youth ministries

Freebie Friday: Spring/Summer Youth Ministry Planning Calendar


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Last friday we released a free planning calendar, Freebie Friday: Fall Planning Calendar.  The results were so good with that planning calendar that we decided to make a series out of it called, The Printable Youth Pastor Series .

Here is a spring and summer 2014 planning calendar.  It was difficult to find the 2014 calendar vector.  It has the same flat, ios7 look.  Enjoy!

I hope this will help you plan for the best youth ministry year yet!

Download the planning calendar below: 

January – April

May- August 

Developing a strategy for instagram [infographic]

 Do you use instagram for your youth ministry?

How do you use instagram?  Do you promote your youth ministry through it?  You might be surprised at how engagement across all the platforms differ.  You might wonder why certain students don’t get the message.  Instead of asking why didn’t they get the message, it could be helpful to think about how you are sending the message out.  You might not be using instagram the right way.  Here are a few tips.

Here are some things that stand out:

1. If you want to use instagram with twitter you need to upload photos with twitters own photo program.   It is amazing that if you add an extra process, people wont check out your photo.  Since twitter got rid of its support for instagram, people won’t click through to your photos.  That means the students you work with won’t open the photo on twitter.

2. Use instagram when posting photos to facebook.  Since facebook purchased instagram the photos you post on instagram show up great in the facebook feed.  You will get increased engagement if you link up your instagram account and facebook.
Here are two simple things that you can do to help your youth ministry communicate online through instagram.  If you want to get the message out to the students you work with, check out the infographic and follow the 3 steps they recommend.  This is useful for a brand, youth group or church.

Do you use instagram for announcements? 

 

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Why you need to create a blog!

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Who is the voice of youth ministry today?

With the changing landscape of youth ministry today we need more voices than ever.  We don’t have anyone as the figure head for youth ministry.  We are fragmented, and because of that there is more opportunity than ever to dialogue with youth pastors on youth ministry.

The rise of youth ministry media was an accident.  A few friends realized that I built a website for my youth ministry and wanted to know how to do it.  I kept on getting phone calls about setting up websites, and for the most part had to set websites up for friends.  It was a ton of work, and I realized that it was taking up too much time.

One night I had the great idea of building a website so that my friends could go and learn how to get their youth ministry into the digital world.  After a few posts, and a few months later(I had no idea what I was doing) people from all over the world were stumbling to my website.

At first it was terrifying that people who didn’t know me were reading my material.  I kept wondering if people were going to hate the content, or just think it was a joke.  People kept coming back.  After a few months I realized that no one else was helping other youth pastors develop digital resources for students.

This is how we launched this website.

You could launch a website today and speak into the youth ministry world.  I have met tons of friends from all over the world because of this blog.  They help me in my ministry, give me ideas, and are there to listen.  We need to think more globally when it comes to youth ministry, and your role in it!

We need your voice more than ever.  What are you waiting for?  Create a website today.  Here are a few simple tips.

1. Create a website. I wrote a post called, How to build a website in 10 Simple steps.  It really is easy to create a website.  Take an hour today and get it set up.  This could be the biggest platform for youth pastors today.  Forget writing your book that no one will ever read.  Write the book you want to publish into blog posts.  Trust me, more people will read your blog.

2. Pick a wordpress theme.  There are thousands of wordpress themes out there.  We usually go with elegant themes.  We personally think they are the best, and have been using them since day one.  With every theme there will be glitches so be ready to have a few hiccups along the way.

3. Leave a comment on what your website/blog is called and I will add you to the rss list.  We want as many connections in youth ministry.  I excited where youth ministry is going, and I look forward to our conversations about it.

4. Get into a rhythm.  You might not feel like writing everyday, but you need to.  Trust me.  You need a rhythm of writing.  Early days I would write for hours every night while watching television, but now I am writing in the evening when my kids are sleeping.  This is the most important part.

Are you going to set up your website/blog?

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Freebie Friday: Fall Planning Calendar

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How do you plan for the fall?

In my youth ministry I like to have everything planned out for the fall.  That means EVERYTHING!

I was looking for a way to plan the school year calendar, but I couldn’t find anything online.  So, I created a great looking calendar.  You can timeline your talks, or events, or other key targets.  Once you have accomplished them you can check them off.

