6 Tips for Millennials Who Lead Older Generations

Posted on: 02/16/12 12:17 PM | by Jonathan McKee

GUEST POST from Tom McKee, president and founder of VolunteerPower.com. Tom speaks and trains, equipping volunteer managers around the U.S. He co-authored the book, The New Breed with me– he’s the true brains behind the book. But most importantly, he’s my dad… better known as “Papa” to my kids!

We’ve seen countless articles about how to recruit, lead or manage this younger generation. What about when the roles are reversed?

Last month, in response to an article I wrote about managing the texting generation, Kristen, a 28-year-old, texting pastor, who was using the principles from my book, The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer, wrote me and asked, “How do those of us in the “texting generation” lead and empower the older volunteers?”

Kristen asks a great question. I commend her for wanting to better understand other generational perspectives. Too many leaders are stuck in their own generational silos and never want to venture out to new leadership methods, and/or they want every other generation to adapt to their leadership method.

How can Kristen’s generation lead and manage my generation? After all, I’m already collecting social security. I was born before people had TV sets in their home. My generation can tell you exactly where we were when Kennedy was shot, Reagan was shot, and the two towers fell. We have life experience. We know it all… right?

I have six suggestions for Kristen and other young leaders about better understanding other generational perspectives and how to lead and empower across generational lines.

Six Ways To Lead Older Generations… without Stepping on Their Toes

 1. Be patient with my generation:
We often are late adopters. You are talking about change. Today change is happening so fast that we are often overwhelmed. And as William Bridges says, “It’s not the change that does us in—it’s the transition.” We will get there, but the transition is sometimes slow.

 2.    List the Positives:
Try this communication exercise. If you ever are leading a discussion, divide the group up into classic generational groups – Millennials, Gen-Xers, Boomers, etc.  Then ask each group to come up with a list of what the other generational groups in the room bring to your organization/church and what you can learn from them. When you frame the question in this positive way, it is exciting to hear each group praise each other rather than gripe about each other. This discussion can often be a foundation to understanding. Listening and understanding are the beginning to serving each other.

3.    Provide Flexible Communication Options:
Give everyone several options to communicate: printed page, telephone, e-mail, text, Twitter, Facebook. Airlines have learned this trick. They give me the option of phones, email or text to inform me of my upcoming flights. My HMO does the same for my appointments. Generations need to stop forcing other generations to conform. Provide options. We’ll slowly adapt. But let me not get ahead of myself…

4.    Give Us Motivation to Adapt to Technology:
The greatest influence on my generation is our grandchildren. Do you know why I started texting?  I sent an e-mail to my 16 year old granddaughter. She didn’t answer so I asked her, “Alyssa, did you get my e-mail?” She chuckled, “Papa, e-mail is so old school. I hardly ever check my e-mail. Either text me or send me a message on Facebook.” So I started texting to keep in touch with my granddaughter, and now I text all the time. Thank you Alyssa for bringing me into the 21st century.

5.    Adapt Your Communication Style:
As a communicator we must remember to consider our audience. That is why I commend you for wanting to better understand your older generational perspective. So often I want my listeners to adopt my method of framing the message, when in actuality I need to use my listener’s communication style to make sure I get my message across. If I want to make my point to someone who doesn’t speak English, I can’t expect them to learn English. I need to learn their language or get a translator.

Frequently we make this mistake with other generations. If I want someone from the “texting generation” to get my message, I need to adapt my communication style. And if you want someone from my generation to get your message, you need to adopt your communication style to our style. You might need to sit me down and talk to me over breakfast—face to face. Turn off your cell phone for 30 minutes, listen to stories about my trip to Greece, look at pictures of my grandkids. Don’t try to Skype me for 3 minutes and think you have me on board. (By the way, your generation actually likes this kind of face to face attention too… many of them just don’t know it.)

6.    Empower Me:
I love the way Kristen asked, “how can I lead and empower?” None of us want to be micro managed, no matter what generation. As a young leader, when you give me the opportunity to lead a project or event for you, sit down with me (I love meeting at Starbucks), and we can define the three elements of event management—(1) the scope of the event, (2) the budget that I have to work with and (3) the schedule—when each stage needs to be done.

Once we have defined those three elements together, then empower me to get it done. That means you turn me loose to follow those three guidelines and get it done. I can recruit my team and make it happen. And when you check in with me to see how it is going, ask the empowerment questions, (1) How is it going?  (2) How I help you? When you ask me that second question you are demonstrating to me that you want to help me in away way you can to make it happen. You are demonstrating that you are a team player—not a boss.

