Simply Youth Ministry just put together a new graduate gift set for your church kids who are about to head out to college. Check out the Graduation Gift Set – which includes a book written by Doug Fields and I, too! Here are a few things I think about when we start thinking about gifts for graduates:

Give them something personal
Write a note inside the gift you give them. The note may be as important than what you actually buy. If there’s a book you personally love or have heard good things about that makes for a good choice.

Give your seniors a Bible/Bible study
This may be one of your last significant chances to influence a student before they head off to school – give them a tool or resource to help them walk with God when they walk away from high school. For years we gave our students a nice Bible to use as they began their college journey.

Give them a memory
Maybe go through old youth group photos and send a few to Walgreen’s to print off and stick in the book or gift. A memorable trip, event or inside joke will mean a lot to them as they take off.

What are you getting your seniors this year?

JG

New killball tournament this weekend – and some special rules this week. Get lots of details (forms, rosters, rules and more) on Taffy’s blog Rice and Worship.

JG



Weekend Teaching Series: You Own the Weekend: El Toro HS (week 4 of 5)

Sermon in a Sentence: What are you searching for? The only answer is the Christ who satisfies.
Service Length: 77 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend the students went all out – the auditorium was decorated with all of the El Toro colors from streamers to giant signs on stage. The students liked the theme “the Christ who satisfies” and talked about how we are all searching and when we fully accept the true Christ He is what ultimately satisfies. Two students shared – Tyler did the introduction to the talk – sharing what God isn’t (a bandaid, a genie) and Kyle shared about the true Christ (salvation message, conversion of Paul). It was a great weekend, proud of the students for sharing a clear invitation to God’s life-changing salvation.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: The students opened up with a fun version of Satisfaction, complete with a choreographed dance group as well. Very fun opener, and the live DJ during the countdown was really, really fantastic. Love it!

Music Playlist: Shoot, forgot to write them down!

Favorite Moment: Seeing a newer student Jake on stage singing the opening song was so fun. He’s been coming for the past 10 weeks, and is totally finishing his senior year right. Love that guy!

Up Next: You Own the Weekend: Capo HS [week 5 of 5]

I asked my 4 year old, “What’s the name of our church?”

She replied, “Daddy’s Work.”

Yep. Pretty much…




Did you miss out on SYMC this year? Or maybe you heard about a session or track that was incredible? You can check them all out now on the SYMC Conference Audio/Video store. All of the general sessions are now available, with most all of the workshops and learning tracks available for purchase right now as well. Leaders are learners – keep on learning even after the conference is long gone.

JG

donatemydress.org

Neely McQueen —  March 23, 2011 — 1 Comment

DonateMyDress.org is the first national campaign designed to encourage girls around the country to donate their prom and special occasion dresses to those who cannot afford them for prom, sweet 16, quinceañera or formals. The site features a directory of local dress drive organizations across the U.S. that will enable girls to easily find out where in their local markets they can donate or receive a dress. In addition, DonateMyDress.org contains information on upcoming events and special promotions, a photo gallery of real girls donating and receiving dresses, as well as links to content on prom and quinceañera planning, hair and makeup tips, and other worthy causes.

This could be a really fun way to help encourage your girls to be aware of those around them who are less fortunate. The website has a list of stores in every state- check it out and pick a day to donate together! Have you ever done anything like it before?



Still in love…

Jeff Thompson —  March 23, 2011 — Leave a comment

I was having lunch with a member of our team this past week. We were celebrating another year of her serving on the team. While we were trying to remember how many years we’ve been doing this, it dawned on us that this is our 9th season serving on the team. It just doesn’t seem possible that I’ve been at this for 9 summers. And that got me thinking about the rest of our team – we have folks who have served for well over 10 years and even one member of our staff who has served our ministry for over 20 years. The best thing about those “facts” – we still absolutely love what we do. We love creating experiences that God uses to change people’s lives. We’re honored that God allows us to be a part of what He is doing.

What about your ministry? How long have some of the members of your team been serving? Do all of you still love what you are doing?

I pray you can answer yes. I pray that God blesses all the ministries that He has called us to.

Helping Parents

Neely McQueen —  March 22, 2011 — 1 Comment

Yesterday, I got a message from another female youth worker with a question. I thought we could work together to help out a fellow youth worker!

Here’s her questions: I am compiling a list of websites and blogs, to help parents keep up with current culture, can you suggest some?

First, I think it’s great that you are providing resources for your parents. Helping them should be one of our priorities as youth workers.
Here’s a few websites I would recommend:

http://learningmylines.blogspot.com/ (Walt Mueller’s blog)
http://waltmueller.org/Default.aspx (Website with movie, tv, music reviews and other parent resources)
http://www.homeword.com/ (Jim Burn’s website)
http://www.pluggedin.com/ (Focus on the Family reviews movies)

Another suggestion is sending out a monthly email to parents with information about your ministry and about youth culture. Which requires us to do a little research but sometimes we hear about stuff that is happening specifically in our communities that might be important for parents to know or we can raise awareness about various topics. (For example, providing families with tips on handling texting or the internet. Sending them a list of warning signs about unhealthly relationships). Every opportunity we have to work with them and help them win is a win for our youth ministries.

A few of my secrets (secrets because some of them can be embarassing.) for keeping up with culture:

4 times a year I buy a teen magazine

Check in quarterly with what my girls are into as far as TV, movies, music and books. We usually are talking about this all the time but if I haven’t heard in awhile…I ask.(Usually followed by me doing a little research.)

Follow News and entertainment blogs- www.ew.com, www.cnn.com

Follow a few teen celebs on twitter.

Follow a few teen organzations on twitter. (TWOLHA, Loveisnotabuse)

Also, I hope that More Than Gossip is a good resource for youth workers to find out what’s happening in girl world!

Okay…your turn! What websites, blogs and resources would you add to her list for parents?