Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Game: "Hungry Hippos Live"

Just in Case For Some Reason You Have Not Seen This Viral Sensation in The Last Couple Week.  It Has Been around for Awhile, But My Inbox Has Suddenly Been Flooded With a Couple Different Versions and Variations. Here is "Hungry Hippos Live"  (*another version:

It Something We Tried Out Last Week at Our 5th and 6th Grade Ministry (see below) and Will Be Bring to Our 7th and 8th Grade Ministry Tomorrow Night!   Enjoy!! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

News U Can Use: "Inside Your Teenage's Scary Brain"

"....research in the past 10-15 years has shown that our brains continue to develop in fundamental ways through the teen years and even into the late 20s and 30s. In fact, Jensen argues in her new book, The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults, the teenage years comprise one of the brain’s most critical periods for development—likely every bit as crucial as early childhood. “That seven years in their life is, in a way, as important as their first seven years of life,” Jensen says. “It is probably one of the most important seven-year [periods] in their entire life.”

Emerging brain development science is changing the way we view teen behaviour: why teens can seem so moody and disorganized, why they sometimes make such short-sighted decisions and why many serious mental illnesses begin to emerge in adolescence..... (READ MORE AT MACLEANS) 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Free Media #69: "STOCK SNAP" (stock photos)

FROM THIER WEBSITE...."StockSnap is the best place on the internet to find beautiful free stock photos. Period.

We select nothing but the highest quality, highest resolution pictures and add them to our database on a daily basis. This is not your typical crappy stock photo site.

All photos uploaded to the site are released under Creative Commons - CC0 and do not require attribution. No more hassle trying to figure out whether you can use photos for commercial use and whether you need to provide attribution.

We curate the best stock photos from around the web and will soon select photos from a number of daily submissions (currently in beta)..... CLICK HERE (to see!) 

Youth Ministry Meme #79

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Teaching Clip #33 : "Take a Seat, Make a Friend"

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Youth Group Game Resource: "STUMIN GAMES"

"...Student Ministry Games seeks to equip Student Pastors and Youth Leaders with fun and relevant games that are designed to connect your students through moments of excitement, laughter and sheer craziness. Their prayer is that their blog is a resource to help lighten your load... check back every week for updates." - From the Site! 

CLICK HERE (to get your game on player!) 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

News U Can Use: "70% of Teens Suffer from Fear of Being Offline Syndrome"

"A morbid fear of spiders (arachnophobia) can make life miserable for some. While there are others who dread closed places (claustrophobia). Some fear blood and injections (trypanophobia). Still others are petrified of darkness (nyctophobia). These phobias are now passé. The Fear of Being Offline (FOBO) is the main phobia gripping the growing up generation of today" ...... 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Top 10: Why Parents CAN Make Great Leaders? (*Hint & Help #16)

Parents of your students, parents of former student, or just in general people who are/have been parents CAN make great leaders.  The key word is "can".  I am not saying that every parent and all parents are great leaders.   Honestly there are quite a few parents, while well meaning and trying to come from a good place, just need to park the helicopter and give their kids just a little bit of room to breath.

I am also not saying that if you are not a parent, it disqualifies you from being a leader.  This is an encouragement for all us out there, much like myself for many years that would never let parents be leaders other than a few small roles here and there.   Especially when I was a young youth pastor, I did not want parents as leaders.

Here are the top 10 reasons to consider using parents as leaders and why parents CAN and MAY be great leaders...

10. Maturity- An adult that is a parent CAN be more mature.  They CAN be less likely to say something dumb or respond immaturely to a situation.

9. Life Experience- A parent CAN add some great things to your ministry and to conversations and teaching because they have more life experiences.  They CAN bring the good and the bad of their past mistakes into a small group time.

8. Relationships with Other Parents- The right parent as a leader CAN be your greatest defender and communicator.  You CAN send a parent out of your ministry armed with all the good stuff into their circle of influence with other parents.   Parents CAN be more likely to listen to another parents when it  comes to your ministry.

7. Time Management- Parents CAN be better managers of time, because they have to be already.   While they may have a million things "on their plate", they CAN know how to balance it.

6. Training- Parents CAN come to you already trained.  Whether it be from a work setting, another ministry, or some other way.  Parent CAN more likely to come to already prepared with the tools to be a great leader.

5. Reliability- Being a parent CAN mean that others are relying on you (*kids, spouse...), so parent CAN be more reliable.   They CAN be use to living up to other expectations and being relied on, so when it comes to your ministry they CAN be reliable.

4. Resources- Parents CAN have resources that you don't know about or might have never thought of.  They have work connections, local connections, and the inside scoop on all kinds of things.  They CAN be a wealth of information and be a go to in finding last minute resources and help.

