Category: Practical Advice

There are 31 posts published under Practical Advice.

Recommended Pay Scale for youth workers

The PYM Recommended payscale has been recently updated for staff being employed due to the recent increase in the Living Wage.

PYM recommended pay scale 22-23

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 $23.65. 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.

This pay scale ranges from $23.65 per hour for an inexperienced, unqualified lay ministry worker in a rural setting to an annual salary of $76k for a lay ministry worker, who manages a team of youth workers in a large ministry context in a major city, is qualified and has over 9 years of paid experience. 

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.

Connect Online Video Recordings

In 2021, PYM offered 5 online training events over Zoom. We called the series Connect Online.

  • Setting up your ministry to thrive
  • Young Adult Ministry Essentials
  • Intermediate Ministry Essentials
  • Transitioning well, moving on from Intermediate and High School.
  • Helping parents win

School Leaver Resources and Articles on the Web

Notes from video talk


We’ve looked through the different resources and articles on the web to help churches think about their year 13 students moving out of school.


Youth Train 

  • Prepare: A three part series for those planning on leaving home to work or study 



Presbytality is about connecting young people on the move with churches they can relate to in their new home. But mostly, it’s just about offering good old fashioned hospitality, linking young people up with a youth worker who will take them out for a coffee, give them a present, and be someone they can catch up with in a new city.

Transitions (Scripture Union) 

Transitions gatherings help equip year 13 students prepare to transition into tertiary study or work 


College Transition Initiative – a website dedicated to college transition. Very conservative American 


The Smooth Move  

A short film in 5 episodes about country-city transition for young people. Uniting Church, Grampians Presbytery. 

The Smooth Move 



Leaving home to study 


School leavers Toolkit 

Ministry of Education 

Advice, about housing, gettitng a job, finances for uni, taking care of yourself etc 





Five Easy Ways Churches can transition kids to college 


Six Ways to keep college students connected to the church 


13 ways to stay connected with college students 


How you can help high school grads transition 

Just general moving out from youth ministry – not that great an article 


COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Youth Ministry Advice [updated 23 March]

There has been a lot of developments since our last communication regarding COVID –19. Please review this updated document.

From 25 March 2020 we as a nation are alert level 4. At alert 4 people are to stay at home.  Isolation can be a very challenging experience for any of us and this is especially true young people. We recommend you work out ways to stay connected with young people every day of the week now that we are in a lock down situation.


Tips on running your youth ministry online

We recommend running youth ministry online

  • Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or Messenger

Hospitality is always important when we gather. In an online environment we need to think carefully about this, communicating by social media beforehand with participants; ensuring youth leaders are greeting young people as they join; engaging in conversation; telling jokes; or having an icebreaker conversation. These are all important tools to avoid awkward silent time.

Preparation. The chair of the meeting needs to well prepared. It is advisable to test your audio beforehand and to start on time. Because participants can’t have side conversations, the gathering needs to be engaging for the whole time. Such meetings can be more intense and more tiring. We recommend you do meetings no longer than one hour. Hosts also need to know participants can be more open and more vulnerable in online conversations.

Quality discussion. If you are doing your meeting using online software, we recommend all participants use their webcam and are in a quiet environment. Online conversations are always better when participants have a good internet connection. Plugging in directly to a modem with an ethernet cable is best. Using mobile data or public wifi will provide the worst connectivity, and home wifi will be somewhere in the middle for most homes.

Fun Activities. Our young people need pastoral care and each other now more than curriculum and games. However. many classic games can be done via online meetings: Mafia, charades, home scavenger hunts etc.

Safety. For safety we advise that you don’t interact with a young person one on one over online video services. Get another leader to join you. Please refer to our helpful online communications policy to keep you and young people safe online.

Helping young people to navigate through a pandemic

News of the pandemic’s sweep across the globe, the deaths of thousands, the lock down of thousands more and the anticipated global recession are filling many of us with anxiety and concern about what lies ahead. Our young people are also engaging with the often-troubling news regarding the pandemic. Research tells us that our young people already experience higher levels of isolation and anxiety than previous generations and the pandemic is likely to heighten that. Because of the high level of online social connectivity young people can feel more connected to the troubling global events going on around us and less connected to the immediate community around them.


  1. As a church community we have a great opportunity to model positive ways to cope with the challenges of this pandemic and give opportunities for our whole church community, including young people to respond in positive ways.
  2. Create a safe space for young people to express their concerns, to ask clarifying questions. Here are some helpful points
  3. It may be helpful to explore the theme of where is God in human suffering. Here is an article that might help you as a leader think through some of the theological concepts There are many good teaching resources that wrestle with this question , One example is a 3 part video series “Is God Good?” in the free NUA
  4. Invite your whole church community including young people to be praying regularly and specifically around global and local issues arising in relation to the pandemic. Here are two links to some prayer suggestions to get you started 24-7 Prayer, chvnradio, World Vision
    • Consider using some psalms of lament to help provide a pathway for healthy grieving for young people. Psalms 10, 46, 57, 86 or 61 could be helpful places to start here.
    • Consider practical ways your church can support people who are especially affected by the pandemic both globally and locally
    • Consider starting a fundraising campaign to support communities who are particularly affected overseas
    • Collect food and or funds to help those who have lost their jobs locally or have someone who has contracted the virus
    • Reach out to those in isolation who are not part of your church community
  5. Look out for signs and symptoms in our most vulnerable young people

For some people tragic events like this can trigger a very negative spiral of thinking which can lead to greater levels of depression, anxiety and even suicidality. The best thing we can do here is to create a space for young people to express how they are feeling and to be straight up with them if we have any concerns for their safety. Zeal has produced an excellent and simple resource to help guide you and parents through a conversation if there is any concern about a young person’s mental health post this event.

