I Love My Job Video

 —  May 18, 2012 — 3 Comments

Just saw this great video today that I’ve lived out many times as a youth worker. Really well done and thought it might be an encouragement to you today. I’m going to YS in both San Diego and Dallas this fall to teach a workshop based on my book with Simply Youth Ministry, 99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders. If you’re there I’d love to meet you!


One of the most important administrative steps of any youth leader is the development of a yearly planner. Taking some time each spring/summer to plan out the next school year’s calendar (August – May) holds countless benefits for you, your students, your volunteers, and your church leadership.

Consider the value of strategically laying out a well-planned Ministry/School Year Calendar:

  • Communicates you value students’ busy lives.
  • Allows you to effectively communicate details with parents.
  • Helps you budget more accurately.
  • Provides opportunity to begin promoting events earlier.
  • Forces your hand to strategize various ministry events.
  • Reinforces your leadership ability to superiors.
  • Promotes better work/personal life balance (family appointments, out-of-town schedules, etc).

And yet, developing a Yearly Calendar is neglected by far too many youth leaders and pastors. For some, they don’t recognize the benefits because they’ve never experienced them. But for others, the process just seems too difficult… planning events 8-9 months in advance appears too daunting of a challenge. Be encouraged, many of your colleagues around the country are proving the challenge is not too difficult. And with the right system, you can accomplish it too.

I’ve used the exact same process every spring for the past 15 years to produce a calendar for the next school year. And I’ve found that the whole project can be accomplished in 5 completely achievable steps.

  1. Create an editable calendar document displaying each month of the upcoming school year with clearly labeled holidays. I recommend using a landscape-view displaying 2 months on each page. This allows room for a readable font, but still hangs nicely in your office without taking too much space. I also recommend using the Tables function in a simple word processor to create the template. This allows opportunity to insert text and a variety of shading opportunities. To get you started, here’s the template I’ve used for years (.doc / .pages). 
  2. Track down your local school’s district calendar typically located on their website. Import the important dates onto your calendar marking school vacation days with a consistent shade of gray (again, creating your calendar as a table in Word or Pages makes this shading simple). Be sure to label the first day of school, last day of school, vacation days, and testing weeks if applicable.
  3. Import your regular-occurring ministry calendar programs. Your ministry likely has a weekly/monthly schedule of events (think Sunday Mornings, Small Groups, Wednesday nights, Monthly Trainings, etc.). Begin populating your yearly planner by inserting them on your calendar template. Simply create the title, then copy (Ctrl-C) and paste (Ctrl-V) on to each appropriate day.
  4. Schedule/record any overnight trips for your youth ministry. Some of these overnight events occur on a yearly recurring basis. For example, my ministry goes on a weekend retreat every January and a week-long high school trip in July. Scheduling those on the calendar are easy – they occur every year at the same time. For the overnight trips that don’t recur yearly but you still plan to accomplish, your calendar template will help you select the most strategic week/weekend for each trip.
  5. Schedule the rest of your events for the ministry year. Your final step involves scheduling and recording everything else: outreach events, special parties, unique Sundays, and whole church festivities (just to name a few). This will, of course, be the most difficult of the five steps and will take the most amount of time and foresight. But take heart, with the first four steps completed, you’ll be surprised how quickly this last step flows. Once you can glance at the entire yearly planner in front of you, you’ll find the rest of your events almost schedule themselves.

Once completed, your calendar will quickly become one of the most important documents in your office as it helps provide clarity to your disciple-making strategy and decision-making process. But don’t leave it hanging on your bulletin board. Make sure it finds its way into the hands of your students, parents, and volunteers. You’ll be glad you did… and so will they.

Joshua Becker is a veteran youth pastor who has served churches in Wisconsin, Vermont, and Arizona. He blogs regularly at Becoming Minimalist where he encourages others to find more life by owning fewer possessions. You may also enjoy following him on Twitter.

The 2013 SYMC website is live!  Check it out and consider registering early for this amazing conference that’s planned for youth workers by youth workers.

I got a few free download codes for a new iPhone game called Group Games. Here’s a little bit about how awesome the app is from the youth leader who designed it!

Group Games is a growing database of over 100 games that you can browse through on your iPhone. Suitable for youth groups, kids clubs, holiday clubs, birthday parties, schools and many other types of groups.

Each game has an image, as well as quickinfo icons that allow you to quickly see important information such as how many people can play the game, how long it will take to play and how much time it will take to organize. This App is designed to help you find a game for your situation as quickly and as easily as possible.

  • 6LJ7PRF3KP67

If you didn’t manage to get to these first … I’ll toss out another on Twitter today, too!


