Friday, March 29, 2013

Ran-Dumb Youth Ministry Meme #26

This is not meant to offend, but more of a simple challenge?  Something that I have personally been considering and praying over.

We are called to be wise stewards of our time, talent and treasure.  As much as we want to give students the opportunity to serve and have experiences, have we got to a point that we might be missing the point?  Just a slightly humorous, a bit of satirical challenge as we head into our "mission trip season" of summer.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: "The 20/20 Experice"- Justin Timberlake

 Your students are probaly getting this album and it is quickly becoming a soundtrack to a little bit of everything.  With his clean cut apperance and witty charm, Justin Timberlake has been a favorite around JH/MS all the way back to his boy band years.  Hopefully this give a quick glimpse from an "outside the church" perspective on his new album...

Justin Timberlake, 'The 20/20 Experience': Track-By-Track Review  (Published on Billboard

When "FutureSex/Lovesounds" was released in September 2006, Justin Timberlake was 25 years old, in a relationship with Cameron Diaz that was about to end, and for all intents and purposes, still a kid trying to prove himself and sustain the post-*N SYNC momentum of 2003's "Justified." Today, Timberlake is 32 years old, married to Jessica Biel, and has nothing left to prove. He has, in fact, been hounded for a half-decade to release new music, and not been frantically tossing out stopgap singles to remind the world of his presence. When Timberlake announced his return to music last January, pop fans prayed that "The 20/20 Experience" would feel a lot like "FutureSex/Lovesounds"… but realistically, that could never have happened. Timberlake is no longer where he was in September 2006, and as his latest album reflects the euphoria seeping out of every one of his immaculate, 32-year-old pores.  

Six-and-a-half years after effectively conquering pop music with a highly sexual, fashionably futuristic album, Justin Timberlake has returned as a more relaxed version of himself, with a brand new palette of musical shades. Despite the reunion of Timberlake and "FutureSex/Lovesounds" producer Timbaland, "The 20/20 Experience" is not a sequel of that groundbreaking album as much as a document of growth, crystallized within the medium of classic R&B.

The propulsive moans and aggressive come-ons of his 2006 smash single "Sexyback," for instance, have been traded for big-band brass, creeping bass and open-hearted professions of love on songs like "That Girl," "Mirrors" and "Tunnel Vision." Timberlake has always been a vocal force, but the main accomplishment of "The 20/20 Experience" is the expansion of Timberlake's vision: aside from Jay-Z's guest verse on snappy single "Suit and Tie," the album features no guests, and often allows its tracks to run past the seven-minute mark.

One of the year's most anticipated pop releases is also one of the genre's weirdest -- and most fully realized -- efforts in ages. There will be many people longing for the immediacy of songs like "My Love" and "Rock Your Body," but Timberlake has offered us something more complicated, although no less accessible.

Which songs on "The 20/20 Experience" are worth extended listens? Check out's extensive track-by-track breakdown of Justin Timberlake's long-awaited new album.

1. Pusher Love Girl - Like a more seasoned version of his opening "Justified" come-on "Senorita," "Pusher Love Girl" is an extended glide -- even if the drug-addled metaphor at the heart of the song produces some dubious lyrics, Timberlake's easy delivery will leave listeners hopelessly, er, addicted. The song morphs into fuzzed-out neo-soul during an elongated breakdown, one of the many mid-song transformations that occur on the album.

2. Suit and Tie feat. Jay-Z

The ode to high style is still not as sonically ambitious as Timberlake's last lead single, "Sexyback," but within the confines of "The 20/20 Experience," "Suit and Tie" makes a lot more sense. Funneling the succulence of "Pusher Love Girl" into a more radio-friendly format, Timberlake and Jay-Z -- who will soon be co-headlining a stadium tour -- demonstrate an effortlessness that probably took months to construct.

