7 Jun 2017

Why you should call on introverts first

By |2017-06-07T05:47:28-07:00June 7th, 2017|Small Groups, Teaching|0 Comments

At a recent event, I noticed a student sitting quietly off to the side, seemingly disengaged from her peers and the teaching. Her youth worker noticed too but chalked her disengagement up to the fact that she was an introvert and decided to just let her be.

During a large group discussion later that day, the youth worker asked a question and the introvert’s hand shot up, eager to answer it. Unfortunately, several other students’ hands went up at the same time.

The youth worker, not used to having the introvert participate, failed to notice her and instead called on the hand of a student he knew better. He then proceeded clockwise around the table from there, attentively listening to each student share their response.

As each student shared, the introvert’s hand got a little lower. She lost confidence in her response until finally, by the time the youth worker reached her side of the table, her hand was no longer raised.

By not noticing this student and inviting her to participate immediately, this youth worker missed the opportunity to engage her. Her peers missed the opportunity to hear her unique perspective.

It can be tempting to not pay any attention to the order in which you call on students, to think that the order doesn’t really matter. It might even seem to make sense to call on students in the order in which they raise their hand. Or to start with someone you know well and proceed in an orderly direction from there.

However, when you do that, you risk making the same mistake this youth worker did: You miss inadvertently ignoring the introverts in your group.

As people who recharge from being alone, introverts won’t fight to have their voices heard. They won’t repeat something that’s already been said. They won’t draw attention to themselves to ensure that you notice them.

Instead, they’ll quietly raise their hand and if you miss it, there’s a good chance they’ll put it down as soon as someone else says something similar to what they were planning on saying.

So, when you’re leading a discussion, keep your eyes peeled. Notice who’s participating and who isn’t.

When an introvert (or a reluctant participant) finally raises their hand, stop what you’re  doing and call on them.

Doing so shows you’re paying attention. It shows there’s room in the conversation for their voice. What’s more, it communicates their voice matters to the group.

When you call on an introvert first, affirm what they say. Doing so gives them confidence and makes them more likely to participate in the future, to continue to add their voice to the conversation.

When this happens, you’ll start to see that introverts are typically not unengaged in what you’re doing. They’re listening with rapt attention and waiting for the chance to contribute.

Don’t miss out on giving them that chance.

14 Mar 2017

Free Reproducible Tool To Help Your Students Grow As Leaders

By |2017-03-14T13:40:55-07:00March 14th, 2017|Leadership, Teaching, Youth Ministry Resources|0 Comments

One of my greatest joys in youth ministry is watching students take the next step in their faith by serving others. It’s hard to top the feeling of watching teenagers minister to others in your church, in the community, and, often, around the world.

When I started in ministry, I didn’t think I had the time to launch—let alone grow or develop—a student leadership program. I wanted to, but there was just too much “other stuff” that seemed to occupy my attention.

Thankfully, someone challenged me to invest into a small group of student leaders and I’m so thankful I listened. As a result, our ministry expanded its reach to sport teams, drama clubs, student councils, and families in a way I never dreamt possible.

Now it’s my turn to pass on that same challenge. I want to help you build your Student Leadership teams through our DYM Student Leadership Conference (SLC).

Our friends at LeaderTreks have developed a great quiz to help students find their unique personality type and learn how they can use who they are in leadership roles. You can use this as an exercise during your regularly scheduled Student Leadership gathering or as a challenge or ‘next step’ for a few of your key students.

If you’d like to get a FREE copy of Student Personality Types, the reproducible survey (print and make as many copies as you need!), to use with your group CLICK HERE.

personality type

We’re so excited that Doug Franklin, the founder of LeaderTreks, will be joining us for SLC again this summer!

Whether you’ve spent years developing your student leadership team, or you’re just getting it off-the-ground, or you really want to launch one but are unsure how to begin, this event is a great way to help your students find—or more deeply understand—their role as leaders.

This summer, we’ll be holding the DYM Student Leadership Conference in 3 different cities around the US (Azusa, CA; Granger, IN; and Duluth, GA).

As you look at how you can develop your student leaders, I hope you’ll consider bringing them to one of these life-changing, ministry-shaping conferences.

Your Friend in Ministry,
Doug Fields

22 Feb 2017

GUEST POST: Relevant Lent – How to Make it Effective and Long Lasting

By |2017-03-07T09:12:02-08:00February 22nd, 2017|Teaching, Youth Ministry Resources|0 Comments

Guest Post by
Sam Pettersen


The word Lent may bring different experiences to mind. Maybe some of you experienced the stuffier version of a traditional Lent that had no breathing room. Maybe it feels like a Bible Calendar that isn’t relevant to your walk. Or maybe you’ve experienced something profound that changed the landscape of your spiritual life. 

I’ve talked with youth workers across the nation and everyone has a different thought about the practice of Lent, but one thing we can all agree on is this: Our lives and our student’s lives are filled with chaos. Everyday there are several things that claw at our attention, and each distraction wants to be your priority. For you it could be your family, your ministry, your bills, or the latest Netflix original. For our students it could be their future, relationships, or school. 

These are just scratching the surface of what can distract us, and with distraction come the things that we run to in order to comfort us in the chaos. That’s where Lent comes in. Lent was never supposed to be 40-day bible study where you give up sugar and then binge eat at the end. Lent is an odyssey of self-discovery and reorienting our lives with the one who gives us life. Its not designed to just cut things out but to add value to how we live. I like that word: odyssey. Odyssey: an epic adventure filled with challenges that lead to character development. That’s what Lent should be: an epic adventure that leads us to be better followers. Its not designed to just cut things out but to add value to how we live. When handled effectively, Lent does 3 things for us:

1 // Lent Forms a Habit

Matt Cutts does an amazing Ted Talk called Try Something New for 30 Days and he notices that something amazing happens when he commits to trying something new for 30 days. Matt realizes that a habit is formed, and with that habit comes joy. Lent is an amazing season where we, as the church, can encourage this idea of forming new habits to make a better life. 

But its not enough to cut something out. If you give up playing video games for 30 days, you’ll probably just replace it with a new distraction like Netflix. Healthy habits come from subtracting distractions and adding disciplines that bring value to your life. Maybe its you giving up TV time and replacing it with family time. Maybe for your students it could be giving up one day a week and serving inside or outside the church. Out of Lent we can form healthy spiritual habits as well. Like when we run into trouble, where do you run for comfort? Is it Netflix, a pint of ice cream, or do you go to God?  Lent gives us the space to start healthy habits that will lead us to the next thing it adds: Confidence

2 // Lent Builds Confidence

When done right, with the right material, Lent can lead us to a greater spiritual confidence. In this time of self-evaluation, we gain strength in our understanding of who we are and how we can grow. Lent can do that, but it has to be done in a way that challenges us the right way. Remember, an odyssey builds character by presenting trials. A good Lent devotional has to have good challenges that lead to growth. These challenges can be self-reflection or even a challenge to live differently that week. When a student can meet a challenge’s demands they gain confidence. But in order for a student to gain confidence the challenge needs to be worth their attention, and it needs to be attainable. 

Its not enough to tell students to go read 40 different chapters of the bible. If we’re going to point students to scripture, it has to be relevant and attainable for them to gain confidence. One of my biggest pet peeves with devotionals is when they tell me to go read a verse and I can’t figure out how it had anything to do with the topic that day. I don’t like wasting my time, and when the challenge or intention isn’t clear, your students will tap-out and give up. 

The challenge must be achievable in a way that they can gain confidence no matter how spiritually mature we are. When the challenge isn’t feasible, students gain doubt in the place of confidence. Lent can give the framework to build spiritual confidence, but we have to give them the right material. When you give something up and add something in its place, there is satisfaction knowing that you did it. You can feel accomplished in what you’ve started, and that confidence can lead you to even bigger challenges and bigger expectations of God.

3 // Lent Makes Room for a Relationship

When you spend 30-40 days being challenged by God’s word and adding value to your life, you’ll find yourself in a new spiritual depth. Why? Because application will always bring understanding. Lent puts us in a place where we have to invite the Holy Spirit into our self evaluation. Its in this transparent process that God reveals where we’ve been struggling, and it shows us why we’ve been so exhausted. It forces us to apply what we’re reading, and out of application comes understanding. 

Its not enough to just read the Bible. Reading the bible will only make you smarter, and to students that can come off as shallow. When we’re put in a position to interact with God as a person, we shift from trying to gain more knowledge to wanting to know God more. Relationship is the key word here. Lent makes room for us to strengthen our relationship with the Creator.  Application will always lead to understanding, understanding will lead us back to application, and out of the two will come a deeper relationship with the Father.  

Come Alive in 40


I hope you can see how Lent could be a game-changer in your ministry. I’m not a traditionalist in any sense, but I can see the value of what God can do in your life, if you only gave Him those 40 days. I think that time could be the doorway to something even bigger in your student’s walk with Christ. That’s why I created “Come Alive in 40”. 

Come Alive in 40 is a devotional that is designed to take you on a spiritual odyssey. It doesn’t follow a liturgical calendar; instead it takes your students through 40 days of evaluation and challenges. This is a journey that will make you ask yourself, “Am I merely existing, or am I alive?” Because at the end of the day, there is a difference. The idea behind it all is to take you from your spiritual death, all the way to the death of Jesus. This is a journey that will embolden new believers and reinvigorate the more spiritually mature. I’ve seen student and adult ministries use this devotional and the response is usually the same: “This is the first study I’ve ever completed, and I can’t wait to do it again.” 

I believe this study has the power to start something great in your ministry, and if you’re still unsure check out the first 5 days for free

lent resources

Whether your church annually practices the observance of Lent or this is the first time you and your youth ministry are considering it, check out some great resources to stir-up life-change in the hearts of your students and revival in your ministry: Lent Resources.

10 Jan 2017

3 Actions To Improve Sacramental Preparation

By |2017-01-09T18:32:44-08:00January 10th, 2017|Teaching|0 Comments

What if you could make sacramental preparation a little less painful?  It’s one of those areas in Catholic (and other denominations) ministry where everyone feels like they have to do it; therefore, they look to get through it as quickly as possible.  But, you and I know it’s something more and should be treated differently.

In the end, you’ve got church staff frustrated with parents, parents frustrated with their teens and teens resenting everyone for making them go through something they don’t quite understand.  Something needs to change and it starts with: (more…)

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