youth ministries

How Teenagers Communicate [infographic]

Here is our weekly infographic.  I am always curious how teenagers are communicate in a digital world.  Teenagers are adapting quickly to new forms of communication.  This is one reason why it is so important for youth workers to stay relevant, and current on what they use, and how they communicate to teenagers.

Here are a few things that stand out to me from this infographic called: How American Teens Communicate.  

1. 93% of teens use a phone.  I am starting to understand hot crucial it is to develop a texting strategy for your youth ministry.  I use to think that facebook and twitter was crucial, but I am now realizing how effective and important it is to have a strategy to mass text your youth ministry.

2. Email is still king.  This is still a shocker to me.  I didn’t think anyone used email any more.  Especially not 93% of teenagers.  Again it is important to have a strategy for developing a mailing list.  I recommend using mailchimp.  You can read about that from my free ebook called, 5 Ways to Communicate Effectively in a Digital World.

 

What else stands out to you from this infographic on how teenagers communicate?  Leave a comment below. 

how teens communicate

Youth Ministry Spaces: Youthmin.org Roundtable

youth-ministry-spaces

 

 

I am a regular contributor over at youthmin.org.  It is a fantastic youth ministry website that I am so thankful to be apart of.  Here is the latest roundtable discussion.  We were taking about the importance of youth group spaces/youth rooms.  The question was asked if youth rooms are essential for youth groups?  What are your thoughts?  Do you need a sweet youth room?  Why or Why not? 

Check out the video:

May I Have Your Attention Please! [Book Review]

may-I-have-your-attention-please

 

 

Do you have students in your youth ministry with ADHD or ADD?

 

I bet you have some students in your youth ministry right now who could be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.  In the first chapter Dr. Jason Whitehurst states, “In understanding Add, it is noteworthy to have knowledge the numbers behind the disease.  ADHD is more common than most doctors may have previously believe, according to a new study from the Mayo Clinic.  Roughly 5 to 8 percent fo Americans have been diagnosed with ADD.  ADHD or ADD is one of the best documented developmental problems in children.”  Right now you have students in your youth ministry with ADD or ADHD, and you could tweak a few things in order to effectively communicate, and connect in a meaningful way.  Dr. Jason Whitehurst does a great job in this book outlining the problem that we are facing today with students with ADD or ADHD.  The author also goes on to how we can specifically reach these students.

Things I loved about this book:  

1. I love the price of this book.  At $2.99 on amazon how could you go wrong.  The chapters on how to preach effectively to those with ADD or ADHD, and counseling effectively those with ADD and ADHD is worth the $2.99.  This is a helpful book for any youth worker.

2.  The author helps the reader understand how to preach to those with ADD and ADHD.  I loved chapter 3 of this book.  The author lines out the need to use pitch control with your message, adding elements of multimedia, passion, and simplicity.   I know that those things sound really obvious, but I have heard some horrible youth messages in my day(probably have delivered most of them!) and as youth workers we need to know our audience, and adapt our message to the context.  I personally think every youth worker should read this chapter on how to preach to people with ADD or ADHD.

3. Counseling students with ADD or ADHD.  Dr. Jason Whitehurst states the importance of counseling students with ADD or ADHD, and how this will lead to other coexisting issues.  He states, “A person with ADD is six times more likely to have another disorder that most other people.”  It is crucial for me to understand the issues when faced with a student who is struggling to focus, or on a youth group night is being disruptive because of their issue.  This chapter was enlightening to the complexities of the adolescent brain, and the need for understanding of people with ADD or ADHD.

 

What I didn’t like about the book: 

1. The author did too much to explain each topic.  I think this would be helpful for youth workers who are in their first two years of Ministry or Bible School, but for me this was just too basic.  There were only a few instances of this in this book.  The author kept the chapters short and sweet.

 

This is one book I read while I was in Bible College or Seminary.  I have read books on eating disorders, and cutting, but never a book on ADD or ADHD.  I personally find this alarming especially when 5-8 percent of the population in America is diagnosed with this condition.  This is a quick read, and worth picking up on amazon!  I am going to give a few of these books away next week.

 

 

Pick up May I Have Your Attention Please? Ministering to Those with ADD/ADHD in a Distracted World on amazon today! 

A band you need to check out.

Mars hill citizens

 

 

You need to check out a band called citizens.  I think their new album called citizens is going to be the best christian album of the year.

Check out the videos from this album.

 


Check out this album on itunes.

You could also use the videos as transition into worship or out of worship.  Check out all of citizens videos here.

You need a rest. Take one.

youth ministry media-rest

 

 

Are youth pastors today working too hard, or hardly working?  

That is the debate that I see unfold all the time.  Youth pastors in the past have had the reputation of being lazy, sloppy, and underprepared.  We have successfully changed the paradigm today.  Youth pastors are professional, and we have degrees, books and blogs to back us up.

