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Chris Fane's Student Ministry News

A youth ministry blog consisting of a collection of articles and notes related to
student / youth ministry. Gathered by Chris Fane of egadideas.com

Friday, March 31, 2006

Found out a man ain't just being macho


It's a long article/post, but a quick read. Some interesting thoughts on ministering to boys/young men in this day and age... your thoughts??

Joseph Bayly has some excellent thoughts on the societal current today against masculinity, which caused me to do some thinking on the subject myself. My oldest son just turned 17, and he's going off to college next fall, and I'm afraid for him because he's male in a culture that despises maleness. My next-oldest son doesn't live with me, but with a mother who has (let's put it this way) conflicted ideas of what positive masculinity is. The first I've only raised for the last three years; the second only during summers. How do you convey to a boy what a man is with that kind of time constraints?

Between the contradictory role models of "new-age sensitive man" and "clueless Tim-Taylor man," it's no wonder today's boys don't know what a man looks like. I'll give you a hint: neither one is accurate, because they're both self-centered and immature. The one is whiny, the other overblown, but both of them are completely missing what a man is and does.

So what does a man do?....

A man works. Like a dog if necessary. Not just at a job, but at home, as well, because if anybody tells you that child-raising isn't work, they've been smoking the drapes. A man gets up in the night with a crying baby, or works a double shift, or makes trip after trip with the moving van. If it takes a lot of coffee, drink it. If you don't do it, it won't get done. Rest when things are finished, not when you're tired.

Erma Bombeck once listed off qualities her dad had had, and one of those was that he was always the one who went to the parking lot in the rain to get the car. That's a man. The women and children may stay under the shelter; a man may not. If someone's going to get wet, it should be you.

Ditto with disgusting things. Yes, I'm talking about diapers, but I'm also talking about things like stopped plumbing, pet messes, hairballs, and whatever's in that container in the back of the fridge. Clean it up, gag a couple of times if you must, then go wash your hands. God made your skin washable for a reason.

Tim the Tool Man notwithstanding, no man is born with a knowledge of gadgets and machinery. You acquire it a bit at a time. If you're lucky enough to have a father who is skilled at those things and available to teach you, great. If you're not (as I wasn't), you'll just have to figure it out. When I was in high school, my dad gave me a beater car, and I had to figure out how it worked. I'm still not a mechanic, but I've learned that a screwdriver and a wrench aren't magic wands. Read a manual if it helps, but if you can't, then take the thing apart and try to figure out which part does what. Never let "I don't know how" be an excuse for not doing something. Do or do not; there is no try.

As a man, you are stronger physically than women. You are also bigger than they are and hence intimidating to them, if only on a subconscious level. Never loom over them, never yell at them, never treat them as though they were men. (On the other side of the coin, don't condescend to them either. They're small, not dumb.) Bear in mind that you have all the equipment and strength necessary at any moment to overpower and violate any woman. It's therefore vital that you conduct yourself in a way that makes obvious that you not only wouldn't do something like that, but you'd step in front of a bullet or a grizzly bear to keep her safe. This isn't something you say out loud, but an attitude that stays in the back of your mind.

Men speak a different language from women. You should be able to handle "Woman" as a second language, but it's never going to come naturally to you. Don't make it your native tongue. Women talk through their feelings, but if you do it, it just sounds neurotic. Talk when you have something to convey to someone else.

On the same note, remember that men talk differently according to whether there's a woman present or not. If your vocabulary doesn't run toward vulgarity, good. If someone else's does, live with it. My father is a gentle, polite, soft-spoken man, and my mother knows for a fact that his language is invariably fit for the Ladies' Sewing Circle. She believes this because she's never heard him speak when there are no women around. Some of my most colorful phrases I learned from him.

Religion is not a female thing. I don't mean that it's supposed to be male-dominated, but it is male-led. Look around you at Mass, and see how many families are there without Dad. Don't let yours (when you have one) be one of them. Make sure your kids see you genuflect and kneel. Make sure they know you pray. They may appreciate their mother's faith, but it's yours they'll imitate. If you want to raise Godly sons, show them what one looks like.

Remember that although not every woman is potentially a wife or girlfriend, all of them are still women. Treat every female with the same respect and care you would show a woman you wanted to marry. Believe me, once you master this, you'll never lack for a date when you want one. Kindness, good humor and gentlemanliness aren't just for a girl you're hitting on. They can see through that a mile away. It's how you treat the ones you're not letching after that they'll notice. If you open doors and carry packages as a matter of habit, word gets around. After that, it doesn't matter if you look like Boris Karloff; you'll still be a hot property. And even if you're not looking for a woman at the time, what the heck? It never hurts to be well-liked.

Finally, as a great writer once said, "If my father was the head of the house, my mother was its heart." A man isn't the soft comforting lap the kids sit on to be rocked to sleep, or the kiss that makes owwies all better. He may be called on to do those things sometimes, but he's not really constructed for it. A man is the solidity in his family, the rock that can't be broken. He's also the wall that shields them from storms, and the roof that keeps their heads dry. Which usually means getting rained on or wind-beaten himself. If you don't do that, a woman has to, and it's something they're not constructed for.

That's the essence of being a man. Sometimes what you have to do sucks. That's the way it is. A man has both rights and duties, but when there's a conflict between them, duty always wins. Period. Your rights will be compromised over and over, but your responsibilities must never be. A man does what needs doing and worries about his rights some other time.

Don't be a guy. The world is full of guys. Be a man.


Changing Context of Youth Ministry


Kirk rules... but maybe he wouldn't make a great a youth worker...

All the discussion around the challenges of discipleship and youth ministry, new paradigms and what mission 'looks like' in our culture got me thinking about ...................... Star Trek and how the old Star Trek and the New can represent approaches to youth ministry.

Stay with me on this one!

If you remember the old Star Trek? The one with Captain James T.Kirk, you'll remember that it was quite straight forward (at least in my memory). The plot basically being that every week the Enterprise encountered some alien race, as part of this encounter Captain Kirk would either end up hitting or kissing the alien depending on its attractiveness or nastiness quotient. (There was, I admit one confusing episode in which he kissed a good looking alien that later turned out to be nasty and be able to change it's form, so he hit it). In my analogy this, single plot, simplicity of approach is akin to the model of youth ministry I grew up with, a predictable always the same model approach i.e You ran a group in which faith was lived and discussed, the young people invited friends to join the group and this kind of worked.
Springing forward to the era of Jean Luc Picard as captain of the Enterprise and things got a LOT more complicated. You had a reflective approach to situations, attempts at understanding the culture of the races encountered and a spiriritual life on board the ship. Analogy being obvious in that we are in a lot more complex arena for Youth Ministry and the response requires more thought, understanding and experiment as well as the need for spiritual life to be at the heart of who we are and what we do!

It seems to me that the Church often still thinks in a Kirk-esque fashion while Youth ministry has/needs a more Picard like approach, but that can be hampered by the throw back to the Kirk regime. My analogy is also based around thinking that different contexts require different answers not the one size, snog it or hit it, linear approach.

May we continue to Boldly go!


Podcasting Your Church (or youth talks?)


One of the big projects I have taken on at my church is making our sermons available online. Three years after being placed on the sound and media team at the church, we have finally acheived one of those original goals. Although it is not directly related to web design, this task is usually give to whomever is in charge of a church’s web site. I thought I would share a few things I have learned in the process.

