You don’t have to be the most organized person on the planet, but I think it’s high time we stop hiding behind a youth ministry stereotype. It’s a terrible stereotype that we love to buy into. I am just as guilty as anyone else with this. If there were details that didn’t get covered I would hear, “Classic youth pastor move.” This allowed me to be even more disorganized. It’s a terrible cycle.

So, I have taken steps to improve in this area of my life. I want to share with you 5 relatively simple steps to move you towards being a bit more organized: 

1) At the end of each day, take 5 minutes to think through what you need to get done tomorrow and write it down.You would be amazed at how that really helps you be more productive the next day. You have somewhat of a plan set before you.

2) Make your list attainable. No one likes to fail. If you make a list of things that is so large you will get mad at yourself and you will actually accomplish less.Try to keep your list to 5 things.

3) If there are more things than you know you can accomplish, see if there is anything you can delegate. Whether you have assistant or not, likely there are people in your church who love to do detail work. Ask around and see if someone could help you with some of your details to the project you are working on.

4) Start your day off with the toughest project on your list. Brian Tracy wrote a book called Eat That Frog.The title comes from the idea that if the hardest thing you have to do today is a eat a frog, eat it first. If you have to eat 2 frogs, eat the ugliest one first.

5) Find a few apps to help you along the way. I use an app called “Things” as a to-do list. You can make different projects that have lists under each of them. I have a “project” for each day of the week. At the end of each day, I open up “Things” and plug in my list I want to accomplish for the next day. I also use a Pomodoro app which is basically a countdown clock. It counts down 25 minutes. At the end of the 25 minutes it gives you 5 minutes to take a break. Get up and walk around. Fire off a text. Call someone. Get a drink of water. Whatever. This is actually really helpful for your productivity.

The key to making these changes is this…do it.

Choose all 5 or 1, but do something, anything that takes a step toward being more organized. It will certainly pay off for you, your family, and your ministry.


Money doesn’t have to be difficult, so why do we make it that way?

When you really boil good money management down to the basics, it’s all about four things: working, giving, saving and spending. That’s it. So when you teach young kids about money, all you really need to do is show them a simple version of what you are (hopefully) doing already. These are the four principles of money that my parents taught me and that my dad and I write about in our new book, Smart Money Smart Kids.


Here’s a truth that applies to both adults and children: The most powerful wealth-building tool you have is your income. When you teach your kids the value of work, you set them up to succeed later in life.

What does work look like for an eight-year-old? My parents paid me a commission, not an allowance. In other words, I got paid to work, not to breathe! When I completed chores around the house, like feeding the dog, taking out the trash, or helping clean the dishes, then I earned a commission. Use the same approach, and you’ll teach your kids discipline and work ethic.


This is what it’s all about. The whole point of building wealth is to change your family’s future and to give like crazy. Sit down with your kids and let them pick a charity. Instead of giving them a dollar in the parking lot at church, let them use their own money to tithe. When it’s their own, they’ll really feel the impact of giving. Then, follow up and show them how the money they gave helped a specific person or organization. To win with money, you have to make giving a part of your life!


This is the easy one, right? Who doesn’t know how to spend?

And that’s the problem. Spending is too easy for most of us. And unless you teach your kids healthy ways to spend, they’ll fall right into that trap. As soon as they get a $10 bill, they’ll go out and buy something they’ve forgotten about by this time next month. It’s all about priorities. It’s fine to love spending as long as you teach your kids the importance of the other principles too.


Saving seems so boring, I know. But it’s one of the most important things you can teach your child. If your son heads off to college without understanding what it really means to save, he’s probably going to graduate with a load of debt—or start digging a debt hole once he starts working. Start talking to your kids about saving early. Help them see their money as it grows by using a clear jar or piggy bank. Then, once they are old enough, open a basic savings account. Continue reinforcing these four principles as your kids get older. Don’t just talk about them once and leave it at that.

If you’ll talk about money early and often with your kids, you’ll be amazed by the impact this will have on their lives as they grow into adults.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel Cruze / @rachelcruze


One thing that has been drilled into the minds of parents everywhere is that keeping the lines of communication open with our children is a vital part of parenting. And in my experience this tid-bit of advice has been very true. And so as Rachel and I have raised our kids, we’ve worked hard to provide an atmosphere in our family where it’s always a good time to talk about stuff.

And while that’s been a good “atmosphere”, it’s actually a lousy strategy. Because it isn’t “always a good time to talk about stuff”. The fact is that sometimes it’s a lousy time to talk about stuff; and everybody seems to have different ideas of when it’s a good time, and when it’s not.

So, my simple tip for today is this: Discover your child’s “window of conversation” and do most of your talking at that time.

Your child may HATE to talk in the car ride to school…the window is closed, so don’t force it.
Your child may LOVE to talk in the car ride to school…the window is open, climb through!

Your child may HATE to talk around the dinner table…the window is closed, so don’t force it.
Your child may LOVE to talk around the dinner table…the window is open, climb through!

