Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas Game: "The Price is Nice"

A quick silly whole group game for the Christmas season.  Testing your Christmas shopping skills.  Players or teams are shown a SILLY Christmas time gift item and a price, then have to decide if the price is Naughty (to high) or Nice (to low or a good deal)! 

CLICK HERE (to get it!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

News U Can Use: "American Wasted a Ridiculous Amount of Food over Holidays"

Here’s a sobering statistic that’ll wake you up out of that lingering food coma.

Over Thanksgiving, Americans wasted about 204 million pounds of turkey, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nonprofit conservation group.

Considering that the signature Thanksgiving bird weighs about 30 pounds these days, that means more than 6 million turkeys essentially ended up in the trash.

The United States is battling a major food waste crisis, and the issue tends to become even more pronounced around the holidays.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Americans generate an extra 5 million tons of household waste, according to advocacy group Worldwatch Institute.

And when we talk about the “waste” generated by a family after a holiday meal, we’re not just talking about the leftover turkey that lands in the garbage ― there’s also the considerable amounts of time, labor, money and water that went into raising that bird and getting it onto the table, writes Dana Gunders, senior scientist at NRDC, in a recent blog post..... 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Top 10: Reasons To Take a Christmas Break!?

Christmas AND New Years land on Sundays this year with a Wednesday night in between them.  Every year there is a debate online and some personal guilt about taking a break from youth group over the holiday.   

Students are off from school, so obviously it should be our responsibility to keep them "entertained" for the full week with a Christmas party on Monday, Star Wars movie days on Tuesday, Regular youth group on Wednesday, Service project day on Thursday, Bowling on Friday and New Years Lock-in on Saturday into Sunday?  Does that sound about right for some of you? 

Here are 10 Reasons to TAKE A BREAK this year during the week between the holidays...

10. Your Own Personal Children. Remember them, the little mini version of you at your house.  They are off from school too, they would like to see you!

9. Your Spouse. The love of your life, the light of your world.... They would love to celebrate the holidays with you too.  Hot chocolate, a movie, a cozy blanket, see where the night goes!? (hint: see #10)

8. Your Assistant/Leaders/Volunteers. They need a break too.  If you take it, they get to take it, so they can see their spouse and children too!

7. The Custodian (s).  Give them a break.  After Spam-Fest, Choc-Tobetr, Thanksgiving Gravy Slip N Slide Night and Winter Wonderland Indoor Snow Party, they might just want to not come in for like a day or two!?

6. The Parents. No not your kid's parents, your own parents.  Go see them or have them come see you, without running out the door to another event.

5.  Your Sr. Pastor.  If he is taking a break over the holiday week, it is okay for you to take a break also!  Even if he isn't make a kind request.  I am sure like the custodian, he might be grateful not to have to clean up your messes for a week!?

4.  The Budget.  The church accountant and the credit card company called, they both would like you to give them a rest.  The new year is coming and they are trying reconcile their books.  They are still trying to figure out if the 5 cases of Spam should be under "game supplies", "lesson illustrations", "food and fellowship", or "professional development"?

3.  Your Personal Health.  Mental, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual.  Go home, hangout, rest, eat some health conscious Christmas cookies.  Lay off the Red-Bull and Starbucks quad-shot drinks for a week.  Get health!! (at least for a week a year)

2.  Your Calling.  God has called you to disciple, teach, and love students. While it sometimes gets mixed up with being a babysitter, entertainer, and activities director.  Take a break over Christmas from having to run programming to make sure you keep your focus on your true calling.

1. JESUS! Yes, He even got away from the crowd, the feeding of thousands, miracles, and religious leaders who were always trying to catch him doing something wrong (___"insert the name here"_____).  If Jesus rested and took a break you can too, let's be real you have the cool beard, insist on wearing sandals even in the winter months and all, but your NO Jesus!)


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Game: "Santa Rudolph Frosty" (Updated Graphic)

It's a Christmas version of "Gorilla-Man-Gun" It has been a great hit with my MS/JH over the years, and is again with my 2 new groups (5th/6th grade and 7th/8th grade) that I lead. 

