Ten New Ideas
We all get stuck sometimes. We all work in the familiar. We all default to the rut. It is much easier to be comfortable with the status quo rather than to challenge yourself with change.
But if we neglect change, we can lose our edge. And that can be dangerous because youth like the creative and the mysterious and new ideas that create an exciting environment. So, what are ways that we can shake us as YTH Leaders from the mundane and add some creativity and freshness to our work?
It’s been proven in research that children grow out of their creativity through education. They move from play too quickly. They move from a tactile learning base to a mentile learning base. I believe that creativity and new ideas are critical to education and inspiration. And the same goes for YTH Ministry. There is a great ted.com video on the subject. If you get a chance, check out this video by Stuart Brown on ‘Play Deprivation’. https://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital
What we need is a coalesced learning style that values both numbers and stories. Where the left brain logical and thinking values are as respected as the right brain emotional and relational values. Leading a complete YTH Ministry will require both sides of the brain. We have talked extensively in our blog about the value of theology and discipleship and the importance of words lately. Let’s change it up and talk about the importance of creativity.
Ten New Ideas
So, how do we keep the born creativity in each of us? How can we jump start our YTH Ministry with new ideas? Here are 10 creative ideas to freshen your YTH Ministry:
Collaboration - This is critical to stop from becoming stale. Collaboration is Group Think. Valuing the backgrounds and framework of others. There is a university of learning and ideas all around us. Keep close proximity with a creative team that has both students and adult leaders.
Visitation - A timely visit to another place is a quick education that can show you another way. Maybe that is a YTH Ministry or a para-Church organization. Plan a day trip to another YTH Ministry to see how someone else is doing this. A new look can lead to a new idea. Someone else probably got their idea from another place also.
Outdoors - Serious. Removing the ceilings and lids from your physical person can expand your spiritual person quickly. Get out of the office or the kitchen or even the coffee shop for a change. A change of setting can bring a change of perspective. There is creativity in creation. Clear your mind outdoors and record the thoughts that come!
Reading - Just a few hours a week of research on the Internet or selected books can take us to another world. Read new books or authors. We have to get outside of our thinking every month. There are great resources such as YouTube, Social Media, Tedtalks, or other ministry websites that can lead to new ideas. These streams can infuse your thinking with ideas that will not come if you stay in the same lanes.
Transitions - How well you do flow or use the transitions in your YTH Ministry is elementary to an active learning experience. An effective YTH Service environment needs bumper videos or music or monologue or spoken word to increase creativity and response. The flow that takes place between the open or worship or announcements or the close will either lure and attract the crowd or it will bore them quickly. Create playlists on YouTube and Spotify that will make it easy to create the flow. And this would be a great task for students to produce.
Presentation tools - I’ve watched this done right and wrong. Simple and less is better and more. A sight and sound (A/V) inter-action is best for impact. Look at themes and images that morph with your series or topic. Handouts are a great way to have the students take the message with them. You can make inexpensive post-sized cards, business-sized cards/circles, or even bracelets that can support the culture! If you want to improve your presentation, one of the best resources is an app called Prezi. The zooming graphics of Prezi are a great filing AND presentation tool.
Pre-event - Maybe the biggest struggle in YTH Ministry is the balance of play and pray. Do we separate them in one setting? Can we do both in two hours? Some YTH Ministries are not able to handle much more than a single youth service weekly. Extra events or small groups are thought to take too much time. So a composite youth night can work. For instance, if you meet on Wednesday night, begin the evening an hour before the spiritual setting begins. You could do games or hang out or food in that time to create play and relationship.
Neutral Site Connects - One of the things that I’ve seen in the urban youth ministry success is this idea of pop-ups. Where YTH Ministry is done in context. A neutral site setting helps us raise producers and not just consumers. What I mean by that is, if everything is at the Church then our students will tend to not live their faith in their world – home, school, teams, work, or the mall. Pop-ups can be exciting and prod the students to live their faith in context.
Monthly STDT Event - I know you think that this is work. And if we want to do something well it definitely will take work. But, the best way to build culture is through repeated actions and words. We have to train our young people that Christianity is not just about the church. It is about the context of their world. Events as simple as a car wash, a service project, a mystery event, an all-STDT athletic (extracurricular event), or even House Parties. These House Parties or other regular events can create relational capital that few things can create. It’s a place to play and not just pray!
A Personal Coach - This is a mandatory practice in Fortune 500 companies. I believe it can be inexpensive and simple at the YTH Ministry level also. Take advantage of a veteran YTH Leader. A monthly phone call or even visit can remove ceilings and lids and fences. If you want to go where you have never gone and do what you have never done, find someone who has been there and done it!
Go to our website on the Coaching tab. Send me an inquiry and I will give you all of the details for the Coaching relationship. And you can see this Episode on video at YouTube on our LISTEN page here on the website, or, listen to the podcast at iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/y-t-h-o-l-o-g-y-jeff-g-r-e-n-e-l-l-ten-new-ideas/id1445470134?i=1000428172455&mt=2 and please share with a friend that needs this resource.