Resource List on Race

I decided to contact some of the people within my network and circles from around Canada and the US to find resources for Youth Ministries to talk about race and injustice.

I decided to contact some of the people within my network and circles from around Canada and the US to find resources for Youth Ministries to talk about race and injustice. There was not a lot of option if I’m honest and I’ve got some ideas about that. But I did receive a few recommendations. I’m sure there are fantastic resources out there, and if you know if any, I would like to continue to update this list. Feel free to email me with the information. 

Tackling this conversation will be hard but we have an obligation to try.

  • Stuff You Can Use: Every year in Grow Curriculum, we create youth ministry teaching series specifically about injustice, suffering, and doubt. If you need help leading these kinds of conversations right now, these series are free. To get them go to bit.ly/agiftfromgrow or text DOJUSTICE to 555-888 if you want the link sent to you.
  • LeaderTreks: We live in unprecedented times. Our world is filled with voices trying to define who “belongs” and who has value. In the end, the answer to those questions is only found in Jesus, who tells us that as members of his body, we are incredibly important and valued, no matter what we look like or where we come from. DownloadBelonging to The Body 
  • Be The Bridge: There are a ton of recourse to check out and one of the most comprehensive places I’ve found so far. Check out the Be the Bridge Youth Kit or one of the many free options they have available. 
  • Anti-Racism Resource: There has been a list of resources circulating some of my circles. There are lots of amazing resources but make sure you read them before you share as some of these resources have mature content. Download Here

 

Jesse Title Grey Background
If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

I’ve Been “Released” – Now What?

Typically, when we think of a Pastor going through a ministry transition, a whole bunch of scenarios pass through our heads.

Just over a week ago I found myself being “released” from my full-time role as a High School Pastor. Decisions were made and though I do not 100% agree, here we are…. at the start of a ministry transition.

Typically, when we think of a Pastor going through a ministry transition, a whole bunch of scenarios pass through our heads:

  • Stepping into a new role at a new church (upward movement)
  • Taking on more responsibilities within the system you’re in
  • Leading a Church Plant
  • Disagreement with Leadership
  • Burnout
  • Unresolved Conflict
  • Split within the Church/Denomination

Regardless, the why of transitions are never easy because working for a church often means that your whole social life, wellbeing, and spirituality are all wrapped up together in an interweaving ball. It’s extremely hard to separate these things, especially when the transition comes from an unhealthy space. 

One of the first guides we ever produced here at Fresh Ministry was about transitions and our Top 10 Tips for how to do it well. You can check them both out HERE – but that’s not what this post and the ones to come are about.

I’ve decided to write about the transition I have just started. I want to cover a variety of topics, including:

  • The good, bad and ugly of each week
  • How to look for a job
  • Why waiting to hear back sucks
  • Interviewing
  • Disappointment and rejection 
  • Candidating
  • Letting go and moving forward 

These are the things they never teach you in Bible School. You’re never ready for that day when you were sure you were getting a job only to get that rejection call. It’s hard to know what to do when you seem out of options, and you wonder where God is in this process. I’ve been there before and, though I don’t think the situation I’m in right now is the same, I’ve learned a few things along the way I would like to pass on. 

So, join me in the journey, reach out and share your stories, and invite others who might be going through a similar season to follow along. Regardless of why you might choose to follow these posts, I only ask that you do one thing:

At the end of reading each post, would you take a moment and pray for every Pastor going through a transition? Pray that God would protect their hearts and their relationships, and together let’s walk through this season practically and spiritually. 

Jesse Signiture
If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

It’s Not About You

Have you ever pulled a ZERO? as in ZERO kids came to youth tonight. Well I have and it thought me a valuable lesson.

Written by Jesse Criss and Edited by Michelle Murray-Schlitt

Back in my early days of Youth Ministry (around 03/04) I experienced my very first ZERO… as in ZERO kids came to Youth Group one week. I had planned an event, bought supplies, advertised to my kids and no one came. Admittedly I had only 20 kids in my group at the time but that made it almost worse because every kid could be tracked down and accounted for. Between a wedding, sickness, school work, being grounded and “my friends not coming so I’m not coming” every single student was accounted for. 

Here’s the problem, it didn’t matter. See pulling a ZERO became an entry point for the enemy to get into my heart and mind. I immediately felt like it was my fault, that I had done something wrong. Then that switched to the feelings of worthlessness and failure, and that was followed by a fear that I would lose my job as a Pastor. I had spent precious money and resources on an event that NO ONE CAME TO. My mind and my heart were working overtime to convince me that I was a failure.

Then it happened again…

Those two ZERO nights changed my ministry, but not in the way that you think. See the enemy saw an opportunity to plant a seed of doubt, but Jesus was on weed pulling duty in my life. I questioned everything and I was sure my career would be over before it even ever really began. But God had a different plan from my ZERO and He has a different plan for yours as well.

God used pulling a ZERO to teach me the most important rule in Youth Ministry, 

“YOUTH MINISTRY IS NOT ABOUT ME”

See we have this tendency to think Youth Ministry is about us the Leader/Pastor. That the success of our Youth Ministries ride on how well we do, how good our sermon is or how epic and amazing our events are. Now don’t get me wrong we have a role to play, that’s why God has given us a calling to serve. But the whole thing doesn’t hedge on me. 

In one of the most iconic sayings of Jesus we clearly see how salvation happens and it CLEARLY doesn’t say my name, your name or that “epic crazy off the top event you did last week.”

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:16-18 (ESV)

See pulling a ZERO taught me that, “I don’t save people”. Heck I would go as far as saying my ministry doesn’t save people either. God uses me, gives me opportunities to speak into the lives of students… but I don’t save. That role clearly belongs to Jesus and if I’m honest I like it that way better. It frees me from the guilt and burden of not being enough because I could never be enough to save someone. But the enemy likes to make us think that we can, that we can save people on our own strength. It’s 100% a lie and why I pray every single Youth Pastor pulls a ZERO because it’s the fastest way for you to learn it’s not about you.

The best part is that when you realize that it’s not on you, a world of opportunity becomes open to you because that’s when you realize that being a Youth Pastor doesn’t save you either, only Jesus can do that… but that’s another story for next time

JC