How to Consume Media the Right Way According to Walt Mueller by Tyson Howells


Your students cannot avoid it. Everywhere they go there is going to be music, movies, and tv shows.  So what do you teach them about media?

The bible says to avoid and hide from everything unless it is from a Christian label, right?

Actually it doesn’t.  What the bible does do is talk a lot about discernment.  It teaches that we are to discern what we are supposed to consume and what we are not supposed to consume.

We tend to not teach about discernment because it is difficult. –Difficult to teach and difficult to do.  And we avoid things that are difficult.

No one I know of does a better job of helping us teach students about discernment better than Walt Mueller.  His website, www.cpyu.org is an amazing resource.

Walt starts off by asking a great question, do you mindlessly consume or do you mindfully critique?  Do your students just turn off their brains and consume.  Most do and this is dangerous.

The key we need to teach our students is to mindfully critique.  This is the process that Walt suggests.  He calls it the 3d’s.

 1. DISCOVER what is being said

Can we teach our students to ask lots of good questions about media before they consume it.  Questions like;

  • What is the main lesson?
  • What worldview is being promoted?
  • Would you consider what you just saw as “good”or “bad”

It is by asking good questions that students start to understand what that particular piece of media is teaching.

 2. DISCERN through the filter of Scripture

After the discover process there is now a lot of information.  That is good but you have to do something with it.  Our students need to take all of this information and push it through the filter of scripture.

The lesson being taught or the worldview being promoted, what does scripture say about them?

Is the song talking about a man’s love for his wife?  I think scripture would approve of this.  Is the song objectifying woman and about the singer having sex with as many woman as possible?  I think scripture would disapprove.

The key is that scripture is our measuring stick for what is good and bad.

 3.DECIDE what to do

Now the key is to have students decide if they should or should not consume the media.  Do they want to consume something that is bad.  This process helps them to see if something is good or bad and decide accordingly.

Teaching our students to discern is a life long skill that they must have.  Telling them to just avoid media is unrealistic and unhelpful.

If you want to see this process put into action here is Walt Mueller using the process on the Beyonce video “Pretty Hurts”.

I encourage you to look at what Walt has to say and comment below on if you think this is a realistic approach to teach our students.


The Best Way to Have a Ministry That Pleases God  by 

Some Bible verses are so clear that their simple truth is undeniable, such as Hebrews 11:6 which says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (NLT)

In case you missed the deep, hidden meaning of the phrase “it is impossible to please God without faith” let me state it clearly. It is impossible to please God without faith. In other words, God has spelled out for us the kind of life that He finds pleasing. It’s not a life of achievement or good works or religiosity. It’s a life of faith. And if our primary motivation for ministry is pleasing God, then we need a ministry of faith.

The fact is, ministry is too unpredictable to be motivated by security. It’s too unprofitable to be motivated by money. It’s too demanding to be motivated by pleasure, and it’s too criticized to be motivated by fame. Our ministry should be motivated by the pleasure of God, and God is pleased when we have a ministry powered by faith.

Thankfully, the Scriptures clarify what faith looks like in ministry through at least six principles.

1. Faith is believing when I don’t see it.

Faith is essentially seeing the future in the present. Not much changes in our world until someone sees a different picture than everyone else. Every great achievement in the history of human civilization was once impossible, or understood to be impossible, until someone attempted it. So dream some great dreams for God and set some big goals.

2. Faith is obeying when I don’t understand it.

Has God ever told you to throw out a sermon you spent many hours preparing? Has He led you to witness to someone when you didn’t have the time? Or has He ever asked you to leave a comfortable church position for an unknown situation? Then you know what it’s like to try to obey God when you don’t understand Him or what He’s up to. It’s impossible to minister in faith without taking any risks.

