Ever since I first stepped into my role, I have been blessed with my leadership team in Student Ministries. The three existing leaders were great – they taught me all about our group, and helped me get acclimated to our ministry here at Calvary. Over the last year we've added a more fantastic leaders who have helped to run games and serve as small group leaders, and who live out their faith alongside our youth.
Unfortunately we've had to say goodbye to a few – one moved away, and two others just welcomed a new addition to their family. And while saying goodbye may seem like a bad thing, I am excited for where God is taking them and about whom God is going to bring in to fill the gap.
You may be reading this and thinking, “Youth ministry is great, but I'm too old.”
Or too young, or too inexperienced, or I don’t know enough about the Bible to teach it…
If that's you, I want to stop you right there, and tell you that none of your objections are what youth ministry is about.
- You're never too old to serve our youth, because our students need to see people 40+ living for the LORD.
- You're never too young to serve our youth (unless you are a youth). Our students look to people in their 20s and 30s as examples of how to live out your faith once you’re no longer a student.
- You'll never have enough experience to serve in youth ministry because it’s an ever-evolving field. Experience is not required to be a leader; you just need a passion for youth and a desire for them to see Christ. The experience will come as you serve.
- Being able to teach the Bible is not a requirement to be a leader. You are a Christ-following role model for our youth and you have something to offer, no matter what your level of knowledge. But if you're really concerned about a lack of Bible knowledge, this is a great time to pick up your Bible and read it.
Here’s the pitch: Our Student Ministries needs another female leader. We have a lot of girls in our group, and I'm looking for someone to serve who has a heart for God and cares about the next generation of believers.
Youth ministry is hard, don't get me wrong, but oh man is it rewarding! There are some nights you’ll leave here thinking, “What are we doing here?"
Believe me, you will.
But then you will have a night where something great happens. A kid quotes Scripture or tells you about a book of the Bible they've been reading, or you have a bit of advice or knowledge you can pass along that you didn't realize would help a student. It is so rewarding.
If you attend the church and you want to have an impact on the spiritual lives of our students, please send me an email, find me at church on Sunday, or give me a call. Let’s talk about our awesome students and how you can get involved in serving.
Youth Director, Calvary Burlington
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt. 5:13-16)
Recently I listened to a very engaging podcast about something called The Curse of Knowledge. Have you heard that term? The curse of knowledge occurs when we assume that the person we’re speaking with has the background or the context to understand the content of what we’re saying. They might understand the words that are spoken but are missing information to make it relevant and meaningful.
How does the curse of knowledge manifest itself in church life?
A guest arrives for the first time with kids in tow. Where do they go? Where do their kids go, and when?
The curse of knowledge is that I know where to go, and how to check my kids into the program. If I’m a bit late, I don’t worry — the doors will still be open, and the kids don’t actually start their program until 10:15.
We all know that.
The kids are dismissed for their program downstairs. A newcomer wonders what is ‘downstairs’, and when will they get their kids back?
The curse of knowledge is that I have seen the classrooms and I have met all the teachers. I know they are trained and amazing, and that my kids will be waiting to be picked up after the service.
We all know that.
Communion is set at the front of the church; will I have to walk up and get it or will it be delivered and, if so, do I take it right away or do I hang onto it?
The curse of knowledge is that we celebrate communion every month, and there is rarely any variance in how we do it. They pray and pass the plates, while I sit and receive.
We all know that.
Every time you find yourself saying, “We all know that!”, the curse of knowledge is rearing its ugly head. And to guests, the curse of knowledge can be awkward, ambiguous, confusing, and unwelcoming.
One of the many things I love about our Frontline Ministry team is that they help to break the curse of knowledge by keeping an eye out for guests and helping them to pre-navigate any obstacles.
You came alone and don’t know where to sit? No problem! Let me get you settled near someone who I know to be friendly. Heck, you can even sit with me!
You brought kids? They’ll love it here! Let’s go to the welcome centre and get them registered, then we’ll give you a quick tour of the kids min area. Maybe introduce you to Tanya, the best Children’s Director ever.
You came early to get the lay of the land? So glad you did! Have a cup of coffee or tea, and let me introduce you to a few people.
You came late because you're feeling nervous and unsure? We understand, and we’re watching for the rules of engagement so that we don’t overwhelm you.
Isn’t it great that we have a team of ushers, greeters and welcome centre people who can help overcome the curse of knowledge?
Well, I have a secret to tell you…
You don’t have to serve in an official capacity in order to fight the curse.
That's right, each one of us can play a vital role in the guest experience by keeping your eyes open, being available, and modelling for them what a typical Sunday looks like.
So write your name on the friendship clip. Pour yourself a coffee. Introduce your kids to their kids so they can be dismissed together to their class. If you are a Sunday School teacher, introduce yourself to the parents even if you’re not serving that particular Sunday. The next time they come you might be serving, and how awesome it will be when the kids have already met you!
The curse of knowledge is inevitable to some degree, but we can all play a part in breaking down barriers and helping our guests feel welcomed, loved, and in-the-know.
See you Sunday! The service starts at 10am and free coffee is served at 9:30am. We all know that...
I’m kind of embarrassed to share this photo with you. We’ve recently been doing some home improvements, and updating our kitchen was first on the list. Aside from the big stuff, our collection of dishes and accessories needed some refreshing. My girls love to bake - as do I, and they had been suggesting for some time that we purchase some new oven mitts. There was actually a hole at the top of one where your fingers could come out. Once I purchased the new pair, I realized how old and worn out these oven mitts really were. They served us well, however, and helped to bring many great meals and baked goods form the oven.
At this point you are probably wondering why we are talking about some old oven mitts. Well as any Children’s Director would know – everything can be an object lesson for Sunday school! I began to think about those mitts and their function. Here’s a few thoughts...
God is our protector and promises to help us through all our circumstances. We all face difficulties and challenges at some point in our lives. I can’t even imagine how many times God has protected me or my family from various troubles. Similar to the armour of God, I like the image of God coming between us and the valleys of life – a shield.
“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 110:114
“But you Lord are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” Psalm 3:3
I like the comparison of God covering our lives and giving us His word and truths to live by. We can take comfort it knowing that the Creator of the universe has got everything “covered”.
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4
“Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5
Those old worn oven mitts were helpful in getting the job done. Without them it would be very difficult to complete what was started. I know that we serve a great God who wants the best for us. He helps us more than we could ever imagine….or deserve.
“But those who hope in the lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Tanya Chant, Director of Child and Family Ministry
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