Leaders Are People Of Integrity  by Doug Franklin

What makes followers willing to completely trust a leader?  More often than not true trust is based on the integrity of the leader.  Leaders demonstrate integrity through their strength of character.  The effective leader must display a character worth following.

How do you measure someone’s integrity? The only way we as humans can get a fix on this is by looking at their actions.  By observing a person’s actions it is easier to tell what is important to them.

Integrity requires that you make a conscious decision to do what is right in all situations.  What you believe and think affects your actions.  But your actions reveal your heart.  Proverbs 27:19 states, “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”

One of the best ways to understand what integrity is all about is through the equation: Actions = Heart

People follow leaders with unquestionable integrity.  However, in any situation, when you violate your integrity, it will cost you something. As a leader, when you violate your integrity, it will cost you everything.  As a Japanese proverb warns, “The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.”


TOP 3 APPS for Youth Ministry  

by Josh Griffith

1. Evernote (FREE)
Evernote is a productivity app that syncs important documents in the cloud and on all your devices. It is incredibly robust and keeps everything from brainstorm notes, pictures you take, and even voice memos and delivers them to all of your devices. It’s a great place to work on talks, share documents, and even manage to-do lists. An incredible app for your phone, Web site, and computer—and the price is right.

2. HeyTell (FREE)
Communicate with your friends like a walkie-talkie. The best part is you can make a group and send a quick voice memo to all your volunteers at once. The interface is simple, one touch, and responsive. Even if someone isn’t a phone person, this is a perfect compromise.

3. Icebreaker Questions ($.99)
The only one on the list that costs actual money – but well worth it. Suggest it to your small-group leaders so they have a starting point for conversations and figure out how to talk to teenagers. The questions are fun and make it easier to get past that awkward pause while waiting for everyone else to arrive to group.

Plus 2 more.

4. YouVersion (FREE) – the best Bible app out there. The daily reading plans with reminders and notifications are super to keep you on track, too.

5. Pandora (FREE) – want to have a great playlist for before and after services? Download this app, turn on the TobyMac station, plug it into your sound system, and you’re set. Easy – there is an occasional commercial, so you might want to drop the $36/year to go ad-free, too. You might never buy another CD again!


Seven Better Questions You Can Ask In The Midst Of Adversity    by Michael Hyatt


I have several friends who are going through enormous uncertainty right now. Some are out of work. A few others are on the precipice of divorce. Still others have been diagnosed with cancer—one who is pregnant. In these situations, most of us ask, “Why is this happening to me?”

Years ago, two months after I became the publisher of one of our book divisions, we lost a major author to a competing company. This had a significant negative impact on our bottom line. At first, I was angry. Then I became discouraged. Finally, I realized I was asking the wrong question.

Instead of asking “Why did this happen?” I started asking, “How can this make us better?” Immediately, I sensed a shift in my spirit. It began energizing me. In retrospect, losing the author was one of the best things that could have happened to my division. We grew from the experience in ways that would have never happened otherwise.

I learned a valuable lesson: the answers we get are often determined by the questions we ask. If we ask bad questions, we will get bad answers. If we ask better questions—empowering questions—we will get better answers.

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Put Off. Put On.  by Alyssa Bethke                                                                                     (Four encouragements for those who struggle with eating disorders & body image)


As I was walking through the healing process with my eating disorder, a huge factor was transforming my thoughts. See our minds are a battlefield, and we have to constantly be on guard- to take every thought captive to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) It’s so easy to think a thought, and then dwell there- to let it take root in your mind and eventually let it dig its sharp claws into your heart. See I had believed lies about my body image, control, and eating for so long that they dictated how I saw myself, how I acted and how I felt. In order to find healing, I had to get to the root, and dig out those ugly lies, and replace them with truth. God’s truth. Put off. Put on.

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” God’s word is alive and active. It’s not just words on a page, but actually has power to heal and transform. God has breathed these words out, and He’s given them to us so we can be equipped for every good work. So we can be armed for war, prepared for the battle, ready to do what’s right.

