Heyo Insiders!

Group Publishing is producing a brand new documentary about the current state of church in America and how faith may be pursued in the future called “When God Left the Building” that will premiere at the Lifetree Film Fest on April 11-12, 2014 in Loveland, Colorado and continue to be shown in cities all over the country.

Watch the trailer for the revealing new film below:

Want to share the trailer? Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/jzacbN2CCLQ

Be sure to like the official When God Left the Building Facebook page so that you don’t miss out on great insider facts and the most recent news related to the film!

You can also sign up to receive email updates about the film and be contacted about having a showing in your area HERE.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for the film? What do you think church will look like in the future?

Amber / @youthministry

ask

Every Tuesday I eat lunch with our Children’s Ministry Pastor, Steve Adams. I do it for three reasons…He’s a good friend, an extremely strategic thinker and every youth pastor needs to be in cahoots with the Children’s Pastor.

Last week, while I chewed on a bun-less chili burger (Yes, chili burgers are totally healthy if you exclude the bun), Steve shared three key questions he asks about his ministry on a regular basis. Pretty simple stuff, really, but I suddenly realized It had been a while since I asked these types of questions myself….and I think they are worth asking!

* Why Does Our Ministry Exist? This probably isn’t one you need to ask over and over, but have you ever asked it? Knowing why your ministry exists helps determine just about every other decision you make.

Where Are We Headed? You may actually want to ask this question two different ways; one as an assessment (“are we heading the right direction?) and one as a point of clarity (“Where are we headed? HERE!”).

How Are We Going To Get There? Once you know where things are headed, you need a strategic plan. Aiming for a target is good, but impossible to hit without some arrows in your quiver. Going on a a grand expedition is exciting…but could be frustrating without a map!

Who Can We Bring Along? Not, “Who do we need to help us?” (which is a good question…but that’s a task question, not a leadership question). Instead, ask “Who can we bring along who will learn from this, grow from this, and as a result help multiply our ministry and the Kingdom?”

Steve keeps saying he’s gonna write a book about church/team leadership. I sure hope he does because it will be a good one! But until then, I’ll just keep stealing his thoughts and creating blog posts about them.



What’s Up With Modesty?

 —  February 19, 2014 — 11 Comments

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I live in a land of perpetual spandex.  Everywhere you go women seem to be on their way to or from a workout wearing yoga pants or something of the like. On top of this we seem to be bent on resurrecting the 80′s as leggings and tights have made their way back on top once more. We’ve modernized this look by placing pockets in the back, coloring them a shade of denim and calling them “jeggings.” At least in that decade we coupled these with long sweaters and shirts every time. Not anymore. A friend of mine posted a very funny infograph a couple of months ago along these lines entitled, “How To Know If You’re Wearing Pants.”

While I consider all of the above ridiculous and even at times inappropriate I never realized they were an issue of immodesty. That is until I came across a blog post that spoke on the topic. As a matter of fact it has seemed like these “modesty” posts have been really quite the rage for the last several months. There have been many Moms who have asked girls to watch themselves for their sons. Young women have spoken out on how it is their responsibility to keep “pure” for the guys in their lives.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I have two daughters at home in that teen range. Sometimes we walk through the mall, and I will point out the “never” outfits. You know, those items this parent will never allow them to don on their bodies.

It begs the real question about what modesty is and what it is not.  In the 18th century it was considered terribly immodest for a woman to show their ankles.  In some cultures it is considered risque for a woman to show her face to anyone other than her husband. There was a time when men wore tights and this was simply considered the “style.”

So what are the constants in this issue?

It’s Not Just A Girl Issue

We have the tendency to keep telling our young ladies to help protect the purity of guys. At the same time, we allow our girls to drool over a shirtless guy. The idea that “only boys” are visual is a terrible misnomer. We women can easily take a second glance at something that causes us to to “stumble.”  We need to be teaching our boys and girls to be sensitive to what might cause someone to “lust” after you.

Navigating Culture

When I first moved to Florida I was shocked at what the “good Christian”  teens wore. Tank tops, strapless shirts and bikinis were all regular attire for the girls. Guys found excuses on a regular basis to remove their shirts and wear low slung board shorts. It didn’t take me long to realize why. It’s hot there.  Most of the year it’s over 80 with 70% or higher humidity. It was less about modesty and more about the ability to not feel like you are on fire. Styles change and they sometimes expose more or less skin. We need to find ways to teach our students how to deal with the ever-morphing culture.

