Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Game #55: "Piggyback Dodgeball" (dodgeball variation)

Tired of the Same Old Youth Ministry Dodgeball Game.  Try a quick fun and hilarious variation that my students loved playing last week for our "monthly dodgeball game time" .

Supplies: (the usual dodgeball supplies)
- A bunch of dodgeballs
- Way to divide your playing area in half (cones...)

Rules/Game Play:
Same basic rules of your usual dodgeball game, with a few additional rules to make it work...
- Everyone must be partnered up- "rider" and "piggy".
- "Rider" is the thrower, "Piggy" is the dodger and runner.
- Only the "ride" can throw and can only throw when they are riding.
- Riders may get off to retrieve a ball, but must return to riding position before they can throw. If "rider" is off and gets hit he is out, the same with the rider-less "piggy"
- Only the player that gets hit is out, so the other player either "rider" or "piggy" can continue to play but must find another player to partner with to continue to play
- Either "rider" or "piggy" may catch to get the opposing player out

- Playing this way really does slow down the game play a bit and also make throwing a bit less fast as well, so girls will like it better because the balls are not being thrown as hard
- Suggest using same gender partners as much as possible or completely.  Once game play start and people start trying to find new partners that might get a little more difficult to enforce?  I found that without really even saying it, my students just automatically did that?


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

News U Can Use: "Young Teen Starts His Own Denim Company"

Will Berman: How Teen Entrepreneurs Can Lead A Maker Revolution [PSFK 2014]

"....Will Berman, the founder and maker of Unwashed Denim. Will started making artisanal products from denim when he was 15, and rapidly built his skills into a business of handmade goods. PSFK first met Will at the STORY Pitch Night a few months ago where he presented his unique business, and his dedication to craftsmanship was impressive.

We are excited to have Will speak on the PSFK stage with retail innovator Rachel Shechtman about the new relationship between retailers and their suppliers....."


*Another "Keys to the Kingdom" Example....Key #2: Creativity?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Top 10: Daddy Always Said...Youth Ministry Lessons?

10. "Walk It Off...."- Sometimes in ministry you are going to get hurt and you might just need to walk away before you say something you shouldn't?

9. "This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You" - Discipline and correction in not fun for anyone, but is needed to make us better at what we do.

8. "Put Your Big Boy (girl) Pants On..." - We work with students, but we are not students.  We need to act like the adult we are.

7. "Rip It Off Quick, It Will Hurt Less" - Conversation and difficult situations in ministry are best handle when we get right to the point and deal with things directly and immediately.

6. "Kids These Days Have It Easy!" - Youth ministry has been around awhile now, it honestly in SOME ways is easier than it was when it first started, it is good to remember that?

5. "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees!" - Budget wisely and be a good steward of whatever youth budget your church has for you.

4.  "If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It" - Don't change things, just to change things.  Sometimes "Sacred Cows" are still giving some "sacred milk" even if we don't like it?

3.  "Put It Back Where You Found It"- If you borrow or use someone else's stuff (resource, lesson, game) make sure to give credit.  Borrowing and Stealing are two different things.

2.  "A Little Bit of Dirt Never Hurt Anybody" - Youth ministry is not just about sitting in the office praying and reading your Bible.  You need to get out and get down in the dirt of life with students.

1. "Either You're Called or Your Crazy!" ( Something my personal dad, a pastor, always use to say to me.)  If you are doing youth ministry because it is a job, pay check, or for any other reason than it is God's Calling....YOU ARE CRAZY!

- News U Can Use
- New Game
- Teaching Clip/Lesson Help
- Youth Ministry Invention
- and More.....

