youth ministries

The truth about teen sexting [infographic]

Here is our weekly infographic, and it is a good one.  I have been wrestling with the idea of cell phones and what they are doing to the students in my youth ministry.  I think these devices are shaping and changing their identities.  No other generation has been more accessible.   The students I work with have their cell phones on all the time.  They are constantly connected.  This is a positive thing in many situations, but what if the student in your youth ministry is being bullied 24/7.  What if they are being sent sexual images?  I think this will have huge ramifications for the next generation.  Lets take a moment to look at this infographic on teen sexting.

Here are somethings that stand out to me:

1. 53% of teens who sext are girls.  This is devastating to me.  I have a little girl, and I pray and long for her identity and worth to come from God, and not what other guys say about her.  Girls need a deep understanding if who they are, and how they are created in the image of God.  I often wonder about the girls in my youth ministry, and how they are buying into the lie that their worth comes from likes on facebook or instagram.  That is a sense of value that leads to depression.  There is no other time in history than today that the teens we lead need to hear the Gospel repeatedly.

2. 48% of teens have received a sexually suggestive message.  We really need to help parents navigate this.  I hope that when my kids are teens, I will have other youth workers who can help me parent teenagers.  Parents today need guidance in how active should they be in the digital life of a teenager.  I would say that they need to be present, and in control.

What other things stand out?  Please leave a comment below! 
     

the truth about teen sexing

 

Source: U know kids

 

Should you ditch facebook?

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Do you use facebook for your youth ministry? 

In the past we have been huge advocates for using facebook to communicate with teenagers in your youth ministry.  We wrote posts called,  Timeline for Facebook Pages: The Almost Complete Guide, and Social Media Strategy: Facebook.  Facebook is a great tool to connect with students in your community.  We still think that facebook is a great tool for communicating and connecting with students.  Is it the only way to communicate?  No!

We are not too sure that facebook has plateaued.  It seems like a ton of bloggers are switching to google+.  Jeremy Smith(author of 78p.tv) linked to a post this week called, The state of facebook.  Facebook is visually cluttered, and if you use a page for communicating within your youth ministry you are only getting the message out to a 1/4 of the people if you are lucky.  There are work arounds for this problem, but my guess is that facebook is going to change this with the new update coming soon.  I think it will be a blend of facebook, twitter, and pintrest.

I personally am not ready to ditch facebook yet.  About a year ago I was frusterated at how poorly I was able to communicate to people from my page.  Then I had an idea.  I need to diversify the way I communicate today.  Facebook is still a great way for new people to try out the youth ministry without having to be active in the community.  I have seen tons of new students like the page, and then show up within a few weeks.  This alone is worth keeping a facebook presence for me.

Diversify

What social media platform do your students use?  If you could get all your students connected with three communication platforms you are doing great!  I personally don’t think you should be on all of them.  Each social media platform you take on means more work being a social media manager, and not a disciple maker.  Don’t get bogged down trying to do it all.

Here are a few things I use:

1. Texting.  I just jumped on the texting service before christmas as I was trying to play with how to communicate better with students and parents.  I was amazed at how effectively this works.  When I was looking at the stats after the first free trial week with the service I use called tatango (affilate link: use the promo code, NPDISCOUNT,  for 20% off),  I was amazed that 100% of the messages went through.  I remember looking at the screen thinking to my myself, is this true?  With facebook, I was only getting 36-50 percent views.  Fast forward a few months and I will not look back.  I will always use a texting service because it is effective!

I personally checked out all the texting services and the best one I came across is called tatango.  We love being able to recommend companies that we use and love to other youth ministries to see them impact cities.  Here at youth ministry media we only become affiliates with companies we use and love.

We set up a student list, and we are working on a parent list for emergencies(ie. the bus broke down and we will be late…that never happens right?).  We will let you know on the progress.

2. Facebook.  I don’t see any reason to ditch facebook yet.  We keep growing our facebook page, and it is a great way to communicate.  It isn’t the only way to communicate, but it works.  As I said before, it is a great way for new students to be casually involved in your youth ministry.  One way to get more views each week as you promote your mid week program is to get your core volunteers to like the post.  This will make it more visible in other peoples news feed.  

One feature we haven’t played with yet is ads for my youth ministry facebook page.  I have used ads for youth ministry media, and will continue to use ads because they work!  I love that I can target all 280,000 youth ministry workers.  I want to take an ad out next august leading up to kick off.  The goal would be to see new students out.

