Friday, August 29, 2014

Youth Ministry Invention #26?: "Q-Bracelet" (phone charger)

Stylish, but a bit pricey?  Still might just be what you need for those camping trips, retreats, or mission trips.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Game #63: "Tunnel Rats" (Big Group Game)


The object of Steal the Bacon is to take the "bacon" back to your own side without being caught. In this game, two teams are chosen, An object is required to the bacon. (beanbag, rag, eraser ...) The members of each team are numbered. They form two opposing lines and place the bacon in the exact center of playing space. The leader then calls out a number. The players on each side who are assigned that number are the players for that round. They must run out and try to get the "Bacon" Neither player may touch the other until someone touches the bacon. Once a player touches the bacon however, the other player may tag him/her. If a player is able to grab the bacon and carry it back over to his/her own side, that team scores a point.- From Games Kids Play.

In this version each team lines up in a single file line facing forward toward the center. You can have the teams line up side by side or face in toward each other. When played in a gym you could have the first person of each line standing on the center court circle. When the player's # is yelled, the whole team must spread their legs creating a "tunnel". The player that's number is called must then run to the back to the line and crawl like a rat through the tunnel and out and be the first person to grab the "bacon". 

- In this version you can use the tag rule or you can simply make it a race. 

 - For a more challenging version you can have 2 or more "Bacons" available, and call out a second # a few seconds after the first.

- This game can easily be played with more than 2 teams for larger groups.  We have played this game with 4 and 6 teams and having more than 1 "bacon" 

Bonus Idea: (*from my time as a Youth Pastor in Wisconsin)
- Since it is called "tunnel rats", I used a large foam cheese head for my "bacon"! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New U Can Use: "Team Sports Are Taking Over Kids' Lives"

"...Have a teenager these days? You’d be lucky to see a sand castle in August. Instead, you’re probably spending most of your month schlepping to tryouts, hauling to two-a-day practices, scheduling around mandatory workouts and letting yet another extracurricular activity encroach on once-sacred family time. The youth sports juggernaut, fueled by breathless cable networks, corporate sponsors and power-hungry leagues, is gradually colonizing more and more time: weeknights, weekends, religious holidays and now vacations...." READ MORE (at NY Times)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Top 10: Youth Ministry Fundraising Fails...

10. Selling The Church's Pew Bibles Door to Door?

9. Put a Swear Jar in the Middle of the Table at the Next Staff Meeting?

8. "Adopt a Teen" Where People Actually...Adopt One of Your Teens? 

7. Sell Gold Circle VIP Seating for Sunday Morning Services? 

6. Street Racing for Money in the Church Van? 

5.  Selling Girl Scout Cookies!? 

4.  Make Your Own Apple Cider to Sell? (*real story...FAIL!)

3.  Slot Machines in the Church Lobby?

2.  Youth Ministry Logo Yoga Pants!?

1. Challenge People to Pour a Church Urn of Hot Coffee Over Them to Raise Awareness for Your Missions Trip? 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Free Back to School Lesson (*Youth Ministry Toolbox)

This talk includes:
-Teaching Outline
-Student Fill IN the Blank

(to check it out and find more great resources!! )

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Game #63: "The Hot Dog Puzzle" (upfront challenge)

End of the Summer or Fall Time Game.  Perfect for the final cook out or the fall kick-off bonfire/hot dog roast!

- 4 uncooked hot dogs
- 4 plates
- 4 cups
- A box of toothpicks

Set Up/Game Explanation:
-Simple Explanation:  Reassemble a cut up hotdog using toothpicks
- Take each hot dog one by one and cut them up into pieces of various shapes and sizes, placing all the pieces from each individual hot dog into its own cup.
- Divide out all the toothpicks into an equal amount.
- Set out a plate, cup full of hot dog parts, and toothpicks for each player
- Choose 4 players to come up
- On "Go!" players have to re-create and re-assemble the "hot dog puzzle" using the toothpicks to keep it all together.
- First person to have a "complete" hot dog Wins!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

News U Can Use: "Middle School Cool Kids Are NOT Alright"

" It starts out innocently enough: a seventh-grader and a few friends sneak into an R-rated movie without paying, or that girl he had a crush on is now suddenly a “girlfriend” he made out with in an empty hallway, or a tween slips out of class to spend the afternoon in a Starbucks instead. 