The Source

The first thing you will need is a way to get a recording of the sermons at your church. We have a fairly elaborate sound setup at our church, running a 48 channel board with a full range of compressors and amps, much of which I cannot begin to tell you how to work. We have a direct feed from our sound board to the line-in audio input on a Windows XP computer. We have a special cable that helps to remove any noise on the line so we can get a crisp signal.

There are other ways of getting audio out of a soundboard and into a computer. One of the more common ways is using a USB audio device like the Tascam US-122 or the Apogee Mini-Me. Both will take various audio inputs (XLR, RCA, Mini) and convert the signal to a USB cable that can be plugged directly into a computer. This is helpful if you want to be able to grab only one or two channels, rather than a full mix.

The Pull

For recording this audio signal, we are using the open-source audio editor Audacity. We record our entire service, inserting a marker at the beginning of the sermon. This allows us to quickly go back in and select only the sermon for exporting.

The Output

We are exporting our sermons as MP3 files for maximum compatibility across platforms and devices. At first, we were encoding the MP3s at a very high bitrate, creating 30MB files for 15 minute sermons. We have since changed that to get our filesize down to 8-10MB, depending on the length of the sermon.

The Download

Aside from offering a link to download the MP3s, we have also began rolling a podcast. For this, I have set up a completely seperate blog just for the audio files. I am using Wordpress 2.0, mainly because of the fact that when it detects an audio file in a post, it automatically creates the proper tags that make an RSS feed a podcast (enclosures, etc).

One of the other things you will need is bandwidth. If the podcast gets popular, you will need lots of it. We settled on hosting our podcast on the same webhost as our youth site, which is Dreamhost. They are offering a minimum of 1 Terabyte of bandwidth on their hosting plans right now, so it was a natural choice. In the near future, our youth pastor will begin podcasting his Wednesday night sermons, so it will serve that as well.

For tracking the popularity of the sermons, we are running our podcast feed through Feedburner, which gives us a better measure of the number of unique subscribers, as well as how they are subscribing. So far the downloads have been well received and are a great resource for our members as well as guests. I have heard from several members that were out of town one Sunday and were able to download and listen to the sermon that they missed.

I hope this helps you out if you are planning on podcasting your church’s sermons. The hardest part is getting a good recording of the sermon and converting it to a portable format. Once you are past that, it is relatively easy to get the files out there.

>>ORIGINAL BLOG POST HERE (with links to programs mentioned)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bridging The Gap Between Teens and Parents


Do you ever feel your teenager doesn't show you enough respect?

A new survey from Seventeen magazine finds the feeling is often mutual with 41 percent of teens saying their parents show them disrespect at least a few times a month.

Atoosa Rubenstein, Seventeen's editor in chief, said it was important to show teens respect because kids are different than they used to be because of empowering influences such as the Internet, teen magazines, and marketers targeting teens.

"Kids are more self-possessed, more goal-oriented, but it also brings complications," Rubenstein said. "These days you can talk to a 13-year-old and he or she sounds like an 18-year-old. Parents still want to treat their kids like they're kids, but they need to give them more of the kind of respect they give adults. This can be confusing and difficult for parents."

Rubenstein said there were common ways parents showed their children disrespect:
- Ignoring your teen
- Cutting your child off before he or she has finished talking
- Doing something else while talking, like answering a cell phone or using a BlackBerry

Healing the Rift

She recommended the following ways for parents to heal the rift with their teens:

Be conscious of how you appear. Even your facial expressions can spark a message of disrespect. Talk to a spouse or another adult, and watch each other. Let each other know whether you're sending the wrong signals.

Don't interrupt. This is the simplest thing to fix. You want to make sure your child feels he or she can talk to you without getting the message that you always think you know more than he or she does.

Ask for your child's opinion. Asking your child's opinion makes a teen feel that you value what he or she thinks. That sends a message that you respect him or her instead of thinking that you always have the right answer.

Use neutral language. Certain charged words and phrases send the wrong message. For example, instead of saying, "You're wrong," say, "Not exactly." Instead of saying, "That makes no sense," say, "Tell me how that would work."


Balancing Prayer and Action


Appropriate for our personal lives as well as our youth ministries...

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should.” Colossians 4:2-4

It has been reported that seconds after the kickoff in a memorable soccer match between Corinthians and Rio Preto at Bahia Stadium in Brazil, Corinthian striker Roberto Rivelino scored a goal, after a single pass, with a left foot drive from the half line. The ball sailed past the ear of Rio Preto goalkeeper Senhor Isadore Irandir while he was kneeling in the goalmouth finishing his pre-match prayers.

Here is a reminder to seek a healthy balance between prayer and action. Prayer is the foundation of our ongoing recognition of God’s rightful place in our lives and that He is our Creator and King. There is no doubt from the Scriptures that God’s people are to be people of prayer. Action is our recognition that God does not primarily work His will in the world without our participation in that work. Notice from the Scripture above that the Apostle Paul asked people to pray for an open door of opportunity. I think it is significant that in this prayer, Paul didn’t ask God to somehow proclaim the good news of Jesus supernaturally – without Paul’s involvement – but rather that God would provide the opportunity for Paul to minister the gospel effectively. A healthy view sees that both prayer and action are normal parts of how God works to accomplish His will.

Over my years as a Christ follower, I have experienced the tension that exists between prayer and action. It’s not always easy to know where and when to move beyond prayer to action or vice versa. Perhaps like me, you know people that seem focused solely on prayer and those who seem focused solely on action. Neither of these approaches is the complete answer. It’s likely that most of us need to pray more! For some, a willingness to move beyond prayer to action is needed. I believe that each situation in our lives requires us to seek the delicate balance between prayer and action. Like the goalkeeper, I’ve found that there almost always comes a time when we need to get off our knees and act.

When it comes to your life’s situations, what do you tend to focus more on prayer or action? Consider whether or not you need to become more balanced between prayer and action. Ask God to give you wisdom in finding the balance you need between prayer and action.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

One of "Them" Now


Back in a former life, really just a few months ago, I was a pastor primarily to young people, there was a phrase that many in my professional circles liked to use: The Jones Memorial Carpet. This term was coined, I believe, by the late Mike Yaconelli; it represented the "sacred cows" and limits placed on youth ministry. Many youth workers could and can regale you tales from their ministry where something wonderful happened; only to meet with the ire of the church family because, in the process, The Jones Memorial Carpet was soiled. [Discuss this in the forums]

I often laughed at the concept of the JMC, largely because I was blessed to be involved in churches where ministry took precedence over the condition of the room or the resulting aftermath. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't leading marauding bands wielding grape juice-filled Super Soakers through the sanctuary. I was, however, allowed the opportunities to make messes and repair the aftermath without incurring the wrath of "the Jones family" who had donated whatever it was that got used in a less-than-what-they-had-intended fashion.

All that changed two months ago.

Now I'm "one of the Joneses."

When a family member passed away recently, much was made by members of their immediate family about how the estate would or should be divided. During the course of the last few weeks these same members are discovering just how generous Loved One was to their church. This person was very giving of their finances and time to the cause of Christ's church - too much so, if you ask certain people. After finding out that a substantial portion of the estate would be given to the church, there was much grumbling about how the church should have to earn it, show appreciation for it, erect something to honor the gift, etc. Interestingly enough, the last project this family member contributed towards was, you guessed it, new carpeting for the main auditorium. There were family members who attended the memorial service for Loved One "just to see what kind of carpet [donation amount] gets you these days."

