Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: "Gods at War: Student Edition"


Break Out the Sledge Hammer and Invite Your Group Over, Because It Time to Smash Some Idols and Join Kyle Idleman as He Takes on the God'sAt War!


    Kyle Idleman, author best known for his book Not a Fan, just this week  (Jan. 28th) release the new student edition of this also very popular book Gods at War.   In very similar style to his previous adult books and his also student edition updates, Idleman once again writes a book full of simple, straightforward wisdom. With a mix of historical stories, Biblical examples, and powerful illustrations the book carefully wages war on the gods that are at war in our American lives. 

    Dividing the war plan up into 3 main battles: pleasure, power and love- the book lays out the clear and present danger of our enemy Satan to dethrone God in our lives. The plan in clear, as we know, and idolatry is at the heart of The Fall.  Idleman brings young teen readers back that, and the fact that at the heart of every sin and struggle is honestly an idolatry of something.  Teens (and Us) are surrounded by good things that replace the best things...the God things in their lives.  This book is written to help them wake up and reclaim the life that God has for them, not how the world is trying to define them through things, attitudes and philosophies.

   An absolutely spot on book and so easy to read for young teens through into even the college years. This book would make an outstanding study for full youth groups, small groups, and even one on one mentoring.  Would make a great foundation resource to create a couple week teaching series of your own.  Seriously.... Break Out the Sledge Hammer and Invite Your Group Over, Because It Time to Smash Some Idols and Join Kyle Idleman as He Takes on the God's At War!

CLICK HERE (to get it)

Hint & Help #8: "Spoil Them Rotten" (Leadership)

When it comes to your volunteers and adult leaders, SPOIL THEM! Seriously...if you have adults how are volunteering in your ministry and doing a great job, make sure they know they are appreciated. Let those who work for and with you know by doing great things for them as much as you can.  I have heard it said way to many times, "you are paid to be good, they are 'good for nothing' "?  Don't make them feel that way.  Start off the year right with some special to welcome that or welcome them back to being a part of your team.  Christmas time rolls around throw them a party or give them a small gift.  The end of year, pull them up in front of everyone give them a big round applause and a special thank you gift.  

You don't have to spend huge amounts of the money to spoil your leaders and volunteers, just make sure that they are recognized and thanked often.   Finally, always, always brag on them and defend them. You will NEVER be sorry that you have spoiled the people that are part of what you do.  The fact is the end of the day, they are the ones that are the "Anchors" of the ministry, you are only a "Hook"! (*"Hooks & Anchors").
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*Looking for some creative ideas for "spoiling your leaders" check out:  " Full of It" by Johnston & Edwards

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Free Game/Resource: "SUPER BOWL QUIZ"

SUPER BOWL QUIZ JUST IN TIME FOR THE BIG GAME AT YOUR HOUSE, YOUTH ROOM, OR WHEREVER!! 

PROVIDED BY THE SUPER COOL JONATHAN MCKEE AND "THE SOURCE FOR YOUTH MINSITRY"!!

CLICK HERE (to get it, and leave a thank you note for Jonathan who does this every year for all of us in youth ministry!!)

Youth Ministry Invention #15: "The Burrito Box Machine" (Youth Room?)

Kids coming in from sports practices to youth group and didn't have time to stop and get dinner. Moms and Dad's quickly trying to rush in with the kids to get them to youth group on time after a busy day at work?

Looking for some extra $$ for that next mission trip?

Just plain love Chipotle but don't have one close enough to your church?

Sunday morning services running late and your starting get hungry?

HERE IS IT, PROBLEM SOLVED..  THE BURRITO BOX VENDING MACHINE!!

The world's first 100% natural, zero hormone, zero antibiotics burrito kiosk!! Get one for your youth room or church!!?  It might be just the greatest thing that has happened to your youth ministry department since they put in carpeting and AC!!

CLICK HERE (to find out more)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

News U Can Use: "14 Music Artist to Watch in 2014" (Billboard)

They're not household names. . . yet, but these 14 music makers -- including pop stars in the making, soulful UK upstarts, an up and coming rapper, and a few hot groups -- are primed to do big things this year....

