Tuesday, May 31, 2016

News U Can Use: "Video Game Addiction Lead to Health Risks"

"Some children and youth with high videogame addiction tendencies may be at risk of sleep deprivation and disorders associated with obesity and poor cardio-metabolic health, Hamilton researchers have found.

The study, published in the scientific journal PLOS One, examines the growing global gaming phenomenon and its impact on youth health.

Dr. Katherine Morrison, co-author of the study, worked with researchers from McMaster and California State University, Fullerton. She is an associate professor of pediatrics for McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and a pediatric endocrinologist with the McMaster Children's Hospital.

Her team's findings are serious, given the rise in videogame addictions, she said.

"This is an important phenomenon to understand. We are seeing that some children and teens develop serious addiction-like symptoms to video games," said Morrison. "It affects a vulnerable population of children and youth, can impact social interactions amongst youth and, as our research shows, can drive health issues."
CLICK HERE (to read more from "Science Daily")

Monday, May 30, 2016

Top 10: More VBS Themes for Summer 2016!?

It is BACK....The Top 10 NEW VBS Themes for 2016!! If you liked last year's  You may also find these mildly humorous as well? Here they are the Ran-Dumb VBS Themes that aren't but could be for your church his year!! 

10. WWE!?  (Wrestle not with flesh and blood")

9.  STAR WARS!?  (the VBS Awakens!) 

8.  EMOJIS!? (Monday is "smiley face", Wednesday is "crying face" by Friday the volunteers are "ZZZzz" ) 

7. DONALD TRUMP!? (Make VBS great again!) 

6. BEARDS!?  (Jesus had one, Willie Robertson has one, Every kid at church should have one...) 

5. KALE!? (Man cannot live on bread alone...because it has Glutten!? ) 

4. SUMMER OLYMPICS IN RIO!?  (Apostle Paul was a fan of the Olympics?) 

3.  SAVING DORY? (she once was lost but now she found...in Jesus!) 

2.  COMIC BOOK SUPERHEROES  (because they are like everywhere, why not VBS?) 

1. JUSTIN BEIBER!? (cheesy but catchy songs that get stuck in your head for like the next month....Yep VBS!) 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lesson Series: "JOY!" (more than happiness)

A 4 Week Lesson Series about JOY!

Each week students will examine what Joy is, how we keep it, and most importantly the difference between joy and happiness! 

Included: PDF Outline with individual lesson outlines and a BONUS Illustration/Object Lesson: "Color Your Life with Joy!"

- "Joy Vs. Happiness" 
- "Connected to Joy" 
- "Find Joy in Life...and Not Losing It?"
- "Joy in Life" 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

News U Can Use: "The Urgent Role of Parent in Technology Age"

"Remember the thrill you felt when you passed a note in junior high math class?

The anticipation of getting a response to that note was almost too much to bear. Would the recipient of your rule-breaking correspondence reply positively? Or… oh no! What if he or she didn’t like you the way you liked him or her?

What if the person you thought you could trust with this most intimate glimpse into your heart’s desires took that carefully crafted note and taped it to the bathroom door – laying bare your soul for all the school to see. That would be the worst!

Yes, in 1989, that would be the worst. In 2016, that note would be a naked photo of you, snapped in a moment that felt brave and daring, and then sent with a light touch of a little circle on a screen.

And if things got really bad, that bathroom wall would be a Facebook wall, viewable by not only your entire school, but any of the three billion people worldwide with access to the internet.

Now that would be the worst.
According to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, 88% of teenagers in the U.S. have a cell phone, and 90% of them use their phone for texting.
Nearly three-quarters of teens (ages 13-17) visit various social media sites multiple times a day, and 33% use messaging apps like Kik, WhatsApp, or SnapChat.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Youth Ministry Meme #95

Free Resource #75: 30+ Teen/Pre-Teen Theme Party Ideas

End of the Year Party Time??

"Party Games Plus" offers over 30 theme "teen" theme party ideas!

Each theme ideas includes things like invitation suggestions, game and decoration ideas and more. If you are stuck for your next youth group party and are trying to come up with some things fun consider one of theses ideas or if you already have the theme in mind but need some extra help and inspiration here you go...

- TV SHOW'S : Amazing Race, Dr. Who, Fear Factor, Minute to Win It, Project Runway,  Adventure Time, Once Upon a Time....

- MOVIES: Hollywood Glitz, Hunger Games, Alice in Wonderland, Divergent,....

- MUSIC: Karaoke, 70's Disco, Taylor Swift, One Direction....

- FUN: Totally 80's, Neon/Glow, Luau, Candy, Fiesta, Princess...


CLICK HERE (to start checking it all out and get your party on)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Teaching Clip #60: "The Big Story" (Bible)

The Big Story from The Gospel Project | LifeWay on Vimeo.

* Currently taking my 5th-6th grade Sunday Morning ministry through a 2 years study of the Bible using a condensed version of 3 year "GOSPEL PROJECT" youth curriculum.  It has been great! While I enjoyed the "Story"curriculum, I found the "Gospel Project" so much better because instead of 30-32 weeks it offers about 150 lessons over 3 years.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Game #91: "Caffeine Quiz" (upfront/big group) FREE!

Quick FREE upfront powerpoint game challenges your students to see if they know which of 2 products has the most caffeine. 

- 19 Jpg Slides
- 8 Challenge Slides
- 8 Answers Slides
- Title Slides
- Instruction Slide

DOWNLOAD IT NOW! (click away)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Lesson Series: "Wired" (Talents, Passions, and Gifts)

A Three Week Lesson Series about How God Has"Wired" You with His Divine Touch giving You Abilities, Heart, and Gifts.

- Three Complete Powerpoint Presentations (flattend JPEG format) already done for you with graphics, verses, and outline.
- Suggested Video Illustrations (with links) also included.

CLICK HERE (to download for $5)

News U Can Use: "What Tweens DON'T Want Parents to Know about Their Technology"

"Tears and questions of family trust poured out when kids agreed to reveal to their parents what they're really doing on their smartphones during a special "Good Morning America" roundtable.

"GMA" correspondent T.J. Holmes first sat down with the parents of eight girls in Southern California to find out what they think they know about their daughters' smartphone use.

The parents revealed their daughters are on their phones "every second" of the day, including at least one who is even connected to her phone in the shower.

"Our daughter puts it into a Ziploc bag ... plays music and she takes a shower," said Lena, the mother of Allie, whose last name, like all those involved, is not being used.

All the parents have access to their daughters’ cellphones through a passcode or fingerprint, but struggled to explain what their kids are doing on their phones.

"Selfies ... They like to draw pictures ... They do Snapchats ... They do DubMix smashes and, see, I don't know what that is," said one parent. "And now FaceSwap."

"The ASKfm one, I don't like it," said another....

Monday, May 16, 2016

Deep Is Not What You Know?

 Deep is not what you know, it is what you do…deep isn’t information, it is letting the Gospel transform your life”.  

        These were words from a recent interview lead by Perry Noble a church service talking with  pastor, Davey Blackburn.   You might have heard about Davey Blackburn and know the name, because his family was in the news.  Davey’s pregnant wife was killed in a home invasion in November.

            As I listened to the two pastors talk for close to an hour about who God is and how he works, I was blown away at Davey’s spirit reflecting over the last couple months of his life.   What he shared was not information but transformation.   He spoke about all that happened but then shared about how God has used it to transform himself, his church, and so many lives around our country.

            We live in an informed world; more informed than any other time. There is no lack of information.  What we do not live in is a transformed world.  Sin has continued to deform our world and misinform our hearts, as the Father of Lies does his work. Our response as a church and in our ministries must be more than more information, but also transformation.  

            We are asked all the time about how to have a “deeper walk with God” or a “deeper faith”.    Both of those we must recognize is not about being better informed but being more transformed.   While Pastor Blackburn could choose to find a way to rationalize or think through the facts of what happened and why; he has chosen rather to live out his faith and the transforming truth of the gospel in his ministry. 

            What about you this week?  When a difficult situation in your ministry, in your home or elsewhere arise?  Will you face it down with information in your head or with the transformation in your heart as well?   What about with your students and families?    What is going to echo louder, a set of facts, a few Greek or Hebrew words from seminary OR a faith that you have been lived out naturally and fully in front of them.
            Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

            May you live both an informed and transformed ministry this week, no matter what tests, difficulties, and challenges might come! 

Top 10: Ways to Keep Yourself and Your Ministry Culturally Relevant?

10. Subscribe to a couple Entertainment/Pop Culture Magazines (Billboard, Entertainment Weekly..) 

9. Sign up for Teen Marketing Email List (ypulse,  media post...)

8. Sign up for a Christian Youth/Teen Culture Email List (CPYU, Youth Culture Report....)

7. Take a Prayer Walk around the Mall, walking through the "teen" stores (Including Hot Topics and Spencers, besides the usual clothing stores.)

6. Watch a couple Awards Shows a year. (MTV Music/Movie, Nickelodeon Kid's Choice, Radio Disney (tween, pre-teen), Billboard....)

5. Watch a couple episodes of Popular TV Shows occasionally. (yes, you might actually have to own a TV and have cable.  Netflix & Hulu are good also)  

4. Don't Try to be Culturally Relevant by Acting, Dressing, Talking or Pretending to be something you are NOT! (40 year old dude, "muffin topping" it in skinny jeans...NO!) 

3.  Have a Student Leadership team, allow them to influence and have ownership of the ministry.   (students know what their friends like, need to hear, and like to do.  HINT: it is probably not what your youth group did back in the day)

2. Go to School Lunches (you will find out A LOT, you will find out what is relevant to your group, area and culture.  What is hot in California or New York may not be cool in small town Iowa ! ) 

1.  Take students out after-school (or whenever) ask questions, don't talk but rather listen! 

* Bonus: If you don't know what the word means don't use it! If you want to find out what it means PLEASE use "Urban Dictionary" 

AND as funny as the the above shirt is, don't buy that and wear it, it will NOT make you "culturally relevant". 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lesson Series: "The 'Inside Out' of Your Emotions"

A Pre-Teen, Middle School, Jr. High Four Week Lesson Series on our Emotions: 
Anger, Fear, Sadness, and of course Joy! 

Using Clips from Disney's "Inside Out" movie! 

Just taught this series to my 5th & 6th graders.  They LOVED IT! 

- Title Slide (jpg)
- 4 Lesson Outlines (pdf)
- 4 Complete Lesson Powerpoint Presentations (w/graphics, scriptures, and links to suggested video clips)
* Also included is a BONUS Lesson for a Family Night!


-"Inside Out of Fear"
-"Inside Out of Anger"
-"Inside Out of Sadness"
-"Inside Out of Joy!"
* Bonus Lesson: "Getting to the Core of Family Emotions"

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

News U Can Use: "Moms Have the Toughest Time During Middle School Years"

" While many assume that the most taxing years for mothers are when their children are infants, new research has found that the middle school years are far more challenging.

Aside from puberty, this is a time when the school environment becomes more impersonal, academic grades are much more public, being popular is sought after, and efforts to separate from parents start in earnest.

All of this adds up to a tumultuous time for children — as well as the mothers who must nurture and guide them through this trying period, according to researchers at Arizona State University.

“From the perspective of mothers, there’s a great deal of truth to the saying, ‘Little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems,’” said Arizona State University (ASU) Foundation Professor Suniya Luthar. “Taking care of infants and toddlers is physically exhausting. But as the kids approach puberty, the challenges of parenting are far more complex, and the stakes of things going wrong are far greater.”... 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Defining Success in Youth Ministry

People all the time ask me "how do you define success?" or "how do I know I am being successful?"  It fills blogs, books, and staff meetings.  It is the make or break for many in youth ministry, and often is the difference between keeping or losing a job.

It is tricky question with a sometimes an even more tricky set of answers, especially when the answers are more crockpot than microwave.

The answers comes after having been in youth ministry for over 20 years and they are not "silver bullets".  These are some of my own reflections. 

Here is How You May Be Able to Define Success in Youth Ministry…. 

5 to 10 years from now
Year #1 is getting to know the ministry, church, area, people and the history.  Year #2 is forming and shaping what your ministry needs to look like, whom it is going to target, and what your vision for your ministry approach is going to be.  Year #3 is when you actually start running your own youth ministry.   SO...minimum you cannot start defining "success" until at least year #5 at a place, probably longer!!

Success can be defined by LONGEVITY!

When they choice to serve
While we like to fill our lessons with information and a couple Greek words, success in ministry cannot be seen through how much knowledge and facts we have imparted.   Often in youth ministry we spend much of our time studying and then delivering lengthy amounts of information, but our students in actuality really do not retain much of it. There is no quiz or test at the end of our ministry to assess how much our students learned or the amount of facts they remembered, so that we can know whether or not we "passed" or "failed".

What we can observe is life, actions and service.  Are the students we have served turning around and applying what they have heard in serving others?   This is not the obligatory annual missions trip and holiday service project, this is something that lives beyond our efforts.

Success can be seen when students make their own PERSONAL DECISIONS TO SERVE! 

When faith and story is shared
For many in youth ministry and often in the church the definition of success is found in numbers.  Numbers in the seat...Numbers of salvations...Numbers of rededications... Number of baptisms.  These are all easy ones and "warm fuzzy" way to reassure ourselves we are not failing.   All of those things are wonderful and I do not want to belittle those things, but those numbers are often "false positives" of success in ministry.

Consider some different numbers:
  •        The number of students and young adults that honestly, confidently and regularly share their faith in a personal relational way
  •       The number of students that can tell you the entire story of the Bible and its connections to the Gospel, throughout.  
  •       The number of people coming to Christ, not through an event, a forced encounter, but because someone was willing to share their own faith story with them in an authentic way.

In the Family.
Youth ministry is about us ministering to young people.  We dedicate hours to loving, leading, and learning.   We sacrifice so much in the hope that young people will want to follow Christ with their lives.  We take our youth groups away to camps, retreats, and trips.  We put on concerts, events and overnights.

We pack our schedules and work extra hours.  We work so hard for the mission and the calling.  We look back after years of serving a group, a church or a place.  We remember the names and faces of so many students that we have poured into.  We may however have missed the most important young people that we are called to and in end have failed after all because...

Success in Youth Ministry can be defined when MY OWN PERSONAL CHILDREN CHOOSE TO FOLLOW CHRIST!! 

Teaching Clip #58: "Reconciliation and Forgiveness" (Invictus)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Game #91: "Emoji Bible Verses #1" (group/upfront/powerpoint game)

Thanks for all the great responses to last week's "Emoji Bible Stories". This week here is a quick fun game for your group to see how well they know popular and hopefully well-know Bible Verses AND also their Emojis! 

- Sample Slides
- 10 Challenges Slides
- 10 Answer Slides
- Bonus/Tiebreaker Slides


(to download it for $3, from the Ministry Marketplace Store)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Lesson Series: "Up & Down" (I Tim. 4:12)

A 3 week lesson series based on I Timothy 4:12, about growing up in your faith while being looked down on for being young.


- Complete Lesson Outline (PDF), including passages, video clip illustration suggestions & active links to many of there clips
- 3 Complete Powerpoint Presentations (Flattened JPEGS), to work in any presentation software)

1. "Grown Up Example" 
2. "Because You ARE Young"
3. "Oh Grow Up!? Growing Faith

CLICK HERE (to get it all) 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Top 10: Reasons You Should Clean Your Youth Closet? (classic)

10.  Expired Turkey and Peach Baby Food?

9.  The Resignation Letter From the Guy 2 Youth Pastors Ago?

8.  A Bag Full of JH Boy Underwear...Dirty?

7.  A 20 x 30 Framed Painting of Mrs. Jones and her Cat...of the "Jones Memorial Youth Building/Bingo Hall" 

6.  A Case of Spam?

5. 52 Rolls of Toilet Paper?

4. A Collection of Walkers, Canes, Pune Juices and Depends?

3.  The Complete Box Set of Petra Albums On Cassette...Never Been Opened! (* Ebay here you come!!)

2.  The Special Offerings for the Youth Group's Compassion Child!!!! 

1. The Remains of that Missing 8th Grader From Last Year's Game of Sardines?  (WINNER!)