  • Two people line up back-to-back. On the count of 3, they turn around and mime, "Santa," "Rudolph" or "Frosty."
  • For Santa, you make a beard with your hands under your chin.
  • For Rudolph, you make reindeer antlers with your hands.
  • For Frosty, your make a carrot nose with your hands. 
  • Santa, of course, beats Rudolph with a whip...Rudolph beats Frosty, because he kicks him over....Frosty beats Santa, well...just because.
  • Loser sits. Winner finds a new partner and the rounds continue eliminating people until there is only one person standing. 
It is great time killer and filler. Our group really gets into it, especially the junior high boys! Feel free to "right click" and save the graphic above or create your own! 

* Written a long while back for Youth Worker Magazine

Monday, November 7, 2016


WRITING...The next couple weeks I am take a bit of a break from posting again.  I have some outside writing projects I am working on including some new blog post and an article for Youth Worker Journal, working up a whole new year of parent/family resource for Parent Ministry, and a few fresh posts for Youth Specialties. 

RETREATING... Next weekend it is also my 7th/8th Fall Retreat and a 5th/6th grade missions experience for my new ministry, so I have some final planning to do for all of that.

RELAXING... Of course the final part of the month is Thanksgiving, so we are taking some time to travel and spend time with the family. 

See You All Soon: Dan 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

"Why Are You Hitting Yourself" (Dealing with Micro-Managers)

We all know the time honored phrase and what accompanies it, “Why are you hitting yourself?”  It is repeated by older siblings, classmates and others as they grab our hand, overpower us, and beat us silly.  

While it may not happen physically to us, as we get older and stronger, it still does sometimes happens in adulthood, even in ministry settings. It continues through micromanagement and controlling leadership that beat us up emotionally, socially and spiritually. 

Here are some reasons to help you understand why it happens…

            A micromanaging leader has been allowed to lead in that way.  Due to success or relationships, they have been empowered or embraced to lead in certain way because of a context of perceived success.   Others, who would normally stand up against such a leadership style, are put in a situation where they cannot in context to numbers, money, or influence.  

           Like bullies on the playground, these leaders lead in this way, because they have found a setting that allows it.

            Micromanagers are controllers.  Every opportunity where they can feel in control they will take it.  Whether it be double checking your presentation, choosing the paint color of the offices, or handing out a long list of expectations, it all comes down to feeling like they have control.  Instead of being allowed to accomplish something, you are slowed down or completely stopped in making progress.  

            Like the big brother that grabs your hand and turns it around to smack in the face with it, these leaders need to feel like they are in control of your efforts.

            The danger for every leader, as they move to a place of leading others, is a sense of pride.   After being themselves humbled by failures or experiencing limited success, they are finally given a position seen to mark their final success.  These leader often having been micromanaged by others in the past, turn around and respond in kind, when given a new role leading you.  Ministry can be both a humbling and prideful leadership experience.

            Like the little kid that has been push around, that finally gets his growth spurt and finds himself bigger that those around him, conceited leaders trap themselves in negative cycle of life.

Break the cycle, respond differently 
and choose to be a different kind of leader 
when God blesses you with the opportunity
here is how...

            As a leader under another leader or over another leader, make a choice to be considerate and humble in how you will lead.  While leading under another leader, “offer your hand” to them and be willing to submit to their control even if it seems uncomfortable.  As a leader leading other leader ask for their hand in guiding them to improvement their area of ministry.

Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility consider others above yourselves.”  

            Relationships are about give and take, and conceding to another.   It also applies to leadership relationships, when we make a concession to someone else whether we lead under or over them.  Changing the leadership model and style cycle in a church or organization is done through offering your hand and your face without holding back anything.

Luke 6:29, “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”  

Like the advice we give the students in our ministries or our own personal children, sometimes the best conclusion is just to walk away.   While we need to be willing to be considerate and concede in a situation, sometimes the final answer is the only answers, to draw a position to a conclusion and move on.  

Proverbs 14:7, “Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.”  

This is what I, myself, have recent done moving on from the place I was serving to NOW be blessed to join a healthy, loving staff led by amazing, Godly men who too, have had their own stories of hurt but now choose to lead differently those they are over. 

I praise God for these men who have encouraged me and inspired me over the past couple months to lead differently and lead better!