5 Questions To Ask At A Youth Work Interview

Christians are rubbish at the ’employing’ bit

Youth Workers are ministers, pastors and missionaries – absolutely. They’re also employees. We all too often forget this!

It’s easy in the light of the ‘Gospel partnership’ mentality to let clear professional employment ethic slip in our churches and Christian organizations. This leads to mess, unhappy people, mess, awkward conflict, more mess and it’s largely responsible for why Youth Workers quit on average only 18 months after starting.

There are a few questions you should ask at every youth work job interview. Good interviews will be a 50/50 split between their and your questions so you can effectively interview each other. If you can’t find a way to ask the questions then don’t take the job.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 12.21.12Question Number 1: Who will my line manager be?

There needs to be someone who is clearly responsible to you as an employee. They shouldn’t really be the main pastor or chairperson as their responsibility to the organization may at times conflict with concerns for you as employee.

Followup 1: Who will my mentor be?

This should not be the line manager. A mentor is someone responsible for you as a developing spiritual person unrelated to projects, ministries or employment. It’s not vital for a church to provide this but it is important that they understand you will be looking for someone somewhere.

Followup 2: What will my relationship with the Pastor / Chairperson look like?

Where will you fit in broad strategy discussions and what will accountability to the leader look like? It’s important that everyone understands that you are not another assistant minister and it’s not your job to fill all the creative, messy and skivvy-esqe jobs in the church.

Check out a our post on how to line manage a youth worker.

Run for the hills if…

If they don’t give you thought-through answers to these questions then they clearly don’t understand the accountability needs of a youth worker for longevity. Check that your role is defined specifically within a healthy management structure.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 12.14.38Question Number 2: What does success look like for this role?

You’re looking for the key values that led them to create this job in the first place. Are they looking for bums on seats? Relationships with the unreached? Developing community work? Deeper discipleship & integration? School links? – What will deem you as doing well at your job?

Followup 1: What will success look like after 3 months?

Do they have realistic objectives for your settling in period? Are they person or project based? Will they evolve to your character and gifts? Is there a transition team in place to see this work though?

Followup 2: What will success look like after 1 year?

Same as above but thinking about the end of the honeymoon period. You could always ask the ‘after 10 years’ question too – but good luck!

Run for the hills if…

If their view of success does not match up with yours then you will need to tease out exactly why. If you can’t get together on a ‘job well done’ then you will not be happy or effective. Also, if they don’t have a realistic and personal view of transition, numbers, connecting relationships and intangible returns then leave them be.

Question Number 3: What – other than the salary – do you offer to help me grow in this role and as a person?

The main thing you’re looking for here is a training and reading budget with some specifics thrown in. Do they value this and are they going to support your growth? A key poke might be ‘is there time you expect me to take to be with God and deepen my skills that’s not holiday time?’

Followup 1: What local youthwork or ministry networks are there that I should belong to?

Are they aware of any? Hopefully they should be! You’re looking to see if they unknowingly plan to isolate you.

Followup 2: What other churches / organisations would you encourage me to partner with on ministries and projects?

Same as above. This also speaks volumes of the church’s ethics regarding others and themselves.

Run for the hills if…

If they respond negatively or noncommittally to you needing training, support or partnership then move on. If they are confused about these needs then it’s probably a sign of a church that doesn’t understand the dangers of isolation. I’d also leave Caviler organisations that believe they don’t need anyone else alone too.

Question Number 4. How do you expect my family to be involved?

Are they looking for a ‘2-for-1’ deal with your wife or husband partnering with you. Are they looking for a boost to Youth Group numbers through your children?

Followup 1: How do you see my spouse supporting me?

If they expect more than being a loving partner for you then you’ve probably got some grounds for worry. Some churches expect spouses to be actively involved in Youth Clubs or Sunday Schools which is just begging for work and conflict to be bought home. My wife once needed to take a few weeks out of the Sunday service for a personal spiritual MOT away from the community pressures. This led some people to question her mental heath and commitment to the church … and led me to become very nearly Old Testament with them!