The problem is that as professional youth workers we are not resting.  We at youth ministry media have posted on the need for rest multiple times.  We did a series called: Redeeming Rest.  No matter how often we post on rest, the reality is that youth workers are not resting.  I see youth pastor friends sacrificing everything for ministry including time, time with family, and time with God.  We are burning out.

For the most part we have an identity problem.  We are finding fulfillment in what we do instead of who we are doing it for.  You are not your youth ministry, you are not a pastor, or a youth director.  You are a child created in the image of a loving God.  We are living in a identity distortion.  This distortion messes everything up, including your marriage, your relationship with God, and your youth ministry.

My prayer for you on a saturday night is that this week you would understand how God created you.  That you take on the identity of a child of God.

Psalm 139 from the ESV,

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down

and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue,

behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

You hem me in, behind and before,

and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning

and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me,

and your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,

and the light about me be night,”

even the darkness is not dark to you;

the night is bright as the day,

for darkness is as light with you.

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.1

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand.

I awake, and I am still with you.

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!

O men of blood, depart from me!

They speak against you with malicious intent;

your enemies take your name in vain.2

Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?

And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

I hate them with complete hatred;

I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!3

And see if there be any grievous way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting!

 

The digital world of teens [infographic]

Here is this weeks infographic.  It is on the digital world of teenagers.  We have a series of posts called: Reaching Teens in a Digital World.  If you haven’t read them, I would recommend checking them out.  We are hoping to convert them into a full on book by the end of the year.
Here are a few things that stand out: 
1. 90% of america’s teens have used social media.  Trust me, your youth ministry needs to be online.  Here are a few posts to help you, Developing a Social Media StrategyTimeline for Facebook Pages: The Almost Complete Guide.  I run into youth pastors all over who have no idea how to use technology well.  I am not asking you to be an expert, but you need to have a understanding of how to leverage technology for your youth ministry.
2. 88% of teens keep in touch with friends they can’t see regularly.  I love seeing teens connect all over the world.  It really doesn’t matter today where you live.  I think technology helps teens stay connect at places like camp, and retreats.  It is a easy way to keep a connection open.
What else stands out to you?  How do you connect with students in the digital world? 
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How to Develop a Texting Strategy for your Youth Ministry

Developing-a-texing-strategy-for-your-youth-ministry
Do you use a texting service for communicating with students in your youth ministry? 

To be honest, I didn’t have a plan.  I thought that facebook, twitter, handouts, emails and instagram were all great ways to communicate with students.  I was wrong!  I was missing one of the single most effective ways to communicate today with teenagers.  The thing I was missing was a texting program.

This past year I was researching what the best program was to sent texts.  I wanted to set this up, and succeed from day one.  The program that I landed with is called tatango.   I have written about this program in the past, Get A Great Texting Service At 20% Off,  The Best Texting Program for Youth Ministry.  I personally think this is one of the best texting resources online, and it is worth the $20 a month fee.

Here are two things you need to do before we start this series up:

1.  Get a tatango account.  This is the program that I am going to show you in detail.  We will show you how to se up a campaign, and how to build a list of students.  If you are purchasing an account don’t pay the full price, use this promo code to get 20% off, NPDISCOUNT.  My texting list grows every week because it is the best way to communicate what is happening with your youth ministry.  I am trying to sell my church on this service.

2.  Get ready to see results.  I was so skeptical, and I only signed up because it was free for 7 days.  I used it then next week at my youth group and over 50% of the students signed up.  That weekend there was an event, and I sent a text message out, and I was amazed at what I saw.  I still can’t believe that each week when I send out a message 100% of the students see it.  That today is crazy.  If I facebook something out, only 33% of students see it unless you have a strategy.  I love using this program.

Here is where the series is going to go:

1. Setting the texting service up

2. Building a texting list

3. Using social media

4. Keeping students connected

5. Building a strategy that you can pass off.

 

I look forward to your interactions during this series!  Do you have a texting service for your youth ministry?  If so, what do you use? 

 

 

 

 

Freebie Friday: 5 Free Games April 2013

5-free-youth-ministry-games

 

Are you looking for great games for your youth ministry? 

We are always on the lookout for fun games, and we are eventually going to release game either on this site, or on www.youthmin.org.  One rule we use in my youth ministry is that we don’t use a game twice through out the whole year.  So, no repeats.  It is a great way to create excitement each week.

Here are our top 5 go to games: 

1. Death Hack from Youth Leaders Stash.  Its a great game that became a classic in my old youth ministry.  I love this game.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 11.36.03 AM

 

2. Scattergram from youthmin.org.  We are going to use this game in our next series.   It looks like a great way to incorporate the use of social media into a game.

youth ministry game scattergram

 

3. Over the Mountain from Youth Leaders Stash.  This is a fun game you could play anywhere.  All you need is some chairs.  Use this for a retreat, or for an icebreaker game.  This game gets everyone involved.

