Tag Archives: #youthleadership

Tired of the Division . . . 3 Steps to Build Unity

by Dave Coryell.

Even as people prepare to go to the election polls in the US, the World lacks exactly what God expects of His people . . .  UNITY! Here are 3 steps that can begin to make a difference.

  1. Pause before you React– people’s statements inspired by media will begin to create anger or confusion in your mind. Before you fight back with a post, speak out in a conversation, or use your T-shirt, picket sign or bumper sticker, take a mental Time Out. Remember Unity! Think about the broader audience you might reach with your message. Consider who actually wins if you make your comment. Proverbs 15:1 explains that a “gentle answer turns away wrath.” Before you speak, consider whether your desire is to turn away wrath or pick a fight. Remember Unity!
  1. Everyone is Not Like You– This is Coryells’ First Law of Leadership. My kids can quote it to you as well as many people close to me. If everyone was exactly like you, the world would be boring. Understand, God has made you amazing with brilliant talents, gifts and experiences all rolled into the incredible package called YOU! What makes you incredible, however, is that you are unique: “Fearfully and wonderfully” made as Psalm 139 explains. Because everyone is not like you, you are going to encounter numerous people who look at life extremely different than you do. The next time you meet someone with a religious, political or social view extremely different than your own, instead of shaking your head in disgust or anger, thank God for the brilliance of His creation. This can build Unity! Use these encounters to make your image of God more magnificent and frame your life encounters through this lens.
  1. Build Bridges– Through my work I have traveled thousands of miles by plane. I frequently meet people with views different than my own. At the same time, my family has many neighbors who also have views different than ours. My goal is to love whomever I come in contact with. I want to show genuine concern for these people and their stories. I will attempt to share about Christ because He has been such a meaningful part of my story. However, I will attempt to do this in a manner that is gentle and shows respect (1 Peter 3:15). It has been so much fun receiving business cards from people on airplanes who think differently than me but appreciated my attitude. We enjoy taking Christmas cookies and other things throughout the year to neighbors. God has placed them next to us so we try to do little things to kindly reach out and build Unity! Being divisive is easy and takes little effort. Building bridges of Unity requires intentionality over time. Invest in Unity!

Enough people, committed to these three godly steps, can begin to change the world. Maybe, just maybe, we will see UNITY!

5 Steps to Creating an Effective Youth Ministry

by Dave Coryell

Observing youth ministry on five continents (don’t worry Australia, I’ll get to you at some point, Antarctica- not a chance!) provides a kaleidoscope youth min perspective. So many options, so many opportunities, but I have also recognized five key steps that make youth ministry effective across cultures.

  1. Equip People- A Youth Worker-Centered approach does not work long term. Finding a lead volunteer or hiring a youth pastor can be effective when this person develops a discipleship process the overall church embraces. The person also needs to see leadership development among young people and adult leadership as primary. In summary, LAY DOWN THE PRIDE AND BE BIBLICAL.
  2. Consistency- Effective youth ministry programs do not meet once a month or every other week. They meet every week and are not cancelled due to holidays, major church functions, or anything short of cataclysmic natural events. People are too distracted to remember which date is which. They need to meet every week without fail to find a rhythm and eventually invite others to come with them.
  3. Christian- Duh! The youth ministry meeting must be Christian. Seems common sense, but incredibly some well-intentioned youth workers water down their gatherings and eliminate or diminish the very substance that young people need to grow closer to Christ. Make your gathering unapologetically Christian- always with prayer, always with a Bible reading or study component.
  4. Socially Acceptable Atmosphere- Burn the moldy couches please! Never again should I enter a youth room that reeks of musty furniture. Play welcoming music that connects with young people. Create a socially acceptable setting for the youth you are serving in your setting being aware of all five senses! This can be in a home (that is cleared in advance), a church room, a park, or whatever works for the young people in your area; however, it must be socially acceptable TO THEM.
  5. Loving Atmosphere- Communicate all are welcome. All are valuable. All are affirmed. Eliminate favorites, put downs and sarcasm. Turn ministry over to the young people for effective welcoming and follow-up ministry.