Download the calendar here

What else would you add to the calendar?  Oh, and by the way we will be adding a Jan/June calendar next week.  Enjoy.  Have an awesome weekend.

It feels great to be back!

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Can I be honest with you all?

I love this website, and I love the people that read it.  You are so awesome.  It has been a great 2 years.  Over 400 posts have been written with well over 500 comments.  Over the past month I haven’t posted.  Maybe you have noticed, maybe not.  It really is the first time in over a year that I haven’t posted weekly.

This past june was the busiest I have ever experienced.  We wrapped up the youth ministry, and I purchased my first home.  I had the great idea to do a ton of reno’s with friends and family helping out, and things are still being fixed a month later!  Oh, the joys of home ownership.

With all that said, I am excited to be back and help you and your youth ministry.

Here are a few things we are working on,

1. A monthly podcast.  I want something that you can download each month and learn from.  Two weeks before the podcast we will have a way you can call in and leave a message that will be used on the air.

2. Posts.  We want tons of quality posts.  Stuff that you will read and pass on to others.

3. Developing resources for free on this website.  I would love to have 3 years worth of online content that you could download for free!   This is a work in progress.

 

Thanks,

Kolby Milton

Creator of Youth Ministry Media

Goals, goals and more goals. May Update.

goals for youth ministry media 2013 Goals, Goals, and More Goals!  February Update

 

You can check out the post here, Youth Ministry Media’s Goals for 2013.  I love being able to work through a plan, and execute it.  Here are the goals for the year, and I am looking for help to accomplish them!

Here is the update for february:

1.  Have 2000 facebook follows.   

  • Currently 1,101.  1,160.  It is slowly moving along.  I have a plan for the summer.

2. 15,000 hits per month.  

  • In May we it 7,467.  I need to regularly schedule posts.  I have been really inconsistent with blogging.  This season has been crazy, and I need to get back to blogging here and over at youthmin.org.

3. 30,000 twitter followers.  

  • Currently at 29,137.  I love twitter, and I feel like we are still building this.  I don’t know why this has exploeded in the past three months.  Roughly, 3000 people have followed me in the past 3 months.  I need to explore why this happened.  We are on track to break our twitter goal by the end of July.

4. Build my email list to 1500. 

  • Currently at 635.  This list is slowing down.  I need to think of creative ways to connect with this community better.

5. Write 2 more ebooks.  I am going to write one ebook called, “31 days to build a better youth ministry”, and another one on using/developing a texting system with digital download.  I am not sure if I will sell these ebooks, or release them for free!  

  • Next ebook to drop in July, and the other one in September.

6.   Comment 10 times a week on different blogs.  Done!  I need to read more posts.  Know of anyone that I need to read?

 

Conclusion: 

I am looking forward to working on all this over the summer.  It is going to be a blast, and I look forward to hanging out with all of you.  Thanks for reading the blog.  I appreciate you.

Those are my goals this year! What do you think?  What are the goals for your website? 

Teens Number of Facebook Friends [infographic]

I stumbled across this infograpic called: Teens: Median Number of Facebook Friends over at Pew Internet.  It is worth checking out.

Here is what stands out: 

1. Girls on average have 50 more friends than boys.  I feel like we are in an epidemic of teen culture where girls have little to no self esteem.  They are enslaved to the internet and looking for affirmation digitally.  Their worth isn’t based on what Jesus says, but on how many boys like their images on instagram.  Seeing a stat like this drives me to train more female adult leaders to mentor and discipleship the girls in my youth ministry.

2. Average number of friends is 300.  A few years ago I wrote a post called, Is it possible to have too many facebook friends, and I stumbled across an author who said that 150 is the max we should have when it comes to facebook friends.  I am guilty of having too many friends by this number, and I am often wondering are we becoming shallow by letting the noise of hundreds drown out the voices of our friends.  I think for the students I work with today, it is about quantity and not quality.  How do we help students build deep friendships in a digital world?

Those are a few thoughts.  What do you think are teens becoming too shallow?  Are female students finding self worth in likes instead of being loved by Jesus?   Please leave a comment below. 

teen facebook friends infographic

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Freebie Friday: 5 Free Fonts May 2013

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I am always looking for new fonts.  I am a font junkie.  I probably have so many fonts that I don’t use them all or don’t know I have some.  What are your go to fonts?  