Followup 2: How do you expect my children to be involved?

Same as above really. Too many young people grow up bitter at God because of the extra pressure of having pastor-parents. Does the church expect more from them than other local children?

Run for the hills if…

If they’re looking for a package deal – don’t give them a second look. It will be terrible for your family, terrible for the distinctions between work and home life, and you’ll simply be a rubbish youth worker!

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 12.18.22Question Number 5. What do you see as my working hours?

Contracted hours and clear expectations for timetables are really important in Youth Work because of the inherent chaos and spontaneity. You need to talk about anti-social hours, prep time, prayer time, and anything else time-wise that will affect your role.

Followup 1: What would you say if you found I was working on my days off – or regularly working over my contracted hours?

You’re looking again for an understanding of the pressures of Youth Work. They should be pretty clear that you are expected to take your time off.

Followup 2: What happens if I book a holiday but can’t find cover for my roles?

The organisation needs to have thought about this as it is a regular problem in volunteer based Youth Work. The best places tend hire an interim youth worker, but at least the other staff and team should pool together to make sure your holiday’s are covered – just like any other organization would. The bottom line is this: if you don’t have the team one week then activities don’t happen that week. The world and your ministry will survive (and your spouse will thank you).

Run for the hills if…

If they don’t have a strong opinion on hours and holidays thought through then cross the street. I once told my pastor in a previous job that I was regularly working 70hrs a week – his response was ‘me too, we all are, that’s comes with the job!’ If I knew that in the first place I never would have accepted – and neither should you.

7 New Rules For Mafia

5379514209_6ebb7cc420_oIf you’ve spent more than ten minutes in the youth work world then you’ve probably played Mafia – if you haven’t, it’s basically a very wholesome game where your young people try to secretly kill each other.

I’m assuming if you came here you know the main rules, so won’t bother hashing them out. Here are a few extra ‘house rules’ that we’ve been using for a while:

1. New Character: The Tank
If anyone get’s the 2 of spades they become ‘the tank.’ If and when the tank dies, they explode meaning the two still living people on either side of them die too. Massive game changer! Part of the villager team.

2. New Character: The Godfather
One member of the Mafia (usually the one with the Ace of Spades) is designated as the Godfather. The Godfather settles disagreements about who to kill by having last say, and is allowed to kill additional people (as long as they’re members of the mafia) as discipline. If the Godfather is last Mafia standing, then the Mafia automatically win. If the Godfather is killed then the villagers automatically win.

3. Revealing the detective
At anytime during waking game pay the detective (and only the detective) can sacrificially reveal themselves and prove it by showing their card. This can drastically alter an outcome, but will lead to almost certain death as well.

4. The Doctor
Is no longer allowed to save themselves.

5. New Character: The Spy
If someone gets the jack of spades they become ‘the spy.’ The spy can open their eyes at anytime during the sleeping time to gain intel and steer discussion later. If they get caught though, you can guarantee they won’t be around much longer! Part of the villager team.

6. Promotion & Extra Ammo
Just before each sleep a die is rolled. On the roll of a 6 everyone passes their cards two people to the left and become new characters. On the roll of a 1 the Mafia get extra Ammo and are allowed to kill an additional person.

7. New Character: The Hulk
If you get the king of clubs you are the hulk. If you chose to reveal yourself (showing your card) then your vote counts twice… although you’ll probably get killed off! Part of the villager team.

8? Got any more?
Comment and let us know!

How to Create your own Personal Assistant

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There seems to be an irrefutable law of physics in the youth work world that the better you are with young people the worse you are with admin.

Admin tends to fall into two categories – the blitz and the habitual. The former is what youth workers can do; the creative once in a while overhaul and setup. The latter is the every day throwing off the monkeys so you can shoot the elephants.

As with most youth leaders I too have sat in the fetal position, sucking my thumb muttering “too many monkeys, too many monkeys!”