Want to learn how to take these steps well? Desire to establish an effective discipleship plan that builds young people as leaders? Reach out to us info {at} CEworks.faith

More Amazing Service in New Castle PA

Week 3 of Christian Endeavor Mission Weeks was AMAZING!

This week was amazing. We had such a big group here this week in New Castle and the community was so excited to see us. Five churches served with us this week and each one was so unique and fun to have with us! Our five churches were; Central Schwenkfelder Church Lansdale, Chapel Church Red Lion, Sanctuary UMC North Wales, St. Mark’s UMC Mount Joy, and St. Peter’s UMC, Emerald. We were able to get so much work done on a bunch of different sites this week because we ended up with a total of about 105 people here including staff which was so cool!

This week was a bit different than the last two weeks because of so many different factors. Not only are we in a different place this week and we have more people here, but our work sites were a bit different. This week was used as an outreach to this community. Prior to our being here, our speakers for the week, Pastor Chuck and Pastor Brett, went out into the community to ask homeowners what we could do for them. This gave us a lot of work sites and a ton of work to get done!

Each day we had a different number of sites and groups were getting work done so incredibly quickly that we were able to move some groups after only one day (and sometimes less) of work! It was so awesome to see these groups divide and conquer so well! St. Mark’s and St Peter’s were our smaller churches for the week so they stayed together. But since our other three groups were a bit larger, we were able to split them into groups and send them to multiple sites. We had three groups from Chapel Church, two from Sanctuary and four from Central Schwenkfelder!

With so many groups and so many sites, it was difficult to keep track of who was where and what was being done there, but some of our highlights were:

Central Schwenkfelder had a group at Ms. Lopez’s house and they did a bunch of painting indoors and out with her. It was such a pleasure for them and the staff to get to know her and her three birds, two dogs and cat! CSC also had teams working at a group of three houses all on the same road. They were cutting down trees, helping in the destruction of one house and the building of one right next door. They did such an amazing job working together and ministering to the construction workers in the area!

Sanctuary killed it this week as well! One of their groups moved to two or three different sites throughout the week and got so much work done so well at each home they were at! The other group from Sanctuary was working on a similar project as what BBC and Hopeland had done at the King home in weeks one and two! The washer and dryer in the home was leaking and causing the floor to rot. Sanctuary went in and moved the washer and dryer and pulled back the carpet so that they could replace the floor underneath. They also replaced the steps into the home that were no longer safe to use. The group also developed an awesome relationship with their homeowner that we think will last even after camp!

Chapel Church was so amazing this week as they were at so many different sites it was hard to keep track of them! They got so much amazing work done at so many different homes and it was so cool to see them work together on so many different projects. Towards the end of the week they worked on clearing out trees and weeds from a home that was being taken over by them. They were so patient with this job. Initially they had placed some of the branches outside of the property line and they had to move it uphill to get it back on the property which took a lot of work. But they did a great job and kept a positive energy the whole time!

St Peter’s had a lot of work to get done this week. They had a lot of paint to scrape from their homeowner’s porch and replace some trim then repaint it. They did such an amazing job and worked so well together! We were so honored to have them here and they were so excited and enthusiastic all week long! They told us how excited they were to get the opportunity to meet the entire family of homeowners! They told us that this is something that they haven’t had the chance to do in the past and they were so excited to get the chance to do that this year!

St. Mark’s was at our farthest site this week. Melody’s home was all the way out in Mercer, PA which is about half an hour from where we were staying at the Sankey Center in New Castle. They did so much work for Melody this week and it was awesome! They started in the front yard by scraping, sanding and painting the front porch purple! Then they moved out back and the hard work began. Some of the group worked on doing the same thing to the back porch, some group members were replacing a wall that had rotted out and one group was working on setting up a platform for a shed that was on uneven ground. They did an amazing job at Melody’s and it was such an honor to watch them work so hard!

