Sermon Series Ideas

 —  July 1, 2014 — 1 Comment

It is time for me to start planning our 2014-2015 calendar; events, sermon series ideas, retreats, etc. I have posted a list of my favorite resources that help in the area of sermon series ideas and graphic design elements but these three pages never made the list. Not because they are not great, but because I just discovered 2 of them. I have been visiting churchstagedesignideas.com for a few years and recently found seriesideas.com and worshipsetideas.com.

Click on and check out these three sites, they are easy to navigate and spark great ideas.  The URLs are what they say they are…

Other than from your regular Bible reading, where are you growing your series ideas?

- Brandon / @uthguy9

smdwideFinally, a holiday that Hallmark did not create.

Starting in 2010 by Mashable, a massive tech blog, Social Media Day is a way to recognize the digital revolution happening right before our eyes. Read more about #SMD at Mashable.



Challenge accepted.

Every once in a while I like looking at what’s trending on Twitter and seeing how I can… um… “add” to the conversation.

Last night, I noticed that “#TeenChoiceShouldHave” was trending.

Apparently, it was the endeavor of a new account (likely not official) set up to promo the site.

teenchoiceawards

Maybe it’s years of youth ministry that crawled out in my responses. Maybe I was just in the mood to be a little snarky.

Maybe I’m just tired of teen award shows that are more predictable and promotional than useful.

teenchoice2Here’s what I tweeted in response:

#TeenChoiceShouldHave people who just shout “WOOOO!” at whatever a good-looking celebrity says.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave a new category called “Choice Shiny Turned Up Chirped Swag Money Mupload” that makes everyone go “Is that a thing?”

#TeenChoiceShouldHave hashtags for the hashtags that you use while eating hash that’s been tagged… for salmonella.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave some sort of mad movie preview that is “so fetch.”

#TeenChoiceShouldHave a live feed of Abraham Lincoln on location at Daytona Beach.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave some reference to marriage, and how it’s between a husband and a wife. You know… to be different.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave some emo peeps connect with a swerve fam like a supersized frenemy tope moment. It’d require someone affluential, tho.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave a special “In memorium” montage to the abbreviation/phrase/hashtag “YOLO.”

#TeenChoiceShouldHave the ability to unfollow them after you friend them so you can pin it and subtract them from your circles.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave the Queen of England host the whole show. For real.

You think I’m kidding? I’ve never been more serious.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave everyone famous taking a #selfie after ordering pizza.

#toosoon?

#TeenChoiceShouldHave ten browser tabs open at the top, each with another award show live streaming.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave a special duet between a live-action Maleficent and a cgi Elsa from Frozen.

Oh, and the Queen of England. For real.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave trending.

Then celebrations of the trending.

Then awkward “topic changing while texting” when the trending stops.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave Taco Bell.

Not sure why.

Shoot… now I’m hungry for Taco Bell.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave the urban sombrero.

Look it up.

#tbt

#TeenChoiceShouldHave no wifi and be hosted in a facility that blocks cellphone signals. Film the audience. Now THAT’S entertainment!

#TeenChoiceShouldHave the countdown clock from 24 before and after every commercial.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave the cast from a new TV show that wants to appear hip and cool introduce a category about “hotties.”

#TeenChoiceShouldHave teenagers… and only teenagers. No one over 18 is admitted. #awkward

#TeenChoiceShouldHave Corey Feldman and ALF singing “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys.

#TeenChoiceShouldHave performances by the bands LOL, BRB, CYA, IMHO and OIC.

I have no idea if that entertained you.

Honestly, I laughed myself silly cranking out each one.

outoftouchThat’s what I wanted to talk to you about…

how sure are you that what you’re putting out there that you think is incredible is actually connecting with students?

Maybe they’re tired of youth ministry that is more predictable and promotional than useful.

Thoughts?

P.S. Got any #TeenChoiceShouldHave tweets you’d create?

Ways to T.P. #KidMin13

 —  October 10, 2013 — 2 Comments

kidminThis weekend is a great one for Children’s Ministry.

Thousands will gather for Group’s KidMin conference… all to better learn how to grow with God and serve children better.

It’s simply awesome.

Let’s T.P. them.

By “T.P.” I don’t mean let’s show up in Columbus, Ohio and throw toilet papers at their Enterprise rental cars (because as youth workers we have to use the ghetto cheap car companies that no one has ever heard of).

I mean let’s “Twitter Plunder” the #KidMin13 feed.

I’m talking some appropriately snarky posts that are the equivalent of when someone T.P.’s your house… full of love, but also some playful jabs.

