Youth Ministry Booster Podcast

185: Reaching Students Just Outside Your Door For Your Youth Ministry

October 03, 2019 Episode 185
Youth Ministry Booster Podcast
185: Reaching Students Just Outside Your Door For Your Youth Ministry
Chapters
Youth Ministry Booster Podcast
185: Reaching Students Just Outside Your Door For Your Youth Ministry
Oct 03, 2019 Episode 185
Youth Ministry Booster
Reaching students just outside the doors of your youth ministry
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 185 is here and it's clear that youth ministry fall season is in full swing! 

Kristen and Chad are back for a fun discussion about vegan food fairs and reaching students just outside your door! 

Learn how you can join Youth Ministry Booster and accelerate your leadership!

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Speaker 1:
0:10
[inaudible].
Speaker 2:
0:10
Hey everybody. Welcome back to episode one 85 of the youth ministry booster podcast. This is the one where Zack, oops, yes. Uh, not quite the Biscoe girl, but I do have the Hydroflask in front of me and if they had a male scrunchie for a beard, I'm sure I'd wear it. Uh, this is the episode where Zach makes it Oop because he misses a bit of the beats of recording. And so there's going to be some moments in this episode where people talk about it being episode one 84 but it's really episode one 85 because math is hard and calendaring and scheduling and whatnot. Either way, it's great content and we're back with some of the O G crew, Chad Higgins in the house. Kristen K Cola LaScola in the house, finishing up our month on context as we moved from September to October and the youth ministry booster network where every month we're having really deep dive conversation in masterminds and soul care and Wednesday workdays talking about the things of youth ministry.
Speaker 2:
1:02
And so this is kind of our wrap up conversation on the importance of context and connecting with students just outside your door. I think in this fall season a lot of us are wondering where did some of those summer kids go? Where are my kids so busy with activities and sports and yet there are some new students. How do I get connected with them? Chatting. Kristen had some amazing insights that you're going to want to check out in this episode about relating and connecting in your community, in your unique context. How you might find some folks just outside your door that maybe have already passed through a little bit. Either way, it's an exciting season for youth ministry and you've been through booster. Check out the next couple episodes for some big announcements. The O G crew man, I have missed these two people so very much. I know that you have to, I'm excited to pick it up today in our new fall season and our new fall year, uh, with the one, the only Chet Higgins, Kristin K Cola LaScola. So friends, how was your summer? What did you been up to? I know it's like we haven't been texting, but we have been texting, but, but for all of our, for all of our listeners that are back in the saddle and youth ministry in a ball me up.
Speaker 3:
2:11
What in the world have y'all been up to this summer? How are you guys doing? You know what? I made a big youth pastor. No, no. That we would say on the podcast is like, you never don't take a summer vacation. Do you know guys? I did not take, go do anything fun. I know, but I'm going to a, um, a food festival next week that's going to be my summer vacation in Oklahoma. We call those buffet. Well, okay, I shouldn't have brought it up, but it's called the vegan playground and it is in San Diego and it's like all these vegan food vendors, they make vegan junk food and I'm like psyched out in my life. I don't even consider that. It's what I do. How sad is my life right now? Everybody's trying to out vegan each other. We're all trying to out vegan each other at the food festival.
Speaker 3:
3:06
It's like there's an award for who's most vegan or is that, what is that? What the game hope. So, I mean, I don't know. It's just like good to be a surprise. I'm going to go down there and my birds and just, you know, how does, how does one dress at a vegan food? I dunno, this is my first time. A lot of, there's a lot of thought put into that. So tell us they've got the outfield outfit all mapped out. I mean, I don't think I can, like I'll have to stock their Instagram and see what the, the typical people were just so I fit in. I don't want to stand out too much, but I'm, I'm having to take a youth group night off to do it, but you know what I say I deserve it. I have not taken any vacations this summer, so I'm going to treat myself, treat yo self to vegan junk food. Okay. It's going to be good.
Speaker 4:
3:56
Christian, the fact that you've shaved your arm bids in the last year is probably going to like, you are going to stand out tremendously. And that crowd, they're like, are you stereotyping [inaudible] person? I am. I'm your Brazil. I am the, that sounds, I'll take pictures. Can't even call that a,
Speaker 3:
4:17
it'll be like the people of Walmart website. I'll send them.
