job in Ministry

Three questions you should have answers for

There’s a good chance that, if you’re seeking out a career in ministry (or a career in most any field, for that matter), that one day you’ll find yourself without a job – and, when that happens, I want you to find this post and read it again.  In fact, there’s a chance that you’re reading this post because you’re out of a job and a friend shared the link with you – if that’s the case, take notes… your friend is trying to help you out.

I’ve never known so many friends in ministry without a job.  Off the top of my head, I can think of 6 people who I would consider friends – 3 of whom are close enough family friends that they’ve shared a meal at my home – who are actively looking to be hired on a church staff.  Now, out of that list, I think that some of them are doing everything they can to stay active in the pursuit of finding their next call in ministry.  There are others, and I’m afraid that they’re in the majority when it comes to the masses, who aren’t helping themselves out with the choices they’re making while looking for their next ministry position.

So, today, I want to ask three questions to those who are looking for a new job and what answers I’d be looking for if I were trying to hire you.

  • Why did you leave your last ministry position?
  • Where are you currently going to church and where in the Church are you serving?
  • When was the last time you did what you want me to pay you to do?

This is only meant to help – I promise.

Why did you leave your last ministry position?

For those of us who’ve worked at multiple churches, we know the heartache that can happen during transitions.  Rarely, if ever, do people leave ministry roles in a way that would allow them to return again as a staff member or as a member of the congregation.  In fact, one of the few people I can think of off the top of my head who has navigated that transition well is the former student minister at my current church.  She is now on staff at a local seminary and worships on Sundays at our church – where she was once on staff for somewhere around 5 years.  She’s a rare exception because of how great of a person she is.  Most of us didn’t transition as well – and that’s an okay thing to admit.

With that said, the way you answer this question will speak volumes about your character.  If, in the first 2 sentences of your answer, you throw your former senior pastor under the bus – I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t hire you. At times, you’ll disagree with your future senior leadership team and they need to know that you’ll have their back at the end of the day.  Honesty is important when answering this question, but you want to make sure that you speak well of your former church.  There are often a lot of hurt feelings when it comes to ministry transition.  It’s okay to talk about them – just don’t go there in the first two sentences of your answer.

Where are you currently going to church and where are you serving?

I might be the only surprised one in the room on this one (and that’s okay), but I’m shocked at how many people looking for a paid position in ministry aren’t currently a part of a church body.  And, when I say a part of, I mean in attendance and service within the church.

It. Blows. My. Mind.

I’m not sure why I’d hire someone to work on a church staff who thinks it’s okay to not belong to a local church body.  The best excuse I had heard, up until about a year ago, was that someone looking to go on staff at a future church didn’t want to create strong bonds at a church that wouldn’t be their final stop along the way.  However, during the last year, I had someone contact me during a ministry transition they were going through and they asked if they could serve at and attend our church in the meantime.  This person, and their spouse, have been worshipping with us for months and are becoming actively involved in the life of the church.  Will it make their transition away from us harder?  Sure.  Does it speak volumes to their conviction that belonging to a local church body is a big deal?  Absolutely.  Also, they can always point back to the fact that they told us they wouldn’t be around forever – they’ve been honest from the beginning and I love that about them.

If you can come up with a good reason to not be involved in a local church while searching for a new ministry position, that’s what the comment section is for. Go for it.  Maybe you’ll say something I haven’t heard before – it’s totally possible.

When was the last time you did what you want me to pay you to do?

So, you want to be a youth pastor?  When was the last time you taught at a youth group?  Or… you want to work in children’s ministry?  Are you currently working with Elementary-aged kids or Preschoolers?  These are important questions to have answers for because a good church will ask you and you should be ready to talk about it.

We’re currently in a job market where there are far more qualified people looking for ministry positions than churches looking to hire.  There are better resumes out there than yours.  The way you answer this question may be what makes you stand out in an interview process.  Also – are you willing to not do what you feel called to do for months, maybe even a year, just because nobody is willing to pay you for it?  I want you to consider what that looks like to a future employer.  There are days when ministry is exhausting – if the only thing keeping you going is the promise of a paycheck, something is broken.  Learning to serve in the areas you are gifted in, without pay, will make you better at what you do.

Why should you share this post?

I know, this isn’t one of the three interview questions.  I totally get that.  However, there’s a good chance that you know someone who is trying to get hired at a church and they’ve never thought of how they’d answer these questions.  I don’t want you to have to be the bad guy who asks the hard questions – let me do that.  You can be there to ask them what they thought of the questions and ask how they might answer them.  But, the only way you get to be the good guy is if you share this post and then talk in your circles about what your gut reactions are.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Kidmin, Thoughts

 

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The Orange Tour: Los Angeles

The Orange Tour Comes to the Los Angeles Area

Get the Tools Needed for Effective Family Ministry

Hundreds of regional church leaders will gather in the Los Angeles area on Friday, September 23 for The Orange Tour, an exciting series of one-day events across the nation created to equip and inspire attendees. This fourth stop on the tour will be packed with practical ideas, move teams toward a unified strategy and provide easy-to-implement suggestions for partnering with parents. Speakers Reggie Joiner and Sue Miller will focus on the nine core insights to shaping the next generation’s worldview.

