5 Ways to Avoid Becoming Irrelevant to Teens

Do you feel like your ministry is becoming irrelevant to teenagers? Are you looking for creative ways to get out of “that rut?” Maybe I can help.

I want to share with you 5 Ways to Avoid Becoming Irrelevant (to Teens):

1. Get Connected to Teens: I speak to a number of youth pastors each and every week. I’m always asking them questions about their ministry and how they do what they do. I’m very surprised by the number of them that seem to be disconnected from teens throughout the week. I believe one of the things that could cause you to become irrelevant to teens is by being disconnected from them. If you only talk to them on Sunday, you need to make a change. I encourage you to get in their world. Show up on their turf! Action item: Meet with a couple of students each week. Be intentional about getting connected to your students. Grab a cup of coffee, meet them for ice cream, or have lunch with them at school.

2. Reinvent Your Events: Another thing I’ve noticed in my conversations with youth ministers is how they seem to duplicate the same things every year in their ministry. The same camp, the same missions project, and the same events. Why is this? I understand we want some things to become a tradition or we feel that certain events will create momentum…but there are too many things available to us as leaders for us to be repeating everything we did last year. Just because it worked last year doesn’t mean it will work next year. Action item: Spend a day (or even a half a day) evaluating what events you are passionate about. Then determine which ones you could scrap and allow for new adventures or projects.

3. Ask Questions! When I’m around students, I am always asking questions. Often, getting a response from them is like pulling teeth…but I don’t give up. I ask questions like “What music do you enjoy?” “What do you and your friends like to do?” “What do you really like about what we do?” Sometimes, their responses give me great insight into determining how we should shape our ministry. Don’t be afraid to ask questions…and prepare yourself for their honesty! Action item: Determine a few questions that you’d like to ask students.

4. Think Outside the Box: Making some changes or tweaking things just a bit can make things really interesting. For example: we have a number of students who love to longboard. They will often bring them to church and ride before and after our services. One day, I decided to tell our Student Leadership Team to promote a “Bring Your Longboard to Church Day.” We had a lot of guests show up with longboard in hand that day! Things like this have helped us think outside the box about what we are doing in order to be more effective…and yes, more relevant to teens. Action item: Try anything once. Don’t be afraid to tweak something just for test purposes. Then debrief it with your leadership team and determine if you should try it again.

5. Let Teens Takeover: We have students leading in a lot of different areas in our ministry, but last fall when I felt the Lord leading me to step away from the mic and allow teens to completely takeover, I was skeptical. I took a few days and prayed over this idea. Then, within a couple months, we began a series called “STORY” and let students, who were already greeting and leading games and worship, take the mic, too! Teenagers were encouraged to tell their stories of how God had worked in their lives. God used this in many ways: It became our longest running series ever (3 months!), students invited their friends, and God used it to create a safe community where teens are comfortable sharing. Action item: Evaluate your ministry and question what areas you might give up control to youth. Then provide coaching to students who take you up on the offer and want to lead.

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BIG NEWS: I’m Launching A Podcast!

I’ve got some BIG NEWS that I’m pretty stoked to share with you, my readers, today.  It’s been a while since I’ve been a part of a youth ministry podcast, but I’m excited to announce today that I’m launching my very own #YouthMinistry Podcast this February!

Here are the details that I can share with you now:

  • The podcast will be broadcast each and every week online.
  • The broadcast will feature a guest every week (in fact, we’re booking shows now!). We’ve got some incredible interviews already lined up!
  • It’ll be 30 minutes or less.  We know your time is valuable to you.
  • We’ll be giving resources & prizes away to listeners each week!  Everybody loves freebies!
  • It launches early February. Subscribe to my feed here on the blog so you don’t miss the launch date and details to follow!

I hope you’ll share in this excitement with me.  If so, would you share this news with your tribe (via blog, twitter, facebook)?  I want the first episode to start strong. Trust me, you don’t want to miss the first episode!

I hope this podcast will be helpful to all my youth worker friends.  I’m looking forward to our conversations together!

 

3 Ways to Have the Best Year Ever!

I just finished speaking in our weekend services at my church.  I shared 3 Ways to Have the Best Year Ever!   I know many of you weren’t able to join us, so I thought I would share them here on the blog.