The Lord revealed four truths to me during this time. Yes, I had heard them all before, but I never actually applied it to my life. Application is key. But what exactly does that look like? In this situation, it meant that I memorized these verses. I let my mind dwell on them. And when a lie popped into in my head, I quickly recited these verses to myself, read them, or started to preach them to myself. Sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud. (I know, I’m a little kooky!) Obviously I wasn’t perfect, and sometimes I’d let lies creep in. I still have to fight each day to put on God’s truth. But the Spirit lives in us beloved! In Him, we can daily fight for truth, daily preach the good news to ourselves. Don’t despair beloved. You are not alone in your battle. God fights for you. He’s given you every tool you need.

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Parents: A Word About Instagram   http://taylorandsarahbrooks.blogspot.com

(Blog post. Really good! Definitely worth reading!)

There is so much information out there about internet safety and you should definitely read up on that, but that’s not what I want to talk about.

Over the past several months, I’ve been noticing some interesting stuff on Instagram from your kids that I want to share with you.

“Hey, weirdo, why are you following my kids?” Good question, and I’ll get to that.

I am 25 years old, which is not just a fun fact, but important in the history of social media. MySpace started during my high school years, and Facebook started the year I went to college (when it was still just a site just for college students). So while my generation didn’t grow up with it, we were the first to use it. We’re bilingual, in a sense.

Your kids, on the other hand, don’t know a life without it and you’re doing your best to learn and keep up with it. So would you mind too terribly much if I acted as a bridge for a second? Give you some thinking material?

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Rubberbands   by Kurt Johnston


Over the years, rubber bands have made expected and unexpected appearances in our junior high ministry.

Rubber bands, and the multitude of strange uses they provide, are a wonderful reminder of a junior high ministry principle:

Junior Highers Will Get Excited About What The Leaders Make Exciting

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The Right Thing At The Right TIme    by Pete Wilson

You know what I struggle with these days. In a word? Procrastination.

Procrastination is the failure to do the right thing at the right time.

For most of us our problem is not that we don’t know what to do. Our problem is not that we deliberately refuse to do what we ought to do. We just don’t get around to doing it. I’m preaching to myself today, but here’s a few things I’ve found helpful.

1. Give Up Perfection.

One of the strongest links to procrastination is perfectionism. My friend Jon Acuff calls this the procrastinating perfectionist. Jon says “90% perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100% perfect and stuck in your head.”

Eccl. 11:4 “If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.”

 Stop waiting for…

The perfect day. The perfect plan. The perfect reason. The perfect person.

If you wait for perfection to pursue it will always paralyze. 

2. Buddy Up.

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Tips for Helping Kids Survive Tragedy   by Jim Burns


When tragedy strikes, children respond in a variety of different ways. If your child has experienced any sort of loss, it’s important to help that child through the grieving process. True, there’s a big difference between being jilted by a boyfriend or girlfriend and sorting out feelings after a school shooting or a terrorist attack. But the process itself remains fairly consistent.

1. Allow your children to acknowledge the crisis. This may not take very long – or it may go on for weeks, depending on the event. But the first step in helping a child work through the grieving process is to encourage them to admit there’s a reason for grieving. This may be a bit unsettling to some kids. They like a sense of consistency and order in their lives. Help them to take ownership of the change.

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Be Excellent   by Melissa Rau


Excellence. It’s not an arbitrary thing. Many people use this word like Bill and Ted did, much like some people today, especially youth, use the word ‘epic.’ Maybe the bar has been lowered, therefore ‘really good’ is equated with ‘excellent.’  Perhaps I’m getting caught up in semantics, but here’s what I’ve learned: You can have a ‘good’ ministry by accident. You can have a ‘really good’ ministry by accident. But excellence is NEVER an accident. Excellent ministries are only achieved with the following 3 things:

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