Thursday, December 19, 2013

This Space for Lease...Navidad. (for the next 2 weeks)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  If you are reading this from Dec. 19th- Jan. 2nd.  It is because I am on a Christmas break with my family.  We are taking a break from our ministry and also from a few other things, including me posting here. 

With the holidays both landing on Wednesday nights, our main youth group night, we decided to take our final week or so of vacation, so that way we wouldn't be away during a normal youth group night.   If you can pull it off with your church and ministry, I would suggest trying it!

Also...If you would like to lease this space for the next 2 weeks so you can blog and post for me- please feel to contact me.  You can be the The JH Uth Guy for a while.  I will even let you use my office, drink out of my favorite mug, and play with all my toys...I mean all my object lesson supplies... in my office!

Seriously....Thank you as always for your support, encouragement, and spreading the word for what I try to do here.   Jr. High and Middle school years are so important and valuable, I really truly excited that I have been able to be a part of the new movement over the last 2 years of even more people and organization creating and sharing more resources specifically for this age group.

Have a great and blessed season.  I will be posting up some new and hopefully fresh stuff early January, so please come on back!!

                    Ps. 71:17-18

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

3 Fun Group Christmas Games (FREE)


- "Rudolph's Revenge"(Small Group Challenge/Big Group Fun)
- "Santa-Rudolph-Frost"(Big Group Game/Ice Breaker)
- "Frosty's Revenge" (Small Group Challenge/Big Group Fun)

YM Invention #8 /News U Can Use: "Google+ Auto Awesome"

" Google is taking your holiday photos to the next level — a much more twinkly level.

The Auto Awesome feature on Google+ was updated on Thursday to add sparkle to photos that feature items that could use an extra twinkle or two — think Christmas trees, holiday lights, or a Menorah. Images that feature snow will be updated so that it looks like snow is actually falling over the picture.....


Monday, December 16, 2013

Free Media #50- "The Christmas Gospel" (mini-movie)

"A Mini-Movie meditation on Christ's birth through the lens of the cross. Based on a sermon by Tim Keller."

CLICK HERE (to get it)


Top 10: "99 Thoughts..." Books Suggestions & Ideas

 The "99 Thoughts/Things/Ideas...." books are awesome!  Love them, because they are short, to the point, but oh so very packed full of information, advice and good stuff.  Including of course the newest release  99 Thoughts for Junior Highers! by Mark Oestreicher and Brookyln Lindsey.

How many of these books are out there now as part of the growing library and collection?  I know I have written a few reviews of a couple of them here and there.  I even have a "combo" review coming out in Youth Worker Journal next issue.

It got me thinking what has not been covered? What else possible could they do "99 Thoughts... on??  Hmm....


10. "99 Thoughts On Your Relationship With The Sr. Pastor (and the rest of the staff)"

9.  "99 Thoughts For Y.P.K.'s (youth pastor's kids)"

8.  "99 Thoughts For Youth Ministry Spouses"

7. "99 Thoughts on Finding a Youth Ministry Job"

6. "99 Thoughts on Longevity in Youth Ministry" or "99 Thoughts For Veteran Youth Workers"

5.  "99 Thoughts on being More Professional, Organized, and Respected as a Youth Worker"

4. "99 Thoughts Before You Quit or Leave Ministry"

3. "99 Thoughts for Youth Ministry Assistants" (come on we all need a "gift" for administrative assistants day, this would make some $$!)

2. "99 Things Every Female Youth Worker Should Know"

1. "99 Thoughts on Surviving Middle School/Jr High Lock-Ins"? (not everything has to be deep and serious!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Review: "99 Thoughts for Junior Highers"

What do you get when you put two of the best minds in Junior High ministry together to write a book directly to Junior Highers?

You get "99 Thoughts for Junior Highers"! A short to the point book that is worth it's weight in... well... donuts!!

