Monday, November 30, 2015

Top 10: Youth Ministry Lessons From A Guitar Lesson

My 6th grade daughter has recently been taking introductory guitar lessons.  They are set up in a group lesson format with a small group of other students of similar age (6th-8th)  She is the only girl, the rest are boys.

I have been taking our son to his soccer practices, while my wife takes our daughter to her lessons.  She asked if we could switch for the night so I could hear her play and see her lessons. 

As I sat and watched, I started to reflect a bit on 5th-8th grade youth ministry. Here are 10 things I LEARNED from her lesson.  You can draw your own conclusions of my opinion of her instructor... 

10. Students will make mistakes

9. Don't try to be cool

8. Condescending turns kids off

7. Look your student in the eye when you talk to them

6. Teaching is sometimes more about doing and less about talking

5. Take the time to get to know your students

4. Get on your students level

3. Come prepared to teach, you expect your students be prepared to learn

2. You have limited amount of time with your students don't waste it

1. It is about the students not about you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hint/Help #19: "Active Shooter Training Video" (Volunteer/Leadership)

Not being dramatic or all paraniod-doomsday prepper.... Unfortunately with all the things going on in our world currently, it might be wise to at least have a realistic conversation with your leaders and volunteers about "Active Shooter" plans for your ministry/youth ministry.

Here is a helpful video to start the conversation or to help train your team.  It is something we have recently use with our team.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Youth Ministry Couch or Youth Ministry Coach?

You probably have one, I think every ministry I have been a part of over 20 years has had one.  They take on different shapes, colors, and designs. A few have even had some awesome 1970’s flowers They are the youth room couches.  Ours currently is a green ugly sectional monstrosity.  It sits in the very center of our youth cafe.  It is honestly the first thing you see when you walk into the space, and I hate it!   My students however love it, because it is beaten and worn to a point of being comfortable.  Students show up, come in and get comfortable as soon as they are sucked down into it pillows.  The problem is once they have been pulled in they are stuck in it and it is hard to get them out.
During my Jr. high and high school years I played sports, mostly basketball and soccer.  I loved it.  The connection, the teamwork, and the focused purpose were all things that grew and developed me.  While I enjoyed being a part of a team, it was a different kind of enjoyment than just sitting on a couch relaxing.  The reason was the coaches I had.  Each of them pushed me to be better and challenged me to push beyond what I thought I could do. I remember showing up to practices never knowing what to expect as the coach stood waiting.  My coaches were not there to be warm, fuzzy and make me feel comfortable.  Their purpose was to make us better individual players and an overall better team.    How they did that was got us on our feet and moving non-stop.
So as a youth leader which are you…A Youth Room Couch or a Youth Room Coach? 
Youth Room Couch
A youth room couch leader creates a comfortable place for students to come.  They make students feel relaxed to be there.  Their main job is to provide students a place to hang out and get to know each other.  This leader creates a ministry just like they are, worn out but comfortable.  Everyone knows what to expect when they walk in each meeting time because nothing really changes.  The ministry has been in the same place, with the same look as long as anyone can remember.   People may not be happy with the outdated or overused style, but no one really wants to change it.    
Students of the youth room couch are fine with them.  They love the fact that they are not really challenged to do anything beyond just sit there.   They come and sit comfortably in the life they have chosen to live.  They come and then they go with nothing really much changed, other then that they feel better from some warm, fuzzy moments. 
Is that you as a leader?  Is that your ministry?  Are those your students?  Is it all just a familiar, fun youth ministry just like an old couch that is the mainstay of some many church youth rooms?
Youth Room Coach
A youth room coach creates a place for students to come and get to know each other, but it is through being challenged together.  Their main job is to not just to provide yet another place to hang out and be comfortable.  They would rather do the job of training and cheering on students as they learn to do great things for God.   Each week students come never knowing what to expect.  There is an excitement for the unknown, the future, and a shared purpose.   People are supportive while also being very aware that this not just the same old youth ministry that the church has always had. 
Students of the youth room coach are coming not because of emotional experience, but rather because the truth of God’s word is being spoken.  Often even the hard to hear and uncomfortable instructions are being heard.   Students come each week and walk away not always feeling better, but knowing that they have been pushed to be better.   The moments that they shared were stretching and even painful at times, but they know they are now stronger because of it.
Is that you as a leader?  Is that your ministry? Are those your students? Is it all more than what the world offers of some quick therapy and a pat on the back?   Is what happens in your youth room each week as you lead going farther and deeper?
It might just come down to what we want most and even what are churches want most from our ministry between the two of these—more kids in the seat or more kids on their feet? Youth room couch or youth room coach which one are you? Which one do you want to be?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

