Category: Practical Advice

There are 24 posts published under Practical Advice.
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12 Great ideas for parents on how to connect with their teens and model faith

Studies show the most important factor for a teen to stay in the Christian faith is the example of the parent’s faith. But a more nuanced – and accurate – understanding is, it’s not so much what the parents believe, but what the teenagers perceive they believe.

Here are 12 great examples of parents connecting and modelling faith. Perhaps one or a variation of these may work in your setting?

1. The family meeting

After dinner on Tuesday, the Welborn family clears the dishes from the table and sits back down for their weekly family meeting. Tom and Marcia start the meeting to give their family a chance to share their perspectives on what’s going well – and not so well – in their household. It has become a time to review the week ahead, so everyone understands the logistics of sports etc.

Often the meeting will have a theme like, “How can we be more of a team?”, and sometimes topics get bounced around from dinner leftovers to who’s feeling left out?

Often, the kids will bring prayer requests. And even pray aloud. Their family meetings can be long, or just a few minutes. Sometimes they bring bible verses. Usually, the kids enjoy it; but if their attention wanes, they ask how their time can be improved.

But most importantly they set a culture where “we make sure the kids know they have a voice and can share their experience, so that they know their feelings matter.”

2. The Twelve-year-old Trip

As a youth leader, I would often tell families that a student who attends a weekend retreat experiences the relationship equivalent to attending youth group for about six months.

Many families are taking on this idea too. Whether this is booking a motel room for a night, or a sleepover in the living room, or camping in the backyard.

The Fitches take on this as a bit of a rite of passage. The Twelve-year-old trip.

When each of the kids turns twelve, they get a weekend away with the parent of the same gender. They fly, stay in a hotel, get introduced to journaling, do a service project and have some good fun.

3. Monthly Dates

Especially with big families, it is easy to not to connect personally with each kid individually often enough.

Gabe spends an hour with each of their kids on their monthly birthday dates. Eg, his eldest was born on the 8th May, so on the 8 of each month, he spends an hour one on one doing what they want, playing a board game, going on a hike etc.

Gabe says it’s only 3 hours out of his month, he has yet to miss one, and even if he wanted to, his kids wouldn’t let him.

4. How Can I pray for you?

Tammi wants her teenage boys to know that not only is she willing to spend time with them talking about God, but that she spends time every day talking to God about them. So she often asks her sons a simple question like:

How can I be praying for you?

She either writes down their answers or asks them to. Then, she keeps the sheets they have written in her prayer journal, but she makes copies to give back to her boys, so they have reminders of her specific prayers for them.

By asking this simple question, Tammi learns more about her boy’s struggle and dreams, and the boys learn more about their mum’s passion for prayer.

5. Loving online (LOL)

As parents, we can use technology to:

  • Let our kids know we are available for them at any time
  • Tell them we thinking of them
  • Remind them that we are praying for them, given what they are facing at school that day
  • Share a Bible verse
  • Send them pictures of things we are seeing or eating that reminds us of them.

6. High School Bible

Wanting to show their 16-year-old son how much they care about him, Pete and Kathy bought a bible for him. But they didn’t give it to him. They kept it for themselves for the next two years as their own devotional Bible. They prayed through it and made notes in it about passages that specifically related to their son.

Then they presented it to him when he turned 18.

Pete and Kathy did the same for their other three children, starting when they turned 16. For all four of their young adult children, that Bible (even when it sits unopened on a bedroom shelf) is a powerful symbol of their parents’ spiritual investment.

7. Weekly Coffee shop Meeting

Dave wanted to study a book about godliness with his seventeen-year-old son, but wanted the discussions to feel special and manly. So instead of talking at home, Dave and his son met at a coffee shop in the city before they both came home from school and work.

In talking through each chapter, father and son answer questions like: what stood out to you about this chapter? What questions do you have?

Dave’s son loves meeting his dad at a coffee shop and being treated like a peer (well, almost like a peer). Dave still buys both their drinks, which he feels is a small price to pay for the weekly chats with his son.

8. What adults do you like?

In a youth group setting, we will often say we want one leader for every 5 young people, allowing the leaders to invest time and effort in a small number of young people. As a parent you may want to switch that ratio: I want 5 adults for my child, who know them, care and pray for them, occasionally showing up to netball games etc. These people, who you have vetted as safe, can form a web of support for your child.

