Student Ministry

5 Ways to Reach Millennials

Recently, I’ve heard people coining this word, “millennial.” It’s a word that hasn’t been used unless you are in the classes of social studies, but I’m not here to give a detailed explanation of what a millennial is. To make a long definition short, I believe a millennial is someone living in today’s generation. Not just someone, but a youth, young person. You would think that everyone talks so highly of millennials, however everywhere I step, they talk so down about this generation. I feel like a lot of people today have lost hope for our future and destiny.

Believe it or not, the generation of today, are the world changers for tomorrow. We cannot disown the youth of today. We cannot do away with who God created.  If He hasn’t called you, He’s called them! As a youth director, part of a local church, and a tutor that is part of a public school I’d like to share with you 5 practical ways to help reach today’s generation.

1.     You have to believe for their future and not their past.

If you were to put yourself in the mind of a teenager, you’d always have someone remind you of your struggles and flaws, and never remind you of where your going. Often times I hear young people in the secular world who have people that they trust in their lives always look down on them. They say that they will never amount to anything because of what they’ve done or did. Where is the hope we have for them? If you work in the school system and or your local church and you’re heavily involved with youth, you need to be able to believe the best for them, not the worst. Students need to hear where they are going, not where they’ve been. That’s a mistake our world has. They remind them of their past, but as a leader you need to be able to remind them of their glorious future. Speak life for their future, and speak death to their past.

2.     You have to relate, not resist.  

Being involved in both youth ministry and education is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever had the opportunity to do. I once heard one of my professors quote during school, “in order for you to teach middle school or high school, you have to be able to relate to the students.” A lot of time we don’t understand what students go through because we don’t have the time to relate to them. In order for you to reach the next generation you have to relate to them. Don’t resist them just because they don’t meet your expectation for your leadership group. Don’t resist them just because they don’t know God’s word yet. Until you relate to them about what they go through, where they’ve come from, where they’ve been, you’ll then understand who they were, and who they will become. Don’t ever neglect them because you cant relate. Once you spend enough time with them, you’ll understand the potential they carry for your life and theirs.

3.     You have to have compassion, and not curse.  

It amazes me how many people will try to curse this generation. When nobody else is looking, people will speak death to someone they don’t even know, someone they can’t even understand. or someone who never did wrong. Where is the compassion this generation needs? We need to have compassion for those who are hurting, those who are wounded, those who are coming from broken families and broken pasts. If we are the hands and feet of Jesus, then compassion needs to be in our actions for this generation. Instead of cursing them, start being more compassionate for them.

4.     You have to build relationships, not rituals.

A lot of times we develop rituals to avoid the students that God has put in our life. What do I mean by rituals? We start doing things over and over again to avoid our relationship with those that God has called us to mentor and steward. I’m not saying to throw everything away and avoid your family. What I’m saying is you need to be able to balance your students and others into your life. If you are the youth pastor, youth leader, youth director for your church, please be there for them! They need you and they want to learn from you! One thing I love to do with my girlfriend, when we get the opportunity to, is to spend time with some students and invest in what we believe will be the hope of our future. We've learned to balance them into our lives. We've learned to treat them like family. We've learned to love them unconditionally just like Jesus would and did. That’s one method that I use that was taught to me by my former youth pastor. He always took the time to spend time with me, invest in me, and speak into my ministry. That’s what our students and this generation need. They want a great relationship with you. They want to be loved by you. Don’t ignore what God has called you to care for.

5.     You have to have faith for them, not fear.  

The bible clearly states that “God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, but love, power and a sound mind.”  I know sometimes reaching out towards the generation of today comes with great fear. Fear can be the who, what, where, when and why. Who are we going to reach, what are we going to do, where can we do this, and why are we doing this? Don’t ever allow the enemy to put fear in your life, when God has called you to have faith for the millennials of today. Believe in them and have faith in them like God is does. We are the only way they can see Jesus. You be the light for them. You be the hope for them. It doesn’t matter how much faith you have, as long as you have faith God will use what you have and turn it into plenty.

I pray and hope that these 5 points bless you and your ministry. Our generation needs us. They want to be more like Jesus. What better way than to be in their life! Be blessed. 

