Why you should be investing more (a lot more) in yourself

 by Aaron Helman | @aaronhelman | loading comments...

What's more valuable?

Having plenty of pizza on one evening at a one-time event?

Or developing better speaking skills that you'll use every week forever?

Then why is it that we're quick to drop $100 on the first thing, but so hesitant to do it with the second?

I'm convinced that an investment in yourself is a great investment for your ministry.

Today, I'm going to push you to try it.

Here's why you should be investing more in yourself, and what could happen if you don't.

FYI, early reviewers are telling me that the blooper reel at the end is absolutely hilarious. Apparently, they think you should watch it.

After you watch the video, I'd love it if you'd share this tweet to encourage your ministry friends:

Hey youth workers, please know that you're worth investing in and so is your ministry.

And then, I want you to think about these two questions.

1. When's the last time you made a significant investment (either time OR money) to improve your own ministry skills?

2. What is one thing you can do before the end of April to make a latsing investment in you?

After you figure out how you'll answer that second question, leave a comment below and tell me what it is.

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Should you stop reading youth ministry blogs?

 by Aaron Helman | @aaronhelman

Okay, I don't really think you should stop reading youth ministry blogs.

But I do think that a lot of us should start reading them differently.

If you're just reading about good ideas and even agreeing with them...

...you're missing the MOST important step you could ever take.

That's because you've got to stop merely reading about ideas.

You've got to take action.

Great ideas can't do anything for your ministry if you don't actually try to use them.

If you're spending fifteen minutes a day reading through your favorite ministry blogs, but you don't actually do anything with the ideas they share...

...then you're really just spending an hour a week not doing anything.

It's silly to read diet books without any intention of ever going on a diet.

You already know how frustrating it is when you provide your students with a solid, Biblical groundwork for their lives, but then they leave youth group, and never, ever act on any of the things that you talked about.

But this isn't a frustrating thing about the teenagers in your youth group.

It's a frustrating thing about human nature for all of us, and especially for those of us in churches that already struggle to try new things.

Dear Church: A new idea doesn't hold any power  unless you actually implement it.

We read about new ideas, acknowledge that we like them, and maybe even share them with our friends...

...but when it comes to implementation, we're just lost.

That's not necessarily your fault.

We've been conditioned to merely consume information. We read news, social media updates, dozens of blogs from all different fields; and most of them don't require us to do anything with the information they contain.

But Smarter Youth Ministry is different.

At the end of all of my posts, I ask you to do something with the idea I just shared. Usually it's just one step that you could take in a few minutes.

Seriously, go back and look at a few posts. I don't write up an idea and then tell you to compliment me about it in the comments.

I ask you to tell me one way that you're going to act on what you just read. Check out this brilliant comment from Jake:

Do you see what's so great about this? Jake didn't just read that idea and decide that he agreed with it.

He took the idea, added his own spin to it, and then used it in his ministry.

The result was that he was able to build a new communication strategy that was more effective and took less of his time.

Listen, I can't promise that every idea that I write about will yield those kinds of results, but I can tell you that every idea that I write about is at least worth a shot.

Want a healthier ministry? You probably don't need more ideas. You need to implement the ones you have.

If you want to become the kind of person that introduces new ideas into your ministry, then you're in luck, because I'm going to teach you how I implement new ideas on a daily basis.

When I encounter an idea I like, I set aside the next five minutes to start working on it.

Five minutes. That's it.

Hey youth workers, when's the last time you set aside just FIVE MINUTES to try something new?

Five minutes is long enough to get the ball going on a new communication idea. Five minutes is long enough to use a few new editing techniques in my next message. Five minutes is enough time to choose the date when I'll use that brilliant new youth ministry game.

Five minutes is five minutes more than most of us give to a good idea before we just move on to another blog post.

So here's what I want you to do with all of this...

...and I do want you to do something with it.

Leave a comment below and tell me ONE IDEA that you've discovered in the past week that you'll spend your next five minutes working on.

After you leave a comment, go ahead and share this post, then set aside your next five minutes to start implementing that great new idea.

Then, make sure that you turn this whole thing into a habit.

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Five ways to generate better ministry ideas. You'll love #5!

 by Aaron Helman | @aaronhelman | loading comments...

Know that moment when the perfect idea just pops into your head?

Those are the ideas that make your messages stick, your games fun, and your camps awesome.

But have you ever wondered how those ideas work?

And what if there was a way that you could generate more of them?

Turns out there is a way, and in this video, I'm explaining what it is.

These are the five steps I've used to help generate four times as many high-quality ideas for my ministry.

If you want to see my shirt do a weird magic trick, watch this video in HD. If you'd rather NOT be distracted by a shiny optical illusion, stick to 360p.

As I explain in the video, I have adopted a handful of simple, but very meaningful habits that have helped to hack my creativity process.

1. Prayer.
2. Talk to exactly one other person about the problem.
3. Get out of the office.
4. Shut off your brain.
5. Take a long, hot shower.

If you didn't make it to the end of the video, number five is totally for real, and it's worth sharing with your friends:

Today at Smarter Youth Ministry, Aaron explained his showering habits. That guy is weird.

Do I seriously want you to tweet about how weird I am?

Of course I do.

Listen, I'm tired of seeing cookie-cutter, uninspired youth ministry; but the only way to change that is to encourage people to have weird ideas.

And if people need to know that it's okay to be weird, I volunteer to go first.

So go ahead with that tweet. Fire away.

Then, when you're done with that, I want you to leave one comment below this video and tell me which one of the techniques you're going to start using to hack your own creativity.

You don't even have to type out the whole sentence, just pick a number between one and five from that list and type it into the comment box.

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