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100 tips for staff

Tip 67 - 79

Here in 2.Timothy 4, 10 there is a bitter experience to be found. A good member of staff and friend has given up and has cancelled their job. This can happen. It happened in those days and it still happens today so you must reckon with it. However be on your guard that it does not happen to you.

  1. Accept that there will always be people who turn away from their faith

    It is bitter when a member of your group has auspiciously devoted their life to Jesus and then after a short (or longer) time turns away from faith again. That can hit you personally or at least, I went through this. However these things can happen. There are enough parts of the bible which speak about this. Even Jesus once asked „do you want to leave me as well?” It is better that you know about it now than to be totally surprised when one or two members of your group leave their faith behind.

  2. Take care that it does not happen to you

    If you know that there is the possibility that your group members can turn away from God then it could happen to you as well. This can happen quicker than you think because God’s adversary tries everything to make it come so far. It starts off with little doubts, little stumbling blocks, defeats in youth work or maybe even the disappointment that group members who you are fond of suddenly no longer want anything to do with Jesus and that puts you on shaky ground. Watch out for the symptoms and take extra care.

Titus 2,15
That is also a part of it: Be truthful and be without any doubt. Others will only believe what you say if you really stand for the things you say. It is not important how great you prepare a devotion or a speech but how seriously you stand behind what you say and show that it is important to you.

  1. Be truthful and have no doubt

    Children have an unbelievable feeling for fairness and truth. I think that children also have feeling whether you are telling them a tale of whether you stand up for what you say. If you come across as unbelievable you will be unbelievable (whatever the reason) then doubts are created. Doubts become even larger if you do not take the truth so precisely.

Here in Titus 3, 9-11 the subject is about working together and especially about those who cannot learn and keep being wilfully obstructive, people who do not put Jesus at the centre of things but themselves or some other false teachings. There are truly unnecessary discussions at times which do not lead to anything and do not deal with Jesus but more about „wanting to be proved right“. Sometimes it can be an advantage to separate from members of staff who are no longer following the proper goal and cannot be carried by others. However such a decision is certainly not easy.

  1. Do not take part in slandering and annoying others

    Arguments, quarrels and gossip is totally unnecessary. Everyone understands that and would put their signature to it, but we still do it. We let ourselves be dragged into things by others and are suddenly at the centre of things. Even ongoing debates about “theologically important questions“ or the development of overall concepts often do not help lead to faith or even have a central meaning for youth work. That costs time, energy and nerves and does not bring youth work forwards. The tip which is hiding behind this is easy: let others debate and discuss but do not take part yourself.

  2. There is a lot behind this tip too. Those who orientate themselves toward the essential things and do not let themselves be held up by unimportant things (such as quarrelling and arguing) will reach their target more quickly and efficiently. Lots of people cannot distinguish between important and unimportant. They get bogged down with unimportant things and waste their time unnecessarily. Therefore consider: is this useful for the things I have planned and want to do? Does it have any use for the group? Does it have any use for the faith of the individuals in the group? Does it encourage (faith) community within the group?

  3. Correct 1-2 times then part ways

    Are there workers who do everything but Christian youth work, not to mention telling the group something about Jesus? Are there workers who consciously preach something falsely? Then it is time to intervene. A clear instruction should follow 1-2 times.

  4. Better a dismal end than no end to the dismay

    Sometimes it is better to part from someone because continuing working together does not make any sense and they obviously do not have any insight. It can be difficult and is a burden on everyone but it is a step which presents the best solution for all involved. When certain workers on a camp consciously work against the other workers or the camp leaders which puts the camp in danger, it is advisable that these workers are sent home. If a worker abuses their position over group participants and subjects the participants to damage then it is better to part ways with these members of staff. There are also other examples about when a separation makes sense. However before it gets this far you should talk with those involved. An intermediary as a neutral party is recommended or an „elder’s council” to calm down the heated mood.

The reference in Hebrews 5, 11-6.1 is also very well known. For one thing, as a member of staff, you must mature in your faith and “become adult”. On the other hand it should be your goal to bring your kids towards faith so that they can stand on their own two feet with their faith at some point. Sometimes it can simply drive you crazy that your group does not seem to be making any progress. In this reference in the bible the author also seems to have been frustrated and wanted to shake his community members/group members to open their eyes.

  1. Become mature in faith

    Only those who are mature in their faith can mediate faith. You cannot give others “food” if you have not been “fed” yourself. The image used here is that of a baby. It is a long path to becoming an adult – in faith too. However only those who have made experiences in faith can give others the relevant support because they are speaking from their own experience.

  2. Awaken

    Every now and again it is necessary to make an analysis of the situation, to lead your group out of lethargy, give them a shake, give courage and motivate them in their faith.

  3. Put your foot down

    If a gentle shake and encouragement do not work then you have to become a little clearer and speak your mind with clear words. These clear words were spoken to the Hebrews and they were necessary. Paul seemed to be short of blowing a fuse. Nothing is deadlier than stagnation in faith. Your youth work will also become stagnant if you and your faith do not make progress. You cannot accompany your group until the end. At some point the group members must mature in their faith so much that they no longer need you. However if you are in the same situation with your group as Paul with the Hebrews then get used to the fact that it is a long run – or put your foot down and give them a little shake.

In 2.Peter 1, 12-13 it talks about „not falling asleep”. Nothing is more dangerous than a momentary nodding off while driving. It can also be the case that faith is moving along and despite this; Peter knew that it could still be dangerous. From these verses we can learn that it is better to point something out more than once, it is better to shake the group members more than once than risk it being too late.

  1. Keep reminding – better one time too many than one time too little

    Some kids have to be told everything 3 times and in dangerous situations it is always better to point out the sources dangers once too often as once too little.

  2. Give them a shake

    Whether this is with reference to faith or other things: show the group members their behaviour in a mirror image, give them a shake and show them the possible results. Anyone who just keeps walking on the same path without turning around, anyone who does not look where they are going because they are “sleep walking” will experienced a nasty surprise in the end.

  3. Caution

    The group participants do not like to hear warnings. They get enough of those from their parents and teachers. However cautions are also necessary in youth work. The cautions must be even more consequential if the danger arises that a youth brings himself or the group into danger.

Go to Tip 80 - 90

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