Perhaps you have caught a theme to my answer to Kristen’s question—it is communication. Communication is a constant challenge and the methods are changing almost daily.

Today it’s texting, Facebooking, and microblogging. In ten to twenty years all those 20-somethings will be trying to get you to communicate through a whole new medium, and who knows what that will be. Just pray that they will be as sharp of a leader as Kristen and actually want to understand your perspective.

Tom McKee is co-author of The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer. When Tom isn’t hanging out with his grandkids, he’s speaking or training across the U.S., equipping volunteer managers and leaders. Tom and his wife Susie live in Northern California, within driving distance from their 5 grandkids.

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Are They Worth the Trouble?

Posted on: 01/10/12 5:26 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I find it funny how much disagreement there is about the generation most commonly knows as the Millennials. The professional world is still trying to figure out whether this group of young people is worth the hassle! Ministries wonder if they make good volunteers.

What about you? Would you want them on your team?

Millennials, also know as Gen Y, born roughly between 1980 and mid to late 90’s (that means they are roughly between the ages of 16 to 32 right now, but most often refers to college students and young professionals), are often known for their attitude of entitlement, their lackadaisical prowess, and their dire need for a wireless connection. They’ve been described as narcissistic, uncommitted and ultimately unreliable.

Is this stigma fair?

As a guy who spends a good part of my week researching youth culture, attitudes and trends, I often find myself going to bat for this age group. Recently, a friend of mine read me a paragraph from a well-known Christian book about emerging adulthood, and I heard much of the same descriptors: lazy, uncaring, selfish. I can’t say that I agreed with much. I constantly come across research to the contrary about this generation who, in a recent study by Metlife, was 8 percent more likely than the general population to work extra hours and take a second job.

My dad and I have spent quite a bit of time studying this age group for our seminars about volunteerism, detailing a lot of our findings in THE NEW BREED, our book about recruiting, training, and even firing today’s volunteers. We find GEN Y precarious at times, and definitely fragile… but well worth it.

Maybe some of us are critical because we don’t understand them. Half of them would choose a smartphone rather than a car. No, seriously. An automotive analyst for Gartner did a study on 18-24 year olds, summarizing, “The iPhone is the Ford Mustang of Today.” That’s the thing about this generation. They will wow you one moment, and then leave you scratching your heads the next.

Funny… I was just sticking up for Gen Y this week, citing new research about how involved they are in social issues, and how their tech-savvy minds stretch us to think outside the box. Then just this morning I received an email from a youth worker who is bringing me out to teach a workshop to a bunch of Gen Y volunteers. They asked if I could move the workshop from 9AM to 10AM because 9AM is too early.

Soooooo Gen Y.

Ya gotta love em’…or you’ll probably shoot em.’

My dad just wrote an article titled, Why Are We Dissing Gen Y Volunteers When They Have So Much to Offer? in that article he quotes the head of human resources for a large corporation:

“You are not going to diss on Gen Y are you? We are getting so tired of people tearing them down. If you are going to do that, we don’t want you to speak to our group because we are finding that they are some of our best workers. They are creative, hard working and energetic compared to the cynical long-term employees who are just marking time until they can retire.”

We were glad to hear someone stick up for that group. He was pretty excited to hear that we were pro-Gen-Y. (In the article, my dad goes on to cite an MSN article describing Gen Y’s workplace strengths, according to a CareerBuilder writer. Fascinating stuff.)

Today another article dropped in my inbox (ht to Ypulse.com) about GEN Y, comparing their work ethic to Gen X (my generation). In this article, the author argues that Millennials want what she called “Work-Life Blending,” compared to Gen X, who wanted work-life balance:

Gen X workers introduced the mantra of work-life balance. They wanted their employers to give them flexibility in their job so they could still devote time to their families and personal wellbeing. Millennials have morphed that idea into work-life blending. Instead of switching between professional mode to personal mode like Gen Xers, Millennials are always in both.

At work, Millennials want to have the freedom to access social networks, take personal calls, chat with friends via IM, use their own tech devices, etc. Outside the office, they’ll take work calls at home, check their work email as often as their personal email (even during off hours), and view coworkers as friends. (Click here for the rest of that article from Ypulse).

Gen Y is definitely a mixed can of nuts.

But I always say, when life gives you peanuts, make peanut brittle. (Okay… I actually have never said that… until now.)