Thursday, April 24, 2014

KEYS TO THE KINGDOM (how middle school ministry is unlocking the future of the church)-Part 2, Key #1-Thought

* PERSONAL NOTE: A couple weeks back I threw down a gauntlet, well...more like a set of keys and wrote that "Middle School Ministry" may be the key the church as been looking for to unlock its future (click here for part 1).  I have had some great responses and feedback, thank you all.  I hope the below, continues the conversations well and allows you to join me as I consider How Middle School Ministry IS Unlocking the Future of the Church in 1.) THOUGHT, 2.)Creativity,3.)Service, 4.)Belief....
I recently sat amazed and impressed as I watch a YouTube video of a 12 year old girl, expressing her thoughts and ideas about the much debated topic of abortion. She passionately and eloquently spoke with conviction that some might consider beyond her years.  As I watched and listen, my thought as a youth pastor working with students this ages was not that she spoke beyond her years, but that she spoke directly from her years...her middle school years.  The thing is she is not alone, there are more and more "middle school" young people who are standing up and asking for their thoughts and voices to be heard in the public forum.   Young people like thought innovators and Tedx speakers: Birke Baehr, Logan Laplant, or Thomas Suarez are raising their voices about what they see, hear and think! Thanks to our fast paced world of technology and communication young people, before they even hit their teen years can have a public voice.  The questions for us, in the church, are...

     - "Are Middle Schoolers Being Given a Public Voice Here?"
     - "Are Middle Schoolers Allowed To Share Their Thoughts Openly?
     - "Are We Listening?"
As I wrote in my previous post, we as the church for years have wrestled with terms, ideas and thoughts about where the church is going and what our future might look like.   Modern American church leaders have wrote books and formed whole groupings of churches around thoughts for the future of the church. Is it possible right in the "MIDDLE" of what we are seeking, sits a group of young believers AND thinkers in the middle school years (*previously defined as 5th Grade/10 years old to 9th Grade/15 years old).  Could it be possible as we try to think of ways to make sure we are staying relevant, there is a group of people who are sitting with the keys to relevant thought and culture in their hands?
Consider the fact that the most popular brands of clothing for pre-teens and teens are also the most popular brands for adults as well! Walk into any store, anywhere for 10 minutes and listen... what do you hear, adult contemporary? oldies?...nope you hear Justin Beiber, One Direction, Taylor Swift or another popular middle school top 100 music!  Even think about the current religious culture and thought war that is happening at the theatres or in books?  What are the most popular books and movies in the past years based on--young teen novels (Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games,....)or pre-teen themes (Despicable Me, Toy Story, Frozen...)  Pre-teen, young teen, middle school cultural taste is pushing entertainment, culture and thought, if you, I, as adults in the church think about it for ourselves.  What that might mean is Christian thought might also be being influenced without our really realizing it?
The "Middle Years" are a time of life when future forward THOUGHT, Creativity, Service and Belief take on life!
Middle School ministry is unlocking the future of the church,
 because it is literally shaping the thought of the those who are the future church.
I know that can be said about various different ministries, and I am sure there will be those who will be slightly offended.  I am not minimizing the importance or validity of any ministry or age-grouping in the church.  I am however challenging all of us to take a hard look at what age people start thinking autonomously and independently, while at the same time considering when people start having a decrease in creative and exploratory thought.
The years when true individual thought and conviction take hold are during the 5th Grade (10 years old) to 9th Grade (15 years old) years.  Once again the currently popular young teen book and now movie, Divergent show us this idea. The ability to have "divergent" thought takes hold in the pre and early teenage years. In that storyline it is what pushes a society to change, or at least to be challenged. Studies show that pre-teen years are the time of genius level divergent and creative thinking, but by the age of 13 only 10% of kids still have the capacity and by the age of 25 it has almost completely disappeared.   The first "key" idea of what the church needs in the future is new and fresh THOUGHT!? That is where middle year ministry sit, at the door of the future of individual faith and community faith life.
We have the privilege and challenge of  establishing and developing in students clear thinking, about life, themselves and faith.  We offer to them the keys to the kingdom of their own lives and faith and in turn we begin to unlock the future of the whole church.  It not something new or even that innovative.  It simply returning to historical understanding, cultural reality, and scriptural teaching. Historically, young people were willing to "Do Hard Things" even before they were barely into their teen years, young people like George Washington or Clara Barton.  Understand culturally the Rites of Passage that happen in Jewish culture at 12 years old and so many other cultures. Cultures where even before entering what we in American culture would term "teenagers", young people are already considered an "Adult".  Most importantly however are Biblical teaching.  Scriptural passages like Luke 18:17, Matthew 19:14, and especially Matthew 21:16.  show us that the youngest will be ones that lead the Kingdom!  Even a study of Biblical examples of middle year young people (Mary, David, Disciples, Daniel....) show us middle year young people leading the work of God forward, long before they hit what we would today consider late high school This should stick out to us as we Think through some of this and look to be more open and creatively thinking.
This all leads us to an intersection of "Keys to the Kingdom" moving the key chain if you will from the key of thought to the key of creativity.... TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 3!!?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Game #54: "3-Legged Giant Soccer"