3. Patience- Parents CAN be patient.  Not all parents are patient, but as a parent they have learned the maturity and life skill of being patient with silly actions, dumb questions, and just plain annoying little people.

2. Respect- Parents CAN come to your ministry already pre-loaded with an element of respect.  They are a parents, so automatically the CAN get and have respect, even before it is truly earned.

1. WISDOM- Father knows best and Mom always said? Parents CAN bring to your ministry more than knowledge and understanding.  They CAN bring to your ministry Wisdom. They CAN bring to their role as a leader Godly insight and discernment.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Game #71: "HEART-HEADED" (Big Group Valentines Game)

A fun no-prep Valentines Day whole group game, where every man (or woman) is for themselves in "Showing the Love" as they swat, hit, and push others around so they can the ultimate "heart-headed" winner!!

- Enough "conversation hearts" candies for every person in your group.
- Room to move around a little.

Explanation/Game Play:

Simple Explanation: Every player has a heart candy balanced on their forehead as they try to go around and knock off other player's candy

Game Play 
- Hand out one candy heart to every single person
- Explain the basic idea/rules
- Have everyone look up and place the candy heart, laying flat on their forehead (no licking!)
- On "Go!" everyone starts moving around the room trying to knock off other peoples candy by bumping, swatting, and grabbing.
- The last person still with a heart on their head is the winner! 
- Prize Suggestion: a plastic toy hard hat full of candy conversation hearts? 

Rules and Hints:
- Once the game starts players are not allowed to touch, hold or rearrange their own heart
- Once a heart hits the ground it can not be placed back on the the forehead. 
- Keep the pushing, swatting and grabbing to an appropriate, non-violent level?? 

Tween Fast Fashion and Tween Fast Faith?

The World Is Moving Fast For All of Us, But Especially for Our Pre-teen/Young Teen Students.  It Always Has, But Now it is Moving Even Faster Than Ever.  Even The Ways We Consume Products, Ideas, and Even Fashion.  But What About Faith?

The term is "Fast Fashion" it is a newer term used by fashion retailers when it comes to taking a design from the catwalk, quickly and cheaply making it; getting it out to consumers in order to capture current fashion trend. Often even within week versus the old model of months or seasons.   Places like H&M, Forever 21, and Zara are becoming hugely popular with teens and tweens, and yes even their parents.  Fast fashion stores are actually killing sales for the more traditional teen/tween giants like American Eagle, Aeropostale, and the Gap collection of stores.  Even the big department stores like Target, Macy's and others are getting challenged.  The growing trend is the demand for the quick turn around of 3-4 weeks or less and at a low cost.   People see something on the red carpet or on a TV show, they want it now and also the want it cheap.   The backside of this trend is also that after 3-4 weeks and the item is already gone.  Whether it is a clothing item, an app, or a pop trend, it comes it goes and it not a big deal because no one really spent that much anyway.

Tween and young teens are especially susceptible to being part of this whole trend, especially because everyone is marketing to them in BIG ways.   Spending 17 Billion on making sure that tweens are spending 43 Billion on mom and dad's money.

So what does fashion have to do with faith??

Young teens are coming to age in a world where everything is changing and things come and go so quickly, while we try to teach them unchanging truth.   Teens and pre-teens have forever been immersed in popular culture and the changing trends.  All the way back to their grandparent's time there has been a youth culture in America.   Youth ministry in the modern sense is in some ways is the new kids on the church scene, while it actually is as about as old as the American "young/teen" culture. What is changing however inside popular culture is the fast, cheap, disposable, and recycling of things even when it comes to faith.

Fast.  Quick in, quick out...even when it comes to our ministries and to faith.  Long term discipleship, relationship and study are now more than ever becoming harder.  An hour on Sunday, maybe an hour or 2 another day of the week, that is it.   As young believer emerge from the children's ministry, it is going to become more difficult to slow thing down in order to dive into the deep stuff of the word.

Cheap.  Low cost, Low value?  What is the real value of what we are trying to do?  We know it, but will our students.   We want to ask students to "count the cost" while they are living in a world the rest of the week where quality is less and less value, replaced by inexpensive.  While yes this will apply to our ministries in monetary things, like cost of trips and retreats.  The bigger challenge moving forward may be the "selling" the spiritual price tag attached to being a high quality Christ-Follower?

Disposable.  Throw it away, when you are done with it? Quick fads are fun and exciting, even for ministries.   The newest toy, technology, and model are all part of even our youth ministry sub-culture.   All of which we spend a large chunk of our youth budget on.  While our students may be seeing all of it including the newest fad ministry model as quickly disposable.  With little commitment to only a few things, the question is will God, church and even our ministry stay out of the personal trash can?