Designed to be an interactive gathering of church leaders from specific geographic regions, the Orange Tour’s relaxed environment provides each leader with the chance to network with other leaders in their area. The relationships formed here can become an invaluable tool to help build stronger ministries.

The Orange Tour is perfect for every member of a ministry team—preschool, children’s, student ministry and senior pastors. The speakers they’ll hear from, the training they’ll receive, and the community that develops provides an excellent environment for growth. This gathering is also a great opportunity to get ministry-specific questions answered from our Orange Leaders, Orange Coaches, and fellow ministry leaders who have the same or similar experiences.

Information shared through the tour stems from the Orange Strategy, a pioneering concept that believes parents, as partners with church leadership, create the most impacting center of influence for children and teenagers. “Thinking Orange” blends two vital, yet often unconnected worlds to reshape the current ministry model.

The Orange Tour Los Angeles stop will be held at Glenkirk Church in Glendora. Registration is $59, including lunch, if registered on or by September 9, after which the price increases to $69. The one-day training opportunity can either be considered a stand-alone event or as a precursor to The Orange Conference, the 4,000-plus national event, which will be held April 25-27, 2012, in Atlanta. For more information about The Orange Tour, please visit http://www.OrangeTour.org, email tour@rethinkgroup.org or call 678-845-7168.

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I can’t begin to express how thrilled I am that our team and our church is hosting the West Coast stop on the Orange Tour this Fall.  I’d love to connect with those of you out here in California and the surrounding states if you’re able to make it to this event – drop me a line via facebook, twitter or in the comments section and I’ll make it a point to create time for us to talk shop and hang out while you’re here.

I’ve even added a link at the right of my blog for you to register – it’s that simple.

Hope to see you there!

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Kidmin, Los Angeles, Orange, Resources

 

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Calling All Youth Pastors

(Here’s a picture from our morning session on the first day of Middle School VBS Leader training)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, keeping the Kingdom in mind (and not just your own castle) is essential to lasting, effective and sustainable ministry.

As I wrote earlier this week, we spend a week each summer training hundreds of middle school and high school students in preparation for their work at our annual Vacation Bible School.  By opening the invitation to serve at VBS to all students in and around our community (we even have a couple that fly in from out of state to serve on our student leadership team), we find ourselves with an interesting mix of students.  The majority of students serving at VBS do not call our church their “home church”.  In fact, many have no church affiliation at all – they’re serving because they like kids and a friend invited them.  For many, it’s that simple.

During our training, we give our students a chance to commit or recommit their lives to following Jesus.  It’s been a conviction of mine that we give students a chance to own their faith in a new and fresh way before 1,000 little kids come onto our church campus to hear about God and the call that has been placed on their lives.

However, our staff has struggled with the follow up aspect of these decisions.  For years, we’ve followed up with parents and children’s pastors who have campers making decision to follow Jesus during VBS.  I spend the week after VBS calling local churches who were listed at the “home church” for campers who make commitments at our camp. Yet, we’ve never done that with our students – until this year.

For the last week, our Jr High guy, Scott Boss, has been contacting the nearly 40 churches who have students serving at our VBS this year.  He’s inviting the youth staff and ministry teams from those churches to come alongside us at our Saturday training event in order to connect with and pray for the students serving on our campus next week.

This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while for a couple reasons.

Jesus is bigger than OUR building

By making these calls, and inviting other youth pastors onto our campus to help own what’s taking place here, we’re sending a message to our community – following Jesus and being a part of the Church has nothing to do with what building you meet in.  Jesus’ Church is bigger than any one building, denomination or church staff.  Our facilities might be hosting this event, but we don’t own it.  Jesus does.

Maybe other churches might try it

I know that kids from families who attend our church attend other church programs in town.  Odds are, some of the kids from our congregation have made important faith-commitments at the programs of other churches.  Yet, I’ve never received a call or email about it from another church in town.

I do know that “evangelism teams” from other churches have shown up at the houses of some of our kids and invited them to their church the following Sunday.  My guess is, if other churches are coordinating a follow-up process that includes door-to-door visitation, they could probably find the time to send me an email.

Because a lot of church’s senior pastors grade their kids and youth programs on attendance numbers, I can totally understand why return attendance would be something that children’s ministry teams would want to invest in.  However, I’m not convinced that partnering with other churches would hurt attendance – I’ve only experienced it fostering a community and posture that encourages the growth of a ministry.  With that said, maybe we’ll see other churches try it out.

We’ll let you know how our little experiment goes.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Kidmin, Orange, Thoughts

 

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Raising the Next Generation of Leaders

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs053.ash2/36031_412499636542_159469616542_4353236_3762434_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs066.ash2/36662_111236198925928_104368216279393_82156_3696044_n.jpg

My first church leadership position was as a student crew leader at a VBS a small church in Northern California nearly 15 years ago.  You might not think of a student crew leader at a VBS as someone on your church leadership team, but that church did.  I still remember hearing the pastor tell us that we were on the church staff for the week of VBS and that we needed to live into that reality.