It’s A “Heart Issue.”

A young woman asked me once if I thought her shorts were too short. I asked her why she wore them. If she wore them so that boys would look twice and decide she was “sexy” well then yes they were. If she genuinely thought they were “just the style,” then it was for her to decide with God.  Anytime, a girl or guy starts dressing so that someone will drool a little over them, then they are dressing immodestly in my opinion.  It isn’t always about what someone wears, sometimes it’s about why they wear it. Now that does not mean that we have an excuse to join a nudest colony because our “heart is in the right place.”  This is a constant navigation.  We are held responsible when we follow the Lord to be in the world but not get sucked into it.  We must be very careful about why we wear what we wear. It’s a constant assessment.

It’s Not Just For “Them”

This is not merely an issue for the young. I wonder if there are times we point fingers because we wish we had the “body to wear that?” We can think this “modesty” thing is just for the young because they are the ones “struggling.” If in our deepest soul we wish we could wear it, that’s immodesty too.

Modesty is a much more complicated topic than we give it credit for. I think we would like it to simply be about a list of rules of “what not to wear” and then it’s dealt with. The reality is that it is much deeper than that. When we are totally head over heels in love with Jesus, then we have a deep desire to live differently.  We fight a little less about what we should and shouldn’t wear and navigate this track with Him in mind.   I think that is what we need to be teaching the next generation and ourselves.  I also think us Moms need to write some posts to sons about how to dress so my daughter isn’t “crushing” on you. We’re all responsible.

What do you think about this topic?

How are you dealing with it yourself and then teaching your students?

Leneita / @leneitafix

Hey Insiders!

Save $$ on an incredible devotional book for students, Stripped Clean, written by our very own Jeff Storm (a.k.a. Storm or @zafdaddy). Here’s a little more about this cool dude/author/man/bro/designer:

storm

 

Storm is a designer, artist, dreamer, dad, and recovering materialoholic who still doesn’t have a flat-screen TV… but he wants one. Still on the wagon, man, one day at a time.

 

 

And here’s a little more info on what this devo book is all about yo:

Give your teenagers a guilt-free, up-close look at materialism–one that strips away the overwhelming messages of a consumer society. You’ll see authentic changes in readers as they tear out pages to use in Jesus-centered activities.

Get Stripped Clean for only $5.00 today only! Check out the image below for deets!!

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Random Randomness

 —  February 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

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* SYMC: Are you going to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference? It’s not too late to join us at the event I like to call, “camp for youth workers”. A long weekend full of connecting with old friends, meeting new ones, learning, laughing, lazying around. You won’t find a better way to get re-energized for your next season of youth ministry!

* Breaking News: Simply Youth Ministry has joined the youthworkerdiscounts.com team as the provider of resources for small youth groups. Together, they #YMnation is making a difference! Here’s a super quick breakdown of how we are all working together:

Me and My Buddy: Created youthworkerdiscounts.com as a way to get free resources into the hands of the “little guys”.

You and Your Buddies: Buy a $20 annual membership which gives you tons of great discounts and puts $10 in “the pot”. with every 50 memberships, $500 in free resources will be given to a nominated youth group.

Our Buddies; Simply Youth Ministry: Provides youthworkerdiscounts.com with DEEPLY discounted deals…so small youth groups will actually get way more than $500 worth of help. Thanks, SYM!

Other Buddies: There are other ministries jumping on board to provide deals to youthworkerdiscounts.com members.

Details soon!

Join the club! Spread the word! Buy multiple memberships for your team!  Together, let’s help small youth groups!

 

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* House of Cards: I’ve said that the Netflix original series is the best TV show I’ve ever seen. After seeing it jump the “shock value shark” toward the end of season 2, I’m gonna have to amend my assessment; not because I was offended, but because it just felt lazy and easy, and great shows don’t give into that temptation.

*The Voice: Not the TV show, the Bible. The Voice is a new bible that I think older junior highers and high schoolers will really like. What sets it apart is that the reader is told which “voice” is speaking in each portion of the text….much like reading a play.

 

Thanks for loving students,

Kurt

@kurtjohnston

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If you get paid to do youth work, you are the exception, not the rule.
If you serve in a church of more than a few hundred people, you are the exception, not the rule.
If you are provided any sort of budget from the church for your youth ministry, your are the exception, not the rule.

