This Year: Lessons I Learned (Part 1) PLUS… A Contest!

I hope your year is wrapping up great! You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting frequently on the YLHelp blog. There are a couple reasons for infrequent posts. I’ve been communicating ideas, resources, etc., quite a bit on Instagram (@ylhelp). I have also been finishing up my PhD in systematic and historical theology (hopefully done next month!) Meanwhile, I’ve been cranking away in my club (Go Pioneers!), in my area (shoutout to PV&CC YL), as well as teaching at regional and national YL events and trainings. Here are a couple other things I’ve been up to this semester if you are interested, here, here, and here.
For the next three weeks I’m going to pick up a tradition I had for quite a while on YLHelp: A list of things I learned this year related to YL. If you would like to see my previous posts CLICK HERE.

Club Talk Question at the End of the Talk

I have a feeling some of you are way ahead of me on this, but this year many of our leaders have ended their club talk with a specific, pre-written, question that they want students to think about. One of our super-leaders calls this a “pillow-thought” (thanks Maddie): Something to think about at the end of the night before you fall asleep.
There are at least two things that great about this “pillow-thought” question. First, it helps you prepare a better club talk. In order to pose a quality question, you have to have a clear main point. Further, the main point will need to push past an abstract thought about God, it will need to be a real-life, relevant, question for your club friends. Second, follow-up is much easier after club. Leaders have texted the question to students after club or asked club kids the question later in the week.
Here is my main point and question from my recent club talk on Luke 20 (see the Luke 20 Talk Tuesday HERE).

Jesus was rejected 2,000 years ago. They misunderstood him. Today: Do you reject or accept Jesus’ plan for your life?

Larger Teams Require More Roles

This year we had more junior leaders on our team than ever before. In fact, I deviated from the advice I normally give. I normally say that most teams should not exceed the “low teens,” so having 13 or 14 leaders is the max for a few reasons. One reason is that we always have a team meal before club and I insist that everyone sits at the table together (for community/family/connection). Another reason is that running a very large team can feel like a whole other club that the team leader has to run. When you have 15-20 leaders, team meetings and keeping in touch with all your leaders feels like another club. One more challenge for large teams is to keep all the leaders engaged. We all want more leaders because I don’t know of any club in the world that has in-depth relationships with every kid in their community. The only way we can connect with more kids relationally is to have more leaders. However, even with the best leadership, the 80/20 rule generally applies and often a lot of leaders get lost in the mix when the team is very large.
Nonetheless, this year we brought on so many wonderful junior leaders that we went over 20 leaders quickly. One area where I needed to be creative was in club. We usually have a couple standard roles for club:

1) Music
2) Mixer
3) Game
4) Skit
5) Announcements
6) Talk.

Even when I put 2-3 people on each task, we still had a lot of leaders who wanted to be involved in club (and we wanted to maximize students running club). So, I came up with several new roles for club:

1) Setup/AV/clicker
2) Photo booth
3) Promo for club the following week (usually a video or social media graphic)
4) Cleanup crew
5) Meal help (junior leaders or their family were responsible for one meal per year).

As I found out, these roles were very helpful. These roles weren’t just “busywork,” they really made our club and work with students much better. One last note… we had to add two extra tables for dinner and get a bunch of extra chairs – I still made everyone sit at the table for dinner.

Camp Follow-Up Contest with Extra Bonus for Newsletter/Email Subscribers (THAT IS YOU!)

Camp is right around the corner. It takes so much prayer, hard work, and more just to get to camp! But, we must also be proactive in our plan for camp follow-up. So, for three Mondays in May I’ll be running a contest on my YLHelp Instagram to give away some of the resources I’ve written.
BONUS: Since you have taken the time to subscribe to my email updates (if you haven’t for some reason, you can do that HERE), I’ll run a contest within the contest where subscribers can win two copies of my friend Gayla Irwins’s excellent book/interactive journal Creative Moments of Grace. Just add a note in your Instagram comment that says #subscriber! Who knows, maybe you will hit the jackpot and win both the booklets I’m giving away and Gayla’s books too!