06.19.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now!

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com

Quotes:

Sometimes the interruption is the assignment. #furtick

As we work, God works. The more we surrender ourselves to him, the more we position ourselves to be used by him. #denison

Our nation and world will be changed. One person at a time. For the glory of His Name! #lotz

When you realize He sacrificed to give us life, you will start to say how can I sacrifice to give other people life? #keller

FYI:

1. 13 Ways You Can Equip Parents to Lead Their Children Spiritually… http://childrensministry.com/articles/equipping-parents/?utm_source=internal_children’s_ministry_resource&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=

  1. When someone says Christianity is intolerant…https://beardeddisciple.com/2017/05/30/christianity-is-intolerant/?utm_content=buffer35802&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
  1. 10 Toxic Behaviors That Will Ruin Your Small Group… http://www.ibelieve.com/slideshows/10-toxic-behaviors-that-will-ruin-your-small-group.html
  1. 12 YouTube Challenges Your Kid Already Knows About (See below)

Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org

The #1 Surprising Thing Your Church Needs to Know About Gen Z by Ron Powell

Child Behavior: When Nothing Else Works, Consider These 7 Strategies by Gary Direnfeld (Has good insight about behavior in general!)

How to Correct a Student’s Negative Perception by Tim Elmore

Why Porn Might Bring Down This Generation of Young People and My Child Was Caught Viewing Porn! What Do I Do? by Jim Burns

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.youthworker.com/mini-movies/66448/discover-the-kingdom

http://www.youthworker.com/mini-movies/67142/fools-gold

Here are 2 just for you:

How to Add Value to Others

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.” Matthew 4:23

When people think about you, do they say to themselves, “My life is better because of that person”?  Their response probably answers the question of whether you are adding value to them.  To succeed personally, you must try to help others.  That’s why Zig Ziglar says, “You can get everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want.” How do you do that? How can you turn your focus from yourself and start adding value to others? You can do it by:

  1. Putting others first in your thinking.
  2. Finding out what others need.
  3. Meeting that need with excellence and generosity.

Passing the Trust Test

“Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds, but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.”  Proverbs 28:16 (The Message)

People today are desperate for leaders, but they want to be influenced by someone they can trust, a person of good character. If you want to become someone who can positively influence other people:

  1. Model consistency of character. Solid trust can only develop when people can trust you all the time
  2. Employ honest communication. To be trustworthy, you have to be like a good musical composition: your words and music must match.
  3. Value transparency. If you’re honest with people and admit your weaknesses, they appreciate your honesty. And they are able to relate to you better.
  4. Exemplify humility. People won’t trust you if they see that you are driven by ego, jealousy, or the belief that you are better than they are.
  5. Demonstrate your support of others. Nothing develops or displays your character better than your desire to put others first.
  6. Fulfill your promises. One of the fastest ways to break trust with others is in failing to fulfill your commitments.

12 YouTube Challenges Your Kid Already Knows About by Christine Elgersma

commonsensemedia.org

It’s a tale as old as time: We see a lot of people wearing/doing/saying something and we want to try it, too. Back in the day, it was saying “Bloody Mary” into a mirror at slumber parties. Today, it means viral social media stunts. Though adults get caught up, too, kids are especially susceptible to peer pressure and FOMO (fear of missing out). To them, what was once a double-dog dare is now a popular YouTuber eating a hot pepper just to see what happens.

Called “challenges,” these stunts range from harmless to horrifying: There are the silly ones (such as the Mannequin Challenge); the helpful ones (like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge); and the slightly risky ones (such as the Make Your Own Slime Challenge). But sometimes, challenges are downright dangerous, resulting in physical injury — and possibly even death. So what’s a parent to do?

Below are some of the hottest challenges that have swept social media; some fade and then make a comeback. In most cases, kids are watching these challenges on YouTube purely for entertainment, but some challenges inspire kids to try them out themselves. (In fact, the safe ones can be fun for families to try.) Others — like the Backpack Challenge — are often done with the goal of filming other kids and broadcasting the results online. While there could be a new one as soon as tomorrow, they do seem to fall into certain categories, and there’s some universal advice that parents can follow, no matter the challenge.

Funny

Try Not to Laugh Challenge. Popularized by YouTubers like Markiplier, this trend involves watching short, funny videos and trying not to laugh. It’s simple and harmless, though there’s often a lot of laughing at others’ expense.

Whisper Challenge. You may have seen this one on Jimmy Fallon: One person wears headphones playing loud music. The other person says a phrase out loud, and the one listening to music tries to read their lips and repeat the phrase. Hilarity ensues.