99 Thoughts for Junior Highers by Mark Oestriecher and Brooklyn Lindsay is a fresh and fun new book just FOR your Junior High (and middle school) students that is filled full of 99 huge truths that every Junior Higher needs-- broken down into tasty little bite-size pieces.  Each of the 99 thoughts contained in this book is a basic and essential truth that every young teen needs to understand.   No word or space was wasted in this very short, easy-to-read 133 page book.   Written with an absolute heart for Junior Highers, as each thought will be sure to speak love and truth  into the life of it's young teen readers.
The book is broken down into 11 chapters with 7-10 thoughts in each, covering the full range of topics connected to the life of a Junior Higher.  From identity to body change to topics of faith and of course some wisdom on the opposite sex, I can not honestly think of anything that was not covered.  In addition to the great ideas and instruction, each section ends with a personal, real-life story from either Brooklyn or Marko from their own Junior High years, that makes this already well written book even more personal.
I am sure Marko, Brooklyn and many of the rest of us working with 6th-8th graders in our ministry will agree with me when I say, I wish there was a book like this when I was going through these years.  Working with this age exclusively, I know how hard my 6th-8th students struggle and the questions I process with them on daily basis.   This is a book that is going to be SO valuable to them, but also to anyone working with or in the life of young teens.  It is an easy hand-off, a tool to use in discipleship, and just an all-around great resource to have.   It is pretty much a basic handbook to being a Junior High and also a Christ-Follower during the young adolescent years.
A final thought...Personally, I was very excited to finally get my back-ordered physical copy, as this book almost immediately sold out on Amazon the day it came out.  I am also strongly considering after the New Year, when my new church budget starts, seeing if I can beg, steal, and even borrow so I can somehow order a copy for every single student in my ministry.  Not to over-sell this book, but that is honestly how much I like this book.  I hope that Christian publisher sit up and take notice and start getting more great books written for Junior Highers like this out there.  
BUY IT NOW (just in time for Christmas!) at AMAZON, YOUTH CARTEL, SIMPLY YOUTH MINISTRY, CBD, or a fine retailer near you!

Game #43: "Use Your NOG-gin!?" (Bonus Christmas Game)

Quick Bonus Christmas Game of the Week.  An extra little add-on to the "Christmas Chaos Night" that I posted on yesterday.  It was our "Christmas Battle Zone" game last night and it really went pretty well and the group loved it.  It was actually my wife, Melissa's (the JH Uth coming in 2014) idea she came up with while grocery shopping!!  Love that chick, you know you are married to a JH youth pastor when you are coming up with gross and silly game ideas while doing your own personal grocery shopping!! Anyway, here you go...

- 4-5 different flavors of Egg Nog (see above pic)
- 2-4 clear glasses or plastic cups
- Stack of index cards
- Pens & Pencils
- Table or something to set up on

Pour out a glass/cup of each flavor egg nog for each player, before hand.  Set up separate playing areas on your table, so that the egg nog doesn't get mixed up and each player has one of each flavor.
Fold index cards in half, making a little "tent" place them and something to write with by the egg nog.

Game Play:
Select your players (2-4).  Have them come up to the table/playing areas and stand behind the egg nog. 

On "Go" they will have 60 seconds to sip, as many times as they need and identify the special flavor of the egg nog by writing down their guess on the index cards and place them out facing the crowd.

At the end of the time, one by one reveal the cartons and the correct answers of each flavor.  The person with the most correct gets a prize!

Additional Idea/Suggestion: Have one non-flavored, just regular egg nog flavored cup.

Youth Ministry 360 Christmas Vault of Free Stuff!

It is being posted and shared here and there, so you might already be aware of what Youth Ministry 360 is up to again this Christmas Season.

If for some reason you are not, here it is the Annual Christmas Vault!!  It absolutely full of great stuff like:

- Christmas Lessons
-  Student and Leader Christmas Devotionals
- A HUGE Amount of Different Christmas Games
- Christmas Time Leader Training
- Inspirational Posts and Encouragements
- AND EVEN Christmas Ideas for Students, Leaders and Even Parents

Click Here, to check it all out!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

News U Can Use: "7 Retail Companies Setting the Right Example for Christmas"

"As the holiday shopping season begins, we take a look at seven retail companies that are setting the right example—bringing high ethical standards, a commitment to their employees, environmental sustainability and social action to consumerism...."


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Top 10: Ways Santa Might Actually Be a Jr.High/Middle School Youth Pastor?

10.  He Is At Least 2 Feet Taller Than Anybody He Works With? (hello- little 6th grader way down there.)

9. Tummy That Jiggles Like a "Bowl Full of Jelly"?  (more like a bowl full of pizza!?)

8.  Beard? (=Hipster Beard?)

7. Is All Into Giving Away Stuff? (who wants a cool Free t-shirt or the new LeCrae CD?)

6. People Are Always Leaving Him Cookies? (all those sweet little old ladies at the church, baking around the holidays!)

5. He Knows When You Have Been Naughty or Nice? (just because you are sitting in the back row doesn't mean I can't see you talking though my lesson?)