I’ve been a youth worker in one form or another for about ten years or so, but it’s only in the past couple years that I’ve started to get my admin, PR and communication world on track. I’ve always been able to do the blitz, but I’ve only just started to get down the habitual… nearly. Sort of.

I have effectively created my own digital personal assistant, who I call Margaret after the West Wing’s Chief of Staff PA. Margaret is a collection of apps and software accessible from all my devices that makes all my habitual admin work.

Or you could raid your youth work budget and hire an actual PA. *lol*

Creating A Digital PA

1. Let’s start with what we need. For habitual youth work admin we need:

To be mobile – and have easy access to calenders, notes, to-do lists and contacts wherever we are.
To have easy access – to both read and edit all of the above very quickly.
To have instantaneous access – that will update on every device immediately and not rely on us getting to it later.
To be reminded – of what we’ve got to do and be without having to rely on our own memory.
To communicate – easily, clearly and professionally with all the people we have to work with.
To be available – reachable wherever we are… and not when we shouldn’t be.

2. The next step is to look at what we have & what they’re used for…

I have three devices; an iPad (which I only use for note taking and talk notes), a laptop (which I use as my powerhouse hub for creating presentations and doing blitz admin sessions) and a mobile phone with unlimited data (which I use for most of my habitual stuff). The latter two I think are essential.

3. What apps on those devices fulfill the needs…

(I will do individual ‘how to’ posts on all of these soon for those who haven’t used them before).

Google Calenderindex
By far the best online calender. Available on the cloud and syncable with all major calender apps and devices. I share some calenders with team members, some with my line manager and some with my wife helping me see my whole world in context and communicate to those I need to.

I spend one hour a week updating this on Monday morning, and then lots of 30-second chunks in the week updating it when I have conversations or emails.

Every morning Goggle Calender emails me my daily schedule. I also set up notifications on events to let me know 15 or 30 minutes before I’m supposed to be there. This also gives you an excuse to leave if you’re tied up in a meeting (it beeps).

Finally I use ‘tasks’ on Google Calender to give me to do lists and send me notifications.

Using a calender widget on my phone it takes up to 30 seconds to create or edit a date or task. This means I can do it within a conversation or meeting and not have to remember it again. Well worth it!

Google Contactsindex2
Again syncable with all other major apps like Apple Address Book and your phones contact list. It takes a while to set up but once you’ve blitzed this it takes about 10 seconds to edit.

This is linked to my email, my phone, my calender, notes and tasks so I always have access to every person and group that I need.

It’s worth the extra effort to set up groups.

Dropbox
Dropbox (or google drive for a good alternative) is online flash storage. I keep all my documents on this. Not only can I get to anything I need anywhere but it means I have last minute sessions and talks available if something goes wrong.

The other great Dropbox feature is sharing. I have several folders that I share with other users so we can edit documents together in our own time without making crazy duplicates. I can also share files by creating dropbox download links and emailing them to people – no messing about with attachments.

Dropbox comes with 2gb but you can expand this quite a long way for free (I have 25gb free). It’s worth paying the £60 a year for a 100gb though.

Evernoteindex3
Evernote is a simple online note creation and organisation tool that I use for just about everything. I can type, photograph, video or record anything and save the note. Often in talks I will photograph the slides and make notes under it.

It’s searchable and easy to maneuver files into categories. You can access it online, sync it with other note software and has very usable apps. You can also download word processing and pdf attachments to it for easy access in meetings.

Evernote also comes with a dedicated email address so you can email notes directly into your Evernote notebook.

My Evernote phone widget is synced with Google Calender so when I take a new note (often using the very useful ‘speech-to-text’ feature) I can have it opened, labeled, titled, tagged, organized and saved within 5 seconds of picking up my phone.

Evernote allows me to work on talks and presentations wherever I am. I then use the Evernote app on my iPad as my talk notes.

Twuffer
For social media I probably don’t have to mention Facebook apps etc. However if you are a Twitter user and need to get info / prayer requests out regularly I recommend linking your Twitter feed to your Facebook timeline and using a free online app called ‘Twuffer.’

