5 Reasons Millennials Stay Connected to Church   by Barna Group

September 17, 2013 – Everyone has an opinion about why Millennials are leaving the church. It’s a controversial topic, one that Barna Group’s researchers have been examining for a decade.

The topic was reignited this summer when blogger and author Rachel Held Evans wrote a piece about why Millennials leave church. Her editorial struck a nerve, sparking response pieces all across the web and generating more than 100,000 social media reactions in the first week alone.

Yet whatever one’s personal view of the reasons behind Millennials staying or going, one thing is clear: the relationship between Millennials and the Church is shifting. Barna Group’s researchers have been examining Millennials’ faith development since the generation was in its teen years—that is, for about a decade. During that time, the firm has conducted 27,140 interviews with members of the Millennial generation in more than 200 studies.

And while Barna Group’s research has previously highlighted what’s not working to keep Millennials at church, the research also illuminates what is working—and what churches can do to engage these young adults.

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5 Steps to Help Your Students Find Their Identity   by Christ Roberts


Students often associate their identity with the places they belong – their family, their sports team, their youth group, their class, their school or any number of other activities in which they participate on a day-to-day basis. As youth leaders, we’re always trying to find ways to help students find their identity in Christ.

Patrick Snow, a senior director with Christ In Youth, has five steps that he employs when helping students find their identity.

“The ultimate goal is to help students realize that they are a child of God and they belong in His Kingdom,” Patrick said. “Once they realize that, it changes everything – the way they think, the way they talk, the way they act … everything.”

1. Tell them where they come from. Young people need to understand that they were created by God. They can’t know their purpose, identity or value until they know who created them and that He did so for a reason. Accomplishing this can be as easy as telling the creation story.

2. Send them on a discovery of God’s creation.  Continue reading


Spirit Led Living   by Boyd Bailey

“So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel.’ Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”Zechariah 4:6

The Holy Spirit is God’s fuel for living. He leads, convicts, comforts and gives courage. On the other hand the world promotes power and might. The world’s approach is forceful: If the door is closed knock it down, if you have the power and authority use it to make things happen. Lack of faith can panic and prematurely force unrighteous results.

On the contrary, Spirit led living is about dependence. It is dependence on God rather than any other form of reliance. Money, might, and power are cheap imitations of God dependence. These temporal fortresses are fleeting. When all is said and done, they are undependable. Money, control and your title can be here today and gone tomorrow.

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Body Issues: Not Just For Girls Anymore   by Leneita Fix


There is a misnomer in America: Girls are the only ones who pick apart what they look like. However, did you ever notice in those Abercrombe & Fitch & Hollister ads that annoy us at the mall, there isn’t just a beautiful, half-naked woman.  Instead there with her is a “buff,” gorgeous guy, showing the world his six pack abs.

Think about these stats from the National Association of Eating Disorders, The New York Times and the Self Esteem Institute:

  • More than 40 percent of boys in middle school and high school regularly exercise with the goal of increasing muscle mass.
  • 38 percent of boys in middle school and high school reported using protein supplements and nearly 6 percent admitted to experimenting with steroids.
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.

The world is not just pushing our young women to look a certain way.  For a pudgy Middle School boy awaiting his growth  spurt, they are shown the “comic relief” in media has glasses and a little bit of weight. The nerd or geek is lanky and the one who “messes up.” We all “know” the one that “gets the girl,” is athletic, tall, slim and strong.

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9 Tips For Teaching Students   by Mark Driscoll


Do you have any strategies for preaching to a younger crowd? –Victor

Dear Victor, If you can teach students, you can teach nearly anyone.

I won’t pretend to be the world’s best student ministry teacher, but here are nine things I’d suggest from my experience as a pastor and a dad.

You have to get their attention the moment you step up to teach if you want to keep their attention. Start with high energy, a big question, or a big concept. Don’t ever, ever start with, “Hey, how are you guys doing?” Your lead pastor probably does that, everyone does that, and it’s nearly always the wrong way to start. We don’t ask people how they are—we tell them what God has said, which then changes how they are. Start strong. Nail your first word or line in your prep.