A great classic that has been around for awhile,  that my JH/MS students still love indoors or outdoors.  Taking 2 classic favorites: 3 Legged Races and Big Ball Soccer and combines them into a crazy wild big group game.

- A Giant Soccer Ball (click here to get one) or an Excercise Ball?
- Red and Blue Bandanas (enough for every 2 players)
- 2 Soccer Goals (or 4 Cones)
- Large Playing Area (indoors or outdoors)

Set Up:
Set up goals on either end of your playing area like a normal soccer field.  Divide your group into 2 teams, then have everyone find a partner.  Give our bandanas to every pair, making sure to have a red team and blue team.   Have them tie thier ankles together "3 legged race Style".
Have the teams go to the far ends of either side of the playing area.  Set the big soccer ball in the Center

Game Play/Rules:
It is simply soccer played as pairs tied together 3 legged race style with a big ball.  Make up whatever rules you need to make for your team.  If you area outdoors assign out of bounds areas if needed.   We usually play without goalies?

Have Fun, Stay Safe!

Teaching Clips #16: "Hidden Things" (w/suggested verses)

Suggested Bible Verses:
- Ps. 19:12 "But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults."
- Ps. 69:5- "You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you"
- Ecc. 12:14- "For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil"
- Luke 8:17- "For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open."  
- I Cor. 4:5- "Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

News U Can Use: "Q&A With A Young Teen Jewelry Entrepreneur"

"Young Millennials are turning to super-niche interests to both soothe themselves and to stand out in the crowd. From baking and crafting to being into Victorian art or old soap operas, young Millennials are a demo looking for and celebrating increasingly narrow diversions. Last year we asked if you were ready for the super niche-interest young Millennials. Today we’re giving you a look at one of their lives, in a Q&A with 15-year-old jewelry entrepreneur Payton Bartos. Payton began making jewelry at age 13 and her hobby has turned into FizzCandy Jewelry, a handcrafted jewelry company that she owns and runs with her mom. Thanks to participation with The Artisan Group, Payton’s jewelry has appeared on an episode of The Vampire Diaries, at The Golden Globes, and was gifted to celebrity guests and presenters at the MTV Movie Awards this year. We talked with Payton, and her mom and business director Mila, about being a teen entrepreneur and maker, having family business meetings in the car, and what the future might hold for her budding business..."
READ THE Q & A at:

* Just another example of how young teens are creatively changing and challenging the world and how young teen ministry may "Hold the Keys to the Kingdom"?  Key #2...Creativity!?

Free Lesson: "FRESH" (*Based on Ps. 98)

Quick "One Hit" Wonder Lesson for the Spring! About Find a FRESH New Perspective, Life and Song, Using The Idea of God as the Master DJ Remixing Our Life and Giving Us a FRESH Song!