3. Faith is giving when I don’t have it.

Giving and faith go hand in hand. It’s possible to give without growing in your faith, but it’s impossible to grow in your faith without giving sacrificially. It’s simply God’s means of growing us. There is a direct relationship between how I use my money and the spiritual power that I enjoy. When I loosen my grip and give resources away while trusting God to provide, He blesses my life.

4. Faith is persisting when I don’t feel like it.

In the early days of planting Saddleback, there were just a few of us who needed to do everything. As a Pastor, I was involved in everything that was happening. I not only preached the sermons, I also carried equipment and plants in and out and set up multiple buildings for multiple services. There were certainly times when the work became exhausting, but we persisted by faith, believing it would lead to seeing lives changed. And that’s just what happened.

5. Faith is thanking God before I receive it.

When Joshua led the people of Israel into their battle against Jericho, they marched around the city for seven consecutive days, and I would imagine that those were long days. But every day, they thanked God in advance for the victory they were going to enjoy. When we do this in ministry, it’s pleasing to God.

6. Faith is trusting God if I don’t get it.

God always hears and answers our prayers, but He doesn’t always answer the way we’d like. Ministering, even by faith, doesn’t exempt you from some of the circumstances that God will providentially allow in your life that are uncomfortable. In fact, it’s when we don’t see our circumstances changing the way we would want them to that our faith really grows. Anyone can trust God when things are going well, but real faith develops in the valleys of ministry.

You may be at a place in ministry right now where you’ve worked, you’ve obeyed, you’ve prayed and served and preached your heart out, but things aren’t going in the direction you’ve been hoping for. Remember that God is far more concerned about your character and whom you are becoming than He is about the numerical results you experience. He’s the Judge and He always judges faithfully. He is pleased with your believing, your obeying, your giving, your persistence, your thankfulness, and your trust regardless of the results you experience.


3 Deadly Conversation Killers by Ron Powell


I should know better but often I kill conversations without giving them a chance to start.

I’m finding that I am not the only one who does this. Parents, teachers, and youth workers shut down students before they can get a few sentences out of their mouths.

Of all the ways to kill conversation these are the three most deadly and #3 is the worst of all.

1. Giving Advice–”You know, what you really should do is…”

Before the teen has even started to spill their guts you have got them figured out and fixed. If haven’t noticed, students hate being a problem to be fixed and quickly dispatched. Nothing communicates that we think that they are still children than when we don’t allow them to think for themselves.

Giving advice when it isn’t asked for and even sometimes when it is asked for, cuts the conversation short. Here was an opportunity to get into that secret space where fears, longings, self doubt, and aspirations lie.  And I often miss it! By sorting it all out and expecting our teen to follow through on our brilliant scheme shuts the door to that place where they could safely allow us to come in and explore together.

Giving advice also robs the moment of seeing how a student processes thoughts and feelings. Active empathetic listening allows parents and others the opportunity for students to try to put their thoughts and feelings into words. It is that trusted place where they are so vulnerable. Telling students what to do when they begin to disclose slams that door. Sadly the next time that begin to open up they expect that the conversation will follow the same pattern. I have to admit, too often I have fallen into that exact pattern. I jump to conclusions and solutions when that wasn’t what my girls were looking for.

 2. Distraction –”Are you done?”

At dinner my dad could be looking right at me (or kind of, he had one eye that would often wander off in another direction.) But he would be sitting there hearing my story and interject, yes…yes…yes…. Quickly and curt like I was boring him with the details. I could tell he just wanted me to get to the end of the story and the story had better have some kind of a point! At the end of it all, his response was …. “And…”  Like he didn’t get the story. And when he didn’t get my story I was convinced that he didn’t get me. It made me wonder, “Why did I bother?” 

A distracted listener makes a student feel unimportant. One of my students used to have to shout to get her mom or dad’s attention away from their phone, TV or the computer. These moments of openness can become less frequent as a student gets older. If their emotions are met with only partial attention the message comes across clearly that they are less important than work or a television series.

 3.Criticism  “Why do you always have to do that?” –”Are you serious?” “–That’s wrong.”

