GenZ Ministry: When to Restart?

As churches slowly begin to reopen, the natural next thought is: When do we resume our GenZ ministries? … There is no specific guidance for church youth programs, therefore, church leaders are left to make their own decisions. We have provided a few tips as you make your plans in reopening and restarting various ministries of your church.

As churches slowly begin to reopen, the natural next thought is: When do we resume our GenZ ministries? Although we want to move forward as quickly as possible, it is best to remember the old adage, “Slow and steady wins the race.” There are some churches in “friendly states” who have begun very modified GenZ ministries. In these cases the churches have completely reorganized their schedules and facilities to accommodate an hour long Wednesday night children’s meeting (in the main auditorium) and a youth program (in a large youth room or fellowship hall). The adults not involved with the GenZ programs attend their Sunday morning groups during this time. Not every church has the facilities for this option, so proceed with caution.

Listed below are key guidance plans for reopening churches and restarting youth activities. Take time to read through each carefully. As your state issues guidance regarding education, children’s and youth activities, read them to gain an understanding of their interpretation of the CDC guidance. Your state’s guidance will be what you will want to follow.

As expected from government documents, the guidance is convoluted. There is no specific guidance for church youth programs, therefore, church leaders are left to make their own decisions. We have provided a few tips as you make your plans in reopening and restarting various ministries of your church.

Above Reproach

We are navigating through uncharted waters. What we do now will set a precedent for the future. At the same time, our actions during this time is establishing a testimony in our community for a future opportunity to reach out.

Ensure that your church is in complete compliance in every area of your Constitution and By Laws. Failure to be puts the church at grave risk in any potential litigation. (This is true for any time, not just in these times.) If your church is not in compliance with your own rules and guidelines, wait on restarting your ministries for a time. (For further guidance or any questions, please contact the Christian Law Association (CLA).)

Above and Beyond

We understand the urgency to get back to normal. Many churches are still simply trying to navigate reopening for Sunday morning in-person services. Go slow and be cautious in your decision to restart your youth programs. Know your area, the status of active cases, the community feeling on reopening, etc. Work with other churches in your community on reopening policies and guidelines.

As a testimony to your members as well as to the community, plan to go above and beyond in every area. If you are not able to minimally follow the guidelines your state suggests for reopening, you should wait to restart your GenZ ministries until you can.

Redeem the Time

Remember why you are restarting your GenZ ministry. Nearly every pastor and ministry leader we have spoken to through this crisis has had a moment (or two) of reflection on what worship and ministry truly is. Many are planning changes as things “get back to normal.”

Now is a good time to re-focus your GenZ ministry. With reduced time for weekly ministry, major on the majors in the time you do have. Scripture memory and Bible teaching should be the main part of your time back with the youth. Fun things may be included, but if the fun time is longer than the Bible teaching and scripture memory, something is out of focus.

Continue with or begin digital avenues of ministry with your youth to enhance Bible teaching, communication, and time together throughout the week. The Gen Z generation thrives on digital; find ways to incorporate it into your ministry.

Written Guidelines

Leaders need to write a detailed reopening plan for the GenZ ministry. Include policies and procedures, safety and cleaning protocols, etc. This will help communicate your plans to staff, volunteers, parents, and members. Present the plan to your local public health department; they will be able to assist in ensuring you have a safe plan. You will also have written documentation to show to any authorities who might question your actions. Remember, whatever protocols you write down, you must follow them.

Staff and Volunteers

Before you decide to restart the GenZ ministry you will need to assess whether or not you will have enough staff or volunteers. Although churches are not required to follow student/teacher ratios, we all know that there needs to be at least two per group. With the extensive cleaning and sanitation guidelines, you may need to add one or two others simply to keep up with those requirements. There are also social distancing measures to consider. If you plan to meet in smaller groups to accommodate these guidelines you may need additional help to maintain the two leader per group safety protocols.

Speak with your staff and volunteers to ensure they will be comfortable jumping back into the GenZ ministry. Some regular volunteers may be in the vulnerable category which may exempt them for an extended time from serving in this area.

Signage

One of the big requirements is that of signage. Reminders of social distancing, how to properly wear a face mask, and sanitation policies are strongly suggested. These links are from the CDC with all the printables you should need for information, reminders, and directions.

