The Passover

I'm a young leader...ok...youngish. I've had the great opportunity to get to know hundreds of different young leaders over the years, and there is a common trait that most of us seem to share.

A desire to be noticed.

Whether it's working inside a church, with a missions organization or in the corporate world, young emerging leaders want to be seen, recognized and given the opportunity to lead.

So being the kind of guy that I am, I asked the question why? And here's what I've discover:

We young leaders are afraid.

We are afraid that we won't be seen, we may not be noticed and we may not get the chance to lead. We're afraid that at the end of our lives, we may have just been passed over. If we were really honest with ourselves, we might find the courage to not only recognize our fear, but figure out a way to combat it.

What If?
So what if we decided to be something other than afraid? What could that look like and what would it take? Here are three things I've begun to identify as growth areas for me as a young (ish) leader:

1. Humility - it's not all about me. The true measure of a faithful follower of Jesus, regardless of the setting or context, is not about personal development...it's about kingdom development. When my motivation is to make sure that "my gifts are being used" or "my voice is being heard" I might actually be in the business of self-promotion. And if I am, I'm counteracting the work of Jesus. A wise leader is a humble leader. If we would humble ourselves and pray, what would God do in us and through us?

2. Patiencetiming is everything. It's supposed to take 40 weeks of gestation for a human being to be grown (sometimes shorter, and other times longer). It takes time for crops to grow in a field. It takes time for young leaders to be recognized for their character, competence and commitment. There are no short cuts to influence. Being on stage with thousands of people tuning in to what you have to say doesn't instantaneously make you relevant. If you want to be seen, stay in the game longer than you think is possible. Embrace the internal and external tension, it might just be a gift God is giving to you for a reason. The solution may not be running out to start a brand new hip church...it actually might be to weather the storm so that perseverance can develop the character God desperately wants you to obtain.

3. Graceno one is perfect. Sometimes all we are meant to learn from leaders who have gone before us is how not to lead. And sometimes we need to learn how to forgive and to forget. What if we took the time to think the best about others instead of the worst? How might our conversations about the people who "don't see us" change if we see them with the eyes of grace instead of the eyes of frustration?

So what about you? Where are you at as a leader? Are you young and wanting to be noticed, or are you in a position to identify and develop the emerging leaders around you? What will your leadership legacy be? Let's choose not to be afraid of The Passover...we're not even certain it's actually going to happen, are we?

Share |

12 Years a Director

Last week I celebrated my 12 year anniversary as the Director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese of Vancouver (I replaced Father - now Bishop - Mark Hagemoen in December 2002).  I was excitable, passionate, and eager to learn.  And I had no idea what the Lord had in store for me.

As an aside, I can’t really remember why I started on a Tuesday and not the Monday prior.  Maybe it had to do with my former employer PricewaterhouseCoopers.  Or perhaps it had to do with staffing issues at the Archdiocese.  But I digress.

I inherited a staff consisting of Gerard Garcia, Pat Gillespie, Analyn Perez, and Rob Mascitti.  We quickly hit it off, as I knew all of them reasonably well – and in Gerard’s case, very well – through my involvement with the archdiocese while I was serving as the parish youth ministry coordinator at St. Paul Parish in Richmond.

What impressed me right away was the dedication and commitment that the staff had to their work and their ministry.  It truly was a dream job to be paid to do what I loved:  youth ministry!

Over the past 12 years, I’ve been fortunate to work alongside some awesome people in the office.  Rob and Pat are still serving the Archdiocese while Analyn has moved onto exciting project management with Children’s Hospital.  Krissy (Chua) Litam and Sharon Goh have filled in at times in administrative roles, while Faye McCreedy (2006) and Erwin Fung (2013) round out our current staff.  And of course, Gerard is still there after all these years...I guess we’ll never get rid of each other haha.

I’ll put our staff and our work up against any youth and young adult ministry office in North America.  This is not meant to sound cocky or boastful; I’m just very confident in what we do and in the people we are blessed to work with.  People like youth ministry and young adult ministry coordinators and leaders, teens, priests, religious, parents, principals and teachers, campus ministers, diocesan leaders and fellow diocesan employees.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Archbishop J. Michael Miller here.  A large part of our success and our desire to serve is because of his leadership and support.  Despite my humourous (and pathetic) attempts to earn his friendship, he is indeed a wonderful advocate for not only me, but for our office and for the young Church.

