Brandon Early —  January 11, 2013 — 3 Comments


If you have a mobile device YouVersion is a must have.  I have tried several other Bible apps and this have been the best for the price.  If you are looking for a hard core study tool I would ask you to research Logos…but that is not why I am writing.  There are a ton of Bible translations that you can download in YouVersion and a handfull that are only available while your mobile device is online.  Today through January 21 you are able to download the NIV which is rarly available for download (they have allowed users to do this a few times in the past).

Why is this a big deal? Well, if you have Wi-Fi or data service everywhere you use your YouVersion Bible it’s probably not a huge benefit but for the rare times when Wi-Fi is or cell service is not available and you want to access your NIV it’s good to have it downloaded. Checkout YouVersion’s “Bible” on your mobile device today.

The Site Link


The App Link

P.S. The NIV is also available for download in the Bible Gateway mobile app.  Click Here.

Thanks Bill Ver Velde for the heads up!

One of the questions of interest that comes up pretty often when youth workers visit our high school ministry is what songs we are currently playing/singing in youth group. Taffy (aka Student Ministry Worship Guy, aka Rice and Worship) sent me the most recently Top 10 we’re enjoying right now:

1) What Would I Have Done (Bethal Live)
2) All I am (Phil Wickham)
3) Christ in Me (Written by Tim Timmons) Free Download on
4) Overcome/Blessed Assurance (Desperation Band)
5) He is Alive (COS) Free Download on
6) Here for You (Matt Redman)
7) 10,000 Reasons (Matt Redman)
8) Like and Avalanche (Hillsong United)
9) God above all (Hillsong Youth)
9) LIft Him up (COS)
10) Learn to Love (COS)


7th Grade Girls

Katie Edwards —  January 10, 2013 — 1 Comment


I’m sitting in Starbucks thinking about my small group. On Wednesday nights I lead a small group of 14 7th grade girls. Let me rephrase that, I lead a group of 14 sweet, crazy, loud, don’t want to do anything serious whatsoever 7th grade girls. They are wonderful. As I sit here reflecting on our time last night, I find myself giggling out loud just thinking about some of the things they say and do. I thought I would share them.

-       They like to scream. And hug.

-       They love any excuse to wear pajama bottoms outside their house.

-       Makena texts ahead of time to let us know what she is wearing to group.

-       Sugar is the enemy. We don’t show them any sugar until they are leaving.

-       Julia brings a stuffed snake named Frank that answers questions during bible study.

-       Did I mention they like to scream?

-       Half of my group looks 10 and the other half looks 18. However, everyone acts 13.

-       The big things and the little things really matter to them. When they walk in the door, they each have 18 very important things to tell me.

-       When we start our bible study time there is a constant hum in the room. They literally cannot all be quiet and paying attention at the same time.

-       I write down a lot of prayer requests regarding sick dogs, tests at school, and friends of friends.

-       Even though they are all teenagers, they are still such little girls in so many ways.

I love these girls. We have not gotten to the point in our small group where tons of deep stimulating conversation about Jesus is happening yet. But I know the time we are spending together and the relationships being formed are eventually going lead us toward something amazing.

My girls modeling the Armor of God

My girls modeling the Armor of God

I’m super excited to go to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Indianapolis in just a couple months. I was in Colorado earlier this week helping plan the evening general sessions and think the lineup of content and fun is going to be something really special. Hope you’ll join us this year – get discounted rates through January 16th, too!

For all the details click here!


Michael Conaway sent along a great post his wife wrote on her blog that I really enjoyed this morning. You Might be a Youth Pastor’s Wife If is a fun post, totally relatable that begs for you to add a couple of your own. Here’s a couple of my favorites, head there for the rest:

1. You schedule your pregnancies around youth camp. Being down one parent every other week for 2 months is difficult enough, no need to add a newborn to the picture.

5. When your toddler says “crap” in the church nursery and you let the nursery workers assume she heard it from the teenagers…even though you know where she REALLY heard it…mental note to self stop saying “crap”.

10. Taking students home after church becomes a game to beat your best time and not cross the midline of town more than once. Students are divided based on gender and location. Who takes which vehicle is based on who has to take more students home.



Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

There’s only 6 days left for ADVANCED REGISTRATION at SYMC in Indianapolis- and we want YOU there!

Plus, there will be over 190+ hours of new training this year!

Register here to save now!

Hope to see you there!!



Finally finished up a book I started a couple months ago – that ever happen to you? Live to Give: Letting God Turn Your Talents Into Miracles by Austin Gutwein is a great book to challenge teenagers to rise up and make a difference in the world around them. If you’re unfamiliar with his story, Austin founded Hoops of Hope and is using his basketball skills to raise money to help needy people all over the world. This is a great book for your students, as I read it I imagined our students going through it and using the discussion questions in the back of each chapter to talk through the book over a couple of months. Good good stuff here to help them rise up, understand their purpose and make a difference.


One of the most difficult obstacles I had when I started out in youth ministry was overcoming the feeling of being patronized by parents and adult volunteers.  Some of my feelings were due to a bruised ego because I thought I knew it all.  But, the rest of my feelings were legitimate because people did not see me as a professional.  They saw me as a youth minister; however, they didn’t see the professionalism in this industry.

What needed to change?  Simple, how I was presenting myself.  While there will always be people who will talk down to and treat those younger than them with inferiority, there are a few steps you can take to be seen as a professional.  They might be hard to embrace because of youth ministry’s push to be relational.  And relational can still be professional, in fact it should be.  In order to improve the ways you are treated, embrace these four steps:

  1. Dress Appropriately: This means two things.  First, it means dressing for your audiences.  Make sure how you are dressed makes your company feel comfortable.  How would a student feel if you were always wearing a shirt and tie?  How would parents feel if all they saw you in was shorts, ball cap and t-shirt?  Secondly, it means making sure what you wear is clean, ironed, and appropriate.  It’s not about having the latest fashions or dressing to impress.  When you dress well you show others that you are organized, ready and focused.
  2. Prepare For Meetings: Whether it’s a meeting for volunteers, parents or coworkers make sure you prepare and follow an agenda so that it’s worth their time.  If you are hosting the meeting start and end on time.  If you are attending a meeting make sure you are not late.  Lastly, be sure your materials are in order and that your not constantly checking your phone.
  3. Communicate Professionally:  Once you are out of college it’s time to put the fancy fonts, funky email address and clever voicemail greetings away.  Make your emails clear and scannable.  Respond to your voicemails promptly.  Have someone edit your letters.  And if giving a message or speech practice, practice and practice.  When you can communicate clearly, people will respond well.
  4. Be Fiscally Responsible:  When you are responsible with your budget it shows church members that you care about their investment in God’s kingdom.  That means researching the resources you purchase and knowing when to make sacrifices.  If you take care of what has been given to you, you will be blessed.  People will trust you and God will reward your stewardship.


The push back for some is that youth ministry needs to have a “Come As You Are” type of attitude.  If you come off careless, disheveled and haphazard who is going to trust you with their teens?  A certain level of professionalism will improve the relationships you have with the people that invest in your ministry and make it happen.  Let them know that you can be trusted.

How else can we be more professional in youth ministry?  Do you think I’m being too harsh?