Dear Youth Pastor,
This training session includes everything you need to lead your team through an exciting hour-long training seminar on "connecting with kids in one-on-one relationships." This training resource can be used by anybody. If you have 6 kids in the group, or 600, these lessons will help you make a difference in your students’ lives. It will also help your volunteer leaders understand why you do what you do in youth ministry.
This free training doesn’t require that you have read Jonathan’s book Connect
, but you will find that you will know this material and be able to teach it much easier having read the book.
Here's what you'll find below:
1. The TRAINING SCRIPT. This is the document you are reading now, and it includes the actual training script you should use while teaching the seminar to your team. It’s specifically designed to match the PowerPoint (linked below) and includes everything you should say and do. Here are a couple things to keep in mind while using this script:
The portions of red text
are notes for YOU
, the PRESENTER
. Just think about them as little cheat sheets for you to use during the seminar.
During the training script, you will also see blue text (typically it will read "NEXT SLIDE")
. There will also be a graphic of the next slide pictured, as well. This is just a visual signal for you to advance the Powerpoint so that what you are "teaching" is also what you are "showing."
Got it? Good!
2. The ACTUAL POWERPOINT
. This is a professional slideshow presentation (that mirrors the training script from start to finish) that you can use in conjunction with the training script below. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE POWERPOINT
Like we said, this is EVERYTHING you need to lead your very own training seminar! We even give you the order you can present this in for maximum effect! We want to provide you with these tools for a couple of reasons. First, this is life-changing information. If your team is better equipped to reach teenagers with God's love, the Kingdom is blessed!
Secondly, we want to provide YOU with a professional seminar that YOU can lead for YOUR group, saving YOU money. This is a professional seminar that we usually charge a couple thousand dollars for when we come in and do it in person, but we’re letting you have it for free. See how much we love you?ONE LAST THING:
This seminar does require a few simple supplies: You’ll need lots of sticky notes, some pens for your leaders to use, some butcher paper, and some tape. Now you’re ready to go. To begin your seminar, start your PowerPoint
and use the training script below.THE TRAINING SCRIPT- (What You Say!)FIRST SLIDE
Welcome to our training session about connecting with kids. We’re gonna have a great time, learn a lot, and increase our impact on the Kingdom of God. I hope you’re ready!(NOTE TO PRESENTER)SHARE PERSONAL STORY - share a personal success story of how time you spent with a kid made a big impact.
Spending time with kids gets me excited about ministry. Spending time with kids helps us do ministry in their lives that lasts an eternity. So, for the next hour, I want to go over some simple ways we can start connecting with kids in one-on-one relationships.NEXT SLIDE
There are basically seven, simple steps to becoming intentional about connecting with kids. I want us to move through them together so we can see how easy it can be to make an eternal difference in the lives of young people. NEXT SLIDESTEP ONE: Realize that connecting with students is priority one.NEXT SLIDE
Think about this for a second. That’s saying a lot. Of all the aspects of youth ministry… is connecting really the number one priority? There isn’t much we can do in the lives of teenagers until we connect with them. I like to call connecting with teenagers, “priority one.” But I’m not alone in this philosophy.NEXT SLIDE
Kurt Johnston, the youth pastor at a “little” church named Saddleback says, “It’s all about relationships.”NEXT SLIDE
Les Christie, Professor of Youth Ministry at William Jessup University, says, “The bottom line in youth ministry is to love kids and love God.”NEXT SLIDE
Yet another leading voice in youth ministry, Mark Oestreicher, co-founder of The Youth Cartel, says, “I think all volunteers need basic training on how to connect with teenagers.”
He’s probably right.NEXT SLIDE
We need to understand the priority of connecting with kids. It’s the most important thing we do as youth leaders. Think about it this way: if we have attract hundreds of kids to our ministry, but never really engage them with godliness, Jesus’ love, salvation, or the church, what have we really accomplished?Not much.
Today’s teenagers are looking for someone to listen to them and help them. They beg for attention in many ways, and if their call goes unheeded, they seek attention in far more dangerous ways.
