Thursday, December 29, 2016

See You in January!

Be Back Around in  January....

Taking some time to hang with family, celebrate the holiday season, after a wild ride of a year in ministry. 

I will also be doing a bit of writing and creating elsewhere again for a few places.

- Parent Ministry (writing the NEW set of online parent classes, so join now!) 

- Youth Worker Journal (Upcoming Article for New Issue & Fresh Blog Posts, subscribe now! New and exciting things coming in the new year!!) 

- International Children Ministry Network (3 New Game "Books", coming in early spring. Register for the conference in FLORIDA to get my last game book for FREE!)

- Download Youth Ministry (new group of crazy games!!) 

Also make sure, to grab the newest Group Magazine, after the new year, for a new RanDumb Youth Ministry Top 10 List- "Top 10: REAL Reasons for Being Late for Pick Up".  Be looking for a new post for Youth Specialties Blog after the new year as well!

Finally, coming up right after the new year, January 19th-21st, I will be speaking at Clark Summit University and the Vision for Youth: National Youth Ministry Conference there, so I will be preparing for that as well.  If you are on the east coast, you should jump in.  It is an affordable, relaxed time for youth workers AND their spouses!  Melissa and I would love to meet you!

ALL OF THAT, in addition to my REAL MINISTRY, serving at my amazing "new" church (*as of Sept) Victory Church in Lancaster, PA!  If you are ever in the area/region come check us out.  If you happen to be around not on a weekend, let me know you are near by, I will buy you a FREE cup of coffee!

Blessing on your 2017!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

News U Can Use: "Learning and Technology for Younger Teens"

"Pens and notebooks, you may be on the way out as the main tools of classroom learning. At least according to one study, technology is catching on in a big way.

New survey data out Thursday from online-learning site Quizlet shows that teachers and students have a largely positive view of tech in the classroom.

In November 2016, Quizlet surveyed 12,525 students and 10,800 teachers in the US and found that 69 percent of students say devices help them learn and 66 percent said apps help them learn. And when comparing Generation Z (those born after 2000) to millennials, the newer batch of students are 28 percent more likely to feel that tech helps them learn more quickly than the old familiar tools like worksheets and lectures.

On the whole, teachers came across as more enthusiastic -- they're 32 percent more likely than students to say learning tech is a good use of classroom time. They also think it's more fun for students. Eighty-three percent of teachers surveyed by Quizlet think devices make learning more fun, compared with 63 percent of students.

Quizlet doesn't see any drop-off ahead...." 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Free Christmas FREEBIE Resource Collection 2016






Media Freebie #95: "Sweet Donuts" (Font)

What is Sweety Donut - Fun Typo?

Fun Sweety Donut Font is a fun font inspired by a tasty donut / doughnut. You can use this font as layer or individual. You will get Basic Character as you see on preview. All Files in .TTF and .OTF Hopefully you love it :)

This free font comes with our Premium License which allows Commercial and Personal Use. You can find the license here:

CLICK HERE (to get it Free!) 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Teaching Clip #71: "The True Story of Christmas?"

Do Your Students REALLY Know the Story of Christmas Clip #2? 

"Kill Frosty" (Winter/Christmas Group Game)- Updated!

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)

- 8 white buckets
- Black & orange circle mailing labels
- 6-8 Dodgeballs (or similar balls)
- Large indoor playing area, that can be divided in half.
- A way to identify teams (bandanas, string...)
- Optional: "Red Christmas Garland" (for "guts" and brains") 

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 4 white buckets on top of each other creating a small "Frosty the Snowman". Using the black and orange mailing labels, create coal and nose for your snowman, "Frosty". If you would like to create a little extra fun fill snowman with  "bloody brains and guts" (see above)  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 onesnowball 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.

Outdoor/Snow Real Snowman 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.

Straight Dodgeball Version:
Skip the "Capture the Flag" part of the game and just play regular dodgeball "Killy Frosty" style.  Regular rules and play applies, other than if a team can complete kill the other team's snowman they WIN! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

News U Can Use: "Tween Girl Bringing Diversity to Books!"

"Marley Dias is the 12-year-old creator of the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign. In an effort to provide more diversity in books for younger children, for almost a year Dias has been collecting books with black girls as the main character and donating them to school libraries. She recently spoke with American Librariesregarding her progress with the campaign and what she has planned next.