3. Don't Hold The Wall - Tribal chants and oozing vocal samples combat with rainsticks and spacious drums, as Timberlake correctly reads the primal tone and commands his subject to give in to her physical impulses. Timbaland's production is the star here, turning on a dime at the 4:20 mark and assuming a darker, more muscular structure. There are so many things happening on "Don't Hold The Wall" that it takes five listens just to process them.

4. Strawberry Bubblegum - The intensity of "Don't Hold The Wall" evaporates, and a cloud of electronic blips, string stabs and snappy percussion tears at the seams of a (relatively) simple R&B tune. Timberlake has rarely sounded more at peace as he does when he intones, "She's just like nothing that I've ever seen before/And please, don't change nothing, because your flavor's so original." The sashaying outro is pleasant, but the main track is sumptuous enough on its own.  

5. Tunnel Vision - The instrumentation is vintage Timbaland, with fizzing beats abetted by the producer's signature ad-libs and vocal record-scratches, while Timberlake puffs out his chest and throws out a typically confident performance. The song's evolution is thrilling: not only do the ornate production details stack upon each other to create a constantly moving Jenga tower, the arrangement falls apart at exactly the right time, as Timberlake sings, "A crowded room… all I see is you. Everything just disappears, disappears, disappears."

6. Spaceship Coupe - From the groove at its gooey core to the lyrical concept -- interstellar romance! -- "Spaceship Coupe" smacks of an R. Kelly castoff… not that that's a pose that Timberlake can't successfully assume. "Spaceship Coupe" is admittedly sillier than any of the other "20/20" tracks, and Timbaland sounds out of his element here; JT sells the concept with aplomb, though, and even gets an electric guitar solo to echo across the cosmos.  

7. That Girl - "Some 'em some Southern love!" Timbaland shouts during his faux-introduction of "JT & The Tennessee Kids," and Timberlake strides onstage to reside upon one of the album's shiniest surfaces. "That Girl" does not carry grand ambitions, endlessly rhyming "baby" with "lady" and keeping the whiz-bang production techniques to a minimum, but as the bass continues creeping forward and Timberlake nods to the brass section, the song reaches "immaculate soul" status.

8. Let The Groove Get In - The album's only extended dance flare-up, with canned horns popping off, propulsive percussion begging for movement and Timberlake's harmonized voice knocking against Timbaland's nimble pop arrangement. For seven minutes, "Off The Wall"-era MJ gets a tip of the cap, and Timberlake enters a zone reserved for only the most assured mainstream stars. Make no mistake: "Let The Groove Get In" will be exhilarating in concert.

9. Mirrors

Imagine being a newlywed and wanting to write the most epic song ever in honor of your life partner. "Mirrors" is Timberlake's version of that anthem -- how can you not think of the singer's recent wedding photos alongside Jessica Biel when he endlessly repeats, "You are, you are, the love, of my life," as if he had just soaked in the splendid finality of his romantic situation? Compare this album's second single to "Justified's" second single, "Cry Me A River," and aside from the steady presence of Timbaland's fantastically cluttered production, the difference between the song is clear: 10 years ago, Timberlake was broken, and now he is whole.

10. Blue Ocean Floor - An unexpectedly somber note ends Timberlake's third album, with the pop star digging for his most pensive expressions and pleading to be joined in his silent escape. Unlike "FutureSex's" "serious" song "Losing My Way," "Blue Ocean Floor" shows the growth of Timberlake, who gently steps into Timbaland's puddles of piano pokes and stretched-out melodies. It's a song that only a few vocalists could land -- imagine Thom Yorke trying this one on for size -- and a bold way to close a generally celebratory project.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Game #28: "Fish Net Face" (upfront game

A Quick Easy Up Front Challenge for Students or Leaders, That My JH/MS Absolutely Love.  It is Called "Fish Net Face" for Kind of Obvious Reasons (*see picture to the left)

2 Bandanna
2 Aquarium Fishnets
2 Cans of Vienna Sausages OR Sardines

Set Up:
In advance take the 2 aquarium fishnets and bend the end of the handle at a 90 degree angle.