For example, you could randomly post these throughout the weekend:

  • “At #KidMin13. I heard @OfficialPetra is signing autographs. Anyone know where?”
  • “A little help? Looking for the closest Starbucks. #KidMin13″
  • “MY FLIGHT IS DELAYED! PLEASE TELL SOMEONE AT THE #KIDMIN13 MAIN STAGE NOT TO START YET!”
  • “Found a small piece of feather in the hair of the woman at registration. Picked it out. She said to put it back. #KidMin13″
  • “Still haven’t found a Starbucks. Anyone know where there’s a Dunkin Donuts? #KidMin13″
  • “I’m all for creative object lessons, but why are there radial saw blades on the chairs in the main room? #KidMin13″
  • “Just met a children’s worker from France who spit in my face. Somehow it still felt romantic. #KidMin13″
  • “People… I need coffee. Is there a Panera Bread anywhere? An overpriced Italian Bistro? I have the church credit card. #KidMin13″
  • “The worship leader has us doing VBS motions for every song. This is the best day of my life! #KidMin13″
  • “Need to go to the bathroom… are we supposed to raise our hands first? Can I just go? #KidMin13″
  • “I… NEED… CAFFEINE…. NOW… NOW…. NOW…. #KidMin13″
  • “About to attend ‘How To Run A Non-Halloween Halloween Event’ then ‘Ways to Avoid a Background Check When You REALLY Need Volunteers’ #KidMin13″
  • “Won the Sword Drill! Got a bouncy ball! And a light-up bracelet! And Strawberry Starburst! And Chinese Finger Traps! #KidMin13″
  • “Who is this ‘Bob the Tomato?’ #KidMin13″
  • “Met a woman who has been doing children’s ministry for 4,926 years. #inspiring #KidMin13″
  • “Smuggled Mr. Muggles into my hotel room. Yay! #Ilovecats #ClapClapClap #KidMin13″
  • “Totally blown away with new perspective. Going home and installing white carpet in all the kids rooms at the church. #KidMin13″
  • “There’s a guy at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference booth with better hair than I’ll ever have. He must know where some coffee is.”

Of course, be nice… and pray for them. Children’s workers are our comrades .We want them to have a great conference.

Just… not without us, right?

#kidmin13 is about to become a weekend trend. Let’s help them out. :)

Got any other appropriate tweets?



Twitter is full of parody accounts, including some that only those who serve in a church may fully appreciate.

For example, here’s “The Deacon.”

Committee meetings all weekend... wish I was the pastor. Then I could just preach and go home. #ifonlypeopleunderstood #hardwork

Or if you like your deacons a little more “surly,” try the “Surly Deacon.”

Don't start any trouble at my church. I'll be all over you like a worship pastor at a skinny jeans sale.

There are those who represent the grumbling we hear from the congregation, such as the “Church Curmudgeon.”

When we've been there ten thousand years, we may just get to sing Amazing Grace the normal way again.

Then again, it’s worth noting hard pastors can have it via “Unappreciated Pastor.”

Moses' staff split the Red Sea. Mine split the church.

The “Bad Church Secretary” fesses up a bit, too.

I reminded the youth pastor he's preaching tomorrow. He'll be to embarrassed to ask around and find out he isn't.

How about a “Mad Worship Leader?”

Sure we're taking requests for this Sunday morning service.... just a sec and let me put the Holy Spirit's leading on hold... we aim to please!

How about an “Uncensored Pastor“?

Thanks for telling me how unhappy you are at our church. I was just sitting here wondering if we were making you happy or not.

Another strong one is “Stuff Christians Say.”

Changed the Wifi network at church to 'Jesus is watching you'   Bet those teens think twice about where they go online now

 

Lots of fun, right?

Now…

how about those directed at the Youth Ministry nation?

There’s the “Mistreated Youth Guy

Met a lady today who says she goes to the church I work at but was surprised to hear I've been the Youth Minister there for a couple years.

Or the things a “Youth Pastor Says.”

You really need to cut a larger check for the youth designated fund...I looked

A “Hipster Youth Pastor” chimes in.

I lose followers when I make fun of church camp

As well as a “Bitter Youth Pastor.”

Hey Young Life! Heard your game last night involved twerking and eating Oreos out of each others' mouths. I'm sure Jesus was glorified!

There’s even a “Ghetto Youth Pastor.”

I HATE YOUTH - Every youth pastor immediately following all major events

Not to mention a “Smug Youth Pastor.”

Still looking for the ultimate.....full time pay w/part time effort.

How does this make you feel?

A few weeks ago, I shared a post about Christian Hipsters that had its share of support and criticism. I wonder if when we read about a niche group in the church we enjoy the laughter but feel even just a tad bit defensive when we’re the ones under the spotlight?

Got a thought on this? Know of another parody account worth taking a look at?

Chime in.

awesomeYou know that one thing you just did? Or that next thing you’ll do?

They’re the GREATEST things in the world, and you’re “incredibly humbled” to be do them.

Right?

Welcome to the “humblebrag.”

A Wall Street Journal article describes it this way

“Whether we like it or not, and especially on social media, we’re all self-promoters, broadcasting even our quasi-achievements to every friend and follower.”