1.  FRESH Life
Sing to God a brand-new song.
He’s made a world of wonders

He rolled up his sleeves,
He set things right.
- Like a DJ rolling up his sleeve at the turntable. God takes the collection of the same old sad songs of our life and mixes them into a brand new, FRESH song!
- Additional verse: Ps. 40:3
2. FRESH Look
Ps. 98:2-3
God made history with salvation,
He showed the world what he could do.
He remembered to love us, a bonus
To his dear family, Israel—indefatigable love.
The whole earth comes to attention.
Look—God’s work of salvation
- Like the FRESH gear your mom buys you the first day of school, God gives us a new FRESH LOOK in our lives through his salvation and our new life in Him.
- Additional verse: Eph. 4:22-24
3. FRESH Loud Love
Ps. 98:4-9
Shout your praises to God, everybody!
Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!
 Round up an orchestra to play for God,
Add on a hundred-voice choir.
 Feature trumpets and big trombones,
Fill the air with praises to King God.
 Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause,
With everything living on earth joining in.
Let ocean breakers call out, “Encore!”
And mountains harmonize the finale—
A tribute to God when he comes,
When he comes to set the earth right.
He’ll straighten out the whole world,
He’ll put the world right, and everyone in it.
- Like any great FRESH song you LOVE you have to play it LOUD! It is not a party and celebration with quiet music.  If you want to get a party started you have to have some FRESH beats played LOUD!
- Additional verse: Luke 19:37-40
* Closing Song: "Our Love is Loud"
Hints & Help
- Beforehand I set up a "DJ" booth in the middle of the room and had a "DJ" play some fun upbeat dance music.  Consider using some DJ Promote stuff or someone similar.
- I found some fun DJ background loops online to add the lesson.
- There is also some fun "Fresh" graffiti backgrounds similar the one above to use as stills online as well.
* This was a quick last minute lesson that I taught right after the new year for a Praise and Worship celebration night to kick off the new year. Obviously there was a lot more to the lesson, but I just wanted to give a quick outline to use without writing up whole "script" of the night!?  I thought it might be a fun lesson for spring to kick off the season of spring. ENJOY, Use it however you want.

Monday, April 21, 2014

MMVI: "11 Year Old's Tedx Talk About Food Systems"

Another example of Middle School/Jr. High student changing the world and that the ministry to them might just be "HOLDING THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM"!!? Key #1: "Thought!?"

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Top 10: Mama Always Said...Youth Ministry Lessons?

10. Share Your Toys!- If you have a great idea or great resource share it with other people in youth ministry!

9. Clean Out Your Ears!- Stop talking sometimes and just listen to your students  (and parents) when they are talking to you?

8.  Running Away? I Will Help You Pack! - Don't run away from your problems, but if you choose to leave don't be surprised if you end up getting some help packing and getting gone!?

7. Tuck in Your Shirt!- Yes, you want to be all hipster and fashionable but sometimes we just come off looking foolish in front of the adults...and sometimes our students too?

6. No Running in the Hallways!- Take your time to slowly walk through the hallways of your church, greet people, look them in the eye, and talk to them!

5.  Clean Up After Yourself! - Big bonus points with custodians, trustees, and the church if you don't constantly leave a mess after youth group and/or events!

4. You are Known By the Group of Friends You Have!- I've said this before, but find an accountability partner, a mentor, or a group of other youth workers to network with!

3. Respect Your Elders!- Literally and figuratively.  respect the leadership board in your church and also the older members of your church. 

2. Don't Complain Unless You Have a Solution!- It is kind of right there, and enough said!!!

1.  Life is Like a Box of Chocolates?- So is the church.  It is full of sweet people, it is sometimes full of nuts, either way it is also full of amazing surprises you just have to take the risk to dig in and find it

-----------------Check Back this Week----------------
- Monday Morning Video Inspiration
- News U Can Use
- Free Spring Lesson
- Youth Ministry Game #54
- Teaching Clip #16
- and More....

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ran-Dumb Youth Ministry Meme #60 (Pop Star Edition #7)

Teaching Clip #15: "The Time You Jelly Beans" (w/suggested verses)

* Giving Credit Where Credit is Due- Eddie Witkowski on His Awesome MS/JH Ministry Blog- Posted this Cool Video as Part of His On Going Series of Posts Called "Viral Vids: Appropriate Viral Videos of Youth Ministry"

This is a great clip and so very teachable for a lesson on time, priorities, and life.  Consider using a couple of these verses with this lesson?

