YM Quotes:

YM Quotes:

Youth ministry is always a challenge. Youth ministry is consistently changing. Youth ministry is regularly surprising. Youth ministry is fresh all the time. (Mark Oestreicher)

Although students need guidance from good leaders, we often take on too much of the responsibility for their knowledge about God. We want them to blindly adopt our opinions rather than work out their own understanding. Instead we must help young people learn how to think for themselves with God’s perspective as their foundation and the Word of God as their rule. (Sean Dunn)

(You'll find more YM Quotes below the posts)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

This ain't a bucket list (Things YW should regularly focus on)

Since "The Bucket List" - Movie was released in 2007 people started to be inspired. Many wrote different lists with the things they should do in life at least once before they die. Now, just the other day a friend of mine posted a link on FB with the Headline: "5 things every Pilot should have on their bucket list".

I was wondering "What kind of Bucket list should a youth worker have?" As I startet writing down some thoughts I quickly realised one thing...the things I wrote down are so important to the life of a youth worker that it should not be a "once in a lifetime" thing.

So I decided NOT to write a bucket list but to jot down some thoughts on "Things youth workers should regularly focus on".

Here are my top ten:
Go on a SPECIAL holiday (at least 5 days) with your spouce every 3-5 years. (Besides your regular holidays.)

Go on a SPECIAL holiday (at least 5 days) with your family every 3-5 years. (Besides your regular holidays.)

Go on a SPECIAL weekend with your volunteer youth leaders every 2 years. (For relationship purposes only.)

Have at least 10 significant one-on-one talks per year with different teenagers from your ministry.

Connect as regularly as possible (over social media, phone, internet and over a cup of coffee) with 5-10 teenagers which are not related to any your ministry.

Know at least 10 other youth ministry leaders/workers close to your homebase (near or in your town).

Find your own way (and spot) to REGULARLY "hang out" with God. (Read, sing, pray, study, write peoms, paint pictures, record, compose...)

Find one day in your week to slow down, and make sure not to compromise on that.

Spend once a month proper time with a good friend. (NOT via Skype, FB, Twitter or any of the other social media platforms.)

Check on your parents once a month (they still got lot's of wisdom to share with you).

...this is not an exclusive list you yre more then welcome to add or change some of the points. I have not yet managed to fulfill all of the points on a regular base, but it's good to have them written down and contemplate on what I should do next...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Communication and Leadership

(compiled by Christoph Marte)

1.        Introduction
Communication is the art of expressing in godly ways what is in my heart and of hearing completely and understanding what another thinks and feels (Tripp 1995, p.119)
Communication is a part of our life. We communicate constantly and uninterruptedly with our fellow humans, even when we are not speaking. Through our posture, our facial expression, our imitative behavior and gestures (Nagy 2005, p.1). All too often there is a difference between what we say and what we think we have said, and between how we feel we have dealt with people and how they think they have been treated. This gap between our intention and our action or interpretation is often referred to as a breakdown in communication (cf Green 2005, p.34). Leaders should take care, that they are properly understood.

2.        Every message has four sides (model from Schulz von Thun):

·         the fact aspect - the information I want to convey. Every message contains some kind of information, of a fact from the sender’ point of view. This factual information is most visible.
·         the self-disclosure aspect (what I say about myself). In addition to factual information a message also contains information about the sender. The sender usually gives hints about what is going on inside of him. (How the sender feels at heart, how he/she feels itself)
·         the relationship aspect - how I relate to you. Every message also says something about the relationship between sender and receiver. What they feel for each other, how they are connected with each other. (This aspect of the message is often expressed through the tone and voice, gestures, and facial expressions – also known as nonverbal signals.
·         The appeal aspect - what I want to effect on the part of the receiver. A message usually is linked with a wish to influence the other person in some manner. So a message always has a reason or an intention. This aspect involves wishes, appeals, advices, directions for action, effects etc.
(cf Nagy 2005, p.2f.)