Speaker 4:
4:21
I just feel like that it's like the lamest fall festival ever. And just like vegan vegan food festival. Just here's a potato vegan food festival. Just sounds like jumbo shrimp.
Speaker 3:
4:34
Hey, you guys should see these pictures. So on your Instagrams, this is for all of our listeners. Type in vegan playground and you will see the delicacies and you will be jealous and you will ask them to come to your day. So I mean just impossible burgers for everybody. I mean, but you're like impossible,
Speaker 4:
4:53
possible burger. Oh I, I am. I am upset. I absolutely, so I love it. I have been gone. I've been going to Qdoba like nonstop because they have the impossible meet there and I think it's like the best. It's so much better. And everybody's like, Oh,
Speaker 3:
5:13
and it is a hundred. You guys, we could turn this into a vegan youth ministry podcast. Episode 84 brought to you by, yeah, no. Hey guys, youth. Okay. Burger King now sells the impossible Whopper. Carl's jr now sells the beyond burger famous star. And honestly, because I buy it at the grocery store too. So what? It's completely clean. It's all plant base. I mean it is delicious. I mean, no cholesterol, saturated fat. I mean guys, it is the best time to be plant based in the entire existence of
Speaker 4:
5:53
food. I heard the Oreos are vegan is a hundred percent a hundred percent. See
Speaker 3:
5:58
and that's, and that's the thing. So calling yourself vegan is hard cause you could get by on junk food. You have to say, I'm plant based and that tells you what you do eat and said, I mean, you could just live off French fries and be vegan, but you know,
Speaker 5:
6:12
so, so what, so what you're saying is that it's what you're for now, what you're against. I like it.
Speaker 3:
6:16
Yeah. So you call it plant based, whole plant base. Not that the vegan playground is going to be like health food. I'm just saying it's going to be fun, but
Speaker 5:
6:25
it's just, I love it. I love it. Well, Chad, Chad, what other impossible things that you've been doing
Speaker 4:
6:30
this summer? Um, so I, I've, I feel even weird mentioning this. So as many of you know, I have moved from the wonderful world of youth ministry and to home group pastor world and this is the first year of being in that and um, life is much different during the summer months. Do you think you're better than us? Well, that, that's probably, that's probably been the case for many other reasons. Your side, uh, uh, you play less games? No, I, summer is way over the summer. Everything like screeches to a whole, like, like massively in my world. And so that was like really hard to get used to have like, you know, our youth guys are like packing up for camp and all this kind of stuff and I'm like, all right, well I'll get a coffee at three o'clock early going home. Yeah, it's two 30. It's been a full day. I'll see you guys next week, but a lot dude, life of my little girl is awesome.
Speaker 3:
7:48
Yay.
Speaker 5:
7:49
Is there any insight for us as youth pastors, uh, into the life, uh, the life without summer planning? I mean, is it, is it everything you thought it would be? Did you miss some of the camp life summer hype activities
Speaker 4:
8:02
you guys dropped is way cooler, like legends be honest. Oh thanks man. It's cool. It's way more fun, but we're cooler. We'll take that. All right, cool. Oh my
Speaker 5:
8:14
gosh. Well, speaking of, speaking of, speaking of things just outside our horizon, so this whole month on my context and so for this episode a Kristin and Chad really want to hear from you both on the topic of context. And the thing that we talked about a little bit before the show started was those that are just outside the church. Because I think for a lot of people, uh, we can get really kind of like focused in on like our church context. But we miss out and we'll, I talked about this in episode one 83 [inaudible]. There is a broad world that our churches are all nestled into. There is a city or town or community or region that your church is in the middle of it and there's a, a missional understanding to how your church and youth ministry are situated inside of a, of the zip code, the area code that you're in. And I think for a lot of us there's some missed opportunities of students and ministry partnerships just outside our door. And so I'd love to hear from you both maybe some insight and wisdom or some questions that we should be asking for the ministry just outside of our walls as the church, just outside the doorstep of the things that we plan
Speaker 4:
9:23
weekend and weekend. All right, so I, I'm going to jump in there and Zach, I'm going to talk personally to you for a moment. I've got, I've got some questions for you buddy. All right, we're going to talk about Zach workings ministry context here a little bit. So you, uh, you are in a church. In what city? Tulsa. Oklahoma. Very nice. And so you, you, you're in Southern Hills. In Tulsa. What, what high schools or middle schools do you guys primarily go?