 

Ryan De La Rosa serves under the ministry of Pastors Bill & Anne Moore at Livingway Family Church. Ryan oversees the youth ministry of Livingway Family Church in the Harlingen Campus as the youth director.  He is also a tutor with IDEA public schools in Brownsville, Texas. Ryan's goal is to see a generation filled with the Holy Spirit and know who Jesus is.

Effective Youth Leader

How am I going to do this?

Was the question I often asked myself and to some degree even to this day. I believe as a youth leaders we often find ourselves trying to figure out what will attract our generation back to Jesus. I’ve served as youth pastor at Camino Worship Center in Edinburg, TX and over time I have experienced things behind the scenes that no one else will see. Those are the times that your character will arise and be evident. Your greatness is not what is displayed in the stage but how you handle the backstage grind.

I am not a PK (pastor’s kid) nor did I grow up in a church. I gave my life to Christ almost 7 years ago and as cheesy as it may sound it is literally the best decision I have made. From youth president to youth pastor I learned a few things in this journey that I have embarked with Jesus. In doing so my desire is to help young leaders with what I have learned in their journey. Some of the things that have helped me are:

1.     Establish a Prayer Life Style.

No matter how corny it may sound if you are dealing with Gods people then you must have a communication with God. I believe as youth leaders we have been entrusted to lead this generation and with this responsibility we cannot sustain it without His guidance. Your prayer life in secret will be evident to them in public. It is in my prayer time that I have received the strength and boldness for the season that I am in right now. Every season causes a need for prayer. Implement this lifestyle in your young people. Prayer is not boring and definitely not a waste of time. Just ask all the men and women of God who are doing great things.

2.     Engage in Focused Thinking

“Good thinkers are always in demand.” – John C. Maxwell (How Successful People Think). Making time to think about what does your youth need, what does God want them to know, how can you lead them to be better marks a huge margin on how you do youth ministry. Developing your way of thinking can literally change the way you even see rejection. The way you think will allow you to realize that you have to go through some no’s to get to your yes! Good thinkers know where they want to go and will not stop until they get there. You may not be where you want to be but you are definitely not where you used to be. How God thinks of you should tell you the great importance of thinking. 

3.     Plan in Advance

Avoid leaving any event, gatherings, or special services at last minute or even to the last week. You may say, “Julian that’s a given!” I know it is but we often think because of the years under our belt we don’t have the full need to prepare ahead of time. Planning in advance allows you to see every aspect of an event from who are going to be your volunteers to the program itself. I believe when I plan in advance there is this sense of excitement for the day to get here and that is contagious to the young people who you are leading. Upon planning ahead gives you minimal excuses to cancel any event or gatherings. You never want to cancel an event because it has an ill effect on the youth. Write down your plans and objectives at all times. We now have so many tools and resources to organize our plans. Use them.

4.     Master the Art of Delegating.

I learned early on from my Pastor Andres Tapia when he told me, “Julian, you can’t do it all by yourself.” It wasn’t that I was unable to do certain things it was the fact that if I did I would have burned out. Doing things by yourself not only affects you personally but the youth ministry as well. Learn to give small responsibilities to young people such as praying for dismissal, handing out flyers, greeting etc. Having a team is very important simply because just imagine a quarterback being the head coach, wide receiver, water boy and cheerleader all at the same time. I believe it’s a beautiful thing that we get to impart our journey and the church vision to the next generation. Know that we can’t do it by ourselves, and that’s a great thing, we need to learn to delegate. Jesus had 12 disciples and no matter what, they have marked history.

5.     Rejuvenate Yourself.

You want to give yourself time to breathe, gather your thoughts and rejuvenate yourself to keep going forward. One Saturday of the month I like to go to SPI by myself to just relax, reflect and have some me-time. Now a 6 month vacation twice a year is extremely different. Now you’re not just rejuvenating yourself you’re on long term vacation. It’s not the same. Haha. Focused thinking and taking some you-time is not the same although you do think about youth ministry but you also think about yourself and your loved ones. So take a day or two for yourself to refuel yourself and then come back ready to work for the Kingdom. Also attending some leadership seminars or conferences help you to rejuvenate and come back with new strength and boldness than ever before. Then go back to your home church and make an impact with the youth God has entrusted you to lead. Excel in your craft young leader!

