Now that we know how to accept correction, we’ve got to know how to give it. We shouldn’t give correction just because we don’t like what someone else is doing or how they are doing it. We should give correction to build others up in Christ. As Christians, we are all called to give correction to others when needed, “Admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Correction with direction
Correction is about guiding someone in the direction they should be going and not telling them they are going the wrong direction then leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere feeling lost and confused, not knowing which way to go. So it is important when correcting, to state what was done and how it should be done in the future. Be sure that the wisdom you are offering is Biblical. Always refer to scripture when correcting. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Correcting with love and gentleness
You are not better than the one you are correcting. Where one falls weak, another is strong; where one is strong, another falls weak. So remember that when offering correction and do so with love and gentleness. Instead of griping, “You always do this wrong, what are you thinking?” Show genuine care and concern and instead say, “I’ve noticed you doing this, this is what God asks of us…” (Fill in the blank)  Keep it clear and simple by leaving out your thoughts, it will be that much easier for them to apply the correction given.

God gives us examples of how to live all throughout scripture and often times we need accountability for our wrong ways. We are to hold each other accountable and correct each other when needed so that we may live more like Christ every day and enjoy God’s best in our lives.

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

not too late

To plan a mission trip. It’s really not too late. It may seem like it is. It might be scary. You might think, “I’ll just wait for next summer.” Please don’t. If you’re not planning on getting your group engaged in service away from home this summer. It’s not too late.

Here’s 5 things you could do today or this week to still plan a trip for this summer.

  1. Contact a mission organization to help with getting your trip together: An organization like our, Group Mission Trips, would love to help you organize and plan a life-changing experience for your group.
  2. Connect with the mission pastor/director/leader in your church: These folks have many contacts and lots of information about needs that could be met and maybe even trips for your youth group to join.
  3. Ask a fellow youth leader (in your town/denomination/network/etc.) if they are going on a trip: There’s a good chance a friend of yours in ministry might have room in their group for you and several of your students to join their group. What a great way to get some of your group involved!
  4. Find out if there is church plant or inner city ministry or rural community center (some kind of ministry that is different from your own) within a days drive: Ministries like these can often use help. Many may even be set up to bring in groups for summer ministry. All you have to do is ask.
  5. Stay at home but serve! Find a local ministry you could truly bless with a week of no-strings-attached service. Get a bunch of tents. Camp out in someone’s back yard. Use the church kitchen to cook meals. Make your own local mission trip. But serve, please!

I believe there is something amazing God does when you go away and serve people. It’s a great thing to help your students leave their comfort zones and see God work in them and through them. Please don’t miss out. IT’S NOT TOO LATE! I promise…

After a week of being laid up with the flu, we are continuing the series we started not long ago about 6 things that students need to see modelled in our lives as their leaders. You can check out the other two here and here.

As leaders there are lots of things we can preach that will get students excited, and few things bring the irregular attenders out like a series on dating a relationships save for a series on sex of course. The fact that so many students have a desire to know what the Bible says about dating and relationships means that we need to make sure that when we preach it, that our students have already seen it modelled in our lives first as married people and dating couples.

Dating: When it comes to dating I am all for members of your youth staff team dating. They are young, share similar passions, love Jesus so why not? My motivations are of course to see them find a potential mate but also that I truly believe that a student can learn so much about honour, respect and other parts of a healthy dating relationship by watching someone they respect. If those leaders maintain healthy physical boundaries with their BF/GF and keep their relationship with Christ the most important, it is an absolutely beautiful thing. The flip-side of that is that if by chance they happen to break up, the fact that they are both committed to the ministry and a small group forces their hand to pursue a healthy and honourable breakup as well. From a teachable life lesson stand-point, its a win-win for our students.

Marriage: Sadly, your students have pretty low expectations on the success and longevity of marriages, even yours. They are inundated with messages about soaring divorce rates, growing numbers of people not getting married at all and many having a lived reality of growing up in a broken home. Our job as married Pastors and youth workers to show them that a healthy God honouring marriage is possible. I follow a lot of people on Twitter and one that reminds me about this value is Carl Lentz. He is the Lead Pastor of Hillsong Church in NYC (Twitter) and he regularly tweets things to the effect of “the most important thing I can do for my kids is love their mom.” He tweets regularly about his affection and appreciation for his wife, her talent, beauty etc and I think there is something very wise about that. Celebrating marriage, monogamy and a heart to stay married is important to give young people a hope that their marriage does not have to end as a statistic.

