If you have Jr highers playing in your band,eventually you will get this question, “What guitar should I buy for a beginer?” Here are some thuoghts to help your jr highers get a good instrument that wont kill your precious practice time going out of tune!

Stay away from companies like Rogue, Fernandes, Laguna, AXL and BC Rich. Sorry sub par guitar companies but in all fairness you have been stealing musical joy from children for years now. Squire and Dean are decent and you MAY be safe with Ibanez, look at the hardware (tuners) carefully.

The best pick would be an Epiphone, they build pretty good products(except for their all in one packs)in all price ranges. ESP LTD isn’t a bad brand either, they usually build guitars that look REALLY cool, and a lot more expensive than what they actually are.

Stay away from whole package deals with with straps/pics and amp in a box!
Craig’s list and Ebay are going to get you a better guitar as long as you remember ourbrand cluesfrom above
15 minutes of practice a day are better than 2 hours the day of your lesson
Don’t buy a child’s size guitar.

Here are our guitar picks:
Les Paul look a like at 149.00
SG Ephiphone at 169.00

More questions? Ask the @foundationRED twitter account for any gear or worship questions.

I want to share three ways we can encourage the girls in our ministries but before I do I want to clarify a few words. First, when I say encouragement I am not talking about making them feel better about themselves but rather encouraging them into a radical living that can change the world. Second, these 3 ways are non-traditional methods…and are even more powerful and impactful coming from a male youth worker. Alright, here we go:

1. Tell the stories of the women from the Bible. (This may be a soapbox issue for me!) There are numerous powerful stories of women in the Bible- why not share one every month. Can God use me? Definitely, look at all the other women that God has used in the Bible.

2. Tell the stories of the women in your church. Or better yet…give them a chance to share their own story as part of your message. Can God use me? Definitely, look at all the other women that God has used in our church.

3. Tell the stories of the women in your story. Think for one moment about your story…how you got to where you are at in ministry? Did your mother, sister, wife, or another female in your life impact you or encourage you to this moment? Can God use me? Definitely, look at the other women that God has used in the life of my youth pastor.

Want to encourage your girls to follow God is a radical ways? Tell them the stories.

One of our amazing summer interns took some super cool photos during the finale to last week’s 11 vs. the World series (read about the whole weekend here). This was part of the candle illustration to show how Jesus is the Light of the World and how the Good News spread quickly from person to person.


Easy, transferable idea for you in the post-summer camp weeks …

This is a sign our team made to help promote summer camp in the 10 weeks before the annual event. It was really cool and did a good job of marketing the event to parents and students (and casual traffic near the youth room) every week. Someone had a GREAT idea – what if instead of throwing away the sign after camp we left it out on a table with Sharpies and let students write a message or sign it.

It was so cool! Kinda like a real-life summer camp Facebook wall. Gonna make a neat art piece in the office now!


Last week I blogged about Kyle Smith’s new song Your Love is Enoughthis week I’m excited to point you to the second single from Taffy and Cluster of Students (made up of high school students from HSM at Saddleback Church). Get the song Divine and Holy on iTunes today, then download the guitar charts for FREE right here to use in your ministry!

So proud of these guys … love these songs!


Above is a picture my niece Hayley gave her “papa” for his 70th birthday. To the outside observer it’s a cute picture. Something any child may give to mom, dad, or “pa pa” so they can hang it up on the refrigerator. But, when you dig a little deeper in to the history of this drawing, you’ll find out that it is so much more than merely a “cute” picture.

Hayley was born pre-maturely with a hole in her heart. She had to have open heart surgery before she was a year old to repair this hole. This has caused some physical problems for her as she has gotten older: low muscle tone and sensory integration disorder. Because of this she has been in physical and occupational therapy for 2 years.

The “cute” picture above is the culmination of $75,000 spent on over a thousand hours of therapy for Hayley. Just two years ago this picture would never have happened. It would have been nothing more than a few scribbles on a piece of paper. But, hard work, persistence and dedication has paid off with words, a face, and a smile. Sure, for someone on the outside, it’s a cute picture, and that’s nice and all. But for those on the inside this picture represents so much more.

Those of us in youth ministry have a unique opportunity to be on “the inside.” Each of our teenagers has a story. When we’re willing to dig just a little deeper in to a life, we’ll often find stories … stories of successes and failures, joys and pains, fear and courage … there is always more to their life than what we see on the outside. That teenager who is one of the leaders in your ministry may have had countless hours of somebody pouring in to their life, guiding them and helping them become a leader while that “one” … and we all have that “one” … who causes problems or who seemingly just doesn’t care about anything may represent a life of hurt and pain and they are acting out because no one has spent time trying to invest in them. Understanding this means we won’t be so quick to criticize but more willing to listen. We won’t be as quick to expect a non-believing student to act as a passionate Christ-follower.

As we learn to do youth ministry together, let me encourage you to be willing to dig a little deeper in to the lives of others and to realize that each life has a deeper story. Part of our role is to help students see how their story is woven in to the God’s greater story. But unless we’re willing to dig a little deeper, we’ll never have the opportunity to do that!

Rich Yauger is a husband, dad, and youth pastor. He’s been trying to point teenagers to Jesus at Grace Community Church in Goshen, IN for 9 years and blogs a bit at www.theyaugblog.blogspot.com and Twitter’s at @rich_yauger.