Suggested Bible Verses:
- Eph. 5:15-17- "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.."
- Ps. 90:12- "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

- James 4:13-15- "Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

* Great for the EASTER Season and This Coming Weekend! Consider the "Game" from yesterday using Jelly Beans as a fun start to a lesson using this clip!?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Game #53: "Peanut Butter Ping Pong Paddle Pick-Up!"

- 2 Ping Pong Paddles (or similar game paddles)
- 2 Packages of Ping Pong Balls (8-12 balls)
- Small Jar of Peanut Butter
- String
- Duct Tape
- Optional: paper, drop cloth, or floor covering

Set Up:
Cut 2 pieces of string long enough to reach from a person's mouth almost to the floor.  Duct tape or tie the string to the paddles.  Spread a good amount of peanut butter evenly and completely on one side of each paddle.  If you have a drop cloth or floor covering spread that out creating a playing area. I would suggest this to lessen your the mess and clean up later of peanut butter on the floor? In your small "playing area" dump out your ping pong balls and spread them out a bit.

Game Play/Rules:
Call up or assign to 2 players to play.  Have them come up and explain the rules.  Players will place string opposite of the paddle in their mouths holding it with their teeth allowing the paddle to hang down and swing. On "Go!" they will be given 60 seconds to "pick up" as many ping pong balls with their paddle covered in peanut butter...NO HANDS ALLOWED!  The person with the most ping pong balls stuck to their paddle wins!

* Easter Hint/Help:
 With Easter coming up this weekend, considering giving it an Easter time twist using plastic eggs or jelly beans instead of ping pong balls!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Last Minute Easter Freebie Collection



"Escaping the Bunny Trap" from Junior High Ministry. Org (*and ME!)
- "Crave" (based on "King and Country" song) from Interlinc
- "The Father's Sacrifice" from Wing Clips
"The Thread of Love) from Youth Ministry 360
- "The Big Picture" from Youth Ministry 360
*  Study Help Book: "Jesus and the Scripture" from Logos

- "God's Not Dead" (Narnia & Newsboys Mash-up)  from The JH Uth Guy
-  "Raised to Life" (lesson package) from Elevation Church
- "Matthew 27" from Muddy River Media
- "The Final Hours" from Muddy River Media
- "Easter Still Backgrounds"  from Hyper Pixel Media
- "Good Friday/Easter" (media package: 7 motions & 13 stills) from Dan Stevens
"Easter Icons Collection" from Creation Swap
- "Easter Welcome and Background Stills" from Ballast Media
- "True Love" (still) from Creation Swap
- "Cross Roads Easter" from Vintage Church Resources

- "Human Easter Egg Hunt" from Pre-Teen Ministry.Net
- "Bunny Ear Ring Toss" from Junior High Ministry.Org
- "Creepy Easter Bunny Pictures" from Funny or Die
- "Funny Egg Pictures Video" (great for a welcome or countdown loop) from YouTube
- "Time Lapse Melting Chocolate Bunny" (great for a welcome or countdown loop) from YouTube

News U Can Use: "The Power and Influence of Teen Movies"

" There’s a reason “As if!" and “Four for you, Glen Coco” are embedded in the memories of today's ex-adolescents for all eternity: Teen movies hit people "at an incredibly malleable, influenceable time," as filmmaker Charlie Lyne explains. His new documentary about the genre, Beyond Clueless..." (Read More at "THE CUT")

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Morning Inspiration: "12 Year Old Talks About Abortion"

Close to 2 Million Hits, This JH/MS Girls is Another Example of Middle School (Jr. High) students holding the "KEYS TO THE KINGDOM!"   Great clip to use with your group as a "Teaching Clip", but is also great to show students as an example of expressing their voice and doing God's work in the world!  I also would challenge you to use it with your leaders, leadership, and with other youth workers as an example of the power of the middle school years and the importance of pre-teen/early teen ministry in the church!?

Check her mom, Lia Mills, YouTube channel to see more videos from this amazing young lady and also some great videos from her mom as well!  (CLICK HERE)

Top 10: Sports Star Ways to End Your Lesson This Week?

I have told you Top 10 Rock Star Ways to End Your Lesson. Now that you have tried all of those... (Thanks for all the Great Pictures!!) It is Time for a New Set of Ways to End Your Lesson...SPORTS STAR STYLE!!?

