Category Archives: Youth Ministry

For the summer our youth group is meeting at a community park. It’s a great opportunity for our students to get outside and enjoy the amazing creation of our maker. What makes this more amazing than just getting outside the walls of our local church is the excitement I can see in our students. There’s this smile they give when about to play potato, or that distinct high-five they give each other that really reminds me what I love about my job. I love hanging with my students…period!

They are incredibly challenging, smart and talented. Even more so they are working out their salvation with fear and trembling as the Apostle Paul said in his letter to the Philippians. There’s this movement that’s happening in which our students are really searching for Jesus. They want an authentic relationship with him, and when I say authentic what I really mean is life transformation. That’s where the money is.

When we really think about our relationship with Jesus Christ was are some things that come to mind? What identifiers emerge from your analysis? Is Jesus the absolute center of your world? I believe that is the question many of my students are asking, but not asking. They want authenticity but often times don’t know how or where to begin looking for such a thing. That’s where I come in.

My mission for our students is pretty simple: I want them to love God, love others, and change the world. To love something or someone is to know them. I want our students to know God. Not just in a sunday school sort of way, but in a all life changing sort of way. Where all you want is Jesus. Through that encounter, we begin to learn how to love others, and from that love of others, we can change the world.

Who are we changing the world for?

It’s all about Jesus. When we remove everything that we hold dear to, all the convictions we constantly argue over, and the petty agendas, Jesus still remains. Because we have nothing without him. Youth group, the local church, it’s all for nothing if it doses’t have Jesus.

There’s a movement happening in my group. They want Jesus. They want to go deeper. They want meat instead of milk. They want life transformation, and I sit here in complete awe of the working of the Holy Spirit in our youth group. It’s all about Jesus!!!

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What I Learned from TRON frisbee

Last night instead of having a typical youth group night we planned an event, TRON ultimate frisbee. In a few words it was absolutely awesome! Imagine glow sticks, a glow in the dark frisbee, music from TRON: legacy, and whole bunch of students running around like crazies; sounds like fun huh? However, there were some things that I learned from this event and hopefully this will continue to be a regular part of our student ministry.

Not all students are athletes

There are two kinds of students at an event like this: 1) an athlete and 2) the non-athletic. Neither student is better than the other, though the athletic minded will take anything that has a hint of competition and run with it (pun intended), while the others will adapt to the event and make it something they can connect to.

Students will find ways to have fun

This event was no doubt super fun. I mean seriously, who doesn’t like glow sticks? What was more awesome was to see students interact with other students that they normally wouldn’t interact with on any given day. One of the reasons we plan corporate games like these is to get everyone on the field to socialize. This brings conversations, laughter, and fun. Students who normally see students in a specific way could often walk away thinking “wow, I never knew that Josh was so good at frisbee!” 

Everybody loves Electronica

I don’t care what you say, you drop a beat on the iPod and your foot is going to move. You can’t help it, it’s the way God designed us to be. We are moved by music. Period! The music couldn’t have been more appropriate for TRON frisbee.

 

Advent Conspiracy 2011

Worship Fully // Spend Less //  Give More //  Love All

The question is what will you do?

The 10 facts about WCMT 2011

These are facts not opinions. These are rules not suggestions. These are the memories of past, not the thoughts of the unknown. This is West Coast Missions Tour.

  1. Potato reigns as king above all games.
  2. Nothing ever goes as planned.
  3. You will smell things never known to man.
  4. The homeless have names and eye colors.
  5. You will learn to hate sandwiches.
  6. Big Blue is home.
  7. There is always a way to a Spaghetti Factory.
  8. Camaraderie is built upon chaos.
  9. Vivian’s breakfast sandwiches are traded for gold in some countries…they’re that good!
  10. There are is always a leader who is willing to talk, not matter the time.

Summer, Youth Ministry, and Silver Unicornes

Within the realm of youth ministry summer has always brought great joy and often times, great pains. It’s a time where student’s schedules are open, a time where opportunities for building relationships arrive consistently and with impromptu ferver. It’s a time to relax.

Think…strategic!

One of the things I love about the summer is the amount of face time I get to spend with students. I love being able to have those impromptu lunch gatherings where you can joke, ask questions, eat, and learn more about the students that are in your care. If you’re strategic you can end up learning a ton about our kids and their lives. For me it’s more than lunch, questions and whatnot…it’s about being intentional about what we do. Building relationships is tough work; it takes time, energy and patience. Students are like cats, in that they don’t give their loyalties easily. Summer definitely gives you the edge.

Below is a quick list of things to do (consider):

Look at summer as a strategic starting point for developing a student leader program- Use this time to observe students who demonstrate leadership qualities, and invest in them! Develop the framework, pray and launch!

Invest in your volunteer leaders.-With summer bringing more time to hang with students, don’t neglect your volunteer leaders. Invite them over for a BBQ, play some games, continue to empower and encourage!

Read, pray, and process- Summer is a good time to read a book that you’ve been putting off. I would recommend something that is perhaps not a ministry related book. Read something different! As always in ministry we should be praying. Prayer changes things (trust me on this) and what a great opportunity to develop a new element in your prayer life. During the summer season I always try to process the things we do in our ministry. I look at what we do and how we can make it great. Not a bad concept to utilize.

What are you going to do this summer?

 

[side note] you’re probably wondering why “Silver Unicornes” was listed in the header? There is in fact no reason as to why I put that in the title, only that I have a sick obsession for observing the awkward. Never forget awkward Sunday!!!

