youth ministries

Google+ for Businesses [infographic]

Do you use google+?
If you are on lets be friends!  Check us out on google+ here.  A year ago a friend Jeremy Smith started to talk about how he used google+.  I honestly thought that it was just a social media graveyard.  I didn’t think anyone used it.  I knew a lot of people with accounts, but no one updated statuses or anything.  I realized quickly that google+ is a social network that is growing fast, and because of that I needed to be on it.
Here are a few things that stand out:
1. Google+ influences search rankings.  This is one reason why you need to be on google+.  Its the only social network that will change your search rankings.
2. Google+ helps your content get indexed quicker.  If you are a blogger, this is another reason why you MUST be on google plus.  You content gets indexed right away.
Are you on google+?  Make sure to add youth ministry media.  What else stands out?  

Reaching Teens in a Digital World: Entertainment

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

Is this culture too focused on entertainment?  

Don Tapscott in his book, Grown Up Digital(affiliate link), states, “Net Gener’s love of entertainment also has important implications for companies that want to sell things to them.  Nearly three-quarters of Net Geners agreed with the following statement; “Having fun while using a product is just as important as the product doing what it is supposed to do.”  Net Geners value the experience of using the product beyond its primary function.  They find amusement in accessory options…Net Geners become bored easily, so playing with their text devices keeps them interested.”

Are the students you work with entertained too much?  Are we apart of the problem? 

I think that a youth night has to have the element of fun in everything, but it can’t be the focal point.  One thing I do is break down the night in to parts, and actually look at how much time is spent playing games.  I want the game portion of the night to be 20mins.  It depends on the night, but I want to have a short, but sweet game.  Something that raises the fun factor of a night.

The risk with having too much of the night focused on entertainment is that your youth group becomes a YMCA group, it will lack focus, and focus on the Gospel!  I see a lot of youth ministries that are focused on entertainment.  We think this is the only way to reach a generation of students.  The students I work with want to see entertainment as a part of the night, not the focal point.

Two ways I make sure the youth group environment is balanced: 

1. Have a plan.  I write out the night, and look at the time frame for everything.  Is the game taking too much time?  If it takes too much time, what else has to give?

2. Think with the end in mind.  What is the outcome of the night!  I doubt that your outcome is: fun.  Well, at least I hope not.  Great outcomes for the night, or series could be: For the students to understand their identity in Christ, For the students to understand how much God loves them.   When you start to think about the end in mind, you will stop filling your nights with pointless games.

Is your youth ministry balanced?  Are you focused on games and entertaining?  How do you be intentional to not become an entertainer.  

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

[infographic] How technology is messing with your sleep.

We are back with our weekly infographic.  It’s always great to get an infographic that shows how technology is impacting us.  A lot of times it is negative, but there is always a chance to redeem media for use in the Kingdom.  Here is the question of the week.  Does technology impact you and your sleep patterns?  

Here are a few things that stand out to me from this infographic on technology messing with your sleep!

The shift from tv to computers/smartphones.  This is pretty obvious, but 65% of boomers watch tv an hour before bed.  Where 56% of generation z text and use their cellphones before bed.  This is another reason to have a great texting plan.  You can look at tatango as a texting service.  We reviewed the program in a post called: The Best Texting Program for Youth Ministry

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

 

http://mashable.com/2012/10/10/tech-keeps-you-awake/

The Top 10 Posts of 2012

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As I look back to see the top posts of the year to figure out what I want to write on this year, I wanted to share with you the most viewed posts.

Here they are in case you missed these great posts! 

1. 5 Ways to Communicate Effectively in a Digital World

2. Create a crazy cool youth ministry logo

3. Programs you need! (this was my first post on the website!)

4. Free Worship Backgrounds

5. 5 free wordpress themes January 2012

6. 5 minutes to master illustrator: Drawing and Transforming

7. Top Gadget of the Month: Nespresso

8. 5 Free Worship Backgrounds: Feb 2012

9. 3 Evernote Resources

10. Create a Professional Facebook Page for Free! 

 

Those are the top posts of 2012.  What is your favorite post that we wrote this past year?  You can check the archives for all the posts! 