10. Spike Your Bible and Do a Little Dance! (really cool effect if you are using an I-Pad or Tablet)

9.  Drop To A Knee and Point to the Sky! (show the respect)

8.  Tear off Your Shirt Run Around the Room! (extra points if you can get your leaders to pile on top of you)

7.  Have Your Leaders Dump a Cooler of Gatorade Over You! (or one of those church coffee urns full of coffee would work as well?)

6. Run and Chest Bump a Student! (or your Sr. Pastor!?)

5.  Point to Your Spouse and Yell Thier Name (Adrian!...or Whatever Their Name Is)

4. Shake Up a Bottle of Mt. Dew and Spray It Over the Crowd! (a bottle of milk will work also)

3.  Yell- "I Am Going to Disney World"! (or Chuck E Cheese, if your church is boycotting Disney?)

2.  Snap your Mic in Half Over Your Knee and Walk Off!? (see #1)

1. Announce- "Performance Enhancing Drugs Were Not Used For This Lesson!?" (a 24 oz Monster before the lesson doesn't count)
- News U Can Use
- New Game
- Teaching Clip & Lesson Help #15
- Book Review
- Youth Ministry Meme of the Week
- and MORE!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dan's Ran-Dumb Fun: "The T-Shirt of the Week Collection"

We start either Wednesday night or Sunday Morning Times off with something silly, like I am sure many of you do.  I call them "Dan's Ran-Dumb Fun" (see link above).  I also just for the fun of it started posting on Facebook and Twitter what I called "The T-shirt of the Week".  
Different people both fellow youth workers and my students have asked me to put all the shirts together in a collection for everyone to see.  I finally got around to pulling a bunch of them all together!! Here they are  for your own personal enjoyment and/or for your youth ministry use.  Enjoy!

SurgeJH's Dans RanDumb TShirts album on Photobucket

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Free Resource #63: "Gender Roles in Tween Television" Study

" This content analysis of gender role portrayals in 49 episodes of 40 distinct United States tween television programs aired in 2011 examined two genres: teen scene (geared towards girls) and action-adventure (geared towards boys). This programming is of interest because tweens are a lucrative market, they watch more television than any other age group, and television programs are created specifically for them. Furthermore, members of this special group are in an important developmental stage in which social and intellectual schema are established and identity and gender are explored. The analysis focused on the numbers of male and female characters in both genres, and the gender role portrayals of characters in terms of appearance, behaviors, and personality characteristics in the two genres. Results show that females, compared to the U.S. population, were underrepresented in the action adventure genre, but that the gender distribution in the teen scene genre mirrored the male–female distribution in the U.S. population. Overall, compared to males, females were more attractive, more concerned about their appearance, received comments about their “looks.” Females were presented similarly in both genres. Overall, males were shown in varying levels of attractiveness, and were portrayed more stereotypically in the action adventure genre. Exploring these results through the lenses of cultivation theory and social cognitive theory shows that tween viewers could potentially develop narrow conceptions about their range of possibilities in the world."

CLICK HERE (to download the PDF of the Study)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Teaching Clip #14 & Outline: "I Blew My Stack" (anger/emotions)

Looking for a quick video clip, to help you teach about anger and losing your temper consider this quick funny, but very teachable clip- Yosemite Sam's "I Blew My Stack".  Feel free to use this outline as well to help you teaching on the topic of anger...

1. Causes of Anger
  - hurt
  - frustration
  - unfairness
  - fear
2. Question: Is Anger Wrong?
  - Eph. 4:26-27
3. Three Cures for (sinful) Anger:
- Face the Problem: James 1:19
- Forgive the Person: Matt. 5:22-24
- Fix the Predicament: Mark 3:5


Monday, April 7, 2014

Top 10: REAL Things I Have Seen Adults Doing During Service...

Sometimes people come and complain to me about my Jr. high students being distracting in church or doing something other than listening to the sermon. 
Well to be fair, here is a couple things that distract me and that some adults are doing in church.  Oh and by the way I see you, but my Jr. High students also see you and are watch your example!! 