Choose 2 teams of 2 to come up.  Explain one persona will be the "thrower" the other will be the "catcher".  Have one the person who is going to be the "catcher" have a seat in a chair.  Hand them a bandanna to tie around their forehead. Then take the fishnet and tuck it tightly into the front the bandanna, directly in front of their face.  Have the "thrower" stand back a good ways and hand them a bowl full of the item to be thrown (Vienna Sausages, Sardines...)

Rules and play is pretty simple the catch can not use their hands and must try to catch as many of the what is thrown in their net.  The team that has the most 'catches" wins

- If you want to make it less gross and sloppy you can use ping pong balls or something else, but for the originally sloppy/gross version you want to find something that will splash and splatter on the "catchers" face to add to the fun.

- Obviously you can have both players stand and allow the "catcher" to move around more in order to catch instead of being seated.

It is an oldie but a goodie and one that I pull out every so often. I just used again with a current "fishing" themed lesson series called "Hooked" that I am teaching.  Hope your group enjoys and has fun!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Movie Clip Discussion: "Wreck-it Ralph"

From Speaker, Author and Youth Culture Guru-Jonathan McKee, from his site "THE SOURCE FOR YOUTH MINISTRY"

Main Point: Even if we’ve always been sinners, we don’t have to remain in our sin any longer. Jesus can totally change us!

The Movie Clip: I Don’t Want to Be the Bad Guy Anymore

CLICK HERE (to find out more)

News U Can Use: "Embrace the Analog" (Report/Resource)

In the digital world, "physical is still hot", says a recent study conducted by the JWT Intellengence Group.
Great news for us in the world of youth ministry, especailly in JH/MS.
This 34 page report explains, even in a fast moving and digitally saturated world. Physical contact, content, and communication is still relevant...dare say maybe even hip!?

CLICK HERE (to download the report/study)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Top 10: "Special Sunday Services: Youth Ministry-Style"?

Everyone is trying how to figure out get more adults and people to come to their Sunday Morning Services?  Youth Groups have been coming up with creative ways to get kids to come to youth group for decades.  Why not do those "Special Sunday Mornings"  Youth Ministry-Style??

10. Bacon Sunday- a free pound of bacon for every friend you bring?

9. No Cover Charge Sunday- one Sunday a year, that offering WON'T be taken?

8. Give-Away Sunday- shoot polos and button up oxford out into the crowd, throw adult contemporary CDs and Gospel cassettes out, have a drawing for a new gift card to Cracker Barrel...Give away a brand new Hover-Round!!!

7. Funday Sunday- Instead of having the senior pastor speak, hire a stand up comedian

6. Ladies Morning Sunday- Have as many of your single and avaiable ladies of your church attend that Sunday morning, sure to bring in single guys!!?

5. Pajama Sunday- people are staying home in bed, why not offer a REAL "Come as You Are" Sunday!!?

4. Bingo Sunday- Through out the service have stratigically placed numbers in songs, sermon, and Bible references, sure to attract the older crowd?

3. Swimsuit Sunday- The older generation is always talk about the good old days, when everyone wore suits to church?  The young generation would rather be at the pool or beach? TADA, everyone is happy?

2. Sundae Sunday- I scream, You our kids on the to church? Why not have Ice Cream?

1. DUCK DYNASTY SUNDAY! no explaination is really needed, put on some Duck Dynasty on the big screens = Full House!

Monday Morning Video Inspiration: "Congregations Where Teens Have a Place"

Friday, March 22, 2013

Book Review: "Do These Things: Youth Ministry Best Practices"

Tim Evanchick (Timbo) of Student Ministry Central is serving up a fresh new book called Do These Thing: Youth Ministry Best Practices This short and to the point book is packed full of great common sense advice for the average every day youth ministry leader.  This 37 page book is written and formatted similar to the 99 Thoughts books.  It is divided up into 4 sections: Leadership, Parent/Church Leaders, Working with Students, and Design Your Ministry.  Each section contains up to 15 brief bits of advice that anyone leading up a youth ministry will find helpful.
The book is not written to be a lengthy explanation of a particular ministry-model or way to market the next new thing. It is a down to earth, bare-bones handbook to help anyone in the trenches succeed.