Pastor Brett and Pastor Chuck were awesome this week. They took turns speaking this week and touched our hearts with God’s word every night! So many lives were changed this week and we had such an amazing week, it was hard to see everyone leave! We are so excited to come back to New Castle again next week as a summer staff, and the see what God has planned for Mission Weeks 2019!

Above: A group photo of our lovely kitchen staff for Week 3 in New Castle, PA.

First C.E. Mission Weeks a success in WV

The first of three C.E. Missions Weeks for 2018 is in the books. We were joined in Oak Hill, West Virginia by three churches: Honey Brook Presbyterian, Grace Community Church Willow Street, and Hopeland United Methodist Church Lititz. With forty-five total volunteers, a lot of progress was made at the four job sites.

Grace Community Church started their week at a local residence’s house where they painted the front porch and stained the back deck. For the second half of the week, they worked at another house, tearing up rotted flooring and replacing it with new flooring. They also worked on the exterior of the house, replacing trim and mowing the lawn.

Above: Grace Community students paint the porch at their first site of the week
Above: Two paint splattered campers from Grace Community pose for a picture

Honey Brook Presbyterian spent their week at an unoccupied house, preparing it for the next owners. On their first day, they removed the jungle of weeds from the front yard. The rest of the week included weeding and replanting the garden, replacing trim around the windows, and fixing the drop ceiling and backsplash in the kitchen.

Above: Honey Brook student works to remove roots from the front yard after it has been cleared
Above: Honey Brook students cut trim for the windows
Above: Honey Brook students in the final process of removing weeds from the front yard
Above: Honey Brook students take a picture with staff members Ally and Jonathan

Hopeland United Methodist spent their week working at another local residence’s house, installing new drywall in multiple rooms, painting, replacing trim on the exterior, tearing out and replacing installation, and removing old carpet.

Above: Hopeland students carry old carpet from home
Above: Hopeland camper sands drywall
Above: Hopeland campers work on framing windows

When campers were not working or enjoying popsicles on their job sites, they could be found back at the school, hanging out in the lounge, shopping in the camp store, playing in the gym, or worshipping during nightly group sessions.

Leading the nightly sessions was Doc Maddison, an opera singer and teacher from New Jersey with a heart for Jesus. In his messages, he explored this summer’s theme of “Upward, Inward, and Outward”.

From newly formed friendships between campers, to the all the hard work done by all of our churches, the first Missions Week 2018 was a success!

Best intentions for VBS: 3 Ways to Make it Worth your Time, Money and Resources

Great time and money are invested in your church’s Vacation Bible School (VBS). Did you ever ask if it is worth it? Your best intentions for these programs take hundreds or thousands of dollars with countless volunteer hours. Take these intentional steps and see your VBS be worth all the resources you put into it!

Intentional Relationships: Make a REAL contact following the event- Children attend your VBS that do not go to your church. You may not know their family, whether the family goes to another church, or if these people have any connection to God at all. Form a team that will call and then stop by homes (addresses collected at registration) with a simple gift. Be prepared to thank the families for allowing their child to come to the safe and uplifting environment of XYZ church. Explain that you enjoyed having their child at VBS and that they are invited to attend a regular worship service. Have the team prepared to ask if the family has any questions about the church or faith in Christ. In a relationship-starved society, this extra step can pay huge dividends.

Intentional Programming: Develop clear events that can be publicized so families have additional easy entry points into your church. Examples are a Kick-Off Sunday as the school year is beginning, Harvest Parties in October, and Christmas parties. Working ahead on your planning will allow families to be informed about these events occurring throughout the rest of the year. Use your VBS contacts and inform people about these upcoming events.