3. Email.  You might look at this and laugh.  I really didn’t want to put this on the list.  I use an email program called mailchimp to send out monthly newsletters to parents.  It is a great way to communicate with parents in the youth ministry.

Again, I am going to play with this to see how we can get parents engaged more through this communication tool!

Those are the big three for me.  I might include twitter eventually, or instagram.  I don’t want another thing to manage.  I am not called by the church to be a social media marketer, I am called to care for families in my church.   In the end it’s all about time, and how much of it do you have to spare?

What social media platforms do you use?  Are you going to ditch facebook anytime soon?  

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Freebie Friday: 35 resources to help your youth ministry!

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Do you love free resource? 

We love free resources, and we are always on the look out for more.  If you have any awesome resources that you would like to give out to the community here at youth ministry media please email us here.  So, with that said, here are 35 awesome resources to help your youth ministry.  Enjoy!

1. Free Friday: Video Backgrounds

2. 5 Great Fonts!

3. Free ebook : 5 Ways to Communicate Effectively in a Digital World

4. A Youth Ministry Website You Can Use! – Youth Ministry Media

5. Exploring Christianity Ebook

6. 5 More Free Fonts

7. Background Videos

8. Amazing Race Posters

9. Youth Ministry Countdown

10. YS Storyline Images, Videos and more

11. Free Worship Backgrounds

12. 3 ways to make a great facebook page

13. Free Books from Desiring God

14. WordPress plugins Jan 2012

15. 5 free wordpress themes January 2012

16. 3 free fonts February 2012

17. 5 Free Worship Backgrounds Feb 2012

18. Stuff you can use.org

19. A Great Website for Free Fonts

20. Free Easter Bible Study Lesson

21. 3 Free Ebooks.

22. The Best Script Fonts

23. Free facebook resources

24. The Personal Life of a Youth Pastor eBook

25. Group Games iPhone App

26. Sermon Series on Technology.

27. 5 Free Fonts October 2012

28. 3 Thanksgiving 2012 Lessons

29. 4 great websites for free vectors

30. YS Wonder Material

31. Christmas Resources 2012

32. 2 Organizational Tools

33. Student Leadership Resources

34. 5 Free Fonts February 2013

35. 3 Free Easter Lessons

Mentoring Servant Leaders [Book Review]

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Do you mentor students?  

I have been around youth ministry for almost 10 years and it always surprises me how many youth pastors don’t spend time with students.  Actually, I have met youth pastors who hate what they do, and are only using a position in order to climb the church ladder.  I think these leaders are not called to ministry, and lack calling and conviction.

If you love hanging out with students, and are looking for a resource for mentoring this book, Mentoring Servant Leaders from Leaders Trek, is for you.

Here is the write up from their website: 

Life is a journey, a road we all travel. But God intends for us to walk the road with other people who will come alongside of us, provide direction and wisdom, encourage us to stay on course, challenge us to push ourselves, and hold us accountable.

Mentoring Servant Leaders is designed to be used with little or no advance preparation on either person’s part. We recommend that the mentor and mentee set a regular time and place to meet for about one hour.

  • The first and last session deal with the Life Map
  • The other 5 sessions each focus on a specific topic that has applications to life and helps mentees take the next steps on their journey in a way that honors God. These sessions require no preparation and are designed to be done during your time together. You will need to bring a Bible.

Each session in the Mentee Journal contains:

  • An introduction of the topic
  • A relevant Scripture passage to read together and questions to discuss
  • An opportunity to discover how the topic and biblical truth intersect with the mentee’s life
  • A specific application of the topic to the mentee’s life
  • A prayer focus and a Scripture to memorize or meditate on

Things I love about Mentoring Servant Leaders

1. The material is solid.  The whole package is great.  The design looks good, the Biblical references are solid, and it actually helps a student set goals for the kingdom and accomplish them.

2. It is simple, and easy to use.  Some resources I have used in the past that I have had to download are confusing to use, and the mentor material doesn’t correspond well with the mentee guide.  This is exactly the opposite.  The guide for both the mentor, and mentee are awesome, and easy to use.

Things I didn’t love about Mentoring Servant Leaders

1. The cost.  $14 dollars for both booklets seems steep.  If you have a great youth ministry budget, you won’t have to worry.  Each mentee book after the initial $14 is only $8, but that is still a lot.  If you are mentoring a lot of students that will add up quickly.  I would rather spend $50 for the digital copy.

