Really enjoyed this simple spoken word video from Sol Rexius about the Bible. Really good stuff in there, might make a good bumper video or transition in a service. They’re using it to promote the upcoming Rock Solid Bible, which looks promising too. Get your students in the Word!


RIGHT NOW (Tuesday night) one of my favorite iPad apps is free.  The name on iPad’s Avid Studio app is changing to Pinnacle Studio.  Avid is still available and ready to purchase for $5 but Pinnacle Studio is currently free and a great app.  Check out this blurb from and here is a review of Avid Studios iPad vs iMovie iPad if you are curious what it is like.

Loved this idea from Taffy (Student Ministry Worship Pastor) encouraging our students to participate in something he called the Pray Fast Challenge. It has been an really incredible experience this week as our students head back to school – I’ll be back tomorrow with the daily updates we sent to students as well in case you would like to set up something like this, too!


An Encouraging Word

 —  September 4, 2012 — 1 Comment


There is something so simple and powerful about encouragement from a youth ministry cheerleader. My friend Doug Fields shot me this note about a month ago and I think I’ve literally read it about 50 times. And of course it came at the perfect time.

I was hanging out with him last night and made me so thankful for his role in my life. Make sure you have a cheerleader. It is rough out there sometimes.


Cutting the Cable Cord…

 —  September 4, 2012 — 6 Comments

In our families recent move we decided to cut the cord on DISH Network. Cable and satellite subscriptions are expensive and vegging out on the couch eats up so much time.  We are not against TV, we will still have it as a source of entertainment…now we will be paying a lot less for it while watching less.  Here is what we are trying out…

TV Antenna
This is totally FREE (I have been thinking about making one too).  All the local networks are available in our area and in high def! If I want to DVR a show I can whip out my Mac and my Elgato EyeTV (a digital receiver for my Mac) and set the timer or break out our old school DVD recorder.

Apple TV (ATV)
For $99 you can access all your purchased iTunes content: movies, TV shows, and music. I am able to Stream video, games, and almost all other content from my iPad and iPhone using AirPlay and screen mirroring.  You can also stream music, videos, and photos from a PC or Mac.

The Roku is a steal at $99 (mine was a Christmas Gift), right now you can pick one up for $75 refurbished.  I actually like it better than my ATV (I do not own much from the iTunes store to benefit from the iCloud streaming) Roku’s Hulu and Netflix streaming seems to be better quality than my ATV. If you have been thinking about getting a Roku I highly recommend the XS model, it has an Ethernet and USB port.  The USB port is great if you have a bunch of video files (I use handbreak to rip DVDs I own to video file). I dump them on a hard-drive or a thumb-drive and watch them with the “Roku USB Media Player Channel.” This is the USB device I use, you don’t even notice it’s there.

Hulu Plus
This is a well spent $7.99. While I cannot get some of my AMC, USA, or any CBS shows I get most of my favorite shows the day after they air.

This is better for past TV seasons than it is for movies…it is actually pretty terrible if you are looking for recent movies but it is good enough for $7.99.  I added the “one DVD out at a time” for the additional $7.99.  Again, the DVD selection is better than the streaming but still not as good as Redbox…and Redbox is not as good as walking into a Blockbuster or streaming on Amazon Instant Video (Amazon app is on my iOS devices and Roku).

I have not purchased an MP3 for about a year since I went with a Spotify subscription.  This is better than Pandora and for $9.99 it completely replaces the music channels from DISH that I never listened to. I love how it streams to my ATV, album art and all.

What’s next?  Well, I will need to explore more options.  I have been thinking about Amazon Prime, I don’t think the selection is much better than Netflix but I shop on so much that the benefit of free next day shipping for a year is worth the $79 alone.

The Numbers For a Year…
For the 3 subscriptions I mention above plus an ATV and Roku you would spend $605.52 the first year ($403.52 the second year since you will not buy a new Roku and ATV every year). My satellite subscription was between $800-$900 a year. While I do not get 250 stations for the most part I get everything I need and I could save around $200. If there is something I crave I can just pick up a show or a season from Amazon or iTunes.

The Numbers Month by Month…
If I take the cost for the 3 subscriptions I mention above (and remove the cost of the ATV and Roku since I already own them) I will be spending $33.63 a month compared to the $75 a month I was paying for satellite.

You may want to add sports subscriptions: Roku, ATV, and our smartphones have apps that allow us to buy subscriptions to MLBtv, NBAtv, MLS Live, ESPN, and you can even purchase and stream UFC fights on the Roku!

