When you prep your talk, think about three audiences in your youth group. It doesn’t matter if they’re all actually in the room or not, thinking about them will prepare you for when they are.

As you look to an application of your talk, consider these three people in the crowd:

The “So What?” Student
When you’re working on your talk, be sure to address the non-believing or seeking students in the audience. Share the Gospel with them. Invite them into a relationship with Christ, or at least back to hear more about the Jesus you spoke about tonight.

Invite them to process what they’ve heard and let them know you’d be happy to address any questions or concerns they might have as they think about whether what you’ve shared is relevant to their world.

The “So-So” Student
Don’t forget about the lukewarm or apathetic student in your group either. As you turn toward application think of steps big and small that they could take to get back on track. Gently nudge them toward Jesus and invite them to a closer relationship with Him.

The “Sold-Out” Student
In every youth group you’ve got students who are on the right path—compliment them for the way that they’re following the teachings in the message you just gave. Ask them to celebrate what God is doing in that area. Challenge them to stay on the right path and continue their faithfulness to Christ.

Are we missing anyone else? Who else is out there in the group you should think about as a communicator?

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.

As soon as I saw the title of the book I got excited about what I hoped was on the inside. I was hoping for a tongue-in-cheek humor book to help me laugh and love my calling to youth ministry. Well, Steve Case and the Youth Cartel did not disappoint! The Unauthorized Dictionary of Youth Ministry is one of the funnest books I’ve ever read about youth ministry. The book is good for a quick laugh – I’m not sure it is intended to be read through in one sitting (although I have to admit that’s exactly what I did! I couldn’t stop!). All in all a great book that made me laugh, wince, cry uncontrollably (OK not quite) as I walked through my youth ministry journey.

Well done … time for a YM encyclopedia next?


By now, you are likely familiar with The Youth Cartel, the cool new start-up youth ministry company led by Marko and Adam McLane.

One of their goals (which is a great one!) is to create space for “up and coming” voices in the youth ministry world. To that end, they are set to publish resources that either A) are outside the normal criteria for traditional publishers or B) are created by folks traditional publishers may not yet have on their radar.

The Youth Cartel’s Unauthorized Dictionary of Youth Ministry is one such resource….AND IT’S AWESOME!

If you want a fun, easy, read that will make you chuckle…..and who doesn’t……you need to grab yourself a copy!

GroupDo App

 —  October 16, 2012 — 5 Comments

GroupDo is an iPhone app that categorises 250 team building games with unique search filter to select a game that best suits your group. Each game has a description with a step by step process with images helping explain how to play the games. Inside the app you are able to favourite the games and share your experiences with your friends on facebook. The search allows you to select the right game depending on the group by narrowing down the game type, game duration, group size, accessibility and difficulty level of each icebreaker.

This is a great resource for only $1.99.  Show GroupDo some iOS love and buy your download here.  BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!!  I have 2 copies of GroupDo to giveaway.  Leave a comment to this post sharing your favorite game resources; tech game, book name, link to a site, etc.  We will pick TWO winners this Friday.

Website: groupdo.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groupdoapp
Twitter: http://twitter.com/groupdoapp
Instructional video: http://groupdo.co.uk/support/
GroupDo app store link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/groupdo/id562066388?mt=8



And the winners are Bill Ver Velde and Dan.

This Sunday we launched our first You Own the Weekend. Redmond kicked it off. The students did a great job. Since this was the first time they were the first ones to set the bar…and they did a great job!

We had 2 students speak and ask the question- who is Jesus to you? Each student filled out a connection card and wrote the answer to that question on the back of it. Going through it this morning was overwhelming. So many great thoughts and a lot of pain. This card caught my attention:

First, I want to put my hand on the student’s shoulder and tell her that she is on the right track by asking the right question.

Second, it reminded me that our students need us to be clear…do our students know how to grow in their faith?

I can’t wait to email her today!

Also, this week one of my girls brought her dog. Seriously?

I kept telling her if her dog made a sound- I would kick it. It was funny. (For the record, I wouldn’t kick any living thing…)

Next week, another school takes over the service. This week their mascot was at the service promoting the service! Go Falcons!

Love seeing our students owning the ministry!

And We’re Back…

 —  October 16, 2012 — 2 Comments

Got back on Saturday night from National Youth Workers Convention – and it was so much fun! I love being surrounded with people who love and believe in teenagers. So refreshing to be with my people.

Here’s a few snap shots from the weekend:

San Diego- Could not ask for a better place to have a convention- sunshine and good mexican food! #winning

I had to take a picture with Propaganda- I knew it would help my cool factor with some students in our ministry.

Working the Student Leadership Conference Photo Booth! Have you heard of SLC? You should check it out

Bob Goff!

