Super Encouragement

 —  November 4, 2013 — 2 Comments

In their off-hours, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Batman, to name a few, are washing windows at children’s hospitals.


Their mission? To bring happiness to the youngest of patients.

“We donned the Spider-Man costumes and we rappelled down the side of the buildings,” said Harold Connolly, president of Highrise Window Cleaning of Clearwater, Fla. “We knocked on the glass, waved hello – there were a lot of big smiles.

“The kids—that the important thing,” Connolly says. “We are hoping it spreads throughout the country and beyond. Other hospitals see this and then ask your window company if they will do it – I bet you they will. Who doesn’t like making children happy?”

(Read the full story via USATODAY.)

Thoughts? Implications for you?

Here are a couple apps and one feature that I have been using a lot recently:

Over- If you have an advertisement to make and don’t have a graphic design bone in your entire body, than this is for you. In a nutshell, the app allows you to put words on any picture saved on your phone. Students have made this app (or others like it) famous by putting cliché quotes over sunsets and kittens, but you can redeem the app by using it for ministry! I have been using it to make advertisements for our ministry’s Instagram account. While it isn’t a total substitution for a graphics guy, it will help you make ads that look clean and professional.

Group Text- Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone, but I am not a huge fan of the “group chat” feature. When I want to make jokes with my friends, group chat is great. When I am trying to coordinate student volunteers, group chat is awful. To avoid it, I use the app, “Group Text.” Group Text allows you to create multiple lists of contacts and lets you send them all individual text messages rather than the “group chat” feature the iPhone defaults to. I use this almost everyday to communicate with my small group, volunteers, and parents. Love it.

Encouragement Photo Album- This one isn’t an app, just a cool idea. When I first started in ministry, my mentor told me to keep all of the encouraging notes in a box so that, when I get discouraged, I can go through them and remember why I do this. I loved the idea, but had no clue what to do with texts and emails. The solution: “screenshot” all of the texts and emails and save them into an album solely dedicated to encouragement. Simple. Easy. Free.

What apps/features are you using right now?

Colton Harker is the Student Leadership Director at Saddleback HSM.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact him at or on twitter at @ColtonHarker.

An Encouraging Word

 —  September 4, 2012 — 1 Comment


There is something so simple and powerful about encouragement from a youth ministry cheerleader. My friend Doug Fields shot me this note about a month ago and I think I’ve literally read it about 50 times. And of course it came at the perfect time.

I was hanging out with him last night and made me so thankful for his role in my life. Make sure you have a cheerleader. It is rough out there sometimes.


The author of Ecclesiastes writes that there is a time for everything.  Working in ministry, you know this.  In ministry, there are times where everything seems to be working (12 trusted Christ at the Call of Duty tournament!!!).  Other times, not so much.  You need an Encouragement File during both of these times:

An Encouragement File is simply a file of encouragement that you have received by other people.  I keep a literal file folder of papers in my desk, readily accessible if I need it on an off-day or during a discouraging season of ministry.

Begin collecting encouragement from others.  Pastor Appreciation cards, encouraging e-mails from parents, notes from your spouse or parents, and Facebook statuses are great places to start.  I copy and paste Facebook statuses into one file and occasionally print it out to update my encouragement file.  You are looking for EVERY single piece of encouragement that you can find.

    1.    Times of discouragement. There will be times in your ministry where you will get greatly discouraged. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will!  During these times, read through your Encouragement File.  Be reminded that good things DID happen at one time, and lives were positively changed.
*If continually discouraged for a lengthy period of time, consider seeing a non-local Pastor (someone that you can let your “Pastor-guard” down to) or a highly recommended, Christian counselor.

2. Times of planning.  Pull out your encouragement file when you plan your ministry calendar.  You would be amazed how helpful it is to start out with a list of events/topics/Scriptures that teens or parents were already helped by.  It’s a good reminder that expensive/flashy/etc. is not always the most effective (i.e. “The car giveaway touched my heart last night!” or “The Pizza For Life giveaway forever changed my teen’s life…”) , but the consistent, steady, and Godly influence of you and your team are more effective.

Here’s a start for your Encouragement File: You are making a positive difference in your teens’ lives!

Andrew Brashaw is a youth pastor of 8+ years in New Lothrop, MI.  He doesn’t blog or own an iPhone, but he does Twitter once a month @andrewbrashaw.