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Good equipment at great prices. I am always on the look out for supplies, equipment and resources that come with a great price. And I think I've found a resource at a great price. Champion Sports Rhino Skin Low Bounce Dodgeballs.
Our students love dodgeball and the various variations we create or learn. But our students really loved when we hosted a dodgeball tournament a couple of years ago. The event was a huge success. So much so, we're bringing it back this spring as a fund raiser for our summer mission trip.
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In preparation for the spring tournament, I just purchased two sets of Champion Rhino Skin Dodgeballs. Each set comes with six, 7" diameter dodgeballs in assorted colors.
According to the product description these dodgeballs are...
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We bought the rubber, gym-ball style dodgeballs for our last tournament. They worked well, but we were concerned about injuries due to the ball. This time, I wanted to find a dodgeball that was soft, easily caught, grabbed, or thrown. Today, I came across these.
Amazon is a great place to order equipment and supplies for your youth ministry. I have found a number of great products at really affordable prices. And like I said, my Prime membership gets me free, 2-day delivery.
So, I just finished re-reading the introduction as part of week one of The Sustainable Experiment. These four words, "Don't Hurry. Don't Settle." speak volumes to me. Coming at this experiment with some many years of experience, the sentiment couldn't be truer. It takes time to build a student ministry. But more than time, it takes intentionality.
For week one of The Sustainable Experiment, we are looking at the Introduction of the book, Sustainable Youth Ministry. I remember when I started youth ministry I didn't really know what I was doing. I thought I knew what I was doing, but I didn't. Sure, I knew about the games, the teaching, the relationships, the trips and retreats, and the weekend activities. But, when it came to building a ministry that would grow and maintain, well that was what was missing.
Youth ministry was still coming into it's own. Some guys had it figured out, so I thought. Me, I just focused on our students, getting to know them, being consistent, and loving them where they were. But running a program, maintaining the administrative stuff, budgeting, marketing, recruiting and training of leaders...
It wasn't until I started attending NYWC, that I finally started thinking about student ministry as a long-term ministry. As the years progressed, I understood more about what it looked like to have purpose. For years I followed the purpose-driven model, and had great success with it. We saw the fruit of the model, but it took time. When I left my first full-time ministry, we were just coming into our own. Four years of work. 40-50 students weekly. More than 12 regular adult leaders. Tremendous parental support. And the respect of the congregation. Then we left.
For us the youth worker, we need to determine which side of the coin we want to be on; the success or the frustration.
Don't Hurry. Don't Settle.
Don't hurry. Don't Settle.
If you are like me, and you want to build a healthy, thriving, long-lasting student ministry it begins with us slowing down and taking the time to do it the right way. I have to continually remind myself to slow down. I am a dreamer. I am always looking towards the day when there will be 100 students in our ministry. And, I believe I will see that...in time.
Second, don't settle. What does that mean? Well, I know that Mark unpacks that in the chapters to come, but for now let's just say, if you're willing to put into the time and effort, be willing to establish your standards and then strive for them.
Mark makes this statement, "...success in youth ministry is measured in decades, not in year-to-date comparisons with last year's..."2
We are on a journey to build something great; a sustainable youth ministry. No more short-cuts. No more fly-by-night. No more gambling on the next new thing. Let's build a sustainable youth ministries!
Don't forget to do the questions in the back of the book!
After reading the Introduction, what do you think? How do you think your church will respond to your desire to build a sustainable youth ministry? Do you have the support of your current leadership team?
Take a few minutes and share your thoughts in the comments below. I'd love to talk with you about what you might be facing as you begin this journey.
1. Sustainable Youth Ministry, Mark DeVries, Introduction pg 11.
2. Sustainable Youth Ministry, Mark DeVries, Introduction pg 15.
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Welcome to Week Two of The Sustainable Experiment!
This week we will take a close look at chapters one and two.
But before we do, take a few minutes to watch this weeks vlog entry!
There are a number to things in these chapters I want to talk about. So over the next couple of days, watch for a couple blog posts. I am anxious to hear from you, so be sure to share your comments.
Have a great week!
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How do your grow a student ministry that weathers both time and struggle? A student ministry that offers long-term, consistent, healthy, and fruitful programs? A student ministry that incorporates the gifts, talents, time, and resources of a great many, instead of burning out one staff person every 15 to 24 months? This is The Sustainable Experiment.
My name is Jay Higham. I have been working with students for over 26 years, with almost 20 of those years in full time student ministry. In those years I have watched God do amazing things in the lives of my students, my volunteer leaders, and the families associated with our student ministry. I was fortunate that while I was still young in my career, I received some great encouragement. I read The Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, by Doug Fields.
The book was revolutionary for me. While I knew what I wanted to do with my student, the book provided me with the how to do it. Structure. The blueprint to establish some foundational building blocks that led to the framework for our successful ministry. It was an exciting time. The program grew from attention-getting gimmicks to life chaining ministry.
But while the model provided the framework, I found myself as the constant foreman. While my leaders were on board with what we were doing, our overall purposes and values were different from the churches. We did not align with the great vision and mission of the church, and that led us to become an organization within an organization. As long as I was driving the bus, things were great.
When I left the church, I turned the responsibility over to my leaders. They continue heading in the same direction, maintaining our vision and purpose. But eventually a "new" guy was hired, with ideas and philosophies that were different. Change came. Then another "new" guy, with his own thoughts on youth ministry. Again there was change. Then another.
I too was the "new" guy. I served a church where I brought along my bag of what works and what doesn't work. Like so many others, I made changes. And again, a ministry that was apart from the vision and ministry of the church at large.
Then I started realizing the error. A student ministry should not be an organization within an organization, but part of the large organization. Instead of separate and unique visions and mission, the student ministry should embrace and share the great mission and vision of the congregation. That led me to the book, Sustainable Youth Ministry, by Mark DeVries. Watch the video.
Order a copy of Sustainable Youth Ministry. If you already have a copy, grab it off your shelve. Get a couple highlighters, page markers, and a notebook. Once you have your book, read the Introduction and answer the questions in Appendix A.
I would suggest that you read the Introduction once straight through, then come back and read it again taking notes as you go. Look for thoughts that stick out to you. Ask yourself, in anything being said feel or sound familiar?
When you finish reading, come back to The Sustainable Experiment page and click on the additional links with some of my thoughts and comments. Be sure to use the comment section to leave your thoughts.
Finally, look for Week Two!
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 30 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently serving as the director of family ministry at a church, located in West Virginia. Jay has been married to Amy for over 25 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.