For the past two years we’ve done a can food drive. We’ve done a battle of the grades and the sophomores won. So their prize was a music video. This is something that I love to do. And It was so much fun and it’s always great getting to create something with students!!!! I also had a student shoot and edit the video. Love creating opportunities for students to use their talents.


Some thoughts…accompanied by videos.

* Apparently the Seattle Seahawks are for real this year. Have you seen Jake Rutenbar’s great video?

* While I really enjoyed the Hunger Games books and movies thus far, I’m actually more excited about the upcoming Divergent movie based on the first book in the series by Veronica Roth. While not as well written as Hunger Games, I like the concept and storyline better. Below is a trailer for Divergent.

* I’m not a big Christmas jingle kind of guy, but absolutely LOVED this bit by Jimmy Fallon, Rashida Jones and Carrie Underwood1

* Every year, we invite Pastor Rick to join us for Summer Camp….and he did once! But usually he can’t. So this year he asked us if he could send our junior highers a little video while they were at camp. I love serving a Senior Pastor who values junior high and high schoolers!

Hidden YouTube Fun 2

 —  November 25, 2013 — Leave a comment

On Your Lunch Break:

1. Take some dramamine.Beam me up scotty

2. Go to Youtube.

3. Type”Use the force, Luke”  in the search bar.

4. Wait, watch, and move the mouse around.

If this does not send you into vertigo, here are a few more searches to try:

  • Beam Me Up Scotty
  • Do The Harlem Shake
  • / geekweek
  • Fibonacci

Enjoy and share! Post in the comments what your favorite finds are!



Blast from the Past

 —  October 29, 2013 — 3 Comments

RyanIt is fun looking at old photos, I do it with my family, and my boys think it is great (mostly because they are micro-narcissists). In addition to looking back at old photos with my family I love doing this with the youth at my past church. Here are a few long-term steps I took to have an archive of pics and video for a great end-of-the-year video for my graduating senior class:

  • STEP 1: Organize all event photos in folders with event names and dates.  It is not much work and a huge hard drive is under a $100.  (example: Place ALL your winter camp pics in a folder called, “Winter Camp 2013″ next year create another folder called “Winter Camp 2014″ and so on).
  • STEP 2: Place ALL PowerPoint slideshows, videos, and/or video slideshows in the same folder or in a similar folder (same system…maybe create a new folder called “Winter Camp footage 2013 Used”).
  • STEP 3: Wait.  Yes…just wait.  It’s like a 6 minute egg except you are waiting 5 or 6 years.
  • STEP 4: When Graduation Sunday (or however you celebrate your graduates) comes around go to your archives and start pulling footage from your graduating class of 2014. I only used images and footage from their junior high years. Those pics are awkward and funny. So for the class of 2014 I would go through all my 2009 and 2010 folders and grab some memorable junior high pics of this graduating class.  If you do not do a Grad Sunday it is still fun to show at the last gathering of the year as a memory maker.

If you have the patience to wait 5 or 6 years and you can keep good photo and video archives the payoff is pretty great for your students and their parents. A year ago I took a position at a new church, but I was at my last church for 13 years…the back to the future video was alway a favorite.

Here are some ideas of what I have shown (we only played 1 or 2…no overkill):

  • New slideshows of the graduating class’s junior high mugshots (photo directory we made) and event pics (mostly using pics of students who still went to our church)
  • Old highlight videos and slideshows
  • Video interviews and testimonies
  • Funny videos they were in like this…

Here are some ideas of what I would like to show:

  • Interview junior high students asking them to answer one or two questions like, “What advice do you have for this years senior class” or “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • Have them show off a crazy talent
  • List the music they are listening to
  • Basically anything that I think will become dated and funny to watch when they are seniors

Junior highers give great answers…and we were all kind of funny looking back then. After I am done taping I will put all this footage in a folder called “Interviews Class of 2019″  and let it percolate. If you have been at your church for a few years, go see what you have sitting on your hard drives and if you are new to your church like I am get cracking on an simple archiving system.