One of the questions I get all of the time is about what we put in the hands of new believers in our students ministry. We’ve done all sorts of things over the past few years: a Bible, Fresh Start with God workbook, Gospel of John, a Life Groups info card and more. But a new resource I want us to get in the pack right away is the book “New” from YouthMinistry360. Here’s a little clip from the SYM website:

When students give their lives to Christ, the Bible is pretty clear: They. Are. NEW! But what does it mean to be NEW? What does it mean to see God in a NEW way? What does it mean to live out the call to follow Christ? These questions can be daunting ones in the lives of the new or “young” Christ-followers in your youth ministry.

But don’t worry! That’s what NEW is all about. NEW: First Steps For New Christ-Followers is an interactive journal that helps students take the next steps in their new journey with Christ.

Looks really good!


Did you see the most ridiculous Time Magazine cover? The one that is meant to turn moms against each other? A fellow adoptive mom wrote a great article about the mom wars here...it’s well worth a read.

Both of these got me thinking about how society tries to turn females against females. It’s not just moms against moms…but it can starts much younger.

Whose prettier?

Whose smartier?

Who gets the attention of the boys?

Whose more talented?

It starts with each girl questioning herself...Am I pretty enough? Am I smart enough? Will people notice me? Am I talented enough?

And it’s as if the media and society one to exploit each of those weakness within a girl by creating illusions of “perfection” in each of those areas. Perfection that is not achievable by ANYONE.

Instead of turning to each other as woman/girls for support in this crazy world of unrealistic standards…we turn against each other. While I am certain this started long ago, I am convinced that the “world” encourages it and praises it!

How do we help girls work together instead of against each other?

1. Start with small groups! Girl only small groups provide a place for girls to be honest with each other…and help girls see that they are not alone.

2. Showcase all different type of girls. In our leadership and with our students…let’s not match the world with similar standards of perfection for girls. Let all different sizes, shapes and personality have a chance to lead…behind on the scenes or on the stage.

3. Watch your words. Listen for ways that you communicate what is the right way of applying God’s word…are you praising a particular type of student? Are all welcomed in your ministry?

What are your thoughts?


This week I went through the hard drive I used during seminary (I graduated in 2007 with an M.A. in Transformational Leadership from Bethel Seminary). I came across an audio file that was super encouraging and sharpening. In our final leadership class our professor asked each student for their Myers-Briggs and Gallup StrengthsFinder 2.0 results.  In this 20+ minutes audio clip my professor spoke to my DNA as if he had worked with me for years, it was very affirming and telling. On of the things he said that stood out was that these strengths are value neutral, Mother Theresa and Hitler probably had the same top 5 Gallup StrengthsFinder 2.0 results as I had.  At the end of my time with him he said that when you add my Myers-Briggs results to my StrengthsFinder top 5 I had world class abilities as a spokesperson for a company or ministry and that I would either do great things for the church of become a cult leader.

I have found the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment to be a great tool in understanding the hidden strengths of my leaders and myself.  This assessment has helped me understand how to more effectively interact with the different members on my team. In addition, I have a better idea of how to use my leaders so they feel most fulfilled. Check out the StrengthsFinder 2.0 book.  This is a very affordable way to build into your team.  The book is good, but the online test is what the book is all about.  At $13 from Amazon.com(http://www.amazon.com/StrengthsFinder-2-0-Upgraded-Discover-Strengths/dp/159562015X), this might not be practical for your whole team, but this is a great resource for yourself, interns, key leaders, and anyone you are mentoring.

I purchased several of the StrengthsFinder 2.0 books because they were the least expensive at the time, you cannot just purchase the assessment or code, you need to buy a book.  In addition you should pick up one copy of Strengths-Based Leadership.  It comes with a code to take the same assessment but this book helps put the results to practice a little differently.

P.S. do not buy the books used, you are almost guaranteed that the codes are no linger good or used.  Buy new!

I’m starting to gear up for summer. Time to discover if my air mattress made it through the last 10 months storage. Here are some new ideas from Simply Youth Ministry that might make the upcoming weeks just a wee easier. More summer tips and guest posts to come through the next two weeks.

1) LIVE COLLEGE demo is available NOW!
       + RELEASES on June 1!
+ link: http://www.simplyyouthministry.com/resources-college-live-curriculum—college-and-young-adult.html
2) SYMC 2013 website is now live!
       + link: conference.youthministry.com
+ Matty McCage is the guy to interview, ask question of, etc
3) Text-2-Join from SYM TOOLS: COMMUNICATE
       + Here is a great explanation of text to join - http://eepurl.com/lHbqn
+ link: http://www.simplyyouthministrytools.com/Communicate.aspx

New Articles that just hit YouthMinistry.com
The Flicks Teens Will Pick (Part 2) <http://bit.ly/KD8V3e>
FREEBIE: Men In Black 3 Trailer Lesson <http://bit.ly/JxQPzT>

Yeah, I thought you’d like this.