 

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Personal Goal Setting for 2013

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Do you have personal goals?

I don’t think a lot of people do.  For some reason youth ministry, and youth pastors get lumped into a stereo type of being unorganized, and non-productive.  The sad reality is that more often than not the stereo type is true and we fall into it.  I meet pastors who don’t have plans, and are wandering because of it.

This year make a plan, and then monthly, and weekly glance over it to see how you are doing.  One of the best ways to make a plan is to look at resources.  My favorite resource is Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan and I wrote a blog post about it called, Why I created a life plan (and why you should too!.  

One of the best resources of Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan is that he gets you thinking about the end goal.  If you start with the end goal in mind you will be able to plan a year to live how you want, and hit the goals you want.  It is a great way to visualize how you want to be and lead.  I would love to share my life plan but it is way too personal! 

With that said, I want to share a few goals for this year.  I wrote a post last year that I loved called, How to get ready for 2012, which we are going to modify this post off of.

Here are a few of my goals for 2013.  

1. Rediscover my Awe of God.  I have been reading this book called,Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry.  In this book, Paul Tripp states, “Awe of God should be the reason I do what I do with my thoughts.  It should be the reason I desire what I desire…Awe of God is meant to rule every domain of my existence.”  This year I want to be in awe of my creator.  I want to be drawn closer to him.  One way I want to do this is: 

a. Having a Bible Reading Plan.  I personally love this.  I do use a Bible Reading Plan from youversion.com.  Last year, my goal was to do a Bible reading plan with new journalling Bible.  The result was really cool.  All the pages on the sides were marked up.  

b. Memorize Scripture.  I haven’t done this in sooooo long.  I am going to fighter verse the app.  I have used it a bit, and I already love it.  

c. Retreats.  Taking time away to spend in prayer.  The goal is to retreat 4 times a year to spend at least 48 hours alone with God.   

2. Love others.  I want the people I work with, my leaders, and the students I lead, to know that I truly couldn’t do the ministry I do without them.  Here is how I am going to do it.  

a. Write at least 3 thank you/encouragement cards each week.  

b. Throw parties at the end of every ministry calendar celebrating what God has done.  

c. Personally have my leaders in my home with my family getting to know me.  

3. Training the brain.  I don’t want to become complacent in my life, or my ministry.  I see pastors all the time who are outdated and stale.  I don’t want to be one of those guys.  I want to stay sharp and fresh.  Here is how I am going to do that!

a. Go to at least 2 conferences this year.  I want to go to Simply Youth Ministry Conference, and The Resurgence Conference.  I would love to also go to the Canadian National Youth Worker Conference.  This is one way to staying fresh.  I love being away with other youth pastors.  It is such a blast!  

b. Do 2 courses on reformed theological seminary through itunes.   I have been out of school for 6 years, and it is important to stay on it.  I am going to listen to a preaching course from Tim Keller!  

c. Read 52 books this year.  I think this is doable.  I was trying to keep track of all the books I read last year, and I think it is over.  

 

Those are a few of the goals that I have for this year.  What goals do you have?  I would love to hear from you to add to the list!  

Goals, Goals, and more Goals…Year end Review!

2012-goals

 

 

Do you have goals for your site or youth ministry?

I love goal setting.  It is an awesome thing to look back on the year and see all that God has done in your life and ministry.  These are moments for me to be in awe of who God is, and that without him these things wouldn’t have been accomplished.

If you don’t know where to start with goals 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.  Michael Hyatt’s life plan is the best tool out there for life plan.

 

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.  973 at the end of the year!  I’m so stoked to see all the new friends on facebook!   I need to step this up in the new year to include engagement!  

