Innovation has not disappeared as the legacy of Steve Jobs at Apple continues.  Apple’s quiet release of what may be their most innovative piece of hardware to date surprised the Hong Kong markets and Apple fans abroad today.  The most portable phone in existence is now the iPhone Shuffle.

Hong Kong iOS engineers were quoted saying, “专家交谈。我们的专家可以回答你所有的问题,有关iPhone的功能,运营商的选择和签约服务。就打电话给我们。” Which is not as surprising as you may think.  What all the media storm chases are after this morning is a hands on look at the new iPhone Shuffle said to hit U.S. Soil before midnight tonight.  Apple CEO, Tim Cook, is launching the company into next lever leadership surpassing Steve Job’s CEO rating.

I can see this fitting, with an attachment, in your ear instead of a Bluetooth headset. Think of the battery you will save and the ease of one click calling. I am all over this!

How do you see the church benefiting from a smaller iPhone?

Here’s a fun idea to teach the concept of new life! Have your youth use this drama for sharing the Easter principle to kids for Sunday school, children’s sermon, or an Easter Egg Hunt:


Below are links to make or buy butterflies you can use as part of the drama:

…and a link to see how they work.

…or do what I did: just google it or email me.



We’ve all heard it. Finding a job is tough in this economy when so many people are out of work. Youth Ministry is no exception. Most of us who have steady youth ministry jobs are staying put, but for a lot of us that simply isn’t an option. So while finding a good Church in this tough economic climate may seem tough, it’s not impossible. In fact, I’ve done it twice.

The first time was in 2008, when the markets first collapsed. My salary as a Youth and Children’s minister was payed out of the interest generated by an endowment. I used to joke that I was the “June Jolly Memorial Youth Pastor”. The fund stopped generating interest and my salary money evaporated over night. I walked into the office one morning and was told that I was being let go immediately. I got on my denomination’s website and there were NO youth ministry jobs in my home state of Kentucky. I had a strong sense, though, that this was my life’s purpose and that if I exhausted every effort to remain in ministry, God would honor that and make up the difference. I wound up moving to North Carolina where, until just recently, I served as a Youth and Children’s Minister at a larger Church and with a raise in salary. But that was after several months of earnest search and “loser days” sitting in our apartment watching bills pile up while my wife bore the weight.

As I write this, I am avoiding the chore of packing up my office. Next week I am moving to my new Church in Virginia. Last fall, my wife’s father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a fatal illness of the blood and bone marrow. He was given three years to live. After much prayer and soul searching, my wife and I decided that we needed to move closer to home. Seeing our family only two or three times a year was no longer right for us. Our current Church was really supportive when we decided that we would begin looking for a new Church family. I kept them in the loop early and often in my decision making process and they allowed me to remain employed while I looked for another Church. In exchange, I have been able to aid the Church in their transition to a new youth pastor. It has been a bittersweet process but we have somehow managed to keep a family here in North Carolina while acquiring a new one in Virginia. Through these experiences, I learned a couple of truths that may be helpful to anyone exploring the possibility of making a move in THIS economy.

1. Be Transparent. Let your Church know what you are thinking and feeling (assuming this is an environment that is not so toxic that this isn’t a real possibility), and let them know that you are going to begin looking for another ministry, but that for the time you remain committed to this one and will do everything in your power to aid a smooth and graceful transition. (If you are fearing your job may not be around for much longer, knowing you are leaving willingly in a couple of months may save your Church from having to make an abrupt decision).

2. Fish on the other side of the boat!
There’s plenty of youth ministry jobs if you are willing to look beyond your usual spot! I didn’t want to look outside of my denomination but that meant I had to look outside my home state. Maybe you are attached to home but not to a denomination. Decide what you value and don’t get hung up on the rest! I have a Caucasian friend who is at an all African American church. They love him to death (but tease him to no end)! How many of us would overlook an opportunity we thought was for “somebody else”.

3. Distinguish yourself.
If you can make a resume in the form of a comicbook (along with your real “grown up” one), a video resume with youth testimonials, or write an eloquent essay, or whatever your thing is… DO IT! You’ll get an interview.