Twuffer allows you to schedule all your tweets in advance – something I do once a month with the help of my calender. This reminds my team and prayer warriors whats happening without me having to remember. Twuffer – unlike other tweet schedulers – does not add or change anything in your tweet.

PaperRater
A really simple online-based grammar, spelling and plagiarism checker – basically an online proofreader. It’s great for a quick scan through before sending long or important emails and is very detailed if you’re writing something more substantial.

The only draw back is you can’t copy and paste your proof-read articles so you have to edit your original – still great for the saved embarrassment though!

So…

Those are all the main things that I use to make up my own PA, Margaret. After the initial setup the upkeep of this is one hour a week Monday morning and an extra hour a month catchup. Beyond that these apps just work wherever I am often carrying no more than a phone in my pocket.

Margaret happily just gets on with her job and all the info I need and need to communicate is as easy as saving a document, sending a text or replying to an email.

Not that I’ve got this nailed yet, but the time and stress this has saved me has been fantastic!

I’d love to hear about any other apps or approaches that you have to habitual admin in the youth work world. Please comment below.

3 Good Reasons To Start A Youth Work Blog

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Blogs are epic! They’re an online part mini journal, part magazine, part social network that allows you room in a wide, like-minded community. Even pants writers (like me) get to play!

There are a few things that would simply revolutionize youth ministry in the UK. I think one of those things is make every youth worker a youth work blogger. So here’s three good reasons to do it, join the conversation and become a youth work blogger:

1. It Counters Isolation
I think the worst thing about being a Youth Worker is just how lonely a job it can be and how easy it is to isolate yourself. Blogging connects you up with other youth leaders at a personal, practical and spiritual level.

2. It Opens Up A Huge Ideas Library
The internet was first designed to help researchers share scientific data – and so it is with youth work blogs. Got a good idea or need some inspiration? Get into the blog sphere, start sharing, get commenting and start bumping up your repertoire.

3. It Connects The Movement
Christian Youth Work in the UK is a mission that’s looking increasingly desperate. We need to identify with each other, pool our resources and be part of the charge together. Blogs build identity with a larger group. We need to connect up and take the Young People of the UK for Jesus together. These movements always begin with communication – blogs are a thorough, open and consistent way to do this.

So get blogging, get connected with twitter, start hash-tagging, start following, commenting and producing. Let’s get talking – not to build mini blog-empires, but to do community together!

50 Great Ice Breaker Questions

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When your stuck in a small group on the fly or just need to invigorate some conversation into a reluctant group of young people – try a few of the following great ice breaker questions! I’ve used most of these before – to hilarious results! They get people talking and laughing and they create some great memories!

Remember – these all work best when followed by ‘why?’