How many books have you collected so far?

I’ve collected 7,000 books and donated them to six different cities since November 2015.

How did you start the campaign?

In my 5th-grade class, I saw that books like Where the Red Fern Grows, the Shiloh series, and Crash all weren’t featuring black girls, and those were the books being assigned. So I told my mom, and she said, “Well, what are you going to do about it?” So that’s really how the campaign started. I wanted to collect 1,000 books where black girls are the main characters and donate them to the high school in St. Mary, Jamaica, that my mother attended, so I would be able to give back to her community...." 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

20 Christmas-Time Movies for Youth Groups

So many people have loving and found the past Youth Group Night Movie Night Lists helpful
"20 Funny Youth Group Movie Night Movies" 
"20 More Series Youth Group Movie Night Movies"
"15 Youth Group 'Appropriate' Halloween/Fall Movies" 

Here are 20 Christmas time movies for your youth group movie night! A few classic and the usuals, but hopefully some church appropriate ones that your students have not already seen a million times?  As always, pre-watch the movies. Hope you find the list helpful! 

20. A Christmas Story (*classic, surprised at how many of student haven't seen the whole thing?)
12. Four Christmases (*PG 13)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas Game: "The Price is Nice"

A quick silly whole group game for the Christmas season.  Testing your Christmas shopping skills.  Players or teams are shown a SILLY Christmas time gift item and a price, then have to decide if the price is Naughty (to high) or Nice (to low or a good deal)! 

CLICK HERE (to get it!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

News U Can Use: "American Wasted a Ridiculous Amount of Food over Holidays"

Here’s a sobering statistic that’ll wake you up out of that lingering food coma.

Over Thanksgiving, Americans wasted about 204 million pounds of turkey, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nonprofit conservation group.

Considering that the signature Thanksgiving bird weighs about 30 pounds these days, that means more than 6 million turkeys essentially ended up in the trash.

The United States is battling a major food waste crisis, and the issue tends to become even more pronounced around the holidays.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Americans generate an extra 5 million tons of household waste, according to advocacy group Worldwatch Institute.

And when we talk about the “waste” generated by a family after a holiday meal, we’re not just talking about the leftover turkey that lands in the garbage ― there’s also the considerable amounts of time, labor, money and water that went into raising that bird and getting it onto the table, writes Dana Gunders, senior scientist at NRDC, in a recent blog post..... 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Top 10: Reasons To Take a Christmas Break!?

Christmas AND New Years land on Sundays this year with a Wednesday night in between them.  Every year there is a debate online and some personal guilt about taking a break from youth group over the holiday.   

Students are off from school, so obviously it should be our responsibility to keep them "entertained" for the full week with a Christmas party on Monday, Star Wars movie days on Tuesday, Regular youth group on Wednesday, Service project day on Thursday, Bowling on Friday and New Years Lock-in on Saturday into Sunday?  Does that sound about right for some of you? 

Here are 10 Reasons to TAKE A BREAK this year during the week between the holidays...

10. Your Own Personal Children. Remember them, the little mini version of you at your house.  They are off from school too, they would like to see you!

9. Your Spouse. The love of your life, the light of your world.... They would love to celebrate the holidays with you too.  Hot chocolate, a movie, a cozy blanket, see where the night goes!? (hint: see #10)

8. Your Assistant/Leaders/Volunteers. They need a break too.  If you take it, they get to take it, so they can see their spouse and children too!

7. The Custodian (s).  Give them a break.  After Spam-Fest, Choc-Tobetr, Thanksgiving Gravy Slip N Slide Night and Winter Wonderland Indoor Snow Party, they might just want to not come in for like a day or two!?

6. The Parents. No not your kid's parents, your own parents.  Go see them or have them come see you, without running out the door to another event.

5.  Your Sr. Pastor.  If he is taking a break over the holiday week, it is okay for you to take a break also!  Even if he isn't make a kind request.  I am sure like the custodian, he might be grateful not to have to clean up your messes for a week!?

4.  The Budget.  The church accountant and the credit card company called, they both would like you to give them a rest.  The new year is coming and they are trying reconcile their books.  They are still trying to figure out if the 5 cases of Spam should be under "game supplies", "lesson illustrations", "food and fellowship", or "professional development"?