I am trying hard to maintain a sense of balance with family on the one hand, and knowing what I know about ministry on the other. A large part of me wants to say "But look at what can be done in this room, now that it is carpeted! Look at how effective ministry can be - and [the dearly departed] made that happen!" But it would be pointless, because that carpet - in their eyes - has dollar signs for its pattern. They don't understand the reasons their loved one gave; they know the One their loved one was demonstrating love towards; they just see a carpet as a "lasting" tribute, and they know that it will be a fleeting memorial at best.

Where am I going with all this? I think the response I should have had back in my youth ministry days was one of thankfulness to the Jones family for letting me in the room with their "carpet" (even though it may not have been actual carpet - you know what I mean, right?). Maybe I should have written them a note, explaining to them how glad we were to not only enjoy the carpet, but explain that the wear and tear - and even stains - were also a tribute to their loved one who donated it.

Now that I'm "one of the Joneses" through no fault of my own; that's how I want to proceed in the future.


NBC affiliate drops ‘anti-Christian’ show due to viewer response


A little old, but I hadn't come across this story before...

Terre Haute, Ind., Jan. 05, 2006 (CNA) - An NBC affiliate in Indiana has dropped a new drama, which has Jesus appearing as a recurring character and features a troubled Episcopal priest who is the father of a dysfunctional family. The decision was due to the volume of protests from viewers as well as a pro-family group.

The American Family Association told WorldNetDaily.com that it hopes other NBC affiliates would join WTWO in Terre Haute, Ind., in its decision to not air "The Book of Daniel." The series is set to debut Friday night.

The association’s chairman, Donald Wildmon, reported that several companies have notified his group that they have no plans to sponsor the show.

"We are tired of NBC's anti-Christian bigotry," said Wildmon. The association has an online petition against the program, which is being promoted as the riskiest show of the year and the only network prime-time drama series with a regular male homosexual character, a 23-year-old Republican son. The show’s writer is also a homosexual.

Other characters include a wife who relies on mid-day martinis, a 16-year-old daughter who is a drug dealer and a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop's daughter. The Episcopal priest's lesbian secretary is sleeping with his sister-in-law.

The show’s writer, Jack Kenny, has defended his program, saying that his characters are spiritual people who believe in Jesus, reported WorldNetDaily.com.


Sleep Deprived Teens Dozing Off At School


America is raising a nation of sleep-deprived kids, with only 20 percent getting the recommended nine hours of shuteye on school nights and more than one in four reporting dozing off in class.

Many are arriving late to school because of oversleeping and others are driving drowsy, according to a poll released Tuesday by the National Sleep Foundation.

"In the competition between the natural tendency to stay up late and early school start times, a teen's sleep is what loses out," said Jodi A. Mindell of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

"Sending students to school without enough sleep is like sending them to school without breakfast. Sleep serves not only a restorative function for adolescents' bodies and brains, but it is also a key time when they process what they've learned during the day." said Mindell, associate director of the Sleep Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

School-age children and teenagers should get at least nine hours of sleep a day, according to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health.

The poll found that sixth-graders were sleeping an average of 8.4 hours on school nights and 12th-graders just 6.9 hours.

Without enough sleep, a person has trouble focusing and responding quickly, according to NIH. The agency said there is growing evidence linking a chronic lack of sleep with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and infections.

The poll, taken in November, interviewed 1,602 adult caregivers and their children age 11 to 17. It had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rabbi orders maiming of dolls


Okay... not really student ministry news, as such, but maybe it is if you're in Israel. :) I actually never heard of this "Biblical ban," I'll have to look it up...

26/03/2006 21:15 - (SA) Jerusalem - In a tough break for the children of Orthodox Jewish families, a former grand rabbi of Israel has urged parents to amputate their dolls to avoid the perils of idolatry.

Basing the move on a Biblical ban on the possession of idols, Mordechai Eliyahu, a Sephardic rabbi, broadcast his edict on a religious radio station calling for an arm or a leg to be dismembered.

In the case of a teddy bear or other stuffed animals, the children will see their beloved toys lose an ear or an eye instead.

"It is very important that these toys do not remain intact so as to remove the element of idolatry," said Eliyahu.

His son, Shmuel Eliyahu, himself a rabbi in the northern town of Safed, said that it was inappropriate to own statues or dolls, even to play with or for artistic purposes.

"They need to be amputated or at least altered," he said.

Shmuel revealed that his father had forced one of his followers to snap off the ear of a replica of a statue of Moses by Michelangelo that he had bought at an exorbitant price.

Religious edicts are not legally binding in Israel.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Despite Sobering Statistics, Girls' Binge-Drinking Is a Growing Problem on Campuses


March 10, 2006 — Drinking to excess has always been a tradition and a problem among college men. But now college women are a growing concern. They're binge drinking in alarming numbers — and not just on spring break. They're out in public, staggering in the streets, falling down drunk, and becoming easy targets for sexual assault.

"They are not only drinking more than their male peers, but they are now more likely to drink more heavily than their male peers," said David Jernigan, executive director at the Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University.

Of particular worry are the drinking patterns of women under the age of 21. "There has been a huge amount of effort to stop underage drinking in this country in the last 10 years. It's made some impact with the boys. We are not getting anywhere with the girls," said Jernigan.

Koren Zailckas was one of the many girls who didn't get the message about the dangers of drinking. A bright, happy child born into a stable, affluent family outside Boston, she was a star student at the local high school, but she lost much of her girlhood to the foggy haze of alcohol abuse.

"My friends were all drinking at that time. I was afraid of being excluded from them. … I think that is where peer pressure is. I think we are drawn to alcohol because there is a problem of inclusion there, that we'll be part of the gang, part of the group," said Zailckas.


How To Start A Youth Band - (Part Two) How To Run A Rehearsal

Click here for Part 1: Making Of The Band

Rehearsing a band is critical to the development of any group of musicians as well as worship leaders. It is also the thing that very few do well. Look into most youth bands across the globe and you will find frustrated players, bands they don’t play well together, and people who are just bad at leading worship. Here are some tips to effective, efficient rehearsal.

Music Selection
If you don’t prepare yourself for rehearsal, it will never happen. Most teens are on an intermediate level of musicianship, so music selection is a high priority for their successful execution of the music. Select music that they can play after practicing on their own for one week and get it to them at least two weeks in advance. If possible try to select music that is in the same or a similar key when grouping songs together. Pick music that the worshippers are familiar with unless your group is good enough to introduce new music in an exciting way.

Take care of all the details necessary for a good rehearsal beforehand. Make sure the stage is clean and free from distraction. Check all the sound and get it ready for rehearsal so that there isn’t the frustration of technical problems at the beginning. If possible, have a closed session. The more people that are at the rehearsal, the less focused everyone is on rehearsing.

If you just play the songs through and fix things on the fly then you waste a lot of time. Try to anticipate problem spots in the music. When a problem arises, play only that part of the music until it is fixed or you have to give up. Sometimes it is beneficial to just have certain players play through a tough spot. Either way, don’t just play through the songs without listening objectively.

At some point, bands reach a level where they start to get bored with the music. This leads to two general responses. One, they continue to play the same as they have, but with less and less energy and passion or two they begin to develop new nuances and arrangements to the music. The latter is preferred for developing a group. When you have all the notes down, it is possible to work on dynamics. When dynamics are being used effectively, it makes all the difference in the world. There is an inherent applied energy to the music that is more effective that a band going full tilt all the time. Polish parts as much as possible, because the more the musicians don’t have to focus on music, the more they can focus on worship.

Ending Well
I like to play through the whole set straight through at the end o a rehearsal. This help to remind everyone of the work that was done and help them know the flow of songs from one to another. This will also provide a sense of accomplishment after the practice so that every sees the value of rehearsing.

