Category: ideas

I’m running a meeting this week where I’v asked all people involved in children’s work to get together. I initially want to take the ‘temperature’ of that area of the church so I know what my next step will be.

I decided to put together a more creative way of getting to find out what people really feel about the ministry. So I am using several models/ideas and mashing them all up.

The main aim of the meeting is to find out what the volunteers see of the overall ‘win’ of the ministry. This idea of finding the win is from the book Seven Practices of Effective Ministry.

Once we have worked out the ‘Win’ of the children’s ministry, we’ll then think through a SWOT analysis of the ministry. I’ll do the SWOT analysis by getting the group into twos around tables with maybe a bowl of sweets or cake, to try to get a relaxed feeling. I will also give each table a card from myCreative Whack Pack, these cards (from Roger VonOech) try to stimulate creativity by asking crazy questions of an idea like ‘What would a 6-year-old think of this’. Some people may not find this helpful, some may. The table idea from The World Cafe model. I will have a print out with other SWOT analysis pointers mindmap style like this:

  • Internal Strengths that help us meet our goal
    • What would the church & community say are our strengths?
    • What needs are we meeting in the church & community?
    • What assets do we possess? (financial, property, key relationships, or maybe just awesome people)?
    • We are incredible at…

The hoped outcome will be a clear idea what Win looks like in the children’s ministry with a few glaring things in each of the SWOT analysis categories that can be celebrated (SO) and addressed (WT) to make the Win happen each week.

So overall i’m using the some of The World Cafe philosophy with SWOT, mindmaps and Whack on the side of the head.

Lets see if it works



I seem to be in a constant battle with productivity and I just spend far too much time in-front of my computer mostly doing admin stuff (this is my day so its OK).  So I decided over the last week or so to really try to get on top of my time and productivity.   I therefore thought I’d share what I’m up to as it may help some other poor youth worker who spends too much time on the wrong stuff.

Where are we heading?

I first had to work out what I here to do.   So I have spent some time working on vision/strategy and direction for the overall youth ministry. This means that I can then start to work out where I should invest my time and energy.   More about vision here

What’s Good vs Right?

There are lots of lots of good ideas and no end of people will tell you their great idea that you should do!  But once you have a vision and strategy, you then have a measuring rod for all these good ideas.  You can then say ‘this is a great idea, but may not be the right idea for our ministry at this time’.  This can save you a lot of time and help you be more productive on the right stuff.

What’s really worth my time?

I got this idea from a post by Tim Schmoyer that asked ‘What is REALLY worth my time in student ministry?‘   This is a challenging list to make, everything that you do in your ministry, write it down  and ask is it really worth doing.  Tim asked ‘Is it life changing‘, I kept that question but also related by to the ministries vision so also asked is it ‘missional‘? ‘Does it help people to go DEEP (into God) and/or WIDE (into the world)? This has helped me to start to see what things I do that I can maybe drop or give to others. For example do I really need to do flyers? Do they help people to change there lives, go DEEP and/or WIDE or is it a missional activity….eeeeerrrrr…no! Some stuff is no but you still have to do it like money stuff…O well.  It also highlights stuff I need to do more of like meeting with young people one to one.

Time Map

OK so now we have looked at what we should do and what we do that we shouldn’t!  I now think I/we need to think through our overall time.  This was for me where a post off Lifehacker, one of  one of my fav blogs, come along.  It talks about mapping your week to examine what you spend your time on.  This is sort of timesheet high-bred.  I also read this post by REYouthPastor called ‘Youth Pastor Productivity’.  In the post he states that for him his time should map out:

  • 15 hours a week youth programs (including before and after time)
  • 8 hours a week preparing for talks / sessions/ programs
  • 2 hours a week think about small church youth ministry strategies and future planning
  • 4 hours a week meeting staff
  • 4 hours a week doing 1-to-1 stuff
  • hopefully 4-5 hours a week doing admin stuff, in reality probably a bit more.

Thats a good start to looking at how my week could pan out, so I’m not doing too much admin( worth my time?) and more face to face (worth my time).  So I put into my little time map that above list.

More Creativity with To Dos

Iv also started to use FreeMind to mind map my To Dos.  I use DEEP and WIDE are guides and try to keep my To Dos liked, so it always comes back to Where I am heading and is this a good To Do or a Right To Do?

I am also using FreeMind to be more creative with other parts of my ministry and to clear my head!



This is the ‘vision’ I see panning out for the youth work/ministry at Malmesbury Abbey.  Its based on the our core values of youth work: voluntary participation, empowerment, equality of opportunity and informal education.  And a few ideas that I have stolen from other book etc.


I really like DEEP & WIDE from Dare2Share , I came across it through Life in Student Ministry but I found that their strategy for implementing DEEP & WIDE would not translate well into my context so I ‘borrowed’ the terms but left the strategy!

