Life in Student Ministry: Practical Conversations on Thriving in Youth Ministry

Life in Student Ministry: Practical Conversations on Thriving in Youth Ministry

by Tim Schmoyer


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If you're in the front lines of youth ministry – as a leader, volunteer, pastor, parent – you know that youth leadership can be tough. Teens are moving targets, congregations have high expectations, and sometimes even the most experienced youth leader can't shake the feeling that they really don't have a clue about what to do next. Life in Student Ministry offers more than a clue. Jammed packed with practical "how-to" advice, this book is a must-read for any youth leader committed to building a thriving, long-lived ministry that impacts the spiritual lives of teenagers and their families. Based on a decade of youth leadership experience, author Tim Schmoyer provides on-target advice on everything from getting started, to recruiting and utilizing volunteers, to welcoming visitors, to dealing with lack of commitment from teens and parents. He also includes input, advice, suggestions, even disagreements from a host of experienced youth workers who discussed the book's overall content and weighed in with their own feedback. The result is a collection of many voices on the hurdles and frustrations common to many youth ministries. Life in Student Ministry encourages, challenges, and equips youth leaders to move through the barriers and thrive in their ministries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310329091
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 03/10/2011
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Tim Schmoyer has served in youth ministry for over 10 years. He is currently a youth pastor in Minnesota where he resides with his beautiful wife and two children. He authors the web version of Life In Student Ministry at Student, where he hosts a weekly live youth ministry talk show, runs Youth Ministry Mentorships, and provides many resources, ideas, training videos, advice and more.

Table of Contents

Introduction 13

Chapter 1 Are You Called to Be a Youth Worker?

Determine your call to youth ministry 15

Three qualities every youth worker must have 17

The ideal youth ministry 19

Chapter 2 Starting a Youth Ministry

Tips for starting out in vocational youth ministry 21

Why teens come to youth group 24

10 steps to starting a youth ministry in your church 26

But what if my church has only one teenager? 29

How to grow a youth group 31

What to do during your first youth group meeting 33

After the very first youth group meeting 35

Chapter 3 Once Your Youth Ministry is Up and Running

Where real ministry takes place 37

How to do youth ministry all wrong 38

Lies we believe in youth ministry 41

Helping teens take ownership of youth group 43

Five tips for making visitors feel welcome at youth group 44

Two ideas for improving how teens welcome outsiders 46

Chapter 4 Sharing God's Word with Teens

10 reasons why you should do lesson preparation early 49

Three ideas for making God's Word "sticky" 51

How to push a spiritually apathetic teen to be spiritually passionate 54

Three things teens should know before they graduate 57

Chapter 5 When Teens and Parents Won't Commit to the Youth Ministry

What teens and parents will and won't commit to 61

Handling teenagers who don't want to participate in youth group activities 62

Handing frustrations about low attendance 65

Should you use a reward system for youth group attendance? 66

Parents who ground their teens from youth group 69

Chapter 6 Communication

Five tips to remember when sharing youth group announcements 73

Evaluating your ministry's communication methods 76

Guidelines for youth pastors who text teens 80

Chapter 7 Managing Money

Writing a youth ministry budget 83

Why volunteers should always go for free 86

Investing in volunteers 88

Chapter 8 Finding Adult Volunteers

What to look for in a youth leader 91

How to recruit ministry volunteers 93

Addressing the four most common excuses potential leaders make 95

The value of using retired adults 97

Should you use unsaved adults as youth leaders? 99

The process of initiating new leaders into the ministry 101

Questions to ask a new youth leader 104

What teens need from youth leaders 107

Chapter 9 Once Your Volunteers Are in Place

Expectations of youth leaders 109

Boundaries for youth leaders 112

Handling volunteers who are too busy for teenagers 115

How to train leaders to be relational 117

Signs that a youth leader is lacking maturity and healthy adult relationships 119

10 ideas for keeping adult leaders on board long term 123

Using interns 125

Chapter 10 Challenges You May Face in Youth Ministry

The hardest part of youth ministry 129

The daunting job description of a youth worker 130

Mistakes that can kill your ministry's growth 131

Dealing with the pressures of church leadership 135

Handling discipline as a young youth worker 136

The difficult and disruptive teen 139

Dealing with drama at youth group 141

Ministry: grind or glamour? 143

Chapter 11 Ways to Make Youth Ministry Easier

11 ways to reduce stress in ministry 145

Living with a spouse who serves in youth ministry 148

Advantages of a local network of youth workers 154

10 commandments for surviving in youth ministry 156

Chapter 12 Serving in Youth Ministry for the Long Haul

Being versus doing 161

Youth pastor is more than a title 162

How you will crash and burn(out) in ministry 163

Avoiding burnout in ministry 166

How to leave a youth ministry position well 168

Conclusion 171

Acknowledgments 173

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