What I Learned This Sunday

This past sunday I was given the wonderful opportunity to preach in both services at the church I serve at. Although this was a privilege and an honor, I have never been so nervous in my life. For years I have preached to hundreds of junior high and high school students, however, bringing the Word to adults is another story.

As I spent two weeks prepping for this sermon, I continually learned many things about the passage I was going to examine and ultimately myself. The Lord has shown me golden nuggets of wisdom in every turn of study. Below is a quick list of the things I learn from preaching on Sunday.

Know Your Audience- In the context of preach or preparing a speech this is a no brainer. For years my target audience has been teenagers, and from that I’ve become accustom to prepping sermons and lessons that are taylor-made to strike at the heart of youth culture. However, in this case, since the target audience was primarily adults with vast variety backgrounds I was to use methods that seemed strange and unfamiliar. I used a “Mac vs. PC” illustration that seemed to bomb in the first service and was well received  in the second service. From talking with some close colleagues and friends this was a simple mistake, and one that can be remedied with hast.

Topical vs Exposition- Typically I craft topical messages for our teenagers. I know that some have a huge problem with this, but please allow me to explain. Our wednesday nights are an open door program for our ministry, meaning that we have students with little or no biblical background walking through the door. Because of this I keep my messages on wednesdays topical in nature (i.e. what does God say about friends, love, faith, anger, etc. etc.) in that those students can walk aways some some sort of truth gleaned from the Word of God. I will throw in some tasty nuggets of “deeper-faith” insights that our students with relationships with Jesus Christ can walk away. I would also like to add that I try to always try to preach some element of Christ Crucified in that students would hear the awesome name of Jesus Christ.

For my sermon on sunday I decided to go with a hybrid approach, in that I took Philippians 4:10-13 and dissected it all the while pulling incredible principals that were applicable. I mean there’s not point of reading scripture if we’re not going to do something with it…right? So I took the opportunity to teach on being content in life in all circumstances. I broke the passage down verse by verse and gleaned amazing insights from Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi. Basically I challenged the congregation to examine their needs vs. wants all the while understanding that our strength is temporary but Christ’s is eternal and never ending (Gk. Dynamo).

Stage Presence- I like the thin that I have good stage presence, key word there…”think.” I realized that what I think is dynamic speaking is not necessarily  the truth. Although I wasn’t a complete dud on stage, there where some things I needed to do better, specifically more facial expressions. For those that know, I’m a laid back guy and often with show some fantastic facial expressions but for the most part it’s just sarcastic comments with a smile. I need to work on talking with my face not just words.

Overall, I was pleased to have the honor of speaking in our main church service. I hope in the future I’ll be able to have some more opportunities to speak and harness this craft.

Lucas, Life, & 2010

I know that this year has been blog post light and I apologize for this. With my dependence upon Twitter I have lost the art of blogging something of substance, something worth reading, again mea culpa. Anyway, below you’ll see me life in 2010. Much has changed while other things have remained the same. So without anymore blabber…here we go!

Getting Married– This by far trumps anything that could have happened in my life. I married the Wonderful Dana Estopinal, now the wonderful Dana Miller. My life has without a doubt changed for the better. It’s been a tremendous blessing waking up next to my beloved, being able to see the world and live life with my wife right by my side. We had a wonderful wedding at the Edward Dean Museum in Cherry Valley and celebrated our honeymoon in Mexico on a fantastic cruise. I will say this…GOD IS GREAT!!!

Minsitry Transition– I started 2010 in Bakersfield working at the amazing Parkside church. God had blessed me with incredible friendships, leadership challenges, and relationship building. I spent the year learning more about leadership and less about student ministry, all the while learning how to bring the Word to student in fresh and innovative ways. However, God soon had other plans for my wife and I. He called us to Yucaipa, Ca to impact the lives of students at First Baptist Church Yucaipa. Through this entire process (more specifically the entire year) I learned to focus my ministry passion to this statement: I’m highly relational and service driven. This year has given me the opportunity to see ministry from a different lenses, and for that I’m grateful.

Graphic Design– Ever since I was a kid I loved to draw. My parents never really encouraged me to pursue something in art, but as I close this 30th year in my life, I soon realized that God has given me an eye for graphic design. This has played a huge part in my ministry in creating professional and creative ways of exchanging ideas to people. 2010 was the year that I took graphic design seriously, and when I say “seriously” what I mean is that I independently studied graphic design theory and practiced, practiced, practiced!!! Although this continues to be a constant academic pursuit, I love it.

I can only imagine what God has in store for House Miller in 2011…

Student Ministry Website Survey

I’m doing some research on how important student ministry websites are to students, parents, and anyone else that stumbles across them. The survey takes all of 2 minutes to complete (if that). In addition to taking the survey, I would love your feedback on the subject. As it is, I’m still gathering preliminary data to make my decision whether or not to go with the current website options (which are functional but extremely limited) or with a paid online deal that is pricey but robust. It’s hard to not to think “relevant” when deciding to construct a website targeting youth, however, I’m thinking that perhaps that concept isn’t as transparent as we think in terms of students and the access of information. Bottom line: do websites make maximum impact in promoting, communication, and community?

Click here to take survey

Protected: Relationship are not….

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Simple Ministry…Simply Stated

This a great article for those who want to be radical in their faith, whereas living missionally is part of one’s DNA.