I am weird for writing this…but then you clicked here so who’s weirder?

Going on your first mission trip? Not your first trip but just wanted to snoop? I’m leaving Friday for my first mission trip of? Summer 2011. Its a Group Workcamp in Littleton, NH. I’ve been working with Group Workcamps since 1994. My? guesstimate is that this is my 50+ mission trip with them.? This list contains those things that make the trip comfy, at least for me.?

For me, its ALL about a good night sleep. This is what I don’t want to survive without:? earplugs – for me and others, mini-fan, nightlight, short extension cord, book to fall asleep by, little water bottle, two emergency snacks,? Tylenol PM for the first night, fresh D batteries for the pump to my air mattress (Don’t store them in the pump during travel? since the pump can get jostled,? turn on and run the batteries down. Make that mistake only once.), fresh sheets, 2 travel pillows, new air mattress…guess that’s about it. Plus clothes and minimal toiletries/makeup.

What I don’t take? Jewelry.? Any? hair appliances. More than 2 pairs of shoes or? more than 3 pairs of pants. Anything that’s already on my phone. (No computer, alarm, calendar, address book, Bible, etc.)

Besides…a Walmart run is a mission trip staple if your trip is a domestic one.


Remembering stuff . . . again -hanging with kids this summer

Concrete & Abstract- I’m trying to live in the middle here resisting the temptation to go with either extreme. Jr highers are not incapable of abstract thoughts, they are newbies. If they are beginning to dabble in abstract thought I hope that they do so first in a healthy faith based environment (Church stuff yo!) .

Yes, it’s old to you. It’s not old to them. Don’t do Other stuff that keeps you interested and loses them.

Kids are afraid of being made fun of in large groups, one mistake can destroy many bridges . . . Do other stuff

If it takes longer to explain the meaning of a song than to sing it . . . do Other stuff

Aside from the bible, stories from your personal experience connect better than . . . Other stuff

Teach kids to pray, it’s more important than . . . Other stuff

Being willing to & even looking for opportunities to laugh at myself, helps create the attitude I want my fellow workers to share better than any . . . Other stuff

Churchy words can be redeemed. Do the work to define them.
& don’t assume they know simpler words! Mine last week: rebellious. Yep, if I hadn’t defined it clearly from the beginning #wastedtime #thanksgirlincaf

Kids are not important only when they show up, sometimes they have . . . Other stuff

Remembering names is more important than . . . Other stuff

Don’t belittle their problems, culture or pain or they will find . . . Other stuff

“It’s Friday”, as much as we make fun of it, is a great song this summer! Have your band cover it.

This weekend we edited last year’s summer camp highlight video for Senior Weekend. We added in some seniors sharing memories and encouraging students to go.


I posted last week about the new LIVE curriculum add-ons and the gang over at Simply Youth Ministry gave me a copy of each to giveaway. Here’s the sweet part, if you have the original LIVE curriculum already, you get the add ons for free if you win. If you don’t yet have LIVE and you win, you get both the LIVE Curriculum ($499) and the add-ons as well ($249 each). Up for it? All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and you could win! Do it!


I’m at the playground at B Concourse in SLC killing 3 hrs with two kids in tow. Its not the greatest airport kids venue…but it doesn’t seem to matter.

At this moment my two blondies are playing with 2 french-canadians sisters, an asian boy, a hindu little one and other assorted small travelers.

No one knows anyone’s name; they don’t all speak the same language. Apparently – they don’t care. They are having a ball!

I think churches could follow this example. Who cares who is from what denom? Really – who cares what language or tongue believers use to talk to the Almighty? These kids aren’t divided into church political camps so why do grownups?

Uh-oh. I may have spoken too soon. A bigger, bossier girl has taken over the play house and won’t let anyone inside, including my g-babies. Kids are hanging around the play building looking sad. Bossy says its because she’s trying to make it nice and everyone will mess it up.

Sounds like some churches I’ve been to and their response to youth ministry: Kids on the outside looking in.


Some books are life changing, others are just purely entertaining. They provide knowledge, ideas, encouragement and expertise at a very good price. What if your students got a great book to read for every grade of high school. How would it change them or better prepare them for life after high school?

Here are 4 books that I would recommend having your students read:

Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller will forever change a students view of Jesus, God and Religion. It will make one’s faith feel distinctly new and real. It is written from a unique vantage point and is a strong resource for students entering high school regardless of their spiritual maturity is.

The transition between being a Freshman and Sophomore is interesting. Many students have the opportunity of getting their drivers permit among many other freedoms. It is also an important part of one’s spiritual walk. Being surrounded by secular news and media often has a damaging effect on students. But what about if you provided your students a news resource that is written from a Christian perspective? You might consider offering to buy students a subscription to World Magazine depending on how big your budget is.