 

What do you use to mentor students?  I am always looking for new resources.  Do you ever use leader treks material?   

Freebie Friday: 3 Free Easter Lessons

Free youth ministry easter lessons
The folks over at youthministry360 have just launched another round of free resources, just in time for Easter. They’re giving away three different Easter Bible study lessons, PLUS a set of 10-day Easter devotions for your students. It’s solid stuff that will help your teenagers prepare their hearts and minds for Easter. Easter is such a powerful time for Christ-followers. These tools will help you lead students to both reflect on and celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection.
To download these free resources, head on over to the ym360 Easter Vault at https://youthministry360.com/blog/youthministry360-easter-vault.
Make sure to check them out.  I love what andy and the crew over at youthministry360 are doing.  They are game changers for youth ministry.

Addiction to Porn [Infographic]

Here is this weeks infographic.  With the month of love behind us, I thought I would share an infographic on a topic that is destroying millions of lives, Porn.  We shared a few weeks ago a freebie that every youth pastor needs to check out called: Porn-Again Christian.  Porn is destroying lives, and destroying the students lives we work with.

Here are a few things that stand out:

1.  Every second 30,000 people are looking at porn.  Wow.  That stat freaks me out.  That shows our desperate need to be fulfilled.  I share with teens who are struggling with porn that only Christ can fulfill our deepest needs, and desires.

2. Porn is a 13 billion dollar industry.  This is crazy.  How do you combat an industry that is a monster money machine?  I think the battle is one to one, and it’s though discipleship.

3. Initial exposure to porn is 11.  This is the stat that freaks me out.  This keeps dropping each year.  It makes me want to cut my internet and live in the backwoods somewhere so my little kids will be safe.  I know this isn’t the reality, so I need to be intentional with my own kids, and the students in my ministry.  It makes me realize the importance of talking about sex to Jr. Highers, even if it is soooooo painful.

 

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

porn addiction in America
Via: Online Psychology Degree

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What is the Gospel?

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I hear the word “Gospel” used more than ever.  Every time I hear someone say, preach the Gospel!, or just give them the Gospel tonight, or we are living in Gospel Community.  I wonder what people are referring to as Gospel.  We could easily get things mixed up.  I see the mix up every thursday night with my grade 5-7 group when we are talking about topics like: Jesus, Holy Spirit, The Bible, ect.  I personally think we need to understand what the Gospel is.  We need to have a working definition.

The word “Gospel” is everywhere these days.  I see books on amazon like, Gospel Coach: Shepherding Leaders to Glorify GodGospel-Centered Discipleship (Re: Lit)The Explicit Gospel (Re: Lit)Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.  All of these books are amazing, and I love the empahsis of the Gospel, but I think we need to clarify what we actually mean when we say The Gospel.

Here are a few definitions: 

D.A Carson states over at Ed Stetzers blog, If the gospel is the (good) news about what God has done in Christ Jesus, there is ample place for including under “the gospel” the ways in which the kingdom has dawned and is coming, for tying this kingdom to Jesus’ death and resurrection, for demonstrating that the purpose of what God has done is to reconcile sinners to himself and finally to bring under one head a renovated and transformed new heaven and new earth, for talking about God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, consequent upon Christ’s resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Majesty on high, and above all for focusing attention on what Paul (and others–though the language I’m using here reflects Paul) sees as the matter “of first importance”: Christ crucified. All of this is what God has done; it is what we proclaim; it is the news, the great news, the good news. (HT )

Tim Keller states, “The ‘gospel’ is the good news that through Christ the power of God’s kingdom has entered history to renew the whole world. When we believe and rely on Jesus’ work and record (rather than ours) for our relationship to God, that kingdom power comes upon us and begins to work through us.” (quote from The Gospel Coalition)

Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger state, In its simplest form, the gospel is God’s reconciling work in Christ – that through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, God is making all things new both personally for those who repent and believe, and cosmically as He redeems culture and creation from its subjection to futility.”– Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger

N.T Wright states, The gospel is the royal announcement that the crucified and risen Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again according to the Scriptures, has been enthroned as the true Lord of the world. When this gospel is preached, God calls people to salvation, out of sheer grace, leading them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord.” – Christianity Today, June 2009

John Piper states, The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy.”– John Piper, The Gospel in 6 Minutes

Rob Bell famously tweeted the Gospel, which created a huge controversy.  Here is that tweet, “The gospel is the counterintuitive, joyous, exuberant news that Jesus has brought the unending, limitless, stunning love of God to even us.”