4. Go the extra mile. My Church in North Carolina still talks about how I drove 8 hours to be present for a job interview when they offered to do it over the phone.

5. Be willing to say, “NO.” Just because a Church is open does not mean it’s where you need to be. I visited a church several months ago where the pastor was really impressed with me. I knew I would have the job if I wanted it. But as he took me around and showed me the facility, he whispered conspiratorially about all the political back and forth in the congregation: who didn’t like the gym and why, how pastor so and so toe the congregation in half, and how they had fired the youth pastor (an older man) but hired him as the janitor (awkward…). Oh, and you’ll be the latest in a line of two year youth pastors dating back to 1992 when St. Awesome left. RED FLAG!!! Driving home, I told my wife, “I know you’re in a hurry to be home, but there were definite signs of dysfunction. I think we’d be miserable there.” The next morning, the Pastor from the Church that eventually hired me called. You don’t want to be moving again in two or three years, so make sure you are moving where God wants you to move.

I hope these thought were helpful to everyone who is in a similar situation of having to pursue God’s will in the midst of a really tough market. In the end, though, this economy isn’t really different than any other economy. God always takes care of those whom He has called and if we pray in humility and follow His direction, He will show us what He has for us. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and the other stuff will work itself out. But to be on the safe side, my mother would want you to know that you should wear a tie to your interview.

Danny Nettleton
is a youth pastor and blogger who originally wrote an incredible comment on this post that turned into a request for the full guest post you just read.

In my web travels I have come across a much talked about writing app called “Scrivener” and writers seem to love it.   Literature & Latte (the creators of the app) describe Scrivener as “a powerful content-generation tool for writers designed for composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on getting you to the end of that awkward first draft.”  I have been using Scrivener off and on for about 5 months and cannot get a rhythm with it. This is probably due the fact that I am a burst writer, I am writing 400 word column and blog posts. Check out the video below, it gives a great visual rundown of the app.

However I have found a very practical use for “Scrivener” in combination with “Index Card” an iPad app.  I have been using note cards to teach tech from. When I am talking to a youth ministry class, a group of youth workers, or my SYMC workshops I am knee deep in hand written notes.  I know, lame right, the tech guy speaking from paper…it might as well be the year 2004!  The cool thing here is that these two apps play together nicely.  If I am in Index Card creating digital notecards I can backup from my iPad to DropBox and restore from DropBox in Scrivener on my Mac (Scrivener is available for Mac and PC).  The Index Card app is a great purchase, it makes Scrivener a better tool but you do not need Scrivener if you are jsut looking for a solid digital notecard app. These apps are a great find for any writer!

I find my self using Word less and less, and apps like these, Evernote, and iA writer more and more. What are the main ways you are capturing ideas, notes, and writing blogs, books, and messages?

1) Help your students see the need. Fundraising is just like anything else in teen ministry that you want to be effective and successful, which means that your students to be “sold” on whatever the need is that you are raising funds for.  It’s easy for them to see the need when it’s money being raised for them personally to go on a missions or teen summer trip. But if your raising money to build a clean water well in Africa, your going to have to be more creative in helping them see the need. Brainstorm and create short videos to help the teen visualize the need. Teach a three or four week series around the topic that you are raising funds for then use the fundraiser as a challenge to be a solution to the problem.

2) Balance “Youth Ministry” and “Kingdom” fundraising. Selfishness has been engrained into our society. Youth Ministry is no exception. Students sometimes choose the church they go to based on what they have to offer them (a bad spiritual habit they’ve picked up on from us adults). We have a responsibility to help students see beyond themselves. So once their lives have been transformed by Christ, then we need to help them to make an impact for the Kingdom. There are times to raise funds for a Youth Ministry need, but there are local and world ministry needs that we should rally our students behind. So many of our missionaries budgets have been cut back because of our economy. Why not partner with one of your church missionaries, and use the ideas above.

