Making It Up As They Go Along: The Secret to Bad Meetings

Making It Up As They Go Along: The Secret to Bad Meetings

I had a colleague who would often come through my door, sit, and vent.  Invariably, her frustration seemed to follow a very familiar outline:

My colleague had just participated in a meeting.

She entered it assuming that all were being treated as equal players.

Someone else would propose an idea (Often, this involved a small list of usual suspects).

My colleague might have an alternate or another idea. 

Yet, it was easily dismissed.

My colleague might have concerns about the proposed idea, but she was quickly treated as not being a team player.

My colleague might have wanted to explore the proposed idea, but discussion was cut off due to other minor (distracting) agenda items or time constraints. KEEP READING

What I’m Thankful For This Year

What I’m Thankful For This Year

I couldn’t wait to get a Fitbit when they came out.  I was convinced that once I got one, I would suddenly become this ridiculously fit, muscular, healthy being. 

Because, you know, watches do that. 

So I was given a very generous gift card to Target…and I went and got my Fitbit.  I wore it for about a week straight.  I was super hip. Counting steps, tracking calories, measuring my heart rate, analyzing sleep patterns…and then the battery died.  I plugged the Fitbit into the charger, and about 4 days later, I saw the thing sitting on my nightstand and thought, “Oh, I should probably wear that.”  So I did.  KEEP READING

Retreat E–vangelization: Sharing Experiences

Retreat E–vangelization: Sharing Experiences

Ok, Youth Ministers, Directors of Faith Formation, and all you adult types in the field.  This time, the article is geared towards your teens. Read it to them, send it to them, work it in a talk.  It’s good stuff.  I promise

There’s a boldness that Christ calls us to that challenges us to live a life that is full of truth. The awesomeness of a retreat is a perfect time to let your friends know that God is good all the time.

We all have those times where we couldn’t wait to tell someone something awesome. In a conversation, by text, by Snapchat, the emotions pour out of us in a gleeful eruption. KEEP READING

Youth Ministry of My Dreams

Youth Ministry of My Dreams

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Cupich wrote an editorial describing “the parish of my dreams.”  In doing so, he described seven priorities that might assist in measuring parish vitality. Not being above building upon someone else’s hard work, here are my own modifications designed to help define vitality of youth ministry in a parish. We’ll keep Cupich’s headers, but let’s define them deeper towards youth ministry.

We bring people to Christ

Youth Ministry seeks to evangelize everyone to live more fully as intentional disciples. These intentional disciples are continuously evangelizing others by making known the presence of the Church and Christ’s mercy in the midst of the community. KEEP READING

Choosing a Confirmation Saint

Choosing a Confirmation Saint

November is the month when the Church celebrates All Saint’s Day. It’s a day set aside to remember all of the holy men and women who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. They lived such lives of heroic virtue that the Church honors them with the title Saint or Blessed.

It is also a time when youth ministers who are responsible for Confirmation also receive questions concerning choosing a Saint for Confirmation and the required Confirmation Saint Paper becomes due.

Why is it important for teens preparing for Confirmation to choose a Confirmation Saint? Is it just an outdated practice that really has no relevance in teen’s lives today? KEEP READING

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your ministry thrive.

Talking to Teens When Leaders Fail

Talking to Teens When Leaders Fail

I think my most difficult experience in youth ministry, to date, is talking to teens about someone they look up to who failed them. It is trial by fire, and has come my way multiple times. Leader failures are the reality of our fallen world, and of the Body of Christ...

Who’s Picture Are You Painting?

Who’s Picture Are You Painting?

Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity to attend a four-day conference hosted by Dynamic Communicators called SCORRE, which you might call a boot camp for public speaking. I was one of thirteen participants who spent four days trying to improve the way we give our...

An Active Advent: The Team Approach

An Active Advent: The Team Approach

The holidays are always a special time of year, where the (mostly self-imposed) stress of hosting, cooking, cleaning, buying gifts, and having time for everyone can leave even the best of us feeling haggard and pretty much empty of Christmas spirit. However, there is...

How to Recover When Your Youth Night is a Flop

How to Recover When Your Youth Night is a Flop

So, you’ve flopped. We’ve all been there. Some of us are still there. So, what do you do when you only have two or three teens coming to events? It can be super discouraging to a new youth minister when he or she can’t use the planned night. This is especially true...

Managing a Multi-Parish Youth Ministry

Managing a Multi-Parish Youth Ministry

My neighbor is a beekeeper and I often wonder, “How does he keep track of all of those bees?” Such is life in a multi-parish youth ministry setting! How do we keep track of all those parishes and all those youth? After spending 10 years in single parish youth...

Being Present is the Best Present

Being Present is the Best Present

Throughout my years of Ministry, I have always tried to have creative ways to let my volunteers know how much they mean to me. I come up with catchy phrases, or buy wonderful multi-part gifts for them to let them know how much they are appreciated. My volunteers give...