CLICK HERE (to get it for yourself)
Student Ministry Central - Helping Youthworkers Reach Their Potential

Ran-Dumb Youth Ministry Meme #25

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Free Media #38: "Good Friday" Collection

The Good Friday Collection is a free pack of motions and stills based on illustrations by Gustave Doré. It is being given away by Dan Stevers Media

- Seven Motions & Thirteen Stills
- Perfect for Song Backgrounds or Custom Video Pieces
- In 720p MPEG-4 Format  

CLICK HERE (to get it)

Free Resource #43: "The American Church" Magazine

A new free digital magazine dedicated to helping church continue to do what they are called to in in America!

(to get your FREE subscription)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Game #26: "Poopie Pants" (up front challenge)

An easy, super funny upfront game for your JH/MS Group. It is one I pull out every couple years, because it so funny.

It also creates a great picture afterwards, that will live on forever!!  (see picture to the left)

- 2 bottles or cans of YooHoo (or chocolate milk will work)
- 2 pairs of white boxers (preferably new...or at least clean?)

Set up & Play:
Call to 2 volunteers up front and tell them they are going to have a YooHoo chugging contest. Then pull out the 2 pairs of boxers.  Make a big deal about it, if you are a guy claim they are yours.  Smell them to make sure they are clean, ect...  If you can find a XL pair of boxers.

Open the YooHoo and then wrap them inside the boxers with the lid up against the back of the boxers. Hand each person their boxers.  On "Go" each person must drink the YooHoo as fast as they can through the boxers. The first person to drink all the YooHoo and hold up the boxer to the crowd wins.

Funny, Ran-dumb and really is so "Jr. High/Middle School" body humor! Enjoy have fun.  Would love to know how it works with your group!!?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lesson Series: "Appointed" (Varsity Faith Resource)

A FREE 2 Lesson Teaching Series from the Wicked Cool People of VARISTY FAITH RESOURCES!!

" Jesus is our high priest, right? Students might accept that statement at face value, but do they know what it means and why it's so important? This 2-week sermon series unpacks Hebrews 4:14-5:10 in a way that will help them know what it means and why it's so important to have Jesus as our high priest."- From Varisty Faith Resource Site

CLICK HERE (to get your preach on)

News U Can Use: "Digital Abuse Among Teens"

More than a quarter of teens in relationships report "digital abuse," study says

Teens in relationships may be susceptible to being digitally abused by their boyfriends or girlfriends, according to a new study by the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center.
The report examines the role technology plays in teen dating abuse and how abusers use tech - from social media to email and text - to intimidate, coerce and harass their partners.

The study found 26 percent of teens in a romantic relationship said their partners had digitally abused them during the previous year. The findings, published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, are based on a survey of 5,647 dating middle-school and high-school students.

“Abusers use technology to stalk their partners, send them degrading messages, embarrass them publicly, and pressure them for sex or sexually explicit photos,” researcher Meredith Dank said.
Among the study’s key findings:

• Girls in a relationship are digitally victimized more often than boys, especially when the abuse is sexual. Overall, girls in relationships report being victims of digital abuse more frequently than boys: 29 and 23 percent, respectively. This divide widens when the reported abuse involves sexual behavior. Approximately 15 percent of girls report sexual digital abuse, compared with 7 percent of boys. The gap narrows when the reported digital abuse is not sexual: 23 percent of girls compared with 21 percent of boys.