Speaker 5:
9:51
Uh, we primarily pull from about three main high schools because of where we're situated. Uh, they're all larger high schools. Um, but one of the biggest demographics that we pull from is a collection of students that all come from various private Christian schools. And so that's a really unique dynamic for us as we have students that are from very large, uh, public high schools. Like these are the schools that are showing up. And like two, two of the three main high schools that we pull from. Uh, one of the, two of them has been in the state football championship at the highest level for the last like 28 or 31 years. And so these like big program, big powerhouse schools when it comes to sports. Um, one of them is like nationally recognized for all of the stuff that they do with like fine arts and show choir. Uh, so just really big schools, big programs, uh, but also probably with that, a lot of big pressure to do well. And then we have some private school folks, uh, that are a lot smaller and may be a little more elitist. Uh, but, uh, being smaller, uh, means that they literally know every other kid at their school and may have gone to school with the same kids that they knew all of their names since they were very little. And so it's a really interesting when those two come together, uh, what that looks like
Speaker 4:
11:05
very cold. Now off the wall question that will apply. Do you enjoy fishing?
Speaker 5:
11:12
Uh, I go fishing sometimes I go fishing sometimes.
Speaker 4:
11:16
All right. All right. So I, I enjoy fishing, whether you like to fish at like a Lake or a pond or all these kinds of things, but this like analogy is one of her used quite a bit and it's something that I always think about is these like cultural pockets inside and around our church that, that are quote unquote like fishing holes for us. Right? Like you're going to go to these big high schools. That's obviously a vision all for you of, you know, a place where students are, or you already have students that are connected to those kinds of things. So inside of each of those places, right, these different high schools, you're obviously because of the students you have because of the leaders you have. Um, if we're going to be real honest, you're, you'll start to realize if you look at different student ministries, the makeup of them as far as like what kind of students are there, what the students are interested involved with often mirrors the youth pastor or the leadership of that church. Um, and so like for you guys that, tell me some of the like primary activities that the, not all, but like a majority of your students are involved with that you would consider like a fishing hole for you guys.
Speaker 5:
12:30
Yeah. Uh, so a one that's become really, really abundant, both in like the growth of our worship team and just some connections we have because our senior pastors, a spouse is in charge of it, is the fine arts department at one of the large high schools. Um, I actually, the last couple of years I've been invited to be their motivational speaker when they have, uh, their show choir camp every fall. And so that's been a really fun connection for all of these like singing and dancing high school kids that like have competitive, uh, routines that they take and go places. Uh, the debate team, uh, again, [inaudible] you're saying it right. These are things that I'm already comfortable and friendly in. Um, but we have students that are drawn that way and that kind of compiles in that way. Uh, one of the new areas for us, cause our new middle school minister, the middle school FCA program, we've become one of the kind of the founding, they re kind of invigorated that and one of our large middle schools. And so our middle school minister has been really key and being there every other week, uh, for that program. And so that's been a really great kind of connection point for an on campus ministry to reach a group that maybe we didn't have, um, roots in before. So, yeah,
Speaker 4:
13:35
that's good. I, you know, I think if we look at each of our a student ministries or ministries in general, you're going to see that you have just natural leanings in and places. I mean your relationships are your student's relationship connect with other students. I mean because that is their friend group, those are the people that they're gonna invite, all those kinds of things. I think sometimes we can try to try to connect with everybody and anybody and that's a lot harder than being really strategic and wise now. Not that we have like a closed door policy, you know like athletes or whatever, right? But there's just going to be natural places that you can be strategic and go, okay, we obviously have a pool in band or you know, choir, whatever. What are we, what are we doing inside internally to continue to grow that and continue to leverage some of those, those places in those contexts.