Now this doesn’t mean we’re perfect.  Far from it, in fact...we have a lot that we haven’t accomplished.  And just like any family, we have our minor disagreements and differences.  But we remain loyal to each other and faithful to our mission of providing spiritual and professional formation for those who serve youth and young adults.

Along with wonderful people from this archdiocese, I’ve also met dozens of awesome people from beyond.  I love opportunities to network and share the ups and downs of ministry with my peers from across Canada and the United States whether they be fellow diocesan directors, youth ministers, young adult ministers, or young people. 

This job has taken me as far away as Johannesburg, South Africa.  It’s taken me to numerous provinces and states.  And it’s given me a venue to learn about my faith, hone my communication skills, and become a better leader.

When you look at who we’ve met and been able to bring up to our archdiocese, it’s a virtual who’s who of Catholic youth ministry, young adult ministry, and music ministry.  People like Matt Maher.  Steve Angrisano.  Mike Patin.  APeX Ministries.  The Jacob and Matthew Band.  Jesse Manibusan.  The list goes on and on .

I may have name-dropped Matt Maher once. Or twice. Or 1,000 times.

Some of these people have become my closest friends.  They’ve mentored me, check in on me, and opened their homes to me.  And they’ve undoubtedly added to my penchant for name-dropping.

Just last week at the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry, Jesse Manibusan was on stage as part of the Friday night Youth Ministry Extravaganza.  In thanking the 2,000 attendees for their work in youth ministry, he talked about how all of them were “heroes” to him.  And lo and behold, he mentioned my name as one of these so-called “heroes”.

I was surprised, flattered, and humbled.  And no, I didn’t pay him to say that.

The quintessential name-dropper (me) actually got name-dropped.  It meant a lot to me given that I consider Jesse a true hero in ministry and an inspiration as a minister and friend.  And he nailed my last name to boot!

Moreover, I fully recognized that it was a reflection on the good work that our archdiocese is doing as a whole.   Indeed, we are blessed with a lot of things:  strong leadership development.  A good social media presence.  Priest support.  Strong leadership in the parishes. Hungry teens (spiritually not physically).

I reflect back to the job interview back in November 2002.  The panel asked me how long I expected to be in the role if I got the job. 

I remember answering, “I’ll give it 7 or 8 years...until the year 2010.  We’ll see if we’re still moving forward at that point.”

It’s funny how God works.  2010 was an incredibly exciting year for me and our office.  The JP 2 Centre opened wide its doors to serve as a “Catholic Hospitality Centre” for the 2010 Winter Olympics.  The volunteers primarily came from the young adult community.  And just a few months later, in the summer of 2010, our office officially added young adult ministry to its title and mandate.

I’d say that’s moving forward.

The year 2015 presents us with another big change: we’ll be moving from 150 Robson to 4885 St. John Paul II Way (at the corner of 33rdand Willow).  The new location and new surroundings will present some unique blessings and challenges.  I’m looking forward to leading our office through the transition period.

While I refer to my job as a “dream job” it truly doesn’t feel like a job at all.  I love coming to work every day.  I love the challenge and the responsibility that comes with directing an archdiocesan office.

Most of all, I get excited to think that we are helping youth and young adults encounter Christ to live out lives of personal and communal holiness.

I know I won’t be in this position forever.  Someday, someone much smarter and more capable will come along.  And If I ever get complacent or feel that the office is not moving forward, then I’ll know it’s my time to move on.

But I’m not there yet.  

There is still a lot of work to do.

Clayton Imoo is husband to Gail and father to sons Sean Isaiah and Jacob Isaac and daughter Kayla Marie.  He has served as the Director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver for the past ten years, helping parishes develop their own youth and young adult ministries.  When not doing ministry, Clay enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, playing sports, playing naptime, and writing blogs on topics such as family, faith, and the Vancouver Canucks.  Learn more about him at http://www.claytonimoo.com or follow him @claytonimoo     

Share |

Turning Down the Noise

Our world can be full of clutter, distractions and deafening voices. How are we inviting teens and their families to turn down the noise?


Share |


Team. Many thoughts and images come to mind when I think of "team" and also many questions.