Check them out at Billboard.com!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Top 10: Ten MORE Things to Do with Your Students on a Snow Day?

Yep, Week #2 of Little or No School Due to Snow and Sub-Zero Temperatures!! I put out the original "Top 10: Things to Do with Your Students on a Snow Day." at the beginning of the month, now with another week ahead and you went and used up all the first list of things.  Here is some more, to keep you out of your Mom and the Sr. Pastor's hair (*if he had any)....

10. Three Words---"Hot-Tub-Baptistery"- nothing like a nice hot soak on a cold day!?

9.  Finally Take Down the Church's Christmas Decorations?-come on, it is almost February and seriously the stage lights synched up to "Santa Baby" getting a bit old now?

8.  Build a Giant Snow Fort- mmm...maybe right in front of the entrance of the church down the road?

7.  Open Gym Day? - no seriously, open all the doors and windows to the gym all day, that way Wednesday night you have a really fun game time

6.  Donuts in the Church Bus? Even better if you actually go get real donuts, to eat while doing donuts?

5. Make Your Students Look Up all the Bible Verses with "Snow" in them.  Make them memorize them?

4.  Snow Blower Duels. Face off 30 paces, Chutes straight ahead...GO!!!

3.  Snow Cone Stand- make $$ for this Summer's Mission Trip?

2.  Rent a One Horse Open Sleigh?  Budget-Smudget, we are to get our "dash on!"

1. Wash the Sr. Pastor's Car. - use lots of extra water, especially on days below zero you want it to be nice and clean...

Monday Morning Ran-Dumb Video: "10 Annoying Things Parents Do on Facebook"


Friday, January 24, 2014

Ran-Dumb Meme #49


Free Resource #60: "Book of John:Commentary" -Sproul

"In John, the second volume in the St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary series, Dr. Sproul deals with major themes in his easily understandable style. Readers will find invaluable insights into the goals John had in writing his Gospel, the background for Jesus’ time, and the meanings of some of John’s most difficult passages. This introduction to the Gospel of John is packed with insights and exhortations that will draw the reader closer to the Savior and encourage him or her to a greater depth of love and devotion to Him."


CLICK HERE (to get it)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: "Inter-Generational Youth Ministry"- Mel Walker



Long time youth ministry veteran, Mel Walker, expertly writes a gracious wisdom-filled guidebook for youth ministry as it takes its next steps on it's long journey forward.

Taking on the national church drop out statistics with a knowledgeable and thoughtful nudge toward a balanced vision for youth!







Personal Note: I have known of and known, Mel for many years.  Quite honestly, I have known him my whole life.  He has also been "Uncle Mel" in my mind.  His two nephews were two of my best friends growing up, and his brother was for a couple summers pretty much my second dad.  He was always kind of "Uncle Mel", that cool youth pastor.   I think it is rather ironic that all 3 of us, along with his own son all ended up in youth ministry? He and I have crisscrossed paths in personal and ministry life over and over again throughout the years.  I have hung out with him at conventions, had him in my home, and have invited him to speak.  So, when I heard he was writing another book, and saw the title, I was excited.  When he asked me to give it a read and if I could write a review, I was privileged.  That all being said, I might be a bit biased, but I honestly can say the below review is written because I loved this book, no matter who the author was.   Here are my thoughts...
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Long youth ministry veteran, Mel Walker, expertly writes a gracious wisdom-filled guidebook for youth ministries as it takes next steps on it's long journey forward, in his new book Inter-generational Youth Ministry. Mel is one of the "originals" in youth ministry. He is a speaker, author, curriculum developer, teacher, and all around "lifer" when it comes to youth ministry. He has committed his life to young people, when he decided to take on the ever quoted and overly bemoaned statics about teen drop out rates in the church while also addressing the movements toward inter-generational ministry in the church, it meant something. Mel is not the average, professor locked away in a classroom or a researcher coming up with a couple equation and a theory. He writes this book from past and present youth ministry experience along with the education and research to back it up. It completely shines though in the pages of this well written book

Fifteen chapters and just a bit over 200 pages combines the best of research and thoughts on the topic of current youth ministry models, statistics, and the current movement toward a more generational connected church. If you are fan of books like Think Orange and Sticky Faith, you are going to love this book. If you like myself have had numerous conversations and have been looking for answers for books like A Weed in the Church or the Divided movie, this book is for you, too.  Mel thoroughly takes on both sides of the issues and brings both to the middle and gives an answer to both. While he does not claim to have the end all solution, he also spells out in clear, Biblical, point-by-point terms why a more truly inter-generational model is what the church currently needs.

