I know D Now is coming around and your are quickly preparing and hammering out all of the details. You probably do not have time to even think about going green. In fact you may never think about it at all. There are a lot of opinions and feelings about this topic but it is something to consider. After all this is God's creation. This may not be our true home but it is at least our temporary home. One of the ways you can work on going green is by using some more technology. Not that I am always a big fan of technology in ministry, I think this event may be an opportunity for you to take advantage of it. When you look for the materials for your D Now look for digital downloads. This way you can print off exactly what you need. Or you could possibly email the files to your students so they can view them on their phones. Even if you do not care about going green the time saver and the money saver this strategy can be is something we can all get behind.
Christmas is over and the new year is upon us. What that means for many churches is that D Now is fast approaching. This is an event that many churches have for their students where they gather in small groups at homes for a weekend of intensive bible study. If you are a student pastor preparing for this event I have to ask you if you are ready? If your event is still months away do not worry. You have time. But you do need to begin preparing. One of the first things I would do is gather all of the things you had from last year. Decide what worked and what did not. Then, whether you are a first timer or a veteran, I really encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter and get our planning resources. After you do these things you will be in a good place to begin planning. Over the next few days I will be walking you through the process you may want to follow to make your D Now a successful event. But also, I highly encourage you to refer back to past posts for some great information. This is a wonderful event. I hope you will have one and put the effort into making sure that it is effective.
I have a lot going on. Between writing, the web, my ministry, speaking, and all the other responsibilities in my life I can get quite busy. I am sure you have plenty going on in your life too. Between your ministry, planning your D Now weekend, your family, etc., you have a lot of things on your plate. It seems odd since most of us our in ministry, but the first thing that seems to get shoved aside is often our spiritual walk. Most of all, we usually push aside our time in prayer first. Nothing will destroy our lives faster though. Regardless of what you are doing or what even you are planning, we must place first priority on our spiritual walk. Most of all on prayer. This is where our fuel, our clarity, and our direction comes from. So before you do anything else today, make sure that you take extra time to pray.
As you plan your D Now weekend I do not want you to fall into the same trap that many student pastors do. Many students pastors assume that the students in their youth group already know everything. Many times we had learned various things about the bible and the Christian life at a very young age. This could be because of our church or our family life. But times are changing. Students knowledge of scripture and of the what the Christian life is supposed to look like are not at the same level that it used to be. Everyday I am amazed by the things that my students do not know. So as you plan this event and choose your curriculum, do not be afraid of teaching your students the basics. You can work the more advanced ideas in but do not skip over the necessary background knowledge because you assume all of your students already know it.
When you begin creating the schedule for your D Now weekend you have a lot of things to consider. While this event is only a weekend there is still much time you need to fill. Partially because you want to get the full benefit out of the time that you have with your students and also because too much free time can be a very bad thing when it comes to teenagers. The day where this will come into play the most is on Saturday. This is why I suggest doing some type of mission or service project on Saturday afternoon. It has so many benefits. For one it does take some time, usually two to three hours, so it helps with avoiding all of that unnecessary free time. Next, it also give your students an opportunity to really apply and take ownership of the things they are learning. Finally, I truly believe that the biggest benefit is that your students get to see that ministry can happen any time and anywhere. It does not have to be at some far off mission trip. What you do is up to you. I have done everything from canned food drives to volunteering at nursing homes. Just look around your community, think about your students interests and needs, and choose what fits your ministry best. What you choose is not as important as the fact that you give your students an opportunity to serve.
For your D Now weekend to be successful your students are going to need a place to sleep. More importantly, they need homes to sleep in. This is the cornerstone of this event and is where your students bond and grow as they study God's word. But you do not just need to pick any homes that are available. There are a few specific things that you need to look for. One of course is a safe home. You may want to consider background checks for the peace of mind of your student's parents but usually an interview and a spot check of a home can tell you if this person's home is a good place for your students to stay in. Next you want to consider the connection the home has. Is there a possibility that the students your connections make with the adults there can continue? Could this home be used in the future? Basically you do not want to have to start over every year so keep this in mind. Finally look for new people. I think being a host home for a D Now is a wonderful opportunity for people to break into the student ministry. Look for people who are not involved yet and invite them to be a part of this weekend. Picking a host home is not rocket science but you need to be careful in your selections.
I mentioned in my last post that in order for your D Now to have its full effectiveness you must spend some time training your leaders. But I realized that I kind of left you hanging with exactly how to go about that. I'd like to try and right the wrong in the next few words here. When it comes to training your leaders for this great event you do not have to take a lot of time. I usually do an hour or two. You are busy and so are they. Plus many of them do not actually live in your community so they may be having to travel in. The next key to training your leaders is to clearly communicate your vision. Let them know exactly what you expect of them and exactly what you want out of this weekend. Tell them what God has been speaking to you and how you have been planning accordingly. Finally, walk through the logistics. Walk them through the schedule, the events, rules you want them to have, the basics of the curriculum, and just exactly how much freedom you want to give them to get away from it. As part of this you may also want to discuss what to do if a kid shares something very serious that needs to be reported and other issues of that nature. I would do all of these things thoroughly but efficiently so you can devote more time to prayer as a group. If you will do these things you should be able to sleep well knowing you have done all you can to make this D Now week
The key to any successful D Now weekend is putting together successful small groups. This is where the majority of the time will be spent during the weekend and where the bulk of your students growth will take place. Therefore you want to make sure that you do a good job of setting up these small groups. In order to do this there are a few simple steps you need to take. First of all you want to keep in mind that you need to divide the groups properly. I usually prefer to do it by gender and age. If you have a larger group and live in a larger community you may also want to consider dividing students up based on the school they attend. Next, you want to make sure you find quality leaders, Do not just pick anyone willing to serve. Really sift through and find strong leaders that can help lead your students towards life change. Pray about this decision too. You never know who God has prepared for you and your event. Finally, train those leaders. Prepare them to lead your groups and you will have much better odds of your small groups being effective. Granted much of this process is out of your hands, but if you will follow these steps you will increase your chances of hating p
If you have been in student ministry for long you probably have heard the phrase D Now tossed around. But you may not know what exactly does it mean and what is it about. For those of you who do not know, this phrase is short for Disciple Now. Disciple Now is a church event hosted by many youth ministries. Basically students are grouped into homes based on age, gender, and/or school they may attend. Then they go through a series of intensive bible studies with an adult leader. It really is a wonderful event because it gives students a time for intensive study of scripture and a safe place to discuss issues that they may be struggling with. Another reason I am a big fan of D Now is that gives students a taste of what church was like for early Christians. Those organic small groups meeting in a home. If you are not hosting an event like this at your church yet I highly suggest you do. It will be one of the most impactin