youth ministires

Where we have been for the past month!


We have been busy here at youth ministry media.  It has been a crazy few months.  I just wanted to personally thank you for reading this website.  We are not giving this site up.  I am back blogging, and have some fresh content for you this week.  I continually hope this website is a place that helps you do ministry more effectively.

With that said, I haven’t been around for the past few months because my youth ministry is blowing up…in a good way.  I have seen exponential growth which has been very exciting knowing that we are doing something right, but it has been extremely humbling thinking about how to disciple all these students we have coming out.  In order to keep up with the pace of things in my youth ministry we just hired a part time youth ministry assistant, in addition to the intern we have.

Also, I just came back from a 9 day missions trip to L.A…Yes Canadian’s do missions trips to Cali!  It was an awesome trip, but it was a challenging once.  I personally have never led a missions trip, and it really stretched me in every way possible.  I am looking forward to sharing with you all some of the cool things we did with social media to keep people in the know while we were away.

Thanks for sticking around.  I love the community we have here.  We will have some posts for you this week!  

First Thoughts On Mavericks OS X

OS X Mavericks



Have you updated to OS X Mavericks yet? 

Last week apple dropped it’s new operating system called OS X Mavericks.  The best part about it is that it’s free!  I love that.  I hate to admit that I was still running my Mac pro and my iMac on snow leopard…yikes!  I was excited to hear that not only was it free, but that it is available for Apple computers all the way back to 2007.  It took about 30 minutes to download the 5.8 gigs, and another 30minutes to install Mavericks.  It was straight forward and easy to install.

Here are the things we love about it: 

1. Syncing every device.  I love that I can pull up a map and send it to my iphone.  I could email, or airdrop it to someone.  It is great being able to answer messages on my Mac Pro or iMac.  It is nice to have my iPad and iPhone synced to my desktop.  It makes the case for why I am all Apple, everything works together.

2. Calendar.  I have never like the OS X calendars of the past.  They looked terrible and were hard to use.  Do you remember the weird leather design?  Google seemed to be taking an edge until this release.

I love the new calendar.  One feature that is handy for youth ministry is the year view feature.  It will show red, yellow, or white for when days are jammed packed, or not.  It is an advantage to look at a yearly church calendar and see if there will be issues around events.  Love this feature.

3. Tabs.  I am a tab junky.  It is common for my intern to jump on my computer and instantly close 20+ tabs.  I love being able to read, and that is usually how I keep content until it ends up in evernote.  I love that I can create tabs in finder windows.  I just have to remember to keep closing them.

4. Notifications.  I love the new notifications for OS X Mavericks.  Being able to reply to an email, or respond to a iMessage from the notifications is awesome.  One feature that has been handy is to set the do not disturb during critical work hours so that I can focus on what is truly important . I can’t wait to modify this more, and learn how to use it to make me more productive.


Here is what we hate about it: 

1. The mail client is still horrible.  I hate Mac Mail program.  It is terrible.  We will post tomorrow on three programs to make you mac better.  One program has to do with mail because Mac Mail is just brutal.  With the rise of Gmail and apps like Mailbox, Apple needs to be aggressive in this space.


Why wouldn’t you get OS X Mavericks?  It’s free.  It won’t blow your mind, or revolutionize the way you run your Mac, but it will improve it.  This free download is well worth the 1 hour it will take to download and install.

What are the things you like about OS X Mavericks?  What don’t you like?  

#01: Essential Youth Ministry Programs [Podcast]

 What is the one program that you rely on every week for your youth ministry?  




There are a ton of programs out there.  It seems like every single youth worker has a different set of apps, and organizational programs.  I love it when youth workers show me new ways to organize, communicate, and study.  We have learned by failure, and we have some programs that will help you communicate to students better, help you stay organized, and stay on mission.

Here is the question: What is a program that you use daily, weekly, or monthly.  Please leave a comment below, and we will give you a shout out on the podcast this week.  It will go live on Saturday.

You can subscribe to the podcast on itunes here.

Goals, Goals, and More Goals! November Update


Do you have goals for your site or youth ministry?

It’s great to have goals.  If you don’t have goals, how do you know if you accomplished what you wanted to do?

I wrote an article on why I decided to create life goals in the post titled, “Why I created a life plan (and why you should too!), ”  If you are looking to organize your life and establish goals for life try checking out Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan.  Having goals helps clarify your life, and your purpose in life.

I think it is also great to have a youth ministry strategic plan.  I wrote a post about having a plan for social media in your youth ministry titled, ” 5 ways to communicate effectively in a digital world“.  Social media can consume all your time if you don’t have a plan for it.

It is really time to start looking at goals for 2013.  That is awesome to think about and to start dreaming about.  I am looking in the new year to start partnering with different publishers to promote products and have give aways.

Here is my November 2012 update! 

1.  Have 500 facebook follows.  Accompished!  640 at the end of September. 680 by the end of November.  This is one area that has exploded.  It is very encouraging to see all these awesome youth workers liking my content on facebook.

2. 10,000 hits per month.   September I had 7,413.  7, 917 in October.  It is nice to see this building.  November will take a huge hit because I only posted a few times.  It was well worth it!

3. 10,000 twitter followers.    7,947 at the end of september.     8,317 by the end of November.  I need to kick this into high gear!  I think I might be able to get to 9,500 by the end of the year.

4. Build my email list to 500.  541 in September.  575 in October.  We have destroyed this.  I am so stoked to have smashed this target.  The question for next year is how to take this to the next level.

5. Write another ebook.  Accomplished!  Go and check it out, The Personal Life of a Youth Pastor eBook.  It’s free and all you have to do is like my facebook page!