Intentional Development: Most churches believe they have a plan to develop young people as Christ-followers. They come to this conclusion because the church uses a set curriculum or has developed age specific objectives. Unfortunately, these items are not sufficient. Finding children’s workers and raising the children’s ministry budget is not the answer either. Churches lack an equipping plan that puts ministry in a child’s daily life. We do not live in a program driven culture any more but churches continue to act this way. Christian Endeavor (CE) exists to help churches implement an intentional growth process that impacts kids, teens, young adults and entire families. A church that uses CE across all ages recently was shocked when asking their children at VBS how they could live for Christ daily- the young children articulated the Simple, Biblical, and Relevant CE principles.

May your church’s future VBS event intentionally build God’s Kingdom! Peace!!

Life Builders Perspective

One of our new attending church groups shared their blog post with us. Check out their summary of a Life Builders C.E. Work Camp experience:

Day 7 of our mission trip was our trip back home. Some of us had stayed up past midnight and got up at 6am, so it was a time to catch up on sleep. It was also a time to reflect on the amazing week we had.

We remember the two church members who stopped by to say thanks and to haul away demolition trash. They expressed such gratitude to us and wanted us to bring that thank you back to the generous congregation that sent us. Ms. Wyman also expressed so much joy about being blessed that her water was finally running. We wish you could have been there to see her gestures as she described being able to wash her face after working twelve hours. She was so excited at 1am about being able to run her dishwasher again. And she also extended her thanks to the congregation that brought Will, Sam, and Brian to her home to complete the repairs.

While driving, I asked Will and Sam what the highlights of the week were. Will compared with three other mission trips he has been on.

#1 this was better organized in terms of the work, materials and folks to teach you the skills.

#2 there were 80 youth and much was done to help us get to know each other. More than one church was represented at each job site.

#3 we sang songs during camp gathering that were new and contemporary. It did not feel like traditional hymns in a traditional worship service.

Each church took a turn at saying a prayer before each meal. Will and Sam each got a turn to lead 80+ in a prayer that they created.

God Sightings: Each evening there was an opportunity for any work camper to share with the group how they have seen God at work. Each was asked to stand, and share their name, church and sighting.

Care Cards: Each camper was given an envelope to color and post on the wall. During the week we each could put encouraging notes in the envelopes of other campers. We were not allowed to peek until the drive home. Will and Sam read some of theirs out loud, while Brian drove.

Chores: Every day each church was assigned a different chore to clean up an area of our living space.The idea that we all take care of each other was reinforced.

Thick and Thin: Pastor Bill has described those places or times when it is especially easy to feel close to God. I could not begin to count the number of times I had that feeling during this week. It is easy to remember how sick I was. During that time, I was able to hold on partly by hoping and praying that God had a plan for me. Working with youth is clearly part of God’s plan for me.  I am so blessed.

What’s next? The Christian Endeavor Life Builders have announced the dates for the 2016 work camps. I can clear my calendar. I believe Will and Sam are planning a trip to France. Hopefully they can do both and we can get 6-10 additional youth to join us. I believe Peter hopes to take a group from his new church in Philadelphia.

Teens Can Make it Happen

Made It Happen!
Made It Happen!

I believe in the ability God has given teenagers to make a difference today. I also believe society at large underestimates young people’s talent, initiative taking potential and general ability to make it happen.

A few weeks ago a fifteen-year old boy, who plays for a soccer team I help coach, discovered we had been placed in a tournament’s second flight. Our team was about to play for the Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup championship, had won tournaments in Virginia and Maryland besides going undefeated in winning the regions strongest fall league. Getting anything less than the top flight felt like a slap in the face. Instead of pouting or complaining about the team’s tournament status, the boy decided to make it happen. He sent an email to the tournament director and spoke with swagger as he listed the team’s accomplishments. Within the next few days the team was moved up to the top championship bracket! Not only was the team moved up, it beat three highly ranked teams to win the title that goes along nicely with its State Championship.

I could miss the point and use the rest of my lines to talk soccer, but there is a much deeper principle to be reinforced than how to appropriately kick a ball. One of the most difficult leadership characteristics to develop is initiative. Every leader needs it. Every leader trying to nurture other leaders needs trainees to want it. Ultimately, if the person being trained doesn’t have a “fire in the belly” to make it happen then action doesn’t take place.