It was a HUGE responsibility… and, looking back, it was my first step toward a career in vocational ministry.

I think of that summer every time that I look at pictures like the ones above.  You see, each year I give that same talk to our group of student leaders at VBS.  And, each year, that group grows.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

This last July, I sat in a room with 300 student leaders, preparing them for their 2 week commitment to VBS at Glenkirk.  For many, it was their first time attending our week-long training session for Student VBS leaders.  Many had once been children jumping on the pews during opening VBS worship, some were simply youth in our community looking to make a difference in the world around them – all of them were joining the ranks of our church staff for the better part of a month.  They were given the chance to live up to great expectations and to share God’s love with the kids who would be entrusted to their care.

As I watch many of them taking on greater leadership roles in the church (we have students serving on worship teams, leading kids’ ministry, on our church’s finance committee, leading mission trips and serving in countless other areas), I can’t help but dream about the next generation of leaders that God is raising up in our midst.

This past weekend, students who were once just VBS counselors were leading our church’s largest kids’ ministry service while I spoke in a different location on campus.  Without a single paid staff person around, that service had one of its highest attended Sundays in its history… and it didn’t miss a beat.   When we look to duplicate ourselves in ministry, I think the wise investment is often found when we pour our lives and energy into equipping our youth with the tools and knowledge it takes to make ministry happen.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Kidmin

 

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Top 10 Reasons I Want You on Staff

I’ll begin by saying, for the 100th time, that I’m bummed to see our current Student Ministries Director, Jenn Graffius, leave.  After 5 years of faithful service, Jenn has taken a call to become an Associate Minister and Chaplain at a Christian school in the greater Los Angeles area.  I’m bummed to see my friend leave, but excited to watch God use her in her new ministry context.

So… that leaves us looking to rearrange the way we structure our staff to best serve our church and the community around us.

Today, we begin our search for a new Youth Pastor at Glenkirk Church.

I’m just one voice on the search team, but this person is going to be my teammate in trying to reach families in our community with the Gospel – for this to work, I’m going to have to like you.
So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Reasons I Want You on Staff:

10. You’ve Done This Before

I’m going to like you because this isn’t your first rodeo.  You’ve seen large youth groups in action and you’ve actually introduced youth and their families to Jesus for the first time.  We’re going to get to share stories and ideas from past successes and failures.  And… you should be excited this isn’t an entry level position.

9.  You’re a Team Player

You and I both agree that a silo approach to ministry isn’t okay.  You care just as much about what’s going on in the church’s small groups or Women’s Bible Study as you do what’s happening in your area of ministry.

8.  You’ve Read My Book

Well, it’s not just my book… but What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry is a great resource for churches and leaders who care about the trends impacting Children’s Ministry across the nation.  You need to know what’s going on in Children’s Ministry because families who have kids in youth group often have younger kids too.  This book is a great place to start figuring out what matters, today, in ministering to children.  Here’s a hint: the answer is not flannel-graph.  Oh, and did I mention the book is totally FREE?  You should download it now.
(CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD: What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry)

7.  You Empower Volunteers

You can’t do everything and be everything to everyone.  I’m going to like you because you already get that – you understand the power that is unleashed when small group leaders own the ministry.

6.  You Collaborate

Your ministry is not an island.  I look forward to hearing about the blogs you read and the other youth leaders you are in conversations with on a regular basis.  You’re not afraid to share ideas with others… and you share new ideas and ideas that failed just as often as you share ideas that worked.

5.  You’ve Heard Jim Miller Preach

You wouldn’t apply for this job if you didn’t know how amazing the Senior Pastor is, right?  Our Senior Pastor’s ability to preach makes our job a million times easier.  And, in case you really want to know what his favorite sermon illustrations are, he usually posts them on his blog.

4.  You’re Planning on Being Here for a While

You know how great our local school districts are and you’re going to want to raise a family here… so, think of your kids (future or present) and plan to settle down here.  Glendora is the perfect mix of small-town-feel with big-city-everything within driving distance.

3.  You Know Why This is Funny

2.  You Think Orange

This is the direction our family ministry team is going.  You’ll be a part of that team.  I need Orange to be a part of your working vocabulary.

1.  You Care about Lost Sheep

You read the job description for this position and your heart started beating faster.  We’re a church that cares about those who don’t yet know who Jesus is.  So do you.  That’s why we’re a perfect fit.

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So… want the opportunity to work alongside me?  You can send a Facebook message (www.facebook.com/anthonyprince) or DM me (www.twitter.com/anthony_prince) and I’ll give you some more information about the position.  All inquiries will be held in confidence… so, even if you’re stoked with where you are now, you can still look at what it might mean for you to come onto our team.  You can also visit glenkirkchurch.org to find out how you can get a hold of the job description.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2010 in Kidmin, Los Angeles

 

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