4.  Is Always Carrying a Big Bag of Stuff? (cinch sack, messenger bag, backpack,...)

3. Christmas Is His Busiest Time of Year? (enough said...)

2. Works At Macy's? (has to work an extra part time job on the side?)

1. Is A Grown Man But Has An Office Full of Toys? (they are ALL object lessons and for illustrations...really?)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Combo Book Review: "Speak Love" & "Speak Love Revolution"

Inspirational Books for the Girls In Your Ministry, That Could Transform The Way They Communicate to God, Others, and Even Themselves.

The Perfect Gifst For Christmas or As A Girl's Study To Start Off the New Year.

WORDS... So powerful, so life-giving, so very important to the heart and life of young girls   In a world saturated in words, communication and messages there still not enough girls "speaking love" and being "spoken love" to- that is why I was so excited when I finally had a chance to read the book, Speak Love.

The Speak Love book and devotional journal by Annie F. Downs is a great resource for those of us involved in the lives of teenage girls, helping them to understand the importance of communication to God, others, and themselves.   Not just another positive affirmation book or quick self-help book about love yourself more, Annie F. Downs, writes a book that is scripture-centered and real.  

While the title would at first seem to just address the spoken, it actually thoroughly and systematically address all the various ways girls communicate.   Starting off with four very strong chapters on our communication with God.   I absolutely love these first four chapters, after recently finishing a series in my own group about prayer.  I am continued to be amazed at how many students really do not fully understand how God is and how to communicate with him.  

The second set of chapters and the core of the book is speaking love to "others", including chapter 9 addressing communication to celebrities.  The fact that is included, in my opinion, is brilliant.  It is so needed and so overlooked in so many resources and books written to young women. Especially for someone working with 6th-8th grader girls, this is HUGE!  Whether we as, adults completely 'get-it' or remember, our students have access to celebrities through social media and it affects them!   The other chapter that is even more important that I absolutely appreciated was the next chapter about talking about God to others.

The wraps up with two final chapters, that are oh, so very important about speaking love to yourself.  Once again not a cheesy positive affirmation approach, Ms. Downs, just soaks her final words in Biblical, scripture advice and love.

Now for the Speak Love Revolution: 30 Day Devotional... As if the book itself was not enough, which it absolutely is.  The companion devotional journal is the double extra awesome layer on top.  Each of the 30 days worth of devotional readings are again on the mark.  Bound is a very attractive purple cover, it makes the perfect take-along to school or wherever a girl might be going.

These two books are truly inspirational books for the girls in your ministry, that could transform the way they communicate to God, others, and even themselves. The perfect gifts for Christmas or as a girl's study to start off the New Year!

80 Free Christmas Media Resouces!: Muddy River Media (*December Website of the Month)

Over 80 Pieces of Free Christmas Media!

In addition to their 2013 Christmas Media Bonus Pack... They are also offering over 80 pieces of FREE Christmas Media.

This includes motion backgrounds, illustrative videos and video quizzes.

Click Here (to see all of the great Christmas media)


Resource #58: "The 7 Deadly Sins of Leading Volunteers" (e-book)

From the lovely people over at The Rocket Company... "The 7 Deadly Sins of Leading Volunteers".   Because who want to "sin against a volunteer and kill them??

CLICK HERE (to get save the life of an innocent volunteer?)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

10 Christmas "Minute to Win It" Games (FREE)

Just in time for your Youth Group Christmas Series, Your Leader's Christmas Party, or that Boring Family Get-Together with That Weird 3rd Cousin and Creepy Uncle...IT IS MINUTE TO WIN IT: CHRISTMAS GAMES!

From the little youth ministry helpers in workshop over at Children's Ministry Deals. It was $10, but NOW IT IS FREE (*for a limited time, while supplies last, may not be available in Holland, MI, additional fees and taxes may apply if you are Free

CLICK HERE (to start the clock on Christmas fun!)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jr. High Christmas Lesson Series: "UNCOMMON CENTS"

Series Overview and Idea:
The Middle School and Jr. High Christmas Series About Possessions, Money and Giving Using 3 Popular Christmas Time Movies: "It's A Wonderful Life", "A Christmas Story", and "A Christmas Carol

The Series Outline Includes:
- Key scripture passages & study
- Video clip suggestions
- Discussion questions

Lessons Overview:
#1:"Uncommon Cents: Possession and Stuff
#2:"Uncommon Cents: Money and Spending"
#3:"Uncommon Cents: Giving and Receiving" 

Thoughts (Quotes) From National Youth Worker's Convention

Disclaimer: The Following Are Thoughts and Ideas That Were Inspired By The People Listed.  Some of What is Below May Not Be EXACT Quotes.  It What I Quick Wrote Down As I Was Listening.  I Did However, Want to Give Them Credit As I Tried to Quote Them and Their Ideas!
Hope They Inspire You or If Nothing Else Challenge You?