This book is not just a book for youth workers. It is also a book for parents, adult pastor, and children's pastors. It also does not just cover youth ministry, it dedicates specific chapters to addressing each age group and ministry, including senior adults inside the local church.  It is written in a way that anyone can read it and understand. While containing a plethora of quotes and connections to other resources, it does not read like a ministry book, just for those in a professional position. This is easily a book, that you can hand off to lay-leaders and volunteers around you.

One of things I love most about this book is Chapter 7's flipping the popular idea "that youth ministry has completely failed" on it's ear. He thoughtfully suggests that maybe youth ministry has got it right, the issue might be the as a whole.  In a conversation with a friend that is mentioned in the book there is this idea,
    "...Perhaps, we've go it all wrong, ..."What if it's the other way around? What is our kids leave 
    the church because traditional adult ministry are irrelevant, boring, and impractical to them?
    We're blaming the youth group, but it might be the church as a whole that is the problem."

The topic is not just dropped after this quote, the chapter then goes on to articulate 13 "Positive Characteristics" of youth ministry, that the whole church could "pro-actively and intentionally incorporate"? Each of the characteristics,  scripturally supported point out that the Biblical, intentional, culturally sensitive organization of youth ministry might in fact be able to be a model for the whole of the church.

This book is hopefully one that will not slip through the cracks, with so many books coming out recently and because it doesn't have a big publisher behind it or "big name" recognitions. This book is an outstanding book. I have recently been reading many different books and even writing reviews for quite a few of them. This book honestly, stands apart for many reasons. Mel, while he is a personal friend, is also a great man of God. His complete and an absolute heart for youth shines through. A life dedicated to youth and training youth workers/pastors/leaders saturate these pages. I would whole-heartedly recommend this book for veterans and rookies. Take your team through it or share it with the rest of your staff.  It is worthy of a slow prayerful read however you decide to read it.  Please consider picking up a copy as soon as you can.

BUY IT/GET IT

CHECK OUT THE "INTER-GENERATIONAL YOUTH MINSTRY" WEBSITE

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MEL WALKER

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Game #46: "Kill Frosty" (outdoor or indoor group games)


Winter Time Fun Game Take Two Classic Favorites, Capture the Flag and Dodgeball and Puts Them Together in One Crazy Chaotic Game...




Indoor Version (or non-snow outdoor version)
Supplies:
- 6 white industrial buckets
- Black & orange construction paper
- Tape
- 6-8 Dodgeballs (or similar balls)
- Large indoor playing area, that can be divided in half.
- A way to identify teams (bandanas, string...)

Set up:
Divide the playing area in half creating 2 distinct team zones, similar to capture the flag.  On the far end of each playing area stack 3 white buckets on top of each other creating a small "Frosty the Snowman".  Using the black and orange construction paper, and tape create coal and nose for your snowman, "Frosty". Place your dodgeballs (snowballs) at the center dividing line, similar to dodgeball.

Gameplay & Rules:
The goal is to completely knock down the opposing teams "Frosty".  Completely means that all 3 part of his body are on the floor and no longer standing in an "upright position", even the bottom bucket.  The way this is accomplished is through the opposing team using their "snowballs" (dodgeballs).  They must make it over without getting tagged and knock down "Frosty".

The rules are a combination of dodgeball and capture the flag.   Player can choose to throw the ball across the dividing line getting opposing team players out, similar to dodgeball. Same as dodgeball they have to be on their own side, throwing.  They can not throw the ball at an opposing player once they enter the opposing team's area. If a player gets hit they must go out of the game.  Players that are out of the game can come back in after a player on their team catches a ball or a "all back in" is called.

