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

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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. 

My guess is that your head is where mine is today. I feel a deep sadness from stories of youth ministry losses over the summer. Students on Chadplanes and buses are gone in crashes while traveling to/from camp. A youth pastor and his wife die a mile from the church in a bus crash after a great week at camp. Other stories of death and loss emerge daily as youth groups venture out into the world to live in community.

One story that hit really close to my heart is the death of a young youth worker from the KC area. He went out running last Monday night and didn’t come home. His body was found several days later in an outdoor toilet near a middle school. Cause of death isn’t known, but it doesn’t really matter anyway. A family has a hole torn in their heart and the church community mourns. His name was Chad Rogers.

I knew Chad. I was invited in last February by the Missouri United Methodist Conference to do a training day for small church youth workers and Chad was there. He was engaged, listening, responding, enthusiastic and stayed afterwards to chat. I really had nowhere to be…so I stayed. We sat together, along with our host, and chatted through his life and ministry history. Chad friended me on Facebook and of course, I accepted. He was a delightful young man.

Now he’s gone. Well, gone to us. When I process life-moments like this, my default reaction is to wonder, “What can I do? How can I help? I have to do something! I don’t like this; I don’t like it one bit, God!” It’s the Mama Caro in me.

A few days have passed and the answer has come. You and I keep doing what we do. We keep talking to youth pastors. We plan a little extra time after a seminar to have a cup of coffee. We take the phone call we’re too tired to take. We post a few check-in notes on FB everyday to other youth workers. We text other youth friends. We make youth workers’ network meetings a priority. We love and care for each others like we’re an episode of “Band of Brothers” on HBO.

It won’t bring Chad back. It won’t bring back the youth pastor and his wife in the bus crash. But it will encourage other youth workers to “press on towards the goal” till God brings them (and us) to Him. While here among us, they’ll know somebody gave a ____.

That’s what we can do about it.


rotary phone

“Does it work?” one of my children asked.

“Yes, it’s plugged into the phone jack, of course it will work,” their grandmother responded.

“How do I use it?” they sat wide eyed.   “Well, you put your finger in the hole of the first number you want to dial and pull it down until it stops, do that with every number until the call goes through.” she explained.

“Can I try it?!?” they wanted to know.

This conversation happened last month between my three Middle School children and their grandmother.  She happens to keep an “old fashioned” rotary phone plugged in.  It’s funny to think a generation not only has never “used” one of these, they can’t recall seeing it before much less it existing in their home.  There was a time when getting in touch with students was as simple as seeing them in person or picking up a phone… that was attached to a cord of some kind. Not so any more.  In person is still the BEST way to communicate with a student or their parent.  However, there are times when we must track them down by other means.  If I want to “know” what’s going on in their lives I have to use different methods. I think this is true of the “churched” and “unchurched” crowd.

It may seem like an oversimplified list,  however to be in the know of my students I literally have to use ALL of the following methods:



The “Old” Faithfuls

Phones and email still remain key ways to communicate. I have one student who loses their phone often, but always checks emails. Another student will only text me. Now with talk to text options on smart phones, conversations are made easy.  There are times when I just need to hear their voice. I always make sure to know if they still have a landline, and who answers it.  These are always are starting places in the dance for communication.


facebook Facebook

My students may ask if you have an account on “The Book.” (It’s what some of my youth call it.)  Sometimes this is the best way to get a message to a student, or a simple reminder on their home page. Starting a youth group page, or events page for trips is usually the easiest place to get all of your students to check and be held accountable.

 kik Kik

“Kik” is a texting app that can be added onto a smart phone, ipod or tablet.  The reality is not all of my students have a phone, or their phone service is turned off from time to time.  This texting app allows you to talk to friends as long as you have “wifi.”  Recently, I had a student with no phone, who never checks Facebook or email.  We finally determined she had this account and we could get her info she needed.

instagram Instagram

More and more of my students are either taking down their Facebook pages, or they simply don’t use them.  Where they are at right now is Instagram.  If a picture is worth a thousand words then this is the place for you to “see” what’s going on in the life of your students.

This may not be true of everyone, however, most of my students currently do not use Twitter.  Vine is the up and coming video looping site and Pinterest is where we go to gather information about an idea. However, the truth is if I really want to “talk” I still approach it “old school,”  I show up and see them face to face.

How do you stay in touch with YOUR students?

lets talk

Small groups was our very first request for a topic (you can send your topic requests to So here we go!

Small Groups are the lifeblood for many youth ministries, and for good reason! I’ve often said that if I was told by our Pastor that we could only do ONE thing in our ministry the one thing we would do is small groups. Workshops have been taught and books written on the topic, and today we add a few simple “Good, Bad and #SMH” thoughts of our own on the newest episode of “Let’s Talk About Youth Ministry”.

I came across this video and it seemed all too familiar.

(thanks to for the tip)

A few years ago I did a similar illustration of having someone slap me hard as a part of a service. In each of our gatherings, I invited up someone whom I considered a good friend (but who wasn’t in on what was about to happen). I then shared with everyone how hearing “Jesus died on a cross for you” has become so commonplace we no longer realize some of what it means.

Between our two services, I got slapped hard two different times, with each service having it happen at least twice. My cheek was throbbing by Sunday afternoon.


Years later, I’ve heard it was the difference in the faith of one of our (now) key leaders. In his words, “When you let Jon slap you, and then again, I felt the nails going into Jesus’ flesh for the first time in my life.”

Nothing like taking one for the team.

Sometimes we take this too far, though. In one church I was a youth pastor at I had it in mind to have the kids do an altar call while walking through fertilizer. My short-sighted thought at the time was, “It will help them realize all the crap Jesus will walk with them through.” Thankfully, someone much wiser than me interjected and I backed off the idea altogether.

What have been some illustrations like this you’ve seen “work” (or perhaps a few well-intended ideas you’ve watched go south)?

Share your thoughts. Let’s brainstorm and learn from each other.

vhsA youth worker recently asked, “Was curious to know where everyone gets video clips for their messages/programs/etc?” It is kind of a no brainer to look on youtube and Vimeo but it is so hard to find credible content.  I do not have a secret formula for looking up great videos for messages but a couple of tips are to…

  • Follow the accounts of people you like
  • Save links your friends and students send
  • Save links from videos that go viral

Saving links in a trusty place (evernote, note app, word doc, etc) can help you find usable content in the future. I mentioned yesterday, it is just one of many sites that post tons of videos that are on the viral radar. Do a search for top youtube videos, you will have days of content to sift through and you may find some gems. **Not all videos are above board, guard your heart!**

Here is a list of sites I have used content from. These sites are ministry focused and have great video illustrations, mini-movies, and intros. Try clicking through the list and search their content, most of these videos have a price but if it helps you communicate your message it is probably worth it.

What sites are you using to get video clips for messages?

Ever give a message to a group of teens and afterwards think, “That message was great, I need to add that message to my THAT JUST HAPPENED folder” and then immediately brought back to earth by a kid like this?

I want the messages I deliver to point to Jesus not me…I am not as arrogant as the statement above, but I do have those moments when I think I finally “got through.” I want teens to get it and just when I think I had a break through there’s always the kid who gives me the ” Oh yeah, I guess that was ok…”  LOL, there is no sermon here, this video just made me laugh when I started thinking about kids in my youth ministry.

Videos like this are great for youth ministry announcements, leader meetings, and in our messages, I found this video on If you are looking for fun, funny and interesting videos block off a little time and click over to wimp!

How and where are you finding videos you use in your ministry?