3.  Your Personal Health.  Mental, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual.  Go home, hangout, rest, eat some health conscious Christmas cookies.  Lay off the Red-Bull and Starbucks quad-shot drinks for a week.  Get health!! (at least for a week a year)

2.  Your Calling.  God has called you to disciple, teach, and love students. While it sometimes gets mixed up with being a babysitter, entertainer, and activities director.  Take a break over Christmas from having to run programming to make sure you keep your focus on your true calling.

1. JESUS! Yes, He even got away from the crowd, the feeding of thousands, miracles, and religious leaders who were always trying to catch him doing something wrong (___"insert the name here"_____).  If Jesus rested and took a break you can too, let's be real you have the cool beard, insist on wearing sandals even in the winter months and all, but you are NO Jesus!)


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Game: "Santa Rudolph Frosty" (Updated Graphic)

It's a Christmas version of "Gorilla-Man-Gun" It has been a great hit with my MS/JH over the years, and is again with my 2 new groups (5th/6th grade and 7th/8th grade) that I lead. 

  • Two people line up back-to-back. On the count of 3, they turn around and mime, "Santa," "Rudolph" or "Frosty."
  • For Santa, you make a beard with your hands under your chin.
  • For Rudolph, you make reindeer antlers with your hands.
  • For Frosty, your make a carrot nose with your hands. 
  • Santa, of course, beats Rudolph with a whip...Rudolph beats Frosty, because he kicks him over....Frosty beats Santa, well...just because.
  • Loser sits. Winner finds a new partner and the rounds continue eliminating people until there is only one person standing. 
It is great time killer and filler. Our group really gets into it, especially the junior high boys! Feel free to "right click" and save the graphic above or create your own! 

* Written a long while back for Youth Worker Magazine

Monday, November 7, 2016


WRITING...The next couple weeks I am take a bit of a break from posting again.  I have some outside writing projects I am working on including some new blog post and an article for Youth Worker Journal, working up a whole new year of parent/family resource for Parent Ministry, and a few fresh posts for Youth Specialties. 

RETREATING... Next weekend it is also my 7th/8th Fall Retreat and a 5th/6th grade missions experience for my new ministry, so I have some final planning to do for all of that.

RELAXING... Of course the final part of the month is Thanksgiving, so we are taking some time to travel and spend time with the family. 

See You All Soon: Dan 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

"Why Are You Hitting Yourself" (Dealing with Micro-Managers)

We all know the time honored phrase and what accompanies it, “Why are you hitting yourself?”  It is repeated by older siblings, classmates and others as they grab our hand, overpower us, and beat us silly.  

While it may not happen physically to us, as we get older and stronger, it still does sometimes happens in adulthood, even in ministry settings. It continues through micromanagement and controlling leadership that beat us up emotionally, socially and spiritually. 

Here are some reasons to help you understand why it happens…

            A micromanaging leader has been allowed to lead in that way.  Due to success or relationships, they have been empowered or embraced to lead in certain way because of a context of perceived success.   Others, who would normally stand up against such a leadership style, are put in a situation where they cannot in context to numbers, money, or influence.  

           Like bullies on the playground, these leaders lead in this way, because they have found a setting that allows it.

            Micromanagers are controllers.  Every opportunity where they can feel in control they will take it.  Whether it be double checking your presentation, choosing the paint color of the offices, or handing out a long list of expectations, it all comes down to feeling like they have control.  Instead of being allowed to accomplish something, you are slowed down or completely stopped in making progress.  

            Like the big brother that grabs your hand and turns it around to smack in the face with it, these leaders need to feel like they are in control of your efforts.

            The danger for every leader, as they move to a place of leading others, is a sense of pride.   After being themselves humbled by failures or experiencing limited success, they are finally given a position seen to mark their final success.  These leader often having been micromanaged by others in the past, turn around and respond in kind, when given a new role leading you.  Ministry can be both a humbling and prideful leadership experience.

            Like the little kid that has been push around, that finally gets his growth spurt and finds himself bigger that those around him, conceited leaders trap themselves in negative cycle of life.

Break the cycle, respond differently 
and choose to be a different kind of leader 
when God blesses you with the opportunity
here is how...

            As a leader under another leader or over another leader, make a choice to be considerate and humble in how you will lead.  While leading under another leader, “offer your hand” to them and be willing to submit to their control even if it seems uncomfortable.  As a leader leading other leader ask for their hand in guiding them to improvement their area of ministry.

Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility consider others above yourselves.”  

            Relationships are about give and take, and conceding to another.   It also applies to leadership relationships, when we make a concession to someone else whether we lead under or over them.  Changing the leadership model and style cycle in a church or organization is done through offering your hand and your face without holding back anything.

Luke 6:29, “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”  

Like the advice we give the students in our ministries or our own personal children, sometimes the best conclusion is just to walk away.   While we need to be willing to be considerate and concede in a situation, sometimes the final answer is the only answers, to draw a position to a conclusion and move on.  

Proverbs 14:7, “Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.”  

This is what I, myself, have recent done moving on from the place I was serving to NOW be blessed to join a healthy, loving staff led by amazing, Godly men who too, have had their own stories of hurt but now choose to lead differently those they are over. 

I praise God for these men who have encouraged me and inspired me over the past couple months to lead differently and lead better! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

News U Can Use: Parents Tweak Outdated Screen Time Rules"

There are plenty of I-know-this-is-probably-not-a-good-idea moments as a parent -- those times when you let your child do something or eat something or play something that you think might not be the healthiest way to go.

Letting my then 19-month-old toddler watch television was one of those moments for me. As a reporter, I had done stories on kids and screen time and was well aware that the American Academy of Pediatrics discouraged screen time for babies under 2. But trying to nurse an infant while keeping a toddler entertained proved to be too much of a challenge at times. So while I tried my hardest to wait until my daughter was 2 before she met "Dora the Explorer" and "Doc McStuffins," I gave in and felt guilty about it, I might add.
But now comes word that I, and other parents, no longer should carry around such guilt about screen time because pediatricians are tweaking their long-standing recommendation for children younger than 2, as well as the recommendation that older children and teens get no more than two hours of recreational screen time a day.

New screen rules for babies and kids 03:03"Look at our world. It has changed ... and so we have to approach the world as it is and figure out ways to make it work," said Dr. Ari Brown, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' group investigating media use and children and co-author of a recent piece published by the American Academy of Pediatrics titled "Beyond 'turn it off': How to advise families on media use."....

Monday, October 31, 2016

Top 10: Scary Halloween Costumes for Youth Pastors?

10. An Old 15 Passenger Church Van (Packed for a Long Trip) 

9.  An Angry or Offended Youth Group Parent 

8.  A Middle School Boy Drinking a Monster (run away) 

7.  THE Youth Group Mean Girl (she scares me to DEATH!!) 

6.  The Walking Dead... (I mean "Senior Ladies Easter Liturgical Dance Team") 

5.  A Dress Shirt and a Tie (youth ministry equivalent of garlic & a vampire) 

4. The Ordination Counsel Member! (you know the one, 3 piece  polyester suit, thick glasses, a degree from seminary that he never used and ONE final question) 

3. Your Bible College/Seminary Loan (it is is coming FOR YOU!) 

2.  An Empty Coffee Cup (one of my greatest fears) 

1. "The Carpet" (the one you are always getting called in on)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Game #164: Pumpkin Face (upfront challenge)


- 2 Rolls of Orange Crepe Paper
- 2-4 Sheets of Black Dot Labels

Set Up:

- 2 Chairs Up Front 


Simple Explanation: One player will quickly wrap another other player's face completely in orange crepe paper and then using black stickers decorate them as fall "jack o lantern"! 

Game Play:
- Have 2 teams of 2 come to the front
- Explain the simple explanation and rules
- Have 1 player on each team have a seat in 1 of the chairs.
- Give the standing play 1-2 sheets of black dot labels
- On "Go!" standing player as quickly as possible wraps the seated player's head and then decorates their head.

- Allow 1-2 minutes for the game.
- Have a leader or the audience vote on best "pumpkin head"
*  HINT/RULE: leave the mouth area of the seated player open so they can breath!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

News U Can Use: "Understanding Middle Schoolers: 4 Tips"

Understanding those on the verge of or in the trenches of middle school can be like finishing a complex puzzle only to realize there is a single missing piece — just when you think you have them all figured out, they pivot and leave you just as confused as you started. They sometimes feel like a walking contradiction: they want your love, but would prefer you did not show it in public; what makes them laugh one day, brings them to tears the next; going to school used to be the best part of their day, now they dread it. Whatever the contradiction is in your household, it is important to remember that the journey that these soon to be adults are traveling is a difficult yet AWESOME one. They are in a constant state of learning and discovery and as parents and guardians, we GET to be along for the ride!