Players can also use the ball as a "snowball" to knock down, "Frosty" involving a the capture the flag element.    Balls can be ran across the line, passed back and forth, in order get a closer throw.  If the ball hits the ground or if the player is tagged, they lose the ball and must return to their side.  The player that tags them, gets the ball.   There is no "jail", just go back to your side and start over without the ball.

The game is played until one of the team's "Kills" the other team's "Frosty"










Outdoor Versions (snow versions)
Similar rules and idea of the above game applies.   Create a "Frosty" out of buckets once again but this time use real snowball and not dodgeballs to knock over "Frosty". All the same rules apply other than, everyone can make one snowball at a time and you are not limited to just the 6-8 dodgeballs, however if you are tagged you must drop your snowball, go back your side and make a new one.

The "dodgeball" part of this version is somewhat more a snowball fight idea.  If you get hit by a snowball you are out of the game, with similar rules and idea.

* Bonus Outdoor/Snow Version:
There is no dodgeball element to this version, it a more straightforward "capture the flag" style game, with a bit of violence? (sort of)  Instead of creating a snowman out of buckets you will create 2 real, large snowmen on either side.  This time around, "Frosty" will be killed through players tackling, punching, and kicking him.  If you are tagged on an opposing side you are out of the game until an "all back in" is called, this will thin out the game and slow play down a bit as well.





Tuesday, January 21, 2014

News U Can Use: "Scary Facts About The Tinder App"

"One of the many apps of which parents need to be aware is Tinder, which is also known as a great one night stand locator or an easy way for tweens and teens to find hook ups. Scared yet?
Tinder's description in the App Store: "Tinder finds out who likes you nearby and connects you with them if you're also interested. It's the new way to meet people around you." It also says, "Tinder is how people meet. It's like real life, but better."
* How it works: The app suggests people nearby and shows a photo of the individual... The App Store rates it as being for ages 12+....
 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Morning Video: "Releasing Next Generation Leaders"


Releasing next generation leaders - #TheExchange from Ed Stetzer on Vimeo.

Isn't this what we should really being doing even as early as Jr. High/Middle School with our students.  I know this was an interview about adult leaders and ministry, but couldn't this SO easily translate out inside our ministries with young teens?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Top 10..."Ten More: You Might Be a Jr. High Youth Worker..."

10. You Have Ever Had a Finger Blaster War...With Your Sr. Pastor.

9. You Have Ever Challenge your Mother-in-Law to a 'Minute to Win It' Game at a Family Function!

8. You Tried Out a Summer Camp Prank Out on Your Own Children, Before Using at Camp?

7. Your Are Almost 40, But You Still Leave the House Every Morning Wearing a Cinch Sack!

6. You Have Ever "Crop Dusted" A Deacon's Meeting?

5. You Have File Cabinet in Your Office, But it is Only Has Candy, Toys, and Prizes in It!

4. You Have Every Been the Tallest Person in a Concert Mosh Pit, by at Least 2 Feet!

3. Mt. Dew Delivers to You!

2.  You Have Ever Burped in a Lesson, and Made it an Illustration!

1. You Have Ever Interrupted a Romantic Dinner Date to Tell Your Spouse a Great Disgusting Game Idea, You Just Thought Of?!!!
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*Check Out the Original First 10!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Free Resource #59: "Hebrews: Greek Testament"

Overview
F. W. Farrar’s analysis of the Greek text of Hebrews illuminates the nuances and history of the language, and presents an in-depth reading of this intricate and important book of the Bible. Before Farrar examines the Greek text, he offers his observations on the questions that surround this book: who wrote it and when? Farrar also examines the theology of Hebrews and its canonicity.
With Logos Bible Software, the Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges: Hebrews is completely searchable and linked to the Greek dictionaries and English translations in your digital library. That makes this resource more powerful and easier to access than ever before for scholarly work or personal Bible study.

Key Features

  • Contains a general and Greek index
  • Includes a detailed introduction by the author
  • Provides intelligent exploration that delves into the nature of Hebrews

CLICK HERE (to get it)

Youth Ministry Invention #13: "Air Frame: Car Vent Phone Mount"

Airframe is a smart and affordable little device that turns any air vent in any vehicle you end up driving... church bus, church van, rental vehicle into a mount for phones. The portable car mount features a spring loaded expandable jaw allowing you to hold most smartphones. Attach your phone to the air vent, you will keep it in sight at eye level, perfect for checking your GPS directions, streaming music, and hands free calls while you are driving that load of wild and crazy kids to your the retreat, trip, or latest outing!!?