Normal pre-teen shenanigans, right?

Not so, says University of Virginia Psychology Professor Joseph Allen, whose study on the long-term consequences of being “cool” when you’re perhaps a little too young, was published in the journal Child Development..."


Monday, August 18, 2014

Top 10: You Might Be a JH/MS Youth Pastor If... (*classic re-born)

10. You have a "tab" at the local pizza place.

9. You have ever used a whoopie cushion as an object lesson

8. You have a pair of "dress chuckies"

7. You don't have a daughter, but own all the One Direction CDs

6. Your son has ever asked an Elder to pull his finger.

5. You have ever forgotten yourself and tried to fist bump the Sr. Pastor and called him "Dude"

4. You have ever cracked a fart joke during the adult worship service

3. You have ever refer to Phineas and Ferb as your greatest influences in a job interview

2. You have ever tried to see how many boys you can fit in the trunk of your car

1.You have ever made a batch of brownies in the shape of dog poop and freaked out your students by eating one on a hike at camp! (*true story...pure awesomeness!)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Free Resource #66: "10 Reason to NOT Take the Job" (E-book)

I have recently taken a new job and am enjoy a wonderful new church. God has truly blessed us in our move and in our search. That is not however the case with so many youth workers that I talk to, pray with, and cry with. 

One of the greatest things you can do is ask hard questions and think before you leap.  Here is a great FREE resource from the Vanderbloemen ministry job search organization to help you out!??  I hope it helps you if are searching, thinking of starting to search or just plain trying to step back and take a look at where you are at!? 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Complete New Youth Group Year Leader Kit (FREE!)

The new year is almost here and it is going to be so exciting!!
Your spouse took you to the mall and bought a new spiffy outfits for the first day.  Your youth ministry assistant has got you a new supply of pens and notebooks.  You got that fresh new hair cut!! Your mom just called you and told you what a big youth leader your getting and how proud she is of you for not dropping out after the summer??


Just in case you need some extra help, here is a quick little YOUTH GROUP YEAR LEADER KIT, that I have lovingly packed for you.... 

-Frame & Flow for Your Ministry 
(the why, what, and won't for your year
-Plan for a Year's Worth of Lessons
(planning a scope and sequence of what you are teaching and in what order)
-Youth Leader/Volunteer Expectations
(the full list of what you want from your leaders this year)
-Student AND Parent Expectations
 (the student "rules" and some "help us, help you" hints for your parents)
-The Youth Pastor Box
(all the things you need to pack and have with on your retreats and trips)
-The Youth Pastor Bag
(the handy dandy grab and go kit for all the around town trips)
-Weekly Organizer & Time Sheet
(keeping your week and your interns week and time well thought out?)
-Complete Set of 60 Plus Games
(last minute help to add a bit of fun to your night)
-Set of Teaching Clips
(short list of video illustrations or introduction videos)
-List of Free Media Resources
(growing list of FREE clips, motions, graphics, and more)
-Youth Ministry Reading List 
(because leaders are learners)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

News U Can Use: "Kids Today Have Less Freedom Than Their Parents Did?"

Six thousand respondents to the Slate survey and the trend is clear: Kids today have a lot less freedom than their parents did...

CLICK HERE (to check out study)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ran-Dumb Video of the Week?

* NOTICE: I am not sure the redeemable quality of this video is in a youth ministry context, but I know my JH/MS boys find it extremely amusing, and my JH/MS girls think I am weird.  It is Monday, So Just Don't Over Think it, Just Enjoy!

Top 10: Ways to Die as a Youth Pastor...

People don't realize it, but youth ministry can be a dangerous job!! 
So move over "A Million Ways to Die in the West", "Deadliest Catch", and "Extreme Loggers of the Midwest" Here is the TOP TEN WAYS TO DIE AS A YOUTH PASTOR??