Lets give this a shot.  Now that you have seen other definitions,  what is your definition of the Gospel?  It is so important that we understand what the word Gospel is, and how we present it in our youth ministries.  I was trying to find youth pastor definitions of the Gospel, but I couldn’t find any.  That can’t be good.    

Leave a comment below.  what is your definition of the Gospel?

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App of the month: DJ App

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Do you use apps for playing music for your youth group?  

 

A few weeks ago one of my leaders brought his ipad, and this app along to the mid-week youth ministry program.   What do you think happened?  It was a huge hit!  It was like having a personal dj at our youth group all night.  People were amazed at how fun, and easy it was so become a decent dj.  Students were huddled around the “dj” all night watching.  At one point in the night, I was standing behind this guy watching how he was dj.  It sounded sooooo great, and it pumped up the games part of the night.

This is one great app.  If you have an iphone it costs $.99, or for the ipad it’s $19.99.  I recommend the ipad app. It seems like a lot, but it is so worth it.

One way you could use this app is to get a few students to dj all your youth events/youth nights.  It’s a simple way to pump up a simple night.  If you don’t have few students who could do this then get some adult leaders to become your official dj.

Once you get an official dj of the night, you could build playlists and say to the students you work with that you will take requests on your facebook page.  It is a simple way to keep your facebook page active.

Get it on itunes

Would you use an app like this?  What songs do you have for your mid-week program playlist?  

Freebie Friday: Porn-Again Christian

Porn-again Christian

 

What resource do you use for talking about pornography and masturbation? 

Every February I do a series on relationships, dating, and sex.  Every year I give this ebook out to the grade 11-12 guys. It is a great resource for guys.

Check out the resource here.   It is free!

What I love about this ebook from Mark Driscoll.  

1. It is candid.  He deals with real questions, and gives honest answers.  I love his approach.  We need to have open and honest conversations with the teens we serve about pornography and masturbation.  It is destroying their lives.

2. Its real.  This ebook with push you and your teens to understand the sin we are in.  We need to wake up to what we are dealing with.

3. It’s all about Jesus.  We need to be repentant and ask for forgiveness.  The students in my ministry need to know they are forgiven by a gracious God.

What are your thoughts about Porn-Again Christian from Mark Driscoll? 

The Secret Life of Your Teenager [infographic]

Here is the weekly infographic.  Do you know what the teenagers you are working with are looking at online?  I doubt it, and I doubt that a lot of the parents in your church know either.  This is a staggering infographic on the secret life of the online teenager from zone alarm.

Here are a few things that standout: 

1. 91% of teens say their parents trust them online, but 56% of teens say their parents don’t know what they do online.    I think we need to be bold and ask teens where they have been online.  If no one is going to ask them what they are looking at online, you could be the person in their life that has the relationship to ask those difficult questions.  From time to time, I will ask a student where they have been online in the last day.  I will ask for highs and lows.  A lot of times I will get pat answers, but sometimes I will get the truth.  We need accountability when it comes to where we go online.

2. 32% of girls have chatted with strangers online, and 24% of guys have chatted with strangers online.  This is a freaky stat.  That means 1/3 of the girls in our youth groups are chatting with strangers.  I think we need to talk about this when it comes to dating/relationships because online relationships are relationships.

How can we protect the students in our youth ministries from entering into dangerous relationships?  One way we can do this is to talk about who they friend online, and how it’s not a popularity contest.  We need to work with parents to help the student.  Parents need to know who their students are friending and chatting with online.

What stands out to you from this infographic? 

 

The Secret Life of the Online Teenager

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What stands out to you from this infographic

 

Student Leaders Start Here [Book Review]

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Do you have a student leadership team?

Trying to find great student leadership resources is always a challenge.  I have been working on a 3 year goal for student leadership teams with curriculum and books to go with it.  I stumbled across leader treks resources, and I was amazed at how great their resources were.

The book, Student Leaders Start Here, is a great book for starting your student leadership team.  Actually, it is a must for any student leadership team.  I have led student leadership teams for around 10 years, and I have made up a lot of resources.  In, Student Leaders Start Here, Doug Franklin gives an overview of how we were designed as a leader.  He lays out Leadership Assessment, Spiritual Gifts, and Leadership Skills tests.  It is a one stop shop for all your student leadership team.