  • what are the key ingredients of a team?
  • how big or small should a team be?
  • what personalities/experiences/spiritual gifts are required for that team?
Watch this video and think of all the elements of team that you see. This video is of a barn being built by the Amish from the foundation to completion. It is a 10 hour job time-lapsed in to a 3:30min video.

Here is what I see:

  1. they have the right resources for the project.
  2. they have the right materials to accomplish the project. Foresight: someone organized the materials and the workers to be there for that day
  3. they even take a meal break showing there are other people working behind the scenes to assist the build team. The team is much bigger than shown.
  4. they picked the right day to accomplish this project.
  5. they finished the project. 
Share what others things you saw about team from this video in the comments. 

Many Hands Make Light Work: Amazing what can be accomplished in a 10 hour day.everyone knows what they are to do on this project. 

Share |

Spirit Day 2014: How I Know God's Building

Last Friday night, I had the opportunity to address 150 of our Spirit Day volunteers at their orientation prior to the big event on Saturday and Sunday.  The majority of these volunteers were in grades 10, 11, and 12.

“How many of you went to Spirit Day as a grade 7 student?” I asked.

I’d guess that 75% – 80% of the students raised their hands.

I continued, “So why are you volunteering this weekend?”

“To give back,” one student replied.

“So the grade 7s can experience the same joy that I did when I attended,” answered another.

“To make new friends.”

“To share my gifts.”

And then, amidst the excited chatter, one answer spoken softly and humbly shot right through me:

“God.  Everything we do this weekend is for Him.”

It was a simple yet profound statement.  The previous answers were really good and certainly inspiring and affirming.  But the “God” answer seemed to energize me as I went into preacher mode.
I reminded the volunteers that this would be the first taste of the “bigger Church” for many of the grade 7 participants.  That they would be not only the hands and feet, but the face of Christ to everyone they would encounter.

I implored them to recall their fond memories of their own Spirit Day.  I encouraged them to step out of their comfort zones.  And I reminded them to never underestimate the influence and impact of every encounter they would have.

Having said what I needed to say, I left them to continue on with their meeting.  Thanks in large part to the service of all our volunteers, the entire Spirit Day weekend was a tremendous success.  All in all, there were 2,100 participants (students and chaperones) and close to 200 volunteers.

The theme of Spirit Day was “God’s Building.”  Throughout the event, we stressed that each of us is God’s building with Jesus as our foundation and cornerstone.  And that God is dwelling in each of us and building us up to be stronger witnesses of our faith.

There were countless examples of how God’s building some wonderful things in our archdiocese:
  • I know God’s building when I witness the joy and hope in the faces of the grade 7 students…a true spirit of wonder, awe, and excitement to be there.
  • I know God’s building when there are over a dozen priests present to celebrate Mass along with another dozen seminarians serving alongside them.
  • I know God’s building when young adults write an intelligent and entertaining script that springs to life on stage via the Stage Team complete with costumes, choreography, and genuine emotion.
  • I know God’s building when members of the Logistics Team stand outside all day in the cold and rain just to make the experience a tad more enjoyable for the participants.
  • I know God’s building when our Spirit Team are hoarse and dog-tired because of 2 days of screaming, shouting, playing and singing.
  • I know God’s building when our Production Team humbly and tireless works behind the scenes to make everyone else look and sound good.
  • I know God’s building when our ushers check 2,100 participants for name tags and food at the door…only to pick up after them after each session.
  • I know God’s building when people challenge themselves by taking on new leadership roles causing them to push themselves like never before.  Similarly, I know God’s building when other leaders take lesser roles for the sake of leadership development.
  • I know God’s building when one of the band members tells us that this is the smoothest youth conference he’s ever been a part of.  Or when a venue employee tells us that we are the most well-organized group that they deal with.

I know that it sounds like I’m bragging.  In fact, I probably am.

But we give all the glory, praise, and honour to God.  For through Him, with Him, and in Him, all things are possible.

Everything we accomplished on the weekend was indeed for Him.