We looked into a very familiar passage in Luke 10:25-34 and I shared 3 learnings from this passage that we can use as an action plan to make 2015 the best year ever.

Here are 3 Ways You Can Have The Best Year Ever:

  1. LOVE WELL— At the beginning of the parable of the Good Samaritan (in Luke 10) the words of Jesus are strong… “Love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind.”  He continued, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Then the parable continued to unpack not only what our “neighbor” looks like but how we should LOVE them. The Good Samaritan went the distance in caring for the person in need.  And if there’s anything we learn from the scriptures, it is that when we love others well, we love our God well too ((see Matthew 25:34-40; John 21:17))
  1. LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES—I believe that sometimes the reason we aren’t blessed is that we aren’t really ‘looking’ for a blessing.  God puts opportunities right in front of us but we are oblivious to them.  In the parable that Jesus shared there were 2 people (a priest and a levite) who overlooked opportunities.  The Samaritan (in Luke 10) saw an opportunity in front of him to serve… and to love well.  A verse that is always on my heart is John 4:35 where Jesus asks “Don’t you say the harvest is 4 months away?” “I tell you, LOOK, the fields are ripe (white) for harvest!”  Put down your phone…shut down Facebook… turn off the TV… and LOOK this year. See what opportunities there are in front of your face to love others, love your God and to receive!
  1. LIVE OUT GOD’s WORD—James shares a very strong word with us in his writings. “Be doers of the word, not just hearers only. Hearers only deceive themselves” ((see James 1:22)).  What if we just committed this year to not only READ God’s Word but to actually DO what it says? The final words of Jesus to the man after he told him the parable of the Good Samaritan was “Go… and do likewise!”  He essentially commanded him to “repeat this.”  If you live out the words of scripture this year, I promise you’ll be blessed.  You might actually experience your BEST. YEAR. EVER.

If you LIKE this post you should take a moment to subscribe to the feed — [click here]  Thanks also for sharing this post on social media!  Here’s to your best year ever!

5 Resolutions You Should Make This New Year!

Personal convictions and goals will shape the way a leader leads, responds to others and the very choices he or she makes. Each year, I resolve to do a few things, based on these convictions and goals too. So, I’ve made my list for 2015, and this year I’ve asked a few close friends to add to my list also. Allowing others to speak into your life is a powerful thing.

With that in mind, I would like to ask if I may speak into your life for a few moments? I have written down a few things I feel all church leaders should resolve to do this year. So before you finalize your list of goals or “resolutions” this year, would you consider adding these to yours?

Here are FIVE resolutions I believe we should all make this new year:

  1. Prayer—We always say we need to pray more, but we should actually commit to doing it! I’ll never forget making a commitment in college to pray at least five minutes each day for things happening around the world. That commitment changed my prayer life forever. To this day, I still pray daily for things happening around the world. That was only adding an additional five minutes to my daily prayer time. Ask yourself, when can I spend a few extra moments each day in prayer? Most of the time, just transitioning from one appointment to the next will afford you some extra time for prayer. I promise, you will benefit from an additional prayer investment like this. Just resolve to do it!
  1. Protection—Resolve to protect your health and life. It is so important to take care of yourself and your family! These are the people who matter the most! I took steps this year to work on my health with a goal to lose 100 pounds, but I have a long way to go. Ask yourself, what steps can I take to become more healthy? How can I better my relationship with my family? What can I do each week to provide care for my own soul?
  1. Presence—This year, I’ve become increasingly aware of just how connected I am to my phone. Chances are, you are too. It’s distracting and it’s interfering with our relationships and we don’t even see it. And I’m not just talking about phones here. I resolve to be more present with people as I am with them, and I challenge you to do the same. Ask yourself, what is distracting me from being fully present with those who want (and need) my time?
  1. Preach the Gospel—We would probably all say we preach the Gospel if we were asked. But do you give people Jesus? Can he be found in every message and action of yours? This year, I saw more people doing good, but if we are doing good without giving people Jesus, then what are we doing? If you give a person who is hungry food without giving them Jesus, you are sending them to hell on a full stomach! Ask yourself, are you presenting the Gospel in your messages? Are there ways you can give people Jesus this year through your social good?
  1. Persevere—Each year comes with its own set of challenges, but in spite of any thing that comes your way this year, you must determine to stay focused on your goals. I’m challenging myself to set my goals and stick with them no matter what may try to derail me from the finish line. Resolve to take steps to better yourself and better your life, and don’t let anything (or anyone, for that matter!) keep you from accomplishing great things for the Kingdom. Ask yourself, what can I do to keep myself focused on reaching my goals this year?