A well run rehearsal is a fun experience. A poorly run one is the reason bands don’t play together for very long. One more thing about rehearsals, it is very helpful for bands to do something away from their instruments. The sense of bonding that takes place in creating music together is great and is only enhanced with something to draw on from outside that relationship.

>>Original Article Here

Friday, March 24, 2006

Pastors: Backsliding - Watch That First Step!


2 Samuel 11

If you wanted a study of character, nobility, wisdom, courage, and devotion; you could not find a better man than David. The Bible calls him, "…a man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22).

Yet there was a dark chapter in David's life. Even though he was a great man and loved God, David committed a horrible and egregious sin against Almighty God. He entered into an adulterous affair with Bathsheba. Then, in an attempt to cover his sin, he arranged to have her husband killed.

We need to be forewarned! If it could happen to David, it can happen to us. First Corinthians 10:12 says, "…let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." And so, we need to see how and why this happened in the life of this great man.

Second Samuel 11:1-2 says, "And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle … But David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon."

The Sin of Casualness

What was David's sin? In the beginning, it was simply the sin of casualness. The harvest time was over, and there were battles to be fought; yet David remained at home. He did not do anything wrong in itself; he just failed to do what was right. He was a king, but he lay around in bed all day while others fought.

Maybe the battle-scarred veteran thought, "I've done my time on the battlefield; I need a little rest and relaxation." Don't ever think you have done your service to Jesus and you can quit.

The Sin of Carelessness

It was also a sin of carelessness. David had failed to keep up his guard. How different David was from Joseph. When tempted by Potiphar's wife, Joseph immediately fled (see Gen. 39:11-13). He obeyed what later would be an injunction by the apostle Paul, "Flee fornication…" (1 Cor. 6:18). Jesus also warned the apostles in Matthew 26:41: "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation…"

You will have times in your life when everything is going just fine and you don't feel any unusual temptation, but watch out for the sin of carelessness.

The Sin of Compulsiveness

David's sin was also a sin of compulsiveness. It has been said that sin is an undetected weakness, an unexpected opportunity, and an unprotected life. That was true in David's life. He didn't intend to sin; it just happened. He looked over the parapet, and there she was. He called his servants and said, "Get her for me" (v. 4).

You say, "Well, that couldn't happen to me." David would have said the same thing before he compulsively fell into sin. There are three people seated in your seat right now: the person you are this very moment; the person you could be for God; and the person you could be for evil.

The Sin of Callousness

But it doesn't end there. David then became calloused and tried to cover his sin. When he found out Bathsheba had conceived a child, he attempted to hide the fact that the baby was his. When that failed, he arranged for Bathsheba's husband to be placed on the front line of battle and killed (verses 5-17).

Can you imagine this is David doing such a thing? When he committed adultery with Bathsheba, that was terrible, vile, and wicked; but it was a hot-blooded sin. Now, this is cold-blooded murder! See where his carelessness led him! David had been hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

It Could Happen to You!

This is a sad story, and God was grieved by it (v. 27). David too grieved over his sin and finally cried out to God for mercy. And as we read the rest of his life (2 Sam. 12-1 Kings 2), we see that the consequences of David's sin followed him; but David received forgiveness from God.

Now, you say, "That's an interesting story; maybe I can pass it on to somebody else who needs it." You missed the point! David got into trouble with the sin of casualness. He didn't go roaring into sin. Don't ever think it couldn't happen to you. Is your heart cold? Get it warm. Have you been lazy? Go to work. Have you been careless? Keep the fire burning for Jesus. Don't take that first step toward sin.


War awareness different for students


Friday, March 24, 2006

With the passing Saturday of the third anniversary of the War in Iraq, it appears more evident every day that the mission has yet to be accomplished.

Since that fateful day in March 2003 when President George W. Bush announced to the American public that troops were invading Iraq, more than 2,300 U.S. soldiers have died in the conflict. And of the 17,000 wounded American soldiers, nearly half are between the ages of 18–24.

While a significant number of college-age soldiers have been wounded or killed, several professors said students’ awareness about what is happening in the Middle East is nothing compared to that of those who were young adults during the Vietnam War.

Dick Connolly, professor of philosophy, believes that because students no longer have to fear the draft, they do not have the same emotional investment in the Iraq War. At that time, UE also had a significant number of Vietnam veterans who helped foster dialogue.

“I think it’s important for people to talk about,” he said. “I think more and more people on campus and around the country have become disillusioned with the war.”

When the Iraq War began, Michael Carson, professor of English, said some students were scared the draft would be reinstated and therefore paid more attention to what was happening. This was similar to what he saw on campus when he arrived in 1969.

“Students paid a whole lot of attention to it because they were afraid of getting drafted,” he said. “Students were afraid of going to war.”

Edwin Lacy, professor of music, attributed students’ political awareness in the ‘60s and ‘70s to societal changes caused in part by the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War.

But even during the most tumultuous days of the Vietnam War, Carson said UE was docile compared to other institutions.

“UE wasn’t as highly politicized as compared to big state schools,” he said.

Lacy does not believe many students see the impact the Iraq War has on their lives.

“Unless you have a family member in Iraq, you pretty much are not directly affected by it,” he said.

While campus discussion of the war may not be up to par, senior Jonathan Graban, a staff sergeant in the Army National Guard who served in Iraq from 2003–04, thinks students talk about the war in private and believes most are up-to-date with the latest happenings.

“Our generation has done a fairly good job in keeping up with the war,” he said.

But Graban said there are some topics students need to understand. He said many are probably unaware of successes in rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure, including schools and power plants.

These achievements might be uninteresting, he said, but still are important steps in the United States reaching its goal in Iraq.

People also need to understand that most of the time soldiers are not engaged in combat, which is something most TV news shows do not report.

“If you watch FOX or CNN, you get the ESPN SportsCenter version of what’s going on there,” he said, adding that when soldiers are in combat, it is often similar to the heavy fighting people do see on TV.

Graban admits that unlike during the Vietnam War, students are not as vocal in discussing Iraq. He said such public discourse is not only appropriate, but also an essential part of being an American citizen.

“That’s extremely healthy, that’s what I fought for,” Graban said. “Use the freedoms soldiers are dying and fighting for. Otherwise they died in vain.”


Celebrating Rites of Passage


In his classic book, All Grown Up & No Place to Go, author David Elkind addresses the issue of “disappearing markers” in-depth and warns of the consequences that our adolescents face as a result. Elkind writes regarding the importance of “markers” saying, “Markers are external signs of where we stand… (they) are signs of progress to others as well as ourselves… (they) confirm us in our sense of growing and changing as individuals.” On the whole, our culture has not done a great job in marking our kids’ progress in passing from childhood to adulthood. In fact, a prolonged adolescence coupled with a disappearance of “markers” happens to be one of the hallmarks of contemporary culture.

Fortunately, there are still some evidences of “markers” in our time. Jewish families, for example, have continued to maintain Bar or Bat Mitzvahs as a way to recognize their kids’ progress on the way to adulthood. These kinds of celebrations serve as a reminder that it is not too late to reclaim some territory in this area. I believe that noting and celebrating rites of passage is essential in helping our kids become functioning, responsible adults.

Celebrating rites of passage don’t have to be huge productions. Your daughter, for example, may think you’ve lost your sanity if your family shows up with balloons and confetti at the restaurant where she is having her first date! So, keep your celebrations at a reasonable level in keeping with the milestone being reached. And, be sure to include times of guidance and instruction, where appropriate. In this way, you’ll be conferring both recognition of a milestone achieved and the responsibilities that go with it....