Social Distancing

The type of youth ministry you restart will largely depend on your facilities. In the Georgia guidance for day care and day camp the limitation is a maximum of 20 individuals per “single location” (classroom) with 6 feet social distancing as much as possible. For many churches this number of people in a single classroom will be difficult due to room square footage.

The classrooms in these photos are from a church with a small Christian school. Even in a room of this size having 20 individuals properly social distancing will prove difficult.

Note the tables in the photos. The kindergarten tables are roughly 6 feet in length. With the guidance from the CDC and the state of Georgia it would be impossible for these tables to be of much use in the classroom. Additional guidance for schools or day cares suggests students all face the same direction; therefore, children would not be able to sit across from one another. The regular school desks (background photo 1) would be a better option for a table surface for writing or coloring as they could be angled and spaced to aid in social distancing.

Sanitation/Safety

Presently, masks are recommended for everyone over the age of 2. Encourage staff and members to wear masks at all times if it is medically feasible for them to do so.

Remind those attending to monitor their temperatures. You may want to invest in touchless, infrared thermometers (especially in the youth areas) to help identify someone with a fever should they become ill while at church. No one with a temperature of 100.4 or exhibiting any symptoms of illness should attend services; family members should remain at home as well as a precaution. Set aside an area for quarantine in the facility should someone become ill while at services and are unable to leave right away.

Provide hand sanitizer throughout the premises. Keep restroom supplies well-stocked. Wipes should be available near high traffic touch points. Assign individuals to wipe down surfaces regularly. In the children’s areas ensure that shared objects are cleaned between each child’s use or set aside to be cleaned later.

Should someone attend services then later become diagnosed positive for Covid-19 have a plan in place for alerting those who attended. Be prepared to suspend in-person services for at least the 14 day quarantine period. Follow all guidelines for deep cleaning the facilities.

A big part of church fellowship is food. IF you should decide to have an activity or fellowship involving food, follow CDC and state guidelines for restaurants to ensure you are fellowshipping in a safe manner.

The testimony of your church in the community is paramount; be mindful of this in your planning. Use the time you will have together to be intentional in true ministry. Know who it is your are ministering to and determine if you are being effective; ministry that is not effective is simply busyness. As pastors and ministry leaders we are tasked with the spiritual well being, growth, and safety of the flock. In these unprecedented times we are also tasked with keeping the flock as physically safe as we can. Planning with thoughtfulness and in great detail will go far in protecting the church and your ministry now and in the future.



Introducing Ministry Rescue

Introducing Ministry Rescue

A new year often means a new focus, or more specifically, a re-newed focus. With the year being 2020, it is no wonder that many are using the term “focus” in their ministry visions and talk of the future. We are no different.

Hold Fast the Truth Ministries, Inc. was formally founded in 2002. This parent corporation includes many facets of ministry. Churchhelps.org was our original “baby” by providing links to many topics relating to church needs. As pastors called seeking counsel for situations they were facing, we expanded to include other resources. Century Baptist Church is the church planting arm of the ministry which allows us to assist as needed in emergency situations when a church is going through a difficult time. Ministry Imprint was added in 2018 as our newest addition which allows us to utilize technology to even further help with ministry evaluations and consulting.

This year we are launching a “branding” change for much of the ministry. Introducing, Ministry Rescue. This new name quickly identifies where we have found ourselves ministering the most in the last number of years. Weekly we are made aware of more churches who are struggling with many issues. Some may seem to be superficial wounds while others are life threatening.

Cultural shifts all over country are clearly affecting the church. We are actively pursuing better ways to help these churches through their hurts. The word “revitalization” is a term being used more today in our church circles. Revitalization of a church is needed even if the issue seem to be superficial. Catching hurts early allows churches to refocus or revitalize. Waiting too long to deal with issues makes healing more difficult, if possible at all. When a church reaches the level of life threatening a move to re-plant may be the only answer.

Our renewed focus will help churches to regroup, rebuild, and replant. We will walk churches through the steps of making changes that never violates any biblical principle while finding the best practical way of being a healthy church. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us through this link: Contact Us

What’s the Difference? Advisor, Coach, Consultant, Mentor

Solomon said in Ecclesiastes there is nothing new under the sun; life is full of cycles. It is amazing when each generation feels they have discovered something new and exciting. Occasionally, an older generation watches a trend come back around and chuckles at the younger generation’s excitement of what they discovered only for them to find out it is not new. In our present day of electronic media, the younger crowd is often disappointed when they find out their favorite television show or movie is a remake from just a few decades ago. Or the song they hear on a commercial or theme to their favorite show or movie was written when their grandparents were their age.