Mannequin Challenge. A group of people gets together, poses, and freezes in place, and someone with a camera walks around recording the scene while music plays. Even celebrities have gotten in on this one, including Michelle Obama, Ellen, and Adele.

Food

Eat It or Wear It Challenge. This one takes some prep: Put some different foods in separate bags and number them. A player chooses a number, checks out the food, and decides to eat it or wear it. If they eat it, they can dump the remainder on another player’s head. If they choose to wear it … you can guess what happens. Other than a huge mess (and food allergies), this one is low-risk.

Hot-Pepper Challenge. You can probably guess: Eat a super hot pepper — like a habanero or a ghost pepper — while you film yourself suffering and chugging milk to try to stop the burning. Though most people get through it unscathed, there have been a few reports of people ending up at the hospital.

Cinnamon Challenge. Eat a spoonful of cinnamon, sputter and choke, and record the whole thing for others to enjoy. Again, though there may be some temporary discomfort, most kids won’t get hurt — but some have.

Physical

Bottle-Flipping Challenge. Partly fill a plastic water bottle and toss it in such a way that it lands right-side up. This one got so popular they made apps to replicate the experience!

Backpack Challenge. This one’s a little like running a gauntlet. One person runs between two rows of people who try to hit you with heavy backpacks. The goal is to make it to the end without falling down … but no one ever does. Of course, it’s easy for kids to get hurt doing this.

Kylie Lip Challenge. Oh, Kylie Jenner — and her lips. In an effort to replicate them, kids would put a shot glass over their mouths, suck in, and make their lips swell artificially. Not only can it cause damage, but it also can be an indicator of body insecurities and the emulation of impossible beauty standards.

Frightening

Choking/Fainting/Pass-Out Challenge. To get high or faint, kids either choke other kids, press hard on their chests, or hyperventilate. Obviously, this is very risky, and it has resulted in death.

Salt and Ice Challenge. If you put salt and ice on your skin, it causes burns, so the purpose of this trend is to endure it for as long as possible.

Blue Whale Challenge. Of all these challenges, this one is the scariest and the most mysterious: Over the course of 50 days, an anonymous “administrator” assigns self-harm tasks, like cutting, until the 50th day, when the participant is supposed to commit suicide. It is rumored to have begun in Russia, and there were reports that suicides were tied to the trend, but those are unverified and likely not true. Apps related to the Blue Whale Challenge were said to appear and were then removed. The biggest concern is teens who are at risk and may be susceptible to trends and media about suicide because even if the challenge began as an isolated incident or hoax, it could become real.

What to Do

Talk about it. Though we can’t always be with our tweens and teens to prevent dangerous behavior, our words really can stay with them. Say, “If you ever want to do an internet challenge, check with me first.”

Get them to think. Help your kid think through the challenges and whether they’re safe or have potential risks. Say, “Walk through each step and figure out where things could go wrong.”

Acknowledge peer pressure. Today’s kids think of internet personalities as their peers, so seeing kids on YouTube doing a challenge could influence your kid. Say, “Why do you want to do this? Is this a video of yourself that you really want out in the world?”

Stay (somewhat) up to date. Ask your kid about what’s happening in their lives when they’re not distracted — even when it seems like they don’t want you to. Sometimes kids are more willing to talk about what’s going on with other kids than with themselves, so pose questions about friends, school, and trends. Once the conversation is open, you can get a sense of what your kid thinks about the latest craze — and if they’re safe. Keep an open mind and intervene if you’re concerned. Say, “Would you consider doing a viral stunt if someone asked you? Which ones would you do and not do?”

Model responsible online habits. Some parents are the ones recording their kids taking these challenges, so make sure your involvement sends the message you intend. Today it might be harmless, but tomorrow it might be more dangerous. Help your kids make the distinction so they can stay safe. Say, “Let’s do a funny challenge together, but we’ll only film it if you want to, and we’ll only share it with family.”

Blessings, Kendall

06.19.17

Child Behavior: When Nothing Else Works, Consider These 7 Strategies by Gary Direnfeld

Gary direnfeld.wordpress.com

Parents are saying discipline, consequences, time out and stickers don’t work. Parents are presenting as more and more defeated when it comes to managing the behavior of their children. They have a long list of tried that – didn’t work scenarios including many of the more popular parenting programs. What’s up with that? Why does it seem near impossible to get kids to listen? What can parents do differently?

