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Five Places for Free Youth Ministry Resources

Yesterday was free cone day at Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. All over the world they gave away a free ice cream cone with absolutely no requirements. Of course we went to the local Ben and Jerry’s to get our cones.

Free cone day at Ben-n-Jerry's - Mexico city edition.I got to thinking about Ben and Jerry’s, free stuff, and of course, ministry.

It’s amazing how people will line up to get free ice cream. Who wouldn’t want to eat ice cream (besides some super healthy people I know)? I don’t think Ben and Jerry’s made money today, but it wasn’t about that. It was about the community. It was about getting their message out to the public.

There are lots of things in the world that should be free. I’m a big fan of sharing resources in ministry and offering things for free. We even have a site that has free youth ministry resources in Spanish. Ministries ought to share resources to further the Kingdom.

I use lots of different sites to get free resources for youth ministry.

Five Places for Free Youth Ministry Resources

When I tell my students that I want to offer some resources on the website for free, they look at me like I am crazy. But, why not? Free is good. Free resources for ministry have helped me a lot. We can all benefit from each other.

If Ben and Jerry’s can offer free ice cream, why can’t we offer free stuff in the church? I loved free cone day.

A Decade After Columbine

I remember watching the Columbine tragedy happen in real time on television. I was the youth pastor then at North Dunedin Baptist Church. I have been involved in youth ministry this whole time since, and I wonder how much impact we have made on the lives of young people since Columbine.

The victims who lost their lives in Columbine, and even the people who took their lives, have changed the way I minister and act towards others.

Unfortunately, there will always be those who are seen as “fringe” kids. Violence will always be around. But ever since Columbine, I have thought a lot and made a conscious effort to look for those who society sometimes overlooks. You never know how something as simple as a smile or a, “How are you?” will help someone.

There are basically four things that, I think, when done right, will have an impact on the lives of those who feel rejected by society.

  1. Look for them – Sometimes it’s not so easy to identify these people. We spend a lot of time ministering to the people who respond. What are we doing to look for those who are not at every single event?
  2. Listen to them – I believe everyone has something important to say. We must listen to these young people, even if they aren’t the most popular or the easiest to get something out of. But if we really listen, they might just open up to us.
  3. Take them seriously – When they tell you something that sounds strange or different, take them seriously. Don’t blow them off. They are capable of big things.
  4. Be persistent – They will reject you. But don’t give up. It takes time for a young person to grant you access to their life.

What about you? What are you doing to reach out to those who feel un-loved? How can we do that better as the church? Post your thoughts in the comments.

(Image by: Dave Blume on Flickr)

Graduation Gift Idea

I saw this game on sale at Amazon, and I thought it would make a great gift for graduating seniors or a great game to play with a Senior class small group.

It’s based on Dr. Seuss’s book, “Oh the Places You Will Go,” and right now it’s only $4.

The product description says,

“Based on the iconic Dr. Seuss book, this game has players debating life’s great questions-for example, ‘Would you rather sail a bamboo raft in Tahiti, or write, direct, and star in your own horror movie?’ Everyone guesses which path you’ll take.”

It might make a great game for your group or for a graduation party. Check it out. If you get it and play it, let me know how it goes.

(via: Baby Good Buys)

Global Youth Culture

This is a great video. Even in Mexico, people laugh every time I allude to this type of conversation between an adult and a young person.

I think it’s a representation of worldwide youth culture.

(Via: Marko)

What your pastor REALLY thinks of your blackberry

I’ve noticed that more and more people are using cell phone technology in more places, and I’ve begun to deal with it in the classroom setting as well. It’s not uncommon for one of my students to check their cell phone for messages during class.

I’ll have to admit, sometimes it irritates me, although it doesn’t phase them. A recent survey says that baby boomers and Gen Y see the use of cell phones during meetings in different ways. I would have to agree.