Combine students’ physical and emotional changes with new school environments and increasing independence, and unique challenges for parents and children develop. Adolescence is a time of development, discovery and transition for kids. It is a key time for us to better understand how we increase motivation, build persistence, support the transition into a more independent experience, and prepare for future success.

As a middle school educator, my mantra was patience and understanding. I had sticky notes around my classroom reminding me that it was my job to support AND also to push these young adults to challenge themselves in new ways—even when they made me want to pull out my hair. This is a time when they need support and guidance, but they also need the freedom to have experiences on their own terms. When it comes to education, middle school is an extremely important time.

When we find ways to personalize the learning experience for students we support their transition into more independence and help activate learning. Here is what I learned about middle schoolers... CONTINUE READING 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Top 10: Christ-Centered Youth Ministry or Student-Center Youth Ministry

Like many homes where adults choose to make the children the center of the attention and decision making, there are also many youth ministries and churches that are doing the same thing.  

Like homes that are consumed with making sure children are not bored or unhappy, we as youth ministries may also be unknowingly doing the same thing by focusing strongly on making sure the students are happy, comfortable and entertained.

While we as youth pastors and leaders bemoan parents that are "helicopter parents" or focusing their attention on keep their children busy in sports and every activity imaginable, we may be following suit doing many of the same things.  Much like marriages and parent relationship that are being weakened by putting an unhealthy focus on children instead of each other,  our youth ministries as part of the body and bride of Christ may also be weakening our relationship by becoming more kid-centered and less Christ-centered?

Here are 10 quick thoughts about the difference between Christ-Centered Ministry and Student-Centered Ministry...

10. Faith Focused vs. Fun Focused?

9.  Educate Us vs. Entertain Us? 

8. Opportunities for Students to Serve vs. Opportunities for Students to be Served? 

7.  Christ Honoring vs. Honoring Students? 

6.  God's Presence vs. Who is Coming?

5.  Spirit-Led Decisions vs. Student-Led Decisions? 

4.  Compassion-driven vs. Complaint-driven? 

3.  Adults Desperately Seeking to Love Christ More vs. Adults Desperately Seeking to be Loved by Students More 

2.  Seeking Holiness vs. Seeking Hipness! 

1.  Studying Uncomfortable Truths of God's Word vs. Discussing Non-Threatening Comfortable Topics? 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"Un-blurring The Line" (Relationships with Students)

The evening news, newspapers, and internet seems like a running weekly ticker update on the latest teacher, coach and yes,"youth pastors" crossing the line into inappropriate relationships with a student.

Whatever you are called in your ministry context: pastor, director, leader, worker... we need to be careful when it comes to our relationships with students.

We, of course, want to have "relational" ministry.  Books and seminars have been teaching us relational ministry for years, and we should be doing ministry that builds Godly, appropriate connections and relationships in our ministry.   It is after all one of the most powerful things we can do in the lives of our students, is to introduce them to a relationship with God and others.

The lines however become blurred quickly when relational ministry becomes relationship ministry, that becomes just relationships. Even if it is not moving into inappropriate, abusive situations, we must work hard to un-blur the lines...

Friendly Not Friends.
While working on my masters in education a few years ago, one of our professors said something that has stuck with me, even more so in a church setting- "You can be friendly with students without being friends..". The fact is simple, while we want to have a good relationship with students and build a community of faith, we as adults are not their friends, even though they sometimes see us that way.   Your students have friends--their age, they don't need a 20+ year old being their best friend. Often we drift into how some parents are trying to parent, as their child's friend not their parent.  Do not fall into the same trap, because it will quickly become a slippery relationship slope for you as well.

Invested Not Intimate. 
As we invest our time, efforts and ourselves into serving students we naturally connect with them, and they with us.  Students coming from homes and relationships, where they are not being invested in, we naturally become people they connect with.   Even students that come from good homes, are drawn to people who take the time to listen, care, and pray with them.   Especially as we have deep discussions on spiritual things, closely connected to the emotion, the line can seem blurry as we feel closer to students and they to us.   What looks like investment and humbly serving students can easily drift into false feelings of intimacy.   Be care to invest in students minds, hearts, and lives while keeping a clear line drawn back from the entrance into intimate connection.