- "When You Pray Regularly, Irregular Things Start Happening.."- Mark Batterson

- "If You Want God to Do Something New, You Can't Keep Doing the Same Old Things"- Mark Batterson

- "Reconciliation and Justice is More Than a Check of a One Time Missions Trip..."- Brooklyn Lindsey

-"A Life of Right Relationship Leads to a Life of Justice..."- Brooklyn Lindsey

- "This (Teen/Youth Group Years) is the Perfect Time to Experiment with Justice, to Learn What Works and What Doesn't, to Discover Your Calling and Heart..."- Brooklyn Lindsey

- "You Can't Put Program Ahead of Proof..."- Harvey Carrey

- "You Are Paralyzed Because You Have Over Analyzed"- Harvey Carrey

- "Every Communion Should Be Followed By A Dance Party"- Rachel Held Evans

- "We (Millenials) Are Not Looking for Style But Substance..."- Rachel Held Evans

- "We Are Afraid If We Get Out of The Way of God...It Might Get Messy, It Might Get Out of Hand"- Rachel Held Evans

- "Give Away Love Like You are Made of That Stuff"- Bob Goff

- "There is a Big Difference Between Invite Someone and Welcoming Someone..."- Bob Goff

- "Church Should Not Be Full of Bouncers Deciding Who Does of Does Not Get to Jesus.."- Bob Goff

- "If We Keep Giving People Water When They Don't Want It, They Won't Know Where to Go When They are Thirsty..."- Bob Goff

- "Be Secretly Incredible..."- Bob

- "Stop Calling Ministry--Call it Tuesday..."- Bob Goff

Monday, December 2, 2013

Top 10: Reasons I Love the YS National Youth Worker's Convention

10. It is a little mini-vacation on the church's tab?... hanging out by the pool thinking about youth ministry? (*just kidding, for all the elders, deacons, committee members reading this!!)

9.  Trick or Treating in the exhibitor Hall...seriously next year I am dressing up!

8.   The Skit Guys...enough said!

7.  Seeing much as you can see him behind the beard, glasses, and farmer hat?  

6.  Seeing All The Gray Hair! ...there is a hope for a 38 year old JH Youth Pastor, oh wait they were all in their 30's??

5. Watching all the Young'uns... they are so cute, rushing up to the stage and buying everything in the store, asking Mark-O to autograph their Tom's

4.  The Big Bean Bag Chair Things...if I had the budget I would buy enough to cover the floor of my youth room.

3.  Finger Blaster Wars... Although I don't think the lady at the front desk of my hotel was playing??

2.  Propaganda.... Oh...and I like that spoken word guy too?

1. Spending time with my wife, remembering why we still are doing this, recharging our batteries and refreshing our life-time call to Students!

Monday Morning Video: "Doped Up on Media" (Research)


Doped Up on Media: How Video Games and Social Media are Changing Our Brains from WildfireSPC on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Giving Thanks For YS:Nashville!

Heading out with my lovely wife to Youth Specialties National Youth Worker Convention in the Grande Old town of Nashville.  If you happen to be heading down too- would love to meet up and grab a cup of coffee!  I have a couple different people I am meet up with here and there, but would love to find some time with you too!

I have loved YS, over the years.  We try to hit it up every couple years, because it is the original and still the biggest around when it comes to youth ministry.  Every time we go we have been changed and inspired. I know it is a bit pricey and your bugdet may not always allow for you to attend, I know mine doesn't always either.  I would however strongly suggest either way checking out downloading a couple main sessoin and electives if you can from thier website.

As soon as we get back we roll right into the Thanksgiving holiday, so I won't be posting anything until after the holiday.   Check back here Dec. 2nd for some fresh inspiration from the convention in some new posts, ra-dumb thoughts, and just all around JHish Fun!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Free Resource #57: "Church Social Media Guide: Pinterest""

"We want to set you up for success on Pinterest, so we have come up with some great Pinterest ideas for your church to use it well. Note that some of these ideas are perfect for large churches and others setup for small churches."

