Teaching the Teachers

One challenge I see for all of us that work in a church is figuring out how to get fed on a regular basis.  I know I tend to get the feeling, especially in high capacity seasons of just being drained.  That’s why it’s important for us to make sure we spend time with God and seek spiritual accountability both in our professional and personal setting.  And as important as it is to fill ourselves spiritually we also need to get filled with advice and insight on a professional level.
Now, I don’t know about you but I love going to conferences.  And I’m sure most of us do; however, some don’t have conference costs in our budget.  Same goes for resources that teach us the youth worker, there are some great tools out there but not everyone has the budget to purchase all of them.  So how can leaders with low budgets still find the tools to grow and learn?
Bring the Conference to You – Purchasing a conference DVD is a possibility, there are many available but still some are just too expensive.  That’s why podcasts are such a blessing.  Almost every successful church or church ministry has one and the majority of them are free.  When you go to itunes, click podcasts and select Religious/Christianity from the list and bam! you have at your fingertips a whole library of great speakers that you would find at most conferences.  But some of you may not know who to start with because the list is pretty overwhelming.  Four that I regularly follow are:

  1. Simply Youth Ministry Podcast – This is specificially for youth workers and is a great place to get your questions answered.  Doug Fields, Josh Griffin, Katie Edwards and Matt McGill make you feel like you are sitting at the table.
  2. Simply Junior High Podcast – Kurt Johnston from Saddleback brings you into the wisdom he’s learned as a junior high pastor.  And anyone who’s in junior high ministry knows the more wisdom and guidance we can gather the better.
  3. Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast – I’m a systems and structures junky, I have a business mindset and I love applying that to student ministry.  Andy Stanley not only shows us how but why it’s okay to do so.  If you want build a good, healthy ministry team, listen to this one.
  4. Catalyst Podcast – Want to hear Craig Groeschel, Donald Miller, or Rick Warren.  Just go hear and listen to what they have to say.  Never has it been so easy to listen to some great advice from some great leaders.

Teaching Tools For Me – I think many of us can google websites that will provide us with games and materials to teach our students, but what about for us youth workers?  Where can we gain access to resources that will teach us?  Start off with:

  1. Blogs – All I have is my advice; however, go to the youth ministry sites I have listed to the left of this page.  All of them have a free newsletter which is going to give you sound advice on what you can do to   teach yourself and your leaders.
  2. Community – When you go to most blogs you’ll find that they have a built in community.  Participating in these online communities are important because they can connect you to a youth worker in your local community.  Having face to face time is important and if your denomination doesn’t offer a local network, starting with these online ones are key.
I know what I’ve offered isn’t news breaking; however, I meet so many ministers who miss out on the importance of growing themselves in ministry.  But it’s important to share our resources, because maybe there’s something that I’ve found that you haven’t come across, but I also realize there are things you know that I do not.  I would love for people to share what they’ve learned with me and the other readers in their comments below.