Last week, I was blessed to spend a week in Fort Worth, Texas for the second consecutive year. I served as a trainer for YouthLeader and had the opportunity to help high school youth (and their youth ministers) develop their leadership skills (in a Christian context) through a week of sessions, prayers, games, socials, and more. I was inspired by the enthusiasm and desire of the young people I met.
When YouthLeader ended on Friday, I spent 24 hours with my good friends Marie and Mike and their 5 wonderful children. On Friday night, we went to watch Andrew (the oldest child) play baseball. It was a really fun night as we were treated to some decent hardball (especially for 9 and 10 year olds) and I got to meet and take a picture with ex-Toronto Blue Jay – and 3 time MLB All-Star – Vernon Wells. He’s one of the coaches of Andrew’s team.
The game came down to the last inning and Andrew’s team was up to bat down 6-4 with 2 out and the bases loaded. One of Andrew’s teammates walked up to the plate, and I just so happened to be standing next to the batter’s dad.
Last month, we had our good friend Karen over just a couple of weeks before she moved to Kelowna to begin employment with Disney Interactive. When Karen told me that she would be working on the popular game Club Penguin, I told her that Jacob plays that game all the time. Within a matter of minutes, we had set up a date for Karen to come over to our place to eat and then play.
Needless to say, Jacob was very excited for the opportunity to teach someone – and an adult at that – everything he knew about Club Penguin. He counted down the days to Karen’s visit and he could barely contain his excitement when the day finally arrived. After a delicious dinner (prepared by Gail of course), Jacob showed Karen the ins and outs of the game for the better part of two hours. It was a great visual: Jake the eager 9 year-old as teacher and Karen the willing grown-up as obedient student.
Today I was blessed to be a part of a panel for “Blueprints” – an innovative online youth ministry training session spearheaded by Tony Vasinda. The topic was volunteer management: recruiting, training, and sustaining volunteers. You can watch the entire hour-long session here.
As part of the training, I put together a 7-minute clip on ways to keep our youth ministry volunteers. I also touch on the reasons why volunteers leave youth ministry, and I introduce the TLC theory.
Hopefully you’ll be able to use both videos to strengthen your youth ministry!
This past weekend, we held our annual Spirit Day rally for the grade 7 students of the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Themed “Almighty”, it was our biggest Spirit Day ever with 2,100 youth and adult participants converging at the Chandos Pattison Auditorium in Surrey over the weekend.
We’ve been very deliberate, intentional, and strategic in our Spirit Day planning since its inception in 2005. In some respects it has become the “piece de resistance” of our Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry given its size, scope, and impact.
When it comes to our youth ministry leaders, it’s a common tendency to fall into the mindset of “keeping them at all costs”. We fear losing them forever and we sometimes fail to see that it might be worth suffering some short-term pain for some long-term gain.
There are many reasons why leaders leave ministry, including (but not limited to) burnout, lack of support/guidance, lack of training, lack of opportunities for growth, conflicts within the team/ministry, change of heart/desire, feelings of inadequacy or insignificance, changes in life/family/job, moral failures and not feeling appreciated/affirmed.