JCISONLINE

Helping Leaders in Student Ministry

Want to see your team grow together, faster? Here’s how

Everyone wants their team to be on the same page. However, sometimes it seems like we just don’t have the time or the margin to make that happen. In my experience there is one thing that can help bring your team together in an unbelievable way, pretty quickly.

Reading a book together.

I know it might seem like pulling teeth, but if you lead the charge (and buy the books for your team ;) ) they will follow suit.

Orange has written a few new books that released earlier this year that would be a great start to getting your team together.

My friends over at Orange Books are offering some great deals this week. You can get any of the deals, but only through tomorrow. Here’s one that’s sure to help you get your on the same page and growing together:

Buy the Book Club Bundle (5 or more copies each of Creating a Lead Small Culture, Make Believe, or Married People), and get all of the following:

  • “What Is Orange?” (Orange Conference 2014 breakout by Reggie Joiner, audio file)
  • Do for a Few: A Training Event in How to Lead Small (a training and event guide)
  • One ticket to Orange Tour 2014

Plus, when you tweet or share on Facebook any of the deals using the hashtag #OrangeBooks, you’ll be entered to win a prize.

Go to OrangeBooks.com to learn more.

Focus@will

I’ve recently been toying with a few apps/websites that have me really excited. I’ll share one with you today.

It’s called focus@will.

This site has dramatically increased my productivity over the last week of trying it out. I’m currently on a 30 day trial.

Here’s the thing about it:

Focus@will designs playlists of music that will increase your focus. It doesn’t use music that will distract you.

Here is an explanation from their website:

Here’s how it works:

Most people can only concentrate for a maximum of about 100 continuous minutes before needing to take a quick break to stretch, move about, maybe get a drink of water, and so on before they resume for another session.

The focus@will system makes it easier for you to get into the concentration flow, and then keeps you there. It works in the background by subtly soothing the part of your brain, the limbic system, that is always on the lookout for danger, food, sex or shiny things.

We’ve learned that people working or studying tend to take about 20 minutes to acclimate to their environment enough to really focus on the task at hand. It takes time for your brain to get used to a stimulus and start “tuning it out” in a process called “habituation”.

Each piece of music phase sequenced by focus@will has a specific role in influencing how your brain habituates, enhancing your focus and reducing distractions. Characteristics such as musical key, intensity, arrangement, speed, emotional values, recording style, and much more determine what is played where and when.

And I can honestly tell you that it has increased my productivity, especially when it comes to writing. So I’m pumped about it and you should definitely check it out.

Rest

Camps are over. Can we all just let out a collective sigh of relief? I love camp but they are energy draining events. 

I’ve had a few days off and am getting ready to roll into a new year. Just some encouragement. Take some days to unwind. Listen to some good music. Eat some good food and hang with the people you love.

Looking forward to a new year of ministry!

Leader or Youth Pastor

So I’ve recently been listening to the Parent Ministry Podcast put on by parentministry.net. It’s been the most practical ministry podcast that I’ve ever listened to. Andy Stanley’s Leadership podcast is probably the best on leadership but no necessarily practical for ministry at all times.

So back to the Parent Ministry Podcast, Kurt Johnston was on and he talked about being a great youth pastor learning to be a leader.

I’ve learned that I’m a leader and I’m learning to be a youth pastor. My strength is helping people take next steps and learning to process the environment around them and how they can take responsibility. Thinking ahead and thinking strategically. 

However, our students need more and while I’m getting world changers as staff people and volunteers to cover those weaknesses. It’s still an area of growth for me. 


So just thought I’d have you ponder this today. Our students need leaders and youth pastors. So which side of the pendulum do you swing? 


Are you a leader learning to be a youth pastor or a youth pastor learning to be a leader?

What do you do when your students don’t show up?

So what do you do when the kids in your small group don’t show?


1. Know that it’s ok

Your students will move along and will be inconsistent. It isn’t always a reflection on your leadership. Sometimes, students just can’t make it. 


2. Contact them

If they came to your group, they are a part of your flock. Treat them like they are your student, rather than a flighty kid. Care before you share.

Shoot a quick text, or mention them on social media to let them know that you missed them at group or service.

Caring for your flock goes a long way.


3. Care for those that did attend

While you are there, care for those that came. Invest in them, love on them, show them God’s word.

