Park Rangers
Posted in Serve |

Park Rangers

The following is an excerpt from our Youth Unlimited Summer Magazine. To view the whole magazine, click here. The opportunity to have been part of the “Park Rangers” group at my church has drastically changed the way I look at and interact with my church today. Planning to host a SERVE trip with a congregation of our size didn’t seem possible, but I was amazed to see the abundance of support from the members of our church and community. People were signing up to lead games, cook meals, help out with job sites and be a part of the main Host Team. The Park Rangers group, in… Read More

Bridging Generations
Posted in Youth Ministry |

Bridging Generations

One of the many tensions in youth ministry is how much to integrate youth programs with the larger church. Many youth programs have their own separate wing of the church and do not feel connected to the church. It is essential that teenagers maintain their Christian identity with the larger church so they continue to attend, post-graduation. However, teenagers have unique needs that are different from children and adults that require special attention. So how does a church find this balance? The first thing a youth pastor can do is observe and assess what is currently being done. How… Read More

Why Use Youth Unlimited?
Posted in Serve |

Why Use Youth Unlimited?

The following is an excerpt from the Youth Unlimited Fall Magazine. To read more, click here. Life Changing – the single most important thing that can happen in a student’s life is that they form a lifelong relationship with Jesus Christ and commit to living for him. In a world so full of noise and distractions, Youth Unlimited’s SERVE mission experiences are incredibly effective at creating the space for students to encounter Jesus. We have testimony after testimony from students saying their SERVE experience was the moment in time when they first came to understand Jesus’… Read More

Rebuilders of Almost Anything
Posted in Youth Ministry |

Rebuilders of Almost Anything

Are we, as the North American Church, living in sin by spending so much time trying to keep our kids moral and safe? Or are we equipping and mobilizing our youth to live for something that is worth Jesus dying for? Youth/Family Pastor and Youth Unlimited Mission Director Jerry Meadows shares a journey through questions on how we help students live on mission for Christ everyday. For a free E-book on teaching students about missional living, click here. To hear further conversation by church leaders on this topic and others including when pastors aren't missional enough and moralistic… Read More

My 51 – Menno, South Dakota Community
Posted in Serve |

My 51 – Menno, South Dakota Community

Three years ago I came to the small town of Menno, South Dakota to serve as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church (NALC/LCMC). It was the first time I had ever heard of this “thing” called Serve. Our town has a population of 608 and five (yes, count them: FIVE) churches. Our churches are Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS), Peace Christian Reformed Church, Salem Reformed Church (CCCC), Zion Reformed Church (RCUS) and Grace Lutheran Church, where I currently serve. For a number of years now, youth from all five of these churches have attended Serve in various locations, from Platte, South… Read More

A New Attitude in Missions
Posted in Serve |

A New Attitude in Missions

I love mission trips and service projects! In forty years of youth ministry, I have been on close to 100 of them. What’s not to love? We get to obey God’s command to minister to the “least of these.” We travel and experience different cultures as we meet new people, make new friends, and strengthen the unity of the youth group. We come home excited, blessed, and ready to live fully for Christ. It’s all good, right? Well...maybe not. Experts are discovering that one barrier to effective ministry is that sometimes our good intentions and well-meaning help can actually harm… Read More

Making Justice a Part of Everyday Life
Posted in Youth Ministry |

Making Justice a Part of Everyday Life

The following is a post on justice from Live 58, an organization that emphasizes helping pastors and leaders equip and empower the Church to live the True Fast. Justice is often invoked by passionate teachers, pastors, and leaders inviting us into new action. For example, a justice-themed sermon from a leader or pastor to encourage the church to volunteer, go on a youth missions trip, or give to a cause. Justice is often focused upon doing something new, but what about the actions you and I take every day? Here’s the thing: justice isn’t always about doing something new; it’s… Read More

Feed the Need with a Can in Hand
Posted in Youth Ministry |

Feed the Need with a Can in Hand

I want to believe that there is a something rooted deep within our being that can drive upward and outward the passions and actions to willingly help those around us. For some of us, it comes seemingly easy, and for others, it takes a personal experience to loosen those chains holding us back. This stirring began about a year ago as a series of events were already taking place. First, our high school youth group was in the midst of a study of the book of Acts, with a focus on how the first church responded to each other and those around them. Two different sections of verses from the… Read More

The Church in the Park
Posted in Serve |

The Church in the Park

Unity, worship, power, witness... those and many more words could be used to describe some of what God is doing in Peterborough, Ontario.   A few years ago, our church and youth group set out to extend our ministry and our presence into the community by loving others genuinely and intentionally outside the walls of our church building. We realized that as much as we talked about being changed and affecting change, effectiveness would rely on being intentional enough that we would actually leave what’s comfortable (i.e.: our building) and move into the community.   With… Read More

Changing the Meaning of “Church Service”
Posted in Serve |

Changing the Meaning of “Church Service”

Bethel CRC in Brockville, Ontario, has left the building. Rather than seeing a teen summer mission trip as a mountaintop experience, they are working to build serving into the DNA of the congregation.   Students from Bethel have participated in Youth Unlimited's Serve many times and have taken it home to help reach their own congregation.   Pastor Jack Van de Hoef and his team planned three days of worship, prayer and serving with a total of 10 very local work sites. Here is the report in his words:   Most of the sites involved revitalizing properties… Read More

Customizing Brings a Crowd
Posted in Serve |

Customizing Brings a Crowd

Detroit may be known as the City of Trees or even Hockeytown (did I just hear all of Canada collectively clear their throat?) but it’s the roots of Motown that had over one million people lined up for the Woodward Dream Cruise. Thousands of custom cars lined Woodward Avenue as onlookers admired hotrods, antiques and some bizarre automobiles. The owners of the vehicles each had a varying degree of time, money and interest and you could tell a lot about them by how they customized their car.   Have you considered customizing a mission trip? For example, maybe you feel your… Read More

Mentor for Life
Posted in Youth Ministry |

Mentor for Life

I’m a new youth pastor at Trinity CRC. I started last September, and I absolutely love it. It’s a dream job. I would do it for free if I could afford it. One of the big parts of my job is mentoring. I started taking out my youth for lattes and lunches and although it was fantastic – it was overwhelming: There were so many youth!   I attended a conference in Vancouver and went to a breakout session on mentoring. I heard a lot of stories of people who were mentored and had great memories and experiences. It was meant to be an encouraging session, but I walked away sad.… Read More