DEEP & WIDE helps us know WHAT we are.

Abbey youth…a missional community striving to go DEEP into God’s love and WIDE into the world


I made us of some of the  Purpose Driven Youth Ministry first because it makes you ask WHY.  Then the ‘target audience’ part makes you ask WHO.  The TA I think is far to rigid and we live a much more fluid world then I think TA gives credit but I use TA for big brushstrokes.


I inherited a lot of great youth ministry.  And at one level I had to think how it could fit into the above.  Fortunately I didn’t have too much trouble.  This is how I think it all fits together…


are we trying to reach?

Main Group


is our aim?

Main Aim


will we try to do this?


Community (no contact) WIDE (Evangelism) Detached (not yet in place)
Congregation (Some contact) WIDE (Evangelism) Friday Night Thing (open aimed at non-churched)
Committed (Regular contact) DEEP (Discipleship) Pipeline/Trax
Core (Leader) DEEP (Discipleship) Pipeline +


  • Is shaped a great deal from inherited youth work
  • Has to work in mid-sized church
  • I need to expand on missional
  • A lot of the current youth ministry focuses on DEEP need more WIDE
  • It quite modernistic

This is one of my first blog posts a long time ago.  I was re-looking at it and thought it was quite interesting inlight of how the emerging church, mission has developed, also since I have done a degree in youth work.  Moreover, with Mark Oestreicher’s Youth Ministry 3.0.

Mark Driscoll the pastor of Mars Hill Church Seattle, USA, has a really interesting post here on Church 3.0. I have put the post into a grid to see the different ‘grades’ of church side by side:




In this version, the church is traditional and institutional…

Today’s dominant church form is contemporary and seeker-sensitive…

This incarnation of the church emerging and missional…

The cultural context is modern.

The cultural context is somewhere between modern and postmodern.

The cultural context is postmodern and pluralistic.

The church expects to have a privileged place in the larger culture.

A culture war is being fought to regain a lost position of privilege.

The church accepts that it’s marginalized in culture.

Pastors are servants and teachers.

Pastors are CEOs.

Pastors are local missionaries.

The whole church are local missionaries.

Church services are marked by traditions most comforting to Christians, such as choirs, robes, hymnals, and organs.

Church services recycle 1980s and 1990s pop culture, such as acoustic guitars and drama, in an effort to attract non-Christian seekers.

Church services blend ancient forms and current local styles.

Do we have to have ‘Church services’?

Missions involves sending Americans and dollars overseas through denominations and missions agencies.

Missions is a church department that organizes overseas trips and funding.

Missions is “glocal” (global and local).

Along with the emergence of Church 3.0, an escalating debate is being raised over such cultural issues as sexuality and gender, as well as theological issues such as the atonement and hell. In the coming months this column will further explore the emerging controversies and trends of Church 3.0.

I have found this a really interesting post and has got me thinking about Youth Ministry 3.0:

  • What would that look like?
  • How would Youth Ministry 3.0 fit into Church 3.0?
  • How can church/Youth ministry 2.0 move to 3.0?

I think that Youth Ministry if often the first area to upgrade in a church and so often is already 3.0, but the rest of the church is still 1.0/2.0…

I like this photo essay by Steve Collins called urban church.

What Would Jesus Buy? What a great question to ask ourselves and help young people to ask as well. I think it raises so many questions about power, trade, and ultimately…us, the consumes.

Its interesting that the makers have chosen to use the gimmick of WWJD and a church minister. Why the religious imagery to get across a social message, is it just the Christmas thing or is it that really we, the church, should be asking these questions and we are not? Just a thought.

I like the look of this film, will have to ‘buy’ it!

1 in 4 don’t count their fathers as immediate family

Almost all would prefer to talk to their friends face-to-face rather than online.

Newsround, the BBC’s children’s news programme, celebrates 35 years of broadcasting with a survey on lives of children. They surveyed 1,000 boys and girls aged 6-12 years around Britain face to face in their homes. This gives a snapshot of the young people that youth workers and the church are going to start and are already working with over the next few years.


This is a film that I (would have liked the young people to have done it ) put together . It was a trip that On the Edge did to Mount Hawke Skate/Ride park just outside Newquey in Cornwall (UK).

Our next trip will hopefully be to Bristol to have a look at the skate/ride parks there.

View Larger Map

First Year Out: Narrated by the guys himself who spent 16 years in prison (from when he was in high school) after being wrongly convicted of rape and murder.

I have fallen in love… with a t-shirt co. in the US. A friend of mine at college told me about them. They are called Threadless, and there stuff is so cool cus its…

A collection of shirts submitted and rated by the public.”

So I put in an order for 3, hopefully they will get through customs OK! These are the them: