Saturday, April 29, 2017

Middle Years Ministry.Com Is HERE!

The cross-over HAS finally happening! 

After close to 5 years and 400,000+ visits the "JH Uth Guy" is moving and changing. 
New things are happening and our launch of something new is finally here! 

- Updated content, fresh new resources, continued RanDumb fun, along with refreshed favorites. 
- New ministry partners and regular guest contributors are lined up and have been posting some great content and thoughts 

It has been an amazing time doing the "JH Uth Guy" thing. It has opened so many opportunities, friendships, and experiences. Thank you everyone who has been a part of this time. 

This site is not disappearing quite yet, this site will remain up, for you to continue to use and sort through. We will not be posting anything new here any longer in order to work on our a new place. We have stripped down much of the additional items and links so this will be a simpler site. Hopefully that will make what remains easier to look through! 

Much of your favorite content have move over to the NEW "Middle Years Ministry" Site! 

Our heart still remains the same.. 
- Creating, sharing, providing 5th-9th grade ministry resources.
- Giving overall youth ministry helps/hints.
- Providing coaching/mentoring/networking.
- Parent ministry connections.
- Highlighting other people, ministries, and freebies.
- And finding ways to laugh and not take ourselves too seriously. 


Dan Istvanik 
Ps. 71:17-18

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Game #170: "Cele-Beauty" (Screen Game)

A Beautiful Shocking Screen-Based Game! 

See if Your Students Can Tell Who The Celebrity is Without Their Make Up! 


- 1 Editable Powerpoint Presentatation
- 1 Flattened Ready-to Use Powerpoint Presentation
- Title, Instruction, Answer Title Slides (Jpg)
- 10 Challenge Slides (Jpg)
- 10 Answer Slides (Jpg)
- Bonus and Answer Slide (Jpg)
- Bible Verse Slide

Great introduction to:
- Judging Others
- God Looking on the Inside, Man Looking on the Outside
- Beauty
- Self-Image & God's Image

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

News U Can Use Video: "The Gen Z Effect"

Those of us doing youth ministry need to stop doing "Millenial Ministry" and start doing "Generation Z Ministry", especially those of us working with the MIDDLE YEARS (5th-9th grades).

 Millennials are our kid's parents, not our the those people sitting in our seats.  If were not careful, we will miss an entire generation!  It has happened before in the church.   

Here is a great video and outstanding book to help you understand Generation Z. 


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Top 10: Things to Consider As You START Doing Generation Z Ministry (*and STOP doing Millennial Ministry)




10. Generation Z Students are More Realistic and Understand that Opportunities are not Endless.  (

9.  Generation Z While Continuing to Use Technology Desires "Face to Face" Interactions

8.  Generation Z is Even More Global, With More Access to Their World Than Any Other Generation.  (

7.  Generation Z Has Less Helicopter Parents. (

6.  Generation Z Will Have Less Formal Continuing Education, Instead Will Seek Life Experience, Internships, and Apprenticeship.  (

5.  Generation Z Are Multi-Taskers with More Abilities to Accomplish More in Less Time. (

4. Generation Z Is More Individualistic and Less Likely to Be Stuck on Titles, Labels and Even Brands.  ( )

3. Generation Z Seem Less Focused but Are Faster Thinkers. (

2.  Generation Z Needs a to Be Communicated to Differently with Snappy and Snack-size Information.( )

1.  Generation Z, Will Be Even Less Churched and Traditionally Religious Than Millennials  (

Friday, April 21, 2017

Resource Marketplace: "THE MINISTRY MARKET"

Looking for a place to share or sell your resources? 

Have you submitted your amazing game or lesson to be "downloaded" for youth ministry and are waiting for it to posted? 

Consider "The Ministry Market", to get your resources out there and make a little bit of money. 

Admittedly, it sounds to good to be true or some kinds of scam, but it is not.  It is a real opportunity to get your resources and yourself out there.  Also, being real, if you look, you will see it is just taking off, so the youth ministry resources are limited.  It is only because people have not heard about it and have not really taken advantage of this neat, simple site.    My wife, who is a teacher, uses a similar site "Teachers Pay Teachers".  You will have do a bit of leg work and promote yourself and your "store" but it will pay-off a bit if you do.  You won't get rich, but it might be just enough to take your special someone out a couple times?

Basic Instruction:
1. Sign Up/Create An Account (it is FREE)
2. Create Your Own Store (it is FREE!)
3. Upload Your Stuff (you are responsible for quality and proof-reading)
      * Set up if you want to provide downloadable content or even physical content that needs to   
        physically mailed 
4. Set Up Your Dashboard (control your content)
5. Connect Your PayPal Account
6. Promote Your Stuff.

CHECK OUT MY STORE (*as an example) 

RanDumb Youth Ministry Meme #116

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Teaching Clip #74: "I Grew Up in the Westboro Baptist Church...."

A powerful Ted Talk, that might work well as a teaching clip, small group discussion, or as a lesson lead in. 

WARNING: There is some language and topics that might not fit your group.  Please pre-watch and decide if your group/context is the best fit for the clip.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Game #169: "Pool Noodle Charades"



• 2-3 long pool noodles
• Pack of index cards
• Pen/Marker

Quick explanation: A twist on the charades where teams will work to guess what the upfront player(s) are acting out in the time allowed

Before the Game:
• Write out clues on the index cards (suggestions below)
• Split the group into at least 2 teams. Consider guys vs. girls.
• Give the players the “Quick Explanation” and rules
• Start off by ask for 1 player from the first team to come to the front
• Have them face their team and show them the clue on the card
• On “Go!” player will have 30 second using the pool noodle act out or form a clue for their team to try to guess.
• Continue the game with each team taking turns and have new upfront players each round
• Teams get 1 point for each correct guess

• Upfront players cannot speak, make sounds or form letter/numbers.
• The guessing team only has the allowed time to guess, if they cannot guess it correctly the opposing team has 1 guess as a team to “steal” and get the point.
• Do not announce category, unless you would like. It will make it a bit more fun and difficult

• Winning team is the team that has the most points at the end of the assigned rounds.

Clue Suggestions:
  • Easy: Animals (moose, horse…), Food (spaghetti, burger, banana…) Object (phone, knife, straw) Sports (basketball, soccer, pole vaulting…) 
  • Medium: Person (firemen, soldier…) Action (walk, run, fly, question…)
  • Hard: Movie Title (Star Wars, Snakes on a Plane, Tangled,…) TV Shows (The Voice, Dance with the Stars…) 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

News U Can Use: "Adulthood passage rituals can create stronger faith"

"Life is a series of passages — from womb to a parent's arms, from childishness to childlikeness, from school to work, from independence to commitment, from life to death.

Historically, the Christian church has marked these events with rituals that turn these passages into significant events of faith formation, such as baptism, confirmation, marriage and funerals. More recently, it seems the church has lost the ability to bring meaning to the passage from adolescence to adulthood.

G. Stanley Hall, the pioneering psychologist and educator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, identified adolescence as a time of "storm and stress" caused primarily by developmental physiology. He indicated the turbulent time in a young person's life lasted about two or three years.

In the following years, famed anthropologist Margaret Mead argued that the "storm and stress" of adolescence does not occur in cultures where there are identifiable transition events from childhood to adulthood. In other words, adolescence is as much, if not more, about culture as it is about biology.

As academic researchers from a variety of fields argued and postulated about adolescence through the 20th century, an interesting thing took place. Adolescence in the American experience began to lengthen. Secondary sexual characteristics began to occur at younger ages, while societal forces pushed adulthood to older ages.

For example, while the average age of puberty dropped from 14-15 to 11-12, the age when someone is considered an adult — as noted by cultural events, such as high school graduation, college graduation, drinking age and marriage — has increased. We are left with a murky adolescent limbo lasting up to 15 years, with no biological or cultural marker that clearly determines when one achieves adult standing.

For those concerned about Christian formation, the long transition of adolescence offers an intriguing opportunity to shape one's faith identity.... " 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Involving your Daughter, as a Pastor (10 Reasons Why)

In this picture there are 5 pastor's daughters.  2 daughter of my Sr. Pastor, 1 on the stage leading worship and 1 in the front row worshipping with her husband.  The second row is my daughter with her arm around, our worship pastor's daughter standing next to the daughter of one of our campus pastors.  There is actually a 6th pastor's daughter 1 more row back that you don't see, my worship pastor's other baby daughter with cute pink headphones to protect her ears but still smiling and clapping to the music her daddy is playing.

I love being part of a church where the staff children are loved and embraced.  I love the fact especially that our daughters are cherished.  It is amazing for us to watch the adult daughters of our Sr. Pastor, leading and living an example for the younger girls.

It is even more significant after coming from a church, where the staff children were to "not be seen and not be heard".  Where our daughters and women in general were not given a voice or were barely allowed upfront. It is refreshing to be in a place where our daughters are highly involved and are welcome to serve along side of their fathers.

Involving our daughters as pastors in our ministry, church, and life is important.  Not to demand it, but to welcome it, embrace it, and truly celebrate it!  Here is why it is important. 

10. They will learn they have a voice in the church and in our world. 

9. They will see our example as leaders, first hand, enabling them to make discerning choices about the men they allow to lead them in their future (husbands, pastors, bosses...) 

8. They will see examples of Godly woman, first hand, empowering them to make wise choices about the women they want to become and the kinds of female role-models they choice to follow. 

7. They learn how to be"help-mates" and Biblical partners in ministry.  They can see your wife and her role in your ministry.  

6. They will learn how to serve and experience the value of using their gifts and talents for God. 

5.  They will be given a safe place to talk and wrestle with what it means to be a "woman" and a safe place to grow into being a woman. 

4. They can become a role model and encouragement for younger girls in the church but especially for other daughters on staff. 

3.  Because being a PK, is not easy.  There is a lot of people that your daughter has to share you with sometimes.   There is extra demands, weird schedules, and life interruptions.  Involving them allows them to "own" it and appreciate it.   It is not just dad's ministry, it is "mine"... "ours". 

2.  So they will be less likely to walk away from faith, church, God and maybe even you when they get older.  There is no guarantees, but involvement is one more way to allow faith to become "sticky".  Taking it from being "dad's church"..."dad's job"..."dad's faith" to "my church"..."my ministry"..."my faith"! 

1.  They are a daughter of the King and they are your daughter too.  You get to share them! They deserve VIP, full access passes to us, church and to God.  They should have the privilege to the front row seats and the backstage pass.  

Friday, April 14, 2017

Parent Ministry Resource Partner: "MinistrytoParents.Com"

Over the last couple years, I have been partnering and writing for "Parent Ministry" 

 I have been one of their lead content writers for about 3 years now.

They are continuing to do great things in helping youth workers do a better job of equipping, empowering and engaging parents!

I have recently taken on some new projects with them including helping them write the content for both there youth and children's ministry online parenting classes.

If you have never heard of "Parent Ministry" , I would encourage you to check them out.



*Some of my recent ones I have written cover topic like:

  • "Developing Gratefulness in Your Teen"
  • "Helping Your Teen Deal with Stress"
  • "Teaching Your Teen Responsibility" 

TOOLBOX RESOURCES:  (*like these)                          


(short"cliff notes"of parenting books)

Recent "Snapshot" Books:
  • Are My Kids on Track? by Goff, Thomas, Trevathan
  • Help My Kids Are Viewing Pornography by Tim Challies
  • Belonging and Becoming by Mark and Lisa Scandrette
  • 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smart Phone Obsessed Kid by Jonathan McKee

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Media Freebie #98: "Gift Card PS Mock Up"


"In this pack, you will find 4 different mockups to show your Gift Cards or Coupon Codes in a professional way and in just a few seconds. From 1 to 4 cards at the same time, this gift card mockup it is easy to update with your own design by using Photoshop Smart Objects. You can use any color or design you wish for the blister or/and the cards. Changing the background color could not be more easy, just double-click on the color layer, choose your desired color and click OK.

In each one of the files, you will find a shadows layer group, where you can easily set the shadow for light or dark backgrounds according to your specific needs, or simply turn it off if you do not wish a shadow on it."

CLICK HERE (to check it out and give some love to "Media Loot")

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Game #168: "It's Just So Punny!" (screen game)

Here is a Super "PUNNY" Screen-Based Game For Your Group!

Sure to Get Everyone Thinking, Laughing and Groaning?

See if your students can figure out the 10 Picture Puns and 1 Bonus Pun! A hilarious game for any occasion.
Great lead into a lesson on "interpretation", "understanding" and "knowing and understanding"

  • Title Slide 
  • 10 Question Slides
  • 10 Answer Slides
  • Bonus/Tiebreaker Slides
  • Editable Full Powerpoint Presentation 
  • Flat Full Powerpoint Presentation 
**All Slides are Wide Jpeg (1920 X 1080) Format!

Here is an Example...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

News U Can Use "You, Too, Can Instagram Like A Teenager"

(** Just in Case You Are Living Under a Youth Ministry Rock...)
"Instagram is my favorite social media app.

This was not always the case. I've long been comfortable writing Facebook and Twitter posts, usually attempting pithy and witty in my posts. But Facebook and Twitter can sometimes feel like a barrage of anger and injustice, and it feeds into stress.

Facebook Inc.'s Instagram logo is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone in this arranged photograph taken in Washington, D.C., U.S. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Instagram, on the other hand, with its pretty pictures and wit and whimsy-via-image usually relaxes and inspires me these days. I check and post to Instagram far more often than the other social media outlets these days. How did it come to this?

In a previous life of working in digital strategy and academia, I spent a lot of time trying to understand what young people were doing with social media, and Instagram was (and continues to be) one of the top apps for them. I loved seeing the secret visual language they used — the inside jokes, the fun selfies, the clothes, the emojis — and I guess you could say that I not only picked up a few tips and tricks, but I also went native. Believe it or not, teens can teach us a lot about how to use Instagram..." 

Lesson Illustration/Object Lesson: "Build Your Own Lie Detector"

Are you doing a lesson on truth? 

Have an upcoming lesson about honesty and integrity? 

Hook your kids up to a lie detector!!! 

Head over to Cracker Barrel and buy one! Yes, Cracker Barrel!! 

CLICK HERE (to order one)  or visit your local "Cracker Barrel"! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Top 10: Youth Ministry in the City vs. Youth Ministry in the Country!

10. Street Racing? (souped up cars VS. souped up horse & buggy...seriously)

9. Friday Nights? (hang with your kids at mall and Starbucks VS. hang with your kids at the DQ after the game)

8. Downtown? (area with stores, restaurants, traffic VS. the road by the cotton gin, the post office, and beauty parlor)

7. A Block? (1 street down VS. 1 mile...give or take?)

6.  Schools? ("All youthworkers must be 100 yards off of school property between first bell and last bell" VS. "Hey, this is the principal at_____ I just wanted to call and let you know _______ got in trouble, can you come over?"

5.  Friday Bonfire? (A small fire pit with 4 logs and a reasonable flame VS. everything that we can find that is flammable on 4 farm radius,  flame visible from space) 

4.  Going out to Eat? (a over-priced fish, cucumber and mint taco served with a side organically grown kale VS. an all-you-can-eat Smorgasbord of down-home style food, served with a side of gravy) 

3. Family? (Those people you live with in your house when dad is not working and the kids are not out of town for travel parcheesi team or the national geometry bee  VS. The imperfect but hardworking people that care for you and... the 23 cousins, aunts, uncles that live walking distance from your house, that also care for you.)

2. Church? (a few building in the suburbs, where people go occasionally at Easter and Christmas or an old stone building downtown, that is now a nightclub  VS. multiple buildings located everywhere, where everyone in the area, is a member of at least 3, and the family attends at least 1 regularly, and their kids attend at least 2 of the youth groups regularly)  

1.  Students? THE SAME! 
They are being influenced by the same social media, TV, movies, and music.  They have the same spiritual questions, struggles, and temptations. They experience the  same heart-break.  They face the same pressures to succeed.  They have the same family issues.   They have the SAME NEED for a youth ministry and youth leader (paid or unpaid), that care for them, love them, and are willing to be present in their lives.  THEY HAVE THE SAME NEED FOR JESUS! 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

RanDumb Youth Ministry Meme #115

April Featured Blog: "The Discipleship Project"

"Discipleship is the hardest, least sexiest, most frustrating part of youth ministry but it reaps the greatest rewards. Too often youth worker are busy just trying to survive unreasonable pastors, parents, and church members to develop a strategy to disciple kids. We often let camp, retreats, and conferences do this for us. Kids who modifyd their behavior so they can be accepted within the spiritual community is not a disciple of Jesus, they are a follower of the program. They nod their head, raise their hands, and say amen at the right time. So, their will be no short cuts, no soft words, no warning triggers, just the truth along with the best ideas, resources and strategies to give you the best chance of developing life-long followers of Jesus."- Paul Turner 

This Site is Jam-Packed with Resources! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

News U Can Use: "Middle Schoolers Raise $19,500 for Local Charity"

"North Pole Middle School students are a force to be reckoned with. Just ask the 13 charities that will receive portions of $19,500 raised during the middle schoolers’ 2017 Champions for Charity campaign.

Participants in this monthlong fundraising campaign are teams composed of seventh- and eighth-graders. The actual winner is decided by the team’s final place in the one-of-a-kind McHenryball Tournament, fundraising, sportsmanship and team spirit. This year, team Disco Ballers won the overall championship.

It all started five years ago when North Pole Middle School created a unique game called McHenryball to honor a student who died. It’s a combination of dodgeball, capture the flag and tag, played on a court filled with paintball-style obstacles. Students created teams, raised money and chose charities to receive those funds..." 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Top 10: Ways to Keep People Coming After Easter Sunday!??

10. Bacon Sunday- a free pound of bacon for every friend you bring?

9. No Cover Charge Sunday- one Sunday a year, that offering WON'T be taken?

8. Give-Away Sunday- shoot polos and button up oxford out into the crowd, throw adult contemporary CDs and Gospel cassettes out, have a drawing for a new gift card to Cracker Barrel...Give away a brand new Hover-Round!!!

7. Funday Sunday- Instead of having the senior pastor speak, hire a stand up comedian

6. Ladies Morning Sunday- Have as many of your single and avaiable ladies of your church attend that Sunday morning, sure to bring in single guys!!?

5. Pajama Sunday- people are staying home in bed?? why not offer a REAL "Come as You Are" Sunday!!?

4. Bingo Sunday- Throughout the service have stratigically placed numbers in songs, sermon, and Bible references, sure to attract the older crowd?

3. Swimsuit Sunday- The older generation is always talking about the good old days, when everyone wore "suits" to church? The younger generation would rather be at the pool or beach wearing a swim-SUIT? So...TADA, everyone is happy?

2. Sundae Sunday- I scream, You our kids on the to church? Why not have Ice Cream?

1. Work Just As Hard to Put Prayer and Preparation into Every Sunday Morning...Without Tricks or Gimmicks?