Recycling.  Donate your used stuff and we will use it to create something new?   A bit of this, a bit of that like an old pair of jeans donated at the bin at Old Navy to be made into playground mulch.  Tweens and young believers are more than ever willing to take a bit of what we say, what their friends say, and something they saw in a movie put all together to recycle it into something they believe, for at least the next couple weeks?

So what are we to do with the trend of "fast fashion faith."..
   Continue to stay faithful to the one thing that does not change. Whether it is "in fashion" or "out of fashion".  It is our calling and our mission.  Do not become distracted by trying to keep up with trends or fads.  That being said, we also must be keenly aware of the culture we live in, making sure we make our ministries and the Word of God relevant and not just relative to what is hot or not...

I TIM. 4 "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New U Can Use: "Music Artists to Watch in 2015"

MTV's full Artist to Watch lineup for 2015:

Bea Miller. The pop singer/songwriter has opened for Demi Lovato and One Direction.

FKA Twigs. The genre-defying Brit has won critical acclaim for her experimental sound and provocative music videos.

Hoodie Allen. The rapper is climbing the charts with the Ed Sheeran-assisted All About It, and will tour with Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa this summer.

Jacquie Lee. A former contestant on The Voice, she's now racked up more than 9 million streams on Spotify with song Broken Ones.

MisterWives. The vibrant New York band soared with single Reflections, and will release debut album Our Own House Feb. 24.

Priory. The Weekend pair has lined up festival sets at Bonnaroo and Governor's Ball this summer.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Free Media #68 : "Little Visuals" (Weekly Free Stock Photos)

LittleVisuals is similar to Unsplash, but they aim to publish new photos every 7 days. They also allow you to download their photos in handy .zip packs!

CLICK HERE (to check them out)

Ran-Dumb Youth Ministry Meme #77

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Jiffy Lube Jr. High Ministry?

     You pull your car through the overhead door, stay seated, simply roll down the window and answer a couple quick questions.  In 15 minutes or less your oil is changed and you are back on the road with a cool little sticker on your window reminding you to come back when it is time.
Ding, Ding!
      It doesn't matter how far over you are on the old 3 months or 3,000 miles rule. They don't ask what kind of crazy racecar driving you have been doing.  They don't care why you are not doing it yourself or judge you--- they just go to work.  They are like the tagline says a "well oiled machine" that keeps your machine well oiled too.
       Why do we go to Jiffy Lube and its various competitors? We go because we don't want to get dirty. We go because it is quick and convenient.   We go because we don't want to do the work ourselves.  It is not because we don't know how to do it or couldn't easily learn.  My dad taught me how to change my oil and check my fluids.  He imparted all kinds of helpful advice when I turn 16 about how to keep my car running right.  I quickly discovered though with a very fast trip and a couple dollars someone else could do it all for me... no mess, no fuss, no scraped up knuckles, and no laying on the hard cold driveway.
     It occurred to me the other day as I was talking to yet another set of parents about how I should fix their child that sometimes we become the "spiritual jiffy lube guy (*or gals)".   We are the quick, convenient place and person to fix your child when things start "running a little rough" at home, relationships start "gumming up" or the spiritual things at home are just not getting the same "mileage".  They don't want to do the hard work themselves, get under the hood and get dirty, instead they stop by when its convenient in their schedules for a quick fix and spiritual tune up. I think its time we put a stop to this or at least slow down the traffic!

5 things to keep you from becoming a Jiffy Lube JH Ministry:

1. 3000 Mile Check Up.  
    You know you have done it, peeled the reminder sticker off the window before you pulled into the parking lot of the oil change place.  You were embarrassed at how long it had been since your last oil change and how far over the 3,000 miles you have driven.
   The same things happens with your students and parents.  They pretend like they have been around and that you didn't notice they haven't been to church in 3 months.  Surprise! they are back and looking for a "quick fix" of Jesus to make it all better.  A simple observation in my years working with students. If they are not here for a few weeks, they are struggling or will be struggling soon! Human, sinful nature is if you are struggling or living in sin you run away from God (and church) not to Him (*see the story of Adam and Eve)
     We need to start watching and being aware when students and families are not around and their attendance is slipping. People want to know you notice when they are not there and also they love to be missed, so give a quick contact. You will gain, not lose when you do. You and your ministry need to be reaching out and reaching in to lives before its to late.  Find a way to track attendance or keep track of who has not been around.