The Student Leadership Team! We love working together- always a fun time!

Matt McGill is that you! Love that guy!

For those of you that attended my workshops- I promised a few articles- here are the links:

John Ortberg on Women

Trends in why people are leaving church.

I don’t want to wait! (Confusing messages about what it means to be a girl growing up the church!)

Women are disappearing from church.

Can’t wait for the next gathering of youth workers!

So, over the years, I’ve had  several “guest” posts about the importance of teaching teenagers the Bible:

Well, recently I had a chance to fire a few questions at another special guest: comedian Jeff Foxworthy, host of Game Show Network’s new TV show, The American Bible Challenge:

JG: Why did you say yes to hosting a “game show” about the Bible?
When I first got asked to do the show, I didn’t just jump at it, I thought, “man, I don’t ever want to do something that exploits faith”.  The thing that sold me on it, that’s unlike any game show you’ve seen, is that no one is playing for themselves.  They’re giving every dime of it away to love on someone else. When you read the Bible, the only people Jesus got sideways with were the Pharisees.  Not the tax collectors, or the sinners.  It’s because they had head knowledge, but no heart knowledge.  On this show you need to have the head knowledge to answer the questions, but it’s obvious these people have heart knowledge because they’re out there doing these things in their community whether we’re doing a show or not.  They’re running food pantries or fighting human trafficking or different diseases, or whatever.  I felt like that would be an appeal to someone who is outside of having faith.  I wouldn’t have said yes if it wasn’t like that.

JG: What is your goal with the show?
I think mainly, it would be make the message of God appealing to someone who doesn’t know it.  That’s was real important to me.  Those people are going to ask themselves, “What would make somebody spend their free time collecting food for somebody?”

Q: What has surprised you the most about contestants on the show?
You know, one would think the people who would do the best are the preachers or the youth ministers, or  whatever, but I think the most shocking thing is that these are everyday people.  They don’t have a background in theology.  But obviously this book has sung to them so well, it’s their life, it’s in the core of the life.  That was the cool thing, to see moms, and grandpas and teenagers who aren’t even “in ministry” that know the Bible inside and out.

Q: I know that the Bible is a key part of your faith and life … what’s your favorite verse, passage, or story?
I should probably be concerned about this, because I’ve never heard anyone else say it’s their favorite verse… (laughs), but mine is Galatians 1:10…”Am I now seeking the approval of man or of GOD?  Or am I trying to please people.  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” It’s my life.  In the business of comedy, you depend on people’s approval in order to make a living.  I don’t want to get caught up in that.  I’ll give you an example.  In my career, I’ve probably turned down 6 or 7 movies because they were going to be a couple of months out of the summer and I’d look at my kids and think, I’ve only got 4 more summers with them, I’m not giving one away.

I love what I do. I love being a comedian.  Almost 30 years and I still think, “I can’t believe I got away with this”.  It’s what I do… but it’s not who I am.  It’s NOT where my identity is.  If it went away tomorrow that’s OK. The truth of the matter is, we’re never going to please everybody.  I can do a comedy record that is the best-selling record in 30 years and someone is going to say, “I didn’t like that joke,” and I say “well, I really wasn’t trying to hurt anyone’s feelings”.

I do believe if I live my life in a way that’s pleasing to GOD, I mean really, how can someone else get upset with that?  Pleasing GOD means I’m probably going to be a really good husband, and a really good dad, and a really good citizen in my community.

I think one of the biggest traps people fall into, is that we get so scared that we’re going to do or say something that’s not 100% right, and we lose our Joy.  I don’t think GOD created us to be like that.  If he breathes his attributes into us, one of those is joy.  Let’s make the show fun and relevant.  It’s called the Good News.  Good news should make you smile.

To support Jeff and this incredible show featuring the Bible and Christians in such a favorable way, please encourage your church families and students to to tune-in this Thursday Night and watch “The American Bible Challenge” Season Finale.  Go to the Game Show Network’s website GSNTV.com, click “Channel Finder” for local station listings.  Feel free to re-post this interview, share it, etc.

Look for part 2 of the interview with Jeff Foxworthy tomorrow morning!


Student Ministry Hub

 —  October 15, 2012 — 1 Comment

The guys behind a sweet new website just gave me a heads up – they’ve been developing a killer new free web app for youth workers called Student Ministry Hub. It went live today!

Student Ministry Hub is a crowd-sourced website to help you discover and promote the best student ministry links and resources from around the web.  Once you sign in you can submit and favorite articles you like – the more favorites a story gets the more visible it shows up on the site for everyone to discover. Cool idea – kind like a youth ministry digg.

Looks like a great place for me to discover new stuff to read!