Here are my new favorites: 

 

 1. Sequi 

This is a weird font, but I really like the look of it.

youth ministry fonts

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.Multicolore 

I love this font.  It has such a great look.  This will get a lot of use on this website in the future.

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3. lovelo

I like the nice clean lines.  This is a sleek font that you could use for posters or banners.

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4. Versa

This is a different font.  It looks futuristic.  I like the look of it.

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5. Airbag

This is my new favorite font.  Worth the download.

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What are your new favorite fonts?  Please share.  

The Epidemic of Cyber Bullying [infographic]

Here is our weekly infographic.  This week we are looking at cyber bulling.  I think this infographic is going to shock you.

Here are a few things that stand out to me: 

1. 97% of middle schoolers have been bullied online.  This makes we so sad for a whole generation of awesome young people who are getting put down online.  Recently, a fight broke out on a youth group night.  It was an explosion of emotions, and in the end it all was about bullying.  The student in my youth ministry said, that his “friend” keeps calling him a “faggot”.  That night this guy lost it, and decided to give it to the bully.

If all of your students have been bullied at some point, what are we doing to teach and model a Christ like life.  I would love to see more teaching series on bullying.  I am thinking about next years teaching schedule, and I think bullying will be a topic.

2. 15% of parents are “in the know” about their child’s online presence.  This is where we need to help.  This is where we have failed, and will continue to fail if we don’t partner with parents more in youth ministry.  Parents need to know what is going on, and how their child’s social relationships are actually effecting them personally.  I think a ton of parents are completely obvious until is is too late.

 

 What stands out to you from this infographic?  Maybe you should share this with the parents in your youth ministry today. 

cyberbullying_infographic

Developing a Texting Strategy: Setting it up

Developing-a-texing-strategy-for-your-youth-ministry-service(This is part of the Developing a Texting Strategy for your Youth Ministry series)

What if I told you that setting up a texting program that would help you communicate with teenagers could be done in 5 minutes?  You might think that I am lying, but this could be the game changer for your youth ministry.  It was for me.

The program we are recommending is sms 360, and they have a free trial plan that you can check out here.

Here is the simple process: 

Step 1 – Set up an account

Make sure to put in your youth ministry in the name of the organization, and pick your keyword well.

I put one eighty youth as the name of organization so that when students are recieving texts from me, they don’t delete because they don’t know my churches name.

I also put down the keyword as 180 which is so easy for the students to know and remember.  The key in the long run will be if students remember this, and share with students to get them in to the database.

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Step 2 – Learn how to send a message.

Make sure that you text the number and subscribe personally.  You are the tester.

When you log in, you will be a home menu.  Click on the send a message button.  Create a message that you can send right away or schedule for another time.  I personally setup the text messages the day of my youth gathering so that I don’t have to think about it later that day.  I text the students once a week, and it is right after school…10 minutes after to be exact.

sms 360 for youth ministry

 

 

That is basically it.  That is all you really need to know.  All it took was 5 minutes of your time.  I know you are probably still a little skeptical, I was, but give it a few weeks and you will see the need for having a text message service for your youth ministry.  Start messing around with it and in the next post we will show you how we grew our list to 80+ students in a month and a half.

 

On a side note I have been getting tons of interaction from youth pastors on the services they use.  There are tons of programs out there like sendhub, and group text to name just two.  I don’t go the free route, and I personally don’t want a ton of text messages going to my personal phone.  If  teenager is struggling they can reach me on facebook, and some do track down my cell, but I worry already about how much time social media takes up in my day to day life.  This is the reason way I go with a professional service.

I also know that our budgets are tight, and that sometimes we are trying to turn water into wine when it comes to our budget.  For me this was worth the $250 a year for the ability to text teens about youth ministry stuff.

Thanks for your comments, I love exploring all the texting services that you all use.  

 

Freebie Friday: Money: God or Gift [ebook]

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What is the last book you have read on money?

The only books out there that talk about money, and God are books by Dave Ramsey.  If you haven’t read any of Dave Ramsey’s books it is worth it.  My wife paid off over $10 grand in debt, and saved enough for a home with his principles.