2. Teaching the At-Home Oil Change. 
     Just like my dad taught me, we need to teach "at home" maintenance. Step #2 in the process is teaching parents and students how to live the Christian life outside of Sunday morning and your youth ministry.  Teach them how to address and face the issues of life on their own.  As a youth pastor we love to be needed but we need to be constantly trying to "work ourselves out of a job".  It probably will never happen, but we need to seek to give parents the tools to do the hard work of spiritual discipleship for themselves.  No more, quick drop off, "you fix my kid for me", I will be back in an hour.  The simple fact is we are only around for a couple years of a student's life at best, their parents are their parents for a life time.  They need to be doing the hard work for the long haul, way beyond our time.

3. High Performance Oil.
    You know the stuff, the high test oil they always offer when you first pull in the Jiffy Lube. For a few buck more you can have the scientist tested super supreme of oils. Instead of just getting the generic cheap stuff you have have the brand-name that the race car drivers use.
     How about us, do we offer the best of best stuff straight up with no option, when it comes to our ministries.  When we do have the student's here in our teaching times.  Let's bring the best of the best of the scriptures to them.  No cheap tricks and fillers, but fill our student's tanks with the high quality stuff that is going to keep their spiritual live running at top performance.   Especially in the JH/MS, we need to choice to do more then "children's ministry plus", but real TRUE 6th,7th,8th grade specifically formulated lessons and study.

4.Warning Light.  
     You know the warning lights of your students, and you also know that students and parents who won't come in until they absolutely have to.  Like my bus driver at my last church a few years ago, who ran the bus with out oil in it, even though the warning lights were on.  He ran it until the engine literally exploded. Our students and parent like a good driver should be taught what the warning lights are and what they might mean. We as leaders will save ourselves so much work as well.  We need to stop wimping out on addressing issues, start calling sin-"sin", and be willing to "speak the truth in love".  Honestly, who cares if its another pastor's kid or a deacon's daughter.  We need to yank the emergency brake and pull them over to the side (literally!). It is not easy and you will get the "how dare you!" but it is well worth it in the long run.

5. The Shop is Closed.  
      Jiffy lube does not fix your brakes or do tires.  You can not pull in and expect in 15 minutes or less they will replace a blown engine or even change all your tires, pit-crew style. They do one thing and one thing well!
     We need to start refusing to be the quick fix for students and parents.  One quick counseling session or 2 weeks worth of showing up for church will fix all the problems.  It is not the truth and we can't enable people to believe that it is.  You know as well as I do the Christian road is every day, all day and it is hard work.  It is constant maintenance, up keep, and being aware of the troubles that we all face.  It about time we say "Nope, sorry the shop is closed".  We are available when people need us of course.  We are always willing to listen and help, but also make it is time we make it known that when they come to us they are committing to a real, long term solution for the road ahead.  We need to let them know, there is not Jiffy Lube for the spiritual life!


Teaching Clip: "Read Your Bible" (Kevin Hart on Conan)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Game/Youth Ministry Invention #33: "HANTIS"


" There's a new sport gracing the world today, and it's sort of like Ping Pong, but only about 500 times more intense! Hantis, casually known as ping pong on steroids, is a fun, fast-paced new game where players are allowed to use any part of their body to strike the ball - including their head, hands, feet, and arms - across the four tables set up on the floor...."- From the Official Website.

Here at the Basics:

To Find Out More CLICK HERE

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Featured Resource of the Month: "Inside Student Ministry"

Another Great Youth Ministry Partner Offering Lessons, Resources, Information, Coaching and More...

"..Help resource and coach youth pastors who are struggling to see their student ministry break through the obstacles holding them back, by getting them connected, helping them stay organized, and equipping to lead their ministries toward the vision God has given them so that they can have more time to connect with students, partner with parents and do the work of Kingdom ministry.- From The Site. 

News U Can Use: "Teen Courts & Teen Juries Hearing Real Teen Cases"

At legally authorized teen courts across the country, teens decide the real-life fate of other teens who’ve committed low-level offenses. The weirdest part? It seems to work — so why aren’t there more of them?


Monday, February 2, 2015

Top 10: Things NOT To Do During Sunday Adult Worship?

10. Start a "Praise Pit" Up Front! 

9. Yell "Free Bird!!" as Soon as the Music Pastor Comes Out!

8. Crowd Surf Grandma Jones!

7. Light a Hymnal on Fire and Try to Get the Party Started!

6. Jump on Stage and Spit Your Coffee Out Over the Crowd!

5. Throw Your Tie (*or Scarf) On Stage for the Band!

4. Lift Your Spouse On Your Shoulders? 

3. Get Your Glow Stick Rave Dance On! 

2. Start a Conga Line! 

1. Get the Youth Section to do the Wave!?