Other than illegal Torrent downloads what are you doing to watch TV away from the satellite or cable bill? Or if you have cut the cord are you completely fasting form TV?  What are you doing differently?

I don’t know how many tweets you see in a month … much less how many you actually remember for very long.  But there’s one that I read this past month that has stuck with me – and I think that it might stick with me for a long time to come.

 “The penalty of bad leadership: you’re always stuck with the same problems; The reward of good leadership: you get to solve new ones.”

I’ve heard it said that when it comes down to it, “Leadership” at its core is figuring out how to solve problems.  And I think I buy that.   But sometimes, when I have to try to solve the same problem over & over, I subconsciously blame outside factors.  (If parents would only _______,       If students would just _____ … then this problem would be so much easier to solve!)

 But this tweet has made me re-examine the recurring problems I’m trying to solve.   And It’s made me think: maybe they’re repeat-problems because my l need to find a new way to tackle them.  So this month, I’ve been trying some new strategies.  And although it’s not been “perfect” – I do see progress.  And that’s been encouraging.

The other dimension of this tweet that I really like Is this:  Sometimes I’m tempted to think “If I was just a better leader, all the problems would get solved!”  And looking back at my own leadership experience, (and leaders that I respect most), I’d have to say that’s just not true.  There will always be another problem, another challenge.  But that’s actually a pretty exciting thought!   Because if I’m taking ground on the “old problems”, I can see results that encourage me to tackle the new ones!

So – there you have it.  My favorite tweet of the month.

What about you?  Any “favorite tweet” from the last 30 days or so?

Wedding Dreams

 —  September 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

I’ve noticed something lately on my Pinterest account that has caught my attention. If your not familiar with Pinterest than all you need to know is that it’s a place where people can save links (pictures) of things they like to  “digital corkboards.” Here’s my profile:

A majority of the students I follow have created a board for their future wedding. We are talking 15, 16 and 17 year olds. Planning their wedding. I am pretty sure I was thinking about my wedding when I was that age…dreaming about it but I wasn’t saving actual pictures and files. I don’t think it’s bad…it’s just a reality about girls. We like wedding stuff and dreaming of our special day.

Girls start young dreaming about marriage and weddings. Even without encouragement it’s just happening. So, I think it’s important as significant voices in their life that we communicate to them that marriage is great but it’s not their salvation and it’s not their purpose.

I LOVE being married. I can’t imagine my life without my husband. But our marriage isn’t my salvation or my purpose. My salvation is found in Jesus alone and my purpose is following him and his teachings.

When we encourage young girls to follow after Jesus and when we speak of their future, let us encourage them on in that journey. That what matters above all else is following Jesus and his teaching. I think sometimes in the church we communicate that the best a girl can hold out for is a guy who is radical for Jesus. When in reality the best a girl can hold out for is being a radical follower of Jesus! Again, marriage is a great thing and who a girl marries is so important to their future. It’s just not their whole future.

I love talking with girls about marriage and about pretty wedding things. And I love talking to girls about how God might use them to change the world by following his radical teachings. Both.

What do you think about wedding dreams?


In ministry we have to meet students where they’re at, and in this age, that place is social media. Social media has been an incredibly powerful tool in our ministry for connecting with our students and community.  Here is how we are using it:

Facebook: The great thing about Facebook is that almost every student has one.  I actually do the majority of my work on Facebook.  Because students rarely check their email, Facebook is one of the main resources our ministry uses to communicate with students.  Through it, we can advertise upcoming events, invite them to serving projects, post pictures and videos from previous events, and simply advertise our ministry as a whole.  We also us it to create “groups” for every ministry team, missions team, small group, etc.  Groups are an awesome way to build community and share specific information.

Instagram: For those of you who are unfamiliar with this phenomenon, Instagram is an app on smart phones that allows you to have your own profile where you can post, “like,” or comment on pictures.  Since there are so many students that have these, we made an account for our ministry.  It has proven to be an excellent way to advertise all of the things we have going on.  We also post pictures of students or funny things we see to give our ministry personality.

YouTube: We make sure we upload every video onto our ministry’s account.   Not only do we upload the promo and teaching videos we show during the weekend, we also post clips from the service (mostly from the speaker).  Every once in a while we will compile a short video with the main points of the speakers message to catch students up on what they missed or remind them of what they learned.  After we upload our videos, we share them on Facebook and spread it to as many people as possible.

How are you using social media in your ministry?

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