  1. If you could replace the contents of a pillow case – what would you replace it with?
  2. Would you rather live in a house made of glass or a house made of beef?
  3. Would you rather have dolphins for arms or badgers for feet?
  4. Would you rather have to laugh out loud every time you used ‘lol’ or make the face of any emoticon that you use?
  5. What new burger would you invent for McDonald’s?
  6. What new Pot Noodle flavour would you invent?
  7. If you were a kitchen utensil what would you be?
  8. If you had a non-traditional superpower, what would you have?
  9. If you had personal theme music, what would it be?
  10. If you could mate two foods and make a new one, what would it be?
  11. What animal do you most identify with?
  12. What dairy product do you most identify with?
  13. What breakfast cereal do you most identity with?
  14. If you were a brand – what would you be?
  15. What verb best describes you?
  16. What three adjectives best describe you?
  17. What’s the best random act of kindness you’ve ever seen?
  18. If you could get away with anything (within reason) – what would you do?
  19. What would you name your boat?
  20. What would you name your third child?
  21. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
  22. Would you rather travel back in time or forward into the future?
  23. Would you rather go to school more hours over less days, or less hours over more days?
  24. Would you rather be famous, or the best friend of a famous person?
  25. Would you rather be able to speak any language (without understanding), or understand any language (without speaking)?
  26. Would you rather have a rewind or a pause button for your life?
  27. If you could invite three people (living or dead) to dinner, who would you invite?
  28. Would you rather have powers of invisibility or mind-reading?
  29. Would you rather only be able to use the internet for 1 hour a week – or only be able to go out outdoors for 1 hour a week?
  30. Would you rather always know when someone is lying, or always get away with lying?
  31. Would you rather be able to speak with animals or be able to speak all foreign languages in the world?
  32. If you could replace the actor in any film, who would you replace and with who?
  33. If you could play any part in any film in the world, what part would you play?
  34. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?
  35. What is the most unsuccessful food you have ever made?
  36. If you could be invisible for one day, what would you do?
  37. If you could rid the world of one thing, what would you do?
  38. If you were stranded on a dessert Island – what three things and three people would you take?
  39. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  40. If you could put an advert on the side of every bus – what would it be?
  41. What is your favourite day?
  42. What is your favourite season?
  43. Would you rather be a butterfly or an elephant?
  44. Would you rather have hiccups or the need to sneeze for the rest of the year?
  45. Would you rather live in a world with giant friendly teddy bears or live in a world where hover-boards exist?
  46. Would you rather control the elements or control time?
  47. Would you rather live without your phone & internet – or live without music?
  48. Would you rather have to say yes to everything, or no to everything?
  49. If you were a power tool what would you be?
  50. …. So…. do you like…. stuff?

Got any more? Comment below 🙂

7 Ways To Make Wide Games More Extreme

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Continuing in the vein of making games cooler (ie stupider), here I bring everybody’s camp favorite, Wide Games! A good wide game goes way beyond capture the flag – they take some serious creativity and leave lasting impact. Try out some of these ideas and comment yours below:

Obvious disclaimer – think carefully about your group, do your risk assessment and have enough leaders (including a first aider… they’re usually needed!)

1. Replace the flags with flour and eggs
Rather than grabbing a pretty piece of cloth, change it up for a bucket of eggs or flour wrapped in cheep cling-film; grab one at a time – no points if its broken! End the session with an egg & flour fight fest… then shower!

2. Add some ‘enforcers’
Which is just a couple of leaders dressed in full camo with water pistols. No team affiliations – they’re just there to cause more chaos.

3. Replace lives with Velcro tabs/pieces of gaffer tape
So you loose your life when you loose it – or someone wrestles it off you.

4. Add scenarios & protagonists
Come up with a theme, back story and scenario to play out. Have team leaders rehearse an opening goading script – stay in characters! Giving everyone maps with objectives go a long way too.

5. Rambo up!
Buy a bulk load of war paint – or make your own form mud. Spend 30 minutes in the wooded area you’ll be in making your own camouflage. – TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER: We once had leaders playing in chain-mail!

6. Do it at night!
Give everyone a head-torch, make the lives glow-sticks and the flags lanterns… need I say more? – Don’t warn them either…. just wake everybody up at midnight in character and set the scenario mood!

7. Add teams… and an elite squad!
We always have two teams… why? It’s so much more chaotic and requires so much more sneeky strategy when there’s three or four. If you’re playing a few games you can take best performing individuals and make a smaller ‘delta squad’ for fun new rules too!

8? Got any more?
Done some epic wide games? Invented new epic wide game rules? Let us know by commenting below!

Liked this? Have a look at 7 Ways To Make Dodgeball Games More Extreme

7 Ways To Make Dodgeball Games More Extreme

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We all love good dodgeball games! Not only does it unleash safe foam-fueled chaos in the youth club but it’s also a great cathartic exercise for leaders and young people to take out their frustrations on each other!

1. Replace the balls with Nerf guns
Nerf guns and bullets are fantastic! They’re soft, they’re fast and they aim well! You can take it to a whole new level and add goggles and body armour too. Don’t buy branded, shops like £stretcher tend to have cheep & cheerful versions that work well enough.