Jesus recognized this and spoke about it in Matthew 7:7-8. The Bible reads, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.“ When we knock on doors we receive direction. When we ask questions we receive answers. God, through the life we live does not always give the answers we want or the prizes behind the doors we are looking to find. Knowing us better than we know ourselves, He provides exactly what is needed at exactly the right time so He can make it happen through us.

So the next time you see something in the world that seems out of place or just plain wrong, remember to Ask the Lord God to make it happen. Seek to make the world a better place. Knock on doors that hold opportunities for you to experience. Take the initiative. While you’re at it, don’t be surprised if God uses a teenager in the process!

Houston, We Still Have a Problem!!

Less than six hours into a nine-day journey and my daughter, Kendra, and I had already seen God at work. We landed in Houston’s International airport en route to Merida, Mexico. Houston, the famous home of NASA’s station where Apollo 13’s mission went awry bringing the famous line, “Houston, we have a problem.”

Exiting our plane we found our bearings and headed straight for the international terminal. 744px-Apollo_15_launch_medium_distanceBefore long our trek took us to a long escalator. We looked up in time to see an elderly woman crumple on the escalating steps and begin tumbling toward the bottom. Fortunately she stopped after several steps but blood gushed from the sharp steps that cut into her lower leg. Jumping several steps at a time I dashed toward the woman and was able to lift her before sustaining further damage as the escalator stopped at the top. The amazing thing . . . no one else reacted except us. The grandmother’s family didn’t react, other people didn’t react, the woman herself barely reacted! Blood was visibly seeping through her wounds and soaking her pant legs and all she could say was, “We need to catch our plane.”

I processed what we had witnessed there in Houston. I began to rationalize the other people’s lack of action. They must not have seen her fall. The woman must be in a state of shock and embarrassment from her accident. Or . . . did Houston Still Have a Problem?

Kendra and I boarded a train for our next terminal while my brain continued processing the event. We exited the train, walked a few hundred yards, and then, “BANG!!!” Startled, we twirled toward the sound finding a young Latino man pushing a Famiglia Restaurant food cart. The cart contents had tipped and slammed to the floor spilling lettuce, pepperoni, garlic dumplings, large Chocolate Chip Cookies and other food containers over the terminal floor. Kendra and I rushed to help. Two other men joined us. The five of us worked feverishly while dozens stared and scores of others turned and acted as if nothing had happened at all. Houston . . . what are you doing?!?

OK . . . after the first incident I gave people the benefit of the doubt. But after the second incident I needed to say, “Houston, WE STILL HAVE A PROBLEM!!” What has occurred in the hearts of people that we cannot stop the rush of our precious lives to help a person in need? Houston, What goes through your minds? I’m too busy. Be more careful next time! I’m not getting my hands dirty! Luke 10:25-37 is a story where Jesus describes a person being brutally beat and left for dead along side the road. Highly respected people begin to pass the person’s mangled body until a foreigner sees him, stops, and does everything he can including spending his own money to help the person be safe and healed. Houston, we don’t have to live with our problem. We can choose to open our eyes and see the needs of those around us. Houston, you have everything you need to make a difference. Houston . . . Houston . . . Hello? . . . Houston, do you read me? . . . Houston?

A Tale of Two Leaders

Many things impressed me about the Chinese and Korean cultures when I traveled there in October but the most impressive was age.  In the US we can travel to the earliest settlements and find a few that began in the 1600’s.  Without effort I visited landmarks dating to the 1300 and 1400’s while in Asia.  An amazing Tale of Two Leaders emerged as I walked through ancient Asian history.