Students need to see healthy relationships, they need to know that it is possible to date and stay pure, and that not every marriage ends in a divorce. We need to do our best to model this for our students so that when it comes time to preach it, the message will be one that they have seen a living illustration of already.

-Geoff @geoffcstewart


Looking for creative ways to capture your students’ attention during the  holiday seasons? Your wish is our command: We’re proud to unveil LIVE  Holiday, part of our dynamic LIVE Curriculum line of resources. This  exciting volume features curriculum built around three major themes:
Christmas Series As we read through the amazing, powerful story of Christmas, we  encounter characters that form the essential foundation for this  history-changing event. This six-week series will guide you through  their stories and will help your students learn more about the Christmas  narrative and how it relates to their lives today.

  • Week 1: Mary
  • Week 2: Joseph
  • Week 3: Jesus
  • Week 4: The Angels
  • Week 5: The Wise Men and King Herod
  • Week 6: Simeon and Anna

Easter Series The Easter season is a reflective time that allows us to celebrate and  remember the sacrifice and price Jesus paid for our salvation. Your  students will explore various elements of the Easter season: Jesus’  suffering, his triumphant entry, his death, and his resurrection. The  four lessons can be used together as one series or used separately.

  • Week 1: Ash Wednesday
  • Week 2: Palm Sunday
  • Week 3: Good Friday
  • Week 4: Easter Sunday

Single-Day Holidays This series includes five lessons that cover a variety of holidays  throughout the year. Each lesson can be used in the midst of those  specific holidays or can be used at a different time to cover a specific  theme that coordinates with the holiday.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Earth Day
  • Mother’s Day or Father’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Day

Make the holidays a memorable highlight for your students, while helping  them discover how the Bible remains relevant to their lives—every day  of every month, throughout the year!

Get your LIVE Holiday now!



PS. You can also download a FREE LIVE lessons… Download it here!

Try It Free! Live Curriculum 

Do you have a youth ministry degree? There are MANY roads to youth ministry though I am curious what was your formal education path (if any). As for me, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from a Bible college. How about you? Vote now!

Also, if you’re interested in getting a youth ministry certificate, check out Youthsphere from Point Loma – a cool online way to get some official training and a piece of paper for your wall at the end. Use promo code MTDB to get 10% off today!


Are you registered for SYMC?  You want to pack well for SYMC and be prepared for the best! These are not all tech tips but you will find some good tech tips burred in here. These tips come from years of conference going and some specific to my time at SYMC. I hope these will be super useful!

SYMC2013_sessionSLIDETIP #1 Know what tracks and workshops you want to attend (at least know what is available). Knowing ahead of time will make your life easier. Check out the scheduling tool SYMC has provided If you prefer to schedule directly from your smartphone click here  Check out the details on the scheduling resource here

TIP #2 Everyone is invited but if this is your first SYMC I highly recommend you make time for  “How To Get The Most Out Of SYMC.” This community gathering will happen about 4 times Friday afternoon (March 1). Here you will find great information and a Q&A for newbies! This could be your best first step…the only better first step would be to locate the restrooms!

TIP #3 Bring a bag/backpack. You will be carrying your Bible, Participant Journal, Pen, Hotel Key, iPod, Headphones, Cell Phone, Water Bottle, Laptop, Moleskine, Deodorant, Backup Hotel Key, Gum, Chapstick, USB Thumb Drive, (remember when we actually carried a Digital Camera too?)…and on top of all that you will need to leave room for all the stuff you pick up in different areas on the conference hall, workshops, and bookstore while you are at SYMC.

TIP #4 Bring business cards and address stickers. This is a little nerdy and lazy but I do not like filling out my address 100 time over the weekend…I have seen people stick a sticker on those forms…complete with Name, Address, Phone, and Email. The business cards are for networking…you may want to bring something to hold other peoples cards so you don’t lose them (or take a picture of it with your cell phone app that turns business cards into a contact and throw the card out).

TIP #5 Connect with other youth workers! Don’t spend all your time with people you brought, get in a Connect Group, find the National Network of Youth Ministries and ask them to help you meet other youth workers in your area, ask people in your workshops to lunch and kick around what you have been learning…if they say they can’t because they are on a budget offer to buy (buying friends at a conference is ok, plus you are probably going to charge it to a church expense account anyway).