I personally love how at the end of the book, Student Leaders Start Here, it gives an overview of mission, and it’s the Great Commission.  Doug Franklin states, “Our job on this planet, the whole changing the world thing, revolves around changing people’s hearts and minds by introducing them to Christ.  Through relationship with Him, broken hearts are healed, families are restored, hatred is silenced, and peace resonates in humanity’s soul. Our purpose is people, and to that end, our leadership must reflect that truth.”  This statement is so true.  Youth Ministries need to be on mission, and the students you and I lead need to be on mission.  Too often we are not focused, and we are not on mission.  This book will help you stay on mission, and will get your whole team on mission.

Doug Franklin hits a home run with this student leadership manual.   This is a manual I will use for every student leader who starts with my team.  Go and download a free sample to check it out!

What resources do you use for your student leadership team?  

Goals for 2013: January

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In december 2012 I posted the goals for 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 they are:

1.  Have 2000 facebook follows.  Plus spend an hour a week engaging with my facebook crew!  

  • Currently 1,039.  Lots to do on this.  We will throw some money at this.  

2. 15,000 hits per month.  

  • In January we it 6,600.  Not bad, we have stayed at status quo for the past few months.  We need to break out of this.  We need to post more than 10 times a month!  Also, we will get on more guest posts.  

3. 30,000 twitter followers.  

  • Currently at, 22,433.  This is not bad.  I need to still work on this.  

4. Build my email list to 1500. 

  • Currently at 610.  Lots of work with this also!  It will tie into our plan with facebook, and twitter!  

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.  5 a week.  I need to read more posts.  Know of anyone that I need to read?

7. Use google+ better!  

  • I need to have conversations on goolge + more.  I am still working out a plan.  

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

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness [Book Review]

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“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.” (1 Cor. 4:3-5)

This is the smallest book from the amazing author Timothy Keller.  You could easily read this book in an hour.  It is only 48 pages.  It is a book you will want to read over and over again.

We all struggle with identity.  We wrestle with our identity.  Timothy Keller in his book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, shows us how Paul in 1 Corinthians 4 where paul talks about self-fogetfulness.  This is one of my favorite books I have read this year.  I love being able to study a passage deeply, and to fully understand it.  Timothy Keller does a great job describing our ego/identity problem.  He not only describes it, but displaces it with the Gospel.

Youth Pastors need to hear this message of identity, and forgiveness.  I think that we have a wacky sense of who we are sometimes, and why we do what we do.  Everything comes out of our identity.  We need to live into the fullness of the Gospel and in the words of Paul in 1 Cor 4, “In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.”

This is one book you need to read.  It is one fantastic book!  I am looking at it for a grad gift for the grade 12’s in my youth ministry.

 

Quotes: 

“…the problem with self-esteem–whether it is high or low–is that, every single day, we are in the courtroom. Every single day, we are on trial…some days we feel we are winning the trial and other days we feel we are losing it. But Paul says that he has found the secret. The trial is over for him. He is out of the courtroom.”

“Like Paul, we can say, ‘I don’t care what you think. I don’t even care what I think. I only care what the Lord thinks.’ And he has said, ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’, and ‘You are my beloved child in whom I am well pleased.’ Live out of that.”

“The essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less”

 

If you were to read one book this week, this is it!  I am going to try to read it weekly leading up to easter.  Go and check out the book on amazon here.

Once you read it, let me know what you think!  

Using Social Media for Youth Ministry [infographic]

Here is our weekly infographic.  This week’s infographic is social media marketing.  The reality is that social media is changing the way a whole generation relates.  I think it has the potential to change youth ministry, and the way youth workers relate to teenagers.
Here are a few things that stand out: 
1. The need to use social media.  With just facebook and twitter there are over a one billion users.  That is roughly 1/7 of our population.  The teens you work with, and the teens I work with are online.  Using social media sites like facebook, or twitter are valuable to ministries.  I think churches are just waking up to realize how powerful these mediums are.
2. The lie of social media.  One of the biggest lies about social media, and that this infographic points out is that social media increases connection.  This infographic makes the case that face to face contact is too time consuming, and that social networks should replace it.  I personally don’t think that we will ever replace face to face contact.  I think that a lot of youth pastors are replacing face to face contact with a digital presence.  Trust me, it’s not worth it.
What else stands out to you from this infographic?  Do you think face to face contact is worth it? 
How Social Media Help To Grow Audiences

What else stands out to you from this infographic?  Do you think face to face contact is worth it? 

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