• Tampering with a partner’s social media account is the most prevalent form of digital abuse. More than one in twelve teens in a relationship (8.7 percent) say their partner used their social networking account without their permission.

• Acts of sexual digital abuse are the second and third most-reported complaints. Approximately 7 percent of teenagers say their partner sent them texts and/or emails asking them to engage in unwanted sexual acts. The same percentage says their partner pressured them to send a sexually explicit photo of themselves.

• Digital harassment is a red flag for other abuse. Digital abuse in a relationship rarely happens in isolation: 84 percent of the teens who report digital abuse say they were also psychologically abused by their partners, 52 percent say they were also physically abused, and 33 percent say they were also sexually coerced. Only 4 percent of teens in a relationship say the abuse and harassment they experienced was digital alone.

• Roughly 1 out of 12 teens report being both perpetrators and victims of digital abuse. Approximately 8 percent of teens say they were subjected to digital abuse, but also said they treated their partners the same way.

Schools are relatively free from digital harassment, but remain the centers for physical and psychological abuse. Most digital harassment happens before or after school; only 17 percent of the teens who report digital harassment say they experienced it during school hours.
Victims of relationship digital abuse include girls and boys, middle-school and high-school students, and teens of all sexual orientations. All have one thing in common: they rarely seek help from teachers or authorities.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Top 10: REAL Reason "I Can't Come to Youth Group"


10. I am grounded from Youth Group- seriously how bad do you have to be that you parents take away God and church.. "That is IT young lady, no God for you, 2 Weeks" ??

9.  It was too nice outside- snow day...icy night?  They actually do call it "SUN-DAY"?

8.  My duck died- come tonight and we will have a funeral?

7. I go to Christian school- Oh! I am sorry, that is fine. I don't want you to get too much Bible and God. 

6. I didn't have any clothes- hmmm, what is that stuff on your body right now?

5.  My parents don't like you-  But I like them..A LOT!!

4.  We hit a deer- throw it in the trunk, bring it over, and we will cook out?

3.  My parents forgot what night youth group was- They grew up in our church. It is the same night it was when they came to youth group 30 years go?

2.  My mom didn't like what your wife was wearing on Sunday- NO COMMENT...

1. Youth Group is TOO Fun!!-- I am sorry? If you come next week, I promise I will try to make it as boring as possible?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Free Media #37: "Easter Icons Collection"

A collection of 17 HD JPEG backgrounds from Chris Kennedy and "Creations Swap" Each Representing a different events of the week leading up to Easter; the triumphal entry, last supper, betrayal, torture, crucifixion, and resurrection.

CLICK HERE (to check them all out!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A THOUSAND WORDS: What Do We Really Need to Say?

The other day I finally got around to watching a movie that has been on my list of "must sees". The movie was "A Thousand Words".  It is the movie starring Eddie Murphy about a fast talking book agent that is cursed with a tree that loses leaves every time he speaks. (click here to see trailer).  If you have not seen it, it is worth a watch.  This is however is NOT a movie review, it is a movie reflection...of sort.

I began to think as I was watching the movie about youth ministry and what we do.  We get paid to talk.  We get paid for our lessons, counseling, communication, and our WORDS.  We are constantly talking and communicating and talking some more.  In some ways we are very much like the character in the movie, we become fast talking, over the top salesman/women convincing people of what we are "selling".  Please do not take offense, but understand the way the world and sometimes our students see us.

SO...what would happen if we only had a thousand words left to say?  Obviously we would use them on our families and loved ones, but what if we only had a thousand words left to say in our roles as youth leaders/pastors/workers? What would we say and communicate?  Every word counted, spoken or written, what would we choose to communicate?

Would we spend it announcing the next big event?  Would we use part of those words trying to argue a minor theological point?  Would that silly illustration or joke be worthy to make the cut?  Would we just talk to talk in order to fill the lesson time?  Would we take a bit more time decided as each word came out? If you knew that the words might be the last and only words that your students, leaders and maybe even the parents ever heard from you again would they be different?