2. Replace the hall with a box fort for urban warfare
This takes some prep time – but well worth it. Fill the room with 5ft high cardboard box walls in L and U shapes with the odd window cutout. You can gaffer tape these together or leave them loose to add growing battle damage to a room. Local supermarkets are usually very happy to give you as many flat packed boxes as you want!

3. Add teams and senarios
Different colour balls (or nerf guns bullets) with personal lives and bases. Add some wide game scenarios like capture the flag.

4. Make it wet
Outdoor dodgeball games with sponges and buckets… need I say more?

5. Add gun placements, cluster bombs and mines
A couple of upturned gopack tables with a huge store of ammo makes a great gun placement. Plastic bags filled with ball pool balls are fab cluster bombs. Finally soft play or home gym mats can be constantly added to the floor as mines.

6. Use the dragon
The group starts off in a fast moving conga line, when the line gets hit it breaks at the person it touches (and they’re out) into two lines. The dragons keep getting smaller – it’s last man standing!

7. Blindfold the throwers
Why not?

8? Got more ideas?
Do you have other ways to make dodgeball games more extreme? Comment below!

Training Teams and Leaders To be ‘F.A.T.’

dilbertteamCultivating Faithful, Available and Teachable Teams & Leaders.

These are the skeleton notes from last night’s ‘Monthly Meet’ training event for North Wales youth leaders.

The aim of this session was to propagate conversation on how we can grow as effective team members and leaders and how we can inspire others to do so together.

Intro.

We began by mind-mapping basic and fundamental principles of ‘ideal’ teams and team members. We came up with lots of quality points such as communication, identity, creativity, celebration, ownership, flexibility and servant-heartedness – Lots of great discussion ending with a short Bible Study on 1 Cor. 12. The most fundamental points from this passage for our conversation were:

A– At the heart of God is both unity and diversity
B– At the heart of God’s design for people in community is unity and diversity
C– Godly communities look like God!

Therefore: For teams to behave in the way that God designed them to be – after His own image – they must celebrate and seek unity of vision and spirit and yet diversity in gifts, roles, abilities, personalities and passions. In doing this the team will model God’s own heart and character – thus will be effective and generally just awesome!

We decided that in the midst of diversity there are some traits common to every team member that are always healthy to cultivate. The three of these that we would focus on for the remainder of the session were Faithfulness, Availability and Teachability. This gives us the somewhat awkward acronym ‘f.a.t.’ Sorry.

Faithfulness

Bible – We looked together at both Deut.28:1-5 and Heb. 13:8. The former taught us that faithfulness required hearing from God, recognizing His voice and acting upon it. The latter verse reminded us that Faithfulness requires consistency – being faithful for five minutes isn’t necessarily faithfulness. Faithfulness is something modeled perfectly in Jesus and reveals the Father’s heart to us.dog1

PracticalFaithful to whom / what? We looked at the following and placed them in the following order of priority. These we’re things to look for in potential team members, things to point out and celebrate in current ones and things to cultivate in ourselves:

– Faithful to God – Seeking Him first and remaining His children and disciples.
– Faithful to ourselves – Being good stewards of our own families and resources.
– Faithful to the team – Investing in each other and in team ownership so that we might serve and encourage each other to bring our best and be held accountable. Without this the next doesn’t work.
– Faithful to young people – In love, respect, consistency, role-modeling, interest and teaching.
– Faithful to the mission –  knowing and owning a clear purpose and focus of what your team is trying to accomplish.

We ended this section by thinking about some of the behavioral traits that ‘faithful’ people often exude such as:
– Humility.
– Contradict gossip.
– Regular.
– Respectful.
– Grounded.
– They model the behavior and commitment that they expect from others.

Availability

Bible – We looked at Is. 6:8 and 1 Cor. 26-28. The first verse reminded us that availability has something to do with an openness and general willingness to be used by God in His plans and purposes. The second verse contrasted availability with ability; God often chooses the available over the able because then we are left in no doubt that a powerful and epic God was behind it.available1

PracticalAvailable to who / for what / when? We talked over the following:

– Available for God – to be used by Him wherever and however He pleases.
Available as ‘Interested Adults’ – being good listeners and genuinely interested in young people individually.
Available with clear expectations and accountability – making sure that yourself and your team have agreed what is to be expected of them and to hold them accountable to those things.
Available with a servant heart – seeking the Christ-like desire to put others first, work hard and cultivate servant-heartedness.