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Giving Out What God Has Given You


I remember one Christmas when I was a kid, there were a lot of gifts waiting for me under the tree. After I opened them all, I was very happy—until I went over to my friend’s house, that is. He got a toy that I did not have: a battery-operated, plastic skin diver. I thought it was the coolest toy I had ever seen. Suddenly everything that I had received seemed worthless in comparison, because in my mind, this was the toy that I really wanted.

We can be the same way when it comes to the spiritual gifts God has given us. We see the gifts God’s Holy Spirit places in the lives of certain people, and we become envious. As a result, we are not thankful for the gifts that God has given us. But we need to realize the gifts God has placed in our lives are always the best ones for us.

Sadly, many of us are not utilizing these gifts in our lives. We don’t understand our role in the church, which is upward, inward, and outward. In other words, we are here to worship God, to build up one another, and to reach out to a lost world with the gospel.

First, we are here to worship God. Ephesians 1:12 tells us that God has called us as Christians to live for the praise of His glory. We are here on Earth to glorify and to know the God who made us. 1 Peter 2:9 says we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (NKJV). That is not just true of the church in general. That is true of us as individuals.

Second, we are here to build up one another. Paul said that his own goal was not to merely evangelize, but to “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28 NKJV).

Third, we are here to reach out to a lost world with the gospel. Jesus told us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . . ” (Matthew 28:19 NKJV). And again in Mark 16, Jesus told us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (verse 15, NKJV).

We must keep these principles in their proper balance. We don’t want to emphasize one at the expense of another or take them out of their proper order. In Ephesians 4, Paul talks about how this balance must come into place and how our gifts play into this. It is interesting that in the early part of this chapter, Paul talks about what we have in common and how we should allow nothing to disrupt the unity of the church. Later in this chapter, he talks about what we have as individuals that is unique. He talks about how God will distribute the gifts of the Spirit as He chooses to do so.

One of the wonderful things about a healthy church is its diversity. That in itself is a witness to a divided world. It is a powerful testimony when someone can come into an assembly of believers and see that we have set aside our differences and there is unity. It doesn’t mean there is uniformity. God can take the same gift and put it in the lives of two people, and it might manifest itself a little bit differently as the Holy Spirit works through human personality.

Ephesians tells us that God has given us these gifts “for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (4:12 NKJV). Another way to translate this verse is “to equip God’s people for work and His service.” The word “equip” in the original language means “to put something back to its original condition.” It is also a phrase that speaks of putting a bone back into place again. The idea is that we are getting back to God’s original order when we do it this way, when we function as the church ought to function.

It is a wonderful blessing when you start giving out what God has given to you, as you become a part of His purpose for the church.


How To Start A Youth Band - (Part One) Making of the Band


It doesn’t matter where I go, but people always ask me, “How do you start a youth band?” Many people want to have a group of teens lead worship, but they rarely feel qualified to actually gather the necessary resources to get it going. If this is you, then this article should really help.

I am going to take a risk and state the obvious: Sometimes it is best to start with the end in mind. If at all possible, think about what your expectations and desires for the group will be. What kind of music will the group play, what level of musicianship should they be, when will they practice, who will lead rehearsals? All of these questions help in the beginning of starting a new group.

This is the first part of a three part series How to Start a Youth Band

Attracting the Right People

There are many ways to find musicians in your group. There are almost definitely people who already play. You could have a talent show, hold auditions, or just have a concert (people always come out of the abyss when they see others doing something they like). Another idea is find someone who gives lessons and ask them to come for a meeting. They will get some new students and you will get a resource for your teens. This could even work into a situation where they give lessons at the church before or after your meetings. Churches usually have empty classrooms during the week. Why not put them to use?

Attracting the RIGHT People

Once you have identified some people who might be able to play music, it is time to pursue them for worship. Here is a common mistake. Joe Schmoe plays guitar so let’s get him to come lead worship next week. There are many inherent problems with this scenario. How well does Joe play? Is Joe a guy who can play and sing? Is he the kind of guy who can LEAD worship? Could he be able to learn and rehearse enough to begin next week? All of these questions define the problems of starting.

The most important quality of a worship group is that they have a heart for worship

You will fight against the people who don’t really want to worship, but would rather play music in front of people and try to look good. The right people will be willing to put themselves in the background. I recommend a written application and interview for each member. This helps qualify your expectations and shows their commitment. If you can do auditions, then do. This again will qualify a lot of details in the beginning. It also implies a sense of worth to the people auditioning. It says, “This is important.”

Practice, Practice, Practice

Once you have found the right people, plan on several weeks (if not months) of practice before you actually play in front of anyone. Professionals who play for a living know the necessity of practice, especially learning to play with other people. Even the best musicians that have never played with other people have to learn to play with a band. Plan on a time of practice for the group to learn new music, get used to playing together, and learn what they can and can’t do. This will benefit you in the long run, even though everyone’s excitement will demand playing soon.

All of these tips will help you begin. The beginning is usually the most important step in this process, so don’t get frustrated with small problems. Remind yourself often that this is the beginning and that it does get better. Most bands start out very bad and get better and better as they get used to each other. BE encouraging and keep at it. Most of all, remember your goal: Bringing others into worship.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Let’s look at the WHAT and HOW to communicate to parents



1. Communicate your philosophy of ministry. Why does your youth ministry exist??? Show your desire and plan to be a family-friendly, God-centered ministry.

2. Communicate an attitude of support.
* Listen to them.
* Honor their convictions.
* Respect their budget.
* Give parenting "tips" (articles,etc.)
* Compliment them-to their face and to their teen.
* Turn teens to their parents-consistently ask the question:"What do your parents think?"
* Be accessible.

3. Communicate information. (see below for some ideas from Todd about this). By the way, do you "group e-mail" your parents? It's quick and effective!

4. Communicate professionalism. Take your responsibility seriously-be trustworthy, reliable, and organized.

5. Communicate a personal interest in them. Spend time building relationships with them. (Consider having a fellowship with just them and your youth workers.)


As Todd wrote in an earlier GROUP Magazine article on this very topic, most youth leaders "simply respond to questions about their youth ministry. But the key to maximum communication is to anticipate questions." This is the key to developing your own communication network with parents. And that's exactly what you've got to try and create: Your very own, personalized, communication network.

Here are some ways to accomplish this:

1. "Parent's Update"
Write a monthly letter to your kids' parents titled "Parent's Update." In it, I give them more than just activity details; communicate your youth ministry vision. Sure, go over curriculum, future plans, needs, coming events, and past successes. But the real priority is to give them your heart and soul. One church in Georgia that did this experienced a 41 percent attendance increase at their Parent/Teenager Get-Togethers.

2. Ministries Guide
A quarterly ministry guide is designed to look like a store catalog, providing general information about upcoming events and activities. Mail your guide directly to homes and insert it into your visitor packets. This communicates future plans, and future plans create present excitement.

3. Parent/Teenager Get-Together
Periodic parent/teen get-togethers are not particularly innovative, but they're remarkably effective. Play interactive games, serve mystery foods, and do other fun stuff to pique kids' and parents' interest. But the bottom line of a parent/teen get-together is two-way talk! If you'll highlight your question-and-answer time in your promo, it'll be evident that parents have a voice. Give them that chance in a lively, open forum after the games, food, and skits.

4. Parent's Page
Produce a small, two-column "teaser" to insert in your church's worship folder or bulletin, or even your own newsletter, but make this strictly for parents. Stuff it full of short, how-to articles, helpful parenting hints, school news, and community service information.

