I reviewed The Almighty Bible last week – they’ve given 3 copies of it to MTDB to giveaway! Sweetness. The first 100 commenters are eligible – I’ve picked out 3 numbers at random between 1-100, so enter by leaving a comment and if you win they’ll ship it to your door!

JG

This isn’t a normal book review for me but from time to time I divert from typical reading to check out something fresh. I was given a few copies of The Almighty Bible (physical copies, though the book has also been released as an app on the iPad and iPhone) to read over and see what I thought. To be honest, it was quite a bit better than I expected – especially since I’ve never really connected with the Anime Bible or the the Bible in graphic novel format.

The Almighty Bible pulls no punches and is honest with the Scripture it depicts and it delivers the first two books of the Bible with vivid art. The recommended age is 8-14 years old, and my 9-year old son will be getting this copy of the Bible tomorrow and I’m eager to see what he thinks. I enjoyed reading the Bible in this format, and as an adult/parent appreciated the attention to the accuracy of the translation as well as the presentation. If you’re looking for a different way to get younger students into the Bible, this might be something to check out, especially as a Christmas gift this holiday.

JG



Creating a compelling and inspiring youth group service every week can feel like an impossible task by itself. If that wasn’t enough, as soon as you’re get done with it, you collapse in a heap for a day off and get ready to do it all over again in just a few short days. Defeating the weekend beast every week is no small task, and we’ve recently been discussing a new strategy to get things accomplished in such a short turnaround time. Our services are on Saturday and Sunday, so you may have to adjust the actual days to fit your context. Either way, here’s the new model we’re working from this season:

Delegation (Tuesday)
What are the tasks that need to be doled out to make sure our youth group meeting is a success? For that matter, what are we even doing this week? Make sure that all of the projects, videos, music, humor, handouts all have an owner – pass out tasks and be confident that your busy work on the front end will help things go smoothly in the end. I would love to see a program sheet and a bunch of people starting to move on their assignments at the end of the day.

Do (Wednesday)
This is the day to get things accomplished. Shoot the video. Buy the prizes. Test it out. Whatever needs to happen for the weekend, DO it on Wednesday. This week, I’ve got a student writing their testimony, a volunteer editing a video and a draft of my sermon coming along.

Done (Thursday)
Everything has to come together on Thursday. Get the bulletin done, the student outline finished, slides made, videos selected and ProPresenter setup. Handouts are copied, packets are made, anything that was ordered has arrived and is sorted, ready to go. By the end of Thursday I’d love for things not to just be dialed in but DONE. This week … well, that’s today, so hopefully I’ll get the sermon done and can followup on everything else that is spinning at the moment.

Dream (Friday)
You’ve got to make space for greatness – so instead of letting Friday become the uncontrollable chaos of to do lists and last-minute service details, force yourself to get things DONE a little early so you can DREAM. If you have everything dialed in, you can work to get ahead and be intentional to find more time for people and spend time wisely on programs.

JG

Played this video as an illustration of how I feel about morning people during the talk about our daily routines with God. Students loved it – not sure of the source, but enjoy it if it fits with your talk sometime soon.

JG



I’m so glad Amanda is back to blogging! After too long away from it this summer, her blog Married to a Youth Pastor is back and better than ever. In addition to a funny new contest giving away a spouse registration to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference, she is back with some insight and raw learnings about youth ministry from a wife’s perspective. Honestly, turn your spouse on to her blog, it is so good – if I find one as awesome for husbands, I’ll be sure to post a link. Here’s a clip of a post called Swept Away where she talks about dialing in the youth ministry calendar with their family one:

We (Jeff and I) HAVE to take control of our schedules and family again. No more excuses of “seasons”. Something “important”, and “urgent” is always going to come up. We have to exercise our “NO”. I have to take responsibility of this as well. I let myself get lost in the shuffle. In no way is this only Jeff’s issue. I have a voice as well. And a smart brain that listens to God’s voice and can hear what’s good and bad or unhealthy for myself, my marriage, and my kids. I really got swept away (and right under the carpet).

I say this a lot… “After 14 years in full time ministry, you’d think I would have this down!”

JG

Back again. Doug, Josh, Matt, and Katie begin the show discussing Josh’s theatrical side and the dueling blogs (Morethandodgeball.com and LoveGodLoveStudents.com). Doug also introduces the first members of the 00 club and if someone can be a “recycled podcast virgin”, plus a brand new intro song. Don’t worry, they still get to your questions and talk about: calendars and scheduling, writing things down, starting with a clean program slate, why matt is cold, guidelines for meeting alone with students, having kids from juvenile hall in your ministry, and the Simply Youth Ministry Conference.

JG



I couldn’t be more excited to launch a new non-program for discipleship in our ministry we’re calling Grow on the Go (actually we’re revising and bringing this back from HSM past). We’re taking some simple small plastic bins from Target and dropping in some great biblical resources to help our small group leaders challenge students to take a spiritual step. To get a fuller understanding of how small groups are connected to spiritual growth and discipleship, maybe check out 5 Parts to a Typical Small Group Night or 6 Ways to Help Small Group Students Take a Spiritual Step.

So when a Life Group leader recognizes an opportunity to challenge a student to grow on their own, they have some tools right there (or in the trunk of their car) at their disposal. So what’s inside the bins? Glad you asked! We put 1 or 2 of the following resources in the mobile version of our Grow Booth:

I’m convinced that including a little bit of training on these tools at the beginning of the year and putting them in leader’s hands will make a big difference!

JG

In the process of finishing two books on the topic of Jesus. Here are a few thoughts:

The first, Jesus Manifesto:Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, is a challenging read simply exalting Jesus above everything else. They contend that a complete emphasis on Jesus would completely change the world – if we can introduce people to the real, life-changing Jesus, everything else will follow. Lifestyle will follow. Church growth will happen. Discipleship will happen. Simply teach Jesus. Not sure how much of it I’m ready to go after, but preaching and teaching Jesus has to be what the church is all about. Definitely lives up to its subtitle elevating Jesus to the highest place. Pretty academic read, you’ll want to break it into chunks and not speed read for sure.

The second book I’m tackling is Humanitarian Jesus: Social Justice and the Cross by Ryan Dobson and Christian Buckley, and it is a much more accessible read. It attempts to tackle the social Gospel and evangelism question, giving a brief history of the concept and conflict of the ideas of sharing Jesus. The first half of the book is written by the authors, the second is interviews with people in key churches and organizations that are attempting to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Good stuff, drives me to my current thinking – the Social Gospel must be both social (helping people) and Gospel (spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ)! There are many books on this subject, this one probably isn’t the most academic or comprehensive, but by far the most current.

JG