I want us to begin having one-on-one relationships with our teenagers on a weekly basis. That doesn’t mean that we have to spend a whole day per week with them, but it does mean that at least once per week, we give them a call, shoot them a couple texts, message them on Facebook, take them out for a milkshake, invite them to go grocery shopping, or have them over for family night dinner. You get to decide on what that looks like; I just want it to happen on a regular weekly basis.NEXT SLIDE
Because, connecting is priority one. But we’re not stopping there. Let’s move on.NEXT SLIDESTEP TWO: Understand the difference between outreach and discipleship.NEXT SLIDE
If you boil youth ministry down, everything we do falls into one of two categories: outreach or discipleship. Think about it. We are either trying to help them embrace faith in Jesus…or encouraging that faith in Jesus to grow.NEXT SLIDE
Lots of people have offered lots of definitions for these two terms. Let me offer my simple take on them. How about this for outreach: connecting with people who don’t know Jesus and pointing them to Him through words and actions.
A lot can be said about that statement, but let it suffice to say, the big idea here is that we share our faith in hopes that others will put their trust in Jesus.NEXT SLIDE
On the other side of the fence is discipleship. Let’s go with this for a definition: helping believers grow closer to Jesus and live more like Him. Again, much can be said about that if we were to unpack it, but let’s just keep it simple; we’re trying to get students to look and live like Jesus.NEXT SLIDE
Before we go any further, let me pause and ask a question. What are some examples of our ministry venues that would fit under each of these categories?(NOTE TO PRESENTER: Q & A)
Spend a few moments discussing this question. It will force the leaders to think about the programs that currently exist, but it will also help them understand why you do what you do.NEXT SLIDE
Here, let’s put a line down the middle to further cement in our minds the distinction between outreach and discipleship. These two are not the same, though on occasion, something that we intend to function as discipleship may inadvertently lead someone to Christ (outreach).NEXT SLIDE
Now, let’s take a few of those ideas we just talked about and put them up here with a few examples I’ve provided. As you can see, I’ve listed “visiting campuses,” “concerts,” “open gym,” “students reaching students” “outreach events,” “campus ministry,” and “service projects” as things that clearly fall underneath outreach.
Likewise, discipleship has distinct ministry examples. I thought about “home groups,” “worship services,” “Sunday School,” “youth group,” “Bible studies,” and “Big Church” to name a few.NEXT SLIDE
Like I said, occasionally a kid might come to know Christ at a small group Bible study – and that’s awesome! – but we’ll treat the two differently because there is a big difference between outreach and discipleship.NEXT SLIDESTEP THREE: Recognize the six types of students.
Many youth workers assume kids fall in one of two categories: lost and saved
Let’s think about that for a second. While it’s true that either a kid is saved or not, most of us probably know at least one student who is lost because he’s hard core anti-faith…and most of us probably know a few kids who are lost but come around here sorta exploring what’s happening. On the saved side of the fence, we probably all know a kid who is brand new in their faith and we all probably know a kid who is on fire for God. If we acknowledge this reality, we have to assume there are more than just two types of kids.NEXT SLIDE
In fact, I’d like to talk about six kinds of students we’ll run across in our ministry.