Jesus never said leading people was going to be easy but it is definitely worth every moment.

 

By: Julian Reyes

What I’ve Learned in My First 3 Years of Youth Ministry

I recently celebrated my 3rd year of serving in youth ministry at Word In Season International.  I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in communications and moved from Kingsville to Harlingen three years ago accepting a job offer at KVEO; a local T.V. station in Brownsville, TX. 

That same year I married my beautiful wife, began attending WISI church, and later became the youth director.   After seven months of being faithful to the ministry the opportunity came up to become full time staff at WISI church.  My wife and I knew we couldn’t pass this up because it was God’s plan for us.   So much has happened in just 3 years, but we have seen God’s hand upon us the entire time.  I have gained greatly in these 3 years, here are a few things.

1.   Always Honor

Without honor nothing can happen.  Jesus showed us this when he goes into his hometown.  He could not perform any miracles because the people never honored him.  I believe we must be better at honoring those whom have gone before us.  It is important to honor your Pastor who placed you on the platform you were given.  He entrusted you to lead, so we must lead with honor.  Remember; if you never honor, you will never receive honor. 

2.   Stay Hungry

No matter the length of time in your leadership role, we must always stay hungry.  Always be hungry for the things of God. Remember the hunger that is within you will be contagious to those around you.  If a few students catch that hunger, and become as hungry as you are things must change.   When we took over our youth ministry it had about twenty students; we invested time into our core team of about ten students who were just as hungry to see God do something fresh and new.  We continue to increase in hunger, and in numbers of students.  Stay hungry, never come to a point in your life where you think you’ve seen and heard it all. 

3.   Stay Humble

Preaching is fun, especially when your students and others are giving you shout outs on social media or sharing your notes. But don’t get caught up in the mix. Stay focused on the purpose of discipleship.   I learned that leading students is not about what you say from the pulpit; instead it’s the time you spent on the phone talking through a tough time, sending a text of encouragement, attending a game/event they are participating in, or having lunch etc.  This will keep you humble at all times.  Always remember we are doing ministry because Jesus has allowed us to.  Continuing to stay humble and God will continue to lift you up; after all he knows exactly where he needs you.  Humbleness speaks loudly of a person. 

4.   Stay Focused

Always read, always pray, always worship.  Stay focused all day every day.  Whenever your focus is on Jesus, it will be difficult to get distracted with what’s going on around us.  There are times as leaders that we may feel unaccomplished, but if we stay focused on Jesus and not on other ministries around us, but firm in running your race, you will find a blessing.  At times, we tend to lose focus because we have access to everyone’s social media and we can see what everyone else is doing.  But remember these things, don’t compare, don’t compete and don’t complain; God has called you to something specific that no one else was called to do.  Stay focused on fulfilling that calling, stay focused on Jesus and everything else will fall into place. 

5.   Don’t quit

“If you don’t quit you’ll win” - Chad Veach 

In three years, I have experienced great ups, and downs.  Students have come and gone.  Ministry is not for the weak, it is for the strong.  Like all battles, if you work harder than your opponent (the enemy) you will win! Don’t quit. The only way to be successful in the win is to be persistent in your growth and be relentless where God has placed you.  A friend of mine said this, “We have accomplished so much because we have outlasted other leaders who quit.”  Hang on my friend; keep pushing forward and always trusting in God because through him all the things you are praying for will come.  The things you believe God to do will happen if you just keep on keeping on; run your race.

 

Noe Longoria is a passionate young leader who possesses the great combination of both influence and example. Starting with only a few students in their youth ministry a couple of years ago, today he leads a vibrant & growing youth ministry at Word In Season International in Harlingen, TX (www.wisichurch.org). He and his lovely wife, Maria are committed to winning, building, and sending students for Jesus Christ. 

@noedotcom

The Three T’s to Building a Team of Young People.