Clayton Imoo is husband to Gail and father to sons Sean Isaiah and Jacob Isaac and daughter Kayla Marie.  He has served as the Director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver for the past ten years, helping parishes develop their own youth and young adult ministries.  When not doing ministry, Clay enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, playing sports, playing naptime, and writing blogs on topics such as family, faith, and the Vancouver Canucks.  Learn more about him at http://www.claytonimoo.com or follow him @claytonimoo    

Share |

REVIVE US SERIES: Mentoring and Succession

It's amazes me how many different streams there are in the Christian faith. My good friend attends a church that has a similar expression and fundamental beliefs. Often when we are conversing about what God is showing us this line occasionally pops up in our conversation,
"Are you familiar with __________ (Insert name of well known ministry leader in the US)"
"No. I've never heard of them."
"What! What do you mean you've never heard of them?"
 Different streams, different thinkers serving the same God. I love that diversity.

I want to introduce you to a preacher and author that some of you may be unfamiliar with Dr. Myles Munroe. Dr. Munroe pastors an influential church in the Bahamas. He is a leadership giant in the Caribbean, US & Africa. For those of you who are not familiar with his writings or his teachings Mr. Munroe has a way of taking right brain concepts of the Spirit and converting them into left brain practical logic. At least that's how I describe it.
This past Sunday afternoon he was hosting a leadership summit on the other side of the the island when due to bad weather Dr. Munroe's private plane tragically crashed killing all 9 people on board  including his wife, his right hand man who pastored the church along with his youth pastor and his wife and child to name a few. Tragic.
Myles Munroe was a firm believer in securing your legacy. When you die, does your legacy and all that you've built crumble to the ground or do you have successors? These past few months, discipleship has been on my heart and that's what this blog series Revive Us is focusing on, our personal journey with Christ which naturally overflows onto our students.
Youth pastor, Youth Worker, Minister of the Gospel, Man & Woman of Influence, when you die or decide it's time to leave your church, your small group, the youth centre, or that incredible program that you started WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO IT?
In a message he delivered earlier this year in February Myles Munroe powerfully and poinently speaks directly to this issue. With the recent tragic events and upon hearing the message posted below I am challenged to change things up.
In his message he asks, What kind of leadership is needed today? I've extracted some statements he made and formed them into questions that have challenged me to once again examine and now change what I'm doing. My prayer is that this will also cause you to re-evaluate your priorities and dominant concerns.

1.    Are You Preoccupied With Protecting Your Occupation Instead Of Your Legacy?

2.    What Do You Spend More Time Thinking About The Next Generation Or The Next Position In The Organization?

3.    Do You Feel That You Owe A Great Debt To The Future Or Are You Still Telling Those Stories About Your Church Battle Wounds Or 'Sheep Bites' From The Past?

4.    Are You More Dedicated To Shaping History Or Making Money?

5.    What Are You More Interested In People Or Private Ambition?

The leadership summit organized by Myles Munroe that he was flying to the day he crashed was to address the concerns of leadership not being passed on properly to the next generation. He was concerned for his country and nation.
Oh Canada, we sing 'God keep our land glorious and free' and He will do His part, but He who  chooses to partner with mankind you and me. In order for Canada to stay glorious and free we must pass on Godly values, biblical world views, and have students walk with us so they catch many glimpses of our personal relationship with Jesus, to turn around and personalize it for themselves.

To hear his whole message and the powerful dream that God gave Dr. Munroe about passing the baton, watch the rest of his message titled The Leadership Principle & Power of Mentoring and Succession. Let's go and make disciples and make Jesus proud.

To bypass the intro cue video to 8:05

Youth Speaker & Founder of the Young Woman of Power (YWOP), Alison hosts conferences and develops programs that are designed to build the confidence of youth such as the YWOP PivotFWD workshop which she delivers in Calgary’s Youth Judicial System and the citywide Young Women of Power Conference. She considers herself to be a pastor to those who don’t want one or don’t know they need one. For more info or to book Alison as a speaker visit www.ywop.ca 

Share |

Catholics, Protestants & Everything Related to Christian Post-Secondary Options

This week we interviewed Sarah Buckham, who grew up in the Catholic church and also is a part of the admissions department for Trinity Western University. Listen, watch, share & collaborate!


Share |

Is Your Youth Ministry Ready to Grow?

One of the most important decisions any youth ministry needs to face is how to plan for growth. Let’s
be honest, It’s a nice problem to have, but you need to temper any excitement by making sure that you have well laid plans.

You might be a sole youth worker and you’re ready to make your first hires. Or you’re a solid, established youth ministry team thinking about adding a new on sight or off sight location. No matter your size or ambitions, here are a few tips to help you plan to expand.