Your child may HATE to talk in formal family “quality time” settings….the window is closed, so don’t force it.
Your child may LOVE to talk in formal family “quality time” settings….the window is open, climb through!

Your child may HATE to talk about something in the “heat of the moment”…the window is closed, so don’t force it.
Your child may LOVE to talk about something in the “heat of the moment”…the window is open, climb through!

The problem many parents make is to determine when THEY want to talk with their child instead of being wiling to pay attention to when their child is most open to talking….when their window of conversation is open. When we try to force open their window, they slam it shut!

So much of effective parenting needs to happen on our terms, but I’m not convinced conversation and communication is always one of them.

PAS01If you use games for youth ministry then here is a free, easy-to-play game you can download today. Pick Sides is simply a game where you…

  • Flash up a slide
  • Each slide displays 2 options
  • Students vote which option they like by moving to a side of the room

Download the slides here. Hopefully they are a little funny, a little awkward, and a little thought provoking.

PRO TIP: This is an easy game to play to if you want to tie in your lesson. Just grab this background and pepper in a few “would you rather “question that have to do with your message.



Introducing...$5 Youth Ministry: Everything is $5 or less.

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Thanks for loving students!

Jake Rasmussen and the SYM Team


Call Jake at 866.9.simply with questions


Communion Alternatives

Tony Myles —  April 14, 2014 — 19 Comments

I could use your input. Maybe someone else can, too.

Got 60 seconds?

Communion FullA typical communion service focuses on the death/crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

This weekend on Easter Sunday I’m hoping to present it in a way that doesn’t just reflect the cross of Christ but also the Resurrection.

Normally we use a cup of juice and broken bread or crackers. One thought I have is to vary our elements -

  • Instead of juice, we’ll use grapes
  • Instead of crackers, we’ll use freshly baked bread.

So what do you think of this?

  • Is it appropriately creative or too creative?
  • Can you think of any other ideas that could also work?

At minimum, I’d appreciate your feedback. At maximum, how can we take appropriate risks in telling the Story of the Resurrection?


Found a great infographic at to use for this coming Easter weekend.

FearThe one thing we all fear is not the devil. It’s change.Throughout history change has never been easy. The Pharisee’s didn’t hate Jesus because He was doing good things.They hated him because of the fact that He came to change things.They were so set in their ways of thinking that they missed the Messiah even though they knew He was coming the way that He did.The pain endured during the civil rights movement was all about certain people fearing change.

I remember when Blockbuster was the largest video rental store in America doing around 6 billion in sales year.Then came Netflix who said “Subscribe to us and don’t leave your home. We’ll send your movie rental to you.” Well, in the beginning Blockbuster could of taken Netflix out by turning millions of their customers into subscribers. But no, blockbuster who was comfortable with their 6 billion cushion, thought Netflix was a fad, and that they would eventually go away. Well, they were definitely wrong, and in 2010 Blockbuster was 900 million dollars in debt and had to file chapter 11 (bankruptcy).

We as human beings don’t like change. I would even go as far as to say we as the church don’t like it either. And if we are not careful we could end up like the Pharisees’ missing out on a great opportunity in advancing God’s kingdom…all because we allow change to scare us instead of motive us. We let our comfort with the way things are dictate how we react to change.

We have to understand change happens all the time. The world we live in now is completely different then the world our parents grew up in. My kids will grow up in a world different then the one I grew up in. Change is inevitable.

I love how Jesus adapted to change in His ministry. He used relevance to be relatable. He related to people where they were. He never told people you must conform to me first, then I will do for you or give to you. He just meets people where they are, and you never see them go back to the way they were before. I have to assume based on Jesus’s ministry 2000 years ago here on earth, that if He would have lived today, His messages would reflect the things of today. I have to assume that His parables could include the iPhone, TV’s, Ford Fusion hybrid, and yes, even Chick-fil-a. Jesus’s ministry was relevant.

Also, many times Jesus did things before He was supposed to. That’s why you see Him many times telling people not to say anything. He knew it wasn’t His time yet. So I can just imagine Jesus saying two things to us that He modeled, “Let’s stay relevant so people will have a interest in listening to us and let’s not fear doing things differently just because tradition says you can’t.” It seems like change gave Jesus a creative license to reach everyone. Now, Jesus didn’t change His message. He just changed the presentation so that He could reach everyone.

We must do the same. We must be willing to change with the times. I was listening to the radio and heard this song from the 90′s and they mentioned Myspace. (HA!) If you mentioned Myspace today, kids would laugh at you or look at you as if you are crazy, because times have changed. Myspace is no longer a cultural norm.

My prayer is that we don’t become like the Pharisees when it comes to change. Where we become so comfortable with the way we do things that we see change as a threat. And we do whatever it takes to stay the way we are, even at the cost of reaching more for Christ. I also pray we don’t become like Blockbuster doing ministry with our heads underground not paying attention to growing trends and innovation, thinking the way we’ve done things for 50 years is the way we can do things forever.

So the question is “Does change move you towards fear or innovation?”

hope it helps