For more information please go to the
COVID-19 Website
Ministry of Health Website
PCANZ communication

Guide to making a Proposal for GA

So you have an idea for a proposal for General Assembly, but how do get it to the floor of the debating chamber.

In principle,

  1. You will take your written proposal to the Session Clerk at your local church
  2. The Session Clerk will give it the Session to discuss and vote on.
  3. If they agree, they will send it to your Presbytery to discuss and vote on
  4. If they agree it will be sent to General Assembly to be discussed and voted on.

But before you start with this process, ask yourself, does this idea actually need to go to Assembly, if we can do your idea within the existing legislation, we don’t need to go to GA where your idea maybe shot down, let’s figure out how we can make it happen. Speak to PYM, we can help you think through your idea.

If it does need to go to Assembly, you should also ask your friends at church, your minister and elders what they think of your idea.

If your idea includes changes to the Book of Order, before you write your proposal speak to the Book of Order Advisor for advice. Currently, that would be Matthew Hague ( 021 374 426)

If your idea includes financial implications to the national church, you should speak to the Convenor of the resource subcommittee for advice. Currently, that would be Craig Donaldson (03) 230-4560

Writing your proposal

After seeking advice, you are now ready to write your proposal. Have a look at this example proposal from GA16.

You will see there are two sections. Recommendations and Proposal.

The recommendations are what you want, and what people will vote on. The Proposal is the arguments why people should agree with your recommendations.

So write your recommendations succinctly, And with your proposal, write your arguments in order of significance. In this section, you may want to think of counter-arguments and make arguments against these also.

An example.
You may be thinking we want the Presbyterian Church to support the government’s goal of planting one billion trees over the next 10 years, by planting 1000 trees each year for ten years. Without any problem, you could list of environmental reasons why this would be a good idea.

This would be an admiral recommendation, but if you left it like that, no doubt delegates may ask, how is this going to happen, and where is the money going to come from.

Say your church had a field and was committed to planting trees yourself, a better proposal would say, our church is going to plant 1000 trees in the next ten years in a field we own. We recommend other congregations support this effort and look for opportunities to do likewise. This would be much more likely to get voted through.

But the reality is, does this even need to go to Assembly? Would a better way, not be to just plant your trees, and share the story with the church through the communication department, through national resourcing departments, Presbyteries and inspire others to follow.

Helping young people process the Christchurch tragedy

Kia Ora Whanau

Friday the 15th of March was a very sad day in our nation. Many of us are struggling even to know where to start in processing the brutal murder of so many of our Muslim neighbours.

We have put together this simple resource to help you and parents to help support your young people in the wake of this national tragedy.

Some important things to keep in mind:

  1. This event will affect people in different ways, be prepared to be sensitive and responsive to the different questions and needs that arise from your young people
  2. Create a safe place for young people to think and ask anything – no comment or question is too silly
  3. Channel young people’s negative energy and emotions towards some simple positive actions
  4. Be aware of the possible triggering that such an event can be for some of our young people who are struggling with mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and suicidality
  5. Support young people’s parents and pass this info onto them

The ideas unpacked:

Helping young people process the event

The most helpful thing you can do in light of the Christchurch shootings is to create a safe space for young people to process what has happened.

Here is a great article from The Parenting Place that gives some great insight into have such a conversation.

Consider using some psalms of lament to help provide a pathway for healthy grieving for young people. Psalms 10, 46, 57, 86 or 61 could be helpful places to start here.


Help young people make some simple positive actions in their grief

In the wake of tragic and sad events we all need to work through a barrage of negative emotions which include sadness and anger and fear. One of most helpful things that you can do for your young people is create some opportunities for them to channel this negative emotional energy into some positive avenues. This article from the spinoff shares some excellent ways that your young people can individually or collectively do some simple actions that can make a real difference for those who are closest to the tragedy that has unfolded

Looking out for signs and symptoms in our most vulnerable young people

For some people tragic events like this can trigger a very negative spiral of thinking which can lead to greater levels of depression, anxiety and even suicidality. The best thing we can do here is to create a space for young people to express how they are feeling and to be straight up with them if we have any concerns for their safety. Zeal has produced an excellent and simple resource to help guide you and parents through a conversation if there is any concern about a young person’s mental health post this event.

Understanding Islam and how it relates to the Christian Faith

Here is a brief article on the subject.

Here is a more in-depth article for those who want to know more:

Here is a helpful short article that gives us a little more insight into how Muslim people grieve so that we can better help our Muslim neighbours at this time

Exploring how we can cultivate better approaches to living in diversity

Longer term you might want to explore the concept of tolerance around religious and cultural differences through the lens of Scripture in which case The Youth Cartel have a great resource you can buy for a few dollars.

I’m sure there are lots more excellent resources not listed here please feel free to post these below. The PYM team are here to assist you in any way. If you have any questions or would like some further support please do not hesitate to contact us.

Hōmai ki a mātou āianei he matauranga me aroha mā mātou mō tēnei rā.

Lord give us today the wisdom and love we need

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’” (, 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.



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

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.