10. Choke to Death Playing "The Blender Game"

9. Suffocate on a "Chubby Bunny"

8. Fall to your Death During a "Faith Fall"

7. Drown in Tub of Kool-aid While Bobbing for Spam

6.  Electrocuted Jumpstart the Bus

5. Trip Off the Stage During a Big Point at the End of a Lesson

4.  Caffeine Poisoning During a Lock-In

3.  A Slip N Slide Head-on with a Tree

2.  Winter Water Balloon Fight Idea Mishap


Friday, August 8, 2014

Free Media #58: "Graceway Media Freebies" (24 stills and motions)

"Offering 10,000+ graphics that range from any type of sermon or service still to HD motions, countdowns, banners and all aspects of personalized promotional material..."  

Graceway Media is giving away 24 FREE stills and motions, if you willing to sign for their emails!?

CLICK HERE (to get your freebie on!)  


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Quick Hint/Help #12 : "The 7 Minute Rule"

I know traditionally youth ministry lesson have a tendency to resemble a sermon/lecture more than they do other kinds of presentations.  Church is a setting for 20 minute plus sermons and that might work for the adults, but it really honestly doesn't work for your students...especially your MS/JH students.  

It is actually been researched ( that young students brains are just not develop enough to keep the full focus that we would like them to have for a full lecture-style presentation.  Add on that they live in a media driven world with a YouTube video length attention span and when the actually do sit down a watch TV there is a commercial break every 5-7 minutes!?

You need to consider the "Seven Minute Rule".  You may have heard of this before or maybe you haven't but it is simply the idea that every 7 minutes or so you need to stop the sermon/lecture do something different or change it up.  In an academic setting this takes on various forms with seatwork, assignments or reading.   In our youth ministry setting it can be much more diverse and a bit more fun, either way as you plan your next lesson think about how you can change pace ever 7 minutes in order keep your students engaged, listening and learning.  

The second part of the Seven Minute Rule is that the first 7 minutes are the most important. They are the time period you will have the most attention and when students will choose whether or not they will listen fully the rest of the time.  It like the old "Hook-Look-Book-Took", the first 7 minutes are truly our "Hook" time.
Additional Hint/Help: Suggestions for "Changing Pace"
- Classics: "sermon" illustration story, tell a personal story, tell a joke...
- Video/Media: clip from a movie, YouTube clip, pre-made video, or even a commercial... (*see Media Resources & Teaching Clips above)
- Questions: group survey response (*raise your hand if...), turn to the person next to you, think about...
- Handouts: create your own, pre-made one, or use a blank sheet for asking questions and reflecting 
- Funny: silly pictures, silly videos, silly skit...
- Game: quick trivia, upfront challenge, mid-lesson bonding icebreaker,....
- Use Your Imagination...Don't Bore Them! :-)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Website of the Month: "Zabra" (Teen Social Media Safety)

Don't want to be all commercially. Just found this and thought this is an interesting service and might be a help in your ministry to MS/JH/Pre-Teen Students? Check it out??


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Research & News U Can Use: "The Impacts of Alcohol & Marijuana on Teen Brain Development"

Throughout the world, drug and alcohol use has a clear adolescent onset Alcohol continues to be the most popular drug among teens and emerging adults, with almost a third of 12th graders and 40% of college students reporting recent binge drinking and marijuana (MJ) is the second most popular drug in teens . The initiation of drug use is consistent with an overall increase in risk-taking behaviors during adolescence that coincides with significant neurodevelopmental changes in both gray and white matter. Animal studies have suggested that compared to adults, adolescents may be particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of drugs, especially alcohol and MJ . In this review, we will provide a detailed overview of studies that examined the impact of early adolescent onset of alcohol and MJ use on neurocognition , with a special emphasis on recent prospective longitudinal studies Finally, we will explore potential clinical and public health implications of these findings....See more at:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Top 10: MORE "Other" Things I Have Come to Believe...

10. A Jack of all trades is the...Youth Pastor?

9.  Actions speak louder than...any youth lesson that I have ever taught!

8.  It is not over until the...Worship pastor says it is, so sit back down...that back door creaks!

7. Your preaching to the choir...means we still have to listen?

6. One bad apple...makes a great youth group game?

5. Too many cooks in the kitchen...means there is going to be a church lady throw down during the pot-luck!?

4.  It's like robbing Peter to pay code for you are not getting a raise this year but the church really has a nice new parking lot?

3.  When it rains probably the annual youth group camping trip?

2.  Early to bed and early to rise makes a man....the youth pastor on a Jr. High retreat weekend?

1. Better Safe Than Sorry...Seriously!!