I can just hear myself spouting off criticism and hurting my daughter. “That’s terrible. Oh man, if she was my daughter you know what I would tell her?””How can you say that? That’s not how a Christian thinks!” I have judged, interests, thoughts and feelings before they were completely formed. That shut down the conversation. I made my point and lost the opportunity to learn or to get closer.

When we criticize their friends or their music, they feel that we are criticizing them. Jumping on teens because the thoughts that they are expressing go contrary to our ideals or values will also shut them down. Our opinions that we express may help our teen to determine that it is not safe to share their thoughts with us.  They expect that they are only going to get shot down. The result? They tell us what we want to hear. They tell us on a need to know basis. And mostly, they keep to themselves and text their friends instead.

Now, this doesn’t mean that we  have to affirm every thing that comes out of their mouth but we can reserve judgement to a later date. As we hear them out to the end, we may find that their values are not that far off from what we would hope.  Or at least we get a window into their world where the shades would normally be drawn.

A Final Note:

Everyone says that we have to keep lines of communication open. Ironically, one of the hardest things is getting our teens to open up. An interrogation isn’t going to help. If we can hold off on jumping in to coach, teach or give advice, likely they will be more willing to trust us. If we consistently show more interest in our phone or demonstrate only partial attention, our kids will look for someone else who is more interested in their thoughts, feeling, and dreams. And, of course, if we have to critique, everything that they say they will become very selective concerning what they choose to share with us.

These three deadly conversation killers are hard to avoid. Maybe they are carry overs from how we spoke to our kids as children.  What are some of the ways you get teens talking?


6 Valuable Learnings in Youth Ministry  by Aaron Crumbey


Being in youth ministry I’ve had the privilege of learning a lot. And I can honestly say out of all the things I’ve learned there are some learnings that I feel like I will never stop growing in. Now, when I started this list I easily thought this could be a 10,000 word post, but no one would read a post that long. So here are a few of the things I’ve learned that I believe are valuable. I believe allowing God to grow me in these areas has made me a better youth worker. So are are 6 of 100 learnings I’ve had. haha

  1. Be Flexible. Majority of our day to day tasks in youth ministry are very random. It isn’t uncommon for my day to go from a brainstorm meeting, to a counseling session and then a hospital visit. Flexibility is one of the main ingredients to longevity in youth ministry, and it actually relieves the stress of ministry. Those who are a step by step, can’t miss a beat type of person, usually don’t last long in youth ministry. So be flexible.
  2. Go The Extra Mile. Make things the best that they can be. Consider the task you are assigned as the bottom floor. When given a task or project look for ways save time and money. Sometimes that means making sure you don’t have to make another trip somewhere or completing the whole task instead of just the part you where assigned.
  3. Attitude Is Everything. It is super easy to get caught up in the craziness of ministry especially when you are seeing the less attractive side of ministry for the first time. It’s important that you keep an attitude of thankfulness. This will require you to look past the craziness of seeing the not so attractive side of ministry, and focus on the life change that’s taking place. Also, now that you are on the other side you need to be aware of an attitude of pride and arrogance. It’s impossible to know and learn everything there is to know about the ministry during your time there. Keep a learners attitude of humility.
  4. It’s Not About You, It’s About The Students. This has everything to do with leading from a place of comfort. Serving students from a place of comfort ensures the inclusion of a few and exclusion of many. This is because you will most likely pour into, hang with, and allow to lead the students who you connect with best. The ministry will be all about you, and most likely you will end up with a ministry where everyone looks out for themselves, if it’s modeled in the leadership.
  5. You Are A Leader First. Remember you are a leader first and the authority you have to speak into their lives, is only as strong as your leadership. Your friendship with students is important, but your roll as a leader is more important.
  6. Time With Jesus Is Imperative. Just because you work in ministry doesn’t mean you are automatically being ministered to. You need to be just as active in the local church as the members. You should be serving in some capacity, attending bible study or small group, etc. It is critical that you are spiritually filled. Your time with Jesus will be something you will have to protect.

