In school, teachers know exactly what they are going to teach young people each year, and we really should be thinking the same in our churches. We may have a student for 4 or 5 years. What do we want that young person to know in their time in your ministry? Having a long-range approach to curriculum planning helps avoid two common mistakes: 1) teaching on our pet topics over and over again, and 2) falling victim to every new curriculum that comes on to the market.
Have a look at this this example of Long Range Planning by Duffy Robbins when thinking about long range planning. And here is a blank one to fill out for your ministry.
Below are PYM’s list of the top ten youth group games to play in your church hall without needing a bunch of materials.
Chair Game, aka Poison Pole
Holding hands in a circle, the players try not to touch the chair in the middle.
Fat Cat – Big Dog
One person blindfolded tries to hit others below the waist with a pool noddle.
Basically, Piggy-in-the-Middle, where the Piggy stands in the middle of a circle.
Players shuffle from chair to chair to stop the player in the middle from sitting down.
Toss the ball in the basket, while sitting in chairs!
A very fast version of dodge ball played in a pit.
Another great version of dodge ball.
Players swap chairs when they are directed.
Protect the President
Players in circle attempt to throw the ball at the president while the bodyguard tries to block the shots.
When called, two players from each team have to run and grab a stick and hit the ball into their opponents goal first.
Thanks to the young people at Brockville Community Church for demonstrating the games.
Points to Consider
Games break down barriers, develop a group identity and give opportunities for endless fun. But although they look simple and easy to run, there are things that a leader should prepare and bear in mind.
The Group – Before choosing the games to be played, consider the make-up of the Group who will be participating. People with limited physical fitness may find it frustrating to be put through a series of high-energy activities without a break. Likewise, some games challenge personal inhibitions.
Familiarity – The session leader should be thoroughly familiar with all the activities in the running order. Before leading a session, why not test them out on friends? If they find them obscure or difficult to follow, then you’ve located the problem to solve before the real event. The more practice and preparation you have, the better your session will be.
Setting – It is worthwhile thinking about the environment for your session.
If outdoors, Distractions? Weather? Slippery surfaces?
If indoors, Sufficient space for Nos.? Tables/chairs or other obstacles?
Noise levels – Think about noise, make sure that this is not likely to create problems with neighbours, and when outside, never play close to a busy road.
Tone – Try not to talk too much. Give clear statements, requesting rather than ordering. Smile, speak clearly, and exude calm and confidence. People will be reluctant to participate if you appear authoritarian or nervous or unsure.
Pace – Highly influential in the success or failure of a session is the pace. A carefully structured running order can allow for a mixture of high and low-energy games which retain the interest of the group.
Ending – End the session in a creative way it is worthwhile sitting in a circle and asking for negative feedback – anything you didn’t like? Why? And finally the positive, what did you like? A group cheer/shout/jump/prayer can finish the session appropriately.
The PYM has a number of multimedia resources they are able to lend out free of charge to Presbyterian and Uniting Churches. To request an item, email email@example.com or call 04 381-8292. This multimedia library is not to be confused with the the PYM library based in Dunedin which has thousands of youth-ministry related books.
You can click on any of these to get more info.
Pym has some great tips for effective small groups.
How will I become the kind of person that routinely and easily does what Christ did? Practices we build into our lives to help us remain open to the presence of God’s grace.
The basic philosophy is to change one’s habits. A habit is what one does without thinking and everything in life involves habits, learning to write, driving a car, and so on. Reacting in anger is a habit, as it speaking ill of another. By changing habits the indirect result is that our character is changed. As a disciple intentionally puts themselves in a position where their will is crossed (for example fasting or silence) then new habits are formed in their body. With the fall, our bodies take on a system of tendencies away from, or against God therefore the task is to form good habits in the body. That way our body responds to our will, and does not take us in a direction contrary to our will.
For information about why use spiritual formation exercises; here are the notes from a session Darryl Tempero did on this subject at our Going Further – in discipleship camp.
You can see other video’s and resources here.