I’ve always wanted to figure out a way to help members of the Youth Ministry Nation who serve in small, rural, urban and underfunded youth groups…and I’m SUPER EXCITED about a new ministry that does just that!

Youthworkerdiscounts.com exists for the sole purpose of giving away youth ministry resources to small youth groups that otherwise couldn’t afford them.

When you become a member of youthworkerdiscounts.com (only $20 per YEAR) you will receive tons of discounts on thousands of everyday goods and services (restaurants, movie tickets, hotels, Disney World, Disney Land, Amazon, etc.) AND $10 of your membership fee will go directly into the fund to provide small youth groups with $500 worth of resources!

Go to youthworkerdiscounts.com, become a member, nominate a youth group…and let’s start helping the little guys!



bleeding woman touches jesus

Every year our junior high, high school and college teams sneak away for “Staff Camp”. We jam-pack the 36 hours away with training, dreaming, planning, laughing, playing and eating…lots of eating.

It’s at Staff Camp that I introduce the area(s) of our ministry that I’d like us to give extra attention in the upcoming year. Usually, I pick aspects of our ministry that have tangible, measurable results affixed and challenge our team to give these areas a little boost in the next 12 months. But not this year. This year I decided I wanted our team to focus on ourselves instead of on our youth ministry. Granted, as we boost these two areas personally, it will impact our ministry but that wasn’t the ultimate goal.

So this year, I’ve asked our youth ministry team to strive to be more faithful and faith-filled. Here’s how I hope that plays out:

FAITHFUL: A big part of being a youth pastor is simply showing up; being faithful to your role….making the donuts. Knowing your spiritual gifts and using them faithfully, being consistent in the little things, refusing to bury your talents, etc. are some of the ways we can be more faithful in our roles as youth workers.

FAITH-FILLED: One of my favorite Jesus encounters in scripture is when the bleeding woman reaches out to touch his robe as he walked by. Her “If/Then” faith is astounding. She didn’t know much about Jesus…mostly stuff she had heard through the grapevine, but she had the faith to think, “If I can touch him, then I will be healed”. I want our team to have that kind of faith! I want our team to do youth ministry with an “If/Then” mentality! What might it look like if we minister in a way that assumes Jesus will show up if we give him the chance!

Chances are you and I haven’t met. I don’t know if you are full time or part time; the leader of your youth ministry or part of the team. I don’t know the size, style or denomination of your church; if your youth groups meets in a spacious youth center or in the janitor’s closet. I don’t know the challenges you’re facing or the victories you’ve won.

But I do know that you can be faithful and faith-filled….and if you were on my team, that’s what I’d be hoping for you this year!

Hey Insiders!

Check out the trailer below for the brand new PureFlix Film, GOD’S NOT DEAD, that will have a special showing at Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2014 (SYMC) happening in Columbus, OH on March 7-10!

ABOUT THE FILM

We are so excited to see this film, and how God will use the story of a present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (played by Shane Harper), who finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by his dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (played by Kevin Sorbo). The film also includes special appearances by the popular Christian band Newsboys and DUCK DYNASTY’S Willie and Korie Robertson. (P.S.- Have you listened to the exclusive interview Rick Lawrence did with Willie Robertson for Group Magazine?)

 

FREE GOD’S NOT DEAD BIBLE STUDY

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In conjunction with the special showing at SYMC, Simply Youth Ministry is also produced a FREE 3-Lesson GOD’s NOT DEAD Bible Study, written by Darren Sutton, to go along with the film. The Bible Study also includes an exclusive clip of the movie to go with each lesson that you can show to students!

*Click here, or on the movie poster to the right, to download your FREE copy of the GOD’S NOT DEAD Bible Study.*

DISCLAIMER: Because the study file includes movie clips, it is extremely large and will take an extended time to download. A strong Wifi connection is recommended and the download may take longer on some computers.

This will be a great tool for youth leaders to use in their small groups and other youth gatherings as a platform for discussing the film with students and pointing them towards Jesus.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

You can keep up-to-date with the film’s showings and news by following the official Twitter account, liking the film’s Facebook page, and checking out the GOD’S NOT DEAD official website.

Also, don’t forget to register for Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2014, the conference for youth workers made by youth workers, so you can join us to watch the film alongside thousands of youth worker besties!

 

Thanks for loving students! See you at the GOD’S NOT DEAD exclusive showing!

-Amber

@youthministry

@symconference