TIP #5.5 Connect with the speakers. There were be so many of the sharpest minds in youth ministry at SYMC. Connect!

TIP #6 Need some love…Soul Care, enough said!

TIP #7 Don’t forget the tag your tweets with #SYMC.  Run a search for #SYMC on twitter to see and be a part of all the buzz!

TIP #8 See someone taking note like crazy? Ask if they are a blogger and if they are posting their notes online!

TIP #9 Bring a spray bottle and squirt the guy who has to answer every question the track speaker asks, just kidding….but seriously, bring a spray bottle.

TIP #10 When you get home write a short letter to your ministry point person on your leadership team telling them how amazing your time in Indy was, sharing a few nuggets of what you learned, and thanking them for making it possible (time away, money, etc…this effort can go a long way with leadership).  If you paid for SYMC yourself write that letter to your spouse, if you are single take yourself out for ice cream and review your notes, if you are lactose intolerant consider taking one of those Lactaid pills or just pray about the risk.

I know there are way more than 10 tips and I am sure that you have some that are even better than these…So please share your best conference tips in the comments below!  Hope to see you are SYMC 2013!!!!!

GUEST POST: Paint Slide!

Josh Griffin —  February 10, 2013 — 4 Comments

One of our student-run ministry teams is our Create ministry. Twice a month, the ministry has an “Open Studio” event, where all artists are invited to our church to work on their art and hang out with other artists. Sometimes the creative-types are hard to reach, so it is an awesome way for shy students or new students to get connected to our ministry.

I recently challenged Ashley (the student leader in charge of Create) to think outside the box and do something we have never done before. She came up to me with an cool idea inspired from a blog she saw, a paint slide!

It is exactly what you think it is; a Slip-n-Slide that uses paint instead of water! At the end of the slide was a 3 foot white sheet that had “You Are His Masterpiece” written on it in tape. The idea was for students to slide down and then paint on the sheet with their body. Some finger-painted, some walked on it, and some rolled on it. After the paint had dried, Ashley took the tape off and the piece looked incredible!

One of the best parts about it was that it was totally FREE (for us at least)! The slide was made from tarps that a student had laying around in their garage, the sheet used for the “You Are His Masterpiece” project was an old sheet in a student’s house, and the paint was brought by the students that came to the event ($2 Walmart paint). Quick note: Make sure to use washable/non-toxic paint so that you don’t kill your grass!

I had two big highlights from the event. First was seeing two of our lesser-known freshmen hanging out with our plugged in seniors and building cool friendships! The second involved a student that comes to the “Open Studio” nights but isn’t really involved with our ministry. She brought a friend to the event and we got to hang out with them and invite them to our weekend services. It was so cool!

Here are some pictures from the slide!
Thinking about doing this yourself? The only thing I’d do different would be to do multiple slides for multiple color croups (brights, warms, cools, etc.) Even though the paint did mix together a little, it still turned out great!

Colton Harker is the Student Leadership Director at Saddleback HSM.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact him at or on twitter at @ColtonHarker.

soccerI hear this cry in almost every church where I do a Small Church/Youth Ministry Architects assessment. Adults repeat it in one form or another; sometimes it sounds like an excuse for why their kids don’t come. Sometimes its a lament to explain low numbers. Either way, I’m not sold on it as a good reason for why their youth ministry isn’t up to par in sustainability and functionality.

Here’s why: I started a year-long coaching/teaching cohort through the TN UMC Young People’s office. In this fellowship hall were about 60 people from 13 small churches around TN. The requirement was #100 or less in worship to qualify for the program. During the day, a youth ministry pair, Carlos and Miriam, told me the story of why they were yawning all morning. It wasn’t my teaching, they said. (Whew!) They had been up late the night before cleaning up from a youth/family sports nutrition class sponsored by their church for the local soccer players. Their fellowship hall had been full!

Get this: When they were asked to lead their youth ministry, they had two kids…though they knew there were lots of kids connected to the church and on the rolls. Where were they? On the soccer field, that’s where. So Miriam and Carlos began to hold youth group at the soccer fields. At their first meeting? 42 youth attended. Now each week, they know the soccer players favorite healthy snacks and personal delivery of said snack is part of their youth ministry.


So go head and try to tell me your kids are too busy for youth ministry. Maybe its the church that’s too busy. Maybe its time for the church to turn things upside down and take it to the streets. Or the ball fields, so to speak.