If you like videos that make you feel good, then don’t watch this. This video and its message will make you cringe and probably convict you… the Gospel tends to do that to those with ear to hear and eyes to see.
This year, we decided to have our Information and Release Cards printed professionally. It’s actually a much cheaper solution than us running off mass copies on our black and white printing press or copier on cardstock. I created this card for 8.5″ x 5.5″ (half-sheet) size. It seems like the perfect size. Not too large and not too small.
Every year we run through our expectations with our middle school students @ Hayward Wesleyan Church. We call it frontloading. We share with them what our expectations are upfront, instead of chasing their behavior after the fact. We revisit them from time to time as new students show up or as the overall group behavior dips.
Here are the expectations:
That’s a long title, isn’t it? But I wanted to catch your attention by asking you that question:
When I came to Hayward Wesleyan, there was (and still is) a mid-week children’s ministry program called Followers, and it occurred every other Monday after school. I thought that was strange because I thought consistent ministry programs should happen on a weekly basis. I reckoned that I would keep the routine the same for the first year then work toward having Followers every Monday.
After the first year was over, I realized the genius behind having this after school program every other Monday.
Hayward Wesleyan Church has graciously offered its pastors an 8-week sabbatical after 7 years worth of full-time ministry. Pastor Mark and Loretta have taken theirs recently and Pastor Heath is currently on his sabbatical at the time of this post. I will be taking mine starting at the end of January 2013 until the end of March 2013.
I have four things I want to focus on during this sabbatical from full-time ministry:
You might be thinking: “Just give them some pens and let them go at it, right?”
Well you could do that… because that’s what I did when I first started working with middle school students. However I quickly learned rule #1 in giving middle schoolers a marking device:
This wisdom was dispensed to me by middle school ministry veteran Pete Wisdom. Pete is a father of four and has been in middle school ministry for going on 14 years. After my second Youth night, Pete pulled me aside and said: “You shouldn’t give the kids click pens because they just take them apart and use the springs to shoot the ink stick across the room. Better to stick with non-click pens.” As he was saying this he was handing over a handful of pieces to those very pens.
So I pulled all the click pens out of the arsenal and filled them with cap only pens. Our church had all kinds of pens so I just used a bunch of different kinds and colors and brandings, which led me to discover rule #2:
It’s okay to use a variety if you’ve got lots of time because the students would take forever in choosing just the right pen. So I wised up and bought plain, black stick pens in bulk that were the same. I was a “different” pen Nazi. If you were to come into our program room you will find to bins of pens: one we use for the students and one we use to gather all the “different” kinds of pens!
You may be asking: “How many rules do you have when it comes to ink pens?” Two more. And these are just personal stances:
If you worry about this, it will drive you crazy. If you don’t worry about this, that’s good. There are plenty of other things to “worry” about in middle school ministry.
Pens are cheap. We tend to go through around 500 pens per year. I budget that in. I do ask the students to put their pens back in the bucket, and most do so. But those who don’t probably either really need the pen, or they are a typical middle school student and didn’t hear me say: “Please put your pen back in the bucket!” And I’m okay donating these pens to the cause. Again, there are greater things to worry about than a slow pen “leak.”
So there you have it. After over 9 years of experience with middle school students and the pens they use at youth group, I humbly transfer this invaluable wisdom to you to save you days of worry and broken click pen parts!