For example, if you tell your friend “It is 5 o’clock”, maybe you just want to state this fact (fact aspect), but maybe saying this, you want say that you are in a hurry revealing your sentiment (Self-disclosure aspect). Another possibility is that you want to say: “Now I prefer doing something else instead of spending more time with you”, stating your relation to your conversation partner (relationship aspect) Or maybe saying this short sentence you want to ask your conversation partner to hurry up (appeal aspect)?
Anything we say, we stress on one or the other aspect of the message. Misunderstandings occur, when we send a message meaning one thing, but the “receiver” hears it differently, as if he/she would hear it with a different “ear”. Every message includes this four aspects and the receiver also is able to hear messages with this four aspects but its on itself which one he/she prefers.
(Green 2005, p.35)

             To DO!

Two friends are sitting in a car that is stopped at the robot. The
One guy is at the wheel. When the light turns green, the other one says to
him: “Hey friend, look ahead the robot is green.”

The reaction of the driver depends what he understood.

What are fact aspects out of this conversation?
What are self-disclosure aspects out of this conversation?
What are relationship aspects out of this conversation?
What are appeal aspects out of this conversation?

Surely we can’t always hear with all our ears, but we can try to sharpen our awareness of the fact that a message can have several sides, or aspects, and we can, especially when misunderstandings occur, try to observe ourselves and see which ear we have used to receive the message, and try to see it from another point of view.
(Nagy 2005, p.4)

3.        Improve your communication

If we want to communicate effectively with others, it is important to be aware that every person has different perspectives. Everyone interprets the world against his own background of experiences (world-view). We often have the impression that we understand someone but after a while we recognize that we were completely mistaken. Active listening means that you try to understand the other person before making a contribution of your own.

          To DO!

Writ a large “M” on a piece of newsprint. Then get 4 participants to stand around the newsprint, one along each edge and ask them to call out what they see.
(Camilla Symes 2005: 8)
One will say “m” one will see a “3”, one will see “E” and one will see “w”.


Which one is it? Encourage them to shout it out. Who is right! Discuss this issue and also brainstorm as group:
What are the challenges of this issue?

          Learn effect:

·         we learn that we are often talk about the same things but see it with a different perspective.
·         We have to ask behind if we all talk about the same thing!
·         We should accept other points of views!


It is important to take care that everyone understand each other. Active listening is a powerful method to improve the communication.

4.        Active listening

Means that you give your conversation partner signals that you are following. Focus your attention on the subject – stop all non-relevant activities. To prepare the right environment it is important to: 

4.1.     Pay attention
Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message. Recognize that what is not said also speaks loudly.
·      Look at the speaker directly.
·      Put aside distracting thoughts. Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal!
·      Avoid being distracted by environmental factors.
·      “Listen” to the speaker’s body language.
·      Refrain from side conversations when listening in a group setting.

4.2.     Show that you are listening
Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.
·      Nod occasionally.
·      Smile and use other facial expressions.
·      Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting.
·      Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.

4.3.       Provide feedback
Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions.

·      Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is…” and “Sounds like you are saying…” are great ways to reflect back.
·      Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say…” “Is this what you mean?”
·      Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically.

u    Paraphrasing - mirroring the statement in your own words (summary in own words). It is a way to first make sure that you have understood the other person correctly. The paraphrase should conclude with a questioning tone of voice, so that the other person in turn has a chance to confirm or reject your statement.

Person A: “I think it’s completely senseless for us to be holding this team meeting every week! It’s the same thing every time, anyway.”
Person B: “So you don’t think it’s a good idea for us to have weekly team meetings because nothing new results from them?”
Person A: “Yes, exactly! Anyway, it’s always the same people talking, and whenever you want to say something, you get interrupted!”
Person B: “You have something to say, but you feel you’re not getting a chance to say it…“
Person A: “That’s it.”
Person B: “Well, I think we could bring that up sometime, and it doesn’t
have to mean that we should dispense with the team meetings right off the bat. I think they’re important.”