10 REAL Things I Have Seen ADULTS Doing During the church service over the years...

10. Playing Angry Birds (or other games on your phone..."words with friends" vs. THE Word with Friends??)

9. Doing a Crossword (or word jumbles, word search, Sudoku...)

8. Reading the Sunday Paper (the "religion section" doesn't make it any better)

7. Clipping Coupons (*refer back to #8)

6. Clipping Your Nails ( just hit me in the back of the head)

5. Reading a Romance Novel (umm....I know it is a Janette Oke, but still!)

4. Pulling Unwanted Body Hair (ear, nose...back)

3. Getting "a bit too loving" with a Spouse (come on keep it PG...10 and 2 on your Bible!)

2. Grading School Papers. (FAIL!)

1. Getting up and Watering the Plants Around the Sanctuary!!!
(*don't even know what to say...)

Top 10: REAL Things I Have Seen Adults Doing During Service...

Sometimes people come and complain to me about my Jr. high students being distracting in church or doing something other than listening to the sermon. 
Well to be fair, here is a couple things that distract me and that some adults are doing in church.  Oh and by the way I see you, but my Jr. High students also see you and are watch your example!! 

10 REAL Things I Have Seen ADULTS Doing During the church service over the years...

10. Playing Angry Birds (or other games on your phone..."words with friends" vs. THE Word with Friends??)

9. Doing a Crossword (or word jumbles, word search, Sudoku...)

8. Reading the Sunday Paper (the "religion section" doesn't make it any better)

7. Clipping Coupons (*refer back to #8)

6. Clipping Your Nails ( just hit me in the back of the head)

5. Reading a Romance Novel (umm....I know it is a Janette Oke, but still!)

4. Pulling Unwanted Body Hair (ear, nose...back)

3. Getting "a bit too loving" with a Spouse (come on keep it PG...10 and 2 on your Bible!)

2. Grading School Papers. (FAIL!)

1. Getting up and Watering the Plants Around the Sanctuary!!!
(*don't even know what to say...)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Easter Resource: "Seven Mile Miracle" (DVD Curriculum Review)

Seven Mile Miracle is the new DVD teaching resource by best selling author and popular pastor, Steven Furtick of Elevation Church.  This newest project is a 7 lesson DVD-driven study of the 7 last words of Jesus, just in time for the Easter/Lenten season.  

Each lesson is partnered with a well written participant guide study and beautiful shot video segment.  The videos  are filmed on location, in Israel at the actual locations where the words of Christ were spoken.  Pastor Furtick speaking on location, brings each study to life with his easy and on-point style. Beyond the actual teaching each video section ends with powerful worship performed by Elevation church’s worship teams. The participant guide themselves are a perfect partner to the videos with each study divided up into study questions, silent reflections, deeper study challenges and week long personal devotional study. 

Even though, this resource is not written specifically for youth, it is still an outstanding resource for youth ministries.  Without much effort this can easily translate into your youth group night, Sunday school class, or small group settings.  If you are looking for a last minute study for this time of year or even an additional resource to add to what you are already preparing to teach, grab this resource!

* Review Written for YOUTH WORKER JOURNAL

Thursday, April 3, 2014

KEYS TO THE KINGDOM (How Middle School Ministry IS Unlocking the Future of the Church) Part 1

“Modern”, “Contemporary”, “Seeker”, “Emergent”, “Progressive”, “Organic”, “Missional”…. And the list goes on and on. The church for at least the 20 years of my being a youth pastor, and I am sure much longer than that has had buzzword.  They use them to try to define the next big thing and where church is going? Everybody uses and over uses terms to try to explain and hopeful quantify the ongoing change that is happening inside American Christianity. I am not here to explain it, define it, or try to solve it, but I would like to suggest maybe…just maybe there might be a key to unlocking the kingdom calling, work, and future of the church. May I add my own buzz word: “Middle”!? As in phrases like “stuck in the middle”, “middle of something”, and “Middle School”??

