Monday, April 30, 2012
“Gen Z: Digital in Their DNA,” provides a snapshot of this generation by focusing on their digital habits: how they use connected devices to socialize, spend, shop and more. We also report on how their parents feel about these habits and what this means for marketers. The report is based on a survey of tweens and teens (ages 8 to 17) and their parents in the U.S. and the U.K."
Here is great resource and read for any one working with pre-teens and tweens. We who work in the JH/MS setting are standing on the tail end of the "Millenials" and a now looking out onto the generation coming up. Sometimes refer to "Generation Z" but who knows what name in the end will stick. The facts are however very simple, the game is about the change again. This is a digital generation living in a whole new connected world. For this group coming up "digital connections trump money, music, movies...connection is essential." The report points out that this group put a higher value on their mobile devices and phone than on "allowance money and various material goods, and significantly more highly than real-world activities like going to the movies or eating out."
What does that mean to us in youth ministry? What does that need to say to our churches and organization that we work for? Take a look, it is a little over 80 pages, but mostly charts and graphs. I would strongly at least taking a quick look.
10. I don't really know what a "hedge of protection"is?
9. You can't wrestle the deacons...although....?
8. I wouldn't be able to use my "Nacho Libre" teaching clips
7. When I forget or don't know someone's name I can't just call them "Dude" or "Girl"
6. None of my icebreakers would work well in Sunday Morning Adult Worship.
5. I couldn't clean out my office by calling stuff "prizes" and throwing it out into the crowd.
4. I would have no use for my fart machine.
3. People would expect me to wear shoes around the office.
2. You can't shoot a "finger rocket" or a rubber band at someone if they are not paying attention while
1. I would miss my amazing pay as a Jr. High youth pastor?
This may seem a bit strange at first and you might even dismiss this out right but hopefully not. Do not get the idea in your head of a leader dressed up in a animal costume (refer to video at the bottom). I am not talking about that kind of mascot...unless you really think that would work for your group??
I am talking about find something to give your group a sense of community and connection while having what we call in our ministry "ran-dumb" fun. Your mascot can be based on lesson or theme for the year, like "Skully" the skeleton above. He became our mascot for this year's youth group year unintentionally after a lesson in the beginning of the year. I used him in talk about the "Body of Christ" and he just never left. I actually now have used him in a couple different ways in other lessons, announcements, games, activities and even theme night. He has ended up getting dressed up for the holidays, with various t-shirts after retreats, or with "lost & found".
Over the years we have had various different mascots for various things. They have become part of the group and even have showed up on t-shirts and in publication designs. Here are just few of the ones over the years:
- Sammy: the Surge Jr. High Squirrel: a small stuffed animal squirrel. Our students made or bought him clothes and jewelry. We did Sammy squirrel games, Sammy's Video Awards of the greatest squirrel movie clips of all time. His silhouette actually was hidden through out lesson books and even on t-shirts. He even showed up in most of our group pictures at events and trips for the year.
- Tom the Tire: our spare tire in one of your vans on a mission trip. He went to the beach, to the mall and we even tried to take him into a restaurant. He showed up in our group photos and we actually even had a mini-photo scavenger hunt challenge where we would took him and tried to get "ran-dumb" photos of him in different places.
- Sponge Bob: yep, that one. We had a stuffed Sponge Bob that had removable square pants that exposed his square underwear. He was part of a JH camp week theme called "Soaking Up the Sun"...get it he is a sponge!? He then became a part of other events and trips the rest or the summer for both Jr. High AND Sr. High.
- My Children: Sorry you can't have them, you will just have to make your own. My kids are currently 4 and 7 and they have become little youth group mascots on and off over the years. My students carry them around and include them in on things. When they are not in their own ministries in our church they are the "little mascots" for our ministry. Similar to I am sure many of you, we work hard to ministry as a family. It is so important for students to see a healthy happy complete family (previous post: 10 Reasons Why Your Wife Should Be Involved)
Here is the bottom line, it is all about fun and creating community. Students love to feel like they are part of something, that is why we do youth group names and logos. That is even why sports teams and their schools have mascots. Why not have some fun with it and find something that can become your group's mascot. Go over the top with it and make it a BIG cheesy, ran-dumb deal. JH/MS students are still in that stage of life where something like this can really be a blast, but also they are search for IDENTITY and BELONGING. This might just be a way to give them a little of both with a twist?
NOT THIS!! :-)
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Here is the side project of the the worship band Esterlyn. It is the debut EP entitled "THE NATATORIUM"
If you are fan of John Forman or Foster the People you might totally dig these guys. It is FREE if you pass along the word to friends. It is once again brought to you be Noise Trade!
LESSON: "ANGRY WORDS"* Key Passage: Matt. 5:21-22
Introduction: (something like) "Just like the game of "Angry Birds" our words can become thing that in our anger we launch that break down and destroy..."
Read & Explain: Matt. 5:21-22
1. Angry Words...Send a Message
Video Illustration: "4 Year Olds Arguing" (youtube)
Verse: Prov. 15:1-2
2. Angry Words...Crush.
Video Illustration" Words Hurt"- anti-bullying commercial (youtube)
Verse. Prov. 16:27-28
3. Angry Words...Destroy.
Video Illustration: "Think Before You Speak: Cashiers" (youtube)
Verse: Prov. 12:6, 17-18
Closing Video: "Think Before You Say Something" (youtube)
*alternative video or closing: Song "Words of My Mouth"- Warren Barfield.
- Before or after your lesson play your own version of "Angry Birds Live". Check out "Stuff You Can Use" for Instructions.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Andy Blanks and Youth Ministry 360 have recently released the first of two books, The 7 Best Practices for Teaching Teenager the Bible. This book is as the title says “practical”, but it is also so much more. If you are just with in the first couple years of youth ministry, this book is teaching “basic training” in paper form. I would strongly encourage you to pick it up. Those of you, who like myself have been teaching students for years, this book bring is back home. It is a refreshing reminder of why we do what we do with a helpful little slap in the face about what we may not have been doing.
Each chapter addresses one of the 7 practices of teaching, starting off by making it personal with “Engaging God”. Beginning this way sets the tone for the book immediately, as it not only concentrates on teaching methodology but also about the importance of our personal relationship with God as we teach. The central 5 practices at the core of the book are encouraging preparation, understanding of context, pushing for unpredictability, interaction, and application. The final practice wraps it back around to making it personal with “Know Your Role”. A section that really focus it back in our who God has personally called us to be.
The book is a rich resource that is not only written from a ministry perspective but also brings in useful educational pedagogy as well, as it details the 3 main learning styles, differentiated instruction, and curriculum. Overall the book is outstanding and so well thought through. The only area that I wish would have been addressed more is as the book put it “from scratch’ lesson preparation. It is easy to read and as mentioned above, a valuable book for both rookies and veterans youth workers, or honestly anyone that is teaching teenagers.
Here is a video of Andy Blank about the book:
- Download a FREE Sample.
- BUY IT!
* written for Youth Worker Journal