3) Weight the cost vs effort factor. Let’s be honest that if your group has to do fundraisers, you personally are are most likely getting burnt out on them. If you haven’t yet, you will get to the point where you want to get the most funds with the least effort. Time is vital to us in the world of ministry so we don’t want to waste it. There were car washes that I have done in the past that actually some how lost money instead of profited.

Jai Haulk is a Teen Minister at Ringgold Church of Christ in Hagerstown MD and is also a Fundraising Specialist with a ton of great opportunities for youth workers. Contact me if you have questions or are interested at (301) 331-1300 or


God Pursues Me Video

Josh Griffin —  March 30, 2012 — 1 Comment

Here’s the series bumper video from last weekend’s You Own the Weekend series. Their theme was “God Pursues You” and this video went right before the message.


It seems that there are aisles upon aisles of new and improved covers for iPad’s today. Everyone wants a slice of the market when it comes to designing practical ideas for covers. I recently got my hands on a Book Book and I knew that it was love at first sight. She was covered in leather, had a quiet zipper to not distract anyone when I use it. And she even allowed me to setup my iPad the way that I wanted to, not the way that a product designer said I had to. She protected me when I was careless with my device, and she was there for me when I needed to cover up that I was teaching from my iPad.

P.S. did I mention that her creators helped her conceive their first child… Be sure to check out the Book Book for your iPhone!

It has great protection for my iPad.
•  Very quiet zipper for when I am using it to teach from or using it to take notes during our church service.
•  I really enjoyed being able to stand the iPad upright using the leather string from the bottom.- I like the look of it, I like that it looks like an actual book.
•  Fits all iPads.

•  There is not a type position for the book book. There is no angle that it can be placed at that is good for flat typing.
•  I have to charge the iPad with the case open or unzipped.  The same thing goes for headphones.
•  There is no camera hole for 2nd and 3rd generation iPads, I need to pull my iPad form the case to take pictures.

Have you found a great New iPad (3rd Gen) case yet?  I’d love to hear about the case(s) you are using.

About Luke Uran:
I am the Director of Jr. High Ministries at the First Evangelical Free Church in Rockford, IL. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to my amazing wife, and I strive to point students into a loving relationship with Christ. I enjoy drums, golf, hockey, listening to music, and watching movie

See You in 7

Josh Griffin —  March 30, 2012 — 4 Comments

I close each youth service with the phrase “See you in 7.” It reminds kids that our ministry is here every week for whatever they need and also lets them know I’m inviting, even expecting, them to make church part of their life and routine. Yet it’s also a sometimes-painful reminder to me that another service is right around the corner, no matter how this one turned out.

Creating a compelling youth service or meeting every week can feel weighty. Just as you collapse to recover from one, you have to prepare to do it all again. My team has been discussing a new strategy to get things accomplished with such short turnaround. Our services are on Saturdays and Sundays, so you may have to adjust the days below to fit your program.

“See you in 7″ falls from my smiling mouth to my ringing ears each week. But with the right preparation and goals, it’s an achievable task.

Delegate —What tasks do you need to dole out to ensure success? For that matter, what are you even doing next week? Make sure all the projects, videos, music, humor, and handouts have an owner; then be confident that people will follow through. Ideally, list program elements on a whiteboard so a few volunteers can start moving on their assignments. For me, as the primary communicator, Tuesday is an important day to get a jump-start on message preparation, too.


Do—This is the day to really accomplish things. Shoot the video. Buy prizes. Test out games. Whatever needs to happen for the weekend, do it on Wednesday. As I write this, a student is preparing a testimony to share, a volunteer is editing video, and my sermon draft is halfway complete.

Done—Today it all comes together. The student outline is finished, slides are made, videos are selected, handouts are copied, and anything that was ordered is ready to go. By the end of Thursday, the sermon is largely done and in the hands of a few trusted friends for review.


Dream—You must make space for greatness and creativity, so force yourself to finish things early instead of succumbing to the uncontrollable chaos of last-minute details. That cushion also allows you to work ahead a bit and be intentional about relational ministry.

Originally appeared in the November/December issue of Group Magazine. Don’t get the magazine yet? Hit this link to subscribe and get in on the action today!