Susan, knowing she didn’t need to keep her 5:1 team a secret, periodically asks her teenage daughter, what adults do you like? Which of our relatives would you like to get to know better? She mentally files away her answer, so when the family has free time for lunch after church, or her daughter has a big netball game, she knows who to invite.

9. Dad’s Camping Trip

Glenn’s wife is more a hotel kind of woman rather than a camping kind of person. But since Glenn wanted to expose his kids to the fine art of camping, four years ago, he and three other dads took their kids.

Since then, it has grown year on year. This year, 7 dads and 22 kids, went camping, tramping, cooked over open fire, swam, shared practical jokes, and played cricket. Dads and kids cross-pollinated.

And in case you were wondering, none of the mums have yet to complain about the annual camping trip.

10. Wow, Pow, Holy Cow, How

Each night at the dinner table the Smith family discuss four topics related to their day:

  • Wow is the best part of the day
  • Pow is the worst part of the day
  • Holy Cow is something in their day that pointed them to God
  • How is an opportunity in their day to be the answer to someone else’s prayer

11. Bread and butter Dinner

In New Zealand, “40% of households go hungry, skip meals or scrimp on ingredients because they are not ‘food secure’” (Stuff.co.nz, Healthy eating hard for poor.)

Bryan and Shelly wanted to give their kids a taste of what it’s like to scrimp on food.

Together with their 12 and 10-year-old, they came up with the idea of “bread and butter Sunday dinner.”

Each Sunday, they eat slices of bread with margarine rather than their usual meal. Sometimes they add the luxury of jam, but they always donate the money saved from a more elaborate Sunday dinner to a local homeless ministry.

 

Credit

Many of these ideas came from Sticky Faith Guide for your family

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How to plan your youth ministry teaching for the year

Download the Cards             Stepping Stones Website

Video Script

In this video we are going to look at planning the curriculum you are teaching for the year in your youth group. And we are going to see how the Stepping Stones website can help with this.

So firstly we would pull together a planning group, your key leaders, perhaps your minister, elder for youth, or similar, maybe even the key children’s leader?.

Before we look at any curriculum, or the Stepping Stones website, we are going use a tool from Grow Ministry which works really well with Stepping Stones to help us put the right curriculums in the right place.

So what we have up on the board is the months of the year, and also the four school term dates.
Next we are going to put up the events we do every year no matter what. In this example, that is Easter Camp, Church camp and White Sunday.
Now we are going to think about about Stepping Stones.

On the stepping Stones website, it talks about discipling your young people in a well-rounded, holistic way through 4 key areas

Belief – and doctrine
Practices – to grow in relationship with God
Justice – to help transform society
Life – to keep our actions consistent with our faith

On the website, you are just encouraged to touch on all these areas (or Stepping Stones) to ensure you are not teaching on pet topics continually. You could be quite casual about this, or formal. Eg, the first week of the month is Belief, the second is Practices and so on.

In this tool, we are going to say, we are going to do a different “stepping Stone” in each term.
So we will put up the four Stepping Stones below each term, and now I’m going to put a card, under each Stone, where we will write the curriculums we will do.
So now looking at the chart we have terms, the Stepping Stones, the curriculum for the term, and below any events we choose to do. It may well be a good strategy to have one event a term.
Now I have just put the “Stepping Stones up in a random order, but we may now want to discuss is there a preference of order? Perhaps, you think they just work well in a particular order, but I would I also say also, it is good if the events are similar the teaching.
For example, I’m going to choose to Justice in Term 2, because we could do the 40 hour famine, and also encourage our young people to wear pink on Pink Shirt Day, the anti bullying campaign day.
im now going to put Practices in the term we are doing singing practice for White Sunday, Belief in term 1 when we have easter camp, and we do topics in term 4.
For you, this may look quite different, your church may offer a confirmation/baptism class each year in term 4, so you want to do Belief in term 3, and then at the end term challenge the young people to sign up for the class in term 4.
This is now the time we would look at the curriculums that match the Stepping Stone topics. You as the key leader should probably prepare before the meeting by looking through the Stepping Stones website, and have good suggestions that you can bring.
For me in this example, we have looked at the website, and we have decided this year
For the Belief Section to run some sessions from the Bible Project, great videos and free.
For the Justice Section, we are going to do the free L is for Life curriculum from Tearfund and also do a couple of sessions from the 40 Hour Famine resource from Fuller Youth Institute (again free)
For the Practices we are going to do the Alpha Prayer course, we have heard great reviews and it is also free.
And finally for the Life section we going to spend some money and splash out $20 on the High School Topics Talksheets from the Book Depository (free shipping)
You may now want to add a couple more events into your calendar, perhaps a welcoming event, or a Christmas Party.
This is where are going to stop in this video, but in your meeting you may want to add in a row for parent events, and a row for youth leaders events, put up Connect and leaders meetings etc.
This is a great tool to play around with ideas with your leaders. Making sure things flow well and dont clash with other events.
After this meeting the next stage of course will be splitting it down to what you are doing for each week. But you have got the big picture planning done, and you wont spend time each week stressing what you are going to teach at youth group.