What has your experience been?
What has your experience been with this younger generation of teenagers, college students and 20-somethings who seem like they have to check their Facebook status from their smartphone every 8 minutes? Are they your next volunteer… your next employee? What have you learned managing this bunch?

Teenagers Looking for Ministry?

Posted on: 10/13/11 10:10 AM | by Jonathan McKee

A few weeks ago I was sitting in the front row of a church waiting to speak, and after hearing a few announcements about the numerous ministries the church was actively doing in the community I turned to the pastor sitting next to me and said, “Wow, this church is really making a ‘hands-on’ impact in the community.”

The pastor pointed up on stage and said, “See that bass player? He’s a doctor and has three residents. Every month he takes his residents with him and they go to a homeless area of our city and just start helping people one at a time. No facility, no clinic… he just walks up to a homeless person, introduces himself as a doctor who would like to help and then asks if he can check their ears, their feet, etc. Often he’ll find an infection of some sort and he’ll send one of his residents right then to go fill a prescription and bring it back to the person within the hour.”

The whole church is involved in ministries like this, and the teenagers notice.

What do the teenagers in your community see from the church? Are they learning to serve and love the community like Christ himself demonstrated? Or do they only see that from Lady Gaga?

You see, this young generation is a very “cause” oriented generation. They are looking for ways to make a difference. The question is… who do they see really making an impact? Earlier this year I shared with you how Lady Gaga was named the #1 key influencer to young people, known for compassion, raising millions for Japan and being a spokesperson for numerous causes. Since then, Forbes even named her #1 most powerful celebrity women, beating out Oprah.

Do your teenagers see more compassion and service out of Gaga than the church? Are believer seeking to get their hands dirty and serve like Christ modeled?

Are you creating opportunities for ministry by teenagers?

This Friday my church opens up its gym to anyone needy in the community—something they call “Second Fridays.” It’s this simple. They feed a meal to anyone who is hungry.

Every second Friday hundreds show up for these “Second Friday” meals. Justin, a 17-year-old in my church shows up every week to serve food and just hang out with the needy people there. “I just love hanging out with them.” Justin told me. “They’re real people with real stories. I can talk with them for hours.”

Justin’s first taste of this ministry was years ago, going with his family and serving back in the kitchen. As Justin became a steady and dedicated volunteer, he began to get to know some of the needy people that returned each month. Now Justin’s job is to interact with the people.

Second Fridays opens the doors to tons of other ministry opportunities. They church gives away coats and clothing, they also have people there that provide haircuts and other needs.

Are you developing Justins in your church?

What are some of the ways people in your church serve and love others?

(Jonathan talks more about creating opportunities for teenagers to do ministry in his powerful book, MINISTRY BY TEENAGERS)

Lessons on Communication from Juror #2

Posted on: 09/26/11 11:12 AM | by Jonathan McKee

“Did he have the “intent” to sell drugs, beyond reasonable doubt?”

That was the question I had to ponder most of the week last week, then deliberate with 11 other jurors for several hours. I learned several lessons on jury duty last week as Jurur #2, most of them about communication. I’m going to share two important truths about communication, lessons that might help both parents and youth workers trying to communicate with young people. But first let me share a little about this case.

It was an interesting week, emotionally draining as well. Maybe it’s because I really love teenagers, and the jury I sat on was for a case where a young man’s future rested in our hands.

The accused in this case was a young man who was caught with numerous “dime bags” of marijuana, loitering in a know location for drug dealing, thus the charge of “intent to sell.”

The lawyers told us right out of the blocks that the word “intent” was going to be the key to this case. Everything else was cut and dry. He was there, he had the drugs on his person, he had sold there before… the evidence was clear. The question was simply, “Did this kid just buy this stuff, or was he there to sell it?”

“The people” (the young lady who worked at the DA’s office- the one accusing the boy of intent) presented hours upon hours of evidence and testimony attempting to prove that his conduct that evening was that of someone who sells drugs, nothing else. We needed to be convinced “beyond reasonable doubt.”

The “defense” for the young man tried to raise more than “reasonable doubt” by raising questions in our minds. “Could he just have been a buyer?”

This was really tough for us as jurors. The police, the experts and everyone with experience in the matter produced an immaculate case leaving very little doubt that the defendant was there to sell. (Who buys that many bags, then just hangs out there waiting to get busted? I felt like the defense had a good opportunity to raise some doubt in our minds. But she fumbled, big time.