2. 10,000 hits per month.   Year end 92,004.  That is truly awesome.  My goal was to have 120,000 at the end of the year, but it was close.

3. 10,000 twitter followers.   19,101 at year end.  Love seeing all my new friends on twitter.  The growth this past year has been staggering.  I think the goal for next year is to break the 30,000 mark!

4. Build my email list to 500.  591 at the end of the year!  I love that our ebook, 5 Ways to Communicate Effectively in a Digital World, has been downloaded and used at least 591 times!  In the next year we are going to put it in the shop and retool it.

5. Write another ebook.  Accomplished!   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.  48 this past month!  Not bad.  We are getting up there.  Next year I want to open the conversation up more on the facebook page, and on your websites!  I look forward to reading your posts.

 

How did your year end up?  Did you hit your 2012 goals?  What were your goals? 

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The Youth Pastors Gift Guide 2012: Office/Organizational

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Do you have a sweet office? 

This past year I was able to hang out with one of the pastors from Mars Hill Seattle, and one thing that struck me right away.  That was this guys office.  It was unbelievable.  He had a stand up desk, a cluster of comfy chairs, and whiteboards.  One thing that stood out to me was that if you office looks great, you will spend time in it, and people will want to meet up in your space.

My goal this year is to get rid of the youth room, and make my office into a new youth room where I could have meetings, hangout and counsel students and adults.  Here are some things I want for my office!

1. Wall Decals from Blik 

I have a blue city scape on my wall and people are always commenting on it.  It looks amazing, and I want another one. The cost is $50 for huge decal that is easy to put on and will look great.

2. Calendar from Neu Year.  

I used this calendar last year and I love it.  I don’t think I will start a new youth ministry year without one of these calendars.  The best thing is that I will have a master and my interns will be able look at a year out and know we have a plan.  I am way too excited about a calendar.

3. Mason Jar Lights.  

I just put these lights in my office and they look awesome.  Creating a space that looks great worth the money especially it if costs a mason jar, and a electrical cord!

4. A nice T.V

One I found on amazon was a Samsung UN46EH6000 46-Inch 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV (Black).  It might be too big, but this is a crazy deal.  The cool thing about having a monitor in your office is that you can convert it into a conference display.  When you are doing your discipleship meetings out of your office on this, it will be worth investing into a screen.  Make sure to mount it on the wall!

5. xbox 360

I think this would be a great addition to an office that wants people in it…nuff said!

6. apple tv 

This would help make my office into the ultimate meeting place.  I could have my laptop on the desk and mirrored on to the tv through the apple tv.  You could stream music on it, or just pictures.  This is one gadget that I would love to have.  Turn your office into a wireless conference center.

7. Knock Knock Personal Library Kit

If you are a nerd like me, the one thing I had is when people “borrow” your library books and never bring them back.  My wife bought this for me a few years ago, and it has been a great addition to my personal office library.  If a book goes out, I quickly register it and sign it out for my friend.  The book always comes back, or else they get a call in a month!

What else do you love in your office?  what would you add to this list? 

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The Best Texting Program for Youth Ministry

 

 

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Do you have a texting program for your youth ministry?

My bet is that you have a facebook page, and you somehow collect the students numbers.  You need another way of communicating with students and parents.

Meet the best texting program you could possibly use for your youth ministry: 

Tatango

Here is why Tatango is so awesome!

1. The price.  It is cheap.  For $24 dollars a month you are able to have a text service for your students and the parents in your youth ministry.  Acutally, you can create as many groups as you want!  Cheap!  Here is the price break down.  I am sure that your youth ministry could handle the $24 dollar expense for Tatango.

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2. It’s efficient.  I posted a facebook post a few days ago and of the 65 people in the group, only 40 saw the post.  That same day I sent out a text with Tatango, and every single person opened the message.  I couldn’t believe it.  %100 of the people received the message.

