Tuesday, February 9, 2016

News U Can Use: "Screening Tweens & Teens Annually for Depression"

" Earlier this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that kids and young adults ages 11 to 21 be screened annually for depression, a nod to the notion that, yes, mental health is an integral part of a kid’s overall well-being.

The recommendation comes after a series of sobering studies on mental health and young people. In 2013, for example, suicide was the leading cause of death after “unintentional injury” (accidents, in other words) for those ages 15 to 34. The reasons for the increase aren't clear, though some recently have pointed to increasing amounts of parental and societal pressure to do well in school. Regardless, in 2013, the American Psychological Association conducted a survey that found one in three young adults reported symptoms of depression, an illness that can of course lead to suicidal thoughts....

Monday, February 8, 2016

Youth Pastor's Wives Monthly Online Gathering & Support

"Finding a place where your wife can connect with other women who walk on the same sometimes-challenging-but-wonderful path may have been a difficult task…until now! ConnectLIVE is just what your wife has been looking for.

ConnectLIVE groups meet once per month online via group video chats. They connect to support, equip and cheer one another on in their various ministry roles. All your wife needs is high-speed internet and a webcam to make valuable relationships with other Pastors’ Wives and Women in Ministry, get answers to questions, receive prayer support and laugh with others."

Melissa, my wife, for the last year has lead the FIRST Youth Pastor's Wives Only Connect Live group through the great organization called "Leading and Loving It". It is now a new year and they are re-registering for a fresh new restart to all of their online and local groups. Her group meeting online the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 10am (EST).  (*next Tuesday!)

If you would like to find out more about her and her heart for serving other youth ministry wives, check out her bio,  get her contact information or register for her group by  CLICKING  HERE

( *Note: the Leading & Loving It website says there are 12 spots left there are not, there are only 4-5 spots left)

Top 10: OTHER Things You Might Give to First Time Guest?

10. A Nerf Gun!? (lean forward and whisper..."run!" 

9.  An Autographed Picture of You!?  (not creepy at ALL!) 

8.  A Handbook to Survive the Coming Zombie Apocalypse!? (if your that kind of church, see Revelation....)

7.  A Coupon for a Hug from the Person of Their Choice!?  ("Hey Mom, I want to go back there I got a hug from a super cute girl!" = 2nd time visitor!) 

6.  VHS of Carmen's Greatest Hits Videos!? (we have to get rid of them somehow) 

5.  A Diet Coke and a Package of Mentos? (what is the worst that could happen?) 

4.  A Cassette of Sandy Patti's Greatest Hits (same box that you found the Carmen VHS, seriously a case of 20!??) 

3.  A Sample Size Axe Body Spray!? (??) 

2.  A Can of Creamed Corn (*True Story!) 

1.  A pound of Bacon!! 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Writing and Creating Elsewhere...

This week, I will be taking a break from posting here, to write and create resources for a few other ministry friends, partners and places that I contribute. 
Here is where you can find what I am creating and who I am writing for... 

I am also spending some time coaching and networking with other youth workers, through my work with "National Network of Youth Ministries". 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Parents CAN Make Great Leaders (Part 1)

Parents of your students, parents of former student, or just in general people who are/have been parents CAN make great leaders. The key word is “CAN”. I am not saying that every parent and all parents are great youth leaders. Honestly there might be some parents, while well meaning , just need to park the helicopter and give their kids a little bit of room to breath.

I am also not saying that if people are not a parent, it disqualifies them from being a great leader. This is simply a challenge to all of us as lead youth workers. For many of my early years in youth ministry I would never let parents be leaders other than a few small roles here and there. I thought I had many good reason, excuses and even arguments for why I would not let them be leaders.  What I have discovered however is parents CAN make great youth leaders.


1. Maturity.
An adult that is a parent CAN be more mature. Just by the mere fact that they are parent, there is some basic maturity that immediately happens. Parenting and having children has a way of maturing you, whether you want it to or not.

