Going to be out of the office for a while during the holidays. Time for another new “out of office reply”

Josh is out of the office right now because (a) _________________. He would love to get back to your email but unfortunately is really busy (b) ___________. If you (c) ____________ there’s a chance he will (d) _________________________. Hope you have a (e) _____________. And don’t forget (f) ________________, there is still time to get him (g) ____________________. See ya!

If you’re reading this Dec 18-24, please read [1]
If you’re reading this Dec 25-31, please read [2]
If you’re reading this Jan 1-4, please read [3]

[1]
(a) his wife is traveling to the Midwest for a funeral
(b) being a single dad
(c) have a simple question or thought
(d) reply right away even though you’re getting this
(e) Merry Christmas
(f) Josh’s birthday is coming up
(g) a modest gift card to Best Buy to show how much you care

[2]
(a) the church office is closed for the holidays
(b) spending time with the family
(c) have been nice this Christmas
(d) reply to your email as the first thing he does when he gets back
(e) happy holiday season
(f) Josh’s birthday is this week
(g) a new car. Preferably a Ford Flex

[3]
(a) Enjoying New Year’s Weekend off
(b) watching football, exercising and eating right
(c) have written 10 of more emails to him over Christmas break
(d) never reply to any of them just to teach you a lesson
(e) Happy New Year
(f) Josh’s birthday was last week
(g) a late present like a vacation home on Lake Tahoe

JG

Congratulations to the winners of the Almighty Bible Contest last week – you left comments to win and 3 of you just did! Congrats to the following comments:


18. Greg Rhodes, 31. Jerry Varner, 78. Tpitty

Your Almighty Bible will be shipped this week!

JG



Weekend Teaching Series: I <3 Xmas
Sermon in a Sentence: Christmas is a time of celebration that God is with us. Immanuel.
Service Length: 80 minutes

Understandable Message: This week Phil Chenery taught the opening weekend of our 2-week Christmas series. He is from England, so explained a ton of the differences between our Christmas cultures, and how different it is celebrating it in the US. He transitioned to talk about the real meaning of Christmas, focusing on the celebrations of Christmas. It was a great message, with some great fun elements as well. One of the best moments was Phil reading the Christmas story, and a volunteer built us a “digital fireplace” – a flat screen with a fireplace video on a loop playing on a flat screen. Super cool.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we used the Spin the Wheel game and decked out all of the prizes for Christmas. One of the prizes was “meet an elf” and we had one of our interns come out and angrily shake hands with the player than promptly leave. Dry humor there, everyone loved it. At one service, the prize was “egg nog” and she came out and tossed a carton of egg nog on the stage toward the contestant … and it exploded all over the stage. Hilarious! And I’m sure it’ll smell pretty rough this weekend … hahahhaa.

Music Playlist: Drummer Boy, sorry I forgot the rest.

Favorite Moment: A student shared his testimony in the middle of Phil’s talk – Kevin did a great job and his story was amazing. God is truly working in the lives of our students. Excited about this next weekend, it will be the last HSM of 2010!

Up Next: I <3 Xmas (series finale, week 2 of 2)

Thanks to some late-night video gaming, the family Xbox 360 crossed 42,000 in Gamerscore this weekend. The kids are loving the new Kinect, and got a bunch of points from Stranglehold (C), Prince Caspian (C), Heroes Over Europe (C+) and Pac Man CE DX (A+) . So fun!

JG



Posted by Kurt Johnston

Most readers of this blog know that I have a very close relationship with the wonderful people at Group Publishing/Simply Youth Ministry. it is because of this relationship that Simply Junior High has been able to continue to expand it’s ministry to junior high youth workers over the years. Because of our relationship it makes sense that every now and then I would use this blog to promote upcoming resources, events, conferences, etc that Group/Simply are providing…not because I have to, but because I believe so much in what they have to offer folks who love teenagers and are serving them in the local church.

Group/SYM isn’t really a sponsor of this blog….I just liked that as the title of the post. HERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT:

The Simply Youth Ministry Conference: I realize times are tight and the temptation is to eliminate conferences from your budget. avoid that temptation if possible! You need time away to refresh, recharge, reflect and “re-up” your youth ministry calling. If you aren’t registered, please think about joining us!

LIVE Small Group Curriculum: Simply put; this is some of the best junior high curriculum I have ever seen. We put together an amazing team of in-the-trenches junior high youth Pastors to write TWO FULL YEARS worth of customizable bible studies. Don’t let the price scare you away; do the math and you will see that it costsabout about $3.00 per week. I had oneyouth workerfriend tell me the other day that if she could only spend money on one thing for her ministry, she would spend it on the junior high LIVE curriculum.

Lifetree Cafe:I have to admit, when I heard about Lifetree I was skeptical. It felt too polished, too much like a church franchise etc. But having attended an actual Lifetree service I have a TOTALLY different perspective. It is a fantastic way to help your church reach out to the un-churched and marginally-churched people in your community. If your church is up for something out of the box…that kinda comes in a box, Lifetree is worth taking anup-close look at.

Just read this…

“The Parents Television Council’s latest report — detailing the sexualization of teen girls on TV — tells us what we know too well: That young females are objectified to an absurd degree across primetime. That teenagers are objectified more than their adult counterparts. That most underage girls on TV are depicted in sexual liaisons outside of committed relationships.” (Read the rest here.)

It’s our job (and it’s a tough one) to counter the messages of the media to our girls. Where do we start?



(Here’s the story: Yesterday, I reposted an idea from Jana Snyder off her Advent Awesomeness blog? onto the blog I write for Group Publishing to small group leaders @? smallgroupministry.com. Jana saw how much I l.o.v.e.d. her idea and? I got an example of it last night on my phone from her youth group kids. It was really Advent Awesomeness!? So I’m reposting my own blog from Jana’s blog.)?

Meet my friend, Jana Snyder. This is a reprint from her blog at www.gripofgrace.com. Doesn’t sound like anthing new, right? Caroling as a small group? Read till the end; she has a great idea to maximize your small group’s time for impact on the most people.

Day #15 – A-Caroling we will go! Many churches still go caroling on a Wednesday evening as part of their midweek service, if yours does – go out and join them. I imagine it will brighten the night of a shut in who may feel lonely this holiday season. If your church no longer carols or never has – then call a couple friends and go as a group. This would be a great small group activity! Make a joyful noise to the Lord! If you aren’t able to go caroling tomorrow – maybe you could do a caroling call – make a call to a couple people who may be alone this season and give them a carol on the phone!?

Kurt Johnston is joined by Scott Brensen to talk about hurting kids and My Broken Palace.

You can also help your hurting students learn more about My Broken Palace with Messy Stuff, a new small group curriculum for Junior Highers.