To switch and use another movie from a couple years ago, "Walk the Line" about the life of Johnny Cash.  There is a scene in the movie where a question is asked- "If you were hit by a truck and you were lying out in the gutter and you had time to sing one song people would remember from here to eternity would it be that song..." I think we are spending a lot of time singing the same old songs and saying the same old things.

We need to consider that each word has meaning.  We should remember that with each word, we give away a bit of life and eternal purpose that pretty much just falls the ground once it is out of our mouth.  We have something to say and it needs to be said.  Let us not waste the calling and voice we have been given in the life of our students!! Like in the movie--let us picture in our mind a tree full of leaves, next time we get up to speak.  Imagine as we talk, a leaf falls to the ground dead after each word, I think it might just change our words and even our ministries.  I know I am going to have that picture in my mind tonight as I speak to my group and as I plan today what I am would like to say.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Easter Bible Studies & Lesson Collection

FREE: 3 Easter Lessons And 10 Student Devotions. 

"Easter is such a rich time for Christ-followers, a time of reflection and celebration. The resources you see below will help you lead students to do both of these! Read the descriptions of the lessons and download the one that most suits your needs. Or, download them all! And don't forget to download the free student devotions. You'll love how they help your teenagers prepare their hearts and minds for Easter."- From the Youth Ministry 360 website

CLICK HERE (to check it all out!)

News U Can Use: "Similarities Between Tweens and Toddlers"

Ways parenting a tween is similar to parenting a toddler 

I recently posted " Top 10: Ways Similarities Between JH/MS Students and Toddlers". It actually got a ton of hits and had some great responses. Now one of my friends sent this to me not knowing I had posted that?  Hilarious and true...Tweens and Toddlers are the same!!  Here some additinal thoughts on this FACT?

Ways parenting a tween is similar to parenting a toddler

When parents of toddlers are at wits end dealing with diapers and temper tantrums and other fun aspects of parenting a toddler, they comfort themselves with the promise that this whole parenting business will get easier over time. I certainly did so. I'm not here to burst anyone's bubble, but I've recently noticed that those dreams I had of parenting becoming easy street have in fact not quite become reality.

1. Neither tweens nor toddlers grasp what clothing is appropriate in the winter.
One very cold day, my toddler put on boots and announced she was ready to play in the snow. The problem: the boots were all she was wearing.
Fast forward 8 years: I've had recent discussions with my tweens about why it is good to wear sleeves when the wind chill is below zero and why she is not allowed to wear sandals in the snow. The idea of changing into the sandals at the beach-themed park district tween night had not occurred to her. Apparently, the thought of how snow feels on bare feet had also not occurred to her.
And yes, eating snow still happens. Although catching snowflakes on the tongue is a bit more popular now.

2. Toddlers and tweens can both be picky eaters.
I thought that we'd made progress with my tween trying new foods, but then we sat down to dinner last night. I asked her if she liked the raspberry sauce that I had served to go with the pork chops. She said, "No." I asked if she had tried it. She said, "No. But I know I don't like it." I said, "You like raspberries." She admitted that was true, but made no move to try to the sauce. After she was instructed to do so, she was shocked to discover that she liked it. Shocked, I tell you. I have no idea why she was shocked.

3. Messes. Toddlers and tweens both make messes.
Many moons ago, as I cleaned up the plastic Legos and  Melissa & Doug puzzle pieces that were strewn among with little plastic dress up items and crayons, I thought to myself, "One day, my child will clean up after herself. One. Day." Guess what? I'm still waiting. Yes, she's gotten better and yes, I know it is my job to teach her to be responsible and organized, but my 10-year old is not the paragon of neatness and order that I was hoping for 8 years ago. I'm keeping hope alive that one day she'll get it (and all her stuff) together.
It is fun to see how the mess changes, though. Now I'm annoyed that her flute and piano music is disorganized and some of it is on the floor. I will say that's better than the Lego messes. Stepping on a piece of sheet music does not unleash a string of profanity like those stepping on those Legos did.