News U Can Use: "Teens Go Screen-Free for a Day"

" The clock is ticking for Destiny Davis and Jamya Whitmore.

The two high school freshmen, along with 40 of their classmates, are about to give up their cellphones for 24 hours.

They clutch them as they get mentally prepared. Davis says the good part will be talking to her family more.

The bad part? Kinda the same — "Because we're always communicating on our phones. Like, your family could be in the next room, and we texting them, but now you've got to get up and walk to go get them!"

Then it gets real. Maplewood High teacher Jarred Amato gives the 5-minute warning.

The students post to Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat for the last time for 24 hours.... "

Monday, November 16, 2015

Top 10: Youth Ministry Lessons from the DMV

10. Friendliness goes a long way.

9. Be organized, Stay organized.

8. People are more than a number.

7. Patience really is a virtue.

6. Know the language of who you are serving.

5. Empower your staff to make decisions.

4. Understand that you are there to serve people.

3. A bad reputation is hard to live down and easy to live up to.

2. As your crowd grows people's expectations and anticipation grows.

1. Your mission is getting people out the door and on the road, not keeping the seats filled! 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Free Thanksgiving Resources Collection (Updated!)

It is the time of year again.  You are frantically looking for a quick lesson, games, graphic, or a quick media add-on to complete your Thanksgiving time youth group night! 
Here is a collection of 30+ FREE resources that  I hope will help you out! 

- "Being Thankful"
- "Thank God"
- "Focusing on God" 
-  "Expressing Thanks"
-  "Celebrating American Stuff or Giving Thanks?"
- "More Than a Day" and "Why It Matters"
- Overflowing with Thankfulness 
- Thanksgiving Backwards Quail
- Why Do We Say Thanks 

- "4 Thanksgiving Games Collection"  
-  "10 Minute to Win It:Thanksgiving Games"  
-  "Pumpkin Pandemonium" (Powerpoint Trivia )
- "Thanksgiving Word Jumble" (Powerpoint Game)
- "Gravy Pop-SICKLES" (Up Front Challenge) 
- "Would You Rather: Thanksgiving Edition" (Icebreaker/Mixer)
-  Pumpkin Themed Games (Variety of Team Games)
- Candy Corn Hole
- Thanksgiving Time Ideas 
- Thanksgiving: World Record Edition (powerpoint game) 

- "Give Thanks" 
"Give Thanks" #2
- "Happy Thanksgiving" (title & slide)
- "Great Turkey Giveaway" (holiday service project)
-  "Thanksgiving Outreach" (slide collection) 
- Give Thanks For He Has Given Jesus Christ (slide collection)
- Give Thanks (background) 


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

News U Can Use: " Teens Spend 9 Hours a Day on Entertainment"

"The average American teen spends about nine hours a day on entertainment media, according to a new report by Common Sense Media. That’s screen time on TVs, phones, tablets and computers, and doesn’t include similar activities at school.

"Teens spend far more time with media and technology than they do in school, or with their parents, or even sleeping," said James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media. Steyer —and child psychologists — are worried about all that exposure to commercial content during all that screen time.

