Back To The Ol’ Drawing Board
by Rob Brower • Editor, interlinc • Franklin, Tennessee
Growing up, my sister and I couldn’t wait for Saturdays to arrive. Not only did we get a break from school, but we would enjoy watching our beloved cartoons. My favorites were the ones that depicted an epic failure of some sort.
Usually, a villainous character like Wile E. Coyote or Marvin the Martian would hatch some sort of elaborate scheme to catch Roadrunner or destroy planet Earth. Their plans would be ruined due to an unforeseen variable or a gross miscalculation of some sort causing the entire thing to (sometimes literally) blow up in their collective faces. This was usually followed by the character exclaiming something like, “Well, back to the ol’ drawing board!”
I’m not sure why I liked these so much. Perhaps it was just my weird sense of humor (I still love epic fail videos!). Whatever the reason, I believe we can learn something from the tenacity of these characters.
Prior to COVID-19, lockdowns, shelter at home, and social distancing, we all pretty much did youth group the same way: Some worship (whether live or video), games, snacks, and a message. We’d have the annual camps, retreats, game nights, etc. Then it all changed and we had to pivot.
Nobody had a plan for Zoom youth night, Zoom games, or Zoom fatigue but if youth group was going to carry on, we had to make adjustments. And we did.
Now that COVID restrictions have been (mostly) completely lifted, we get to return to business as usual, right?
Unfortunately, many who are attempting to return to their regularly scheduled ministry programming are finding that things aren’t the same. And perhaps they never will be. And that’s OK.
What we can learn from the cartoon characters’ failure is that what doesn’t kill youth ministry CAN, in fact, make it stronger. Now may be the perfect time to take a deep look at the way you are doing ministry.
- What programming changes need to be made to allow your team to be more effective?
- What is your main goal?
- Are you achieving it?
Going back to the ol’ drawing board can be a daunting task but we shouldn’t be afraid of it. We need to regularly remind ourselves, as well as our staff and volunteers, why we do what we do.
Most of our youth programming and events were started with a particular purpose, for instance, to connect with students. Nobody signed up for the retreat? No problem. If we put our thinking caps on we can surely come up with a myriad of other ways we can develop meaningful connections with our students.
I believe that the theme of this edition of YLO couldn’t have come at a better time… Youth Leader Skills 101: Getting Back To The Basics Of Youth Ministry.
Youth Leaders Only, in its 37th year, helps youthworkers in thousands of churches be aware of the music their students are listening to, use all forms of music in their ministries, and equip their students to make wise choices about the music & media they have in their earbuds 9 hours every day. A membership costs less than the price of a pizza each month! The theme of the current YLO is “Youth Leader Skills 101: Getting Back To The Basics Of Youth Ministry”. Click here to get it!
There’s not a more basic element in the Youth Leader Skills Toolbelt than MUSIC! Your kids love it and are immersed in it every day! That’s what YLO is all about: connecting you with Team interlinc Artists who give you amazing youth-oriented music.
Tobymac’s new album Life After Death chronicles his family’s journey of faith since the loss of their son, Truett. We are developing a resource that helps you use Toby’s songs and story to minister to your kids’ families.
Planetshakers is a church and worship ministry from Australia! They take you back to the drawing board with their music and worship resources including an incredible article on Modern Worship.
Then 20-something youth ministry artists Peabod and Katy Nichole along with the youth group sessions written by Team interlinc writers will help make you a hero to your students!
Plus in this YLO, you have a ton of resources for your worship band and discussion guides on the mainstream songs that your kids hear every day.
This issue also contains eight Feature Articles written by Team interlinc authors (all veteran youthworkers) that are sure to educate, equip, and encourage your team to keep the main thing the main thing.
We are so blessed to be in the fight with you for the long haul whatever that might look like.
Exiting… stage left even,