To know what to do differently, we first need to appreciate what’s at play creating challenges out of children’s behavior and undermining parental authority. This brief history of the world is needed – or at least a brief history of the past 70 years. It goes like this:

1950’s: Intact two parent families with a primary breadwinner and a primary homemaker;

1960’s: Women’s Movement begins and gender equality begins to be examined publicly;

1970’s: No-fault divorce appears in many jurisdictions, divorce rate begins to climb;

1980’s: Praise your kids was the new mantra in parenting;

1990’s: As the economy tanks and rebounds, good paying jobs go and more families require two income earners. At issues is latch key kids;

2000’s: From computers in bedrooms, to video games to the introduction of the iPhone and then android operating system, technology consumes our attention and this generation;

2010’s: Technology abounds and usage has increased throughout all age groups, right down to infants with strollers adapted to hold iPads and wristbands to count our every step. We tell children the world is a dangerous place and they need to stay  electronically tethered to stay safe. We wonder why children generally are more anxious than ever before.

Consider the above from the experience of the child and its impact on child development. Despite the good that is brought about from these changes, there are still unintended negative consequences.

Children have gone from having continuous access to a parent to marginally direct contact nowhere near the levels of the good ol’ days. Now this is not to suggest that those olden days were necessarily good or bad, but that from a child’s perspective they have less and less access to support, supervision and a parental role model for the transmission of morals and values. These days, even when we have proximity to each other, with both parent and child answering the pull of the smart phone, we are not really with each other.

We are less and less available to help them when they do fall, keep them directly safe from harm and simply  enjoy each others company – all key to the child feeling safe, secure, loved and of value. To add, as we over praise and don’t hold children as accountable as before, their sense of they can do no wrong grows. Bring in a mix of parental guilt for lack of availability assuaged with consumer purchases and we add indulged to the list of growing concerns. All at once we appear hyper-vigilant, yet remarkably disconnected.

We are so removed from our kids as a society and all due to social, economic and technological change that we don’t realize the creeping disconnect that has infected child development. Society has shifted and children’s mental health is the price. Our kids are more and more footloose and fancy free independent and without the real maturity to direct appropriate behavior over the wants of impulses driven by immediate satisfaction.

Parents, feeling embarrassed or shameful or guilty about their child’s issues fear being blamed. Parents and teachers are pitted against each other as schools try to manage the fallout of all this in the classroom and parents seek to hold the educational system accountable to socialize their kids.

It’s time to stop the madness, take a step back and recognize that these seismic shifts in society yield unintended consequences. We have a generation of rudderless disconnected kids. Of course in this context the usual parenting strategies become ineffective. To begin with, our children don’t recognize our authority and many harbor an unstated resentment for our lack of connection. It comes out as behavior. Thus when we seek to punish, take things away, badger and discipline, from the child’s perspective we are only widening the disconnect and escalating the resentment.

Managing child behavior has and will always be determined by the quality of the relationship between the adult and the child. The degree to which we are connected to our children, provide directly for their sense of safety, security and love, we have greater influence and legitimacy in their lives. It is time to restore those connections. Bear in mind, it will seem a tad weird to the child for whom this may be a new experience given their upbringing in the past ten years, versus ours of some 30 years ago.

The parenting strategies to re-mediate child behavior and mental health concerns of this age and time are all about learning how to connect meaningfully as determined from an emotional and attachment perspective. Without going into the theory of this, consider these practices:

1.Turn off your technology when you walk though the door. Hunt your child down and give them a kiss hello before anything else.

2.Have technology free periods of the day/week with your child.

3.Count the number of times you have a meal with your child. Going back some 50 years, and out of 21 opportunities a week, the number back then would have been near 21. Whatever your count, consider how you can increase it.

4.Take your child’s face gently and directly between your hands and tell your child outright, you love her/him. Do so daily.

5.Keep the tablet or smart phone out of the bedroom at least at bedtime. Buy an old fashioned alarm clock if needed.

6.Resist consumer purchases when begged by your child or if to assuage your guilt. Instead, spend time with your child when you feel triggered to make a purchase on their behalf.

7.When your child acts inappropriately, think less about the consequence you will levy and the fight to hold them accountable and think more about sharing a little disappointment and that you think they are better than that. Let your child know you love him or her but that seeing the misdeed makes you feel sad. Do not come from a place of anger or hostility, but concern and love. Label your feelings so that your child may come to understand his or hers. Connect emotionally.

Of course we value our kids and want what is best for them. The issue isn’t bad parents, but these societal shifts acting beyond our awareness. Societal changes have subtly interrupted parental availability, connection and influence. These 7 strategies are all about counter-balancing and reclaiming the parental role to enable connection. Parents can begin the process at home. The 7 strategies are a start.