6.  Have 100 comments a month.  5 in september.   22 in October.  This is nice to see.  I am excited to see where this is going.  I think that December is going to be a great month for comments.  I am looking forward to all the interaction.


Are you close to your goals?  Are you frusterated? 

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App of the month: iTunes U


This is my new favorite app, and I am excited to share it with you!

I just purchased an iPhone 5 and when I updated the phone I realized a few new apps.  One of those new apps was iTunes U.  I have been using the iTunes U in iTunes for the past few years, and I am constantly devouring content.

Once you download the app here are a few courses you need to download and listen to.  I usually try to set a goal like, listen and take notes each day, or twice a week like a Bible College course.

1. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World by Dr. Edmund P. Clowney and Dr. Timothy J. Keller.

– I love this series.  Everything you speak on needs to point to Christ and the Cross!  This is one course I wish I listened to in Seminary.

2. History and Theology of the Puritans by Dr. J.I. Packer


What else should be on this list?  I tried to find a great youth ministry course, but to my surprise I couldn’t find a thing.  Just podcasts, and not courses.  We need a Seminary, or Bible College to post a whole couse online!


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Top Gadget of the Month: Nespresso



Do you like espresso? 


A few years ago my wife and I made the trip to Rome for 14 days. It was an amazing holiday.  I love coffee!  I imagined Rome with coffee shops around every corner.  One thing we noticed when we first arrived in Italy was these funny looking machines.  When I asked what the machine was called, I found out it was a Nespresso machine.  Once we tried it we were hooked.  It seriously makes the best espresso.









Here are some more features: 

  • Automatic flow stop,power save mode,thermoblock heating element,programmable buttons for espresso and lungo
  • Folding cup support,used capsule container,integrated milk frothing device for cappuccino or latte
  • Water tank capacity 33.8-ounce/1 l

The only down side is that you can’t control the temperature.  Each pod is worth $.63 which seems expensive, but is cheap compared to starbucks.

You can check out the  Nespresso machine on Amazon here.

What do you use to make coffee? 

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Review: Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts


Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts by Ian Morgan Cron 

 This memoir is about Ian Morgan Cron’s journey through life, and faith.  He shows the struggles that come with a dysfunctional family, and how he becomes apart of a different kind of family.  This book is a must read for youth pastors trying to understand why we do youth ministry.  We are youth pastors because there are millions of hurt teenagers just like Ian Cron who are looking for meaning and purpose.  

Here is one part that really stood out to me:

“What brought me back to Young Life every Tuesday were Mike and Derek.  Mike was the full-time Young Life area director.  Derek was a carpenter by day to support his work as a Young Life volunteer.  Mike was the definition of a stud.  He was an All-American lacrosse player, good-looking, and hilarious.  When he visited the student center, he’d be mobbed by throngs of kids like he was a rock star.  Derek’s appeal was more subtle: his gentle humility and his ability to be fully present to whomever he was with drew kids to him right away.  I couldn’t wait to see the two of them every week because they made me feel as if they couldn’t wait to see me…It was intoxicating to have two older med see me–I mean really see me.” 

This is what youth ministry is about.  Youth ministry is about relationships and for some reason we have become more focused in the past years on numbers and not on what is behind the numbers: people.

Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts is a book about Ian’s story, but somehow it becomes apart of your story.  This memoir is honest, humble and shows how our God is a God of grace.  This is on the list of top books I have read this past year.  I highly recommend it to anyone.  I am still blown away by Ian Morgan Cron’s journey.  


What is one of the best books you have read this past year? 










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Freebie Friday: Christmas Card



Here is a great way to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  I made one for my youth last week and posted it on facebook.  My Christmas card will be posted next week.

Check it out, and have some fun.

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Social Media Strategy: Feedburner


(This post is apart of a series you can check out, Series: Developing a Social Media Strategy. )


Do you use feedburner?   

If you have no idea what I am talking about go to their site.

Having a good rss feed is a tricky thing.  Below is an image of my feedburner account for over a year.  I thought all you had to do was set the account up and it would do its thing.  I was wrong, and you can see below in the image.






You can see in the image that for over a year no one subscribed to my rss feed.  Actually, I thought I was subscribed to my feed, but I was wrong.  After a few months, I realized that maybe my feed wasn’t set up correctly.  So, I began to read about how to optimized my rss feed.  And here is what I changed.  The best way to check out the feed for you site is to subscribe to it.

Here are a few ways to make your rss feed great: 

1. Set up wordpress correctly.  All you need to do is login to your wordpress page and look on the left hand page near the bottom for the tab that says, “Reading”.  Click on that and then look on the middle of the page for, In each article in a feed.  You want full article and not summary.  Check out image below.  Why should you show full text instead of summary?  Do you subscribe to any feeds that just show summary?  I used too.  They get annoying, and then I unsubscribe and add the link to my browser.


2. Don’t use caps.  When setting up feedburner, it will automatically generate a feed for your site.  The first time I set up a feed it game me,  It looks ok.  The problem is that putting caps in their makes it difficult for people to remember or add to their feed.  So I changed it to ,  Simple things go along way in the world of social media.  Setting this up will take a minute and you will find more people adding your site to their feed.

3. Optimize.  Go ahead and enable the Browserfriendly, the SmartCast, the FeedFlare, and the SmartFeed.  These features make it easy for people to add your feed to whatever program they use for rss feeds.  Once you optimize these features make sure to check out your post to see if you like the way it is being displayed.


As you could see in the graph up top of my feedburner, it was the simple things that helped my rss feed take off.  It still has a long way to go, but this is a great starting place.


Do you use feedburner?  What do you use to optimized your rss feed?  

(This post is apart of a series you can check out, Series: Developing a Social Media Strategy. )

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