Jarrod

Jarrod Newton makes his living doing resource development, communications and web stuff for MORE. He's a youth pastor at heart and a Comms major by trade, who spent a few years in the PR world before joining the youth ministry team. Jarrod is also youth leader at The Salvation Army at Ryde in Sydney, where he serves alongside an incredible team.

That time of week again…

5 February 2012 by | Comments

The clock has just ticked over to Sunday morning. It’s that time of week again!

Which one will get your bigger focus today – the business of ‘doing church’, or the people you encounter along the way?

Remember, church isn’t an event – it’s a community.

Hope you have a rocking day!

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Categorised: Events, Relationships

2012 checklist

28 January 2012 by | Comments

Here’s my checklist as the countdown to our 2012 youth ministry launch hits the final stages! Hope it’s useful!

  1. Vision is still key. Talk it up heaps, especially after the long summer break!
  2. Who’s ready to step up? People have grown in the last 12 months. Make sure they get opportunities that match where they are at!
  3. Similarly, what can I be handing over to give others an opportunity to shine and develop?
  4. Sometimes the start of the year brings pressure. Make sure we have fun still!
  5. Understand the major pain points from last year and make sure we do better in 2012.

Have you got any to add?

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Categorised: Leadership, Strategy

Leadership is about culture.

20 January 2012 by | Comments

Leadership is about culture.

This is my big lesson lately, and one that I hope has a big impact on me as I move into 2012.

As a leader, the #1 I can be doing with my time is working on culture.

If everyone in my team is empowered, encouraged, motivated, inspired, supported and energised then I’ve created a space where everyone has a chance to do their best work. And if everyone is doing their best work, then as a leader my job is made a heck of a lot easier (and more fun), and we’ll be getting a whole lot more done than if I was working crazy-hard on projects but allowing poor culture to rob the life from my team.

Go hard on culture in 2012!

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Categorised: Leadership, Team

How to run a great team meeting #5

23 December 2011 by | Comments (+2)

One of the often under-appreciated skills in leadership I think is running a great team meeting. If you’re asking the valuable people around you to give you their time, then it’s important to make it count for something! We want people to leave our meetings energised and empowered, but too often people leave frustrated and confused.

Hopefully these tips help you nail your team meetings!

5. Meetings are still about people [Final part]

If you’ve been following along with this team meeting series over the past few weeks, hopefully you’re feeling all ‘skilled up’. Hopefully!

The final point I’d love to make is simply this: Meetings are still about people. It’s the golden rule, which outweighs all of the others combined.

Yep, good meetings include agendas, and outcomes, and purposes, and drivers, and all that. They’re valuable, and useful, and important.

But if you don’t have people, you don’t have a meeting.

If everyone comes away from your meeting feeling genuinely valued, celebrated and appreciated, I think your meeting is a success regardless of what else you were able to accomplish. Some of the other things we’ve talked about are actually there to help make sure this happens, it’s not an either-or thing. But definitely don’t emphasise the business side of the meeting at the expense of the people.

The last thing you want is for people to go away thinking the only thing you care about is getting the job done, and that they’re merely a tool in helping you get there. Do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Let me leave you with some words inspired by Scripture:

If I could clearly articulate my meeting purpose and outcomes, but cannot love, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I could become the best meeting driver in the whole world, but could not love others, I would be nothing.

If I could make every meeting on task, on time, with successful action points and outcomes, with no wasted time, but didn’t love others, I would have achieved nothing.

… Read on …

All the best with leading your next team meeting, and Happy Christmas everyone!

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Categorised: Leadership, Team

How to run a great team meeting #4

22 December 2011 by | Comments

One of the often under-appreciated skills in leadership I think is running a great team meeting. If you’re asking the valuable people around you to give you their time, then it’s important to make it count for something! We want people to leave our meetings energised and empowered, but too often people leave frustrated and confused.

Hopefully these tips help you nail your team meetings! Check back each Friday for a new one!

4. Prepare an agenda

A meeting agenda is a tool that helps the driver make sure they achieve the meeting purpose.

An agenda is basically a runsheet for the meeting, which helps you stay on target, stay on time, and makes sure you don’t accidentally forget to cover something super-important! You’d be amazed how many times you get to the end of a meeting to have someone go ‘Oh, I nearly forgot…’ and proceed to share something so significant and critical that it probably deserved the attention of the entire meeting you just had!