Of course, all of these ideas and documents can be digitally produced as well as printed in a hard copy style, so either e-mail or snail mail everything to parents' homes except your monthly calendar and weekly inserts. Chunk the "make-sure-this-gets-home-to-your-parents" philosophy. Your network needs to ensure accurate delivery.


New Report on Alarming Trends in Girls’ Substance Abuse


Girls Are Catching Up With Boys in Use of Illicit Substances and Alcohol, Warn White House Drug Czar, Seventeen Magazine, and Medical Experts.

(New York, NY)—Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) John P. Walters, Seventeen magazine, and teen medical experts today released a new analysis of recent findings on drug and alcohol use trends among girls. Despite commonly held beliefs that boys are at higher risk for using illegal substances, data indicate that girls have caught up with boys in illicit drug and alcohol use and have actually surpassed boys in cigarette and prescription drug use. There are also more girls who are new users of substances than boys.

Although substance use among teens has shown steady declines in the past few years, ONDCP and other experts warned parents at a press conference this morning in New York City that girls display unique vulnerabilities that can lead to substance abuse. Research also indicates that drug and alcohol use has a more profound impact on teen girls, both physically and psychologically.

The findings show that when girls use illicit drugs, marijuana is the most commonly used substance. Marijuana is used more than cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy, and all other illicit drugs combined. And for the last two years that research is available (2003–2004), more teenage girls than boys started using marijuana, alcohol, and cigarettes. (The full report on Girls and Drugs can be accessed at http://www.mediacampaign.org/pdf/girls_and_drugs.pdf)


Monday, March 20, 2006

Why do you teach here? 'Love,' says one


Some snippets from an article I read... make sure you read the whole thing... (- Chris)

Among the 23 teachers at the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center are a former disc jockey and a former high school football star.

Gina Clark's drive to the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center begins with her two sons. She hugs them tightly, aware of the bumps in the road ahead for young black men, saddened by those left stranded at dead ends.

''When I look at those boys [in the center], I think about my sons, and I treat them as if they were my children,'' says Clark. The former disc jockey, like many of the center's 23 teachers, found herself compelled to help ``save the babies.''

Clark, 36, who was recently named the school's Teacher of the Year, has emerged as a favorite among students. With a personality driven by vibrant energy and patience, she motivates each student by bolstering their self-esteem. Under her watch, an English class for 12 boys becomes a forum for self-expression. She asks them to draft a poem based on an experience that shaped their lives.

''These kids just need a listening ear. . . Writing allows them to express the pain they're holding inside,'' said Clark.
Carlos Barrow, a youth minister at a Miami church, is now in his sixth year at the Juvenile Detention Center, the 39-year-old Barrow has become a father figure to the youths behind bars, often offering the tough love that Nujey showed him.

In the classroom, he tries to personalize every lesson. A recent lecture on nomadic tribes from Africa, for example, was taught in terms his students can understand.

''Many of you are nomads -- you've been in foster care and traveled from an uncle's house to an aunt's house,'' said Barrow.


Barrow and Clark say they understand the importance of not judging their students, especially since most of the youths already feel they're beyond redemption.

''They ask me all the time why I come here, why I choose to spend time with them,'' sighed Clark.

Her answer: ``love.''

It's the emotion most needed, but often most absent, in their young loves, the two teachers say.

Said Barrow: ``In America, we recycle plastic cups and soda cans . . . but throw away kids.''


Poll: Teenagers Mixed on Gay Issues


A new Gallup survey is reporting a mixed picture of how American teenagers feel about homosexuality. The survey, conducted from December 2005 to January 2006, reports that 51% of the 546 teenagers polled, ages 13 to 17, approved of same-sex marriage, while 55% approved of civil unions.

But the teenage respondents seemed fairly conservative when asked about the nature of homosexuality: Nearly six in 10 believe that being gay is "nurture" rather than "nature," a position at odds with that of many gay rights activists.

However, as a whole, the teenagers were more liberal on gay issues than adults who were polled on similar topics. In a May 2004 survey, for instance, only 49% of adults supported civil unions.

The margin of error for the teen survey was four points. (Sirius OutQ News)


Mission Experience Ideas


This list of mission experiences is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Rather, it is a list to get your mind thinking about some possibilities. You might also consider connecting with an established mission organization for your first few experiences to gain exposure to even more mission ideas.

1. Mission to the elderly
• Rest home, convalescent hospital
• Rake leaves or shovel snow at the homes of senior citizens
• Shut in ministry in your community, where the elderly may be confined to their homes
• “Meal on Wheels” program, delivering food to the elderly
• Being a shuttle service for the elderly
• Adopt a grandparent: Many “grandparents” are living away from their relatives and would welcome the company and attention
• Do a “Senior Appreciation Night” for the elderly at a convalescent home or for those within your church

2. Mission to the sick
• Visit the “unvisited” in hospitals
• Visit a children’s hospital, even a children’s cancer ward
• Work with the hospital volunteer organization
• Send cards, flowers, gifts, or books to the sick from your church
• Run errands, fix food, clean house, catch up on chores, or baby sit for those who are ill or hospitalized
• “Adopt a Sick Person”, whether through your church, or organized through a local hospital

3. Mission to prisons
• Visit juvenile halls
• Provide worship services for juvenile halls
• Work with Prison Fellowship to sponsor “Project Angel Tree” in your church, bringing Christmas presents to families and children of inmates (To find more info on this project visit www.christianity.com/angeltree.)


French kissing risky for teens, meningitis researchers find


Teens who passionately kiss multiple partners run a higher risk of getting meningococcal disease, according to a British study.

Authors of the research say changing personal behaviour or developing additional vaccines could reduce infections.

Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria that can lead to several kinds of infection, including meningitis - an inflammation of the fluid and lining of the brain and spinal cord.

The number of incidents of the potentially life-threatening condition tend to peak in early childhood and adolescence.

For two years, Dr. Joanna Tully of the University of London led a team that examined the biological and social risks for meningococcal disease in 15-to-19-year olds across England.

They compared lifestyles and the medical conditions of 144 teens, who had the disease, to a group of healthy teens the same age. All participants gave blood, throat and nasal samples.

Intimate kissing of multiple partners contributed to a higher risk of meningococcal disease, the researchers said in the Feb. 10 online edition of British Medical Journal.

"Our findings imply that changing personal behaviours could reduce the risk of meningococcal disease in adolescence," they said.

Health promotion campaigns may also help reduce risk in young people, but it is unlikely they will have a major impact, the study's authors acknowledged.

The U.K. Department of Health's "look out for your mate" campaign encourages young people to be aware of how apparent flu-like illnesses or hangovers may, in fact, be the early warning signs for meningococcal disease.

Meninigitis Quick Facts

Symptoms include:
* Fever.
* Drowsiness or confusion.
* Severe headache.
* Stiff neck.
* Nausea and vomiting.
Source: The Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada


The Be-With Factor -- Bo Boshers


One year I was in the weight room when three young guys came in – they looked like they were about fifteen or sixteen. I could tell they were excited about using all of the sophisticated equipment, but they were also clueless. On some machines they got completely turned around and faced the opposite direction required to use the equipment properly. On top of looking silly, they failed to work the muscle groups each machine was designed to develop.

I saw such enthusiasm in these guys – they really had heart! But their motivation couldn’t make up for what they lacked – a model. They needed someone to demonstrate the correct use of the equipment. The machines were in perfect condition, but misuse and lack of understanding prevented these guys from getting any benefits.