The best leadership, in my opinion, comes out of the resolve a leader has made in his or her own heart. So, I ask you to think about these five things and even prayerfully consider them before you finalize your resolutions this year. Because the truth is, what you resolve to do this new year could change everything for you!

FREE DVD: Fearless!

If you’ve followed my blog or twitter long enough, you’ll know that I absolutely LOVE giving away FREE stuff.  Today (and tomorrow) are those kind of days here.

My friends at Dare2Share are putting together an incredible 2015 tour called
“Fearless” and they want to give you a sneak peak into this year’s experience. Make sure you click the link below to get your FREE copy!

At the 2015 Fearless Tour, through deep worship, powerful training from the book of Ephesians, and life changing dramas, teens will encounter God’s radical love for them and then have the chance to share that love with others in a practical outreach experience.

Here’s a little info on what you’ll get if you click to get your FREE Tour DVD (by mail or instant download):

  • Fearless-DVDVideos and information about Dare 2 Share
  • Promotional videos you can show your students to get them excited for the event (including a 2 week pre-conference video curriculum)
  • Speaker and Artist information including music videos from The Digital Age, Starfield and Kutless
  • A special message from Greg Stier to church leaders

[Click here] to get your FREE DVD now!

The Christmas Project

Let’s do something together this Christmas.

Recently I wrote about a significant need many of my friends had financially. Some of you gave and we were able to help a few leaders who were in desperate need of support. Since that time I’ve been contacted by a few other leaders (one just yesterday) who aren’t sure if they will be able to provide Christmas for their families this year. Many of the leaders who have contacted us are in between jobs\positions or they have incurred additional expenses outside of their control this year.  They need some assistance and have asked for help.  You can read a few of their stories I’ve shared [here].

So I’m asking you… would you PLEASE help me provide some assistance for these leaders here at Christmas?  Anything would make a difference at this time.  I don’t care if it’s $5.00, $50.00, or $500.00.  Your gift would seriously mean so much and 100% of donations received will go directly to those in need!

To show my appreciation for your support I’ve decided to offer a special gift as a token of thanks to each person who donates $50 or more to this cause. Go [here] to contribute right now, select your gift (*for those who donate $50 or more), and make an instant impact in the lives of others!

Please LIKE and SHARE this on Social Media. Even this will make a difference.

Want to Win Starbucks for Life?

Starbucks just announced something pretty big. This holiday season our friends @Starbucks will be giving away 10 “lifetime Starbucks cards,” which offer free beverages every day for 30 years!  From December 2 until Christmas, anyone who swipes a registered Starbucks gift card gets a chance to win one of these special cards. They will also be eligible for other giveaways too!   Not too bad, eh?

I love giving away FREE stuff too.  Subscribe to my blog right now and follow my twitter (@terracecrawford) for your chance to win as we’ll have a series of giveaways between now and this Christmas!

What’s your favorite Starbucks Holiday drink of choice?   I like anything with Salted Caramel Mocha.

 

 

Special: Get an Autographed Copy of Going Social!

This weekend I’m speaking at the 2014 National Men’s Conference.  In the spirit of the conference I’m making my book “Going Social” available for a special price of only $12.00 — which includes FREE shipping!  This is cheaper than you can get the book anywhere!

About the Book – People around the world are talking. They are connecting each day-online-through social media. Corporations around the world recognize the power of social media and are leveraging it to reach customers though platforms such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Why can’t churches do the same thing?Christianity has the greatest message to deliver; yet churches struggle to share it. Terrace Crawford helps uncover reasons ministry leaders may resist the use of social media and dispels some of the myths surrounding it. With short, accessible chapters, #Going Social: A Practical Guide for Church Leaders provides a step-by-step guide to getting started, crucial insights to help you develop an effective social media strategy, and gives real-life examples of ministries and leaders who are using media in powerful ways.Reimagine your social media presence and successfully connect with your church and your world. With the help of #Going Social, you can create an online community in no time!