Evangelism is a scary word because so many of us believe we have to have a memorized plan or speech, we must preach to the crowds of people, or we must have a flashy and trendy way of presenting the Gospel message. We have taken the word evangelism and associated it with something difficult to do. In reality, evangelism is a lifestyle. It is simply how we live our lives. The truth is we evangelize daily. We point people towards Christ or away from Christ on a daily basis simply from how we live our lives.

I once heard someone say, “You will never talk to your friends about Jesus until you have talked to Jesus about your friends”. This statement has stuck with me over the years and has helped me remind myself and my students that the best evangelism is friendship evangelism. Our best witnessing efforts will happen with those whom we share real life with on a daily basis. Friendship Evangelism simply means “caring” for people. Someone once said, “The best evangelism takes place in a context of mutual trust and respect. It takes place between friends.”

In the context of student ministry I see students struggle with how to do evangelism. We strive to help shape their everyday choices to simply following Christ’s example. Christ lived and breathed evangelism. He took every day situations and taught truth from them. We want our students to realize that every bus ride, every lunch break, every classroom discussion, every practice or rehearsal are all opportunities to point their friends to Jesus.

We also believe that God calls us to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Because of that calling our student ministry goes on international missions as well as domestic missions. However, over the years I have noticed students willing to fly to other countries to share Christ but struggling to share Christ locally and domestically. Because of this mindset, we are now in our second year of the following strategic plan to help students create a healthy and biblical mindset of missions:

First we offer what we call Outreach Saturday Projects (OSP). These projects rang from yard work to nursing homes, to cleaning local school campuses, and everything in between. We leave our church campus and serve in our local community. Students who desire to go on our domestic or international trips are required to attend a percentage of these OSP’s.

Secondly we offer our Spring Break Mission Trip. This is usually a three to five day trip during their spring break where we go and serve domestically. Right now we are in our second year of partnering with the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes where we go and serve on location with them for our trip. This trip serves two purposes: first it forces students to make a sacrifice. They must sacrifice the beach and hanging out with friends in order to serve those less fortunate. Secondly, it allows me the chance to see them in action on the mission field dealing with changes, team work, etc. Any students who desire to travel internationally with us are required to first attend a spring break trip. They are only required to attend once but many students are already signing up for another trip simply because they understand the biblical purpose for the trip.

Lastly, we offer an international mission trip in the summer. This trip is usually seven to ten days in length and will be in a third world country. We are in a partnership with Guatemala for the next two years and thus we will travel to this country together. This trip is the climax for a student’s mission experience. They will be exposed to things they have never seen, they will see God work in mighty ways, and they will be used by Him in ways they could never imagine. They leave this trip understanding what it means to share Christ with the poor, hungry, and orphans. They will return home with a new outlook on life and because we have a strategic plan to take students from serving locally to serving internationally we have seen students truly understanding the biblical mindset behind the reason we go and serve. This in turn also helps in students living for Jesus and accomplishing the friendship evangelism in their everyday lives.

Jeff Dye is the Minister of Students at Northcliffe Baptist Church. Follow him on Twitter here!

To quote or not to quote? That has been the church ministry question. I’ll take a step out on the proverbial limb here to? ask, “What? WAS the fuss all about?”?

Its been 10 years+ since my SP and I looked at each other on a Sunday morning before? the service began? and he asked, “What about? this Harry Potter stuff?” My reply:? “I’ll? read the first books,? see the movie, and report? to you on what? the hala-balu is all about. Pray for me.”

I went about my mission under the cover of darkness. Imagine me in a trench coat and? dark glasses sneaking into the theater. On second thought,? don’t ‘cuz that’s? a? creepy picture. Seriously,? I did take? my movie money? to an unamed movie? location in another city. I didn’t want to cause a stir at the church. Again. I mean, apparently seeing this movie was paramount to turning in your Christian card. Spells would start generating themselves from my personage upon exiting the theater.

That didn’t happen. I became a fan, read all the books? and watched? each movie multiple times. (Except the new one;? its only been out a week so I’ve only manage to see it once). I’ve? had a delightful? time over the Harry Potter years, letting my? imagination run wild through castles,? on dragons and at the big feasts where the dirty dishes just disappeared!?

About 5 years ago, I wanted to show a very short movie clip in our contemporary service; no biggie because we show clips every week from current? movies.? Usually, the SP loved our team’s clip choices? and never vetoed anything. Until THIS? clip. It was from? an HP movie about? being influnced by the company you keep.? Misguided loyalties, etc.? He nixed the clip because it was from Harry Potter. Even though? we’d shown movie clips about thieves, liars, adulterers, dishonest Presidents, murderers, etc., an HP clip where the key players were wizards crossed the line. I respected his decision; somehow I knew he was gonna say what he said.

I don’t really have a huge point here. This is not desire for a big debate. Just a quiet musing from me and? I’m? not sure exactly what my point is. I? guess I’m heading towards this: 1) I haven’t seen an influx of y students practicing spells and making polyjuice potion.? ? 2) I saw kids show an interest in reading? who? wouldn’t pick up a book otherwise. 3) The Church still seems to have bigger problems? than censoring Harry Potter fans.? 4) HP7-part 1 and 2 had a few story lines that seemed awfully close to referencing Biblical? principles.? Several times, I found myself? what JKR was trying to say. ?

Lesson to be learned? IDK. Maybe keep our eyes on the Main thing and not get distracted by? the small stuff in church family life.