4. They can drive you absolutely crazy with stubborn attitude, but they sense when they're on thin ice and then turn on the charm.
Both toddlers and tweens can drive a parent to the edge. They also can turn on a dime and be the sweetest creatures on Earth. They can make you fold like a cheap tent. And they do it in such a precious way that you really don't mind.

  ChicagoNow is full of win

Monday, March 11, 2013

Top 10: Things You Don't Want To Hear Your Custodian Say

    Dedicated to our hard working staff of custodians around our churches, that put up with us and our students.  They are the unsung heroes of youth ministry.  
    I actually have one of our maintenance staff as one of my small group leaders.  A super smart move on a bunch of levels (*hint!!) 

10.  I was thinking about changing a couple policies....

9.  I had a conversation with the Sr. Pastor the other day...

8. How exactly did that pizza get on the ceiling again?

7.  Here's the Plunger!

6.  Did you know the baptistry is full of jello?

5.  Umm...that is NOT coming out of the Jones Memorial Carpet!

4. I don't know if you realize but there is a strict policy against bonfires...IN THE BUILDING!!

3. The children pastor's desk is out by the road next to the church sign, do you know anything about that?

2. The fire department called AGAIN about your fog machine  (*True Story)


Monday Morning Inspiration: "Be the Leader God Has Made You to Be""

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ran-Dumb Youth Ministry Meme #23

Free Media #36: Blue Cross (motion background)

Use it for an upcoming Easter lesson or series or use as a worship background.  It's a quick easy classic background for FREE from 4 Thought Media

CLICK HERE (to go directly to the download)
4Thought Media

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Event/Activity: "Top That Nights" (Re-post)

They are back for our year this year and my kids are once again loving them, so I figured I would do a quick re-post of the original idea. A couple people were asking about it and for some reason couldn't pull up the orginal post
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!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lesson Freebie: "Elements: Holiness" (3 week series)

holiness is one of those words students hear thrown around a lot at church. But how many students really understand what it means? Better yet, how many of them understand how it impacts their lives?

Like every elements study, holiness includes:
     • 3 Leader’s Guides with Bible Background
     • 3 weeks of Student Devotions
     • 3 Parent Pages for at-home discipleship
     • PowerPoint backgrounds and Promo Art
     • 3 Parent Pages for at-home discipleship
     • Teacher Prep Videos for help preparing your lesson
     • Social Media suggestions for each lesson

Here’s a brief look at each lesson title and objective.

Lesson 1: God = Holy
Objective: The point of the lesson is that your students would understand exactly what holiness is, why God alone is holy, and why it’s so important.

Lesson 2: Made Right
Objective: The point of the lesson is that your students would understand how Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross makes holiness available to them, and how this should change how they see themselves.

Lesson 3: More Like Christ
Objective: The point of the lesson is that your students would be challenged to see how embracing the Bible’s call to holiness could have a dramatic impact on the people they encounter each day.

CLICK HERE (to get it)

News U Can Use: "Pre-Teens Oversharing in a Social Age"

Data point: Seeking to go Private in Public, people see friends as potential privacy foes

In an era when living publicly is becoming the default, people are coming up with creative ways of Going Private in Public, one of our 10 Trends for 2013: Rather than rejecting today’s ubiquitous social media and sharing tools outright, consumers are finding ways to carve out private spaces while reaping the benefits of a vibrant digital identity—gradually defining and managing a new notion of privacy. People are coming to realize that ultimate control of their online privacy is out of their hands, even if they diligently tweak privacy settings. It’s not just the Web powers-that-be like Facebook that can affect a public persona but also one’s tag-happy, share-happy social network.