Yep, I said it- “Middle School”, the ever overlook, underestimated, and sometime outright ignored group inside the church ranging from around 5th Grade (10 years old) to 9th Grade (15 years old). If you haven’t watched the news lately, picked up a paper, or looked online, there is a movement in our world.  A movement of young people, before their teen years or into their early teen years doing some amazing things. This group of roughly 20 million (*US Census) strong is quietly inventing new things, creating technology, starting non-profits, and pushing cultural shifts. They are even refocusing and reshaping big brands and companies to spend 17 billion dollars on them as they in turn spend 43 billion dollars annually…yep that is a “B” for billion!! This group of media savvy young people spend 8-12 hours a day plugged into some form of media while the 78% of them that own a cellphone, almost half of which are “smart” devices continually communicate and connect to the world.
You can call them tween, pre-teen, Jr. High, young teens, but we are just going to call them “Middle School”, because the “middle” is where they are and quite honestly were we are as well. We are in the middle of a change in 1.) Thought 2.) Creativity 3.) Service 4.) Belief, and so are they.  The middle school years are the microcosm of society and of the church, as well as a reflection of the future. They offer us the keys to unlocking the kingdom! The words that I used at the beginning of this describe all of who these young people are. They are in fact all of those things and more. They always have been; even back in the Biblical times (*middle schoolers: Mary, Disciples, David, etc....)
We rack our brains and debate trying to find out how to keep the church, the church.  We bemoan Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore and seek to teach our graduating seniors how to have Sticky Faith.  We call the youth ministry a failure and a Weed in the Church that has Divided family and faith.  Could it be possible that our focus, while well intentioned and containing many valid truths, has not been targeting the right place.   While ringing our hands quoting statistics about young adults leaving the faith and college becoming the death trap of faith, have we forgot about the middle school years where faith goes from being taught to caught.  Do we not understand the important transition from concrete to abstract thought that happens during these years? We need to have an Understanding of Your Young Teens in our churches.  The statistics are showing the shift in belief and point of choosing faith is no longer by age 18, it is now during middle school! This is the time we unlock what the kingdom needs-most strong and future forward....



(TO BE Part #2!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lesson Series: "Storyline" (the Bible)

A 4 Week Lesson Series on the "Storyline" of the Bible, about what we know, believe, and how to study it for ourselves.
- Lesson #1: The Story that Connect Us All
- Lesson #2: How Did We Get the Story?
- Lesson #3: Do You Really Know the Storyline?
- Lesson #4: Reading the Story!

(* NEWLY Refreshed, Updated, and Reformatted- Lessons Contain: full point by point outline, scripture references, visual illustrations, games, video clip ideas, and more)
Here are some additional FREE Resources to use to go along with the series...
* Used Youth Specialties Convention motion background from a few years ago as my media backgrounds. Here are the still jpegs of backgrounds, feel free to use these, they ARE NOT mine!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Website of the Month: "Ministry To Youth.Com"

Pre-teen ministry rock star and the guy behind"PreTeenMinstry.Net" and co-heir to the Jr. High/Middle School Ministry throne at "JuniorHighMinistry.Org" .... Nick Diliberto is back in the youth ministry kitchen cooking up another big hot plate of youth ministry resources for everybody else now to with  MINSTRY TO YOUTH.COM!

A great new website with youth group lesson and games!  If you sign up for the email updates he is offering up 10 FREEBIES!!

So put down the Taco Bell Waffle Taco and head on over to check it all out!!

CLICK HERE (to go there)

News U Can Use: "Later School Start Times to Teen Benefits"

"...Findings of a University of Minnesota study released Wednesday are the first to conclusively link later morning school starts to higher test scores, better grades and fewer teen car crashes.
The latest study puts weight behind an issue hotly debated by parents, students and school leaders nationwide.

“People keep asking me, ‘Is this [later school start times] really making a difference?’ ” said project director Kyla Wahl­strom, a former North St. Paul principal who’s studied school start times for 17 years. “We didn’t have the proof until now..." 

 CLICK HERE (to read more from "Star Tribune" )