First there was a culture where the emperor was seen as a God.  The people went to great lengths and exorbitant expense to meet his every need.  The emperor desired to have a summer get away.  The people went to work and developed an amazing complex on hundreds of acres of land.  No expense was spared.  The longest covered walkway in the world was built with impressive paintings on each beam. The emperor’s wife decided she wanted to be able to have the feeling of shopping in a normal market place.  So the people built an entire market place where the stores could be staffed with products and storeowners. While people were starving in the countryside a boat was built out of stone and marble that would never be able to float.  The emperor’s wife wanted it so questions were not asked.

Contrast this tale from history with that of another land.  Here a summer palace was also built with pavilions and beautiful gardens where people could relax and enjoy nature.  At one section of the garden the tour came to a place where the emperor would grow rice every year.  The king would do the planting, weeding and all the care of his small rice field.  The king didn’t need to do this.  He had all the rice and riches he could have ever wanted.  His reason for growing the rice field and caring for it himself was because of his people.  This culture was mostly agrarian meaning most people survived through farming.  The emperor grew rice because he wanted to know what his people were experiencing.  If his rice wasn’t growing in his garden then the people of his empire were hurting.

Effective leaders understand the needs of the people they serve. As youth workers, pastors, parents, and volunteer ministry leaders do you truly recognize the needs of those around you?  Consider the time Jesus invested with his disciples and how He challenged them by understanding their world.  He did this when he encouraged them to cast their net on the other side of the boat, when he challenged them to feed a crowd of at least five thousand, and when he told them to go forth two by two.  Jesus never detached Himself from the needs of the people He served.

Let’s learn from the tale of two leaders and more importantly from the life of Jesus Christ.  If you are a youth reaching out to other youth, understand their needs.  If you are an adult reaching other adults or reaching youth, understand their world.  Let’s invest ourselves in understanding the people God has given us to serve, and for God’s glory, may we impact their lives.

Chick-Fil-A, Equipping Leaders!

Equipping leaders is in Christian Endeavor’s lifeblood.  The positive stories we receive from youth workers we have empowered,  encourage us in our purpose to Biblically develop youth as Christ-Centered leaders.  For me, modeling this with the C.E. Team is important.  Recently we ate lunch at a local Chick-Fil-A.  I made contact in advance with the restaurant’s owner/operator because I have been impressed with their customer service each time I have pulled through the drive-in for waffle fries!  The leader gave us two hours of his time when we only asked for fifteen minutes!  Four critical insights were shared that are essential in our efforts to equip youth as leaders.

 

  1. Requirements for hire- Teens interviewed at this Chick-Fil-A are watched for their eye contact, smile, engaging conversation, and ability to stay connected to a conversation.  These four items are not as easy to live out for our tech-trendy teens as they may seem.  Youth and adults alike put their noses in phones instead of eye to eye with people in their presence.  Jesus engaged the people He met.  The four requirements for hire listed above help youth be better equipped for life and leadership.
  2. Solutions not Problems- The staff at Chick-Fil-A are taught to bring solutions if they are going to bring problems.  This approach develops proactive thinking, avoids whining, and trains people as problem solvers instead of problem enhancers.  The Body of Christ needs young leaders equipped to stand and make a difference by working toward solutions.
  3. Raise the Bar- Chick-Fil-A does not settle for low expectations.  Society tends to minimize the impact youth can make.  At Christian Endeavor, we agree with Chick-Fil-A, don’t accept or settle for low expectations!  Holding this attitude with youth in your church causes them to see the value both you and God see in them.
  4. Skills can be taught, Character cannot- I disagree on this one, but I’m not hiring youth to run a multi-million dollar business. Chick-Fil-A’s position makes perfect sense because they don’t have time to mold a youth into someone with trust, honesty, and integrity.  These things take time to nurture and Chick-Fil-A must hire people for immediate productivity.
  5. The CE Leadership Academy, Imagine the Impact, teaches character comes before competency.  Developing skills before deepening character can cause a person to be successful without being humbly grounded in Christ.

 

Thanks for handing off ministry to youth so they can carry the cause of Christ.  Let me know how we at C.E. can serve you on the journey.  Peace!

 

DC