Thus Person A gets down to the real problem, which was not clear at first. Once everything has come out, Person B also explains his or her point of view. Often the real problem is hidden. With paraphrasing it is more possible to ask behind. It enables the listener to really understand his/her opposite.

u    Verbalizing - mirroring the underlying feelings – you try out to detect the feeling that underlie certain statements . Questions much better than absolutes because they allow the other person always to sense whether the feeling is accurate or not.
Person A: “Hey, why don’t you say something for a change! I always have to make all the decisions! It’s so hard to work with you!”
Person B: “You’re feeling that too much is expected of you right now?”
Person A: “Yes, I’m not God, after all, and you’re just not doing your part!”
Person B: “And you’re not only feeling overtaxed, you’re also a little cross with me and you’d like me to take a little of the work load off you.”
Person A: “Right. Yes, somehow I am cross that you’re not doing more.”
Person B. “I’d like to tell you how I feel: I often feel a little passed over, because you always snatch everything so quickly and do it, and I thought you just liked it that way, so I stayed out of it and did my stuff, just whatever was left to do …”
Person A: “Oh, so you think I want to do all these things alone, but you’ve been feeling uncomfortable about it too?”
Person B: “Yes.”
Person A: “And you’d like things to be different too?”
Person B: “Yes.”
Person A: “Well, then we’ll have to think about how we can do things in the future…“

Person B does not immediately counter the attack, but attempts to understand the feeling behind Person A’s words, in order to react on that level and not on the level of argument or discussion. This also helps Person B
to better express his or her feelings.

(cf.Nagy n.d., p.6ff.)

4.4.       Defer judgment.  
          Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full
          understanding of the message.
          Allow the speaker to finish.
          Don’t interrupt with counter-arguments.

4.5.       Respond Appropriately
Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down.
           Be candid, open, and honest in your response.
           Assert your opinions respectfully.
           Treat the other person as you would want to be treated.

          To Do (Groups with minimum 3 People)

A: talk with B about something that happened during the last month.
B: try to use the learned method.
Active listening:
·         Do not interrupt Person A!
·         Give signals that you are still listening to her/him?
·         From time to time summarize what you have talked about in your own words?
·         Maybe it is necessary to verbalize the emotions? Try to understand how the opposite feels?
Observer(s): The rest of the group observes the conversation. Make notes. How does active listening influence the conversation? What improve the conversation? What impairs the conversation?
After 10 minutes discuss the different perspectives? Start with Person A. He/She should explain how she felt? Than Person B? At the end the Observer(s) discuss their notes with the group.

! Change the roles that as everybody can try to use active listening !

Jesus often communicated with other People. He always took his time and tried to understand the other Person. Jesus always gave his opposite the chance to understand his thoughts. So lets learn from Jesus. During a conversation it is important that we take our time.

We as disciples have the chance to make things different. We always have two Possibilities encourage people or discourage people. If you are working together with other People you have to give them an open space. Leaders should prepare an environment that enables the team to work.


Camilla, S. 2005. Mentoring Community Based Organisations. The Barnabas Trust and Mentoring Resource Network.
Green, S. 2005. Peer Education Approach in Cultural Diversity Projects. Available at:

Nagy, C., 2005. Part I: Every Message Has Four Sides. Article written for JCCenters.org, 1 - 18.

Nagy, C. Part IIII: Person-Centered Communication—Listening and Understanding. Available at:

Tripp, T. 1995. Communication is the art of expressing in godly ways what is in my heart and of
hearing completely and understanding what another thinks and feels. In Shepherding a Child's
Heart.  Shepert Press, p. 119. Available at:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Almost like Dodgeball (games)

One of the most liked ball-sport-games which is used now for many years in youth ministry is dodgeball. If you don't know it yet here is a short explanation on how it's played:

In recent years I've come across several variations of dodgeball so I thought I'll write them down for you and you can try them out with your teenagers...

Rememberball (Merkball)
Merkball is a German/ Austrian version loosely related to dogeball and can be played in almost any area (indoor or outdoor). Each player plays for himself or herself, the ball gets kicked on the floor in the middle of the room and after it bounced on the floor its "game on". Each player can hit any other player, then the player is out an has to stand on the side. The player who was hit must "remember" who hit him or her, if the player who hit the other person(s) is hit themselves the other person(s) -who got hit by him or her- are back in the game again. The game ends if one player has hit all the other players.

- A player can hit the ball with their hands, but picking up the ball and throwing it at a player who is right next to him or her is not allowed (2 meter distance).
- No steps are allowed with the ball in hand (one foot has to stay firmly on the ground while you can rotate with the other one).
- If the ball touches a player anywhere on or below the waist, the player is out.
- If the ball bounced on the floor, all players can touch it.
- The player cannot kick the ball.
- No double tapping. If you play indoor, a player is allowed to hit it against the wall to keep it in play but no more than 3 times.
- A player must stand or sit on the side to show that they're out.
- If a player catches the ball before it bounces, the player who last touched it is out.