Let’s watch this video.(NOTE TO PRESENTER)Show them this little YouTube video on this page:
That was a pretty good summary. Let’s look at them one kid at a time.NEXT SLIDE
First, there’s the No Way Kid
. Yep, he’s every evangelist’s nightmare. This kid is diametrically opposed to faith of any kind. Maybe this kid hates God or the idea of religion. Maybe this kid was burned by Christians in the past. Whatever the story, for right now, he/she is a No Way Kid
. They want absolutely nothing to do with our God.NEXT SLIDE
Then there’s the Not Interested Kid
. Without a doubt, this is the biggest group of kids in America. There are millions of these kids running around. Unlike the No Way Kid
, the Not Interested Kid
might be fine with the idea of God and faith, but ultimately, he or she is simply not interested. (See why they’re called Not Interested Kids
The third kind of kid on the outreach side of our chart is the Checking Things Out Kid
. These are the students who come around here, taking a look at what’s going on, who’s here, what happens, and so on. They are “checking things out.” These kids are usually closest to making a decision to follow Jesus with their lives.NEXT SLIDE
Now, let’s go ahead and get doctrinal for a moment and label that line that we drew down the middle. Let’s call that the salvation line. Everybody on the left side of that line is “lost” or “unsaved” or “unrepentant” or whatever else you want to call those who live apart from God. On the right side of that line are those who have given themselves to God, asked forgiveness of their sin, and promised to follow Jesus with their lives. Now, just like there are different “shades” of lost kids, there are different shades of saved kids, too. Here, see if you recognize some of these.NEXT SLIDE
First, there is the Stagnant Kid
. This kid has made a “profession of faith” at some point in his life, but it’s hard to tell that he or she is really committed to Christ because their actions don’t match their words. These are the kids who simply are not growing in their faith. Like a puddle of water after a rain, they are stagnant.NEXT SLIDE
Moving a little farther to the right, we run into the Growing Kid
. These are the kids who have also made a commitment to follow Jesus, and their lives reflect that decision. They are learning biblical truth, they are starting to pray, to share their faith, etc. These kids are caring for their faith life like a farmer does for his crops, thus they grow. NEXT SLIDE
Finally, we have the Looking for Ministry Kid
. This young person, like the last one we just talked about, is also growing, but even more than that, he or she is looking for ways to serve, to lead, to teach. These are the kids who want to use their faith to make a difference. We could call them a lot of things, but we’ll settle on “looking for ministry.”
At this point, you might be thinking, “Why did we just do a breakdown of teenagers in our community?” That’s a great question; let me answer it right away.NEXT SLIDE
We went over that breakdown because I want you to understand our goal. Our goal is to move students toward discipleship. When someone puts their trust in Jesus (salvation), their name is moved to the right, from outreach to discipleship.NEXT SLIDE
Here, let me “show” you what that looks like. See, they’ve literally crossed the line of faith. Their life is now headed in the right direction.NEXT SLIDE
Even though there are lots of different kinds of kids – we’ve just talked about them here – sadly, a lot of youth ministry groups only focus on one of the two. Some ministries only focus on the lost…and some only focus on the saved.NEXT SLIDE
A typical parachurch ministry like Young Life or Youth for Christ or Campus Crusade, looks a lot like this graphic. There are a ton of lost kids roaming around. But there’s only a few Stagnant Kids
…and usually fewer Growing Kids
and Looking for Ministry Kids
, if any at all. These kinds of groups are almost solely focused on outreach…and it shows.NEXT SLIDE
Conversely, this is what a typical church youth ministry looks like. There are a lot of saved kids found in it. There are even a few Checking Things Out Kids
. But what about the No Way Kids
or the Not Interested Kids
? Where are they? Are they not being pursued? These kinds of groups typically focus on ministering to the saved kids and don’t spend a lot of energy on the lost students in their area.NEXT SLIDE
There are six kinds of kids. We want them all!NEXT SLIDESTEP FOUR: Inventory the spiritual pulse of your students.
Every entrepreneur knows the importance of doing inventory checks on a regular basis. They need to know what they’ve got on hand, and equally important, they need to know how they should resupply. I want us to borrow that idea for a few minutes.NEXT SLIDE
