A great article posted last week on youthministry.com relates to yesterday’s post. Great thoughts from Katie Brazelton.

Teenagers Are Wired for Significance and Life Purpose.

Do you agree?

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Middle School Ministry Campference coming this fall (October 14-16, 2011) – it is a brand new event designed specifically for junior high/middle school youth workers, and it is a conference…and camp! So normal stuff like general sessions, workshops and great music – but also free-time activities like zip lines, paintball, ropes course etc. Sounds like fun … here’s a quick 3-question interview with Mark Oestreicher, one of the minds behind it:

1) Tell me about your observations about junior high ministry that led you to create this atmosphere for junior high youth workers to get recharged, trained and encouraged?
We junior high youth workers tend to have a paradoxical combination of total passion for what we do combined with an inferiority complex. In so many churches (and at so many youth ministry events), young teen ministry is seen as the youth ministry equivalent of that strange little homeschool kid you just wish someone else would deal with. But, man, we know. We know how critical and powerful this ministry is. We’ve seen how formative these middle school years are, and how students often choose a path for life. At the end of the day, being in a room with a bunch of people who share my strange and unique calling — who get me — is my happy place. A tribal gathering of junior high peeps sounds like a slice o’ heaven to me.

2) Sounds fun! What makes this more camp and less conference? And why wasn’t I invited?
You weren’t invited because you’re a high school sell-out, dude. Good luck with that “corrective ministry” while we kick it in our “preventive ministry.” (Actually, you – and other HS youth workers – would be more than welcome. Someone doesn’t have to be a full-time junior high person to join us — they just have to want to learn and contribute, and be with this awesome tribe.)

We thought about having a more traditional conference. But Kurt Johnston and I were chatting about it, and we thought we needed to do something unique. We decided that ‘camp for junior high youth workers’ was just the ticket. We’ll combine some of the best aspects of a conference (fantastic main sessions and seminars) with some things we couldn’t do elsewhere (experiential learning, for example) and the vibe of a camp (all our meals together, tons of wicked-awesome fun stuff to do that you can never fully enjoy when you’re responsible for a group of 12 year-olds).

3) Tell me a great, quick story that junior high youth workers out there would appreciate. Preferably something gross and/or silly.
Two quick ones:
1. My 8th grade guys small group was recently putting together our own “creed” — things we knew to be true. It was full of pithy statements like “Respect is earned” and “Maturity takes time.” But they insisted on including a very important final statement of what our small group collectively believes: “Farting is best done outside.”
2. I was standing in the baptismal, interviewing Blake in front of the congregation (just remembered this story the other day). I asked him, “Blake, tell us what difference your faith made when your dad died.” He responded, “Well, it made it suck less.” Ah, junior highers — gotta love that truth-telling, baby.

JG



girls need water

Neely McQueen —  March 22, 2011 — Leave a comment

One of my greatest passions in youth ministry is helping girls see that they can make an impact in the world…and I love showing girls that they can help other girls.

Today, over a 100 bloggers are working together to raise awareness and money about water issues of girls and boys in the world.

The problem: One third of all handpumps installed in the last twenty years in developing countries are now broken. And 4,000 children die every day because of lack of clean drinking water. We feel that’s unacceptable. So we’re thinking differently.

The Solution: To train and employ handpump mechanics. The mechanics earn an income, bringing themselves out of poverty, and they save lives

Posted by Kurt Johnston

I am in a season of my life and ministry that seems to be reminding me of a ton of important leadership basics, as well as teaching me some valuable new lessons. A few things I’ve learnedbeen reminded of recently include:

- It’s Okay to wait to talk…and sometimes not to talk at all. This is ESPECIALLY true when in a room of other leaders who know much more about the topic on hand, and have more at stake in the direction the conversation turns. I am learning to say very little in discussions concerning stuff I don’t know much about. Too often, leaders feel like they need to have an opinion about everything. I’ve learned the hard way that having an opinion about everything usually only serves to water down your influence.

- Don’t be a “One Trick Pony”. In other words, care about stuff even if it isn’t YOUR stuff. Don’t confuse what I said in the above paragraph with being uninterested in other issues on the table. Be VERY interested, ask clarifying questions, ask for ways you can help out, etc. One of the best ways to gain trust and influence among a group of peers is to show a genuine concern about things other than only what you are responsible for.

- Make fewer definitive proclamations. Instead of saying “It’s obvious that the decision to make is…….”, say something like, “It seems that a good path to consider might be…..”. Instead of “without a doubt, our students need….”, say something like, “my hunch is, our students could use…” Those subtle differences allow for two things: 1) they allow you to sound a little less authoritative, and 2) they allow for the possibility that you could be wrong! Strong, over-confined proclamations often leave leaders scrambling to “spin” things when their proclamation doesn’t pan out.

Okay, your turn….anybody want to share a recentl leadership learning? Or a classic leadership tip you have seen work time and time again?