Speaker 4:
14:30
But here's what I really want to talk about and here's what I'm getting at S we, a lot of times people either look at really close internal of like this is who my group is. And then here is the group at the school. That's the connection piece. I want to focus this today on the end between the like right outside the door or maybe even a couple of times inside the door. So one of the things that I realized many years ago, um, our student ministry, we had a pretty good sized student ministry at the time and we were looking and week by week we were having anywhere between 15 to 30 guests every single week that we're filling out new cards and all that kind of stuff. Um, we were trending up, we were growing, but what we're realizing is that our growth was not matching at all 25 new students literally every week kind of thing.
Speaker 4:
15:34
And so we started really looking and going, okay, w w man, we can be really excited about this big front door that we have, but we also have to be like honest with ourselves and say, man, we've got a big back door as well. Um, and so helping ourselves identify who these people are that have already, they have already made their way in at one point for us. And so if we have this like fishing analogy for ourselves, I think that that pool for us is this ever growing pool of new guests or people that are, um, infrequent attenders that we need to identify. And, and here's where I think we start. Um, and I want to challenge everybody in this learn names of people that are connected to your church or your ministry that are not frequent attenders. Um, I think a lot of times we focus so much on our car core and yes, spend the majority of your time there.
Speaker 4:
16:42
All of those kinds of things. Good to know. Some names. I have students that are lightly connected, um, and figure out how do we continue to shore these up? How do we close that back door? And I think when we start to look at that context of our ministry and what that either front door looks like our backdoor for us, then then we can really start to gain some ground. And when, and, and here's the great thing. When we're fishing in that pond, they already know who you are, right? Like, you're not trying to tell them when you meet, where you meet, any of that kind of stuff. They have been there. Um, and so those are our great places, uh, to, to look at an intern too. Because what I've found over the years is I think the misconception is, well, they don't like it. And so they're not coming, but oftentimes it's, they're not connected and so they're not coming. And so really trying to find those, those spaces in ways to connect them, know who they are. And if I tell me it is, I think huge.
Speaker 3:
18:01
Yeah, I totally agree. Um, and I think one method that I've been using to close that back door, like you're talking about, especially because I work with middle schoolers and so without a middle schoolers, parental involvement, you don't really get, like, kids will be like, Oh, that was really fun. You know, and then they don't come back because they kind of forget or they get busy or they had a game. And so where I focus a lot of my energy on, um, is actually parent ministry when it comes to those kids that it's like, you been here but she, you like I see every once in awhile. So, um, like you were saying Chad, you know, you had all those new visitors that Philadelphia info card, like those are like platinum. Like when you have a new student's information, like don't ever let it go.
Speaker 3:
18:53
Um, hopefully you have some kind of database system that you can put them into so that you can keep track of these people. But assimilation with that kid who's been like, ah, you came here once, what do we do with you now? I mean, I think to get them next level connection, um, is that assimilation process that you set up. Um, and that really involves the parent heavily when you're dealing with middle school ministry. And probably, um, since high-schoolers actually maybe check their email once in a while. Like it could be, um, that you focus more on the student if you're working with high schoolers or young adults or something like that. But, um, I mean for me, I am the face of the ministry to the parents and I let my small group leaders and staff be the face of the ministry more to the students.
Speaker 3:
19:43
So I mean, I'm at the age now where I have some parents that were the same age and they have middle schoolers. And so I see them at like drop off and pick up for my own first grader. You know, I see them if they have younger kids and I take those opportunities to um, chat to build relationship. And um, you know, once I have that information from their child attending for the first time, they get on my mass email list. I promised the parents, Hey, I'm only gonna send you one email a week, but it's going to tell you everything you need to know. I make sure our website is continually updated with, I make bringing their child to our program as easy as humanly possible. And the crazy thing is parents talk. So whatever our reputation is, and it comes down to, um, from a parent's perspective, is it easy?