Every meeting should have an agenda in some shape or form – whether it’s a scribbled list in the leaders’s notebook through to a nicely printed handout that everyone gets a copy of.

For me, my agendas consist of:

  • A list of all the outcomes or activities for the meeting,
  • A rough estimated time limit next to each, so in the meeting I can tell if we’re running ahead or behind,
  • Who the driver for each particular section is,
  • On my personal copy, any specific notes, ideas or questions that I think may be helpful for the group at that stage.

My personal preference is that if I’m not leading a meeting, I don’t mind whether I actually see the agenda or not – as long as someone is driving us then I’m ok! But I’ve learned that not everyone is like that, and that some people really like seeing the outline and knowing what’s happening next. So for me, I normally make an effort to send through a rough agenda to the meeting participants out of respect for the fact that everyone is different. (At the very least, I make sure everyone knows the purpose & outcomes in advance!)

Here’s an agenda I prepared for a recent meeting – I’ve changed some of the names and details slightly but apart from that it’s exactly as-is. As you can see, it’s not rocket science, but trust me, it’s incredibly valuable!

Meeting outcomes:
1. Plan for expansion and development of the ABC Program
2. Creating an innovative culture: Hear from everyone on ‘how do we get there’?

8.30am – Welcome, introductions & prayer (Jarrod)
8.35am – 2011 Program overview (Janet)
8.40am – 2012 Program expansion ideas + discussion + outcomes (Janet)
9.00am – Broader innovation discussion + outcomes (based on pre-reading) (Jarrod)
9.30am – Close (Jarrod)

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Categorised: Leadership, Team

How to run a great team meeting #3

16 December 2011 by | Comments

One of the often under-appreciated skills in leadership I think is running a great team meeting. If you’re asking the valuable people around you to give you their time, then it’s important to make it count for something! We want people to leave our meetings energised and empowered, but too often people leave frustrated and confused.

Hopefully these tips help you nail your team meetings! Check back each Friday for a new one!

3. Don’t just share information

Once upon a time, calling a meeting was the most productive way to share information. Get 10 people in a room, deliver a message once, deal with any questions on the spot, and then get on with life. It sure beat making 10 phonecalls, writing 10 letters or making 10 visits!

But in the 21st Century, sharing information is no longer a good enough reason to call a meeting. Information can be shared quicker, cheaper and more conveniently via email or even SMS. But yet I still find myself in occasional meetings where half of the agenda items are trivial little information tidbits!

Modern meetings should be predominantly about relationships, culture, planning and/or decision-making – not about information.

Think about it this way – if your meeting has 10 people, and you take 10 minutes to ‘fill them in real quick’ about something, that’s 100 minutes of productivity gone. Gone! But if you as the meeting organiser were to take 10 minutes to write an email, I guarantee you that every recipient would be able to read it in 30 seconds or less – and presto, our 100 minutes is down to under 15! And that’s before we even start factoring in things like the time and cost of getting to the meeting in the first place.

Here are my tips on how to best handle sharing information with your team:

  • Send information updates through to your team via SMS or email as they happen. Or if there are heaps, allow them to build up and then send them all through in one email once a week.
  • If you need to share information as part of a planning or discussion meeting, prepare the information and send it through early to your team as pre-reading. That way you’ll have even more time to spend on getting the planning or discussion done!
  • After all that, there are still some situations where calling a meeting to share information is the best move. If the information is sensitive, difficult to hear, likely to be misunderstood, or just extremely important, it definitely helps to be looking your team mates in the eyes as you deliver the news.
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Categorised: Leadership, Team

How to run a great team meeting #2

9 December 2011 by | Comments

One of the often under-appreciated skills in leadership I think is running a great team meeting. If you’re asking the valuable people around you to give you their time, then it’s important to make it count for something! We want people to leave our meetings energised and empowered, but too often people leave frustrated and confused.

Hopefully these tips help you nail your team meetings! Check back each Friday for a new one!

2. Know who’s driving

Every meeting needs a driver, who is the one responsible for making sure that by the end of your meeting time your purpose has been accomplished. Bill Hybels makes the following statement in his book axiom:

“If no one claims to be driving, then seldom will anything of consequence occur. Get someone to go on the record from the get-go. You won’t regret it.”

