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.



There are 2 conflicting thoughts in my mind as I write this… One – this current generation of students seems hard-wired to make a difference, to be a part of something bigger than themselves & Two – youth leaders sharing they can’t get the students in their ministry to commit to attend the mission trip this summer.

Huh? Those two things don’t seem to make sense…

But… maybe they do…

Is it possible that we haven’t done a good job connecting a mission trip with their desire to change the world? If that is true, how do we correct that mistake?

Every service experience or mission trip inherently has at it’s core the opportunity to change someone’s life. Whether it’s “just” helping to transform a neighborhood for a day or traveling to Peru to help a partner church ministry build new church buildings, there is the chance that any student participating in that event will be part of God working in someone’s life. I believe it’s imperative that we as leaders communicate those opportunities, the true needs, very clearly. If our students know those needs and know that they can be a part of God working to bring change, they will want to be a part of that!

S0… how do we get that info?

We need to ask. Ask your mission partner, whoever that is. Your church ministry partner. The missionaries your church supports. Your friend from seminary who is ministering at a church in need. Your mission provider or organizer. Those folks should know the answers to “what will we be doing?”

Fully informed students will want to be a part of the life-changing work God does on a mission trip. They are hard-wired that way. It’s our job to help them see how they will…

Few words are as exciting and frightful to me as these two: mission trip. On the one hand, I’ll be leading a group to serve Christ in an exciting new place. But on the other, how are we going to get there? And worst of all, how are we possibly going to raise all that money?

After experiencing this feeling for several years, I learned about Razoo. Razoo is a tool that helps churches and non-profits raise money online. I believe Razoo is a complete game-changer for mission trip fundraising. Since I joined the Razoo team, here are five tips that I’ve shared with many that will help you reach your fundraising goals faster and easier:

1. Keep everyone on the same page.
To get to your destination, you’ll need to stay organized. Razoo makes it easy by providing an online headquarters for you and your team. On your page, you can set your financial goal and departure date. And you can keep track of each person’s progress.

2. Kiss stamps goodbye!
You never need to send another letter again. Ask your supporters to visit your mission trip page on Razoo instead. Think of it as your online prayer letter. Your friends and family can find out all about your trip, watch a video, post a comment, and even donate.

3. Never send a tax-deductible receipt.
Sounds crazy, right? Here’s how it works: Razoo ensures that each of your supporters receives a tax-deductible receipt. As the trip leader, you can download a full donation report. Now you can spend less time in the office and more time with people.

4. Turn thank you notes into thank you videos.
Writing thank you notes can be an elusive skill. Razoo enables you to upload a customized thank you video instead. Now, when your supporters give, they can see the smile on your face.

5. Take all of your supporters with you.
Many of your friends and family members wish that they could go with you on your trip. Help them feel included by adding updates to your page or posting videos from your destination — even while you’re there!

Justin Wredberg works on the Razoo team and gets to see how it is already making a difference for youth group mission trip fundraising. Check out Harbor of Hope as an example of a church that is on its way to reaching its mission trip goals through this innovative tool. To learn more, contact Razoo at missions@razoo.com or call (866) 437-1952. They would love to hear from you!



Thanks to everyone who entered last week’s giveaway for The Way I’m Wired small group DVD curriculum! I had 3 copies to giveaway – the first was an instant winner – whoever was the first to comment took home the prize. Congrats to Tim!

Tim Desilets at 9:07pm March 15
I think I might be first. Was about to order this this week!

And here are the other 2 winners, picked at random from the rest of the entries:

George at 7:52am March 16
We are a small youth group and this would be excellent for our teens.

Jason at 11:31am March 16
Being a part time youth pastor, I love what the group curriculum has to offer. It saves me time of having to write lessons from scratch and spend more time building relationships with the youth

Thanks to everyone who entered! And if you are interested in picking up The Way I’m Wired, or want to check it out – head over to Simply Youth Ministry (and take 10% off if you click through this link and order).

JG

If you are a youth worker, paid or volunteer, you know all of the liabilities that youth ministry faces. From simply driving a student home to planning a hiking trip, you have to constantly think about the safety of the students as well as the safety of those serving the students, including yourself. Using Facebook for ministry is not excluded from this safe environment. Here are just a couple of ideas for keeping all protected:

  • Protect Yourself. Protect Them.
    There is so many news stories of religious clergy overstepping boundaries and getting in trouble, even when they were not doing anything wrong. Do not put yourself or your students in a compromising situation where you could be accused of something. Just like with any form of communicating, watch your words. Unlike any other form of communicating, Facebook is open for the world to see, including over-protective parents or a board member just looking for a reason to fire you.
  • Have Permission Before Posting Pictures
    There could be many reasons a student does not want their picture on Facebook. Their parents are divorced and the parent with custody does not want their ex to see anything. You went swimming and the student is not comfortable having their picture online. The guy just broke up with his girlfriend in the picture and is still upset. Whatever the reason, you should be sensitive to the students and families feelings.
  • Be A Role Model
    Another pitfall is that students can become “addicted” to streams of information on Facebook, which can foster a “gossip mentality,” said Buckley. “When students gather together, it is not uncommon to hear the phrase, ‘Did you see so-and-so’s status? Did you see the pics he posted?’ Many times, these statements turn into speculation and gossip, which can be hurtful.”

Jeremy Smith is a 26-year old youth pastor at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Master”s of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years and absolutely loves sharing the life of Jesus with teens. Check out his blog at Seventy8Productions.