We want to help your ministry thrive.

Making It Up As They Go Along: The Secret to Bad Meetings

Making It Up As They Go Along: The Secret to Bad Meetings

I had a colleague who would often come through my door, sit, and vent.  Invariably, her frustration seemed to follow a very familiar outline:

My colleague had just participated in a meeting.

She entered it assuming that all were being treated as equal players.

Someone else would propose an idea (Often, this involved a small list of usual suspects).

My colleague might have an alternate or another idea. 

Yet, it was easily dismissed.

My colleague might have concerns about the proposed idea, but she was quickly treated as not being a team player.

My colleague might have wanted to explore the proposed idea, but discussion was cut off due to other minor (distracting) agenda items or time constraints. KEEP READING

What I’m Thankful For This Year

What I’m Thankful For This Year

I couldn’t wait to get a Fitbit when they came out.  I was convinced that once I got one, I would suddenly become this ridiculously fit, muscular, healthy being. 

Because, you know, watches do that. 

So I was given a very generous gift card to Target…and I went and got my Fitbit.  I wore it for about a week straight.  I was super hip. Counting steps, tracking calories, measuring my heart rate, analyzing sleep patterns…and then the battery died.  I plugged the Fitbit into the charger, and about 4 days later, I saw the thing sitting on my nightstand and thought, “Oh, I should probably wear that.”  So I did.  KEEP READING

Retreat E–vangelization: Sharing Experiences

Retreat E–vangelization: Sharing Experiences

Ok, Youth Ministers, Directors of Faith Formation, and all you adult types in the field.  This time, the article is geared towards your teens. Read it to them, send it to them, work it in a talk.  It’s good stuff.  I promise

There’s a boldness that Christ calls us to that challenges us to live a life that is full of truth. The awesomeness of a retreat is a perfect time to let your friends know that God is good all the time.

We all have those times where we couldn’t wait to tell someone something awesome. In a conversation, by text, by Snapchat, the emotions pour out of us in a gleeful eruption. KEEP READING

Youth Ministry of My Dreams

Youth Ministry of My Dreams

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Cupich wrote an editorial describing “the parish of my dreams.”  In doing so, he described seven priorities that might assist in measuring parish vitality. Not being above building upon someone else’s hard work, here are my own...

Choosing a Confirmation Saint

Choosing a Confirmation Saint

November is the month when the Church celebrates All Saint’s Day. It's a day set aside to remember all of the holy men and women who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. They lived such lives of heroic virtue that the Church honors them with the title...

Talking to Teens When Leaders Fail

Talking to Teens When Leaders Fail

I think my most difficult experience in youth ministry, to date, is talking to teens about someone they look up to who failed them. It is trial by fire, and has come my way multiple times. Leader failures are the reality of our fallen world, and of the Body of Christ...

Who’s Picture Are You Painting?

Who’s Picture Are You Painting?

Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity to attend a four-day conference hosted by Dynamic Communicators called SCORRE, which you might call a boot camp for public speaking. I was one of thirteen participants who spent four days trying to improve the way we give our...

An Active Advent: The Team Approach

An Active Advent: The Team Approach

The holidays are always a special time of year, where the (mostly self-imposed) stress of hosting, cooking, cleaning, buying gifts, and having time for everyone can leave even the best of us feeling haggard and pretty much empty of Christmas spirit. However, there is...

How to Recover When Your Youth Night is a Flop

How to Recover When Your Youth Night is a Flop

So, you’ve flopped. We’ve all been there. Some of us are still there. So, what do you do when you only have two or three teens coming to events? It can be super discouraging to a new youth minister when he or she can’t use the planned night. This is especially true...

Managing a Multi-Parish Youth Ministry

Managing a Multi-Parish Youth Ministry

My neighbor is a beekeeper and I often wonder, “How does he keep track of all of those bees?” Such is life in a multi-parish youth ministry setting! How do we keep track of all those parishes and all those youth? After spending 10 years in single parish youth...

Being Present is the Best Present

Being Present is the Best Present

Throughout my years of Ministry, I have always tried to have creative ways to let my volunteers know how much they mean to me. I come up with catchy phrases, or buy wonderful multi-part gifts for them to let them know how much they are appreciated. My volunteers give...

Incarnational Ministry – Being the Other Guy

Incarnational Ministry – Being the Other Guy

So there they were, two guys on the road to Emmaus - - or as I have always contended - - two guys making a getaway and on the way out of town, Jerusalem. And then they run into this “other guy.” Remember? The Gospel writer tells us that this other guy was Jesus - -...

Leave Room For The Holy Spirit

Leave Room For The Holy Spirit

Ten years ago, if you had told fourteen-year-old me that I was going to be a Youth Minister, she would have downright laughed. See, even at fourteen, I was a type-A organized person. I had plans. I was going to attend Rice University, become an author, and live in New...

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