CLICK HERE (to get this FREE resource from the "Church Tech Today")

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Teaching Clip: "FAITH: A Short Film" (w/ a free lesson series link)

Here is your Monday Morning Video Inspiration AND also a creative, fun teaching clip for an up coming lesson series. 

If you are looking at teaching a series on FAITH, consider my lesson series above in the LESSON SECTION called "JUMP".  You are welcome to use it however it helps you in your ministry.  It has also be been updated and given some great new graphics from my friends over at STUFF YOU CAN
, as well. 

Have a great Monday, and continue to walk by faith and not by sight!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Top 10: Proof That JH/MS Overnight Lock-Ins Are Of the Devil!?

Kids, Leaders and Parent want a Lock-In, but you honestly think they are "OF THE DEVIL"!! You have always thought so, but you have never been able to prove it.  Well here you go the TOP 10 PROOFS THAT JH/MS OVERNIGHTS/LOCK-INS ARE OF THE DEVIL!!

10. The JH/MS Students and the Devil Both Never Sleep!

9. JH Students and the Devil Both Think They Are Smarter Than You and God!

8. "JH Girl Clique" is Actually the Hebrew for "Demons"

7. Prince of Darkness... an Event All Night?

6. Prince and Power of the Air...JH Boys after the Burrito Eating Contest?

5. Red Bull, Monster, Rock Star...all evil demonic names!?

4. Eve was tempted and fell because of an Apple...Girls with Apple I-phones snapchatting

3. The Light as a Feather Game!??

2.  Satan tempted Jesus to jump off the roof of the temple, you don't think he wouldn't try the same temptation out on one of your JH guys?

1.  Have You Not Seen the Custodian's Face When He Walks in the Morning After? (that is pure evil....)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Free Resource #56 : "The Clique Collarboartive Report"

" It’s been said over and over that Millennials are a group-oriented generation, but how does that play out for them day to day? They’re using the tools at their fingertips to create new “cliques” that collaborate together, often through digital means, to create and share information, enact change, and improve one another’s lives. Niche interest, passion-driven groups like fandoms often meet and connect only online, allowing Millennials to form bonds and organize into collaborative cliques with common goals. This generation has not only witnessed but participated in the digital shift that has made collective consumer voices a force to be reckoned with, and are perhaps more aware than any other generation of the power of their online activity."

 See more at:

Ran-Dumb Youth Ministry Meme #48

* Not mine, just found and thought it was absolutely hilarious! 
It might be showing up soon in a lesson about Jacob (Gen. 32)!?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Book Review "Undaunted"- Christine Caine

A quick review and some thoughts on an awesome book, that I was sent to take a look at, "Undaunted: Student Edition" by Christine Caine.

POWERFUL.... that is the first word that springs to my mind after finishing this book.  If I would have to sum up my whole review in a word, it is just that simple word...Powerful!   Christine Caine, well known for her social justice work and as popular speaker opens up about her own personal life, hurts and struggles in this new student version of our her book "Undaunted".  While the book is part biography, it also is inspiration and direction.   Drawing from her own hurts, pains, and struggles, she throws open the doors the hope, healing and help for the lives of students, in these pages.

Broken down into 4 main parts: "God Knows My Name", "God Know My Pain", "God Knows My Fear" and "God Knows My Destiny", each lead to the final message of hope.   Each part also ends with thought provoking questions and reflections, excellent for personal reading or for 4 counseling sessions with a hurting student in your ministry. 

The strength of this book and what I love most is the fact of who Christine is today.  As she gently speaks life into students, she does it from a place of her own personal calling and what she now does working against human trafficking.  The fact that she has been able to take the hurts and abuse in her past turn it around and work with other how were hurt and abuse, gives here a "right to be heard"!

It may be obvious, but I would give this book a high recommendation for you to read and to use with the students in your ministry!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Game #42:"Piggy Back Polo" (big group)

Here is another wild and fun game that my MS/JH group loves.  It just a quick twist on a classic youth group game, that will be sure to create some memories and laughs!