Ensure God Wants You Grow
Expansion is not only a matter of growth, it’s also a matter of stamina, time, commitment. If you’ve got the fortitude – just like when you were starting out, you’ll be in for some long days – then you need to ensure that you and your youth ministry are ready to grow. It starts with you being honest before God. “It’s not about you. It’s about God!” - Rick Warren. Before you embark on a new journey, you need to know exactly what kind of shape you and your youth ministry is in. Essentially, you need to develop an entire ministry plan with full SWOT analysis in order to successfully chart your new path. That takes time, will, and, most importantly, a healthy balance sheet that is both spiritual and physical.

Be Prepared to Spend
We all know it’s true that you have to spend money to make money. But you have to spend your budget smartly. Consider consolidating your budget resources: spiritual gifts of your ministry team,volunteers, finances, recruitment, students, parents, and the church leadership team. That way you can track all of the resource categories that you can expect to surge as you start to walk this new journey.

A Few Good People
It can be the hardest and also the most rewarding part of ministry – hiring and managing your team. (Yes, you do hire volunteers) But the people who come on board with you are key to your success, especially as you grow. You will need to have processes and policies for dealing with mundane stuff such as vulnerable protection, volunteer role descriptions, expectations and benchmarks. You don’t want to spend your valuable time on these details, but they are very important to your people. Also, software solutions are easily accessible; Evernote, Google Drive, Google Calendar, are great places to start keeping your team organized.

Making Your Move
Do you need a bigger space, either for an office, lounge or gathering room? This may be the most formidable part of your expansion plan, and will entail a lot of site visits around your facility, negotiation with others staff/program leaders. Especially if you’re considering expanding to another part of your facility. Remember that you need to choose the best location based on the needs of your ministry, not just your wants. Off sight might even be something to consider. Creativity is your greatest asset in making your move. Surround yourself with 2-3 creative people and 2-3 people who have the spiritual gift of faith and see what happens. 

If your youth ministry is growing, it’s a sign that God is using you and those on your team – and feeling positive, even celebratory, is perfectly natural. But it’s also important to understand that growth is a disruptive force. A period of significant growth will impact every single aspect of youth ministry – which is why you need to adopt a strategic mindset. Ask youself, “Is my youth ministry ready to grow?” If so, the time to plan is now.

coordinator of community initiatives - scarborough

youth unlimited (tyfc) 

Share |

"Instant" Success?

I used to take a picture and then drive it to the photo shop, drop it off, and wait for a few days while it was processed. Then I would wish I had taken two.
To make a phone call when I was out, I needed to pull over at a gas station, go through my car to find some change, go into a booth, and use a pay phone.
Now I can take a picture, while I make a phone call, while I am driving (not that I would).

I grew up making home movies on an old 8mm camera. The film needed to be threaded through the camera on spools. No automatic colour correcting - was it daylight film? or indoor film?  There was no automatic light control. If it was low light, I wasted my money. Once exposed, I'd unspool the roll of film in the dark, package it up, and send it in the mail to Kodak. Three weeks later it would return in the mail. To watch it, I needed to thread it through a projector and hope it didn't get shredded as it passed through the 'technology'.

We knew what 'process' was. We knew how to wait. We knew the joy of it finally all coming together.

Where has the idea of 'process' gone?

- I live in an INSTANT world -

I remember when I was in college and 'video' machines were hitting the consumer market. It was so confusing to think that I could shoot a film and watch it right away! I could even play it back instantly, on the camera itself! Sounds silly today, right?

Emails replaced envelopes and stamps, making communication instant. No longer waiting months for a letter from a missionary in Africa. Microwaves replaced popcorn machines. Computers replaced typewriters. Quicker, faster, sooner. Everything in an instant.  The only 'instant' thing I remember was cup-o-soup (instant noodles with some powdered flavoring). 
It's a fast food world now. If something takes time, we are impatient and annoyed. I need it now. I want it now. Poor wi-fi makes my kids more angry than almost anything else.  

We all know that working with people isn't instant. But are we willing to put in the long term work? Are we thinking 'process'? 

Is there a process to maturity? Absolutely.
Is there a process to discipleship? Absolutely!
       - - no brainer, right? 