A study we conducted last November in the U.S. and U.K. confirmed that people see their friends as potential privacy-invaders. (We surveyed 1,016 adults aged 18-plus, as well as 100 teens, using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool.) Close to half of adults feel that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep parts of their life private, since friends share everything online; it’s harder still for teens to maintain privacy. More than a third of Millennials said they’ve had their secrets accidentally shared via social networks. And teens and Millennials are well aware that they’re not in control of where photos will end up. (Not even Mark Zuckerberg is immune; the Facebook founder’s sister accidentally shared a private family photo in December.)

The issue is not whether online privacy is dead but rather how to enable people to control the digital information stream connected to their personal lives as needs and relationships evolve over time.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Top 10: Youth Workers/Ministers/Leaders in the Bible!!

 I was recently sitting talking to someone about youth and young people in the Bible and also talk about the idea of youth ministry.  I was explain why I do what I do, but also the Biblical foundation of what I do.   

 There has been a bit of discussion, maybe even some controversy about whether youth ministry is Biblical.  Both for the good and the bad, there has been an growing idea that because "youth ministry is new in America" that it is in fact NEW? Youth ministry the way we define it and as a position and profession may be something newer, but people working with, leading and minister to youth "outside the home" in another setting is not new at all.  As I thought about it a bit I decided to come up with a list of a few people that taught, led, mentored, ministered, worked with, and discipled people who were younger and in their teens (some even JH/MS Age??)  Here is my list of.....


10. Barnabas

9. Eli

8. Daniel

7. Elijah

6. Joshua & Caleb

5. John the Baptist

4. Paul

3. Samuel

2. Solomon


* Any that you would like to add?? Comment below.  Would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, or questions?? 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Monday Morning ../JH Ministry App.../News...: "FINISH"

OH YEAH...ROLLED IT ALL INTO FOR THIS MORNING: "Monday Morning Inspiration", JH/MS Ministry App #5, AND "News U Can Use"!! Who is not procrastinating and finishing early this week! 

NEWS U CAN USE:  'Finish', Anti-Procrastination App, Created By Stressed Out 16-Year-Olds
(from Huff Post Teen)

Ryan Orbuch and Michael Hansen, two 16-year-olds who attend Boulder High School in Boulder, Colorado, were stressed out about their finals during their sophomore year. They wanted an easy way to keep up with all their assignments, and this is how the idea to create their own iPhone app was born.
Orbuch and Hansen launched Finish, an iOS app to prevent procrastination, on January 16th 2013.
"I had seen myself and so many of my friends struggling, getting really stressed over finals and getting really stressed over school in general,” Hansen told The Denver Post.

CNet News reports that Finish has been downloaded about 16,500 times since its launch and the teens have earned more than $16,000 in only a month’s time.

These two Colorado students aren't alone in feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of high school: A recent study by the American Psychological Association -- "Stress in America" -- revealed that millennials are the most stressed generation. According to the study, half of all millennials have trouble sleeping due to anxiety and 39 percent of millennials have had their stress levels increase within the last year.

Carolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post Associate Lifestyle Editor, explained on HuffPost Live that teenagers, like Orbuch and Hansen, are finding alternatives solutions to the stress they feel.

"One thing we’re seeing in this generation that’s positive is that people are starting to take their stress and acknowledge it,” said Gregoire. “We’re seeing so many teenagers and young people blogging about the stresses in their life and opening up about it, and finding ways to manage it that are healthy.”

Introducing Finish for iPhone--Available Now! from Basil Ltd. on Vimeo.

JH/MS Youth Ministry App #5

CLICK HERE (to get it or find out more!!)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Free Resource #43: "Bible Mini-Series" View Party Kit

The New "BIBLE: MINI-SERIES" is coming soon to a TV, near you!! 

Why not have a viewing party at your house or youth room with your group!?  Here is a FREE Viewing Party Host Kit

Includes: A study book, posters, and invitations all in PDF format!  (*just click on the picture to get yours)