It is so important that you continue to stay open to a life time of learning and growing in ministry. I think ministering in a way that pleases God takes a complete entire life span. So keep learning and growing.


3 Sexting Dangers You Need to Discuss with Your Students
We were on a Youth Ministry Institute retreat. A female college student came to me in tears. One of her small group students had been caught by her mom taking a video of herself in the shower. Everyone was shocked. No one saw that one coming. The video was sent. There was no way to get it back before it went through the high school.
That was a few years back. It was the same time that the Pew institute released these stats.
39% of teenagers say they have sexted
51% female teens admit they feel pressure to sext photos of themselves
4% of teens who own smart phones ages 12 to 17 say they sexted a sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude image or video of themselves to someone via text message
15% of teens say they have been sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of someone they know in a text messaging on their phone
Some parents, youth pastors and para church workers were under the mistaken impression that this had gone away. They thought it wasn’t a problem for their kids. They were wrong
Recent statistics prove otherwise. see  http://ehs.siu.edu/her/_common/documents/prospectus/prospectus_1/hudson-prospectus.pdf  It shows that:
24% of American high-school age teens (ages 14 to 17) and 33% of college-age students (ages 18 to 24) have been involved in a form of nude sexting.
Sending semi-nude or nude photos is more common among teens girls. 22% of teen girls report sending images of this nature, while only 18% of same-age boys have.
15% of teens who have sent or posted nude/semi-nude images of themselves send these messages to people they have never met, but know from the Internet.
A study published in 2012 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicinefound that more than half of 14- to 19-year-olds have been asked to send a nude photo of themselves to someone, while 31 percent had done the asking, and 28 percent had followed through—higher numbers than those found in earlier studies.
So it is more common that we thought.
Where are the big dangers? Here are 3:
Danger #1  Revenge Pornography
Students need to consider “Who will see your sext?”
17% of sexters share the messages they receive with others, and 55% of those share them with more than one person.
In an article called the Naked Truth http://www.wfmynews2.com/news/article/269479/57/Sexting-The-Naked-Truth  Triad, NC– Recently, University of  Texas researchers surveyed 1,000 high school students, and 30 percent of them admitted to texting nude photos of themselves.
And if there is any question concerning the damage to the soul, hear this girl’s story from the news article
“It was full body and I wish to this day I hadn’t sent it because it changes everything.”
It was to a bitter ex-boyfriend. He shared her sexted photo with other students after a breakup. The shame and embarrassment led to a severe depression.
“I’ve tried cutting myself several times. I tried choking myself to make myself pass out and keep it there and just die,” explained the girl, who wants to remain unnamed.
The article continues to say that “On the streets, teens say sexting is a bigger problem than parents know.” They ask for face shot, and the next question would be can I have a full body shot,” explained another teenager.
After a break up, one in ten males will post an explicit image of their ex to the internet. The damage to the student can be irreparable as girls who get a copy of the picture or video often engage in shaming girls in this compromising situation.
Danger #2.  Sextploitation
In an Article in Teen Vogue Sarah Giacobbe warns, “Here’s what’s unsettling: As sexting has risen in popularity, the consequences have grown far more serious. According to estimates, hundreds of websites now specialize in the anonymous—and unauthorized—posting of girls’ explicit photos, often accompanied by details about where they live or go to school, along with links to their social media accounts.”
Hopefully teens have not forgotten the story of Amanda Todd the BC teen who committed suicide because she was being blackmailed by an online stalker. Sexting, snapchat and now the new app slingshot which shares videos that are supposed to disappear only add to the problem. SUP is another app that claims you can remote control your friends. It can have bad consequences.
Most students feel confident that they would never fall prey to a cyber-stalker. It is this false sense of security that makes them so vulnerable to sexting a boyfriend or girlfriend and having no control over where that image or video has gone.
Danger #3 Legal Action
Stephen Balkam of the Huffington Post explains:
“Let’s be clear. Sexting is a risky behavior with potential harms — both emotional and reputational for those involved. While some dismiss it as a modern form of flirting, sexting can have real world implications that can last a lifetime, particularly for teens.” He continues to say that teens sexting teens is not a crime. Not every state or high school sees it that way.
Sending or receiving a sexually suggestive text or image under the age of 18 is considered child pornography and can result in criminal charges in some states. Many states have passed legislation making sexting of a minor illegal. These laws are now being tested in the courts. Canada is in the process of passing some of the toughest legislation in the world in bill C-13.
Sexting is not harmless flirting. It can have serious legal consequences that students never consider.
Please Say Something
There was an ancient heresy spread in the church called Gnosticism. One branch of it believed that what you do with your body has nothing to do with the soul. Teens need to understand that what they do with their body can damage their soul. It is a clear form of sexual immorality causing guilt and shame.
Sending, receiving and redistributing sexts damage a teens reputation, and their soul. It is not a harmless form of flirting. It is not a joke. In many places it is illegal.
If you work with students on campus, or in a church, it is so important to get this message across. Let’s pray that they take it to heart. I doubt we will turn this trend around but I pray we can protect the teens that