Speaker 3:
20:37
Is it safe? Do I know what's going on? Can I bring them? Because I have everything I need. I mean go over and above and I mean, we've done a podcast episode on communication like I mean a year ago or so. Um, but I mean, making this easy for parents to simulate their kid because parents want an awesome place for their kids to go, you know, on a week night, um, to build community and all of that. So once you have them, I mean, that's the first step. Like of even if they've just visited once, it's, my question always is, well, now what are you going to do with that? Um, and one cool thing just, you know, that we did this year that gave parents, um, like this tiny little thing that so many students and parents, like I felt like we were a part of their community. So on the first day of school we made signs and we went to, we live in a smaller town, so we only pull from two middle schools. Luckily they started school on two different days. So, um, we went to one, we held up these signs. We dressed in our like youth ministry gear, like with our logo on it, held signs that said happy first day of school, love chaos. That's the name of our youth group. And we just stood out there during drop-off and parents were like,
Speaker 6:
21:57
thank you guys so much. Oh, this is awesome. Thank you
Speaker 3:
22:01
people. We didn't even know, um, parents were taking pictures of us posting it on their social media. I got emails from parents later. Students were so excited,
Speaker 6:
22:11
we saw you, we saw you.
Speaker 3:
22:13
And if they're walking to school with their friends, their friends are like, who are those people? You know? And it was like this exciting buzz, you know, like just having that like, here we are and we love you and we're so for this community and we're celebrating things that are not on our turf. We're celebrating things that are, that are on your turf. Um,
Speaker 5:
22:36
[inaudible] and on their calendar. I mean that and that's one of the things that, that Kristen, what you, what you, what you didn't say specifically that I want to make, make plain for everybody listening. You knew enough ahead of time to schedule a team to be prepared to have the stuff to greet the middle school students on their very first day. Um, because you were as much aware and involved with their calendar as you were in the planning of your own cause I know that you are organized and put together and probably have all of this semester if not all of next year mapped out for your own middle tier three but there, but there is a next level of knowing like, like you should be, especially if you're in a place where you only have a couple of schools, if you, if you are a middle school pastor of uh, an area that has one or two middle schools, you should know like when the science fair is for the seventh graders, you should know who the lacrosse team is playing on Saturday morning like and that, and that sounds just like, like pushing that off on you.
Speaker 5:
23:32
But like you should be community involved. Even if you can't go, you can be awares and to ask your students what these things are, what's going on and maybe you can't do everything but you should have little inroads in roots because of who your students are and how they're connected that you weren't just worried about getting them there on Sunday but going to them on Tuesday afternoon or Thursday morning before school and like that is such a benefit. If you're in a place that you're staffed in a way that's three quarter time or full time to be a presence on those campuses. We talked about it last week of connecting with your senior leadership to know that like you were there and that's why you were going and it was mapped out but you were enough ahead of the curve. Like all the other things we've ever talked about, about clarity and communication and organization and be a heading, being ahead of things and being on time for things all builds toward the ways in which we can ripple our ministry out beyond just panic button.
Speaker 5:
24:27
Getting our midweek ready from week to week because you can't, you can't be there on opening day greet the middle schoolers for day one if you didn't know when it was and didn't make arrangements with your team and the staff of the school to do that kind of stuff. And that is the way in which your minister becomes visible. And to be fair, also relational and it's, we get really guilty of like, well we're youth pastors, we're super relational as a way to like dumb down like, well the quality didn't matter as much because we just care so much. Well, our care has got to extend beyond just our own address and our own church house. Like if you really truly are one of people that value and esteem, that relational qualities of being a youth pastor, let it leak out, pour out overflow from the, the place in which you gathered the mail. So, ah,
Speaker 3:
25:13
yeah. And you know, you remind me of such a great point too because going back to the like, I'm relational, that's enough and it's what I do and everything else kind of comes second then. Then there's no difference between you and your best volunteer because why do they give you a paycheck? They don't pay you to be a Christian. Every Christian should be relational. Matt Chandler said the greatest thing or conference a couple of years ago and he said, I am not going to pay you to be a Christian if you want to come in and be relational and you know, high five people, that's what you should be doing. Like that's what every Christian should be doing. But the reason we're youth pastors is because we're the ones who are keeping the ship moving. And I think you and you know you mentioned that the super organized, I am on the Myers Briggs, I'm an ENT Jay.