Students are not stupid. They can learn more than is often expected. Don’t dumb it down, just focus it in. Give them one big idea—sin, Scripture, the cross, Jesus’ divinity, the resurrection—something to focus the entire message around. Continue reading


Dealing With Sin In Students’ Lives   by Andy Blanks

When a student confesses a sin and asks for your help in working through it, how do you respond?

How we respond to students in this situation may very well play a major role in their ability and/or willingness to put the sin behind them and move on in their life as a Christ-follower. Here’s a few thoughts on how to help teenagers deal with their sin, and wrok through it:

Listen With Compassion, Not Judgment

All people sin (Rom. 3:23). And like Paul expressed so effectively in Romans 7, the struggle with sin burdens Christ-followers who in their hearts long to live right lives. Resist the urge to be self-righteous. See the students as a Christ-follower who desires to do right, but has given in to his or her sin-nature. Engage with empathy and compassion, not judgment.


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The 10 TED Talks Every Youth Leader Should Watch

by Rachel Blom


I love TED talks. They’re often inspiring, challenging and it’s a quick and easy way to get fresh perspectives and new ideas.

Here are the 10 TED talks that every youth leader should watch:

1. Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability

This is the ultimate TED talk in my opinion. It’s brilliant, it’s funny, it’s personal and it will completely change your perspective and paradigm.

2. Philip Zimbardo – The demise of guys

This is the TED talk that introduced me to the concept of arousal addiction. What an eye opener!

3. Peter Benson – How youth thrive

This talk from a non-Christian who is passionate about teens is such an encouragement. Continue reading


A Generation Of Firsts   by Tim Elmore


History is full of people who’ve gone first, especially during the last century. There is something about being first that tugs at the human spirit, and pushes it forward.

  • Neil Armstrong was the first human to walk on the moon.
  • Howard Perry was the first black man to enlist in the Marines.
  • Second Lieutenant Kristin Bass was the first female F-16 fighter pilot.
  • Roger Bannister was the first person to run a mile in under four minutes.
  • Ann Bancroft was the first woman to reach the North Pole on foot
  • Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Sergei Krikalev was the first cosmonaut to spend ten months in space.

Did you know you have some “firsts” on your campus as well? Your high school or college students are among a generation who’s the first to experience a number of realities. In fact, because they’re initiating these realities, they may present a challenge to your parents and teachers. Adults are grappling with how to raise this population of kids who grew up on-line, with a screen in their hands. The pixels and format of those screens have re-wired their brains: they think differently, react differently, communicate differently, and process information differently than adults. Some call them “screenagers.” Consider the following “firsts” they represent.

This is the First Generation of Youth Who:

1. Doesn’t need adults to get information.

Consider how this difference changes the role of an adult. Because information is everywhere, we are no longer brokers of data. They don’t need us for information, but for interpretation. We must help them make sense of all they know. Our job isn’t to enable them to access data, but to process data and form good decisions.

2. Can broadcast their every thought or emotion to those who follow them.

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How Teens Are Using Entertainment


With back to school season now upon us, we turn our focus to the teen consumer—an increasingly influential group with diverse entertainment interests—and how technology plays a central role in their interests.


The face of gaming isn’t what it used to be. In the U.S., the industry has captured a slightly more female, youth-oriented audience over time, and more and more younger kids are gaming these days. In 2012, gamers under the age of 18 comprised 35 percent of the total U.S. gaming audience, up from 30 percent in 2011. The 6-12 age group saw the biggest growth in that period—from 13 percent to 17 percent. This “next generation” of gamers is growing, and gamers under age 13 actually now account for 24 percent of the U.S. gaming population, highlighting a key group for game makers to watch in the next few years.

When it comes to tech, teens are arguably one of the biggest groups of early adopters, and they love portability. In our annual survey of 2,500 general population consumers (including game console users) published in March 2013, about half of teens who live in a household with an iPhone, Android phone or non-iPad tablet report playing games on the respective device, while approximately 60 percent of those with access to an iPad or iPod Touch use them for gaming. In addition, in a separate music study via 3,000 consumer online surveys, we found that online gaming ranked high in penetration among teens—approximately 34 percent have used online gaming services/stores in the last 12 months, which presents an interesting opportunity for the industry to expand its offerings and distribution to reach this growing and tech-savvy audience.

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