Youth ministry game over the mountain

 

4. Live Angry Birds from Stuff You Can Use.  We haven’t used this game yet.  We are going to use it for a retreat coming up in May.  It is going to be epic!

youth ministry game angry birds

5.  Facebook Hack from More Than Dodgeball.  We are going to build this game into a series this spring.  I am looking forward to seeing this at work.  One of my friends used this game, and said it was epic!

youth ministry games facebook hack

 

What games does your youth group love? 

 

Under 13 and on facebook [infographic]

Here is this weeks infographic.  Do you promote youth ministry communicate to your jr.youth program?  A few years ago I was promoting how my youth ministry created a jr.youth facebook page.  I quickly realized that it was against the law for students under 13.  I made a decision then to not promote facebook communication to preteens.    What do you do?  Do you promote facebook groups/pages to students under 13?

Here are a few things that stand out: 

1. 38% of children under the age of 12 are already on facebook.  Here is one reason why some youth pastors have facebook groups for students under 13.  4 in 10 kids at age 12 are on facebook.  I personally don’t think this is a great thing, and the fact that facebook allows you on at the age of 13 is almost a rite of passage for teenagers.   You can report someone who is under age and facebook will actually delete them!

2.   86% of parents are friends with their child on facebook.  This is really encouraging.  Of the 86% parents, I would love to know how many parents have their child’s password and checks on their facebook regularly?  I am glad that parent are connected, but they need to be more than just connected.  Parents need go be intentional about their kids social identity.

What else stands out? Leave a comment below.  

under 13 and on facebook

Goals, Goals, and More Goals! February Update

goals-for-youth-ministry-media-2013

 

 

 

 

 

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 1,039. 1,101  It is slowly moving along.  We are waiting expectantly for the new Facebook update!

2. 15,000 hits per month.  

  • In February we it 5,948.  We have seen a Drop. We are already seeing this increase in March to hit closer to 10,000.  I need to spend more time on quality content.  I feel like I have hit a blogging wall.  This gets tiring.

3. 30,000 twitter followers.  

  • Currently at, 22,433.  22,569.  I love twitter, and I feel like we are still building this.  One rule I have followed is that I will follow any youth pastor who is following me.

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?

7. Use google+ better!  

  • I am going to use this sparingly.  I am not going to build a strategy.  I don’t get any traffic as it is.

Conclusion: 

This is a ton of work.  I feel like things are going well, and I love being able to have a writing outlet.  Thanks for all your support.  I really do love this community!

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

Reaching Teens in a Digital World: Collaboration

Reaching-teens-in-a-digial-world-colloboration

 

 

 

 

(This is a part of a series: Reaching Teens in a Digital World)

 

“NetGeners are natural collaborators.  This is the relationship generation…They collaborate online in chat groups, play multiuser video games, use e-mail, and share files for school, work or just for fun.”

Don Tapscott, Grown Up Digital 

“Collaboration extends to other aspects of the Net Geners’ lives.  At work, they want to feel that their opinion counts.  While they acknowledge their lack of experience, they feel they have relevant insights–especially about technology and the Internet–and they want the opportunity to influence decisions and change work processes to make them more efficient.”

Don Tapscott, Grown Up Digital 

 

Do you collaborate in your youth ministry?  

My hope is that you do.  We need to be collaborating all the time.  This is one of the reasons why I have in the past, and why I am working towards having a student leadership team.  I pick student leaders who aren’t just token leaders, but students who have potential and character to lead, and lead well.  Apart of leading is being able to speak their mind constructively about the youth ministry.

We live in a world where teens want more that just to consume.  They want to change the world.  I think our youth ministries can be places where we freely give things over so students can collaborate, and buy in.

Here are a few ways you can help foster collaboration within your youth ministry:

Evaluation

Everything in my ministry is up for evaluation.  If we don’t like the way things are going we will change it.  A few years ago we were apart of a fall retreat, and the students I was leading became vocal about a few major flaws over the weekend.  The students loving seeing the results the next year when things changed.  Don’t make any sacred cows, allow the students to speak to how the youth ministry is really going.  Feel free to push back on their evaluation of events, and mid week programs.  Just don’t be defensive!

Train

Train students to do sound, lights, manager the facebook page, the twitter account,  how to be the greeters, ect.  Pass off as much as you can.  I always try to tell the students that this is their youth ministry not mine.  I want them to be serving, I want them to be leading worship, and I would love to be in a place where they are preaching.  We need to train more students.  Training students gives them a sense of ownership.

Empower 

It will take awhile to change a ministry mindset to a place that allows collaboration.  You are going to have to allow students to speaker their minds.  Your youth ministry should be the place where they are allows to collaborate and buy in.  Talk to the students you work with about what their friends would come to.  That is a great starting point.