It is the same in life: students regularly use their bodies and minds in ways that are sometimes just the opposite of what the divine Designer had in mind. What they need is someone to model a better way of life – a way of life consistent with God’s desires. They don’t need to hear another sermon, or a motivational speech on setting new goals. What they do need is a mentor – someone who extends an invitation: "Watch me."

I have never felt stronger about the need for mentoring. This generation is looking for something real. Teenagers long for role models who share their life lessons and who admit they haven’t figured it all out. They want to hear someone who’s willing to say, "I want to be with you, and offer a real example of someone you can follow."
Here are a few practical benefits I have personally experienced through true mentoring relationships. I hope this will encourage you to become a mentor yourself.


Friday, March 17, 2006

5 Time Killers of Student Ministry


Have you ever sat in your office and say, “what did I get accomplished today?” Time killers have taken over our schedule and caused us to lose focus on what is most important. Here are five tips to encourage you to gain back the control of your time in your ministry.

1. Lack of organization

Wow! Lack of organization is a huge time killer. Coming out of college I didn’t have an organized bone in my body, but now being in ministry it has been the key to keeping me sane. In my first year I was recruiting leaders - but needed a job description. Planning the upcoming series – but didn’t have enough time to plan for it. You name it - it all has to be organized in advance. A lack of organization caused stress and a feeling of never being ahead. I work a year in advance now. Planning the whole year by series and working a month in advance on each program we do on Wednesday nights. You want to talk about stress relief - be organized!

2. Administration

So many papers, phone calls, meetings! The list goes on and on. I find myself having so many reports, proposals, and e-mails to follow up on that I can’t focus on the main thing, investing in leaders and students. I could be spending every day thinking of new strategies, video ideas, and creative ways of preaching. Administration is important, but if we are really about developing laborers then we need to get away from the paper and into people’s lives. A common question I ask myself is, “who is the last person I’ve led to Christ?” Who is the one person I have as a leader that I can count on to take the ministry when I leave.” Administration is important, but let’s not forget the real reason for being a youth pastor, seeing students and leaders devoting themselves to Christ.

3. Pleasing All
I am a people pleaser. I hate to say it, but it’s true! I have learned that I need to quit worrying about pleasing people, but focus on pleasing God. Pleasing people takes your effort, time and all your energy. People will always have problems with you, even when everything has gone perfect. Don’t waste your time in making sure everyone is ok with you – spend your time investing in students that need Jesus in their hearts. Be a God pleaser, not a people pleaser.

4. Students
Students are my passion, and even though they are my favorite part of ministry they can become one of the biggest time takers in youth ministry. Students are always in my office and I love hanging out with them, but at times I find myself getting nothing done. Schedule time to get office work done in the mornings when students are in school. And allow your afternoons to be a time to invest in students. Because students are so important, put them in your schedule – but don’t allow them to run your schedule.

5. Not Delegating

Not delegating will steal your time, energy and your joy of ministry. Delegating is a hard lesson to learn – because this means you have to give something away that you use to own. This is very challenging, but a must in our ministry. If we do not delegate than we will die! From registration, parking, small groups, media, lights, sound, follow up, big events, program and much more. We cannot be all and do all. We need to learn to give things away! Delegate and trust someone to do one of your jobs – they might even do it better than you!

Many people leave the ministry each year. Many times it is because they were burned out. Don’t allow this to happen to you. Take control of your time now! Take control of your schedule and ask God to help you gain wisdom on these time takers. Thanks for allowing me to share my time takers.


Handling a Forced Exit


Sooner or later it seems like everyone in youth ministry has to deal with losing their job. There are times when this is by your choice, there are times when it is mutual, and their are times when you are forced to leave your ministry against your wish.

The following is a list of suggestions that you may want to take into consideration if this happens to you.

1. Use Resources that are already out there to help with the healing process and get onto the road of recovery.

Get as much encouragement as possible. There will be bouts of doubt, depression, anxiety, stress, and knowing where God is - in this time.

3. Get some accountability and counseling advice.

Move on, but also cherish the memories. Make a scrapbook, write a resignation letter. Be positive - even if you are not.

Get a GOOD recommendation IN WRITING from the former congregation. Sometimes - even if forced exit having this might save the pain of Gossip, rumours, and hearsay, and reading too much or too little inbetween the lines.

Ask for a contractual agreement of what to take what not to take. Example - if computer, books, etc is church's verify that or have that the church gave those as a gift to you and have it in WRITING, so no accusation you stole from the church.

Update your resume. Use your network of friends, see if you want to get back into ministry right away or a time to reflect on God's calling on your life.

Apply at local jobs for a time. Get involved at another church as a volunteer. Sometimes it is better to be a volunteer and then see where God is directing you.

Read. Reflect. Reason. Look at yourself. Was there things you could improve on? Others. Be a peacekeeper. Don't anguish over the exit but also be a good critic of your former ministry and yourself.

10. Pray. Should be #1. Take time to get your soul refreshed. Take time to contemplate the way God has brought you to this point.

Forced Exits and termination in Youth Ministry are things that break my heart. The church abuses its own too much. It is time to stop the pain and abuse and for the church to be the church to its people - both parishioners and pastors.


Teens look to parents for sex information: survey


Many teenagers consider their parents a key resource for accurate information about sex, a new study suggests.

Parental guidance was cited by 63 per cent of the 1,171 teens surveyed by the Canadian Association for Health Information. Teenagers in the study, which was completed in October, also considered their friends and school as key sources.

"One of the most surprising results of the study was how parents underestimate their importance and the role teens expect them to play when it comes to their sexuality and sexual health," said Dr. Miriam Kaufman, spokesperson for the association.
Dr. Miriam Kaufman

The survey, which sought to determine if teenagers need more information on sex and how best to get it to them, questioned 14- to 17-year-olds, as well as mothers of teens in the age group. It supported trends already familiar to doctors and health workers.


Schools Tackle Cyber-Bullying


As internet use continues to grow, schools are investing time and money to fight cyber-bullying — children and teens' use of e-mail, cell phones and blogs to threaten, humiliate or harass other children.

The topic came up during a conference on cyberbullying in Montreal on Monday.

Surveys suggest many students in Canada have access to the internet, with nearly 60 per cent using chat rooms and instant messaging, according to a survey on behalf of the Media Awareness Network and reported on cyberbullying.ca.


Adults may not understand how damaging cyber-abuse can be, but victims say it can cause deep emotional wounds and devastate self-esteem.


How To Find a Mentor – and Then Become One


Do you have a support system in place to help you grow and thrive as an individual? Every person should have one!

Finding a mentor(s) in your life may be one of the best things you can do for yourself! What’s a mentor? A mentor is a trusted friend (often someone older with more life experience) who can share their life with you and provide you with wise advice and perspective. A mentor can affirm, encourage, challenge, push, warn and even correct when necessary. Now, you may find it difficult to talk about your life with others, but finding and building relationships with others you trust – those who you can discuss the aspects of your life with – will provide you with rich benefits: for yourself, your marriage and your family – in the long run.

People who have a mentor have a greater chance surviving and thriving in life! In addition to finding a great mentor, one of the most fulfilling parts of life can be found in becoming a mentor to someone else. You don’t have to be perfect in order to be an effective mentor. You simply must be willing to enter into a meaningful relationship and to share your life with someone else...


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Health Tip: Teen Girls Need Lots of Sleep


Research shows that teen and pre-teen girls need more than nine hours of sleep a night. Without it, they become cranky, don't do as well at school, and may feel depressed.