CLICK HERE TO GET IT (Amazon)


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: "The Jesus Bible" (NIV Pre-Teen Bible)


Another Great Bible COMING SOON from Zondervan and Zonder-Kidz  for
Jr. High/Middle School/Pre-Teen Students!

A Outstanding Bible That Will Allow Students to "Discover Jesus in Every Book of the Bible"!




The people over at Zondervan and Zonder-Kidz are rolling out ANOTHER amazing Pre-Teen/Young Teen Bible with the soon to be released Jesus Bible.  Created around the NIV translation, this Bible is easy to read and understand for late elementary through into the early teen years.  The format is colorful and attractive, so as the reader opens it, it immediately draws them in.  The content and information is excellent; relevant while remaining solidly scriptural.

Each book of the Bible begins with a full page introduction and overview for that book including the usual information about author, historical context, and location, but what really sets this Bible apart before all that, is a sections called "Where is Jesus in this Book?"  In a short, concise paragraph this section clearly explains Christ's presence in the book and story.  Then every few page through out the entirety of the Bible are devotionals that connect Jesus or a nearby passage to the life of the reader.
Each of these devotionals and reflects are perfectly written for this age group.  It does not just stop there however, it is topped off with "Live like Jesus" sections through out as well, further connecting the Biblical and historical content to a life that is more like Jesus.

You may be thinking, there is enough teen and pre-teen Bibles on the market already, and this is just another one to add to the book shelf of your office.  It is NOT, this one is truly separate from the rest.   This is a Bible that brings all the pieces together for young adolescent readers, who sometimes struggle to connect the Old Testament stories with the New Testament Jesus.   If you are planning on doing any kind of "Story of the Bible" or "Who Is Jesus?" lesson series in the near future, this would be a valuable resource to have for your students, but also for yourself!

The planned release date is in a few weeks in late January.  I would suggest take a look at it when if comes out.  I was able to get a hard cover pre-release copy, but it will also be available in both pink and brown soft covers like theses that guys and girls in your group will be sure to love!
  http://zondervan.com/9780310742968  CLICK HERE (to find out more & pre-order)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Game #45:" Big Bowl of Spelling" (3 different versions)

Quick Sloppy Soupy Fun...

As an up-front face-off, a small group challenge or even a big group relay race.






Supplies:
- Cans of Alphabet Soup or Spaghetti-O's
- Large Bowls
- Spoons
- Large Rolls of White Paper (art paper or even rolled paper table clothes)
- 2 Tables

Set-Up and Rules:
Upfront Version: Using 4-6 cans of soup dump 2-3 cans of soup into 2 large bowls. Cover the tables with white paper. Place the bowls on the table along with a spoon for each.

Have either 2 players come up for a one-on-one challenge or have 4 players and have a partner challenge. On "Go! " players using the spoons must soup out the alphabet noodles and try to spell as many words as they can in a set amount of time.

Small Group Version: For each small group/small team have a large bowl containing 4-5 cans of soup.  Provide each team 2 spoons and a large piece of white roll paper on either a table or laying on the floor.

On "Go!" 2 players must soup out as many alphabet noodles as they can find providing the rest of the group an opportunity to spell as many words as they can in set amount of time.

Relay Race/Big Group Version: Divide your entire group up into 2 teams (or more for larger groups) line them "relay style" on the far end of the playing area.  On the other end have a extra large mixing bowl or similar container for each team containing 6-8 cans of soup.   Assign each team a couple designated "spellers' off to one side with a large piece of white roll paper on the floor or on a table.
Provide the first person in each line a small tea spoon size spoon.

On "Go!" each player will run to the far end and soup out ONLY ONE letter and then run it back to their team's speller. Continue the game regular relay race style until even person has gone, or if you like run the group through more than once.   Once again the group that has spelled the most words wins.!