It is called...PIGGYBACK POLO

- Hockey Sticks- enough for 1 per ever 2 players
- Street Hockey Ball or Any Small Light Ball
- 2 Goals: Street Hockey Goals or 4 Cones

Set up your playing around indoor or outdoors like a normal hockey field (field hockey, street hockey)- 2 goals at either end, etc...
Divide your group up into teams- 2 teams for a smaller group, more teams for a larger group. Once everyone has a team, then have everyone pair up with a friend, preferably with some of the same gender.   Have each pair get one hockey stick for them to use.  One player will be the horse, the other player will be the rider.  The rider will be the one who has the stick.  The rider will be riding piggy back on his partner's back.

Basically you are playing a regular game of hockey, minus the pushing, body checks and fighting...hopefully?   Start the game with both teams at the far end of each side of the playing area, place your ball at the center.  On "go" everyone runs to the ball and begins to play, pass, and shoot their way to a goal.  After each goal have everyone start again at the end lines and switch around so that the rider is now the horse, giving the horse a break.  

- As mentioned above have player partner up with people of the same gender, just to keep everything appropriate.  Maybe even consider a girls vs. boys game?
- Strongly enforce the no pushing, shoving rule as much as you can, to keep everyone safe.
- Instead of use a small ball, consider using a slightly larger light ball, like a dodgeball or even a grocery store playball, to keep things fun and slow down the game a bit.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Four Free Thanksgiving Lessons

- "Expressing Thanks"
- "Changing Thankfulness
- "Thankful in All Things"
- "Thankful in Praise"
* Plus at Bonus Thanksgiving time Game!

All From the People at Youth Ministry 360!

CLICK HERE (to start your giving of Thanks!)

News U Can Use: "Ugly or Pretty: Tween Trend"

 A shocking trend in cyber bullying, it's called "Ugly or Pretty" and it's catching on. It is a way for kids to receive feedback on their physical appearance through youtube.

"Well I've never done it before but if I could I probably would," said one high school student we spoke with.

Tween turn to the commentary section of youtube for feedback. Asking am I attractive.
Nearly half a million girls have uploaded personal videos onto the website seeking validation, asking viewers to comment on their videos, begging to be told the truth.

Equally unsettling is the type of comments and feedback they receive, some disturbing, others sexually explicit, a few offer criticism.

"We're the only state in the country without anti-bullying legislation. I know even the administrators are concerned about bullying that goes on in school and online," said Denise Juneau, Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Who are these young women, and why are they subjecting themselves to this type of feedback? Is it bravery, or something else?

"They're tweens, they're teenagers, and teenagers are children still. They need education," said Kathy Olson, Director of School Leadership for Billings Public Schools.
The average age of posters ranges from nine to thirteen.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Morning Video: "Inter-Generational Ministry" - Mel Walker

One Hour Session - Inter-generational Youth Ministry from Chris Brown on Vimeo.

My personal long time friend, Mel Walker, who will be soon releasing his newest book on the topic shares his thought about "inter-generational" ministry in this one hour youth ministry training session.  Taking the best of all the research and what has been written, this is a great video for yourself as a youth leader, but also to share with your staff or volunteers!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Top 10: Ways to Save Your Marriage and Your Ministry?

10. Faithfulness- Don't be check out other people's...

9. Fun- Enjoy and learn to laugh. Learn to laugh at yourself.

8. Plan- Make plans and stick with them, what you say you will!

7. Relax- Take and find time to relax, catch a breath, and just chill out.

6. Organize- Get and stay organized...A Day Planner & A Calendar!

5. Commitment- Commit to the long haul and stick it out for better or worse....Longevity!

4. Compassion- It is not just love, or even like.. It is both and really honestly caring.

3. Communicate- Don't talk at, talk to...a lot!

2. Scripture- Read it, believe it, make it the owners manual!

1. Prayer- marriage or ministry, this is what is going to keep you going through the rough times.

If you want to hear a bit more indepth thoughts on this check out my recent post for JUNIORHIGHMINISTRY.ORG

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ran-Dumb Youth Ministry Meme #47

Free Media #49: "Gravity" (movie clip and lesson outline)

Even when we feel completely isolated, like we're floating aimlessly through life, prayer is our lifeline to God.

CLIP: PRAYER CHANGES EVERYTHING: "One pivotal scene, when she believes she will not make it out alive, is particularly meaningful in this regard, especially for men and women of faith. "

CLICK HERE (to get FREE clip and lesson outline)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Free Resource #55: "Ignite Bible: Book of Matthew"

Ignite is an interactive Bible that will introduce today's teens to the Word of God in a fresh and unique way with features that introduce parts of the scriptures that are often overlooked or ignored.  Ignite will deepen both understanding and devotion.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November Website of the Month: RISE UP RESOURCES




From Their Website: "Rise Up Resources was born out of a passion for church plants, church planters and graphic design. Church planters often have no clue how to plant a church or where to even start except for the fact that they were called to do so. We seek to provide free as well a cheap resources to help your church grow as well as provide resources for any churches that do not have the ability to do so themselves. RiseUp Resources was created to help support Church Plants but any church is free and welcome to take full advantage of the resources available here!