Accordingly, LESSON ONE in communication: Keep your message short!

No, I’m not just talking to youth workers here (I’ve spent numerous blogs talking about the importance of keeping our messages short), I’m also addressing parents. I know that I tend to lectured on and on when my kids get into trouble. Sometimes it’s just more effective to keep it short and memorable.

This defense lawyer had the opportunity to focus her attention on the few facts that could have really helped her case. She could have raised some serious doubt by simply asking, “How do we know that he wasn’t waiting for a ride?” “How do we know he wasn’t buying for all his buddies and going to a party?” She could have focused on the simple facts that would have raised questions in all the jurors’ minds. Instead, she rattled on and on, going through every detail, asking the police experts questions that backfired, only cementing the DA’s case (information that really helped us with our decision actually). Sadly for her client, she was the best advocate for “the people.” Her longwinded presentation didn’t raise questions. It cemented facts and evidence against her client.

How many times have we said something in 30 minutes that we could have said in one sentence?

As a parent I can recall numerous lectures where a simple sentence or two would have sufficed. Skip the long lecture. Try this 10-second response: “So what do you think I should do when you tell me your chores are done and then I discover that they repeatedly aren’t done? That’s what I’d like you to ponder when you are vacuuming the entire house today. Then have an answer for me by the time you’re done, or I can probably think of some other chores that would help stimulate your thinking.”

On several of the days, the defense could have benefitted from mere silence.

And that brings me to LESSON TWO, one I was reminded of once we went to deliberation: People like listeners better than talkers.

I’m a talker. I’ve always been a talker. I have to work hard at not trying to solve everything verbally and at times just… shutting up! I wasn’t alone in this room.

When we went back to the jury room, we didn’t know much about each other. There were ten women and two men, myself included. Within minutes, we quickly discovered that the room was FULL of talkers—people who obviously aren’t given much air time at home and saw this as an opportunity to finally be heard by a captive audience (emphasis on held “captive”)!

The first thing we needed to do was select a foreman. I told them that I had experience running meetings and offered to take the role if no one else would. I did this because I can’t stand chaos, and if our foreman ran a “free for all” meeting, I would have slit my wrists for sure within an hour.

Once they elected me foreman, I began by saying, “Well, would you like to take a quick vote to see where we all stand, or do some of you really want to talk some things out first?” I was thinking for sure that we would vote, but no less than 5 vocal people said, “I need to talk this out.” So I began opening up the table for discussion… and wow! We had some talkers at the table.

After an hour or so of deliberation, I tried to summarize some thoughts of people and address the direction we needed to go. It was then that I realized that I needed to keep my “summaries” and responses short. Simply reading the non-verbal cues of those around the table, I quickly surmised that people liked it better when I asked a simple question then let them talk.

This was a little weird for me. I do a lot of workshops where “I have the floor.” People want to know what I have to say.

Not in this room.

Listening had to trump talking, big time! People prefer talking than listening.

The same is always true when we talk with our kids. A few well placed questions always go further than a lecture. (Kind of cool that we have a collection of great conversation-starting questions that we collected from all of you in this blog last week.)

After much deliberation, we found the young man guilty. It was a tough decision, one I really struggled with, but I think it was the correct one. We truly found the evidence to be beyond reasonable doubt.

I’ve thought of the young man daily since Thursday when he was convicted. I continue to pray for him.

Balancing Family and Ministry

Posted on: 07/28/11 8:22 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I remember when my wife had enough. The kids were young, I was working 70 hours a week running ministry out of our house, teenagers were over all the time, volunteers were always visiting… and my wife Lori was getting ignored.

One day she just picked up the kids and headed for the door.

I wrote about this event long ago (click here for that article) and reflected on it many times. I was able to “talk her down.” Lori stayed, I made some big changes, and we’ve now been married over 20 years.

I often ask Lori, “Were you really gonna leave me?” She answers me candidly. “I don’t know what I was gonna do. I was just tired of raising the kids alone and seeing you in passing, three minutes at a time.”

The crazy thing was, I really didn’t know better. As a young 20-something with a heart for ministry I made a huge mistake that many young ministers do– I made my ministry a higher priority than my marriage. I justified it, considering it all as a sacrifice we needed to be willing to take.

I was dead wrong.

Sadly, many of us don’t know any better because we’ve never been taught anything different. Take it from me. I learned through the school of hard knocks.

