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.