The Bionic Teenager?

 —  August 1, 2013 — 6 Comments

I sat in a planning meeting today with several caring local professionals. They hope to host a youth summit in our area, and our conversation eventually centered on the desired outcomes of the conference. We began brainstorming  what we want to see happen in the students involved. In other words, “Who will they ultimately be when they leave this event because they were a part of it?”

After several minutes on that line of thinking, I raised my hand and offered an observation:

“It feels like we’re trying to create a bionic teenager. I don’t know if everyone remembers that old TV show the Six Million Dollar Man, but there was this concept in its opening theme that it feels like we’re sharing here – that we have the means to make students better than they were before… ‘better, stronger, faster.’

I think everything we’ve talked about are great values for kids to grow into, but if I were to force this on my own son he’d feel immense pressure because he can’t get there overnight (let alone consistently). Maybe we need to include the values of ‘rest’ and ‘journey’ somehow? Students can take steps this way, but they may need to intentionally pause along the way and take stock of their progress so they don’t crash because they feel they’re not yet perfect.”

My thoughts were met with enthusiasm, not to mention a lot of affirmation. I felt like I’d made a real contribution to the discussion.


praiseI wondered how often I’ve not had that thought in ministry. Maybe you can identify:

  • “Once kids go on this trip, their hearts will be forever transformed for Jesus.”
  • “If I can only get that student baptized, then he/she will become a role model to the others.”
  • “The more often students are consistent with youth group attendance, the more consistent they’ll be with Jesus.”
  • “They have to start (reading the Bible/praying/fasting/tithing/singing) more if they hope to have a real breakthrough.”

Even just writing those made me realize how absurd they all are.

And yet… don’t thoughts like that creep into your head and planning, too?

The thing about bionics is that something unnatural was added to appear natural.

Hmm. Is that the end?

What do you think is reasonable and unreasonable to expect in these matters?


It is time to STOCK UP on incredible titles from Simply Youth Ministry. For today only, select titles are only $3.00 a piece!! You spend more than that on your latte every morning. With such awesome savings, you can buy copies for your student leaders, friends, volunteers and other friends of your youth ministry. The sale encompasses some of our top books from the Everyday Youth Ministry collection!


How’s that for a Wednesday treat for ya?! Have a great one. As always, we love you guys.

- Amber


If you ever had trouble explaining why we use so many different forms of social media this infographic might come in handy.  It’s funny, so true, and might make a great opener at your next parent meeting.

**I want to give credit to whoever created this cool infographic but I have no idea.  If you know who, please give a link and the credit via link in the comments!

Do you live near Lima, OH or Columbia, SC?! If your answer is yes and you still have not signed up for the Big Day of Serving happening in your area on September 21, 2013, then you’re are LAME! But if you change that by signing up today then we will revoke your lame title and give you serious cool points! Not from Lima or Columbia? Don’t worry! There is definitely a Big Day near you too this Fall, just check the website for other dates and locations. Here are the Top 5 Reasons why you should get your students to Big Day of Serving this Fall:

#5- Students will be a part of something bigger than themselves.

#4- You get to do missions… locally!

#3- Everyone gets a free T-shirt!

#2- We handle all the programming; you get to build relationships with students.

#1- Your students will grow closer to Jesus as a result of their service.

*Sign up here for Big Day of Serving*


Don’t know enough about Big Day of Serving to want to sign up? Watch the video now:

Big day of serving vimeo

Now is the time to sign up to get your students helping the community through the Big Day of Serving on September 21, 2013! You do not want to miss this opportunity to mobilize your youth ministry to service and to transform lives.


To say that issues surrounding the LGBTQ movement are sensitive to navigate would be a gross understatement. Here are 3 mistakes that are often made in our ministries:

  1. People make “gay” jokes.  Statements like, “that’s gay” or “what are you, gay?” are exactly the types of things that will repel someone who needs to have a safe place to share. This will alienate kids and make you completely unsafe to talk to.  We come across as arrogant and condemning.  Huge mistake.
  2. People treat this issue as a simple one.  This is perhaps the most complex issue we are dealing with today from a pastoral perspective.  Mostly because it’s tied to identity in such strong ways.  We cannot make the mistake of trying to make it simple for people.  It’s not.
  3. People just point to the bible.  We can no longer just say we’re against “same-sex marriage” because “the bible says marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman.” This may be true, but it in no way addresses or even acknowledges the emotional turmoil people are in.