Dear First-Time Kindergarten Mom   by Jai Wallace Tracy
It’s 12:30 in the morning. Are you still up?
Me, too. I mean, really, who can sleep?
Tomorrow (er, today) it starts. School. The first day. The. First. Day. Of. School. The one that has been circled on the calendar, blissfully hiding behind June and July. It’s really, tangibly here. Staring matter-of-factly at us without the slightest bit of tenderness. It’s here.
His backpack is filled. School supplies bought. (Twenty-four glue sticks? Seriously?) Her clothes are laid out. Honestly, everything is ready to go … except perhaps you. You and me, we’re not so sure about all this. We’re still walking around the house at 12:30 a.m. moving the backpack from floor to the stairs and back again because it needs to be in just the right spot.
And our minds keep reaching back to places that are dangerous to go with achy hearts: The first time we held him. Her first steps. Lost teeth. Bikes without training wheels.
The memories. They are quiet and loud all at once. Tonight they seem so fresh, so vivid. Like that day three years ago with the lady at Target. Remember? The one in the snack aisle? She smiled at us as we were wrestling a bag of Goldfish out of the hands of a screaming then 2-year-old .
“Enjoy it,” she said. “It goes so fast.”
The whole exchange left us mildly annoyed because, um, couldn’t she see this melted-down child? His mom seconds from loosing it? Really, we were enduring that moment, and it could not have gone by fast enough.But it did go. Only to be replaced by another moment. And another. Until one day, we looked up, and the meltdowns were over. We’re not really sure when or how it happened, but he wasn’t 2 anymore. Goldfish were replaced by tablets and neon Under Armour shirts. Princess movies and sleepovers.
And tonight (er, this morning) we find ourselves kind of wishing to be back in Target again and wondering how it had all gone so, well … fast?
That simple question tumbles into another one and another and still another …
The enoughs:
Did I hug you enough?
Did I love you enough?
Did I teach you enough?
The will yous:
Will you make friends?
Will you choose good food?
Will you be happy?
And the what ifs:
What if someone is mean to you?
What if you’re mean to someone else?
What if you forget to go to the bathroom?
What if you miss me so much you cry?
What if I miss you so much I do the same?
What if I blink and you’re 18 and starting your senior year?
What if it really does go so fast?
Just like Target lady said. Ugh. There she is again, smiling and making us paranoid about the fleeting moments of childhood.
“Enjoy it.”
“Enjoy it.”
Enjoy it?
“ENJOY it.”