The phrase was coined by Harris Wittels who explained that the “humblebrag” is when someone overtly boasts while covertly side-stepping coming across as bragging by wrapping it up in some type of humility

tweet

That’s something Christians can be culprits of just as easily as others.

And why not? Don’t we have the Greatest Message in the world to communicate? And aren’t we all “super excited” at the latest way we’ve found to share it?

  • “Hey, check out my YouTube video…”
  • “You should click on this link…”
  • “Read this post…”
  • “Could you retweet this…”

It’s what you say when someone asks how your last service or event was:

  • “Oh, it was incredible! You should have been there! God did something awesome! And, well… I was just thankful to be used by Him. I always am.”
  • “Well, the pastor was on vacation… and I don’t know if it’s okay to say this, but a few people told me they like my preaching a little better than his. I think a revival may break out soon.”

It’s how you describe the next thing that your name is attached to:

  • “Hey, you need to get your friends out to our next outreach thing. I’m going to bring my ‘A-Game’ and expect you to bring your school out to hear it… you know, so God can work through me.”
  • “I just wrote this blog post that I think just may change the future of how we do what we do. I’m super humbled to share this with you.”

It’s how you let everyone know your life is going well:

  • “Yay! We just became debt-free! It meant living off of croutons and Kool-Aid for six years, but we dropped a few pounds so it’s all good.”
  • “I’m soooooo grateful to have such a super-sexy, always-praying-on-the-knees-while-singing-worship-songs-and-writing-new-ones spouse who made me breakfast in bed today while writing out our tithe check.”

Granted, those are a little over the top and exaggerated. I’m guessing you saw yourself or someone else in them, though.

(In fact, it’s a whole lot easier to see this in others… isn’t it?)

tweet2

It’s worth a gut check:

  • How often do you look for a reason to talk about God and toss yourself in there?
  • How often do you look for a reason to talk about yourself and toss God in there?

I’d love to hear your observations or pet peeves on this.
Maybe even share a few creative youth worker “humble brags.”

Oh… and while you’re thinking of some, make sure you check out my new book Uncommon Wisdom From The Other Side that came out this week. It was a labor of love to write it, but I’m “super excited” for how it turned out.

(Ahem… see what I did there? And you’re welcome.)



Speak Teen SPEAK!

 —  August 2, 2013 — Leave a comment

texting

In our ministry we have a rule.  No cell phones in use while the students are present and our programming is in action.  This rule goes for volunteers, staff and participants.  Unless you are using a “Bible App” to look up scripture, we shouldn’t see it,  and yes I check it.   This summer as we have had a number of our teens actually volunteering in our elementary age day camps I have seen something interesting.  At 2:00 the moment program ends and the last child walks out the door,  cell phones immediately emerge!  It’s like the texting/social media/ smart phone zombie apocalypse has taken root.  Heads are down, eyes ablaze as they catch up on all the pertinent information they have “missed” in the last 4 hours of “no phone zone.”

As I have text to talked or been FB direct messaged on major life issues I just have to wonder if scripting every thought is an easier way to go?  Since TONE doesn’t exist well in word/online communication a lot of drama erupts that could be avoided with at least a phone conversation and even more so with facial expressions and body language in play.   In short, I think we need to encourage students to learn how to sit down and use their voice once again.

Please hear me.  I am not anti-text/social media connections.  What I am seeing is that this the “goto” method of “talking.” I wonder if we are raising a generation that avoids face to face communication? Have they forgotten how to speak?

Can we do anything about that?  Here are some starting places:

  • Meet With Students One on One:

When I started in youth min, my mentor would say,  “If you want to get to know a kid take them out for a soda.”  What we did or drank was arbitrary.  The point was being present with each other.  Sit face to face, make eye contact and talk about deep issues,  outside of programming.  If at all possible draw in other adults and small group leaders to do the same.  Begin to teach, that this is the way we handle the “toughest stuff.”  It’s unscripted, raw, messy and uncomfortable.  That’s good.

  • Encourage Parents To Draw Lines.

I get it. The battle for independence with anyone from 6-12 grade is constant.  It’s also part of adolescence.  We drew up “electronic contracts” for our kids that not only included appropriate use, but times when cell phones are not “allowed.”   This has helped tremendously.

  • Be a good example:

I admit it,  I can be the worse at this one I was convicted even recently about how if I want to teach students the importance of communication beyond written form and the need to put the cell phone aside when talking to someone,  I have to step up and do the same.

Students need to learn to have a full conversation,  face to face conversation when they are totally present.  There is a place for tweets, Facebook, email and text, it just shouldn’t be the ONLY way we talk to each other.

What are YOU doing to help this generation learn the art of “in person” communication?

 

 

 

If you ever had trouble explaining why we use so many different forms of social media this infographic might come in handy.  It’s funny, so true, and might make a great opener at your next parent meeting.
infographic

**I want to give credit to whoever created this cool infographic but I have no idea.  If you know who, please give a link and the credit via link in the comments!