3. Easy to Use.  I bet even you could figure this out.  If you can’t someone will call you in the first 24 hours to help you work the program.  I was thrilled that steve called me up and helped me walk through the free 7 day trial of Tatango.

What are you waiting for?  Go to Tatango and check out this amazing texting program.  

Do you use a texting program for your youth ministry?

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The Youth Pastors Gift Guide 2012: Books

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How many books do you read a year?  

I wrote a post for youthmin.org called, How many books do you read a year?  The poll shows the results that youth pastors are readers, and are reading at least 5 books a year.  Here is a list of books that I personally think you should read this year.  If you only were to read 5 books, please read one from this list.

 

1. Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry by Paul Tripp.

If you were to read on book this year, this has to be the book.  Paul Tripp does a fantastic job calling pastors back to Gospel, and to find their identity in it.  I want to buy cases of this book to send to all my friends in ministry.

2. Sticky Teams: Keeping Your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page by Larry Osborne.

Lead your youth ministry team to the next level with this book.  Larry Osborne does a great job describing what it means to actually lead, and lead teams well.

3.  Community: Taking Your Small Group off Life Support (Re: Lit Books) by Brad House

This book is meant for church small groups which is exactly why you should read this book.  Take want you can and modify it for your small groups in your youth ministry!

4. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt

Michael Hyatt is a genius and knows how to get books published.  If you want to build your online brand this is the book to read this year.  It will help you take your wordpress blog to the next level.

5.Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott

If you work with teenagers you need to read this book.  I personally think every pastor should read this book.  The world is now digital, and we(pastors) are still having a hard time understanding it.  Reading this book is your first step into reaching a digital generation.

6. Sticky Faith, Youth Worker Edition: Practical Ideas to Nurture Long-Term Faith in Teenagers by Kara E. Powell and Brad M. Griffin

This is the only youth ministry book that made the list for a reason.  I wish this was the only youth ministry book that was published this past year.  Every youth worker needs to read this book!

7.The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

This is a book to balance out Grown Up Digital.  Nicholas Carr’s approach to this generation is realistic and over the top negative.

8. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte

Here is a book to help you become a better communicator.  I love this book and how Nancy lays out different speakers and the way they communicate effectively.  Learn how to speak to crowds from the best!

9. slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentationsby Nancy Duarte

Having a great slide to go along with your message is a difficult thing.  Most of the time I won’t use slides because I don’t have the time to put into it!  I think you might need to upgrade your slide skills this year!

10. Poke the Box by Seth Godin

This is one of the best books I have read in the past 5 years.  Here is my review of the book, Poke the Box.  Read the review and purchase the book!

What other books would you add to the list?  

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The Youth Pastors Gift Guide 2012: Tech

(This is part of a series called: The Youth Pastors Gift Guide)

 

What tech toys do you want for christmas this year?

Here is a little list of things we would love this year.  Enjoy!

1. ipad Mini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all know that every youth pastor would love one of these little toys.  Its small enough to preach out of, and you could hold every book on the go.  This truly would get rid of the laptop for me.  I would just have a desktop at work.

The cost on one of these sweet little ipad mini’s is: $329 from apple.

I could how this could be useful in ministry in so many different ways.  I personally think the ipad is way to big to carry around.

2. Nexus 7

 

If you can’t afford the ipad mini, this is the next best thing.  People will say that this is the better hardware and it really is.  Google and apple are way out in front when it comes to tablets.  I personally would love an ipad mini, but I would definitely enjoy this.

I think that the ipad will last you longer than anything else on the market because it is proven by apples track record.  This is a great little gadget.  Pick it up the Google Nexus 7 Tablet (16 GB)
for $237 here.

 

3.  Apple tv 

The apple tv was one of the best purchases I made last year.  I am going to buy one for my youth ministry this christmas.