There is a balance in youth ministry between having fun with students and have serious conversations with them. Parents CAN understand that and CAN be mature enough to find that perfect balance as a leader, just like they often do at home with their own children. In sensitive and difficult situations parent-leaders CAN have the maturity to not respond immaturely or in a way that will cause hurt.

2. Life Experience.
A parent CAN add some great things to your ministry and to conversations and teaching because they have life experiences. They CAN bring the good and the bad of their life to what they do and how they help. Parenting is a wealth of experiences and life lessons. A leader who is a parent CAN share the things they have learned in life with discernment and depth, that only comes by going through those things.

3. Relationships with Other Parents.
The right parent as a leader CAN be your greatest defender and communicator. You CAN have a parent leaving each week armed with all the good stuff going on in your ministry, into their circle of influence with other parents. Parents are more likely to listen to another parents when it comes to your ministry, than to you. You get paid to tell them how great your ministry is, another parent telling them how great you are and your ministry is huge bonus points!

Having a parent as a leader CAN also put other parents at ease that are not leaders. If they know and trust the parent that is leading in your ministry, your ministry also CAN earn additional trust as well.

4. Time Management. 
Parents CAN be better managers of time, because they have to be already. With music, sports, school and their own careers, parents have to learn time management and organization. While they may have a million things “on their plate”, they CAN know how to balance it. Busy ministry programs, retreat schedules, or event agendas CAN be easily handled by parents that are used to packed agendas and time crunches. Parents CAN make great leaders because they know how valuable time is, especially because they are sacrifice by giving you their time.

5 Training.
Parents CAN come to you already trained. Whether it be from a work setting, another ministry, or some other way. Parent CAN more likely come inter your ministry already prepared with the tools to be a great leader.

Leader trainings are still important and needed. Learning how to lead a small group or guide a discussion is essential, and parents CAN come in already with a clue because they are used to guiding and redirecting conversations at home or leading a small group discussion in a work setting.

Parent ministry is not just about creating new ministry for parents or finding ways to ministering to parents separately.  Parent ministry is doing ministry with parents as part of your ministry.   Do not miss out on the mutual blessing and benefit parents CAN bring as leaders within your youth ministry.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Game #86: "Block-tionary" (Upfront Game/Team Building/Icebreaker)

Pictionary Meets Jenga Meets Charades Meets Your Youth Group!? 

It is a quick silly upfront group game, that also can make a great icebreaker or team builder.   

Here is the simple idea behind 

- Children's Wooden Building Blocks (or Jenga Blocks)
- A Tall Table
- Index Cards

Set up:
- Have a table set up, up front with a pile of blocks
- On your index cards write out a set of clues (10-20).  Simple items that can be built or formed out of blocks and a couple more advanced, difficult items.  (* see example below)

Game Play:
- Divide group into 2 equal teams
- Each team will have a 60 second turn guessing the clue
- Choose which team will start and have one volunteer from that team come to the front
- Show the volunteer the clue.
- Give them 60 second to build or form that item using the blocks provided.
- Team will have to guess what they are building or forming.
- After 60 seconds, if they do not guess the clue the opposing team has the chance to "steal" with one guess!

- Up front player can not say anything or make any noise, they are allowed to "act out" something to go along with their creation, similar to charades rules. They must build something though.
- Creations do not have to be "stand alone" creations. The up front play can hold their creation together if needed
- Letters and numbers are not allowed.  Player can not spell out the clue.
- Teams can yell out answers and guesses.

Additional Ideas/Options: 
- An alterative to wooden blocks could be Legos or other similar building toys
- For a larger group or setting, consider setting up a close circuit camera that also shows on overhead screen.

Clue Examples:
- Animals: Dog, Cat, Horse, Fish, Bird...
- Object: Car, Boat, Plane...
- Fruit/Food: Apple, Banana, Ice Cream...
- Technology: Phone, TV, Computer,...

- Advanced Level: The Youth Pastor's Face?  The Leaning Tower of Pisa?