You’ve heard of steak & eggs; Pork chops and applesauce and a myriad of other combos that at first don’t seem like they should go together, but in reality are great fits.
I have some unique food combos I really enjoy, like, Pepperoni Pizza with Tapatio Mexican hot sauce on it. Or the one that turns many heads, mustard on my french fries (I LOVE it)!
So, it’s Thursday, which means I typically post a “Three-For-Thursday” list. However, it is also getting to be late in the week and I have yet to post my normally early-in-the-week, “Student Ministry Stuff” (SMS) post. So here we go, another combo worth trying.
Today the Three-For-Thursday/SMS post is about three combos worth trying in Student Ministry.
- Retreats or Missions with other Churches: I’m talking about intentionally doing a camp, retreat or mission trip with other churches in your immediate area (not necessarily talking about a Conference Center pre-programmed mass-camp, though this certainly isn’t a bad thing). Perhaps out of your network you can get three or four of the Youth Pastors to plan a retreat together. Obviously there is a lot to consider because of theological i-dotting and t-crossing differences between the churches, but let’s be honest, most students do not find themselves in heated debates over dispensational or covenantal theology (I know some adults who should learn a lot from these students). The advantages of doing a combo retreat on occasion (notice I am not saying to do this all the time) far outweigh the negatives, especially when you’re hand selecting your partners. Students who get to fellowship, worship and grow together at a camp, will then see each other on their campuses, in their clubs on their fields and within the community. I’ve done many-a-mission and camp with my youth pastorate family; it’s been so fun to see the gifts/strengths augment the weaknesses as the body came together in leadership!
- The Sacred and Secular! The word “secular” can have such a negative connotation; “oh my, you listen to SECULAR music?” Hmm, yep. And guess what, I’m not a satan worshipper. I realize, the majority of people reading this blog would never take issue with secular music (keeping in mind, that yes, there is bad stuff that should be avoided), however, music is not really the point of this point. My suggestion really is trying to answer the question of how we can take the Gospel out of the four walls of the church. First, I believe that YOU need to model the Sacred/Secular combo. I suggest for you paid youth workers to maintain a secular presence (be on campus, office at coffee shops, coach at a school, get a p/t job in a secular setting). Next, I’d ask, how can you get your group into a secular setting? One of my favorite ways I have done this was something we did when I served as an Associate Pastor in Phoenix. We’d rent out Seattle’s Best Coffee for the two hours after their official “close” time on Saturday, essentially keeping them open until 10:0o PM instead of 8:00 PM. Because it was officially a “private party” we were able to do mini-concerts and our students would pack the place out & bring non-Christian friends. I arranged for SBC to offer 1/2 price drinks to everyone and then we suggested everyone tip a buck to the baristas (literally in two hours the baristas would often walk out with $50 each). People from the public would come in seeing that SBC was hopping, our Christian kids would engage them. Baristas were blessed by great tips and the students would sing their hearts out and testify about their faith in Christ. If you’re interested in this idea, please contact me, I can tell you how I arranged this with the coffee shop… believe me, this was a HUGE ministry opportunity, where we did see salvation take place!
- Mission Trips and Missional Life (What Youthmark calls “Mission51”). Okay, so this could be seen as a cheap plug, but I will unashamedly speak about the idea of Mission51 (living on mission not just on a trip, but the other 51 weeks as well)! Don’t know why it happened/happens, but the church does a great job of glorifying the mission trip and typically does a poor job of emphasizing “our own Jerusalem.” Missions has been seen as “over there” instead of “everywhere, including over there.” Years ago, I decided to combine our mission trip training with our every-week Sunday School. I know that not every student is going to go on our mission trip, but if I believe the training for the mission trip is important, then it better be something I am doing for everyone in our group, not just the mission team. This is something at Youthmark that we have made a HUGE improvement for this coming year. Our new 2011 training package does WAY better in streamlining the the training process to include the Youth Group (and even the parents) in the process, not just the mission team, because, after all, we are all on Mission! I can’t wait to preview these materials in about a month!
Hope the combos I offered stir up some thoughts for you, one thing I can guarantee, these combos are WAY better than Orange Juice after brushing your teeth!