Caring Godly Love Not Human Attraction 
We use an unfortunate phrase in youth ministry settings  "loving on students".  If you take half a second to think about how that sounds to someone outside a church-setting, you will see how creepy that really sounds.   We do want to show students love.  We do want show them an example of God-center "love" (agape).   As brothers and sisters in Christ, in the settling of church we want to teach them about how live in the loving family of God (philia).   The problem comes is when we cross the line of loving our students into "loving our students" (eros)

Why is the news packed with stories of inappropriate relationships between a formerly caring adult and a students?  Part of the issue, is that while we are working to build a "relational" ministry, many time we are also trying to build an "attractional" ministry.  We are trying to attract students to our events, activities, teaching and in the mean time also attracting them to us.  Our personality, style, and that we truly care about them.   We must be very clear and set our stance firm, our ministry needs to be about caring and loving students in away that will attract them to Christ-- not to us, otherwise not only will we blur the line, we will quickly erase it!  Ministry built on attracting students to a person and not Christ are just waiting for disaster!

Professional Not Personal
Paid... unpaid...underpaid...Whatever you are, we are a professional.  Even if this is not your profession, as a person in authority and leadership we are seen as the person in charge.   The ministry we are working in needs to have clear expectations, rules, and policies in place for you and your helpers.   While we own the ministry and take it personally when things go wrong or people complain.  When it comes to how we are to act with students, it needs to be more professional and far less personal!  Our professional relationship with a student must never cross the line into a personal relationship.   This may seem cold or business-like but there is a way to minister to students that does not enter into our personal spaces, emotions, and relationships.

My prayer for you is that God would guard your heart, mind, and life as you work to guard the heart mind, and lives of students.  We have all seen and heard of way too many people falling because they blurred, lost and then crossed the line with a student or someone else in their ministry. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Game #95: "Civil War Dodgeball"

Yet another twist on the old youth ministry classic dodgeball.  Just in case you are sick and tired of the same old week in and week out of playing dodgeball. "

A favorite around our 5th-8th grade ministries. 

• Dodgeballs
• Cones or a way to define a center line

Quick explanation: A game of dodgeball where players may not be eliminated immediately but rather lose the use of the area of their body that is hit.

Before the Game:
• Define the playing area and the center line
• Set out dodgeballs at the center line

• Divide up in 2 equal teams
• Give the “Quick explanation”, rules and an example.
• Say something like this as an example, “If you get hit in the arm, you lose that arm for the remainder of the game…if you get hit in the leg you lose that leg and have to hop on the remaining leg for the remainder of the game…”
• On “Go!” everyone starts playing.
• You may yell “Healed!” throughout the game restoring everyone back to full health.

• Use your usual “house rules” for dodgeball.
• If a player gets hit from the shoulder to their hand, they lose the use of that arm and it must be held behind their back.
• If a player gets hit from the shoulder to their hand in the other arm they lose the use of both arms and can now only “dodge”. They may NOT kick the ball
• If a player gets hit in leg from the hip to their feet, they lose the use of that leg and must hop on one leg
• If a player gets hit in the other leg from the hip to their feet, they lose the use of both legs and must play on their knees.
• If a player gets hit in the head, chest or back, they are dead and out of the game.


The winning team is the one with the last remaining player still “standing”

Monday, October 17, 2016

Top 10: MORE Kinds of Ministry Leader?

10. The Author- the name that everyone knows not based on his church or ministry, but based on his latest book.  If you want to see him, it would be easier to look on the back of the book cover than trying set up an appointment or see him upfront.

9. The Traveler- missions trips, speaking engagement, conferences, retreats, and vacations is where he will be.  Long gone are the days of being upfront leading or speaking locally when there is a big world to see and he hasn't seen all of it yet...

8.The CEO- business as usually is just business.  Runs the church based on the latest Fortune 500 company leadership model.  What is the bottom line for money, attendance, and productivity...

7. The Guru- think the Daili Lama for Christians.  The calm soothing voice of wisdom and spiritual understanding, while not really leading anything--lets just see where the spirit leads us this week....

6. The Lost Boy- like Peter Pan in Neverland, the boy that never grew up is now leading a his own motley crew of misfits.  Shorts, flip-flops and a laid back attitude. Where did he put those sermon notes, oh well I guess there are somewhere in my office...