Hints/Helps:
- For a less sloppy version of all the above games, use Alpha-Bit cereal.  We use this version as part of our "Cereal Bowl Night"

- For a far more sloppy, slightly grosser version of the up-front game, don't use spoons but just do the old "slurp and spit"!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lesson Series: "HOOKED" (swimming in a sea of addictions)


Series Overview and Idea:
We are swimming in a sea of addictions.  This series will address the "other" addictions along with the usual addictions, that students face. 
The series will address Satan's plan and tactics through the idea of him being the master fisherman that lures, attracts and addicts us, using good things in our lives like food, relationship, and even love to make us dependent on those things and not on God.  A powerful series that I have taught multiple times.  Recently rewritten, updated and taught.

The Series Outline Includes:
- key scripture passages
- big group activity
- upfront illustration
- video clip suggestions
- small group/discussion questions
- lesson related games & activities
- and MORE!!

Lessons Overview:
#1: "Hooked: Satan’s Tackle Box of Addictions"
#2: "The Big 3 Hooks" (drugs, alcohol, tobacco)
#3: "Food Fight" (food addictions)
#4: "Love Addict" (relationship & co-dependency)
#5: "I-Hooked" (technology)
#6: "Off the Hook" (getting free from addictions)  

CLICK HERE (for preview and also to purchase the full series outline: $3.00)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Morning Video/Teaching Clip: "Don't Look Away" (Trafficking in India)

A powerful and sad video, to challenge your students to think globally about young people their own age in other places...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Top 10: Ways to Keep JH/MS Students Attention During Your Boring Lessons

10. Throw your Pen or Tablet Stylus. (eyesight is over-rated)

9. Turn Up Your Mic. (can you hear me now...good!)

8. Occasionally Put Their Name in Middle of a Sentence or Verse. (And the snake said unto Herbert....)

7. Ask Their Mom to Come In and Sit With Them.  (See "Glory Road" movie)

6. Snapchat Them What You Just Said.  (what you still missed it...)

5. Car Battery, Jumper Cables,....Metal Chairs!!  (enough said...)

4. Rap Your Lesson.  (Yo...Grand Pastor Flash...up in this house!_

3.  Have Their Probation Officer on Speed Dial on Your Phone? (*Real Story)

2. Ask Questions, Have a Cool Sticker Chart with Gold Stars. (Take it old school Sunday School-Style)

1. STOP BEING BORING AND TEACH SOMETHING INTERESTING?!! (seriously what 6th-8th grader really want to know who begat Habakkuk or the Hebrew word for...well anything!!)  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Resource/Repost: "Pre-Teen Cell Phone Contracts"

"This year my oldest entered middle school. This has meant a lot of firsts for our family. Among these was the decision to get him a cell phone. After much thought and discussion we did give him one. This had me thinking does my 12 year old son really have the maturity to properly use this phone without help. Will he automatically know what is alright and what is not? I have expectations for him in this area, but does he know what they are. The truth is if I don’t tell him what I expect he will not know. So, I have written a cell phone contract for him....."  -

See more at: KIDZ MATTER:
http://kidzmatter.com/preteen-cell-phone-contract/#sthash.1TBuYUZ2.dpuf

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Youth Ministry Invention #12: "The Circular Calendar" (organization/youth room design)


Functional and Fashionable! Here a cool little "invention" that can easily translate into your youth ministry.  Keeping your youth group organized while also being super hip and cool functional art!!?

It the "Circular Calendar"!! Display all of 2014's big events, trips, lesson titles, or whatever that is going on in your youth group!

If you are cool and creative enough, it might even inspire you to try to create your own?

GET IT NOW!? (or find out more)

*A little close up shot!

Most Popular Posts of 2013!

Here they are some of the biggest "hits" of 2013.  The ones that you have blown up my blog reading, posting, and sharing.  Here are just a few of the ones that got the most "hits" this last year. The most popular posts of 2013!!

