Weekend Teaching Series: Instalife (week 2 of 2)
Service Length:
75 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we wrapped up the incredible Instalife series. I Tweeted the other day about how much I had loves this series – for sure it was the most well-received series of the year. Didn’t mean it was soft or light, but the framework of Instagram really helped make it very relevant to their lives. This week we went after pretending and showing off on Instagram, and how pretty soon we start to get great at covering up. I walked students through some principles from Colossians 3 to help students deal with this destructive mindset. Really, really enjoyed this service.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We had a couple of great Christmas videos I can’t wait to show you. One was the classic “That’s Christmas” and a new video called A Very Colton and Travis Christmas special. We also played Who Wants to Be a Fraction of a Millionaire (Instagram edition). Lots of students involved, lots of laughs.

Music Playlist: He is Alive, Christ in Me, Mary Did You Know, We Are Saved, O Holy Night

Favorite Moment: At the end of the talk I decided to do an extended object lesson on stage where we built the “perfect Instagram” on stage, then deconstructed it to help teach the lesson. One of my favorites, such a powerful image that our students/leaders pulled off to help strengthen the lesson.

Up next: Christmas Services (all-church, 1-off)

Holiday season is here! We are all running around; shopping, decorating, cooking, traveling, spending time with family, building snowmen, more shopping, giving, receiving. Wait! What kind of message are we sending our children?

A twist to the “wish list”
Let’s switch this up! Instead of writing a “wish list” of things; sit down with your kids and make a goals “wish list”, including short and long term goals.  It could include a list of faith goals, education goals, behavior goals, etc. Be sure to make it on a large poster board and hang it up. That way, they can track their progress throughout the year. I also suggest giving rewards or certificates for their progress. As an extra benefit; make one yourself! It will show your children that you are in this as a family and not putting expectations on them you are not willing to return.

Pros and cons
What do you do with the “wish list” your child comes home from school with? Sit down with them and make a pros and cons list about every item on their list. You can help them by giving suggestions if they get stuck (this will usually happen in the cons section). By the end they can only pick one…or however many you are willing to get them. Before making the list, be sure to tell them how many they are to narrow it down to. That way it won’t come as a shocker when they can only pick one or two things from a list of 20. So they don’t get overwhelmed by so many options; I suggest breaking the items into groups. E.g. Items #1-3 in a group, #4-6, etc. or  video games in a group, action figures in another, etc.) Once you get it down to one item per group, put them together into one group and continue narrowing down. My son did this with 3 things he REALLY wanted but he only had enough money to buy one and after that list, he bought that one thing and hasn’t even thought about the other two since!

Giving back
Giving back is what it’s all about! My son and I are beginning a new tradition this year that I am challenging you to begin with your families as well. For one of his presents, I will be giving him $25 to creatively bless someone in need. He cannot just turn around and give the $25 to someone. This will be a time for him to get involved in his giving. Some examples are; to find his area of interest like starving children and to go out and find some children who are hungry then buy them some food, or for us to go for a walk and intentionally look for needs in the area and fulfill the need as he sees a need. If $25 is not enough, he can take the money and flip it by buying supplies to paint with and selling his artwork, etc. to raise however much is needed to help the person in need.

Healthy alternative
What are you putting in your child’s stocking? Instead of candy and other trinkets that will get played with once; try healthy alternatives. Like a jump rope and other toys that will get them moving and foods like nuts and fruit snacks. You can even go for a healthy alternative with your advent calendar, buy one that allows you to choose what you put in it. We put vitamins in ours last year and this year, folded up pieces of paper with simple fitness challenges on them. E.g. First day of the countdown was 25 seconds DANCE! Day two: 24 jumping jacks, etc. Do the challenges as a family to add to the fun! We call it 25 days of Christmas Fitness Challenge and it has been a big hit!

And most of all, remember to celebrate Jesus this Holiday season; He is the reason!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

Right now Simply Youth Ministry is giving away a ton of really great Christmas stuff during their 12 Days of Freebies. Free gifts are everywhere so you can pick up some great stuff like motion backgrounds, mission trip guides, and more. Head there immediatley and push their bandwidth bill up!

Also I just saw that YouthMinistry360 is giving away from great stuff as well, with the promise of more on the way soon. Go download crazy this week!


Merry Christmas…

Brandon Early —  December 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

If you have been in ministry long you will have realized Easter and Christmas are the playoffs for ministry personnel. If we want these times to be successful we prepare for them in advance.

I probably don’t have to tell you that Christmas is super important in our church cycle. It is a time we see lots of visitors, and some families who seem to come to church at random will make a special visit this time of year.

So this means we have a huge weight on our shoulders, we as youth workers are required to perform well during this season. If you haven’t felt this pressure before I pray it is out of preparation not ignorance.

I think we can all agree that because of these new or irregular people we need to win during the playoffs, so how do we do it?


…stepping up: There are going to be many seasons when we are exhausted or perhaps feeling a little lazy but that can’t be the case here. Christmas can provide a once in a lifetime shot for some people to hear the message of Jesus. You better step up and give one of the best Jesus talks you have ever given.

…prepping your team: You are not alone, its not your job to do everything. Talk to your volunteers about the implications of the season. We often get focused on ourselves during the Christmas season, but we have the opportunity to make everything about Christ. You and your team will never be perfect, but if your hearts are prepared for what you are there to do God will move.

…serving others: Everyone who works in ministry during the Christmas season will be pushed. We will be stretched and challenged if we are putting in our best efforts. But what would it look like if you took your skills and talents and lent them to the Children’s ministry, or maybe you are amazing at graphic work and helped do some awesome graphics. If everyone spread around their talents to the other ministries we might take some of the weight off our teammates and it would free them up to help one another.

What are some ways you have won during the Christmas season?

Kyle Corbin has been serving as a volunteer or youth pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: or Twitter: @CorbinKyle.

Merry Christmas Countdown

Brandon Early —  November 23, 2012 — 1 Comment

Now that is it the day after Thanksgiving I can share some of my Christmas stash.  This song was handed to me several years ago and a few years ago I saw this video and just knew I needed to create a countdown clock!  This is perfect for an upcoming Christmas party or just to launch your next youth service.

Messin With Santa #1 from Wildside Junior High on Vimeo.

Messin With Santa #2 from Wildside Junior High on Vimeo.

Messin With Santa #3 from Wildside Junior High on Vimeo.

A series of fun videos that our team helped create for our Wildside (junior high) ministry. A tribute to Messin’ with Sasquatch commercials. Fun.


Christmas Rap from HSM on Vimeo.

Another epic Christmas music video from AC, Chris and even a litle hook sung by yours truly. So fun!