This week’s poll – how many of your small group leaders from last year are returning to groups this Fall? And if you’re up to leave a comment, what would be considered a healthy/typical/normal drop out rate year-to-year?


Thoughts on Temptation

Silly video we used to illustrate temptation this weekend for week 2 of the back to school LAUNCH series.


August is here – summer programs are winding down and school is about to begin. Scratch that – for more than half the country, kids are already in classes this week! You’re heading toward the Fall kickoff of your youth ministry, and thinking about what’s next. I posted When to Buy Youth Ministry Resources last August, but thought something tangible with solid suggestions for the fall might be a good idea as well. Here are the questions I’m asking with a couple weeks to go before our official kickoff:

1. Is your youth ministry service ready to go?
Take the time to lay out the fall teaching calendar. Create or purchase a teaching series that is compelling and make it easy for your students to bring their non-believing friends. The start of the school year is one of the most opportune times for Friendship Evangelism. Then think about the atmosphere that first-time student will walk into – are a few crowd games or a cell phone poll the way to go? Is the room setup ideally for what you’re trying to accomplish? Do you have a way to contact students during the week? How can you give your youth group a jolt of fresh energy this Fall? Suggestions: 2nd Greatest Story Every Told, Heart of a Champion, Awaken Your Creativity

2. Are your small group leaders and volunteers trained?
Capitalize on the fall to get some good reading into the hands of your leaders or good material into your hands for training meetings. Suggestions: Youth Worker Training on the Go, Emergency Response Handbook for Youth Ministry, Connect

3. What are you reading for your personal development?
You meant to read a few good books over the summer – and honestly, they’re still in the bottom of your backpack. Take them out and get cracking! If you’re looking for a good book Terrace had a good list for young influencers and Kurt’s new book The 9 Best Practices of Youth Ministry looks challenging. My favorite book this summer was Linchpin. Pick up a book for your own development. Suggestions: Tribes, Switch, Steering Through Chaos, Crazy Love, The Next Generation Leader

4. What is it time to launch?
For us we’re talking about helping hurting students, so we’re concentrating on our pastoral care program for teenagers who are at risk. You’ve got the pulse of your student ministry – what is it time to launch? Or maybe what is it time to re-launch? Maybe it is time to stop something, so this January you can breath new life into it? Suggestions: The Landing, Help! I’m a Student Leader, LeaderTreks



I really enjoyed Adam’s post on youth ministry teachers – he thinks there are 4 generalized types of teachers in most youth ministry settings. As I read his ideas, I found myself a hybrid of all of them depending on experience, season of ministry and available time. I’ve posted before on the process of preparing a talk in my context, but thought this might be some value to challenge you as you prepare lessons for youth group. Here’s a clip, head there for the rest of the good stuff:

1. The artist: These people consider their teaching a craft. In their eyes, their lessons are as much art as a photographer, an architect, or a ballet dancer. They spend countless hours lost in crafting their teaching series, messages, etc. These folks look down on those who buy resources. Though, they may buy stuff occasionally for inspiration.

4. Processors: These youth workers believe that their teaching will be better when they work through the content as a team. So they draft concepts and have a team of friends/volunteers look at it. By the time a lesson is taught, it has gone through 4-5 levels of revision. These people love their process.


Casey Fulgenzi just won 5 student registrations to the Christ in Youth BELIEVE Conference for junior high students. We had a contest that ran this past week – giving whoever left a comment a chance to win. Out of 163 entries … randomly we picked Casey to take home the big prize – going to Atlanta with 5 students – congratulations! If you’re interested in going too or want to know more about BELIEVE, click the image above to check out their site.


In one word? #notsoepic. If epic implies great, wonderful, easy, awesome.

It was adventurous. Sis and I were delayed two days. Our experience with Moving-1 company was horrific; nothing promised at estimate time was honored. They hooked us up front and then cheated us after we? signed on. How could such poor treatment happen today in America?

