Show Me A Sign

Each year for the last few years, I’ve made a sign for my Life Group. This, believe it or not, has been a great youth ministry tool.

Here’s how I’ve used it and how it’s helped:

  • I put it outside my front door every week for Life Group
    – If the sign is ever not out, parents know something’s different so they don’t drop off their kid and drive off. They probably missed a message and don’t know we’re at the church, or we’re off for some reason
    РIf mom always drops off her son, but dad is doing it one week, it makes it easier on dad to make sure he is in the right place when he comes back to pick up his son. I live in a condo and they all look alike.
  • I take this to any event we have so parents know they’re in the right place
    – This has become a bit of a joke. Parents laugh at how organized I am (in a good way)
    – Parents think I’m more organized because I put out a sign. Hmmm… how’s that for an easy win. We work hard for them to have a good perception of us. There’s an easy one I didn’t have to work hard for.
  • I used it as a keepsake one year for a student who moved away at the end of the year
    – We all signed the back of the sign
    – He’s now in college, but still has this sign in his room. I’ve been out to see him a couple of times and always see that as a youth ministry trophy – we did something as a group that supported one of our own during a difficult time and he still appreciates it several years later

Here’s the point of telling you all of this: Sometimes we stumble across the simplest things in youth ministry that become unlikely, but very helpful, youth ministry tools. What have you discovered that works for you? Share it with us. We’d love to post it on the blog or you can post it in the comments. If this sign idea somehow works for you, please use it. What do you have that the rest of us can think about using?

//Side note: want me to make a sign for you? Happy to help. Just click one of the products below.

Challenging Students

As a volunteer Life Group leader for our High School Ministry, I sent this text message to my students for two reasons:

  1. I want them to take action based on our weekend services
  2. Half of my life group students do not attend the weekend service. I want them to realize good stuff happens there. I also want them to develop a desire to get there, aside from the challenges I make during Life Group for them to check it out.

Today is the first time I sent out a message like this. My strategy going forward is to send a text out like this once a series. I don’t want the messages to go out every week or they’ll get ignored. Some weeks I’ll send out a message telling them what’s going to happen in the weekend service to entice them to show up.

As youth ministry volunteers, we need to be continually honing our strategies to reach students effectively. If we wait for the paid staff to teach us everything or to tell us what to do, our ministry isn’t firing on all cylinders.

To read more about how to be a continually more effective volunteer, download a copy of Volunteer Youth Ministry, A Roadmap for Effective Leadership









Freshmen Again


My Life Group students all graduated last year. This year I’m back to teaching Freshmen. This week we went to the park for our lesson. Afterward, they ran around the field pushing each other over and being very rough. All of it was in fun, but I’m so not used to that anymore. Kind of took me by surprise. I’m also finding that I need to learn how to teach to this age group again.

I love how each age has unique needs that require me as a leader to grow or relearn skills I haven’t used for a long time. It keeps me fresh and requires me to rethink strategies. As youth workers, we can become like old wine skins that can break with changes like this. I find myself reminding myself I need to be renewed, rather than expecting students to adjust to my “get off my lawn” stage of life and what I’m used to having with my seniors from last year.

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Here’s a fun dessert I did with my Life Group students last week. It’s super easy and they can each do their own pretty quickly.

1. Buy as many canisters of cinnamon rolls as you will need
2. Have them put the cinnamon rolls uncooked into a waffle maker. You’ll want to spray cooking spray before putting them in even if you have a non-stick waffle maker
3. When the ready light appears, they’re ready
4. Have them put them in a bowl and top with icing, ice cream and whipped cream. Other great toppings include nuts, chocolate chips and cherries. If they’re making their own, they can decide what they want.
5. Take pictures and post them on Facebook or Instagram. It’ll be a great commercial for your ministry.

Cinnamon Roll Waffles