I hope this, or a variation of this will help you in your planning.

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Youth Group Registration Form Template

 

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PYM has put together a template youth group registration form that you can download. Feel free to alter it and to make fit your situation.

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It is easy to forget important information. If you already have a registration form check it has:

  • First & last name of youth
  • DOB
  • Year at School
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Parent/guardian name
  • Relationship to youth
  • Email address
  • Mobile phone number
  • Home phone number
  • Other important information (e.g. medical info, allergies, special needs, etc)
  • Parent/guardian signature

You may wish to collect on the form:

  • Names of siblings who are also in the group
  • Other emergency contact details
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Recommended Pay Scale for youth workers

The PYM Recommended payscale has been recently updated for staff being employed in July 2017 – June 2018.

Recommended Pay Scale

The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand adopted the Living wage at GA2012 as the minimum an employee should be paid. The Living wage is currently set at $20.20. This is the minimum amount any lay ministry staff member should be paid.
In addition to the current living wage, it is recommended churches take into account qualifications, experience, responsibility and their location when determining the pay.

It is hoped that the pay scale will encourage lay ministry workers to work longer for churches and to get better qualified.

It is recommended once employed, the lay ministry worker should be reviewed annually, with an increase in salary set on 1 July based on the Labour Cost Index to March, issued by the Department of Statistics.

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Tips for studying the Bible (July is Bible Month)

July is Bible Month.

The Bible Society, as part of it’s Good for Life campaign, have released some great resources that might be useful for your youth ministry. They have some excellent testimony videos, Bible Studies, A Bible Summary, posters and a six month New Testament Reading Challenge which includes a completion certificate.

The Bible Society have also given these tips for studying the Bible.

Tips for studying the Bible

PRAY – ask God to help you understand what you’re about to read.

READ AND LISTEN – read the passage slowly and carefully. Think about the parts that stand out for you. Read those verses again.

THINK / REFLECT – ask yourself some questions:
• What’s the main point of the passage?
• What does it say about God? Does it say anything about
what God wants for me?
• Is there something I need to learn? Is there an example to follow, or a warning? Is God giving me a promise?
• How does God want me to respond in my thoughts, words and actions?

WRITE / JOURNAL – it’s also good to write down your thoughts and the verses that really stood out for you in a journal so you can look back on what you’ve learned.

PRAISE – thank God for his Word and what you’ve learned today. If you find your Bible hard to understand, have a look at some advice on finding an easier to read Bible.

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Curriculum on World Religions

As Christian communities we do not need to be fearful of our young people learning about other world religions. Given the multicultural landscape our young people are growing up in, it is in fact helpful for our young people’s Christian faith to learn about their neighbours.

“But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to articulate a defense to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But respond with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15

Here are a few different options for you.

Curriculum

Christian Studies World Religions

Written by Dr Jennifer Macleod of McGlashan College, Dunedin. This curriculum is NCEA Achievement Standard: Religious studies 2.4. It explores what religion is and differing perspectives on it. It also covers the major world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

World Religions

Loving Our Muslim Neighbours

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota have put together a great little resource to help learn the basic tenets of Islam

Youth Curriculum

Self Learning Resources

BBC World Religions

This is a good website for finding out about each religion ­ it is not overly detailed, so it is a good place to start!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/

And it includes a really interesting Open Letter and Call from Muslim Religious Leaders

Religion Facts

This is another good introductory website.

http://www.religionfacts.com/

CrashCourse Youtube Channel

John Green has a series of great educational videos, including some religious understanding in the World History Section.