What is the process of discipleship? Can we articulate it? Where does it start? What gets added, and added? Where is it going? How does it progress and mature? What does it look like when it is done?
If we can define the process of spiritual maturity (or even the process towards spiritual maturity) then do we plan according to that process? Do we create programs that intentionally move people forward in that process? I wonder.

As I look across the youth ministry world, I think we are much better at this than we used to be; but I think there is still so much hard work necessary to really be on task. The strategy part of our work is SO necessary. The intentionality of taking people towards Christ-fullness in life and experience can't be overlooked. Spiritually, youth are the most pliable, changeable, and responsive of all age groups - are we leaving it to 'hope' and 'chance'?

Here's my questions for you:
  1. Can you articulate the process (1,2,3,4...) of discipleship?
  2. Does the program you are leading actually move people along in that process? Or does it accidentally move people along?
  3. How can we create ministry 'vehicles' that help transport people from step to step, constantly challenging them forward?
  4. When was the last time you sat down with somebody and painted the picture of where you want to take them in discipleship? Do you expect them to follow you blindly?
  5. Are you willing to put in the hard work and processing time to make a long term process come to fulfillment?
Making an old 8mm movie happened in stages. Each stage took time and required patience. Because of the cost and time involved, it had to be done right the first time. In somebody's life, we can't afford to 'hope' they move forward in growth and development. Hinds sight doesn't help much and nothing - is - instant.

Nothing is instant in maturity.

these are my thoughts, as a lead pastor, looking around and back into the world of youth ministry

Dave Brotherton now lives in Sauble Beach, Ontario and is the Lead Pastor of Sauble Christian Fellowship. Dave was a youth pastor for 20+ years, taught youth ministry at Ambrose University in Calgary for 8 years, and was the National Youth Director for the Alliance Churches in Canada since 1999. Now Dave leads a church and speaks into youth ministry from the Senior Pastor's perspective.

Share |

REVIVE US SERIES: Our World Is Changing Empower Your Students To Be Brave.

Our world is changing.  Due to the shooting on Parliament Hill and the Hit and run a few days ago Canada has changed. How are you doing? Are you at peace or feeling anxious about it all? How are your student’s dealing with it?  More importantly how are their friends and classmates processing this?
Jesus followers who have gone through tough times such as a death in the family, depression, miscarriage, or job loss you will overhear them at some point say out of bewilderment and a heart full of gratitude for their faith, “I don’t know how people get through it without Jesus.”

Again I ask, how are your student’s friends and families doing right now who don’t know that Jesus is Emmanuel?

Don’t shy away from messages on current events.
Your Junior Highs need to know that Jesus knew that things were going to get crazy. He knew that the terrorists were coming and so He a plan that involves them.

The Role of the Gospel.
Your students are a light in their school on their teams in their homes. They have a hope in Jesus, they need not be afraid because of Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

1. Teach Your Students to Pray in Jesus’ Name
All authority in heaven and on the earth has been given to me.
Because Jesus’ blood was shed on the cross AND he rose again, nothing is bigger or stronger than Jesus. All authority has been given to him. Jesus calls you and your students friends. The perk here is all that He learns He passes it on to His friends…us.

“You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:14-17

Your students can tap into Jesus and He will guide them and direct them even through the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit). When they pray for protection in Jesus’ name it will be done. They too can walk in the power of Christ. They do not need to be afraid. Youth worker YOU DON’T NEED TO BE AFRAID but pray about everything. Demonstrate to your students that they can be comforted in Jesus Name by praying over them as one with authority. Let them hear and experience the difference. I’ve watched people move from anxiousness to a being at peace and assured after I prayed believing that what I prayed would come to pass as I prayed in Jesus’ Name. That’s called the prayer of faith.  but I haven’t always prayed that way.

I was at my friend’s doctor’s appointment when she found out that she had cancer. As soon as we got into the car, she cried.
I was speechless. I cried too. Then I prayed for her. I seriously didn’t know what to pray so it came out as The Prayer of Hope. I hope that she doesn’t die, I hope that God will heal her, I hope that my prayers work!
After I prayed the deep seated fear in her and even in myself was still there! Why? Because it was the prayer of Hope.  We went to our church to meet with our pastor.  As we arrived, the anxiety was still there. My pastor came in through the doors and he said, “Tammy, you shall live and not die. With long life will He satisfy you.” There was a shift in the room. I believed him. He then began to pray but he didn’t pray the prayer of hope, he prayed the prayer of FAITH as mentioned in James 5. He spoke as one with authority. LoL like Jesus! I believed. My friend’s countenance changed and fear fled and their was clarity of mind. My pastor knew he had authority in Jesus’ Name to make a difference and a difference was made!