Continue reading


Have You Noticed the People Whom God Has Called To Help You?  by Rick Renner
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. — 1 Corinthians 4:1
When I was first starting to study New Testament Greek many years ago, I pulled out my Greek New Testament one day and flipped it over to First Corinthians 4:1. There I discovered that the Greek word for “ministers” was the word huperetas — the Greek word that was used to depict the very lowest class of criminals. I knew Paul must have had a reason for selecting this word to describe “ministers,” but it made me wonder.
The huperetas of ancient times were the criminals assigned to live the rest of their lives in the bottom galleys of huge ships. In those galleys, they became the engines that moved the ships through the seas. As I pondered this, I could see so many reasons why Paul used this word to describe those of us who are serving in the Kingdom of God!
For instance, a great number of these criminals were held in the bottom galleys of ships. They were seated and chained to a bench along with other criminals — and together they shared common chains, held a common oar, and worked the same number of hours. They all had to provide equal labor to the task. Their entire lives became a group effort. They became inseparable from the other men who were on the bench with them. As I reflected on this, I thought of how God never calls you to do a big job all by yourself. He will call others at the same time to assist you. When you say yes to the will of God — when you jump into the middle of your assigned task and surrender your time, money, talents, and ideas to the Lord — you will discover that others will be right there by your side to help you with the task. You’re not the only one God has been speaking to!
The ships on which the huperetas served were so huge that it would have been impossible for one servant to move an entire ship by himself. It required the strength and effort of many servants working together in order to move those huge ships.
In the same way, you cannot accomplish what God has called you to do all alone! Look around you! Look at the people God has placed around you to help you fulfill your dream. Don’t ignore them, thinking you can do it alone. If your vision from the Lord is big, it will require others to become involved in what you are doing.
I wouldn’t be able to do what God has told me to do if I had to do it by myself. The vision is too big and demanding. That’s why God didn’t stop after He called me. He also called others to stand with me, pray with me, and stay for the long haul, working beside me “on the under-rowers’ bench.” Their call is just as real as my call. They will answer for their part just as I will answer for mine. And when rewards are given, they will be rewarded for how they helped “row the boat” and keep this ministry moving forward to reach millions of souls.
For example, the Lord has called me to take the teaching of the Bible to spiritually hungry people in the former USSR every day through the vehicle of television. But at the same time He placed this vision in my heart, He also called partners to pray for the program, pay for television time, and support our ministry in the United States. Without our partners, I could not do my part in the territory of the former USSR. They are equally as important as Denise and me and our ministry team.
How about the staff members of our television ministry outreach, such as our television producers, editors, and secretaries? How about the dedicated work force who answer letters from our television viewers? Since 1992, this television staff has answered millions of letters from those who have written to Denise and me as a result of watching our television program. Our television department has also edited thousands of television programs and distributed several hundred thousand separate showings to eleven time zones of the former Soviet Union.
These precious staff members are the ones who do the work behind the scenes so that these programs can go into millions of homes every day of the week. If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t be able to minister to the masses of people God has entrusted to me or help the hundreds of churches and pastors located all over the former USSR who look to me for apostolic guidance. I am so thankful for the others on my team whom God called to help me with this awesome task, because this job is too big for me to do alone!
Likewise, if you are going to fulfill the dream God has given you, you will have to learn how to cooperate with other key people — your partners in life — who can assist you in fulfilling that dream.
The huperetas in Paul’s illustration lived together and worked together. And when rewards were given for their extremely hard work, every man in the group was rewarded. Since they labored at the same task, shared the same oar, and sweated the same amount of sweat, the entire bench of workers was equally rewarded. On the other hand, if one rower on a bench was lazy and kept the whole bench of rowers from carrying their share of the load on the ship, every rower on that bench was punished.
In other words, the difference in one coworker’s attitude was so powerful that it had the ability to bring about victory or defeat for all of them. Since each member of the team was vital to success, their entire existence became a group effort. Therefore, they had to learn how to function as a team.
When these men rowed, the boat moved. When they stopped rowing, the boat stopped. These servants were the driving force behind the speed of the ship. If they ever stopped working hard at rowing, the ship stayed motionless in the water. It was totally dependent on the rowers in the bottom of the boat, which was powerless to travel anywhere without them.
Similarly, if you are going to move ahead with what God has called you to do — whether it is your ministry, your family, or your business — you must learn how to be a faithful servant, working together with others as a team “in the bottom of the boat.”
The bottom of the boat may not be the most pleasurable place to be. Serving day in and day out may seem monotonous and almost boring at times. But sticking with the vision and continuing to row will eventually produce eternal results for the Kingdom of God! So surrender to the plan of God, take your place in the ship, grab an oar, and start rowing! If you want to get to your destination more quickly, put your whole heart and soul into rowing that boat!
Lord, I thank You for the life-changing truths I just read! I want to take my place in Your plan for my life — and I want to give 100 percent of my attention and strength to see it come to pass in my life. With all my heart, I tell You that I want to follow You and to do whatever is required to see that vision come to pass in my life. And thank You for calling others to come alongside to help me move this vision along a little faster!