5.  The Buttoned Up- Suit, White Shirt, Tie, Wingtips and at the church picnic!? .  Proper grammar, proper manners, and prop him up against the wall he is stiffer than the starch in his boxers....

4. The Lover- like Olaf from Frozen, he like warm hugs.  He just wants to "love on you"!...All the time.  Everything will be okay if we just show everyone love. ...

3.  The Joel- "the lovers" kissing cousin, with a heaping helping of blessing! "Bless you and bless you and you!! God just want you to be loved and blessed with health and wealth and...great hair, a beautiful wife, a better you....

2. The Scholar- has more degrees than the thermometer and is working on a new one.  Spends more time in this office studying for this weeks lecture (cough-"sermon")  than actually with people finding out what they really need to hear.  He can speak fluent ancient Greek and Hebrew but doesn't know how to talk one on one with you in modern English!?

1.  The Pastor- in the trenches day in and day out with his people.  Studying when he can, but spending as much time as he can in the needs of those around him whether they attend the church or not.  His family and he are there when you need them.  He loves you, wants the best for you, but is not afraid to open the Bible and speak the hard truths using the "two edge sword" to do the hard work of real ministry.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Youth Group "Appropriate" Halloween/Fall Movie Night Movies

I posted this list last year around the same time and have had requests for it again. I figured I would re-post it again as well.

Also check my other two Youth Group Night Movie Night Lists:
- "20 Funny Youth Group Movie Night Movies"
- "20 More Series Youth Group Movie Night Movies"

Obviously this is still a bit of delicate topic with "Halloween" parties vs. "Fall/Harvest" parties  so please do not be offended. Here once again are a few that MIGHT work for your youth group movie night. You know your church and families, so please choose wisely and with good discretion.

15. Monsters, Inc
14. Little Monsters
13. Wallace and Grommit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
12. Addams' Family & Family Values
11. Arachnophobia
10. Coraline
9. Frankenweenie
8. Hocus Pocus
7. Casper
6. Ernest Scared Stupid
5. Monster vs. Aliens
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
3. It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
2. Monster House
1. Hotel Transylvania (1 & 2)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Lesson Help: "Giant Eyeball Beachball" (I Cor. 12:17)

Doing a Lesson about the "Body of Christ" from I Cor. 12:12-23?
(.... 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body. ...) 

Consider grabbing one of these as part of your lesson as a great illustration/object lesson.

Here some other verses on the "eye" that you might also use with this:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

News U Can Use: "Why Risky Behavior Increases During Tween/Teen Years"

"Adolescents among humans and non-human animals alike are more inclined to engage in heightened risk-taking behavior, exploration and novelty seeking. Although these attributes provide adaptive value in enabling individuals to gain importance in the world, including independence from parents, if taken too far, this tendency could lead to potentially dangerous behavior, including drug use, harmful drinking, addiction, unsafe sex, and risky driving, which may result in unintended injuries, violence and/or even premature death. A new Dartmouth study just published in Current Biology demonstrates for the first time, the causal relationship between behavioral control and a specific imbalance in brain function that exists during adolescence. (A pdf of the study is available upon request).

Adolescent-specific behavior may be driven by an imbalance in activity between the prefrontal cortex (PFC), an area of the brain involved in cognitive control and inhibition, which does not fully develop until the late teens/early 20s, and the nucleus accumbens (NAC), which plays a central role in reward-seeking and addiction. Past research has found that adolescents that engage in risk-taking behavior have trouble inhibiting such behavior as compared to either adults or pre-adolescents. Researchers have postulated that the low activity in PFC with concurrent high activity in NAC, an imbalance which appears to exist only during adolescence, is essentially at odds with each other.... 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Top 10: Kinds of Ministry Leaders?

10. The Grandpa- been doing ministry a long time and now it is almost time to retire. Doesn't want to rock the boat, just wants to rock in his chair...

9. The Buddy- is everybody's friend and pal.  Lets everyone do whatever they want, because its alright they are my buddy...

8. The Wimp-the complete pushover. Not willing to stand up for anything or to anybody...somebody might get mad and leave??

7. The Good Old Boy- a combination between the grandpa and the buddy.  Has his "club" of boys that are sometimes called "the leaders".  Has his set of traditions, friends, and things "we have always done that way..."

