This article was originally published October 4, 2011.
1. 10% of the worship congregation makes up a healthy reflection of numbers in the youth ministry. 200 people in church on Sunday then you can range around 20 teenagers. Sure you can be healthy and be higher or lower for varied reasons, but that’s a good measure. It is important to distinguish the worshiping congregation over the church rolls. An unhealthy congregation cannot expect to have a thriving youth ministry that exceeds its own metrics. If it does it may not be sustainable. Churches that look for youth to be the magic pill saving their church are going to be disappointed. Rolls then become your new outreach focus, not group.2. 7 the amount of Friends a teen needs to have in the youth group. (This I believe picked up from on of the myriad of Chap Clark writings) You know the question every teen asks when signing up for an event or deciding on signing up, “Who is going to be there?” They need to know that there will be a collection of friends there to talk to and hang with. This number ensures that someone will be there that they know. Small groups, and small youth groups, help to fill this need. The hospitality of a group helps with this. Cliques are killers to this. Notice who isn’t there, list out their friends from the group, are those friends coming? Can you list seven teens? If that sounds silly just think about where you go that doesn’t have some friendships involved. It is a number that is important.3. 4-6 is the amount of teenagers that an adult can know intimately in a spiritual mentor type role. This makes a great case for the need for many youth leaders in your ministry. Jesus, though he had 12 disciples, is known to have kept just a few of the fellas closer to him and invested in them more than the whole group. This is fluid, a teen you are tight with this month you might have fallen away from the next because you have started to invest in another teen. That’s natural progression and perfectly okay in my book, but you want other leaders in place to fit that spot. So if you have a ministry of 25 youth, then you need 5 adults who are fully invested in the lives of the teenagers, that is if they are equally spread out. Best to have 6 or 7 so that everyone is known.4. $1,000 per kid per year. The folks at Youth Ministry Architects through their work over the years have given a range of 1,000 per kid per year spent on youth ministries in the budget & staff salary for the youth ministries. In the case of my small church, we have 32 youth on rolls, 3 that are irregular attenders (family dynamics), so for the 29 I feel we are accountable that would be $29,000 a year for the budget. We do not quite meet that, but we certainly know it and we work to fill gaps as we can. We also know that we are not going to have bust out growth years without some financial investment.5. 50 the general ceiling of teenagers that a paid staff person can keep up with on an effective basis. Do you see business managers who manage 50 people on their own? No, businesses know it’s a stretch and ineffective so they’ll throw structures/positions in place to help. Youth ministries are generally without that. The solo youth pastor at a 200 youth church (active) might be the manager of 50-60 adults throughout the year. Not to mention the programming and administrative tasks. If this is you, you need to be asking for some help. If help is not available in paid help then search out ways to fill in some gaps with parents gifts and talents. But again, that becomes more people in the equation.
6. 20% ceiling for youth ministry is where numbers can begin to become unpredictable. At this point the numbers associated with investment do not always work directly with growth.7. 1 Family is what you have so don’t sacrifice them. If you are like me then had some ceremony that was before God where you took some vows to another person and thus created a family. You probably didn’t have anything in the vows to uphold, protect, and nurture a youth ministry. If you are single with/without a child/ren similar applies. There is a responsibility to that relationship first no matter what the church says. That isn’t to say that your family cannot do that for a youth ministry, just remember where your priorities and commitments stand first and foremost. Way too often I am seeing youth leaders get caught up with the youth culture and being the ‘everything’ for the teenagers that they are leaving nothing for their family, and sometimes leaving all together. Keeping up with numbers, growth, friendships, and other metrics are great, but the most important number is your family.
Description from Amazon:
How could a loving God send people to hell? Will people have a chance after they die to believe in Jesus and go to heaven?
With a humble respect for God’s Word, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle address the deepest questions you have about eternal destiny. They’ve asked the same questions. Like you, sometimes they just don’t want to believe in hell. But as they write, “We cannot afford to be wrong on this issue.” This is not a book about who is saying what. It’s a book about what God says. It’s not a book about impersonal theological issues. It’s a book about people who God loves. It’s not a book about arguments, doctrine, or being right. It’s a book about the character of God.
Erasing Hell will immerse you in the truth of Scripture as, together with the authors, you find not only the truth but the courage to live it out.
Just finished reading this book on my new Kindle (another new love). I must say it was a pretty interesting read. I’ve always found Francis Chan (author of Crazy Love and Forgotten God) to be an excellent writer. He makes great points and explains them in a way anyone can understand, so I jumped on the opportunity to read another book by him. This book is quite obviously a response to Rob Bell‘s “Love Wins” which makes it a unique work by Chan.
It’s definitely informative and a must-read for those who are or have read “Love Wins.” I haven’t read it yet, but plan to merely out of curiosity.
‘Erasing Hell’ basically is a journey through how American Christians tend to try to avoid talking about the real possibility that many people we know will end up in hell. It discusses the response we should consider having to hell as well as the history behind other people groups’ views on hell. I would recommend it to anyone. Just keep in mind it is not necessarily Chan’s typical writing style; it’s obviously a response.
Here’s an informational video from the publisher:
The title is pretty bold. But pretty true too.