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Quick tips on engaging with parents

Communicating regularly with parents is vital. Parents can be great advocates for your ministry in the church and in the wider community when they are on board. Here are some recommendations from our Engaging with Parents Policy:

  1. Create a brochure/Facebook page or website that clearly communicates:
    • The aims and values of your youth ministry
    • How parents can get in touch with you
    • Information on specific dates and times venues and activities that are on offer (see example)
  2. Contact parents whenever you are doing something new outside of the normal interaction that you have with them.
  3. If you drop off or pick up a student from their home take 2 or 3 minutes to check in with the parents.
  4. When young people are being picked up or dropped off at your venue ensure you have some key leaders in the car park who will introduce themselves to parents and give any helpful information necessary.
  5. Try and keep in contact with parents with a phone call at least once a term.
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Intergenerational Ministry

DEFINITION:

An intergenerational youth ministry is one in which a variety of generations are engaged in the process of modelling and communicating faith to the young people.

ITS VALUE:

1. Exposure to mature and tested faith leads towards mature and tested faith.

2. A sense of community and belonging within the wider church develops.

3. Generational support exists for teens and their families.

4. Opportunities to serve outside of the youth ministry.

INTERGENERATIONAL IDEAS

1. Events

 Hold combined social events involving youth and older generations.

 Create activities, programmes and worship services where generations can discuss and experience life and faith together.

2. Involvement

 Look for ways to involve young people in the wider ministries of the church alongside adults.

 Look for ways to involve older generations in the youth ministry.

  • Mentors to individual young people and/or small groups.
  • Praying “grandparents” for small groups or individuals.
  • Assistance with tasks: suppers, transport, security.
STEPS TOWARD INTERGENERATIONAL YOUTH MINISTRY

1. Talk up its value by promoting it to young people, older people and church leaders.

2. Request that your minister promote intergenerational youth ministry to the wider church.

3. Research ideas and suggestions for intergenerational activities and involvement.

3. Start small – hold a combined activity or involve just one older person in leading.

4. Tell stories – pass on positive comments and talk up your “successes”.

5. Make “intergenerational” a philosophy and a value, not just a programme.

USEFUL LINKS

 To read: http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/articles/intergenerational-ministry-beyond-the-rhetoric?/2011/04/intergenerational-ministry-beyond-the-rhetoric/

 To watch: http://youthspecialties.com/blog/ys-idea-lab-intergenerational-youth-ministry/

 To get ideas: https://oneneighbourhood.org/2015/03/19/25-bridge-intergenerational-gaps/

CONTACT

 

Article by Murray Brown. To discuss or to arrange a seminar contact murray@pym.org.nz or 0278415321

or contact your regional youth enabler.

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Bible Jamming

When musicians ‘jam’ they play a song over and over ‘til it’s in the groove, thus the title of this approach to getting into a Bible passage.

Start in whichever way seems normal (first round is the most familiar to many) and use at least 4 of the suggestions below.

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Create animated videos – Powtoon

What PowToon says about themselves

Make Youth Ministry fun by bringing “Awesomeness” into the church. Create animated videos and presentations as easy as PowerPoint to help you inspire, engage and present with a WOW.

PowToon is BETTER THAN VIDEO!

Engage, explain and and sell with impact using just a short, simple PowToon. They’re proven to be more effective than any other form of video or text communications to grab attention in the workplace.

Professional looking results in just 20 minutes

Use our done for you, ready-made templates to create a high quality PowToon, fast. Our “drag and drop” templates are designed, scripted and ready for you to use within minutes.

Get all the help you need

Absolutely, PowToon is as familiar to you as making a quick PowerPoint. But with millions of Tribe members all over the world, we know you might want some extra support (just in case). That’s why we’re here for you, every step of the way. Sign up for an upcoming live webinar or check out our training center. Plus, we’ll send you personalized invites, so make sure to check your emails from PowToon.

My Verdict

Yes Powtoon is very good, very easy to use. Below is my first attempt, it took me a little over an hour to do. I got some top tips from their website. The best tip was to write and record the script before starting on the design work. I think this is a pretty good effort for my first attempt.

There is a free version of Powtoon, which is essential, because the paid features are insanely expensive.

I give Powtoon a two thumbs up.

 

 

Powtoon Guide