6. The Traditionalist- always good for grandstanding speech about the past, history, and protecting the foundations,fundamentals, and faith of our fathers.

5.  The Fighter- knuckles up, all the time.  In his past life (before Jesus) would take care of business down at the bar (or out back) now he is taking care of business at the church.

4.  The Newbie- so cute, so fresh, so new.  8-10 years of education and not a lick of experience.   First church out and grandma Jones is having him over for dinner to tell him what's up and how things ARE to be....

3. The Hipster- coffee, facial hair, and just spent way too much on those jeans. Keeping the church relevant and real without all the self-righteousness....such a bummer man!

2. The Dictator- if your church had a pope, he would be it. Whatever he says, thinks, breaths, or burps it is inerrant God truth. It not his way or the highway...It is his way or his highway, no detours here. He will choice the office paint colors, toilet paper brand, and oh here is your list of HIS rules, for HIS church?

1. The Shepherd- the lover and humble servant.  Willing to do anything for anybody, any time of the day or night.  Leads, Feeds, and Intercedes for his people....

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Why We Choose to Lead As My Family

I choose to lead with my wife and family, when I lead my ministry, especially in the area of family and parent ministry.

I know in some ways we are weird.  While my wife is not a paid employee of our church, she is very involved in what I do and how I lead.   Throughout the years my two children, even while they were still too young to be members of my youth ministry were around and active in being a part of my ministry.

I was recently part of a church for the past 2 years, before moving on, to a new church where this was not the norm and even more so, was considered completely unacceptable.  It was such a strong stance with the Sr. Pastor and leadership, that they would come and check to make sure that my children were not around during my "work hours" of youth nights, activities, and events.  I was even encouraged to discourage my wife from being involved as well.   It was a weird place for us, needless to say.

This week, at our new church, we had a staff and spouse gathering to talk about the future of our church including new campus, land purchases, and ministry vision.  The Sr. Pastor here, as he talked referred to his wife and family often talking about ministry.   As the night went on, he intentionally spoke to each pastor AND his wife from the front, affirming them in their work and calling together in ministry.

It might be how I was raised, growing up in a pastor’s home.  We believed that we were called as a family to my dad’s ministry as a pastor.  I grew up being an active part of what my dad did and I have seen the benefits of having my own children involved in what I do. Some might debate this or disagree, but I think particularly when it comes to having a strong ministry to families and parents it is a good thing.  The movement in churches and in youth ministry is to more family-oriented ministry and parent-ministry inclusiveness....Orange, Sticky Faith, D6 and so on!   It seems rather odd to me if we are going to lead and buy in to these philosophies, I wouldn't include my family?

I know not everyone who reads this is married or a parent and I am not say you cannot minister to families or parents if you are single. I am simply sharing why we personally choose to lead as a family.  However should God lead you in the future to get married, I would suggest you have an honest talk about how much and whether your spouse and/or family will be involved in what you do.

Here is why we choose to lead as a family…
1.    Lead by Example. 
Both good and bad, you have the opportunity to share, live and lead as a family on mission together.  Your successes and your failures allow you to lead well and earn the right to be heard.
2.    Married to the Job. 
Ministry can easily become a threat or a way to cheat your family.  The needs and time demands of ministry can easily lead to feelings of “us vs. them”, when it comes to your family.  If you are serving together as a family, the mindset changes.  Also instead of you being away from the family, they are going with you as you all serve together.
3.    Battle of the Sexes. 
Involving your spouse in your ministry creates in your ministry a better gender balance and a more well rounded ministry.  God created us different and for a reason.  Ministries and churches too often have a tendency to appeal more to one gender than another based on it leader.  Allowing your spouse’s voice to part the of  conversation also give permission for the opposite gender to feel included in what you are doing.
4.    Training Up Your Children.  No matter what your own personal children choose to do with their lives, you should want them to see it as ministry.  Having them involved in what you do in full-time vocational ministry now, opens their eyes and hearts to serving later.  Your children serving with you in your ministry to families and parents becomes a teaching and discipleship opportunity for them as well as for others.

This may not be a “one-size-fits-all” idea, based on your family and spouse, but I would strongly encourage you to consider it.  Even if it is only in certain ways and certain times, include your family and spouse in what you do.   You might just be surprised how it will change your own home, the homes you ministry to, and even your church as a whole.