Junior year is when high school starts getting crazy, By now many students are thinking about college, working at their first job and possibly have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Add in a full load of classes and many students start to feel overwhelmed; and rightfully so. Tim Ferriss wrote, The 4 hour workweek, which is a great secular book about time management and thinking outside the box. It is written towards an employee and how to cut down ones workweek to only 4 hours, however many of the ideas can be directly translated to a students life. This book could dramatically help students in creating more free time, while still achieving great grades in school.

Senior year is often very exciting and disappointing for most students. They are excited to start a new chapter in their life; and many have “checked out” of high school and quite possibly your youth group. However, they are also sad that High School is almost done. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller is a book that will challenge and encourage your senior’s to live their last year of high school to their full potential. Not only that, but it is also a very entertaining book that was extremely well written. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is the perfect book for students entering into their last year of High School to encourage them to live their last year of high school to its fullest.

Chase Miller is a High School student from Orange County, CA. He loves to surf, Tweets occasionally and would love to Guest Post on your blog, too!

Thought this article from Fast Company was super insightful about a new form of parenting – especially since I read it after finishing up a great session of co-op Portal 2 with my 9-year old son. We still play catch 3-4 times a week, too, don’t worry:

“Everyone’s a gamer now,” says Martin Rae, President of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, who’s witnessed video games mature from a nitch obsession of males to a new American past-time. But, he admits, golf, bookclubs, and backyard BBQ’s “aren’t going way.”

No, the real dinosaur in the room is television, which will increasingly become edged out by its interactive counterpart, thanks to the novice-friendly innovation of gesture-based controllers and Facebook games, “It’s a much healthier form of entertainment,” he argues.

In a sense, video games represent one of the only cross-generational activities left: Sports are typically peer-only activities, boardgames have the stigma of being coerced family-time entertainment, and even shopping gets nudged out by self-consciousness teens who don’t want public cameos with their parents. But, the private, exhilarating world of video games?–that’s fun for the whole family.

Thanks to Gavin Richardson for the link on Twitter!


I wrote a colum for the current issue of Group Magazine – if you don’t subscribe to the #1 youth ministry magazine yet you can subscribe by following this link. It is a feature on technology we’re using in our youth ministry. Might be a good takeaway for yours, too!

There’s a little bit of the geek in all of us–we all love things that make our lives and our ministries more effective and more efficient. So here are my top five “crushes” in the world of youth ministry technology:

#1 Poll Everywhere–Ever wished you could get instant feedback during a talk? Or ever wanted a cutting-edge way to fuel great interactions during youth group? Poll Everywhere is a tool that works from the Web or in PowerPoint–it displays poll results in real-time on your screen. Teenagers vote by text-message and the results appear on screen literally seconds later. It adds a whole new layer of interaction in your youth group–it’s brilliant and accessible technology. I wish they had an affiliate program, I send hundreds of people every day there from my blog–just go to polleverywhere.com.

#2 Duffled–Our ministry relies on text-messaging as our only dependable way of communicating with teenagers. On top of that we send out about a jillion text messages a month–and that’s where Duffled comes in. You can send and receive texts, make announcements, subscribe and unsubscribe from your phone, and operate using keywords. It has an easy Web interface and ties into your Twitter and Facebook accounts. It’s not cheap, since you pay by the message, but well worth the cost–go to duffled.com. One other excellent (and more affordable) option, by the way, is SimplyText from our pals at Simply Youth Ministry (go to simplyyouthministry.com/txt to check it out).

#3 LIVE Curriculum–This one may seem like a shameless plug since it was created by Group and Simply Youth Ministry–but it honestly isn’t. The only youth ministry curriculum we use is the Web-based LIVE curriculum because it’s simple and solid. And it’s pretty cheap once you get over the first year’s initiation cost. Go to simplyyouthministry.com.

#4 HighRiseHQ–HighriseHQ is a productivity tool created by the gang over at 37Signals–we use it to manage our volunteer leaders. Think of it as a place in the cloud where information about all of your contacts is stored. Depending on the size of your group it could even be a tool that manages everyone in your ministry world. Go to highrisehq.com. One note: Simply Youth Ministry just launched its Tools resource that includes a leader-management component that’s killer–we’re looking at it right now as a possible replacement for HighRiseHQ.

#5 Church Teams–This inexpensive tool helps us check in with small-group leaders. Every week the system sends out a message to each of the leaders asking them to report in their attendance, prayer requests, and other pertinent information we might need from them. It gives us a chance to spot trends in groups, troubleshoot problems, pray more effectively, and keep the communication lines wide open. Go to churchteams.com.