In my five years of being a youth pastor, one major thing I have learned is that you CANNOT do everything yourself. If we can all be honest, and if you’re like me, I think most leaders are the “get it done” type of leaders. We tend to be in everything, and at one point or another, we are doing everything from: setup, tear down, cleaning crew, creative elements, worship, sound, media, etc.. You name it, we’re doing it!

Furthermore, as young leaders, we must continuously develop and refine our leadership skills in order to invest in leading others as best as we can. These are three T’s I have learned through the process of building a team of young people, and I would encourage you to apply, or refine, these practical principles.

Time

Invest time! As young leaders, we must invest time into the next generation and those we are leading. We must invest time into the few we are multiplying ourselves in, invest time into our leadership teams, and invest time into those who enter the doors of our youth ministry.

Our TIME during the day is valuable, and everyone seems to be busy, but if there’s one thing we can learn from Jesus, it’s that he always had TIME for people. He invested a significant amount of time into His twelve disciples, and He invested time into lives that crossed His path on a daily basis, no matter who they were or where Jesus was going. He took TIME out of HIS schedule to invest time into people. The time Jesus spent with people demonstrated that people mattered to Him, and that people should mater to us.    

Here are some practical ways you can do this: First, invest time into yourself. We can never lead others if we are not first leading ourselves (non-negotiable). Second, invest time into your leadership team with meetings and hanging out with them possibly once a month. Get to know them and how they are doing outside of church/ministry. Third, invest time into the young people who make it through your doors. Make time to greet and have small talk with them. You can’t do this alone. Your team must also make people feel loved and welcomed every time.

Trust

Young people can be distant, and they may not trust you at first; this is okay. But, as you invest time into them, they will see more and more what you are really about. Many times, we try to recruit young people on our teams when they don’t know who we are, what we are about, and what they are getting into (not everyone grew up in church). As young leaders, we must gain their trust, and the only way to do this is by serving them. Before they can serve you and your ministry, you must first serve them. Young people can’t be fooled, and know if you are really there for them, or just trying to use them to fulfill your dreams. Genuinely serve young people, and in return, they will genuinely serve you. In the Kingdom of God, we are called to serve. As leaders, we serve first. Then, in due time, we will reap what we sow; at the end of the day, it’s a continuous cycle of serving one another in His Kingdom.

Teamwork

One of John Maxwell’s books is titled “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.” This should be our goal when working with young people and building our teams. The time you invest into young people, and the trust you gain by serving them, are key components to our teams. Just know that as we lead in ministry, there will be times that will be challenging, discouraging, frustrating, and depressing. There will even be times where you will want to quit. But at the end of the day, if we can understand, as leaders, that we are a part of something bigger, that it’s NOT ABOUT US, and model this to our teams, we are headed in the right direction. When it’s not about us, we genuinely work together to fulfill the vision/mission.

 

Peter and Maggie Mireles lead The Fuse Student Ministry with a passion of serving their city and the young people in it. They live in Progreso with their  daughter Chaylie and baby #2 on the way, serving as youth pastors at CDV Church in Progreso, TX under the leadership of Pastors Joe and Noemi Davila.

 @petermireles

@thefuse_sm

Love The People Not The Pulpit

We all want to feel cared for and valued by the significant people in our world. The students you and I lead are no different.

If you and I are going to be effective in ministry as leaders, we must responsibly grow the relationships in our lives.  Ministry is not about special effect lights, smoke machines, cool t-shirts or events; but rather ministry is about people.

Below are a few suggestions and tips on how to improve/ add value to your relationships with students:

1.    Be in prayer.

  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will truly help you see them like Jesus sees them: with eyes of compassion and love.  
  • Pray for them, that God will continue to guide, protect, and bless every area of their life. 
  • Pray for opportunities to grow your relationship with them.

2.    Be intentional.

  • With your time - we make time for the things that are important to us. If we are too busy to spend time with people, are we really leading anybody? I’m not saying you have to spend an entire day with them, but having lunch, going to a movie, or even talking with them 5 minutes after service can make a huge difference in their lives.
  • With your words - The Bible says, that in our tongue/speech is the power of life and death. Use your words to edify, encourage, and build people. Contact them frequently via facebook, text, phone, email, etc… just to say hi or even pray for them. Don’t become someone who just calls people when they need something. The world today says focus on yourself, and don’t worry about anybody else; while the Bible commands us to love our neighbor.
  • With your ears - We can learn so much about others just by listening to them. Because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. I don’t think it’s an accident that God designed us with two ears and only one mouth, maybe so that we could listen the double that we speak. When we fail to listen, we shut off much of our learning potential. Listening establishes trust.