This past week I stumbled across a free ebook that someone recommend to me called: Money: God or Gift by Jamie Munson.  All you have to do is sign up here to his email list and its all yours for FREE!

Here are what others are saying about it!

“The best book on money. Period.”
Pastor Matt Chandler

Go and download the free ebook here.  I would love to know your thoughts on this book. 

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Freebie Friday: Free Stock Photos

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Are you looking for royalty free images that don’t suck?

Lightstock gives away a free image each week.  Lightstock is the best stock photo website I have ever seen.  You need to check it out.

Go and check it out here

What websites do you use to find stock photos?  

How to prepare grade 12’s for the reality of life. [infographic]

Here is our weekly infographic.  This weeks topic is: What do you do to prepare your Sr.High group for the reality of life after high school?

Are we doing a good enough job with high school students? Do they understand the cost of following Jesus in todays culture?  Are they prepared for the hard realities of life, and work?  I am not too sure.

The Lie

We are told today that we are the hero of the story.  Tons of students I work with think that they will be the next best at ___________(insert sport, hobbie, or whatever).  Everything is about us today.  We are living in a society that is narcissistic.  The image that we project into this digital world is all about me.

I feel constantly sad at the reality of students seeking affirmation online.  The images that girls are putting on instagram for likes and affirmation is alarming.  I see lie at work with the teens I work with.  They are being told they will be the best, they are the hero.

 The Truth

In Philippians 1:12-13, Paul shows how Jesus is the hero of the story, and how everything we do is to advance the Gospel, “I want you to know, brothers,that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.”  The one thing I want my students to know is that Jesus is the hero of the story.  Everything we do is to advance the great news of the Gospel.  That is exciting, that is rewarding, that is life changing.

How do you prepare student for life beyond high school?  How do you prepare them for the harsh realties of life?

From “A Post College Flowchart of Misery and Pain” on Shareable.

Impacting Students in a Digital World

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How do you judge if your making an impact with the students you work with?

My small group is full of all kinds of students: sporty, hipster, cool dude, nerd and much more.  But what they all have in common is… guess what?  A phone.  Some students are good and put them away and a few actually don’t even have phones.  But there are a couple of students that are glued to them, like white on rice.  I can’t say that I’m perfect either but these students are addicted!  Let’s call these students “iStudent”.  iStudents have their phones out during hangout times, games, worship, small group and every and any minute they can.  I find it very discouraging when something is going on and the iStudents are glued to their phones.  How do you judge if your making an impact with these students? How do you love these students?

I had planned a small group event that I thought our group of grade 9-10 boys would like.  But something happened during this casual game night and he finally began to get comfortable.  We had a retro game night. Pizza, cips, old school nintnedo and finished the night of with a classic (Nacho Libra).  This one particular boy in my group was the definition of the istudent.  I have had him in my small group for six months and he has never spoken a single word. And believe I’ve tried.

But this night; this hang out game night he had finally been comfortable.  Not just comfortable but interested in bringing a friend.  This “iStudent” connected more on this evening than we had all year.  I encouraged him to invite his friend to our youth bible study.  He missed inviting his friend to The first youth bible study after the hang out night but the connection point was established and I used it as a conversation piece with him.  The following Tuesday he brought out his friend and I was blown away.  And guess what?  That evening during our small group talk this iStudent spoke up!  And not only that, he asked if he could read the bible verses for the group.  When he said that he didn’t have a bible on his phone or even know what bible to get I though “Bingo!”  I then walked him through getting the ESV bible app, showed him what the book, chapter, and verse were and then he was ready.  That quickly he was reading from his phone to our small group from his NEW bible.

Its crazy for me to realize that to give someone a bible now doest just mean giving them a physical bible.  Obviously you can still do that, a physical bible is still very important, but with technology driven students the avenues of delivering a bible are changing.  For me this experience was very impacting.  These iStudents feel like a steel box under lock; it’s hard to see growth or any progress.  Relationships with students will be the easiest way to help foster growth and these relationships need to be outside of large, regularly planned events where you can get to know them more.  Once a connection is made the growth will be easier to gage and you will find encouragement in the small things.  For me it was this iStudent taking his favorite thing and slapping a bible app on it.

How do you connect with students in a digital world? 

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