Youth Worker, do you believe that there is power in Jesus name when you pray? If not, get your face into the gospel books. Read Matthew, Mark, Luke or John with the eyes of your heart it starts with you knowing who Jesus is and the significance of you having a relationship with Him and what all that entails along the prayer of faith.

2. Empower Your Students To Be Bold Because Jesus is with them.
Jesus knew days like today would happen, when there would be so much uncertainty in our world. He knew we’d have trouble, but he said, “…take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
It does seem like the end is really near, but I smile comes to my face when Jesus whispers in my ear, “[Alison,] surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” He’s with me to the very end.
It is for this very reason we must go and make disciples, baptizing them, teaching them. We can be brave. Train and equip your students to pray with their friends. How to really pray, the prayer of faith and the power of Jesus’ Name. And to share this truth, this good news of Jesus with Canadians that are angry, anxious, and sleepless that they too can enjoy the peace that only Jesus can bring.

Youth Speaker & Founder of the Young Woman of Power (YWOP), Alison hosts conferences and develops programs that are designed to build the confidence of youth such as the YWOP PivotFWD workshop which she delivers in Calgary’s Youth Judicial System and the citywide Young Women of Power Conference. She considers herself to be a pastor to those who don’t want one or don’t know they need one. For more info or to book Alison as a speaker visit www.ywop.ca 

Share |

The RENEGADE and SPONTANEOUS Nature of Youth Workers.

20 years ago working with youth allowed for a far more renegade and spontaneous approach than it does today. 
The spirit is still there but the world we live in has seriously crimped the flow of that freedom.

20 years ago we constantly made things up as we went.
We spontaneously packed cars full of kids and headed for ice cream, we sat on the roof of the church to watch fireworks, got on the phone and pulled off last minute camping trips, car rallies (really a race) with kids driving other kids, we duct taped kids to the hood of a car... and left them..., we made up games with balloons and bows & arrows....  oh, those were the days... right? 
The world has changed. Supervision ratios, release forms, approved drivers, informed letters of consent, law suits, lawyers and policy are normal and not going away. In some ways it has put a strangle hold on youth programs. In other ways it has raised the bar for purpose and effectiveness.

The Good:
Our church uses a personalized 'Plan To Protect' approach to everything with minors.  More than anything, it has forced us to think ahead, plan in advance and be prepared in a way that was unheard of in the past. This is a good thing! No... this is a great thing! 
The killer of 'safety policies' is poor planning and last minute planning. Let me say this: proper planning, in advance, does just as much to intensify the seriousness of purpose as it does to keep our people safe. When we think ahead, we are more likely to know where the program is going and what the desired outcomes in the lives of participants is.  Good, advanced planning should result in staying 'on' purpose and focusing in on 'why' we are doing these things. Pre-planning should also give us a focus on intentionality. I can't honestly say that even a portion of my ministry was really thought-through, intentional for years and years. Good things did happen! But how much more fruit could there have been if I knew where I was going and planned according to that. THEN, AND ONLY THEN do I actually have time to easily align the due-diligence dominoes to make sure that there is adequate supervision ratios, release forms, approved drivers, and informed letters of consent. Lawyers and policy shouldn't be the focus - they should be an invisible support.

The Bad:
The policies need to work. Youth work is different than working with children - - and likewise, the policies need to be different. We need to create policy that works. Get engaged in the policy process. Think through best practices - and stick to them. Be realistic, be practical, and think like an adult.
Climb out of the 'protect me from lawsuits' mentality. It's really not about that at all. It is about creating an environment where kids can thrive and be vulnerable with minimal risk; where adult volunteers can serve and thrive without having to look over their shoulder; and where staff can soar without worrying about the next complaint or lawsuit. Create the right environment for your people to thrive in safety and love.
Stop apologizing for screening volunteers, and for all the parental permission paperwork. By handing a new volunteer the police check forms with an apology, you are proclaiming that this is a waste of time and more of a nuisance than a benefit. A passive-aggressive here approach to this will kill you and your work.