Even 57 percent of Gen Y respondents think that it is “impolite” (compared to 67 percent of Baby Boomers). But the Gen Y workers surveyed can deal with it better. Only 49 percent find such behavior “distracting,” while 68 percent of Baby Boomers did. And so it goes, younger workers also tend to find such multi-tasking during meetings more productive (Gen Y: 35% versus Boomers: 20%) and efficient (Gen Y: 35%; Boomers: 17%). While Gen Xers find them to be the most unavoidable (29% versus 21% for Gen Y and 17% for Boomers).

When I whip out my iPhone during a meeting (or church service – which I’ve been known to do), I should probably consider who is with me in the meeting. If I’m with a group of my students, they won’t see it as distracting (49%) as my baby boomer friends do (68%)

So think twice the next time you’re in a meeting and you get buzzed by your phone. Will you take it out or not?

See the whole survey here: Survey Says Baby Boomers Think Playing With Your Blackberry During A Meeting Is Rude

(Image by: Marvin Kuo on flickr)

Young People and Stress

I’m reading Walt Mueller’s book Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture, and in it he talks about the fact that young people are stressed and hurried.

It is true that all over the world young people are looking for ways to relieve stress in their lives. I thought this article over at YPulse was interesting about how young people relieve stress. According to the article that YPulse references, “stress is the invisible global constant afflicting youth of all ages in all markets.”

5 Ways Young People Relieve Stress

  • Listening to Music – 65% of all young people on the planet listen to music to relieve stress. I wonder what they’re listening to.
  • Watching TV – 48% watch TV to relieve stress (but not the news…it stresses them out)
  • Talking to Friends – the use of technology has made this even more available as a stress reducer
  • Sleeping
  • Praying – young people who pray more are less stressed. Ypulse says, “Stressed youth on average pray 3.7 times per week. Relaxed youth pray 8.8 times a week.”

Check out the article on YPulse for the Top 12 Ways Young People Reduce Stress.

Bore No More!!

One of my biggest fears when I get up to speak in front of a group of young people, students at the Seminary, or even in “big church” is boring the drool out of people while I’m speaking. Seriously, I have nightmares about people sleeping while I’m teaching about the the book that has caused more life change than any other book in the history of the world.

Jim Rayburn, the founder of Young Life, is quoted as saying, “It is a sin to bore a kid with the gospel of Jesus Christ.” I agree. If God took the time to carefully reveal Himself to us, why do we bore people with this life-changing message?

I bet many youth workers and pastors are the same way. Nobody wants to be remembered as the boring teacher. Nobody wants half of the congregation to snooze through the sermon. None of my students would admit to wanting to bore people while they are teaching.

Well, the good news is that there are some principles that we can apply to our teaching to cut down the bore factor. Here they are.

Five Secrets to “Bore No More”:

  1. If you don’t know where they are, it doesn’t matter where you’re going. You must understand the level of understanding your students have of the topic. It makes no sense to teach about something that they have already learned (at the same level of teaching). Be sure to know as much about your audience as possible so you can teach new things or old things from a different perspective.
  2. You learn better the things that interest you. If you are 16 years old and have the option of learning how to drive a car or how to wash the dishes, you will probably choose to learn how to drive a car (unless someone can convince you of the connection between washing the dishes and finding a girlfriend). Find out what interests your students and teach it to them.
  3. Fulfilled needs leads to effective teaching. When we feel a need, we will go to various lengths to find the answer and fulfill the need. What are the needs your students have right now? Find those out and teach about them.
  4. Without stimulated activity, there is no learning. Teaching is not the act of transferring the teachers notes directly to the notebooks of the students without it ever passing through the brains of either one. It is an interaction with material. Teaching causes life change. You must figure out how to stimulate activity in the learner, or there will be no learning or teaching taking place.
  5. The teacher and the lesson are the same.Your life teaches your lessons and applies what you teach for good or bad. Live what you teach, or the time you spend preparing will be worthless.

What are your thoughts? What would you add? How can you apply these principles?

(image by Phoenixdailyphoto on flickr – if you’re reading in a reader, it’s worth clicking to check out the picture)

If you like this post, check out this book by Andy Stanley (the link is through my Amazon Associates Account): Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication. It’s got some great ideas for crafting and communicating messages.

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