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Written by

Shelli Haynes

Shelli serves as assistant youth and family minister at Red Hill Lutheran in Tustin, California. She has been a DCE in Southern California churches for twenty-one years! Shelli holds a BA from Concordia University in Irvine and a MA in family ministry from Concordia University in Seward. Shelli is wife to Travis and mama to two daughters, Megan and Mandy. She and her family love the beach, backyard badminton, and Giants baseball.

Recent Posts by Shelli Haynes

Hoping for Significance: Sharing Meaningful Scripture

“I want to do something that matters,” Jack said as we were having coffee at the local shop. Jack is a twenty-year-old college student who began to attend our church recently. I hosted a college meet-up in our local coffee shop, and we were talking about what we were looking forward to in the coming year. Our group almost collectively, as if on cue, lowered their gaze and nodded almost imperceptibly in acknowledgment of Jack’s comment. I asked the small group if they felt like they had done something meaningful in their lives so far. At first, there was silence, which rang so loudly in my head. Then, Corinne said the classes she was taking were somewhat meaningful, but she felt an itch to do something deeper that excited her.

As our group talked through their hopes and dreams for the new year, it was tough to let go of Jack’s comment. Each of the young adults agreed on some level—almost as though each of them was hoping for a significance that they felt they lacked. I prayed a quiet prayer.

A Faith That Overwhelms Fear

His heart was racing, beating like a rabbit running for its very life. His mind was like a browser with too many tabs open, and he couldn’t seem to focus on anything. He knew he was overwhelmed, and the thought of doing one more thing was literally terrifying. How had it come to this? Wasn’t this stage of his life supposed to be the best yet? He was beginning to think life was full of lies and competing messages, each louder than the one before. He felt incredibly alone and sad. The only option seemed like sleep, or at the very least, Netflix or YouTube—anything to escape his own head for a while.

Connecting to College Students during Transitions

Arnav is a student at a state university. He was involved in youth group in high school, and he attended church regularly—at least twice a month. As he entered college, however, he found himself unsure and out of his element. Friendships he had known since middle school were now spread out across the country, and, according to what he saw on Instagram, all of them seemed to be happily settling in. Arnav, though, was not happily settling in. Since starting college, he has felt sad and upset. If he were honest, he would he would have to admit that he is lonely. He feels an awful lot like he did at the beginning of middle school, except he can’t go home and the stakes seem so much higher now.  

This post is the third in a three-part series about ministering to those who are walking with Jesus in their post-high school and pre-family-of-their-own years.

Connecting to College Students through Care Packages

Many churches are seeking ways to continue their relational influence in the lives of students who attend colleges away from home. Ministry to college students can cover many areas. In this post, we will be looking specifically at a few ways churches can help students continue to walk in faith with their church community as they experience God in a new city.

This post is the second in a three-part piece about ministry to those who are walking with Jesus in their post-high school and pre-family-of-their-own years.

Connecting to College Students through Conversations

I serve my church as the head of a team that partners with parents to develop and encourage faith in eighteen-year-olds. I love it! Faith development has been my passion for twenty-four years. Over the last decade, I and others who serve in our church have expressed the desire to reach beyond the eighteen-year-old boundary and intentionally walk with students into their after-high-school years.

This post is the first in a three-part series about ministry to those who are walking with Jesus in their post-high-school and pre-family-of-their-own years.

Finding Balance during Transitions between Ministry Seasons

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a . . .

(Ecclesiastes 3:1–4 ESV)

Looking at the to-do list on your desk or your phone might cause you to think the writer of Ecclesiastes had it wrong.

Finding Satisfaction in God in Your Ministry

I’ve been pondering the phrase holy dissatisfaction lately within my ministry context. Many of our ministry volunteers express a longing for more impact in our kids’ and students’ lives but wonder how to step into the gap. I have been reading and praying through their longing as I lift them up, and the term holy dissatisfaction continually crosses my mind.