De-Cluttering

office_clutterYears ago I watched a video seminar on time management. Apparently, not much stuck, but there is one thing I have never forgotten. In speaking about dealing with clutter (be it on a desk, a pile of mail, or e-mails) author Brian Tracy used an acronym to help in deciding what to do with it. Remember T.R.A.F.

  • Toss
  • Refer
  • Act
  • File

Of course, if you are a youth worker like me, sooner or later you (or, more likely, one of your Jr. High students who see it posted above your desk) will have the revelation that this acronym might be more easily memorized by remembering F.A.R.T. Either way, may this little nugget help you de-clutter, delegate, and empower you to put your energy into what needs your attention.

Youth: What To Call Them? (Post Your Vote)

“Please stop referring to the kids in our youth groups as ‘students,’ author Jeff White requested in a personal comment in his excellent little book The Skinny on Communication. His premise for this preference is that, “The word student is an academic term that implies a primary role or learning and studying.” He expounds, “Will teens learn stuff? Of course. Is that the main reason they’re a part of your group? I sure hope not.” I think that’s a great insight and one that caught my attention and caused me to reflect.

Interestingly, I have chosen to call youth “students” for the past 15 years intentionally rather than “kids” as White refers to them as, for a similar reason. “Kids” is the term that we use in our church to refer to our ministry to babies through elementary school. Calling teenagers “kids” can also carry connotations we don’t really want to communicate. Kids [doesn’t have to, but] can imply that they are immature and/or potentially incapable of dealing with the things that we want to challenge them with as they are in the process of transitioning from childhood to adulthood. The reason I chose to go with the term “students” many years ago was not because I wanted to communicate that when we come together we will simply be engaging in academic exercises, but rather because it is a term that captures the phase of life the youth I am working with are in. (For example, on a form it will ask for occupation, and there is usually an option for “Student.”)

Youth. Teenagers. Students. Young People. Kids. These are several terms we use to refer to the people we work with in youth ministry. At the end of the day, this might be just an exercise in semantics, but each word can communicate something slightly different. Of course, I have found that I vacillate between terms myself. While most of the time I call them “students”, I certainly find myself at times calling them “my kids,” or “the young people I work with,” or the other terms afore mentioned.

Youth Workers: Have you ever thought about the terms you use to refer to the youth you work with? What term do you use most frequently? Why do you prefer that term? I would love your input. 

Youth: What term do you hear most frequently from your youth workers? What term do you prefer to be called? Why? I would love your input. 

Small Group Kits

Small groups are the most important thing we do in our ministry to students. Today I put together kits for each of our groups to help them maximize engagement and eqip our leaders to be even more effective. You can put all kinds of things into a box like this. Our leaders already have thri curriculum content, so here’s what we put in ours:

Recap and Pics from Claudia’s Miss Teen NY Pageant

Thank you to all of you who supported and were following Claudia’s journey to participate in the Miss Teen New York 2016 pageant. We were very impressed with how she embraced this challenge and how she carried herself with such class. This was her first attempt at anything like this, and although she did not make it into the final 15, she did a tremendous job, and won an award for Outstanding Interview during the closing night competition. This was a great confidence-building experience and she learned so much. We are proud of our girl! She’s a winner in our eyes. On the way home, we were sure to stop and get her her very own crown. (I’m a youth pastor, it’s just what we do. We love to celebrate our kids!)

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Words are Powerful

This is fascinating. Obviously there are some things that are cause for question/skepticism, but there certainly is a fundamental truth in the beautifying affect of speaking positive words of life and the destructive nature of speaking words of negativity.

Youth Winter Fest 2016 Recap Video

We have just returned from another amazing encounter with God at Youth Winter Fest. We are so thankful to all of the churches, leaders, students, and staff from 15 different local churches who came together as ONE CHURCH this weekend! God is building His kingdom and it is so exciting to be a part of it. Our speaker for the weekend was Brock Morgan, and we were led in worship by Tim Timmons. So great! Make plans now to join us next year January 6-8, 2017 at Tuscarora Inn in Mt. Bethel, PA!