Thanks For Reading, Sharing, and Responding.  Hope a Few of These have Helped You or Just Made Your Laugh.  I Will Come Trying to Turn Out Some More in the Coming Year!- DAN :-)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Popsicles and Prune Juice (JH/MS Ministry and Adult Worship)

As our churches “Think Orange” and have more “Sticky Faith”, we in the Middle School/Jr. High ministry world may be facing the challenge of returning to inter-generational worship times. In our youth rooms and buildings we can have worship served up to the specific taste of our students. When we enter into a space with a wider span of taste and preference, we may be facing the wide division between younger and older… difference almost like that between Popsicles and Prune Juice?



Popsicles
Who doesn’t love popsicles? Everyone has a great memory of eating the cool, sweet snack on a hot summer day. They are just the perfect sugary treat that just make every kids coming running with excitement! One small little thing, as tasty, colorful and fun as they are, they hold very little real nutritional value. Realistically you cannot survive on popsicles, as you grow older you still enjoy the occasional one here and there, but your taste changes. You realize there is more to life than POP-sicles.


Isn’t that our dilemma working with young teens who have been fed a constant diet of sweet, fun, and sugary POP music? Even when they come to youth group, we serve up upbeat, fun positive jams as they hang out and get ready for the night. Then in an effort to connect to the rest of church we head over to “big church” with the other generations and it’s- Prune Juice time…

Prune Juice
Mmmm, nothing like a big tall glass of ice cold prune juice on a hot day!? Oh, so tasty and delicious? Really? Does anyone really like prune juice? I am sure there is some people out there that love it, to those of you- I apologize. The reality however is prune juice is kind of known as an old people drink, or something you drink to “get things moving again” (you know what I mean). People drink it because it good for them, healthy, and it helps them in various ways as they get older.

Maybe like the slower more traditional style of the worship music in many of the main sanctuaries. Our students attend the service and are served up the prune juice of traditional church music. Define that however you like in your setting, area of the country, or denomination. We do it because it is the right thing to do, it good for them, or it is supposed to make them more spiritually healthy as they mature in their faith.

The thing however is, every generation at some point had their POP-sicle music that was, loved and enjoyed, but for some reason it has always been harder to move that into the church. While we also need to respect our history and the deeper music that honestly is great for us, isn’t there something that can we served up that would meet the spiritual needs of maturing faith while also appealing to the spiritual excitement of young faith? Maybe PIZZA…

Pizza
Pizza is one of those things that holds mass appeal and crosses all demographics and ages. Being in youth ministry, we know pizza is kind of the perfect food as it can have all the major food groups you need. It also is a flexible food in that it can be made in endless ways and adjusted based on the taste of a whole group. Let’s get down the basic of this whole thing though, pizza is bread (crust), sauce (vegetable), cheese (milk), and occasionally some good old fashion meat.

I would like to suggest pizza-style approach to worship is what we need in order for us to have great balanced inter-generational worship times. We need remember and return to the true basics of the….


1.) Bread of life (John 6), Jesus as the foundation of the whole thing.


2.) The Fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5) as we come together in love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, self-control and yes, patience with each other’s differences.


3.) Top it off with a balance of both the milk and the meat of the Word of God (I Cor. 3).



Maybe just maybe we can find a way to meet in the middle somewhere between young and old, and popsicle and prune juice, offering a more balanced approach to everyone’s tastes and hunger!??


How are you seeing this lived out in your church and ministries? How are you serving up a balanced pizza-style worship setting? How are you struggle with this?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Morning Video: "United States of Pop 2013" (Year in Music)


What have your students been listening to and watching this past year? Share it with your leaders, staff, or even the parents of your ministry (if you dare).    A quick overview of the Pop Music in 2013.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Top 10: Things to Do With Your Students on a Snow Day

10. Skiing on the Church Roof

9.  Make a Snowman of the Sr. Pastor in the Front of the Church?

8.  Sno-Cone Outreach?

7. Write Favorite Bible Verses in the Snow with Lemonade?

6.  Put a Snowplow on the Front of the Church Van or Bus?

5.  Fill the Youth Room with Snow, Make Snow Angels?

4. Surprise Snowball Fight with the Front Office Staff?

3.  Challenge the Church Down the Road to a Igloo Building Contest?

2. Romantic Chaperoned Walks in the Snow?

1. Prank Call the Local Newspaper and TV stations and Cancel School Again for Tomorrow (*do it all again!!?)