Supervision is a formal process aimed at enabling a youth worker to practice safely and to their best potential.The process of supervision is a regular meeting between two (or more) people with the main focus being the person in ministry who is being supervised. The role of the supervisor is to help the person in ministry examine their own behaviour. The effectiveness of supervision will depend on the honesty of the person in ministry. A supervisor can only deal with what the person presents to them. Supervision is different from other forms of support. It doesn’t begin with a ‘problem’ as in a counseling situation. It is different from a management or oversight group because the focus is on the person and their personal development not the tasks of the job. The supervisor is not a consultant who knows all the answers and can advise the person on the best practice. Finally, supervision is different from spiritual direction, which is specifically about a person’s relationship with God. Of course there will be cross over between these processes but the supervision relationship needs to be clearly defined to be effective. One way of doing this is to have a contract with your supervisor. If the contract is established before the supervision is arranged, both parties know what is expected of them. If supervision has already begun, setting up a contract could be part of a review process. The contract might cover:
PYM has lots of templates making your life as a youth leader a little bit easier, and so they have a number of sample template documents you can use at your church and youth ministry. Feel free to alter these documents as necessary.
We love Top Ten’s so we with our wider PYM whanau have put together some lists of resources we recommend.
Legislation Youth Workers should Know
Tips for Applying for Funding
Tips for Starting a Youth Ministry from Scratch
Tips for Leading Bible Studies
Tips for Parents
Tips for Discipline
Youth Ministry Podcasts
This page is filled with video resource websites. These are resources that PYM recommends.
Check out a resource we have produced here
As Youth Ministry Enablers, we have many conversations with our people that work withyouth, about the trends and challenges they come across in their ministry.
We have noticed a growing concern amongst ministry leaders that are journeyingalongside young people who identify as part of the Rainbow/LGBTQIA+ community (orwho are questioning their sexuality or gender identity) but not feeling like they areequipped to support young people with these aspects of their identity. So, we have workedtogether to prepare this resource. The resource has two main goals:
1. We want to ensure that Rainbow rangatahi are able to safely engage and be partof our communities, events, and services. This is helped by having more informedand safer ministry leaders.
2. We recognise that these conversations can raise questions that are challenging forthose involved in youth ministry, in terms of their own theological and faithunderstandings. We want to support our leaders in this process of reflection.
With this in mind, the resource will provide some direction on key language andterminology, common struggles, steps in unpacking your own attitudes and assumptions,and tips for creating inclusive ministries. It aims to answer some frequently askedquestions, such as: What are helpful ways to use and understand pronouns? Whatparticular challenges might a rainbow young person experience and how do we supportthem through that? How can we make our community more welcoming and inclusive toRainbow rangatahi? Where can you go for more resources?
We acknowledge that our Church holds diverse views on the important subject of sexualityand gender identity. This resource is not intended to settle theological debate. Rather, itsstarting point is the same as the PCANZ Children and Youth Ministry Code of Ethics: towork in the best interests of the young people we serve, while being aware of our owntheological, ethical, and moral views and how they were formed.
We hope and pray that it may encourage, empower, enable, and equipyou and all those around you who are walking with our preciousRainbow rangatahi.
May God be with us in this journey.
Resourcing * Training * Advocacy * Networking * Events
Our role of support is really diverse for some it might be providing or pointing leaders towards great training, for others it may be advocating for them, to help ensure they are being looked after by their parishes. In some regions it may be connecting up young people for regional services, Easter camps and social activities. For other areas we may be taking on more of a coaching role, supporting the key leaders to grow in their capacity to lead.
We are also very passionate about helping you to enable your congregation to be involved with the young people in your parish and in your wider community. Youth ministry for many now is not a group of young adults leading a group of teenagers. It is much bigger than that. And to be really honest if it is just that then you are missing out. Young people need all ages in their world. So how can your parish help provide that. How can you have a parish where all ages walk alongside each other. Where discipleship is a key attribute in relationships. Over the last few years we have had some people come in parent and grandparent roles at Easter Camp and what a joy that has been! They journeyed alongside their young people through out camp. Praying with them, pranking them (some very funny moments) and crying with them. We would love to have more of this happening all around our Presbytery!
We have a wide range of experience and work closely with our fellow Presbytery Central staff and our National PYM team so get in touch and see how we can support you, your leaders or your parish to support youth ministry happening in your community.
Stay in touch with your enablers!
Let us know what is going on for you in your parish.
Youth Ministry Team
Nga Rolston and Kyle Hastelow