I’m not alone. I hear overworked ministers sharing the same stories again and again. Their families are being neglected, all in God’s name.

One of my friends who felt this pain is author and youth ministry guru Tim Schmoyer. Tim has been there, in the trenches, trying to balance family and ministry. Now, Tim and his wife have felt a calling to minister to youth workers who are feeling this struggle. That’s why the two of them have developed a website called MinistryFamily.com

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this website since I first heard Tim talk about it. I think the part I’m most excited about is hearing from Dana, Tim’s wife. Dana is writing articles (like this one, When Churches Want to Be a Higher Priority Than Your Spouse) and sharing real life stories from the perspectives of a youth pastor’s wife. Dana and Tim together are seeking to help ministers make God and family first. Healthy ministry will flow out of those two things.

This is a difficult balance to find. I’ve seen some youth pastors who barely work 30 hour weeks, claiming, “My family is first.” (Newsflash, that’s called laziness)  More than that, I see the opposite extreme– overworked youth workers whose families are standing alone in the sidelines. Tim and Dana’s new website is a place to help youth workers find that balance.

Be sure and give it a peek at www.MinistryFamily.com …and if you like what you see, forward it to a friend.

Leadership Lessons from the Shirtless Guy

Posted on: 04/27/11 3:52 PM | by Jonathan McKee

My dad sent me this video, a great little piece about “leadership” and, more importantly, how a movement is made. Dad and I are always looking out for good leadership discussion and training pieces for our NEW BREED training workshops.

This is a great little tool (regardless of how shoddy the camera work is) to provoke discussion at a leaders’ meeting.

(CLICK HERE if you don’t see the embedded video)

I love the following three statements. These would be great to hand out on a piece of paper to your leadership team and simply ask: Agree or disagree? Why? Are there scriptural truths to back up this idea?

1. Remember the importance of nurturing the first few followers as equals. It’s about the movement, not you!

2. It was the first follower transformed the “lone nut” into a leader.

3. We’re told that we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective. The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow. When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in.

Interesting Feedback

Posted on: 01/12/11 10:40 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s been interesting to see how people have been responding to the new article we just posted on our free TRAINING TOOLS page, an excerpt from my new book, MINISTRY BY TEENAGERS.

The article, chapter one in my book, addresses a problem I’ve noticed in some churches– a tendency to provide a lot of fun and entertainment, while not developing a lot of disciples of Christ.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not one of those guys saying, “Dodgeball doesn’t work!” “Pizza parties don’t work!” I think these elements can open doors to great ministry… and that’s the key. They are just tools to open doors to ministry. They aren’t the ministry in itself. I’ll quote the article:

Will playing dodgeball, attending Christian rock concerts, and participating in icebreakers be the only youth ministry experiences our kids have to lean on when they face the real world? Or are those activities opening doors to something more foundational for their lives?

In the article/book I also talk about how our games and skits are our number one accessed pages on our web site. I was sad, hoping that our “outreach discussions” or “spiritual growth” discussions would be.

Here’s a couple peices of feedback:

This morning I received an encouraging email from Michelle, In Michigan. She offered her two cents on that subject:

Hey Jonathan, I just read your article on “Ministry to/BY Teenagers.” I just wanted to encourage you by saying that your site is a HUGE help to many of us. Perhaps the reason that the Games and Skits pages of your site get the most hits is because of internet search engines. Sometimes, a youth leader has a lesson plan all worked out, and is simply looking for a quick game or skit to accompany. They do a search on google, and up comes your site. Just a thought… Anyway, I love EVERYTHING about your site, and your books are among my favorite resources on my shelves.

You make a difference. Thank you!


Thanks Michelle. I hope you’re right. I hope that most people are making the Gospel a priority.

And from Steve:

I find your insightful thoughs on youth ministry and the particulars of reaching youth for Christ.  The youth culture today is big into entertainment and the resources you share are wonderful.  However, we must pray and lead our youth to engage God’s word.  There are to many nominal Christians and we must raise up spiritual young people who can lead.  We as leaders must lead by example.  Thank you for sharing your Ezine message with us.  It is insightful and challenges me personally as a leader to evaluate my ministry.



And from Scott in AZ.