The Ugly:
Feeling like the 'safe place policies' are killing your work? Then you have a problem... and it's not what you think. If you are pouting because you can't do what you've always done, or you can't do what you want to because the policy is killing ministry, then you might be the problem. 
We often criticize our churches or organizations because they won't change with the times - they live in the past - they don't understand the world that our kids live in. Did you just hear that? This is you. The world has changed. This stuff isn't going away - it probably will even get tighter. So, be creative! Think! Get with the times and catch up your head to the reality of the world. Change what you do! Change how you do it! If you can't do your work because of this stuff, then change how you do your work! Youth workers fancy themselves as being brilliantly creative. Find a new way. Here's an example: we used to drive around the neighborhood looking for kids, convincing them to come with us, bringing them to the church, and engaging them in our programs. Obviously (for a million reasons) we can't do this anymore. Do I pack it in? Do I whine that I can't get kids here? Do I forget about all the kids out there? Clearly, no. Change is necessary in HOW I do this - WHAT I do to collect these kids needs to change. Get off the complaining wagon and run to catch up with the world.

Embracing today's reality with creativity, maturity and way-in-advance planning will super charge the potential effectiveness and intentional life change.

Final word:
The law of love must be over the law of downtown. Planning to Protect is not about lawyers and policy - its about thriving in safety and love.

my thoughts as a lead pastor, as I look around, and back at youth ministry

Dave Brotherton now lives in Sauble Beach, Ontario and is the Lead Pastor of Sauble Christian Fellowship. Dave was a youth pastor for 20+ years, taught youth ministry at Ambrose University in Calgary for 8 years, and was the National Youth Director for the Alliance Churches in Canada since 1999. Now Dave leads a church and speaks into youth ministry from the Senior Pastor's perspective.

Share |

Matt Maher - Because He Lives

Many readers of this site know that I'm friends with Christian songwriter and worship leader Matt Maher.  Mind you, we're not best friends, but we're friends nonetheless.  He answers my texts once in a while, so in my book, we're friends. :p

He's my favourite worship leader for many reasons.  Ever since I met him in 1995, I've been impressed by his talent, his faithfulness, and his humility.  He’s a brilliant musician, he’s an intelligent writer and storyteller, he has a profound understanding of church, he’s a lot of fun to be around, he’s Catholic, he’s Canadian, he’s been a long-time friend to both the Archdiocese of Vancouver and to me, and we’re the same age.

And I'm even mentioned in the liner notes in his "Empty and Beautiful" CD.  But I digress.

I'm pleased to share with you his brand new song called "Because He Lives".  It is a powerful anthem buoyed by a dynamic arrangement and affirming lyrics. 

Praise God for this inspiring song and inspiring man!

Clayton Imoo is husband to Gail and father to sons Sean Isaiah and Jacob Isaac and daughter Kayla Marie.  He has served as the Director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver for the past ten years, helping parishes develop their own youth and young adult ministries.  When not doing ministry, Clay enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, playing sports, playing naptime, and writing blogs on topics such as family, faith, and the Vancouver Canucks.  Learn more about him at http://www.claytonimoo.com or follow him @claytonimoo    

Share |

Christian College & University Fair

A Christian College and University fair is coming to you!

You won’t want to miss the Calgary Christian College and University fair, to be held at Haysboro Community Center on November 6th from 7 PM – 9 PM.  Many of the top Christian Colleges and Universities from across Canada (and even a couple from the United States) will be represented! Highlights of the night include…
  • The fair is free!
  • “How to afford University” financial aid workshop
  • Each student and parent can enter to win a scholarship draw!

For more information go to www.myblueprintstory.com

Share |

Top 15 Youth Group Cliches

Check out this snarky and silly video from Blimey Cow on the top 15 youth group cliches (click here to watch if you can't see the embed below):

What'd you think? Which cliche stood out to you the most? Share your thoughts and responses in the comments!

Share |

Google Hangout Chat with Mark Watt

Mark Watt is the Program Director of Camp Caroline in Alberta. Listen to Mark share some thoughts about follow-up, working together with the local church and where God is at work. Like it, share it, comment on it. We want to hear from you!


Share |

See Older Posts...

CYW does not necessarily endorse the views shared on this forum. This site was developed to allow people to think through a variety of issues that are youth ministry related.