The Gamerscore on the ol’ Xbox 360 has been flat for a while – between mission trips, conferences and HSM I haven’t been able to play much at all the past month. That changed last week, when the kids took on Megamind (B-), and I completed Army of Two: The 40th Day (B) and Battle: LA (C+). Fun!

JG

Thanks to Netflix I’ve been able to catch up on my 90′s TV! I decided to watch Roswell, the show about teen aliens and the human girl who falls in love with one of them. Pretty amazing TV, if you ask me!

I find it interesting that both a popular 90′s tv show and popular current book/movies series have average (normal) teenage girls falling in love with unearthly teenage boys. The logic that these guys are so perfect because…well, they are not real. I mean literally they are not real…there are no aliens or vampires, right?

What is it about these unearthly guys that drive ladies crazy? Why does the contrast between unearthly and earthly guys seems so huge? Why is fiction better than truth?

I am convinced that we need to help both girls and guys understand what authentic and God honoring relationships look like…we need to tell them about it and we need to model it for them. Because TV, Movies, books, magazine and music are telling them lies. We must tell the truth.

I am convinced that it is never too soon to start talking to guys about how to treat a girl with respect. Recently, I had a guy ask me for girl advice…and he said, I figured if anyone would know it would be you…which made me smile and think that guys need help. Not help learning how to win over a girl but how to be a man. Because the health of boys learning to be a good man impacts the future of the girls that we are hoping to teach to be a woman. Does that make sense? Have you ever told the guys in your ministry that it’s not okay to call girls names or hurt their feelings (or their bodies)…that doing that doesn’t make you the man? Have you ever told them about the depth of the love Paul calls husbands to have for their wives? Pretty strong stuff.

I am convinced that we must conitunally point girls to the the one perfect Savior. That everyone longs to be saved and rescued…and Jesus has done that. Until we experience being rescued by HIM, we will keep looking to be saved by someone…usually someone that can NOT save us. But He is perfect. He ALONE is perfect. No one earthly person can save you. Only the perfect Savior of the world…who loves us completely and perfectly.We must never stop telling that story.

Well, who knew a 90′s show could be so inspiring to me? What’s inspiring you right now? Are you learning anything from the culture around you?



OK, here’s the 2nd part to the Lenten theme I posted a few days ago. Enjoy!

Stephanie

2)? ? ? Hands-on Worship Ideas:

  1. “Peace Prayer Stations” – These are creative prayer stations based on seeking the peace of Christ. This activity partners well with the John 3:16 video mentioned above. Go to groupworkcamps.com store for the “Peace Stations” downloadable script.
  2. “Forgiveness Chair” – This experiential activity provides a meaningful opportunity for the worshipper to experience giving and receiving forgiveness. Activity instructions are available at groupworkcamps.com in the download section.

?

5) Children’s Worship Idea: Your children can be a part of the building theme! Use bricks, ? ? ?

? ? ? ? pieces of 2×4, stepping stones, etc., to build a walkway or bridge as part of the Lenten worship ? ? ? ? ? ?

? ? ? ? setting. Have the kids draw their praises and prayers on each piece then put them all together ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

? ? ? ? in the worship? setting! A great way to demonstrate how Jesus built a bridge for us!? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

1)? ? ? Media Enhancements: Go to Workcamps.com, click on “store” and then “program downloads.” Group has several media enhancements available which would be great for this theme:

a.? ? ? “Christ’s Love” – A music video of classic pictures of Jesus combined with scripture readings and set to soothing music.

b.? ? ? “John 3:16″ – An extremely moving fictional video depicting a couple’s agonizing decision to sacrifice their son to save the entire world. The BEST clip I’ve ever seen to describe the sacrifice of God the Father.?

c.? ? ? ? “Renovate” graphics – A FREE design to use for lyrics, announcements, etc. Click on the resource button at groupworkcamps.com for the download.?

?

2)? ? ? Hands-on Worship Ideas:

a.? ? ? “Peace Prayer Stations” – These are creative prayer stations based on seeking the peace of Christ. This activity partners well with the John 3:16 video mentioned above. Go to groupworkcamps.com store for the “Peace Stations” downloadable script.

b.? ? ? “Forgiveness Chair” – This experiential activity provides a meaningful opportunity for the worshipper to experience giving and receiving forgiveness. Activity instructions are available at groupworkcamps.com in the download section.

?

5) Children’s Worship Idea: Your children can be a part of the building theme! Use bricks, ? ? ?

? ? ? ? pieces of 2×4, stepping stones, etc., to build a walkway or bridge as part of the Lenten worship ? ? ? ? ? ?

? ? ? ? setting. Have the kids draw their praises and prayers on each piece then put them all together ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

? ? ? ? in the worship? setting! A great way to demonstrate how Jesus built a bridge for us!? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Back in the studio after SYMC and Doug, Josh, and Katie are hoping that Matt really shows up today. After a catching up they tackle questions about: the Goonies, Doug as a boss and volunteer, getting respect as a young leader, special needs students in your ministry, reaching out to visitors, and giving parenting advice.