RiseUp Resources is owned and operated by Josh Jack Carl. Josh currently lives in Indianapolis, IN and has a passion for Church Planting and Graphic Design. If you would be interested in contacting @JoshJack about any frelance design work please visit

CLICK HERE (to go there!)

Game: THE SCRABBLE RUG (Youth Ministry Invention #11)

Lay it on the floor or hanging on the wall of your youth room.  Here is a sweet fun game, decoration and youth ministry invention...

CLICK HERE (to find out more)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Free Lesson: "Thank God" (a thanksgiving lesson)

Here is an awesome Thanksgiving Season  Lesson Series from the super cool people at:
Juniorhighministry.Org...Terry Goodwin and Nick Dilberto. 

The lesson itself is written by pre-teen ministry super hero and hair style guru- Mike Sheely. 

CLICK HERE (to start your download)

CLICK HERE (to visit, check out more great lessons & resources)

News U Can Use: "3 Trends Redefining The Information Age"

" Twitter, Facebook, eBooks, news feeds, mobile apps are all information sources that didn’t exist just a few years ago, and they are changing the way the modern consumer processes information.These digital mediums have introduced to reading and to information a whole new level of scrolling, skimming and synopsizing. All of this has vast implications for the future of content and communication, including the future of books.

 Barna Group’s new study uncovers three of the trends that are redefining the information age..."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Top 10: "REAL Reason Why A Leader Can't Come...."

You know the phone call, email, or text. You get it somewhere around the time you sit down for dinner with your family before leaving for youth group. The "I Can't Come Tonight Call" from a leader.  Here are a couple of the REAL reasons I have heard over the years....

10.  I can't stand my small group of students anymore.

9.  I think my rap career is finally taking off.

8. I forgot it was youth group night?
7. We are going to visit the former youth pastor and see how his new youth group is going.

6. We are trying to get pregnant? ("cough")

5.  We ARE pregnant!

4. "Casablanca" is showing at the movie theater tonight!   

3. The students were making fun of my mullet and it hurt my feelings! 

2. I have to show my alpaca at the fair! (*Mick love you man, I know you are reading this, it just had to make the list!!)

1. My dog has an ear infection!

MMVI & Teaching Clip: "The Power of Words"


Available in the "Lesson Section" above and at "Stuff You Can Use" where they have created some updated graphics!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book Review: "Adventure Bible Handbook"

Forget that dusty old Bible Handbook you got in college that is sitting on your office shelf!  
Zondervan and Zonder-Kidz has a New Bible Handbook written just for the young teens in your ministry!

The Adventure Bible Handbook is a fun and exciting update on Bible Handbooks.   It is written with pre-teens and young teens in mind. It is part comic book and part Bible study guide, using a comic book adventure to take young learners through the Bible from start to finish.  At first glance you might just think it a just a cute little comic book storybook, but after a closer look you will find out it is actually an informative guide for the biggest stories of the Bible.  Besides also including an overview  about each of the major stories of the Bible, it also offers maps and historical context information.

The Adventure Bible Handbook, part of the Adventure Bible Series,  is a great resource for your ministry's older students in late elementary through the Jr. high years.  With its comic book feel and format it is sure to draw kids in and then keep them engaged all the way through with the storyline that is weaved though out the book.  I would also highly suggested it for the guys in your group, who are often less likely to be readers.  It is a great follow up and continuation for those students who have enjoyed the other books and devotionals in the series when they were younger.

This book could be a stand alone book for students to pick up and read, but I appreciate that scripture passages are included throughout the book.  It is written in a way that will encouraging students to pull out their Bibles and want to look up scriptures on their own, digging deeper into the stories.

Written with younger Christians in mind this book is a great starter book for laying down the foundations of faith and for understanding the stories of the Bible. It will help students fit some of the individual pieces they have already, together to pull together a better picture of God's bigger story in our world.

  CLICK HERE (to find out more or purchase)


Free Resource #54: "5 Reasons Millennials Stay Connected to Church" (research)

Everyone has an opinion about why Millennials are leaving the church. It's a controversial topic, one that Barna Group's researchers have been examining for a decade.