 

We need our youth ministries to have student buy in.  This needs to happen more than just showing up, or being a number on your quest to a mega youth ministry.  How do you foster collaboration in your youth ministry?  

Freebie Friday: Social Media and the church eBook

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Our friend Jeremy Smith over at seventy 8 productions wrote this ebook for the website church tech today.

I notice that a lot of youth pastors and pastors in general don’t know how to manage social media.  We always say that if you don’t have a plan for technology, technology will end up controlling you and your time.  It your church doesn’t have a social media strategy, I would recommend downloading this ebook for a starting guide.  Jeremy knows what he is talking about.

All you have to do is sign up for their weekly newsletter.  It is worth signing up for this gem.  Sign up here

 

Partner with Youth Ministry Media

partner-with-youth-ministry-media

 

We would like add a new thing to the website here at youth ministry media.  We want to add a video feature to the website.

Here is the goal: 

Youth Ministry Media is trying to branch out and get into the world of video.  To do this we need your partnership.  This is a great way for us to help youth pastors communicate effectively in their youth ministries.

What We Need & What You Get

Here are the resources that we are looking for:

  • Nikon 5200 DSLR.  This is one of the best cameras out their to film in HD.
  • Heil PR 40 Mic.  We want to do this the right way the first time.  This would give us the flexiblity to pontentially podcast in the future.

youth-ministry-media-partnership
 

The Impact

The goal is to build in to youth workers across the globe.  I have an amazing network of solid, and passionate youth pastors who should be speaking into the world of youth ministry.

Other Ways You Can Help

If you can’t give, here are some other options:

  • Send a tweet out asking for people to pray, and support this project.
  • Share on facebook.

 

Here is how you can partner with us!  Check out the details here.   

 

Snapchat explained. [infograhpic]

Here is this weeks infographic.  We have been looking at infographics that relate to technology and how they are changing the teen culture we are working with.  Last week we looked at sexting with the post called, The truth about teen sexting [infographic].  This week we are looking at snapchat.  If you don’t know what it is, here is the info.   We would love to link to a few posts on the program.  So, if you have a post on snapchat please leave a comment with the link and we will put it in the post.

Here are a few things that shock us about snapchat.

1. 20% of teens have sent nude/semi-nude photos.  The more I read these infographics, it freaks me out.  That means that 2 in 10 of your students have sent nude photos.  We need to help parents understand the power of the cell phone, and how they need to help their teen walk with Christ in a digital world.  How do you help parents navigate these digital times?

2. Snapchat is the 4th most downloaded free iphone app.  People are using this app.  Your teens are using this.  In the past few months I have seen students using the program, but didn’t really think anything of it.  I now am having conversations about how they can use the program, and be accountable.  One thing I have been thinking about lately is that I need to incorporate snapchat into my series on dating, relationships, and sex.  I think we all need to address these programs, and the problems.

3. Consequences.  The consequences stated here are a complete understatement.  Long tern effects of a program like this and the public shame that could come with it could lead students to depression and suicide because of a leaked photo.  I know that teens are being bullied all the time.

 

What else stands out to you?  Leave a comment below. 

understanding snap chat infographic

App of the Month: Mailbox

BEST-APPS-OF-THE-month-mailbox_02

 

 

Have you heard about the app mailbox

If you haven’t heard about the mailbox app yet, you are in for a treat!  This is the best email app I have ever seen.  I waited in queue for almost 3 weeks just to give this app a try.  I was annoyed at first about having to wait, but now that I have tried it and used it for the past two weeks, I love it and can’t imagine not using it.

Things I love about mailbox

1.  It helps you get rid of the email clutter.  My email was so cluttered it took almost an hour and a half to dig out of my emails.  Mailbox lets you swipe to either archive it, delete it, save it as a note, or remind you later.  This simple concept is revolutionary.  I had over 600 unread emails, and 1000’s of saved emails.  Not anymore!

2.  Remind me later.  I love this feature.  Mailbox will send an email whenever you want to resend it.  You can send it back to yourself in 30mins, or in a week.   Deal with the email right away and leave the stress in the inbox.

3. The design.  As a graphic designer, I love the look of it.  It is so simple, and it is the reason why dropbox just purchased the app.  Not only is it easy to use, but it looks awesome.

 

Things I don’t like about mailbox

1. It’s only on iphone.  I want a desktop application.  I could see this working well with my macbook pro.  I could use all the same features with my track pad.  That would be a program I would pay for.

2. The queue.  I hated waiting for this app for over two weeks.  It made me want to hate the app.  I tweeted mailbox app multiple times complaining.  The crazy part is that they replied to each tweet.

 

Go and check out the mailbox app.  It’s only available for iphone.  Did I say it’s free?

Have you used the mailbox app yet?  Thoughts?  Please leave a comment.  

 

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