There are so many different uses for youth ministry.  I could wirelessly stream my mac for teaching, we could play breaker games with iphones.  You could stream music, and create playlists from your phone.  You could control your playlists from your iphone!   I think this is a fantastic for any youth ministry or youth pastor!

A new apple tv will set you back $99.  It is definately worth it!  Get it here.

4.  Viewsonic 27inch Monitor 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think this would look awesome on your desk!  My goal for next year is to turn my office into a space where I can do a lot of teaching from.  I have people in my office all day.  It would be great to have a place where I could link up to my laptop on my apple tv and do some teaching to student leaders or interns.

I think this monitor would do a great job for a office monitor, or a screen to teach from.

The cost of a 27 inch monitor from viewsonic is $280.  You can pick yours up for your office here.

5. Web hosting

 

Do you have a website?

Get your youth ministry a website.  I am getting one for my youth ministry this christmas!  I love bluehost because they are simple to set up.  If I get another call from a youth pastor friend asking him/her to help set up a website I will lose it!

Go and check out bluehost here.

 

6.  Beats by Dre 

 

I purchased these headphones this past year, and I love them.  They are one of the best purchases of the year.  They are awesome.  I have used them in my office to cancel out the noise from other staff members.  I let my 2 year old son destroy them on a plane to hawaii.  I let youth use them for games on our mid week program.  These things have held up nicely.  The only downer is the price.  Check them out here.

7. iPhone 5

 

Do you have an iPhone 5?

If I was a Lead Pastor, and I was give my staff a really sweet gift this year, it would be an iPhone 5.  If they already had an iPhone 5 it would be a ipad mini.  I personally think that all pastors should own a iPhone.  This is one handy tool to have in your pocket!

8. Bose Soundlink Bluetooth mobile speaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would love this speaker for youth outings.  I would love this for my office.  I would love this for my home.

This is one sweet speaker!  The best part is that its wireless.

Check it out on amazon here.

9. Nikon D800

 

This past year a friend of mine filmed a video for my youth ministry.  It was incredible!  The quality was better than anything I have seen on the market.

That day I decided I wanted/needed this camera.

Check out the camera here.  (beware: its really expensive)

 

What would you add to that list?

 

Freebie Friday: December Calendar 2012

 

Each month we want to hook you up with a calendar.  I love the website smashing magazine.  Each month they have a competition for designing a calendar.  I like to share with you the best calendar.

Here is what you can do with the calendar: 

  • Print it off and stick it on your wall.  Add important events for the month.
  • Write on it the goals for the month.
  • Put prayer requests for the month on it.

I love getting the calendar each month.  So here it is.

Smashing Wallpaper - December 2012

 

Please vote for me!

 

 

 

vote for kolby

 

 

Could you take a moment and vote for me?  One of my posts this past year was nominated for post of the year over at youthmin.org.  I would love the ipad mini, and I will use the other resources for this website.

If you could take a minute and vote for me here.  The post is under the name kolby milton : Is there a problem in youth ministry? 

I am thankful for all my readers, you are the reason this website exists.

Thanks,

kolby milton

 

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The Youth Pastors Gift Guide 2012

 

What gift do you want this year for Christmas? 

Last year we did a similar series called: The Youth Pastors Gift Guide.  It was a huge hit, and we are going to repeat this series.

Some youth workers have generous churches who give the staff crazy presents at Christmas like ipads, or cash gifts, or starbucks gift cards.  I think for a lot of churches the church board and the lead pastors have no idea what to get their youth worker, or other staff.  Here is a little list that you can forward on to your lead pastor, church board, or the family that keeps asking what to get the youth worker they love for Christmas!

Here are the posts for the next few weeks for this series: 

The Youth Pastors Gift Guide

1. Tech Gifts

2. Books

3. Coffee/Beverage

4. Organizational/office

5. Apps

6. Just for fun

There you go.  We will have some fun with these lists in the coming weeks leading up to Christmas.

What specific items would you add to that list? 

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