My one part blog post on getting ride of cable and dish has turned in to a trilogy (Here, here, and the post you are reading). This is a quick update on Amazon Prime. I read yesterday that Amazons signed a streaming deal with Epix ( an entertainment channel that partners with several major movie studios).  This will double the number of movies on Amazon Prime.  If you are a streaming video consumer you might want to keep your eye on their selections to see if becoming a subscriber is worth your money. I like how David Pogue from the New York Time sums up Amazon Prime…

Prime membership started out as an attractive option for people who shop a lot on Amazon: for $79 a year, you get free two-day shipping on almost any purchase (or $4 overnight). Then Amazon added those streaming movies to the Prime perks, and then added one free Kindle e-book rental a month.

Random, right? It’s like a Fruit of the Month Club membership that comes with free oil changes, ski socks and tax advice.

Well, it is random but I like the perks…I may just become a Prime member this week with this new deal they struck with EPIX.

So…
Read the original post from Mashable here on Amazon and EPIX
Learn more about Amazon Prime here
And read David Pogue’s post on Netflix vs Amazon Prime here

Happy Reading!

I don’t know about you, but there are seasons of ministry that could be best described as “frustration inducing”. They are often marked with little noticeable or measurable progress on any front, or worse regression. They can be filled with road blocks, bottle necks or perhaps landmines. I am in a bit of a season of that right now, as I wrote last week of being in the 15th month without a senior pastor and its been a tough road.

There is of course tons of you that are in a great season as well where you are loving life, things are happening, God is moving and you are just riding the wave. Despite what seems like success now, can I encourage you to have a hobby, an interest, a passion outside of your calling to youth ministry? When I love something, I just want more of it, which would likely explain why I am a touch overweight, but also why I tend to work crazy hours. I love my job;  I am so blessed to do it, but there has to be more to my life than just this.

When everything is about your ministry, your life begins to ebb and flow with it, your energy, your emotions and relationships can be dictated by your work. Having interests outside of youth ministry at my church has been a life savers. Those interests allow me to experience tangible results of my work and sometimes allow me to use a totally different part of my brain and often utilize a different skill set than I do at work. It could be playing a sport, vacuuming, cross stitch, bocce ball, cave spelunking, underwater basket weaving, the sky is really the limit. The point is, as you begin the ministry season remember to prioritize making time for activities that are far removed from your work.

Rest is good, find something that brings you life and it will go a long way to helping you finish the year strong this ministry season.

-Geoff (Twitter) 



Xbox Gamerscore Hits 57,000

Josh Griffin —  September 6, 2012 — 1 Comment

The start of the school year means I’m going to be slowing down playing videogames, but the past week was once again great for Gamerscore, largely in part to one incredible game:

  • Once Upon a Monster (A+) – easily the very best kids game I’ve ever seen. My kids adore this game, it is incredibly creative, uses Kinect and accessible for all ages. Managed to pick it up for <$20, wish I had bought it sooner. Absolutely perfect.
  • Marvel Super Hero Squad (B+) – another kid-friendly game the kids loved. Play as the cutest versions of Hulk and Iron Man that you’ve ever seen.

JG

In a quick follow up to Monday’s Cutting the Cord post I want to key you in on the apps that I use to assist me with my streaming set-top boxes.

SET-TOP:
For the Apple TV I use their Remote app. This app has always been solid. Perfect for controlling iTunes and the Apple TV. This is a must-have app for anyone who uses iTunes and own an iOS device. There are several pay-for remote apps for Roku but I am using their home grown app simply called Roku. I like how you can call up specific “channels” (Roku’s version of apps) with shortcuts built right in the app. Both of these apps are super easy too setup and connect, just make sure you are on the same wifi network. Both of these apps also have a keyboard feature making them extremely useful. It is not fun when you are searching for a show and have to type one letter at a time using arrows to get to the next letter.

Both of these apps are FREE and work on iPad and iPhone.  There is an Android app for Roku by Roku but Apple has not created an Apple TV app for Android.  You could try this but I do not think it is the same.

TV:
I also use the L5 remote from time to time.  I do not use it at home as much as I do when I am on the road.  The TV station that is on in a hotel, McDonalds, or hospital lobby is usually set to something lame…I whip out my dongle, download the TV make (sometimes I have to try a few different variations), and BAM…I can change the channel from CNN to ESPN at the local McDonalds.

MUSIC:
I use my Spotify app a lot, mostly on my iPhone.  But when I listen to Spotify from my computer I like using Remoteless.  Remoteless is a Spotify remote for my iPhone or Android. The iPhone app is $3 and the Android version is $2. It took some time setting up at church because of the security and the large network but I found a way around it.  However, when I am at home using it, it just works…



Just saw this new video from Jeff Bathke up on YoACBlog.com yesterday and thought it would make a great post here as well. Solid message.

JG

POLL: Why Do You Buy?

Josh Griffin —  September 6, 2012 — 3 Comments


Quick survey today to satisfy my curiosity – what influences you most when you buy youth ministry resources? There are so many great resources from so many different authors/organizations – was wondering what influenced you the most – vote for a couple!

JG



Recently I realized that if I am expecting excellence from someone … they need to have the tools to get there.

In youth ministry that isn’t always easy or sometimes possible – often we make do with ministry hand-me-downs and meet in youth rooms made from the old converted sanctuary. But when you expect excellence from your people, make sure you’ve done your best to equip them.

  • Want great small group leaders? Make sure your training is thorough and complete. Include supplemental trainings via email or video when you see a gap in their preparedness.
  • Want to develop some great teachers? Invite them into your prep process and allow them to be a part of the debrief and evaluation process afterward.
  • Want to raise up the next youth pastor in your church? Give him/her the books and resources to read and a place to dialogue what they are learning.
  • Want great videos? Make sure your volunteer has access to a great camera and a fast machine to edit on.

Too often we just expect people to be great … without ever doing the hard work of clearing the path to greatness. You can’t ask them to create the world without giving them a paintbrush. This week look for some places where you have expectations that aren’t being met and see if there is a gap in helping someone realistically get there.

JG

What I’m Learning

Josh Griffin —  September 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

Occasionally Kurt and I take the time to take on “the 3” and this week our topic is what we are each learning right now about ourselves and ministry. I’ve picked out things I’ve learned in the past…or I think I’ve learned them in the past because it seems like all three of these are old and new at the same time. Here’s what I’m learning this week:

1: Jesus is still changing lives!
I loved taking to students this weekend at church—seeing them move from seekers to the saved…watching them move from atheist to at-least-curious. Jesus is changing lives every week in your ministry. You might not see it, but it is happening. Teenagers are being drawn to Christ, and what you’re doing matters for the kingdom. It seems like every time I get frustrated with ministry, or wonder if it’s worth it, God shows me that he’s still in the business of saving people.

2: Camp works!
Holy smokes…camp was incredible this summer! I love that summer camp still works—despite the roadblocks of summer sports and summer school. Camp works!

3: Your capacity has to grow with your ministry.
I’ve had the realization recently that the people around me who have stuck it out in our church have increased their capacity every year. Not just work production, but their hearts have grown larger and their relational skills have increased. As your ministry grows, you need to as well—so here at the end of summer it begs a great question: How are you growing in productivity—working smarter not harder?

How are you leveraging new technology or ideas to reach more, and be more effective? And secondly, how are you growing spiritually—are you growing closer to Christ as your serve him?

What are you learning here at the end of summer?

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.