Archive for the ‘Youth Ministry’ Category

Losing a Student

That’s something you never want to experience in youth ministry. Wednesday night after our SWITCH experience we got a call from a student who was leaving. He said a kid got hit by a car on NW Expressway. Vince, my fellow youth pastor and I ran as fast as we could out to where we saw traffic backing up. My mind exploded: “No, oh Jesus NO!”

Before we knew it he was gone. Anthony Guzman an 8th grader from one of our main middle schools CAPPS in the Putnam City district.

That night set in motion a wave of grief that settled on our students and leaders from CAPPS. The next morning we were up at the school all day, sitting with students, holding them while they cried, listening to their questions of why and not able to really answer them.

We don’t know why.

I was so proud and blessed by the showing of our team of leaders. The whole CAPPS team was present along with others. A few of my fellow staff members from other campuses joined us to minister to the students who lost their friend. More than twenty-five adults stood in the lunch cafeteria that day holding hands to pray for the 8th grade class of CAPPS. God’s presence was there. He was comforting, healing and showing Himself to these students.

Losing a student is something no one ever wants to experience. But if you have to I would want to be surrounded by the people who showed up yesterday to give comfort. I would want to be a part of a community who I know is praying and reaching out any way they can. Our group will never be the same after this tragedy. But I think the change will be for the good. God is good even in circumstances like this.

A memorial fund has been set up in Anthony’s name. You can donate at any metro MidFirst Banks. Thank you for your prayers.

Get Dirty

This is a video we are showing at SWITCH tonight. Our series is called “Get Dirty” We’re moving our students to a culture of servanthood, encouraging them that it’s necessary to get a little dirty when you serve others.

I was trying to find some videos to use as transitions and I came across a whole series called “Muddy White Socks.” I’m not sure what to think of it, and I have no idea why it is so intriguing. See for yourself. It’s only a min and a half.

Big, Bigger, BIGGEST

Big SWITCH starts tonight!

This is the “Bring In” part of our purpose at to Bring In, Build Up, Train and Send Out.We believe that through BIG SWITCH God will bring students through these doors that might not otherwise come to church.

We will provide an amazing environment that our students feel excited to invite their friends. We hope and pray that God brings the masses so they can hear of His love and He can change their lives.

This is the purpose of Big SWITCH. Over the years, as we’ve put on this event I’ve seen students come who have been of the fence about their walk with Christ. Big SWITCH brought them through our doors, relationships kept them there and God got a hold of them and changed their lives.

Sometimes I’ll ask some of our students how they heard about SWITCH, and why they started coming, more often than anything else I hear “I came for Big SWITCH.

This is the first of three consecutive weeks of our bring in event. This is where the rubber meets the road, where the real battle for these student’s spiritual lives begin.

I ask you to join me in prayer today and for the rest of this month for the students who will be a part of BIG SWITCH.

Are You a Generation X, Y or iY?

One of my favorite authors, speakers and leaders of today is Tim Elmore. He writes the books Habitudes (images that form leadership habits and attitudes) as well as several other books for parents, youth workers and college students on leading the upcoming generation.

Generation iY - A book by Tim Elmore

Tim’s newest book Generation iY focuses on the epidemic of technology on our culture today and how our world effects this post 9-11 generation he has coined Generation iY.

Below are some of his thoughts on Generation iY as well as a link to purchase his e-book. I’m already reading it and feel blessed to have this type of knowledge at my finger tips.

Thank you Tim, for your hard work and dedication to fight for these students help reach this generation for Christ. May we all join the battle in some way.

Who is Generation iY?

Tim Elmore /

With the release of my new book, Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, people are asking me these days: who are they? How is Generation iY different than the earlier students in Generation Y?  Aren’t they just the same kids, but with more technology?

Good questions. Let me attempt a rapid response below.

EARLY GENERATION Y                                                  GENERATION iY

1. Born in the 1980s                                                                   1. Born in the 1990s

2. Highly compassionate                                                           2. Low empathy

3. Activists                                                                                    3. Slack-tivists (Want to be involved a little)

4. Technology is a tool                                                               4. Technology is an appendage to my body

5. Passionate about a cause                                                       5. Fashionate about a cause (If my friends do it)

6. Civic minded                                                                            6. Self-absorbed

7. Ambitious about the future                                                   7. Ambiguous about the future

8. Accelerated growth                                                                 8. Postponed maturation

I still believe in these kids. I continue to believe they can and will change the world. However, they will do so if we figure out how to connect with them and guide them into the future. There has been a shift in our culture that’s impacted students today. A perfect storm of elements has diminished the relational skills and emotional intelligence young adults once developed naturally. Minimally, this shift has delayed their entrance into adulthood. What they need more than anything else are healthy mentors; mentors who care more about preparing them than protecting them. These mentors should focus on building some fundamental skills in students:

1.  Emotional Intelligence
2.  Character and Ethics
3.  Leadership Perspective

In the book, I’ve attempted to equip teachers, parents, coaches, employers and youth workers to do just that. Join me in shaping these iY kids from the inside out so they can turn their world upside down.


(To purchase Generation iY, click on the icon on the right or go to:

Free Online Resources for Student Ministry #stumin #youthmin

In SWITCH, our student ministry at we are currently going through a series called “Greater Than.”

The idea behind the series is to help students understand it is greater to be a servant than to be served. We are building our culture around the truth that we are called to serve.

Below you can watch the message from last night as well as follow the link to free resources for youth pastors, youth leaders or parents. Enjoy!