What are some ways you are addressing this issue in a positive way in your ministry?

…To Start Your Christmas Planning!

FYI: The only reason I wrote this post is because I liked the picture so much. (Oh, an ADD writer’s muse!)

Here’s your youth ministry “make it easier on everyone” shopping list:

1) Shop for a Special Events Coordinator for your youth Christmas party. Get it off your holiday plate.

2) Now’s the time to find your ugly Christmas sweater at thrift stores.

3) Cheap fun holiday giveaway items are WAY on sale at Click on the sale tab and then scroll to holidays.

4) In keeping with the picture above, The Simply Truth Bible is 20% off when bought in bulk AND there are 20 free downloadable devo’s. Wouldn’t this be a great gift for your leaders?

5) PUT ALL YOUR FALL/CHRISTMAS EVENTS ON THE CHURCH CALENDAR NOW! Trust me on this one; get the fellowship hall reserved before the ladies group. (That wasn’t nice, was it?) (I still mean it.) (I’ll go to Confession later.) (How does that work if I’m not RC?)



Conversation has to happen at every level of our churches about the relationship between the Church and the LGBTQ. The BARNA group will be releasing a study on how the views of Christians are changing toward the LGBTQ movement soon.  If you’d like to read an article about this from the Washington Post, click here.  LGBTQ would include at least the following groups of people: homosexual, lesbian, asexual, bi-sexual, transexual, the small amount of people born gender-ambiguous…and those that are “questioning” their orientation (that’s where the Q comes into the equation here).  These are all representative sexualities that are making up a powerful coalition to seek legally recognized freedoms and ultimately social relief from shame.

If this seems more complex to navigate than ever before that’s because it is.  Tomorrow I will post 3 mistakes we cannot make as we seek to navigate this conversation.

For now, here is a graphic that the BARNA group put out (as posted in the Washington Post article above).

Screen shot 2013-07-12 at 10.17.57 AM

zagg_logoI have been using Zagg products for a long time, I have purchased several Invisibleshields over the years (Droid, iPhone, and iPad) and I love my Zaggsmartbuds. I want an Invisibleshields on anything I hand to a student or my kids…it is just better that way.  I have used shields, buds, cleaning foam and keyboards…It is all quality!

Before you check out this video you need to know that I have TWO FREE $25 gift cards to give out to one of you readers and all you need to do for a chance to win is comment. You can also get a few bonus entries for Instagraming, tweeting and facebooking.

1 entry
Comment on this post sharing the title of the BEST YOUTH MINISTRY WORKSHOP you ever went to or make up a title of a WORKSHOP YOU WOULD ATTEND if it existed (Yes, I know what I just did).

Possible 2nd, 3rd, and 4th entry (not neccessary, it just give you more chances to win)
Post on instagram, twitter, and/or facebook the exact comment below, that is how I will find you!

If you’re a youth worker CLICK & I know you’ll love them, I DO!!! #MTD #youthministry #stumin

Possible 4th chance to win!!!
Create a Vine telling me why I should…Actually, I do not care what you do on Vine, just make me laugh.  I will give another $25 gift card to that person! While your app is open follow Simply Youth Ministry’s Vine.

Be sure to tag your Vine with #MTD #youthministry #stumin and mention @brandon early so I can find you!!!

I will announce the winners Friday around noon!  Get Crackin’!!!

Thanks for reading and sharing with your friends!  The WINNER of the $25 ZAGG gift cards are Laura Snyder ‏@lolasblest and Drew Aaron. Thanks Laura and Drew, check your email for your codes! Happy spending!!! No one Vine’d me so I will save that one for latter.