"The topic was reignited this summer when blogger and author Rachel Held Evans wrote a piece about why Millennials leave church. Her editorial struck a nerve, sparking response pieces all across the web and generating more than 100,000 social media reactions in the first week alone.

Yet whatever one’s personal view of the reasons behind Millennials staying or going, one thing is clear: the relationship between Millennials and the Church is shifting. Barna Group’s researchers have been examining Millennials’ faith development since the generation was in its teen years—that is, for about a decade. During that time, the firm has conducted 27,140 interviews with members of the Millennial generation in more than 200 studies.

And while Barna Group’s research has previously highlighted what’s not working to keep Millennials at church, the research also illuminates what is working—and what churches can do to engage these young adults...."    (READ MORE)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Game #41: "Pumpkin Pandemonium Quiz" (Powerpoint Trivia)

Here is a quick little 10 questions trivia game we are using as part of our "Pumpkin Pandemonium Night"!   We are using it as a small group challenge/big group game.  Hope it helps and can save you a couple of minutes in your preparation!?

(*Sorry for formatting, "slide share" reset some of the fonts and sizing)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

News U Can Use: "Excercise Can Improve Teens Grades?"

Regular exercise boosted teens’ exam results in a U.K. study, findings that suggest getting the recommended hour of daily physical activity might increase grades by one level.

The more children exercised at age 11, the better they did at school at English, math and science, not only at 11, but also at 13 and at 15 to 16. Performance at age 15 to 16 rose for every extra 17 minutes of exercise for boys and every 12 minutes for girls, according to the research, published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine...  (READ MORE FROM BLOOMBERG)

Monday, October 28, 2013

MMVI & Teaching Clip: "A Chosen Generation"

Top 10: JH/MS Youth Group Lesson Topics?





10. Money/Materialism

9. Parents/Family

8. Self Esteem/Self Image

7. Prayer

6. Serving Others

5. Good Choices

4. Studying/Understanding God's Word

3. Friends

2. God's Love


*any you would add to the list??

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review: "Case For Christ For Kids" (90 Day Devotional)

The Modern Day Christian Classic "Case for Christ" Returns for Pre-Teens, Now in a 90 Day Devotional Form...

Lee Storbels along with the help of Jesse Florea, in the recently release Case for Christ For Kids (90 day devotional), bring a modern day classic to pre-teens. While the title contains "...for kids", this is instead is a great book for pre-teens through the middle school/Jr. high years.  

I have used the student version of Case for Christ, and have found it very helpful in teaching and also in giving out to my older more mature 8th graders.  This book however is what has been needed for late elementary years into early 6th and 7th grades.   It is also is great for young teens who have just excepted Christ and are just beginning their faith journey.

Each of the 90 easy to read devotionals are one page front and back. They are quick, interesting reads written in a form that will draw students in by starting off with an informational story about our world.  From how hot dogs are made to baseball to silly warning labels each devotionals starts off with some real from their world. The devotionals then lead to the "examine the case" section where the young reader is challenged to examine the real Christ.    The devotionals are connected together by the book's systematic flow of information creating a smart "case for Christ", that makes sense while slowly guides young minds from just facts to real faith. 

This would be a great book to pick up for your MS/JH ministry, but also might be a great book to pick up for Children's ministry to be given out to students the year before they enter your youth program.  Once again, I reiterate even though the book might appear to be written "...for kids", it is an excellent book for students that might see themselves moving beyond that label.   However you choose to use it, I would suggest pick up a couple copies to have around to give out students and parents in your ministry setting. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall "Advance" Week....

It is my "Fall Advance" week in my JH youth ministry. It is the week that is completely consumed by getting ready for our Fall "Retreat" this weekend.  It's a huge weekend for us around here.  It is the unofficial real kick off for the new youth group year, with it being the first big event after all the fall sports ending!  
This year's theme is a 'rip off' of "American Eagle" (as you can tell). We are talk about Is. 40:31 and some of the proceeding verses.  The three main session are: Faith, Fall, & Fly.   I am actually really excited about the idea and lessons, I have worked on.  I hopefully will be posting up the full outlines, logos, game ideas, activities and extra odds and ends so come on back soon.
All that to say...I am not posting anything new this week and maybe even the week after.  As always feel free to look around use whatever you can find that will help you in your JH/MS ministry.