How awful it would be if people came and went from our church feeling the same way?? “How could such treatment happen today in a church? in America? In a youth group?”

Hurts a little when I think about because I’ve served at churches where “poor customer service” was standard. We welcomed people in with smiles and then delivered nothing like we promised.

But Sis and I made it and had some fun bonding along the way. I’ve learned a lot about life on this? journey.

Maybe it was epic.


My wife is in the middle of taking her longest trip ever since we started to have kids. All told she’ll be gone a grand total of 18 days. Last February when I was in Kenya I called her excitedly and shared with her what I was experiencing and said, “You HAVE to get here as soon as possible.Little did we know was that in 5 short months she would be calling me from the same place that conversation took place.

So, I’m taking 100+ hours of stored up vacation time and doing some Dad Minus Mom Plus Four (I should try to get a TV show – the only problem is that we have a good marriage) while she’s away. Here’s a little glimpse into my world, now just 8 days in:

  • 5 loads of laundry
  • 167 miles driven in the minivan
  • 13 Instant Streaming kids titles on Netflix
  • 3 DVD rentals
  • 2 free family fun movies at Regal
  • 1 trip to the beach
  • 7 trips to the pool
  • 1 small investment in a backyard water-propelled Buzz Lightyear flying spaceship
  • 11 runs of the dishwasher
  • 4 trips to the store
  • 4 runs to the park
  • 1 run back to the park to pick up forgotten sandals
  • 1 nap
  • 9 boxes of sugar cereal
  • $38 in fruit (something to tell mom about when she calls from Africa)
  • 5 gallons of milk
  • 6 fast food stops (1 Taco Bell, 1 Del Taco, 2 McDonald’s, 1 Chipotle, 1 Chick-Fil-A)
  • 1 meal from a neighbor who felt sorry for the kids eating habits

And these numbers, along with me being far outside my normal routine and duties, has led to a couple of observations as well:

  • My youngest son produces about 1/2 of the laundry.
  • My daughter produces almost the other half.
  • My 2 oldest sons produce curiously little laundry. Especially in the undergarment department.
  • Cookie Crisp isn’t quite as good as you remember as a kid.
  • Potty training sounds awesome in a Twitter, tough in real life.
  • We devour an entire box of cereal and nearly a gallon of milk at breakfast.
  • All that laundry, not a single sock.
  • The washer and dryer should be in sync, instead of the washer ending 6 minutes first.
  • I hate Play Doh.


The Road To Adulthood

 —  August 19, 2010 — 1 Comment

My college ministry friend, Eric Ferrell, sent me a link to a NY Times article called, “What is it about 20-Somethings?” The article is recognizing the ever-changing process twenty-somethings go through as they work their way toward adulthood. I have discussed this issue in multiple ways over the years (books, articles, etc.) and have used a variety of sources in my research. Others have also sought to help church leaders recognize this change. Well, now, we have the NY Times talking about it again. The article says this about delayed adulthood:

“We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.” Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so. A Canadian study reported that a typical 30-year-old in 2001 had completed the same number of milestones as a 25-year-old in the early ’70s.”

I think this is a great thing that this is being talked about and recognized! Well, that is, if we actually catch on and seek to address the needs. It’s one thing to recognize the change…it’s another to actually meet the needs the change brings on!

In my book College Ministry 101 I have discussed the issues bringing some of these changes on and what college age people think through in midst of this extended adolescent-like process (1/2 the book is devoted to these issues). I’ve also discussed how we can help them. My two newest books, The Slow Fade as well as College Ministry From Scratch are tools for churches to embrace this change in our culture. Regardless of whether or not these tools are utilized I really hope we can catch on to this…we’re already 15-20 years behind!!!!

The article also issues some stats that are interesting:

“The 20s are a black box, and there is a lot of churning in there. One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs later than ever. The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation.”

Interesting findings and I would recommend you read the article