What are some of your ideas for reviving old videos and pics? Please share in the comments.





You open the package and begin to look at the new curriculum you purchased.   You have read the questions and changed some of the wording and questions. You are ready to start when you look at the games, or the intro video. Bleck. It won’t work.  You know your students won’t respond well. Perhaps, it’s a complicated game that you can’t pull off. Maybe you don’t have the working technology to show a video.

What do you do?

Let’s say the video included shows a guy holding an inflated and deflated basketball, and telling a story to explain the book of James.  I watch it.  I decide I can’t use the video for whatever reason.  However, I would then break it down like this, making it into an object lesson:

Materials Needed:  An inflated basket ball and a deflated basket ball.  (You can use the video as a reference to guide you in this.)

Show the students the deflated flat basketball.

Explain:  This is a basketball right?

Ask:  Is it useful right now?  I mean could you play a game of basketball with it right now?

Ask:  So is it useless for playing a game of basketball? What would make it useful?

Show them the basketball filled with air.

Explain:   This basketball can do what  it supposed to do right?  Can we use this one for a game of basketball?

Then I would explain the point this way:

Just like a basketball filled with air is able to play the game, the way it is supposed to, as a Follower of Christ we are supposed to do those things that Christ followers do. The world around us should know clearly who we are and what we are made for.  James is a book of the Bible that is all about letting us know that we should not just be about “believing in God,”  but we need to show the world through our actions, that we are living for him. That is why this book also talks so much about sin.  It really is a big deal.  Sin is actually the thing that keeps us from really living for Christ.  But if we are really a follower of Christ, ignoring our sin,  not doing anything about it,  is not an option.  Those who want to really follow Christ,  deal with their sin.  Just like a basketball is made to be filled to play the game,  we need to do those things that Christ followers do.

The point?  Never be afraid to look at the deeper meaning of the game or illustration and re-work it in a manner that relates to YOUR group of students.


I admit it. I am not a game person. Therefore, anytime I try to play a game for “silliness” it doesn’t work for me.  I am never going to be the “coolest” youth person in the room.  However,  if there is an opening game, I would try to tie the meaning of the lesson to come into the story.  I make it relational, and I prepare my students for the game.

Taking the same concept from above I might watch the video and then decide we are going to have a game that passes out deflated beach balls (small ones).

Create two teams.

Each team must pick a captain and a timer.

When you say “GO.”  The captain must inflate the beach ball.

Once inflated, the timer starts their job, and the rest of the team must form a circle and keep the ball in the air without letting it hit the ground for 2 full minutes.

Any time the ball hits the ground they must start the time over.

Wrapping up, I would explain the same from above, but then also talk about how other people’s mistakes affect us.

Curriculum doesn’t have to be complicated.  We just need to be willing to take the time separate it out and make it all our own.

 How do you change games and videos to fit your needs?

Tomorrow is our final installment: How to tell the story!

Thanks for all you do,



Anybody who sort of knows me knows that movies are my vice, my guilty pleasure. A bad evening at the movies…never mind, there’s no such thing!

Every now and then a movie comes along that has a lot to teach those of us who work with young teens. And most of the time they seem to fly under the radar without much fanfare. So I thought I’d share three fairly recent movies that I think everybody who works with junior highers or younger high schoolers should see. They are all very unique, and all give a peek into the various waters young teens navigate.

Moonrise Kingdom. The best Wes Anderson film yet.

The Way Way Back. The first 15 minutes will make you question this pick. The rest of the movie is pure gold.

Mud. My inlaws recommended this movie and I delayed far too long. One of my favorites in a long time!

Do you have a favorite to recommend?

Hidden YouTube Fun

 —  August 25, 2013 — 1 Comment

youtubeTry this:

1. Pick any YouTube video. (An individual video – not channel videos)

2. Play it, then pause.

3. Click somewhere outside the video.

4. Type 1980. Enjoy what happens next.

5. Tweet/share this post with everyone!

Thanks to Ed Stetzer for the find.