Online Resource Page

The 24 Hour Turn-Around–How to get More Leaders for Your Youth Ministry

As a youth pastor the biggest thing I learned early on in ministry is that I can’t do this alone. It is so vital as a ministry leader to recruit, develop and retain high quality talent to come alongside you and help minister to the students God has intrusted to you.

However, we all know how difficult it is to recruit high quality volunteers.

In our youth ministry, called SWITCH, we currently have a goal to recruit, develop and retain 100 adult volunteer leaders. There are several different things we are doing to try and make this happen, but one of the biggest tools I’ve found that has worked is what I call the 24 hour turn around.

When someone shows interest in your ministy is is VITAL that you follow-up with them within a 24 hour period. Strike while the iron is hot. Capture the momentum of thier decision as quickly as you can. Call, e-mail, write a letter, send smoke signals… do whatever you can to communicate with them. 

You’ll be suprised how quickly your volunteer team will grow when you adopt this method. Ask me how I know.

Form Teams to Help Leaders Belong in Your Youth Ministry

Last night we started SWITCH, our student ministry at It was incredible. The energy alone was enough to pull even the shyest kid into the mix.

One great change we made this semester with our adult volunteer leaders was establishing point people over different teams. We decided to make these teams around the different schools in our community. We have five major schools that we pull students from, as well as a group we call “mixed schools” for any student who comes from a private, Christian or other smaller school.

Each point leader is assigned a number of leaders to make up the team. Think of it as a little family. Each family or team is responsible for the students who go to those schools. This is where we will form our small groups and community groups as we continue on this semester.

The greatest thing about these teams that I witnessed last night was the fact that every leader belonged. They had a place, a family that they could call their own. Every leader walked away feeling known by another person–even if it was just me and their point leader. That enabled them to go and make students feel known, to make students feel welcome. I walked out into the lobby after our leader meeting last night to almost every leader engaged in conversation with a student.

It’s amazing what the feeling of belonging can do. It gives you confidence. It gives you the knowledge that no matter what happens someone has your back.

Forming teams helps leaders not get lost in the mix or fall through the cracks. Our goal this semester is to grow from 55 leaders to 100 leaders. I don’t think we would have hope to reach this goal without the help from our point leaders and the manageability of these teams. This will allow us to grow bigger while growing smaller.

I cannot wait to see what this semester brings as we buckle down, join arms, and forge the hill to fight for these teenagers.

What do you say? Join the team?

A Little Bit of Willingness, Goes a Long Way

Here is a story from a student at SWITCH. May this touch your heart, and challenge us to be willing to be used by God.

My life before SWITCH I was living with my grandma. I was always sad and upset. I really was just always scared of my family. I was being sexually abused by 3 different family members: My grandpa and my two brothers. My grandma was always mean to me. She abused me physically, emotionally and mentally. DHS would come to our house all  the time but my grandma would teach us to lie so nobody would find out how our life really was. I hated myself, and my life. I wasn’t even sure if there was a God. My life was so terrible. My grandma had adopted me when I was 6. My mom was into drugs and still is. I don’t know who my dad is, and I haven’t met either of them. My grandma would always hit me, and yell at me. She would tell me that I am not good enough. She would put me down so much that eventually I started degrading myself. I would believe all the lies she would tell me, like, I’m a slut, and a whore, a fake. I was never able to accept compliments. I thought I was ugly and disgusting. I was always giving in to people and letting them use me. I was so lost. And I couldn’t stand up for myself. I couldn’t trust anyone enough to tell them what I would go through every day.

Since being a part of SWITCH I met Aymee Farris, my SWITCH leader. I told her about my life at my grandmas. I told her everything. DHS got involved and I ended up going to foster care. Aymee, went through the foster parent program so she could be a foster parent to me, so that I could come live with her. She started bringing me to SWITCH after I started living with her. After a few weeks I recommitted my life to Christ. Aymee and I talk a lot about forgiveness and I don’t hate myself. I am learning about God and growing closer to Him. I have been very scared lately though because I thought I was going to get sent back to my grandma’s. Yesterday, we went to court and my grandma gave up her rights to me. I am still living with Aymee, and she is going to adopt me!! A lot has changed since I started going to SWITCH. I am figuring out who I really am. I am becoming a new person. I am getting a chance at a new life. And things are so much better. I am learning so much so fast and I am able to enjoy myself. I am no longer allowing people to take advantage of me. I am not scared anymore. I don’t have to go home to abuse every day.
I am becoming a new and better Christian and person. I am actually happy.

David After Dentist

This is a hilarious video of a kid coming off laughing gas from the dentist. We showed it at SWITCH last night during offering to fill a gap in our experience. Our kids loved it! It will make you laugh!

Too Young to Baptize?

BaptismI had the opportunity yesterday to talk with a mother and her daughter about getting baptized. Her daughter was nine years old. The purpose of the meeting was to make sure the young girl understood what baptism was all about. After asking her a question about what being baptized meant to her, I waited. And waited and waited. The girl might have been shy, or scared to talk to me, but I was never able to get an answer from her. It was evident that the mother was encouraging her child to make this decision, but in my opinion, the child was not ready.

Here is my question: Do you think she is too young to be baptized? Is there an appropriate age to be baptized, or is it more of a maturity level?

Baptism is not salvation. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward decision. If the individual person does not make the decision to be baptized and understands what it means, how can they understand the meaning of salvation?

What are your thoughts on baptizing children?

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