Racism is an issue that has been on my heart heavily lately. I now work for an organization which has “eliminating racism” as part of it’s mission statement. I’ve been reading through a book by Francis Chan lately called “Erasing Hell” which is a great read so far! I debated trying to go into an extensive blog post on MLK day about how racism doesn’t mix with Christianity, but I couldn’t quite find the words and knew that this was an issue that needs the right words for people to continue reading. In talking with a friend, we’ve both concluded that it can be quite difficult to speak on ‘controversial’ issues without offending people to the point where they quit reading. Well read on or stop, but the text below from “Erasing Hell” might rock your world, in a much needed way. I’ve found Chan’s words to be some of the most fitting on the topic. Racism is wrong in all sectors, but especially and ultimately in the community of Christians, so I encourage you to take these words to heart, and please leave your thoughts. I’d love to start a conversation about this.
Racism. The Christian church in many ages and in many places has stood on the wrong side of this issue, and its damnable-literally. What’s racism got to do with hell? you may ask. According to Jesus, it’s got everything to do with it. In Matthew 8, Jesus smuggles a warning about hell into the context of racism and ethnocentricism (the belief that one ethnicity is superior). The entire context of Matthew 8-9 depicts Jesus reversing all of the cultural and social assumptions of the Jews f that day. One assumption is that the Jews as the “people of God” are much more fit for the kingdom than all those other nasty sinners – those Gentiles, those Greeks, those Romans. But in Matthew 8, Jesus is absolutely floored by the faith of a Roman Gentile military leader. This leader of high standing had the faith and humility to submit to the authority of Jesus. And Jesus accepted him as he is, a Gentile. From this encounter, Jesus spins out a short message about many people of all nations and colors and ethnicities that will flood into the kingdom. And it is here that Jesus says that the “sons of the Kingdom” who think that God values one ethnicity over another (in this case the Jewish people) are damned to hell: “the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12 NASB). The teeth that once gnashed at the person of another race or color will gnash in the agony of eternal torment.
Why is it that only 5.5% of the American evangelical churches could be considered multiethnic (where no single ethnicity makes more than 80% of its congregants)? Why is that? 5.5%! And we’re supposed to be living in the melting pot, the place where hundreds of languages and colors often live within a few miles -or feet- of each other. What’s so sad about this is that many pople outside the church are FAR less racially divided. Consider the military, our places of work, or athletics. Yet there are three places where racial division still persists: bars, prisons, and the American evangelical church.
We need to see the glaring contradiction in saying we believe in hell making no effort to tear down the walls of racism and ethnic superiority. If we are going to take Jesus’ words seriously, we have to make more of a concerted effort to forge the avenues of racial reconciliation and unity under the banner of the Gospel of Christ.
One day, Christ will come back and there will be an amazing worship celebration – with African bongos, Indian sitars, and an ensemble of Mariachi trumpets – where every tribe, tongue, nation, and color will bow to the knee of the King and celebrate!
If this sounds irritating, go back and read Matthew 8, its written for you.
What if Target Operated Like a Church?
Tis the season to shop for Christmas gifts, so I recently made a trip to Target. I love Target because I don’t have to spend a lot of money, and I avoid going to Wal-Mart.After spending a little bit of time in the store, it struck me how different Target is from most churches I’ve visited in the past. That led me to wondering how Target would be different if it operated like the typical church. So, with that in mind, here’s my initial list:What if Target Operated Like a Church?Instead of having men’s and women’s clothing departments, they would be called clever names like Impact and Embrace that are completely meaningless to new shoppers.Each department in the store would have its own logo to go with their clever name. And, of course, all those logos would be different than the logo on the front of the store.The workers in each department would all have their own t-shirts and flyers to promote what’s available in their departments. The youth clothing department would, of course, have the best flyers.The store manager and his wife would be pictured on the front page of the website.You wouldn’t actually be able to buy anything from the website, but each department would have its own page explaining why they are such a great department and the the information would be several months out-of-date.If you are in the shoe department and have a question about flashlights, the shoe department employee has no idea how to help you because it doesn’t have anything to do with shoes.Shoppers would be able to start their own departments so that they can buy the items that they want to buy. Don’t worry…that means there will certainly be a clothing department for singles.Shoppers would also be able to appoint their own store manager and then serve on committees and boards to tell the store manager what to do.The store would only be open one day a week between 9:00 a.m. and noon and on the first Wednesday evening of every month.Hope this makes you laugh. Emily and I did. And, maybe it also challenges some preconceived notions. After all, churches are sort of notorious for worshiping methods and traditions whether or not they actually produce results.What would you add to the list?
CLICK THERE –> Seth’s promise is to build a school for Liberian orphans | Inspire. Change.. <–CLICK THERE
We just met this guy about a month ago at a friend’s small group. He made a promise. did all he could. and carried through with it. it’s as simple and as amazing as that. Check him out on his university’s homepage!!
Lately, I’ve really felt led to just share some of the great music that’s come out lately with such powerful lyrics. Below is a new song from the David Crowder Band’s final album. The lyrics don’t seem too special, but after you listen to the song it just overcomes me with the power, grace, mercy, and love of God. I can’t help but feel it. Take a listen for yourself.
I can’t comprehend your infinitely beautiful and perfect love
Oh I’ve dreamed dreams of majesty as brilliant as a billion stars
But they’re never bright enough after all
You are Holy
Holy, Holy, Holy
I will sing a song for you my God with everything I have in me
But it’s never loud enough after all
You are Holy
Holy, Holy, Holy
Heaven and earth are full, full of your glory, glory
My soul it overflows full of your glory, your glory
Oh blessed is he who reigns, full of your glory, your glory
My cup, it can’t contain all of your glory, your glory
Hosanna we are found after all you are
Holy, Holy, Holy
I can’t comprehend
You’re infinitely beautiful