Don’t judge the effectiveness of your group by the numbers. Before you get crazy discouraged, get a hold of yourself and ask God to do what only He can do.

You + God = unbelievably effective team. So minister like crazy to the students in your care.


4. Gain a long term perspective

It’s easy sometimes to view your success on a week to week basis. Unfortunately, a lot of youth ministry leaders view themselves as good as their last week. 

I’ve been at my church for more than 6 years. My ministry gains effectiveness the longer that I’m here. Treat your students as if you will care about them for the next 4 years instead of the next 4 weeks.


So don’t get stressed when the kids don’t show. 

Care for those that God brings you.

How to post to Instagram from your Computer

If you’re like me you love the potential of Instagram for your organization. The ability to share key thoughts and increase the visibility with young people is something that is very interesting to a lot of leaders. But it’s limiting to you because it’s a mobile only application. While creating content on a mobile device is better than it’s ever been (can you even have imagined you could create graphics on your phone 10 years ago!) it’s not as robust as a computer. And if you’re like me, you are more comfortable working on a computer and can crank things out much faster than on your phone.

So I’ve been looking for a solution to post and manage an Instagram profile from a desktop computer.

This is pretty much the best thing that I’ve found.

Latergramme is that solution.

You can schedule posts with pre-edited photos from your computer and they will sync to your device.

It works like this…

1. Sign up for a Latergramme account,

2. Download the Latergramme app

3. Connect Latergramme and Instagram

4. Create a graphic on your computer

5. Schedule it in Latergramme

6. When your schedule arrives, you’ll get a notification and you can put the picture into Instagram at the push of a button.

The process isn’t without issues.

  • You have to be logged into the correct account on your Instagram account before the scheduled time.
  • You have to download the latergramme app for your phone.

 

But all in all, it’s been a great solution so far. Hoping for a Hootsuite type integration for Instagram soon.

What does your process look like for posting to Instagram for your ministry?

Change message at Brookwood Church

I was recently given the opportunity to speak to adults at Brookwood. We are going thru the book of Philippians.

 

Here’s the video:

 

 

 

The end of the tape

So apparently cassette adapters have an end. Who knew?

Made me think about the brevity of life this morning.

Lord, teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

Didn’t expect it. Didn’t know it was possible. This time I had a fix. Maybe not next time.

Make the most of the time that you have!

Published via Pressgram

Mini Blog Vacation

So I haven’t blogged in a long while, but I’m writing more than ever. I’ve been away on a mission trip in Peru and have had a great time of reflection. 

Couple things I’ll mention as a challenge to you before sharing some new plans with you.


1. Disconnect

I turned off my phone for 6 straight days while I was gone. It was the most reflection I’ve done on my own life for a long time and it increased the amount that I missed my family. 

Couldn’t check out what they were doing or hear from them everyday.

We actually had to share what we did during the week rather than just check the news feed and it was awesome!


2. Write

I miss writing for myself. Not that I don’t love writing this blog, but my love for writing started with journaling my life for my consumption. 

I miss that. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have the time for both. But it increased my desire to journal and not share it with the world. 


So I really challenge you, disconnect. If that doesn’t make sense for your regular lifestyle, then schedule an international trip or vacation and force it to happen.


Write, write and write some more. It’s the best therapy that I’ve ever had and nothing makes me feel more comfortable with myself.

Looking forward to sharing more about what’s ahead!! 

Move Series


This week we started a new series in Crave. It’s entitled MOVE from XP3. It’s a series about serving others. 

We had a great start to the series last night.

Really cool story. A student came up to me last night that will be going on a misison trip in a couple of weeks. She was so pumped. She shared with me that she had been waiting on this particular trip since she was in 5th grade… Why?


Because her dad leads this trip. She sees pictures, hears stories, and sees her dad serving others every year.

This stuck out to me because I think parents need to remember that children are watching you. If you want your students to develop into people that put others before themselves, then you must model it for them.

This daughter has been waiting to take a step with her dad for more than 5 years! Imagine the amount of anticipation and the things that God has been planning for her for that amount of time.

Parents, this week take some time to model service to others. Mow someone’s grass. Buy dinner for someone. Allow your student to see and participate as you show them what it means to serve others.

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