In addition to making sure that a meeting achieves its purpose, the ‘driver’ also:

  • Manages the time and makes sure things keep moving forward, and that energy doesn’t go flat
  • Makes sure everyone is included in the conversation
  • “Calls fouls”, as Bill Hybels calls them, by addressing any behaviour, statements or attitudes that don’t match your definition of healthy culture
  • Follows up afterwards to ensure that any action points are progressing

If you’ve ever had a meeting where you felt like you talked and talked but never got anywhere, or where a few people unfairly dominated the conversation, chances are you had some driving issues!

Finally, the driver doesn’t have to be the ‘top dog’ or even the person who called the meeting. If you’re someone who’s mind wanders easily, or someone who constantly finds yourself wondering ‘where did all the time go?’ after every meeting, you might just benefit from asking someone else to drive for you! Choose someone else from the team who’s widely respected, and who is stronger than you at staying on track – then explain to them what you hope to accomplish during the meeting and give them the authority to help the team get there.

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Categorised: Leadership, Team

How to run a great team meeting #1

2 December 2011 by | Comments

One of the often under-appreciated skills in leadership I think is running a great team meeting. If you’re asking the valuable people around you to give you their time, then it’s important to make it count for something! We want people to leave our meetings energised and empowered, but too often people leave frustrated and confused.

Hopefully these tips help you nail your team meetings! Check back each Friday for a new one!

1. Be clear on purpose

A meeting without a clear purpose is a meeting that won’t achieve much!

If you call me to a meeting, I expect you to be able to tell me exactly why I’m there and what you want to see achieved by the end of our time together – if you can’t, I feel like I’m wasting my time before we even get started.

The purpose should drive the whole meeting, but sometimes I think we get it backwards and call meetings out of habit and then try to figure out the purpose later on. If you’re not sure why you’re having a meeting, do your team a favour and give them the night off! They’ll appreciate you for it.

Being clear on purpose doesn’t mean that you have to be all serious and business-like though. Part of the purpose of your meeting might be that your team gets to enjoy each other’s company and encourage each other. It’s just important to decide in advance – and to let your team know in advance – so that everyone is clear. If someone shows up expecting a cruisy hangout time and you’ve got an intense agenda prepared (or vice versa), it can understandably take a while for that person to mentally and emotionally catch up!

Here’s some typical meeting purpose starters:

  • By the end of our time together, we want everyone to feel …
  • By the end of our time together, we want to come to agreement about …
  • By the end of our time together, we want to have a plan on how to …
  • By the end of our time together, we want to hear from everyone about …
  • By the end of our time together, we want everyone to have learned …
  • By the end of our time together, we need to reach a decision on …

Finally, it’s possible to have multiple purposes, or outcomes, for a single meeting. That’s totally ok! Just make sure that it’s actually realistic to accomplish them all in the time allotted – otherwise extend the meeting or drop a few outcomes until a later date.

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Categorised: Leadership, Team

Your tech guys are special…

18 November 2011 by | Comments

… and if you’re not sure how special, this video should help you see the light!

Say thanks to your church tech crew today with an encouraging word and a link to this video!

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Categorised: Resources, Team, Technology

Stick with it!

11 November 2011 by | Comments

Some days in ministry are so incredible that you feel on top of the world.

Some days in ministry are so discouraging that you feel like giving up.

But many days in ministry are neither. There’s a few small wins over here, balanced by a few small losses over there. You put the effort in, give it your best shot, but progress seems to be coming in tiny little ant-steps rather than massive leaps and bounds. If you’re honest you’re just not sure how much of a difference you’re actually making.

Firstly, we’ve all been there before. You’re not alone!

Secondly, stick with it!

We’ve all watched so many movies that we’re conditioned to believe the world can descend into chaos and be completely rescued within the space of 2 hours. If only 2 hours work was enough to change the world!

But Jesus sees you, and Jesus knows you. He’s not surprised by what’s happening, he’s seen these days in advance since the beginning of time.

But he’s got a plan – his Kingdom is forcefully advancing! He’s extending goodness and favour and blessing towards you.

So don’t give up, and don’t be discouraged! Keep working, keep praying, and keep declaring your dependence on Him.

Tomorrow could be the day revival comes!

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” – Galatians 6:9

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Categorised: Leadership, Personal Growth

About us.

How do we get better at youth ministry?

That’s a question we’re asking ourselves all the time, so we started a blog to collect our thoughts and hopefully include you in the conversation too.

We – Claire, Nate, Shandri and Matt – work together at The Salvation Army’s Territorial Headquarters in Sydney, Australia, and are responsible for supporting and resourcing Salvation Army youth ministries throughout NSW, QLD and ACT.