I’ve given everybody a handful of sticky notes and I’ve labeled this wall in such a way that it looks like our chart. You’ll see that every category we’ve talked about is represented up there. Now that everything is set, I want you to write the name of our kids on an individual sticky note. I’ll give you a few minutes to do that now. Just make sure you only write one name per note.(NOTE TO PRESENTER: Sticky Note Activity)This is the part of the seminar that requires the sticky notes, the butcher paper, and the tape. Make sure everyone has enough sticky notes and a pen before proceeding. Also, you should have the butcher paper taped to the wall and labeled to look like the graphic (with 6 columns). The goal is to get all of the names of kids in your ministry on sticky notes- one kids per note. Depending on your group, you might want to help your leaders decide how to do this. If you run small groups, you can instruct your leaders, “Just write down the names of the kids in your small groups.” If each of your leaders hang with certain kids, then have them write down each of those kids. Have a plan for overlap, as well as kids who are missed. That might be a discussion in itself. “Why is no one writing down these kids?” or “How come no one knows that one kid’s name?” Probably a pretty good sign that no one has connected with them.NEXT SLIDE(NOTE TO PRESENTER)Give them a few minutes to complete this exercise. While they are working, show this slide that illustrates one kid’s name per note.NEXT SLIDE
Now that everybody has finished writing out the names of our students, I want you to go and place that sticky note under the column you think it belongs in.NEXT SLIDE
For example, if you think Morgan is a Checking Things Out Kid
, put her there. If you think Zack has become stagnant in his faith, put him the correct column. I’ll give you a few minutes to actually get up out of your seats to do this.(NOTE TO PRESENTER)Give them a moment to complete this task. If you’d like to see a YouTube video of Jonathan leading this exercise, see here:
(we don’t recommend you show this video, but watch how Jonathan leads it).NEXT SLIDE
OK. Now that everybody has written our students’ names on a sticky note and placed it where they think it belongs, let me ask a question: Why should we do this? Why is inventorying the spiritual pulse of our kids so important…or is it?NEXT SLIDE
Some of us realized in the midst of this process that we don’t know our students as well as we thought we did. We’re going to have to know them if we are to help them. Let’s just see this as an opportunity for our
Further, for those kids we do know, it helps cement in our minds and hearts the kind of help they need. When we truly know our students – not just inside the church but outside, too – it helps us meet their needs. If we understand them deeply, we can impact them deeply.NEXT SLIDE
Finally, this chart is gonna help us have accountability for our youth ministry. We’re going to do this again in a few months. At that time, I sincerely hope that our chart looks different. Those students who are Not Interested Kids
need to cross the line of faith and become Growing Kids
. Likewise, our current Growing Kids
need to be challenged to become Looking for Ministry Kids
. That will only happen if we continually try to move kids to the right…toward ministry leadership.NEXT SLIDE
That’s why we take inventory. We’ll do this from time to time to make sure we’re staying on track in our mission to make disciples.NEXT SLIDESTEP FIVE: Notice trends from your spiritual inventory.
We’ve built a chart that is based on OUR youth ministry. Charts paint a picture that might elude us in word format. So, let’s look at some possible ministry situations to see what we can determine from an observational standpoint.NEXT SLIDE
Here’s the first one. What do you notice about this ministry?(NOTE TO PRESENTER)Give them a few minutes to dissect the situation and think about the implications of this kind of ministry.NEXT SLIDE
Here’s another ministry situation. What can you infer from this chart?(NOTE TO PRESENTER)Give them a few minutes to dissect this situation, as well.NEXT SLIDE
Here, just one more. What can we learn by looking at this example?(NOTE TO PRESENTER)Same thing; give them a few minutes to discuss the situation and think about what it means.NEXT SLIDE
The only way we can develop ministry that reaches our students, impacts them where they’re at, and challenges them to become Christ-like is to notice trends. When we’ve done that, we can easily do one of the most important steps.NEXT SLIDESTEP SIX: Program for balance.
In many ways, this is where the rubber meets the road. We need to program for balance. Looking at our chart, it’s pretty easy to see that we might benefit from some programming that’s more balanced. NEXT SLIDE
Let’s start by discussing what programming is. To put it as simply as I can, programming is what we do to be able to minister to students.NEXT SLIDE
Programming creates opportunities that put us in contact with all six types of students. Our programming is the special events, weekly stuff, service projects, retreats, camps, and so on that allow us to impact every student from the No Way Kid
to the Looking for Ministry Kid
…and all those in between.NEXT SLIDE
Let’s take a look at some of the various ministry venues that provide opportunities to connect with diverse students.NEXT SLIDE
There are home groups. We can visit campuses where our students go to school. We might provide an open gym or offer our students the opportunity to sacrifice on a service project.NEXT SLIDE
Of course, there are worship services, on campus ministries such as FCA, YFC, and Young Life, and of course, students reaching students.NEXT SLIDE
“Big Church,” Bible studies, and outreach events just add to the depth of our programming.NEXT SLIDE
We round it out with youth group time, concerts, and Sunday School.