People's Ball (Völkerball)
Völkerball is the German/ Austrian version of dogeball and is played in a large rectangular area (indoor or outdoor). Two even teams (6-12 players per team) are selected to play each other. All players of each team are in their own field except of one, he or she is the "flying player" and stands behind the back line of the opponents field, they can help their team from the other side to hit their opponents. If one team is out of the court the flying player (of that team) comes in the main field and has a last chance to get his or her team back in the game). If one team has no players on the field anymore (including the flying player) then the other team has won.

- A player can hit the ball with their hands, pick's it up and try's to hit a player from the other team. With the flying player on the other side they can try to make the game fast and put preassure on their opponents.
- If the ball touches a player anywhere on or below the shoulders, that player is eliminated from the game.
- The player cannot kick the ball.
- A player must step out of the court to show that they're out.
- If a player catches the ball before it bounces, the player who last touched it is eliminated and one of his or her teammates can come back in the court.
- If all players in the field of one team are out, the flying player comes in as last chance.
- No one is allowed to step out of their field (as long as they are not hit).

(Watch this video to see how it's played: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9PrDYoD7jc)

Ga-ga (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ga-ga)
Ga-ga is played in a large octagon or hexagon called the Ga-ga pit. Ga-ga begins with someone throwing the gaga ball up into the air. When it bounces the players say "Ga" each bounce for the first three bounces (sometimes two). The player's back should stay on the wall until the three bounces are done. After three bounces the ball is in play and the game starts. Players "hit" the ball at each other in the ring. A player cannot "hit" the ball twice in a row unless it bounces off a wall or another person. When a player is hit, he/she leaves the game. A player who hits or knocks the ball out of the pit is also out. If a player catches the ball in the air, the last person to hit the ball is out.

- A player can hit the ball with their hands, but picking up the ball and throwing it at a player is not allowed. Scooping is not permitted either. In some games, only open hand hits are allowed to prevent striking injury to small children and also allowing better control of the ball to keep it low and prevent head shots.
- If the ball touches a player anywhere on or below the knee (in some versions, below the ankle or waist), that player is eliminated from the game.
- If a player pops the ball up into the air it can be hit down to keep it in the game or let it go.
- The player cannot kick the ball. (As this is touching the ball below the knee.)
- Wall jumping is not allowed (holding onto the wall while jumping).
- If a player hits the ball out of the arena and hits another person the person who touches it last is out.
- No double tapping. A player is allowed to hit it against the wall to keep it in play but no more than 3 times.
- A player must step out of the pit to show that they're out.
- If a player catches the ball before it bounces, the player who last touched it is eliminated
- The flying player cannot be hit as long as he or she is not playing in the main field.

(Watch this video to see how it's played: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO73MVAkhzw)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Carried to the Table - Easter

I was sitting in my car yesterday waiting for one of my children. So I had a few moments to think about Easter, Jesus death on the cross and his resurrection. While I did that I listened to a beautiful song. "Carried to the Table" from Leeland. The lyrics touched my heart so deeply again, it's hard to describe in words. Read a few lines yourself...

Leeland - Carried to the Table
"Fighting thoughts of fear and wondering why he called my name. Am I good enough to share this cup? This world has left me lame. Even in my weakness the Savior called my name, in his holy presence I'm healed and unashamed. I was carried to the table, seated where I don't belong. Carried to the table, swept away by his love. And I don't see my brokenness anymore, when I'm seated at the table of the Lord. I'm carried to the table, the table of the Lord." (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/leeland/carriedtothetable.html)

This happened at Easter around 2000 years ago, through JESUS.

Through his wounds, we are healed.
Through his pain, we are full of joy.
Through his death, we are alive.
Through his resurrection, we belong to the Father.
Through his sacrifice, we are able to sit at the table of the Lord.

What do you think of at Easter?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

C's in youth ministry (short article)

There are multiple things to consider in youth ministry. Today I want to briefly look at some issues which start with the letter C (the list is definitely not exhausted, but a start):

Community - One of the main reasons why people meet on a regular basis is to enjoy and nurture fellowship amongst peers and beyond. We are all part of different communities (family, workplace, school, church...), people laugh, cry and live together. It is vital to embrace all people in the group, to nurture a sense of belonging (while being open for newcomers), and to fight possible discrimination or xenophobia. 