Just got your email about the what ministry by students looks like. I am a Jr. High youth worker and wanted to let you be aware that your site has help me a lot with my small group and my teaching’s every Sunday. After or during my teaching I like to have the students break off into groups with a leader and talk about what we have been discussing. I have been very bless by your movie clip discussions for idea’s on questions I can ask my youth that has to go with the teaching. When I first took over the youth group a little over six months ago very few students even knew what the good news is and what it means to be a Christian. The training tools on your website have really help me on developing students to be able to not only understand what it mean to be a christian but how to live that life and be able to rely on God for there faith and not what some one told them. Keep up the good work!

Good feedback.

We need to have fun with kids. There are a time and a place for pure fun activities (that’s why we provide so many ideas for them on our website). But I hope that our ministry provides more than just “food.” In John, Chapter 6, Jesus had just fed a bunch of people and they showed up again for more “food.” Jesus basically said, “Why are you guys just seeking perishable things like food when you should be seeking the eternal life that I offer.”

Two interesting things. Jesus DID feed people and meet their physical needs. But after meeting that need, he addressed a much more important need.

Food for thought.

It’s Finally Here!

Posted on: 12/7/10 10:55 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Many of you have been asking when my new book, MINISTRY BY STUDENTS will be available– the book about developing spiritual growth in teenagers, and building into student leaders… it’s been a long time coming.

It just came in today!

Grab it from us here on our website… no one else has it in stock yet (authors always get it first!)

Those of you who have read my CONNECT book saw the importance of not just reaching kids for Christ, but helping them grow spiritually. This new book will help us focus on those “right column” kids that we identified in CONNECT.

We packed the book with ideas, advice and resources for:
•    fostering discipleship
•    building student leadership teams
•    identifying student talent
•    helping students discover and use their spiritual gifts
•    creating service teams
•    equipping students to reach their friends

Plus, my good friend David R. Smith (who most of you recognize as the author of so many of our Youth Culture Window articles) partnered with me on this book. He brings a lot of wisdom and experience to the table. Fun stuff! I’m really excited about this book!


Ministry BY Teenagers

Posted on: 11/10/10 12:32 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Have you ever considered what a youth ministry would look like if it eased back on it’s ministry TO teenagers, and focused more on ministry BY teenagers?

I just received the final proof of my brand new book, MINISTRY BY TEENAGERS, a book that will be in print and available on our site in the beginning of December.

I’m really excited about this one. In my book CONNECT I wrote about the balance needed in ministry between Outreach and Spiritual Growth. I think there’s a shortage of good resources out there that really help us develop Spiritual Growth in our students (those “right column” kids I talked about in CONNECT).

David and I combined our collective experience in youth ministry with this book to provide a practical and detailed guide for how to develop spiritual growth in teenagers.

The designer just sent me the back cover yesterday too. I like how it turned out:

Reaching a Campus

Posted on: 10/27/10 4:05 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Youth workers constantly ask me, “How do I get on-campus at a public school?”

In my Connect workshops I always ask youth workers this question: “How many of you go on campus regularly and try to get to know unchurched kids?” “How many have ever done this?”

A few hands trickle up… usually less than 10 percent of the crowd.

As we talk about the subject more in the workshop, I find that this fact isn’t necessarily because youth workers don’t want to… a lot of it is they don’t know how.

In my book GETTING STUDENTS TO SHOW UP I devote a whole chapter to campus minsitry, and in my book CONNECT  I spend quite a few chapters walking through the process of meeting “unchurched kids” on their turf. We provide a few articles and podcasts on the subject as well on our website- talking about the process. Even still, we are asked the question frequently: “How can I get on campus?”

Todd Pearage, one of our THE SOURCE team members, answered that question in an email recently and I wanted to share one of his stories with you:

Four years ago I arrived at a new church in a new area and one of the first things I did was make an appointment with the school superintendent. I went in dressed professionally and introduced myself. After a few minutes of small talk he asked what he could do for me. (He was a bottom line kind of guy – most administrators are because of their busy schedules). At that point I said, “Absolutely nothing, I just wanted to say hello, introduce myself and let you know if there is anything I or my church can ever do for you or the district, please let me know”.

I expected him to give me the ol’ thank you, don’t call us, we’ll call you speech. But something amazing happened. He sat there, looking at me. Then he leaned back in his chair looked me right in the eyes and said, “Todd I’ve been doing this job for over 35 years and you are the first youth pastor, pastor, priest or clergymen that has ever walked in here and NOT asked for something”. With that he shook my hand and said, “I’m looking forward to getting to know you”

That conversation was the first of many. So as you go in to that meeting think about how you can serve the school, not how they can serve you.

I hope that’s a small help.


Keep up the good work!