Speaker 3:
26:02
I'm a Enneagram three like I am an organized type. That's where I thrive. But I think youth pastors ride or die by their organization because highly Oregon organized schedules now give room for creativity in relationships. It's like, well, like you were saying, because we know all of this, we can be present for all of this. I'm not worried about what I'm going to do. I mean, I have had my 2019 into winter 2020 calendar done since like last December, 2018 like it's done. So now I'm not worried about, Oh, what should we do? What should I'm worried about? How can I take what I'm doing and go next level with it? Because now I have the mental margin, I have the time margin to be able to, uh, take these things next level, which is like those little extra like, Hey, welcome your first day of school and you better believe we'll be there on the last day of school too. Yeah, you did it. We're so proud of you. We're gonna be at promotion, we're going to be at the FCA Christian clubs. We're going to be, you know what, all those different things, club rush week and all of that because we're not tied up in the weeds. Um, and that's the balance of a youth pastor. Highly relational and highly organized. And I mean, there's, at that point, I don't think there's anything you can't do, you know, you,
Speaker 5:
27:23
yeah. You mean the thing that you're saying and that I think is so important is that for anybody that's listening, um, this is not a Shah on not having great teaching or having great content or curriculum, but this is the infrastructure that allows what you have to say to spill over in the places that your students are at. And I think that is just one of the biggest shifts in youth ministry for this year and beyond is it's not enough to just have a really cool attractional thing for your kids to come to. It's what Chad was sharing a little bit earlier that like you have these students that are kind of in and out and I think you all had a version of this conversation with a parent. Well my daughter or my son or my student would like to come more. They just don't really feel connected to anybody.
Speaker 5:
28:06
And so it creates this standoff of who will give first. And so the things that I want to kind of wrap our time up with here is to say one, like be a person who's willing to make the first move. You are the adult, you are the pastor, you are the shepherd in the spirit of the one in the 99 be the shepherd willing to make the first move for a student who is just outside your door and Chad is right and saying the ones that have been there before are the easiest ones to call up even if it's a painful conversation of I didn't feel connected, I didn't really know anybody. That's not a personal attack. That's this them expressing to you in a personal relationship, a trust of I just didn't feel like I belonged there. And then the second thing is never underestimate how many times you have to ask, encourage or affirm someone before they might actually get reconnected.
Speaker 5:
28:59
I think. I think for so many of us we check it off like a box when relationship is so much of like a whipped up energy, right? Like we all, like we, we've been through those seasons either coming off of summer or getting ready to go into summer or like I know for us, like right now this like September, October is a really exciting time because school hasn't gotten hard yet and we have like fall, like, like overnight events that are like middle school and high school specific. So it's a little mini camps and they're like, there's no big homework and it's just about band and football in life. Um, those momentum kind of moments happen because there's like a whirling excitement swirl of energy and that takes a lot of mentions and re mentions and retweets and messages and texts and DMS. And so just because you wrote a note to a kid you hadn't seen three months ago once, doesn't mean you shouldn't write another and another and another and a phone call and a high, and I saw you at school, I saw you at the football game or whatever.
Speaker 5:
29:53
Like you've got to be able to commit yourself, invest the energy into them because it may take a while to whip up enough energy to rekindle that fire of a connection relationship. Totally agree. I mean, people want to be known. That's the bottom line. And whatever organizational systems you need to put in place to make sure they are known, put them there because best of intentions will fail for lack of organization. And that's just the way it is. It can feel no that's forced or Oh, that seems advent. It's, it's just the way it is. Especially as your numbers grow. You have to put systems in place in order to love people as backwards and weird as that sounds. But if you don't, it's gonna be an intention that never gets executed. So take it this way. Take this word, friends. Uh, the context is outside your door matters as much to your church because it's a part of your community.
Speaker 5:
30:43
Find the roots and the feeders and the inroads that your existing community can reach out into and grow and feed and delve deep into those things. Kristin always great catching up with you friends and we'll see everybody back next week. All right, there you go. Friends, that's episode one 85 of the fishery booster podcast. We're so excited for this new season of having some members focus and then also some conversations around some very interesting and useful content in youth ministry. We hope you enjoyed it. If you did, make sure to hit that subscribe button, give us ratings and reviews. We'd love to have your feedback or you can always shoot us an email or some conversations you would like discussed@zackorboosteratyouthministrybooster.com. We'd love to hear from you booster, put your pusher.com for Zack Z AC. Sometimes the spelling gets a little weird cause there's lots of ways to spell Zack, but we'd love to hear from you guys. Thank you so much for listening and we'll be able to bless. We can ministry and we'll see back real soon.
Speaker 7:
31:43
[inaudible] side down. [inaudible].
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