HOW TO | Make Small Group Party Kits  by 

I’ve got to show you something Our New Guy Erik has been working on.

So we really like it when small group leaders have parties with their small groups. Because we know, if a small group leader expects to make an impact in the lives of kids, they need to spend time with their few outside of church.

And because we know small group hangouts are so important to those relationships, we try to make it AS EASY AS POSSIBLE for small group leaders to make them happen.

Maybe I’ll tell you about all of those ways sometime. But for now, I just want to tell you about one of them – the thing New Guy Erik has been working on.


They’re super adorable and I love them.

THE BASIC IDEA: Give a small group leader (almost) everything they need to pull off a super fun and creatively themed small group hangout.

WHAT THEY GET: Each kit comes in a plastic milk crate, which small group leaders can grab from our Small Group Supplies Counter. The kits come with $25 worth of supplies, flyers to promote their party, instructions, and a list of suggested “extras” that they might want to buy or have kids bring along.

HOW IT WORKS: For now, Erik decided to make eight kits available. An SGL can take a kit, do the party, and bring back any unused or reusable supplies afterward. We’ll keep the kits stocked and change out their themes seasonally.

He’s made eight of them so far, but here are two for now…


A day of outdoor adventuring.


    • A map of local hiking trails
    • Compass
    • Bug spray
    • Sunscreen
    • Beef jerky (gross)
    • Trail mix
    • First aid kit (in case of scraped knees)
    • Flashlight

JUST ADD: Sneakers, water bottles, and a taste for adventure.



A night of foot soaks, facials, and nail-painting.


    • Bath salts (not the zombie kind)
    • Sugar scrub
    • Lotion
    • Cleansing facial masks
    • Plastic tubs for foot-soaking purposes

JUST ADD: Nail-painting supplies, wsh rags, and yummy treats.



We’re pretty excited about these little kits. They’re a super affordable way for us (and our small group leaders) to facilitate more small group hangouts.

Which means…
more fun.
more memories.
more relational connections with small group leaders.
and more opportunities for discipleship.

So that’s a win.


5 Ways to Cure the “Cool Kid” Curse by Tim Elmore


Believe it or not, Justin Bieber is merely a picture of so many others his age. For that matter, so is Miley Cyrus, and the list goes on and on. At 13, they were viewed by classmates with envy and admiration. Ten years later, the early signs of maturation and the advanced “cool factor” backfires. And you don’t need fame for it to backfire. You knew them as your classmates, and they were so not you. By young adulthood, they implode. So… what’s happening to these kids?

“The fast-track kids didn’t turn out OK,” writes Joseph P. Allen, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia. He is the lead author of a new study, published this month in the Child Development journal, that followed these risk-taking, socially precocious cool kids for a decade. During their high school years, their social status evaporated, the study reveals, and they began struggling. Continue reading