This “everything old is new again” idea also affects our churches. Today you can find videos and online articles sharing the latest and best new ideas for ministry. There has been a renewed interest in discipleship in the church with an increased interest in focusing on those in ministry. The emphasis of being a Barnabas to Paul and a Paul to Timothy while encouraging Timothy to teach others is the “new” thing in ministry leadership. Words like mentoring, coaching, consulting, and advising are found everywhere. This is not a new idea, but if not understood from a true biblical perspective, it can be done to the detriment of the church.

Worldly philosophy is penetrating our churches at a record pace. Understanding what is needed to truly disciple not only church members but also to build those in the ministry is needed today just as it always has been. If you look up the words mentor, coach, consultant, and advisor you will find that they are all synonyms. However, there are specific nuances to each word that one must understand in order to see the differences. Having a clear understanding of the differences of each word and using them in discipleship can really be the new/old invention you are looking for to transform your ministry.

Advisor: One with knowledge sharing with another. They ask questions for understanding.

Wanting to ensure a new generation is well-trained and equipped for the ministry, those who are experienced often give advice to the younger or less experienced. Advice is important when helping someone facing a specific ministry issue. The nuance for advice is that the person receiving the advice decides whether to follow it or not. In order to disciple the next generation, we do need to give advice, but we need to be prepared and not be surprised when they do not follow it. Sometimes, someone simply will not learn unless it is from experience. This may be why so many give up on the young ones and blame them for not listening. If Barnabas was there simply to give Paul advice, he would have quit early. Barnabas encouraged Paul for years before Paul began having a great impact on the world. If Paul only advised Timothy, Paul would not have spoken with confidence in his last instructions to Timothy prior to his own finishing the course. Helping the next generation, while fulfilling the commission given by Christ, is not a short-term project.

Coach: Developing the skills and abilities that another possesses. They ask questions so they can know the one being coached knows the answer.

Some look at helping the younger generation and those less experienced as being a coach to them. Coaching seems easy from the bleachers. After a play or a game, outsiders pontificate of what they would have done and often criticize the coach and the player. However, coaching is more difficult than you know. What makes a good coach? A coach does not need to possess expertise in all aspects of the game. A coach does not even need to have the skills and abilities to do what they are coaching someone else to do. To play the game of golf on the professional level, you must be in top physical and mental condition. A golfer must have a consistent swing, which includes a consistent body stance and movement. Those who master all the needed elements become world renown and make a lot of money. Do these skills come naturally? Basic skills? Maybe. However, to develop those skills to greatness it takes a good coach. A coach helps the athlete to develop behaviors that will achieve the desired results.

If we are going to disciple the next generation of leaders, we need to learn to coach. We need to observe behaviors that need to change to obtain the desired results. Coaching encourages the person to see negative behaviors causing issues and show them the changes needed to achieve the desired results. If a golfer wants to consistently hit the golf ball centered down the fairway 250 yards away, then the behaviors of the stance, swing, and club must all be correct every time they hit the ball. As a coach, yelling at them for doing it wrong or giving advice on how to do better will not work. A coach must help the player identify and address each behavior causing the wrong result and help the person change the behaviors keeping them from the desired result. Even if the person hits the ball one time 250 yards in the fairway it does not mean the coach can stop coaching. The desired outcome is consistency. As coaches in ministry we are not giving advice, we are investing our time and wisdom to help develop the gifts and abilities God has given those we are to help. This is a long-term, on-going process. However, coaches do not dictate actions, or demand compliance.

Consultant: One having the expertise telling the another what to do. They ask questions to determine the willingness of the one to listen and do what they have been told.

From time to time we may be called on to consult with a person or ministry. People often confuse coaching and consulting. These two are mutually exclusive to each other; they are not the same or simultaneous in action. Coaching directs one to a specific behavior to see a desired outcome. Consulting points out inefficiencies or inconsistencies and provides clear direction as to the task ahead. Consulting demands experience in the field in which they are declaring changes to be made. There are areas I would qualify as a consultant and there are areas I would not. Simply having some experience in an area does not qualify someone to be a consultant. A consultant in ministry could only truly consult on areas in which they are trained, experienced, and fluent. A coach is one who can diagnose the behaviors needed to do the task, develop the person’s skills by being their accountability to the task, while discussing or debriefing others on how they are doing in reaching those goals.