Cool - This is definitely not a prerogative but a good ingredient to have. What is coolness anyway? I guess it is a synonym for "fun" or "enjoyment". Youth should be a place where young people enjoy to come, hang out, meet friends and of course be challenged (at least from time to time) as well. It is not so much about a cool, funky program. It is much more about the relationships within the group that are formed and the way young people feel accepted which will decide the coolness of the youth ministry. (Opinions amongst people might differ greatly.)

Christ (Cross) - Much can be said, not much needs to be said. Christian youth ministry should evolve around Jesus Christ, his humaness, his divinity, his ministry, his death and resurrection. If that is not in the centre of attention, the youth ministry is an ordinary social club (which is by no means bad, but different). Furthermore Christ should not just be communicated verbally to the youth but lived out by example from every youth worker involved (not an easy task).

Communication - Many things succeed or break at this point. All people have many different ways and channels how they communicate (speak and understand). This goes way beyond verbal communication. Youth workers need to be aware of what they say, when they say it, how they say it and why they say something. Furthermore they need to look at themselves (in the mirrow) how they speak with their bodies (open, closed, nervous, angry, happy, uncertain, excited...). Misunderstandings are part of the communication learing process, but should be taken in careful consideration and worked through when they happen.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What's important when you talk...

One of the things you usually have to do as a youthleader/ youthworker is to prepare and deliver inputs/ talks/ sermons. No matter if you speak in front of ten/ three-hundred/ two-thousand young people - you should give your best! I recently read two blogposts (one in English and one in German) concerning what to avoid in a presentation/ sermon/ talk:

10 Phrases great Speakers never say (Jeff Haden):

10 Things I never want to come across again in a presentation (Christian Rommert; in German):

Both articles made me think. They talk about phrases like "I'm jet-lagged/ tired/ hungover." "Can you hear me? Yes you can!" "I can't see you because the lights are too bright." "I'll get back to that later."
"Can you read this?" "Shut off your phone/ laptop/ tablet." "You don't need to write anything down or take photos; the presentation will be online later." "Let me answer that question." "I'll keep it short." "I did not have enough time to prepare well." "The topic tonight is..." "I'll read this for you" "Wikipedia say's concerning this topic..." "Now I'll come to the last point."

Do these phrases sound familiar? Some of them even seem legitimate at times, but I have to say most of them are attention killers. Unfortunately I have used several of those phrases previously in talks. There are even more phrases (than those mentioned above) that will cause your listerners to loose focus and interest in your talk.

BUT, rather than looking at what you should not say, I think it's good to look at WHAT YOU SHOULD DO when you talk, as it will have an affect on what you say:

1) Be honest in your approach as you talk to your audience.

2) Enjoy what you do! If you're not excited about it, why should someone else be?

3) Make sure you have enough time to prepare. Prepare well, I mean it - prepare well!

4) Ask yourself what you enjoy about other great speakers.

5) Ask trustworty, critical people to give you honest feedback.

6) Watch regularly other good speakers and notice what they do well.

7) Learn from your mistakes and do it better next time.

8) Work on your weaknesess while using your strengths.

9) If your talk is recorded, get a copy and watch/ listen to it again.

10) Don't take longer with your talk than you were asked.

These are valuable insights which you might already know OR never considered yet. Anyway I'm convinced they can give guidance as you prepare your next talk.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

contemporary:parable (example from Rob Bell)

It is always critical to get the message across to young people in new, different, creative and inspiring ways. I read this contemporary parable example today and thought it's worth sharing... you might find it thought provoking? That's good.

...here we go...

What is the Bible?  
Part 25: Larry At The Airport

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for a parable. To take our game to a whole new level, there are two parts to your participation on this one. 

First, there’s a blank at the end. How would you fill it?

Second, what story from the Bible do think this parable is inspired by? Send me your response using the Ask A Question button at the top of the page.

As always my friends, I’ll post highlights of your brilliance, wisdom, insight, and insanity. 

Imagine you’re sitting in the baggage claim area at the airport,

Continue reading on: