Tuesday, January 31, 2012

100 Things to Watch in 2012

Well, we are couple weeks into 2012 and the countdown the Apocalypse is underway.  Only a few short months left to do work with MS/JH students, so we better make the best of it?   While you are waiting and continuing to do ministry here are,... Oh, about 100 things to watch in 2012!!  Thanks to the the Marketing Firm JWT.  
I happen to love these guys.  They are not a Christian organization at all, but they are such a great resource to watch culture, trends and even marketing especially to students and the next generation.

Enjoy the below slide show.  There are couple I wanted to highlight that I think are especially important and relevant to us in JH/MS ministry in case you want to skip ahead or do a quick scan they are:

#1. Access to Everything- think about how all the ways that influences how you teach and reach
#12. BYOD: Bring Your Own Device- I don't know about you but more and more it hard to enforce the old "no electronics and phone" rule.  More and more of JH/MS students are their tablet/kindle/nook to group.
#15: Crowd Source Learning- considering how that is and may be should shift our model of teaching?
#24: Gen Z: here comes the next generation of JH/MS in a few years, are you/we going to be ready.  Put away your transparency projector and mimeograph handouts.  (*bonus point for anyone who knows what those are...)
#53: P to P Experience: Could this be the future of the missions trip?  Is it time for us to shift our focus, planning and vision for the missional community of faith for this next generation?
#67: Silence: Can you say finally?  A return to silence and solitude. The un-plugged retreat and lock-in.  There is need in the middle of all these 100 things to also say.."Turn It Off".  
# 82: The Titanic Anniversary. Ha, just kidding.  Sorry, you heart will NOT go on...
#98: You Tube, the new boob tubeDiscernment is the key teaching topic as always.  Gone are the days of parent locked channels and monitors the TV's shows students watch in the living room. No surprise here that more "TV" and "Movies" are moving to smaller screens with more of a challenge for parents. 

JWT: 100 Things to Watch in 2012
View more presentations from JWTIntelligence

Friday, January 27, 2012

Top 10: Reasons Why My Child Can't Go?

The following are REAL conversations I have had with REAL parents over my years of ministry why their child/children can't go on a trip, retreat or mission trip.

10. You are single and I don’t know what you are going to do to my daughter
9. The late night activities are past my child’s bedtime
8. My child is constipated
7. We are vegetarians
6. We just saw the rule about not being able to bring alcohol & tobacco products
5. My daughter’s small group leader freaks her out, because she is to calm and nice.
4. My son just found out he is afraid of nature.
3. I don’t trust religious people
2. There is no tornado plan in the information

1.  A lion escaped from a zoo an hour (driving) from where you are going to be on your retreat!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Top That Nights

A little something fun to add to your group meetings, youth night, or next event, consider making it a "Top That" night. We all get sick of having pizza all the time as the go-to menu of choice.  Why not change it up a bit and have some fun by creating a topping bar with a special food item.  It is simple and a quick easy to add a little hype to your next gathering.   You can do "Iron Chef" style and make it a big reveal when people get there or announce it before hand as attraction for the night/event.  We actually make one Wednesday night a month a "Top That" night, so students are looking forward to it and asking what the next item is going to be.    In addition it is also a really helpful thing for MS/JH students that are coming straight from practices and games without eating dinner.
      Have the usual toppings that would normally go on that item, but also include some really bizarre or unusual one as well.    Have the usual toppings for the girls and for the guys have a little challenge going of the best EDIBLE creation...key word edible as in they have to be willing to eat it themselves.  What is also surprising is the things that people discover they like on their food!!?

Here are a couple suggestions for your "Top That" Night:
- Ice Cream (of course)
- Hot Dog, think regions of the country...NY style, Chicago, etc..
- Hamburger
- Pizza, order up a bunch of plain cheese and away you go
- Salad, variety of toppings AND "dressings"/sauces?

More Fun...
- Potato Chip Bar or Nacho Bar
- Waffles/Pancake
-  Peanut Butter Sandwich,
-  Christmas Cookie Topping, plain sugar cookies and lots of fun frosting and sprinkles
-  French Fries
- "Stuff the Tortilla" Night, hard and soft of course!
- Create Your Own Cereal, provide basic plain cereals

If You Dare...
- "Elf" Spaghetti buffet, provide only the toppings Elf would use!! Great at Christmas Time!!

Review: "The Sacred Mountain" (a novel)

          The Sacred Mountain is a short novel for pre-teen and young teens.  It follows the physical and spiritual adventure of a 7th grade skateboarder named Will, as he spends the summer on an Indian reservation in Arizona.   The storyline follows he and his two new friends, a son and daughter of a local pastor as they investigate the ancient history and mystery surround the “Sacred Mountain” near by. 
The chapters go back and forth between the present and the past revealing some the story that surrounds the ancient tribe and their worship rituals including human sacrifices to the gods of the mountain.  The storyline is a bit predictable with a very unsurprising conclusion.  Lessons and scriptures are included though of the pastor’s outreach sermons during Will’s skateboarding shows giving the book a Christian message.
The style and writing is a bit simplistic, but a good read for the average middle schooler or even late elementary reader.  The book may be especially great for the guys in your group that are into skateboarding.  The book definitely shoots straight and brings the whole story into focus around true faith, salvation and a need for a Savior.
*Review Written for Youth Worker Journal

Wednesday, January 25, 2012