Mentor: One with wisdom sharing their life to another to add wisdom to the mentee. They ask questions to go deep into the life and heart of the person to bring growth of life.

I can give advice that you can take or leave. I can coach by taking the time to encourage you to do what is needed to accomplish the task. In some areas, I can consult with pinpoint accuracy as to what needs to be done to resolve an issue. However, if I am going to be the one who is biblically discipling, then I need to mentor those who are coming behind me. Mentoring may include giving advice, coaching, and consulting but it requires a level high above these three areas. The dictionary definition of mentoring is the act of advising or training another, especially a younger colleague. When you look further into the definition, as used in the business world, we find that there is the added part of establishing a long-term personal relationship. Mentoring involves a long-term commitment by both parties to see a desired outcome. This outcome is not merely in one area of need or level of learning.

This outcome is in the full and complete level of life. Paul mentored Timothy until his (Paul’s) death. The desire of Paul was that Timothy would do the same for someone else. The mentor relationship allows for deep penetrating involvement in another’s life. This requires that the mentor be equipped to take on the intense involvement in the life of another. All the mentee’s life struggles become yours. All their deep burdens become yours. This is when the full understanding of the scriptures of weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice come into play. This relationship requires that the mentee allow a mentor to become deeply involved in their lives. To be in a mentor to mentee relationship requires commitment. The commitment includes complete openness to accountability. There is a commitment of time, energy, and a passion to see the desired outcome completed. Both must be committed to this with no reservations for a true mentorship to work.

A mentor from time to time may give advice, which means they acknowledge that the mentee has the option to take or leave the advice. A mentor may do some coaching to help correct certain behaviors in order to achieve desired results. A mentor may have expertise in a specific area to consult on what you are doing wrong and make the corrections. But, if they are going to be a mentor, they will be passionate on seeing the mentee finish the task. The mentee will see all of these helps coming from someone who is as passionate about every aspect of their lives as they are. If being mentored is more than you are looking for then continue to simply seek advice from time to time or find someone’s input on what you are doing wrong or look for someone to tell you what to do with no commitment.  

The body of Christ, the church, needs more genuine mentors and mentees. We need Paul’s giving their lives to Timothy’s to ensure another generation will continue with the truth. I have had a few that took the time to invest in my life with great passion. Early on in my ministry life there were some who fed into me great passion for the ministry. God took some of them on to Glory early on. I would have loved to have had more investment in my life from them. I remember early in my call to ministry praying a prayer I had learned from my earliest mentor: “Lord, I may not make a great impact for you in this world, but please make me an impact on the life of one who will be.” If we would truly become mentors and encourage others to be truly mentored to become mentors, what a change the church would experience.

Idea Day Night

Come join us!

Join us Tuesday, August 20, 2019 for Idea Day Night from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Come enjoy fellowship with other local ministry leaders. Round-table discussions will help to provide cultural context for your local church and community. Each host site chooses two topics for their event. The LaGrange, GA event will include video presentations by Thom Rainer on 7 Ideas for Church Revitalization and Josh Teis on 6 Ideas for Long-term Spiritual Health. Following each presentation the site host will moderate a time of discussion with all attendees. This is a great time of encouragement, ministry evaluation, and ministry help to aid the local church in reaching their community more effectively. The average time for the event is approximately 2.5 hours.

This Idea Night event is an outreach to provide a way in which more ministry leaders who might not be able to attend an Idea Day conference may be encouraged and uplifted in their ministries.

What is the Idea Day Network? It is a place for ministry leaders to share fresh ideas, resource information, and much more. The Idea Day Network also hosts Idea Days, an Idea Summit, and is now organizing ministry mentoring and coaching.

Healthy Sheep Reproduce Sheep

Plans and programs for building a church are found almost everywhere. So many of them have great ideas and opinions that truly help the church grow. However, we seem to keep missing most basic idea of what the church truly is. The church is not the building or the place where the church gathers. The church is the people. We have all heard this and know this, but do we overlook it? Many churches are asking why they are not seeing souls saved “like they used to”. Church leaders are looking for ways to get lost people to show up to church or church events so they can give out the gospel, but are discouraged when no one or few ever come. We look for bigger and better events or make changes in schedules and services to see if that will help. It seems the harder we try the fewer results we get.

What do we do? We look at every angle except at the one we really need to look.

Sheep produce sheep.

