RAISING THE BAR:
Nearly Everything You Need to Know about Christian Youth Ministry

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When I started in youth ministry, I could only play the 'Try to eat chocolate with a knife and fork' game. Over time, by God's grace, I've grown. In this book, I've passed on (nearly) everything I've learnt in 28 years of ministry, so you grow as fast as you can, blessing you, the young people you serve and the Church. No youth group? Please pray, read the book and start one. 

Raising the Bar is a practical, one-stop handbook to help you lead and teach young people well, so they grow to maturity as disciples. The book is aimed at both paid and voluntary leaders, regardless of how long they have been in ministry.
 

The book gives you the basic skills, then helps you to keep pushing on. Learn to deal with conflict. Grow values in the ministry. Find and build a strong team of leaders. Plan a residential. Respond to a disaster. Leave a legacy.

There are stories of good and not-so-good practice to illustrate, provide humour, and inspire you to keep going, with holiness and haybales, forgiveness and fish entrails.

This book is subtitled: 'Nearly everything you need to know about Christian youth ministry.' I think that's a fair summary.

 

CONTENTS

Preface

Introduction

Raising the Bar: My Own Life

1. RAISING THE BAR:

WHO WE ARE

 

Key Values for Youth Groups

Closer

Cherish

Real

Serving

Transform

A Note about Fun

2. RAISING THE BAR:

WHAT WE DO

​​Raising the Bar: As We Start

Vision and Strategy

Starting from Scratch

Raising the Bar: Our Organisation

A Healthy Team

The Law, Health and Safety

Working with Parents/Carers

Engaging with the Wider Church

Transitions

Publicity

Evaluation

Raising the Bar: Our Programming

Teaching Sessions

Socials

Outreach

Residentials

Building Disciples

Raising the Bar: Our Teaching Sessions

The Big Idea

Preparing a Bible Talk

Putting Together a Session

Delivery: Being at the Front

Preparing a Bible Study

Leading a Small Group

Icebreakers, Games and Activities

Prayer, Sung Worship and Response

Challenging Behaviour and Conflict

Additional Needs in the Group

Filling a Gap

Raising the Bar: Into the Future

Staying Fresh

Leaving Well

Conclusion

Appendices

Serving - Spiritual Gifts Overview

Residentials - Sample Residential Weekend Budget

Preparing a Bible Study - Sample Bible Study

God’s ministry through us stands and falls on our character. If we want to start raising the bar in youth ministry, it's where we need to start, so that's where the book starts.

Section 1 of the book helps us to think about key biblical values for our youth ministry that will encourage growth, when we are tempted to rush ahead and prepare for next Friday or Sunday. Key values are growing closer to Jesus, sacrificially loving each other, being authentic, serving and being transformed by Christ to transform the Church and the world, all of this whilst still allowing time for fun! These values are true across the board whether we are working face-to-face or online.

Section 2 is an easily searchable how-to section, taking us through key, practical skills in youth ministry. This gives enough content to help us develop across all areas of youth ministry for the whole of our youth ministry career, covering a wide range of areas on which to focus to develop strong ministry.

 

There are regular '10 Top Tips' to enhance your thinking and practice, but which can also be used to develop a team.

Raising the Bar can be read cover-to-cover (one youth worker did in under two days), but it is also designed to dip into, because each of the 36 chapters makes it clear what it is about. 

This book is written for youth leaders, but feedback has shown that any church minister will find this book beneficial because the skills are transferable, from building values in the church to writing a Bible talk.

Starting and staying in Christian youth ministry is worth it and God will use us if we stay faithful to him. Let’s keep RAISING THE BAR to make a difference for eternity through Christian youth ministry.

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