3.    Be consistent.

  • Become genuinely interested in the people you are leading. Somebody once said, “We can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”  
  • Dr. John C Maxwell says, “Leaders touch a heart, before they ask for a hand.” In other words, get to know who they really are.
  • Make others feel important. I heard a definition of success that really impacted me, which was: “Success is leaving people better than how you first found them. That people would say after spending time with us: ‘I really enjoy him/her’, ‘They encourage me’, ‘I feel a lot better now.’”

In conclusion, months and years from now the people we lead will probably not remember our sermons and PowerPoint’s but they will remember our actions towards them. Let us be found faithful with God’s most prized possessions, which are people, whom He has entrusted into our hands. I don’t expect you to put into practice over night everything you just read, but start with one thing and watch how your relationships go to the next level.

 

Joey Salazar is an evangelist that God is using powerfully to reach people all across the nation. Called into ministry at a very young age, he has committed his life to passionately delivering God’s Word to both youth and adults from various walks of life. With his ability to communicate in both English and Spanish, Joey Salazar challenges hearers with a creative, upfront, and anointed message. Joey and his beautiful wife, Zerelys, and two children reside in Mission, TX.

www.joeysalazar.org

@joey_salazar

Four Things Students Need From Their Youth Pastors

 Let’s face it - regardless of your title at your local church (Youth Pastor, Youth Director, Youth Leader, Youth Minister, Student Mentor, the list of titles can go on forever), one thing I know for sure is that you have accepted a calling to help lead students within your local church. Every student ministry is unique and we all have a unique vision for our student ministry. Regardless of our unique visions that fit our student ministry, we all share one thing in common…WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE.  


For two years, I have been blessed to serve and work with young people on a full time basis. Here are just a few things I have learned in the process of working with young people and what has helped us with our student ministry:

1. Relationships

This is key for us when working with our young people. We started with a group of 20 students, and I decided from day one that we would build key relationships with every single one of these students. We have since then grown in various ways, but no matter what, relationships will always be important for us when working with young people. We live in times where students are connected to everything else but personal relationships. They may not tell you to your face, but they are looking for mentor relationships. I guarantee it.

2. Never give up on young people

God never gave up on me. Why would I give up on His people? We have to understand that the world, and everyone else, has given up on them. And now, their “mentor” is giving up…not cool! If you are willing to work with young people, not giving up on your students can and will get messy. When you see the fruit of the student you never gave up on, it will be so rewarding.

3. Don’t ever underestimate their potential

Always be on constant lookout for students you can work alongside, regardless of their age. When working with young people, it's a must that we don’t look at their age, but instead look at their potential and the possibility of them joining in with you to help you reach more students, change your city, and occupy all schools. Right now, the youngest student on our worship team is 12 years old, and the oldest is 18 years old. We are having a blast! Potential over age every time.

4. Be where students are

When you are building relationships with your students, like I mentioned earlier, it’s important to know what they are up to after school. Football, volleyball, basketball, chess, choir, band, ...the list can go on... but find out their schedule and be their number one fan. Plan a day and make it a point to show up and be there to support them. I know you can’t go to every single event, but you can send leaders on your behalf. Do what you can to be where students are. This helped us boost relationships with our students big time. And here’s a bonus… the students you showed up for (your student) will introduce you to their friends (potential new students) whom they’ve been inviting to student ministry nights. You get to personally invite them yourself. Now that’s awesome!

 

Noe Longoria is a passionate young leader who possesses the great combination of both influence and example. Starting with only a few students in their youth ministry a couple of years ago, today he leads a vibrant & growing youth ministry at Word In Season International in Harlingen, TX (www.wisichurch.org). He and his lovely wife, Maria are committed to winning, building, and sending students for Jesus Christ. 

@noedotcom