Granted, right now, that looks a little scary and really disorganized. What’s what? How does this fit? What do we do with this? That?NEXT SLIDE
Let me remind all of us: we don’t have to do all these things. We just need to keep it simple...and balanced. Regardless of how much we do, or how little we do, we’re gonna need to keep it balanced.
Let’s go back to those two columns we talked about earlier: outreach and discipleship. By understanding that everything we do fits into ONE of these two columns, it helps make sense of why we do what we do.NEXT SLIDE
Here, take a look. It’s easy to see that things like outreach events and campus visits fall into the outreach column. Likewise, it’s just as easy to see that stuff like Bible studies and worship services fall into the discipleship column. NEXT SLIDE
Let’s do another sticky note exercise. I want you to write down the name of a program we’ve done in the last six months onto a sticky note. Just write one event/service project/camp/etc. per sticky note. When you’ve got that done, I want you to walk over to this wall, and place it where it fits on the two column chart.(NOTE TO PRESENTER)Give them a few minutes to complete this task. Further, you may want to place another piece of butcher paper, labeled of course, on another wall if you have a big group.NEXT SLIDE
Knowing there are only two columns into which our programs can fall, let’s make sure that our programming avoids the two obvious mistakes.NEXT SLIDE
If our ministry looks like this…with everything stacked on the discipleship side of programming…NEXT SLIDE
Then we are way out of balance. We are only focused on providing opportunities for saved kids. We’re not putting any emphasis on evangelism or outreach.NEXT SLIDE
Of course, our ministry could look like this. All of our events and programs are in the outreach category.NEXT SLIDE
If so, we’re still out of balance, just in another direction. In this scenario, we’re totally focused on getting little Tommy to make a decision to follow Jesus, but then, we basically leave him to fend for himself. That’s not a good environment, either.NEXT SLIDE
Let’s do everything in our power to make sure our ministry looks something like this. From this, we can see a ministry that’s in balance. It doesn’t have to be a one-to-one ratio like I’ve created here…we just can’t be lopsided in either direction.NEXT SLIDE
As this simple picture shows, a ministry that includes those elements is a ministry that is in balance. In that scenario, every kid from the No Way Kid
to the Looking for Ministry Kid
is being engaged with the Gospel.NEXT SLIDE
We need to program for balance.NEXT SLIDESTEP SEVEN: Develop individual goals to connect.
The whole idea here is to connect one-on-one, right? We haven’t come this far to abandon “priority one.” Now that we’ve done all this, the last item on our agenda is to make a plan to connect with students one-on-one.NEXT SLIDE
So, let’s look at an example, again. Knowing what we know about the kinds of kids we’re dealing with, and what their potential needs are, let me ask a question.NEXT SLIDE
“What are our goals with Riley?” We’re definitely going to want to spend time with him. We’re gonna want to encourage his presence around here. We want him to know he matters to us. We should probably tell him why he’s important to us. But we also need to teach him that he is currently outside of a relationship with God. We need to give him everything he needs to move across the line of faith.NEXT SLIDE
But don’t forget: even though we want him to cross a line of faith, we don’t want to move him from “Checking Things Out” to “Stagnant.” We want to move him from “Checking Things Out” to “Looking for Ministry.” NEXT SLIDE
Let’s do another one. What are our goals with Alyssa who is a Stagnant Kid
?(NOTE TO PRESENTER)You walked them through the first example. Let them take charge on this one. Let them provide the insights.NEXT SLIDE
Just one more. What about Dillon? What does he need?(NOTE TO PRESENTER)Same thing; give them the opportunity to talk about this kind of student.NEXT SLIDE
Now we have a game plan for actually connecting with our students one-on-one. We understand the importance of developing goals to connect with our students one-on-one. But that can’t happen if we don’t do all of this. NEXT SLIDE
We must understand what “priority one” is for our youth ministry. We must also understand the difference between outreach and discipleship. We should be able to identify the six kinds of students roaming our community and church and inventory their spiritual pulse. If we notice trends and program for balance, then we’re positioned to develop individual goals to connect with students one-on-one.NEXT SLIDE
Now, the only thing for us to do is to go connect with kids. Thanks for coming. Before we dismiss, let’s pray together for our efforts to impact these kids for eternity in one-on-one relationships.