We again thought about the behavioral habits and traits of ‘available’ people. Here’s some of what we came up with:
– Reliable.
– Solid.
– Good listeners.
– Authentic.

Teachability

This is what myself (and many gifted leaders and teachers) struggle most with – the art of being teachable. This reveals the shapes of of our hearts possibly the most of the three. teachable1

Bible – We looked at Is. 64:8 and Prov. 1:1-7. Isaiah taught us to remember that all we have comes from God and that we should be usuable and adaptable to be grown for His purposes. Proverbs reminded us that apart from teachability being incredibly helpful, not being so is idolatry, foolishness and something that will draw us away from God. Powerful stuff!

Practical – How to maintain a teachable spirit? We looked at a few things that might lead us to do this:

– We don’t know everything – simple to start with but a good reminder that there’s always more!
Developing humility – teachability is often the practical outworking of a humble heart. Its the smoke to humble’s fire.
We can learn from who know more…AND we can learn from those who know less – Often we don’t learn because we decide we won’t learn – not because there wasn’t something worth learning.
Non-teachability leads to isolation – without teachability you sap any potential accountability. A youth leader who is not accountable is just setting themselves up for disaster. They will know it – and so will their young people – too often too late.

As with the other two we talked about the behavioral characteristics and traits of a teachable person. Here’s some of what came out:- They ask more questions than give answers.
– They listen, hear and process – rather than thinking through responses when others are talking.
– They have open minds and personal sensibilities.
– They are content in who they are and where they are going.
– They are always looking for more.

Final Thoughts

To conclude things off we had some ‘final thoughts.’

1. If you notice these traits in your young people, celebrate them. If you notice the potential of all three in someone invest in them as leaders.

2. A good team reflection exercise is thinking through another ‘f.a.t’: Focus, Accountability and Teamwork (from here).

3. As it came up a few times, I found a good list of ‘servant-hearted leader qualities’ from the Bible (from here):

žQualities of a Servant leader:
—They serve God – Galatians 1:10
—Others orientated – Philippians 2:3-4
—Willing to serve everyone – Matthew 10:42
—Serve with an uncomplaining spirit – Luke 17:7-10
—Hard working – Colossians 3:22-23
—Observant and alert – Philippians 2:3-4
—Faithful – Luke 16:10

Love as Revelation of God – Valentines Day Talk

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I was asked to give a talk around the ‘valentines day’ theme for a small baptist church in North Wales. Here’s the recording:

 

 

Valentines Day Talk

A Quick Guide to Teenagers… for Churches

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Here beginneth the rant…

Teenagers are not:

  • Less than fully human, undeveloped proper people or an under race of ‘not-quite-adults’
  • The Church of tomorrow or the future of your denomination
  • Unable to handle more than bell pulling or collection taking
  • Too irresponsible and immature to sit on councils and boards
  • A convenient scapegoat for all that’s wrong with society
  • The church janitors or cheep sources of labor
  • Counted as leaders in Ofsted adult-child ratios in Sunday school
  • Forgotten about by God until they’re older
  • Easy to fob off
  • All the same

Teenagers are:

  • Fully human, proper people and an integral part of your community
  • The Church of TODAY
  • Able to be trained and released in almost any area of ministry
  • An essential voice in every area of church strategy and planning
  • Just as bummed with society as you are – and probably more-so
  • To be trusted with genuine responsibility
  • Still children and needing compassionate supervision when serving
  • Used by God significantly in the Bible at every stage of Salvation History – not to mention Church history
  • Incredibly insightful, creative, socially aware and intelligent
  • As varied in personality as any other developmental stage of humanity

Here endeth the rant.