Natural changes in the body may keep teenage girls wide awake long after they're supposed to be asleep, according to Girl Power, a national public education campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

So what can teen girls do to make it easier to fall asleep? Girl Power suggests keeping regular bedtime hours, relaxing before going to bed (avoid reading scary novels), playing sports in the afternoon but not right before bed, and avoiding foods and drinks that contain caffeine.


24 Hour Blackout in Canada

It's coming up...

Be part of something bigger than you. Connect with the world in a positive way. On April 7-8, 2006, plan to participate in 24hr Blackout, an exciting one-day cross-Canada event for youth.

For 24 hours, you and your youth group will unplug from the world’s power grid. No lights, fridges, computers or cell phones! Set the stage to explore the issues of consumerism and recharge on the greatest power source:
Jesus Christ.

Taking part in 24hr Blackout will help you:
  • Experience the life of 2/3rds of the world who live without social and economic power Reflect on your own attitudes toward consumerism and how it impacts the environment, global poverty and conflict
  • Equip yourself with essential critical thinking and ministry skills as you live as a Global Christian
  • Build community with your group as worship, discuss and work together serving your neighborhood
  • Grow as disciple of Christ as you challenge yourself to live out your faith outside of your comfort zone


The Da Vinci Factor - Josh McDowell


Mark it down. May 19, 2006 may well be the beginning of one of the most controversial periods the church has faced in years. Because that is the release date of The Da Vinci Code movie. And unless your young people can distinguish fact from fiction and discern truth from error, this movie (or what they hear about the movie) could turn seekers into skeptics and undermine the faith of young Christians even more than it is already. I say that because currently the majority of our kids’ beliefs are already critically distorted.

Distorted Beliefs

It’s not that the majority of our churched young people aren’t interested in spiritual things and don’t want a relationship with God. They do. But they hold distorted views about God, truth, the Bible, and what it actually means to be a true follower of Christ. Consider, for example, what our churched kids do and do not believe:
  • 63% don’t believe Jesus is the Son of the one true God.

  • 81% believe all truth is relative to the individual and his/her circumstances.
  • 51% don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead.
  • 68% don’t believe the Holy Spirit is a real entity.
  • 65% don’t believe Satan is a real entity.
Much of what they believe about Christ, truth, and the Bible comes from a view they have gleaned from the world around them. And when they are exposed to the distortions about Christ and the Bible from The Da Vinci Code movie, their already distorted views will go from bad to worse.


Record numbers flocking to Christian colleges


Growth lets schools be more selective, curb tuition hikes

Evangelical Christian colleges are attracting record numbers of applications this year in a trend that bodes well for an educational niche that was struggling to survive just a generation ago.

Applications have jumped between 8 percent and 10 percent at the 238 colleges that belong to the North American Association of Christian Admissions Professionals, according to Executive Director Chant Thompson. More applications mean more students on campuses next fall, he said, and that's good news since 25 percent of those schools are barely breaking even financially.

Excitement is running high among administrators at Christian campuses that have long strived to increase their enrollments and fill classrooms with high-achieving students.

On the other hand, keener competition means disappointment for some anxious seniors in high school who thought their credentials were good enough to get in.

>>Get The Full Story Here

Student Ministry Podcasts

A podcast is a web feed of audio or video files placed on the Internet for anyone to download or subscribe. Podcasters' websites also may offer direct download of their files, but the subscription feed of automatically delivered new content is what distinguishes a podcast from a simple download or real-time streaming. Usually, the podcast features one type of "show" with new episodes either sporadically or at planned intervals such as daily, weekly, etc.

Here are some youth ministry podcasts you might want to check out...
  • Simply Youth Ministry podcast with Doug Fields (with video too)
    Introducing the Simply Youth Ministry podcast with Doug Fields and friends. Why not download and give it a try...it's free...and somewhat entertaining. Just enough youth ministry so you don't feel guilty for not working.

  • Youth Specialties Podcast
    A monthly podcast to bring encouragement, training, new resources, and other great stuff to youth workers.

  • StudentCAST - Your Student Ministry Podcast
    Filled with training resources, commentary on student culture headlines, and interviews with "In the Trenches" youth workers like you - StudentCAST helps equip and encourage you as you invest in the lives of students.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Teens Crave Plastic Surgery


A third of teenage girls who crave a better body believe plastic surgery is the answer, a new study shows.

Nearly half of 15-year-olds found the idea of a tummy tuck or breast enhancement acceptable - while three per cent were already saving up for an operation.

Many hope to follow in the footsteps of schoolgirl Jenna Franklin, who caused controversy in 2001 by persuading her parents to pay for breast implants for her 16th birthday.

She changed her mind after bad publicity, and advice from a leading surgeon who advised her to wait until she was 18.

Nearly a third of girls actually wanted to have surgery, the survey of 2,000 15-year-olds by Bliss magazine revealed.

>> Read The Entire Article Here

Church setting becomes hip gathering spot


With the thud of music and the pulsating neon lights, the outdoor basketball court, video games and snack bar serving up free chicken wings, it’s the perfect hangout for kids.

But when the music video monitors situated throughout the building begin a 5-minute countdown, they’ll put the joysticks and basketballs aside.

The throng of youngsters — nearly 200 on this night — will move toward a worship area, where less than an hour later, 30 of them, in their hoodies and Jordan’s, “throwback” jerseys and Old Navy jeans, will walk to the altar and heed the call to give their lives to Jesus.

“My son says it’s a kid’s heaven in there,” said Michelle Lyon, a church member dropping off son Buck and his friend. “My pastor says we’re going to take the city for Jesus.”

>> Read The Full Story Here

I really think we CAN find the balance between creating an attractive atmosphere that appeals to students (not just the ones into videogames) and providing an impactful experince where teens are introduced to Christ in meaningful and challenging ways.

How do YOU do it? Leave a comment...

Jonathan McKee Responds to MySpace

Jonathan McKee of The Source For Youth Ministry has written a two-part article on the MySpace phenomenon and how it is influencing and affecting our students. Give it a read and draw your own conclusions... don't be in the dark about today's teens' favourite online hangout.

>>Read The Articles Here

Adults Must Stop Backing Up When Teens Need Them Most


Westley Clark is a doctor and a lawyer, no small accomplishment for a black guy who grew up poor in Detroit. He could have gone on to make plenty of money, no doubt, and never looked back. But he couldn't forget where he came from or ignore the devastated lives of those left behind.

Clark, 59, is director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That position gives him a unique perspective on one of the most serious problems ever to plague black America.

"From the age of 18 to 25, our kids go from being below the national average when it comes to crime and substance abuse to being above the national average," Clark said during a recent interview at his office in Rockville. "There are certain things in our community that seem to be working until that kid reaches 16 or 17. Then, all of a sudden, their involvement in crime and substance abuse shoots up. So what happens? What in our community suddenly disappears?"

To put it bluntly: Us.

>>Read The Full Story Here

Parent Discuss Fears of Teens' Internet Use


The news is filled with frightening stories about Web sites where teens post their pictures and personal information, raising parents' fears that their kids are putting themselves at risk. To explore the issue further, "Good Morning America" spoke to three mothers and their daughters, ages 13, 15 and 16.

The moms were most concerned about public access to the sites.

"I'm worried about sexual predators," said Charmaine Adams, whose daughter, Jordan, had a MySpace account. "I'm worried about them viewing my daughter's site, seeing where she lives, where she's at."

Adams was frightened when she saw how much personal information was on Jordan's Web site...

>>Read The Full Story Here