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100 tips for staff

Tip 53 - 66

In 2.Timothy 4,1-8 it deals with THE JOB. Similar to the words in 2.Corinthians 4, 1-13 it is noted that the completion of a job is not so easy and that there will be difficulties. Your kids will probably run after other things than let themselves be impressed by Jesus and you should not lose courage. The image of the runner holding on until the end of the race comes through again. In these 8 verses there are really easy to understand, concrete experiences described.

  1. Announce God’s word

    Christian youth work without proclamation – in whichever form – is not Christian youth work. That is just youth work. When the kids go home and their parents ask, „what did you do this time? Did you learn something about God?“ and every time the kids tell their parents which fantastic things they did but nothing was said about God and faith then that is a far cry from „Christian“ youth work. Jesus gave us the missionary command and gave us the task of passing on his word.

  2. Engage yourself for God’s word anywhere and anytime

    This does not mean that you should run about with the bible under your arm all the time and raise your finger to cite passages of the bible. There are other ways to announce God’s word – other groups, circles and events. Maybe you can have a supporting and inviting effect there too.

  3. Appeal to the conscience

    When someone appeals to your conscience, they want you to realise for yourself and see what you have done wrong. We can only make changes to ourselves with self acknowledgement and insight. It is obvious that children cannot know and do everything and lots of things go wrong. Children and youths nowadays are influenced by the most different things and are often subjected to negative influences. The youths cannot always recognise for themselves what is going on and which consequences an unconsidered and uncritical dealing with one or two subjects can have. A conversation which helps open their eyes, an appeal to their conscience and showing them another point of view is very helpful for youths.

  4. Correct others

    Sometimes even „appealing to someone’s conscience” does not help. You sometimes require a clear instruction and a sharp correction. Anyone who does not stick to the rules has to deal with the consequences (– with a sense of judgement please).

  5. Encourage your kids

    There are always children and youths who do not have the confidence to do things. Motivate and encourage these children to take part and integrate them into the group. Encourage those who do not have the self confidence and always think “I’ll never manage it.” Especially the children who want to change themselves require encouragement.

  6. Teach patiently and be patient

    If you have to explain something for the tenth time then your patience level is usually strapped and things are not moving forward as you want and had expected. Patience is required. How long did you need before you understood a certain aspect (in faith, in your life)? And you expect that your group members will manage to understand it in half the time? Then learn to be patient!

  7. Recognise that there are times when no one wants to hear about God

    You were highly motivated and well prepared ready to start your group session. Today you wanted to tell your group members about God’s love. How stupid: no one seems to want to listen at all. Other subjects are important and the kids are totally distracted. You are really quite frustrated. It is mentioned in the bible that you must reckon with the fact that devotions, bible work and the announcement of God’s word is not always accepted and that there are groups and times when such things are totally refused. Do not let it get you down. It is quite normal.

  8. Acknowledge that other things are more enjoyable

    The youth of today, and probably not just those of today but all youths past and present, have more important things and things which are more enjoyable than going to a Christian group. If one or two from the group suddenly no longer want to attend because something else has become more important, this is a normal (if quite saddening) process. It is sadder if they give up on faith as well.

  9. Acknowledge that people look for other teachers

    You must be quite clear about the fact. Uncomfortable things are easily and quickly refused by youths. If your group becomes „too tight” and God’s word is too uncomfortable, then youths will look for other more comfortable groups and leaders who meet the tastes of the youth.

  10. Be observational

    The more experienced you are the earlier you can recognise developments within your group. The earlier you notices any changes the quicker you can react and adapt yourself and your program to suit. However this does required a certain level of observation, reflection and assessment of the group events.

  11. Keep calm

    Panic and worry that your group will split up is not necessary. Sleep on your thoughts and analyse your group in peace.

  12. Do not let yourself be caught out

    The group members often try to catch you out. There are always those who come less and less and always have an excuse ready instead of just telling you the truth that the program is not good, that the bible work is not enjoyable, that unsolved conflicts are present and that everything isn’t any fun anymore. There are a few warning signals beforehand. Try to ask questions and keep asking again. Maybe you will be able to find out a few real reasons and deal with them. There are things which we cannot change – but one or two things we can change if we want.

  13. Preach intrepidly

    There are youth workers who avoid devotions and such things out of pure fear of losing their group members. They allow themselves to be influenced by negative comments from their group members, give in to the pressure and let a planned devotion go to ground. However I think that anyone who chooses interesting, exciting and relevant subjects will find an ear with the youths. Maybe your devotions are too boring, too flat and not really spoken out with the spirit of God. Maybe you do not have enough confidence in Jesus. Maybe you do not know your kids well enough yet and talk at odds. However you should never let yourself be frightened otherwise you have already lost.

  14. Apply your service loyalty and conscientiousness

    Loyalty and conscientiousness are also a part of being a member of staff. Consistency is important and proves loyalty. I have experienced youth staff members before who have simply failed to turn up without excusing themselves and I have seen youth workers who have simply, written a note and hung it on the door with “the group is cancelled today!” just because they wanted to go to a party. I have seen group leaders who always arrive too late. We cannot talk about conscientiousness and commitment with these members of staff. If you want to be a member of staff or a group leader it has consequences. It requires a high level of commitment, loyalty and responsibility. To want to be a member of staff is not just a short-term decision, but is a matter which should last approx. 2-3 years. Committed youth work pays. The committed and responsible youth leader is the one who is regarded well by the group members and is seen as „my group leader“. The group members tend to turn to “loyal and conscientious” members of staff with their problems and not to those where they notice “he doesn’t take it very seriously”!

Go to Tip 67 - 79

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