[Click here] to get YOUR autographed copy of my book #GoingSocial now! *Limited number of books are available.

Help Me Help Leaders in Need!


There’s a number of youth workers\church leaders under stress. They are enduring financial difficulty (among other stresses) and I want to help. For the last couple of years it’s been on my heart to create an assistance fund for church leaders and I’m finally pulling the trigger. There are a number of youth workers, particularly, who have sent me emails explaining their financial need and asking if there’s any assistance available. Others have shared the anticipated stress of the holidays fast approaching and their inability to provide a nice Christmas for their family.  My heart goes out to these leaders and I want to help bear their burden.

Here’s a few exerpts from actual emails from Leaders in need:

#1:  If I don’t pay my rent by the 10th, my family and I will be evicted. Could you please help me out? I’m trying to raise about $2500 for our rent and some core utility bills. I raise money for causes all of the time and am sorry to ask for this, but I don’t have any other way in this time frame. Listen – I don’t care if it’s $5, $50, or $500 – if you can help me out it would mean the world to me. I’m literally selling my computer and camera and gear to make ends meet! 

 

#2:  I’ve been out of work for nearly a month now.  My family is under a lot of stress.  I’ve applied for nearly every youth worker position through every job bank online and I’ve heard nothing.  I honestly don’t know how we are going to make it if something doesn’t workout soon.
 
#3. I just got a cutoff notice for my power bill yesterday. The rent is due tomorrow. My church pays me nothing (well, next to nothing). I love what I do, but I am barely able to cover my expenses with my paycheck.  And I hate living paycheck to paycheck!  I really need some help.

This is where we come in. Will you join me by contributing to help these church leaders in immediate need? Our goal is to help as many youth workers\church leaders as possible with the funds we raise by November 30. Funds contributed to our assistance program will go 100% to church leaders who express a financial need. 50% of your funds donated will be used to assist youth workers\church leaders who have an immediate need. The other 50% of the funds raised will be distributed to youth workers this December who need family assistance this Christmas. And for your gift of $100 or more we will send you a FREE gift as our way of saying “thank you!”

Thank you for your support of this project, and we appreciate your sharing the need with others who might also be able to help at this time. Go [here] to make an instant impact by donating to help leaders now! If you have a financial need, please contact our office [here].

The Top 50 Family Ministry Blogs!

I was really honored to learn this morning that this blog made the Top 50 Family Ministry Blogs of 2014!  Also pretty cool to see I made the Top among those listed.  It’s been incredible to develop my blog and build community here over the years. So, to YOU, my faithful reader-subscriber-follower-friend, I say THANKS. Thank you for reading, engaging in conversation, and for sharing my content with others all these years!

I’m going to include the Top 25 from the list of blogs named here, but please go [here] to check out the rest of the Top 50!

Rank
 Name of  Blogger
Alexa Rank
Domain Authority
Total incoming Links
Social Media Shares
1 Tony Kumer 85221 47 8893 6561
2 Fuller Youth Institute 942655 45 4951 1824
3 Adam Mclane 547177 40 3571 851
4 Walt Mueller 2387590 56 3573 502
5 Mary Kassian 1430581 38 3031 2049
6 Christianity Cove 246879 36 2728 268
7 Joseph LaLonde 355260 39 12358 117
8 Doug Fields 1562747 38 4227 1099
9 Lindsey Whitney 175906 36 5742 124
10 Mark Oestreicher 2645821 39 6049 299
11 Yancy 2616530 36 1379 1112
12 Adam Walker Cleaveland 2125037 51 2660 86
13 Life in Student Minsitry 1822896 37 3917 385
14 Kenny Conley 899643 39 3171 79
15 Greg Stier 2786558 34 1593 1108
16 Dave Miers 530045 32 1862 184
17 Youth Specialties 546269 59 3105 73
18 Jonathan McKee 3178063 33 6688 634
19 Greg Baird 2783132 34 1748 179
20 Youth Ministry 360 768169 37 980 79
21 Orange Leaders 1212928 38 1195 62
22 Terrace Crawford 8068766 31 421 412
23 Josh Griffin 167547 37 706 65
24 Jim Wideman NA 92 286 663
25 Jonathan Cliff 4791436 34 3677 163