How spiritually healthy are your sheep? When was the last time you did a complete health exam of each of the sheep in your fold? What do I mean by health exam? First, you need to determine what makes a healthy sheep. Here are some things most use to define a healthy sheep: They attend every service. They are involved in the services. They volunteer to help with programs. They teach classes because they know so much about the Bible. Beware! Some of the most unhealthy sheep in your congregation are those who are doing all of the above. These actions are not a sign of health. How many people do you know were doing all of these things and then suddenly quit. stating they are burned out and need to rest? Activity is no sign of health.

How to know if one is healthy is fairly simple. A doctor establishes a baseline of what makes a person healthy. What is the appropriate weight for this person’s height and body type? What is the best form of physical activity for a persons make up? What kind of activity is best for this person? Doctors also check family history to look at possible issues. The best doctors conduct a complete work up to determine the best outcome for being healthy.

How then do we find the spiritual health of our church members? First and foremost, if a person sitting in your church is unsaved, he is obviously sick unto death and their only help is to come to Christ. Sheep, however, are those in your church who are saved and have come to Christ for eternal life.  As leaders, we need to do a complete work up on every believer in our congregation to determine how healthy they are. What is the work up needed?

Each believer is given a serving gift from God to do the service they are called to do. The first step of work up should be to know what that gift is. Until we know how they are gifted we are unable to see if they are healthy and doing what they are called to do. God has also made us all different and unique. We need to know how God has made us in our personality. How has God uniquely made you to think and see life? God has also taken how He has made us and gifted us and, with our life experiences, given us passions and desires of our heart. Understanding one’s passions are vital to knowing that baseline of one’s health.

Once I know the baseline of health for the sheep in my fold, I can then begin to see where one is not healthy in the use of their gifts, personality, and passions. At that moment I can begin to give the proper healing medicine of the Word of God to make them the healthy member they need to be. I can also provide the proper healthy maintenance activities and truths from God’s Word to keep them healthy.

Having a healthy flock of sheep will produce more sheep. Are you leading your flock to the wrong green grass for the sickness they are going through? Do you even know what they need to get healthy and stay healthy? Stop what you are doing now and find out before you loose any more of your flock. A healthy flock will produce more flock.

Let us help you do a baseline health exam. Then, allow us to help you find the right medicine needed to bring health to your flock. We cam then help you with the on going means to stay healthy.

Schedule a consultation.

Learn more about Health Exam

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Break the Cycle of Closing Churches

Every day we are heartbroken to receive phone calls from hurting pastors, church members, and churches facing depressing difficulties or, worse, on the brink of quitting or closing their doors. Many of these individuals and ministries cannot afford to bring us to them and we certainly cannot afford to take on the expenses alone. In order for us to expand our ministry to reach these hurting ones we need to raise funds. The funds will allow us to reach more churches and pastors and to get help in the hands of those in need.

Would you partner with us? Help us, Help Others.

Every day we are heartbroken to receive phone calls from hurting pastors, church members, and churches facing depressing difficulties or, worse, on the brink of quitting or closing their doors. Many of these individuals and ministries cannot afford to bring us to them and we certainly cannot afford to take on the expenses alone. In order for us to expand our ministry to reach these hurting ones we need to raise funds. The funds will allow us to reach more churches and pastors and to get help in the hands of those in need.

Would you partner with us? Help us, Help Others.

We don’t want to see any more churches like this.

We want to get help and good material in their hands. Below represents 30 years of training and experience that can help. The proceeds from the sale of these books is only a small portion of the funds needed to help broken churches.

book cover montoge-1

We are asking people to give to the GoFundMe account out of a heart of compassion for others. This fund goes specifically to providing resources, ministry counseling and covering expenses that broken churches simply cannot afford to cover. We will report not only how much is coming in but, as it is spent, where it is going. Follow our progress from our social media sites and our web site: churchhelps.org.

Click blue link below.

Click to Donate Now!

Under Construction

We are excited to be updating our website. Stay tuned as we make the move and major overhaul. It is LONG overdue!

1/2/18 – We have updated the information for the Ministry Tools tab. The drop down choices include Assessment Tools and Ministry Consulting. Both of these areas have been available since the founding of Hold Fast the Truth Ministries. However, we are now able to offer more comprehensive assessment tools for your church members and leadership team through new software. We are also in the early development stages of turning part of the ministry assessment into software to provide an even better evaluation of your ministry.

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