But the knowledge that the young and impressionable demographic is consuming so much content can be useful information for companies...."  (* CHURCHES/MINISTRIES??)


Monday, November 9, 2015

Top 10: Things They Can't Teach... (youth ministry edition)

10. How to Love Your Calling as a Youth Pastor.

9.   How to Stay Organized.

8.  How to Connect with Students in an Authentic, Genuine way.

7.  How to Really Sit and Talk with a Student after a Suicide/Family Death.

6.  How to Tell a Group Of Students, That You are Leaving.

5.  How to Successfully Run a Game or Event.

4.  How to Love Your Wife, Like Christ Loves the Church.

3. How to Deal with an Upset/Angry/Disappointed Parent of a Student.

2.  How to Be Humble as a Leader.

1.  How to Really Be a True Pastor and Shepherd to Students.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

JH Uth Guy Thought of the Week

Like the difference between giving a "man a fish" and "teaching him to how to fish", we in youth ministry have the choice spiritually between the difference of teaching "Facts of the Day" or teaching the "Faith of a Life!" 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Free Media #88: "17 Websites Offering Free Teaching Graphics & Media"




Creation Swap  (Free)
Creative Youth Ministry Ideas (free and cost)
Elevation Church  (Free) 
Grace Way Media (Cost, some free
Graphic Stock (7 day Free trial)
Life Church Resources  (Free)
New Spring Church (Free)
Open Resource (Free)
Pre-Teen Ministry (Cost)
Room 1228  (Cost)
Stuff I Can Use  (Free)
*Stuff You Can Use (find graphics designed based on my lessons here!)
Vintage Church Resources  (Free)
Youth Resource Net  (Cost)
Youth Leader Stash  (Cost, and Free)
Youth Ministry 360  (Cost, some free)
Youth Ministry Tool Box  (Cost, couple Freebies)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Game #85: Baked Bean Bubble Blow (upfront challenge)




- 2 Extra Large Cans of Baked Beans
- 2 Pie Pans/Bowls
- 1 Bag of Chewing Gum
- A Tarp or Drop Cloth

Set Up:
- Unwrap an equal amount (5-10) of chewing gum and place at the bottom of your container
- Empty a can of baked beans into each container, covering the gum
- Place your tarp on the floor
- Place your containers on the tarp equal distance apart

 Simple Explanation: Players "bob" for pieces of chewing gum in a pan/bowl full of baked beans.  After collecting as much gum as they think they need, they will then chew and blow the biggest bubble possible! 

Game Play:
- Have 2 volunteers come to the front
- Explain the simple rules
- Have them get on their hands and knees behind the containers
- And "GO!" Let the Fun Begin!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Top 10: Ways to Make Your Youth Group Feel More Like a Family?

10.  Ground Students That Don't Bring their Bible?

9.  Have a  Time Out Chair, Students that Won't Listen have to Go Sit in It?

8.  Serve Vegetables for Snack, Students Can't Play the Game Until they Finish Their Vegetables?

7. Occasionally Lick Your Palm and Go Smooth Down Someone's Hair?

6. When Driving in the Van/Bus, Turn Around and Yell, "Don't Make We Turn This Thing Around!"?

5. If Someone Spills Their Drink, Say Something Like, "This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things!!"

4. For Christmas Buy All Your Leaders Socks and Underwear?

3. Have A Big Meal Together, About Halfway Through Tell One of the Girls All The Reasons Why You Don't Like Her Boyfriend!?

2. Once A Year Have Your Weird Uncle Earl Just Some Up Unannounced and Teach the Lesson?


Sunday, November 1, 2015

JH Uth Guy Thoughts of the Week

The hard work of youth ministry is working with the next generation coming up.  A generation that will have different thoughts, ideas, and inspirations.  

We drive on the edge of the ocean of opportunities for the future of our world.  

We ride with and along side of what the world might be and could be as mentors and disciplers. 

Our jobs is often viewed with some confusion and concern of who we are and who are students are as well.