As odd as it seems, your kids may find the change unsettling at first. They may try to resist. They are used to getting what they want, acting with limited accountability and believing they do not wrong. Those attitudes have been built in structurally through the fabric of societal change.

The challenge of parenting today is recognizing and working in the midst of that changing tide and not being driven off course by the resistance of the child who may not want to give up the trappings of an indulged lifestyle. It is as if the child needs to learn that good relationships and emotional connections really do feel better than stuff or things.

Finding ways such as suggested above is the antidote. Being connected to your kids through direct availability is key.  With an intact and meaningful connection, parents may not even need many of the discipline strategies we used to talk about. We will have settled the dis-ease and underlying resentment affecting so many children today. We may just all feel better and be better as we get connected. Give it a try.

Food for thought? I would love to read your comments. Please post them below and please share this blog with the links provided.

06.19.17

Why Porn Might Bring Down This Generation of Young People and My Child Was Caught Viewing Porn! What Do I Do? by Jim Burns

homeword.org

Perhaps pornography, more than any other issue of today’s culture, has the greatest chance of bringing down the morals and values of this generation. Studies tell us that the greatest new users of pornography are twelve- to seventeen-year-old boys. The girls, however, are catching up. All the while, the multi-billion-dollar pornography industry is reaching into the souls of this generation and wreaking havoc. It is so powerful that it can snatch any kid in any house today.

A few years ago, a thirteen-year-old boy at our church was looking for a new baseball glove online. There used to be a large sporting-good chain in our area called Chicks Sporting Goods. We all called it “Chicks” for short. He innocently typed the word “Chicks” into a search engine, thinking he was going to find the store’s new baseball glove collection. What he found were pornography sites, and plenty of them. His first exposure to porn took him on a journey that caused him to daily, sometimes for hours at a time, look at awful porn. This was a good kid, from a strong family, with high morals, and he just got caught in the maze of porn addiction. When the family found out (they began to suspect something when he was on the computer in the middle of the night and his grades were dropping), they did the right thing and got their son help. However, that young boy will have thousands of vivid images stored in his brain and subconscious.

One of the many problems of viewing pornography is that your mind takes a picture of the image. And sadly, millions of young people today have very inappropriate images stored in their minds. Pornography is extremely addicting, and for many it can escalate. Here are the stages of pornography addiction progression:

  1. Viewing pornography
  2. Addiction
  3. Escalation
  4. Desensitization
  5. Act out sexually

In today’s world, kids cannot help but see very unhealthy sexual images. As parents, you can help your kids see the negative consequences of viewing pornography.

Information on the effects of porn is very prevalent today. Needless to say, pornography is fantasy. Fantasy and pornography are closely related links to sexual addiction. Pornography is a tool for going beyond reality, and, once used, it is difficult to live without. Sadly, sexual addiction among young people is growing, and for many, it becomes a strong obsessive compulsion similar to the intensity of alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions. Sexual addiction breaks families apart, causes people to view the opposite sex as objects, and tears at the very moral fiber of really good people.

The days are over when pornography was confined to a dark section of town at XXX-rated movie theaters. Pornography is distributed through what was once safe channels, like cable TV, bookstores, phones, and of course, the Internet. As parents, we must be intentional to counter this influence with love, example, and instruction. Otherwise, someone else will teach our children about pornography, and the visual aids they might use may be so enticing that they lure our kids into a fantasy world full of guilt, shame, and remorse. Pornography is not safe, and we can’t assume our kids will never be tempted. Being proactive, not “preachy” or panicked, is the best way to help your kids make healthy decisions about their viewing practices.

My Child Was Caught Viewing Porn! What Do I Do?

The shock, shame, and anger that first takes place when you stumble upon the fact that your child has viewed porn is understandably terrifying. Every parent hopes their child will live with sexual integrity, and when we hear the statistics of kids and porn it can be disheartening. Yes, the average age of a child viewing porn in the United States is age 11 and there isn’t a mother or father around whose heart doesn’t break when we hear that fact. So what do we do?

Here are 5 tips for handling the almost inevitable fact that your child will look at porn whether on purpose or even accidentally.

1. DON’T FREAK OUT

I know you may want to. Our natural reaction is to panic, but too much emotion or anger will only complicate the matter. So take a deep breath, and realize it is not the end of the world. Most kids who view pornography don’t become sex offenders.

2. MAKE THIS A TEACHABLE MOMENT

When you imagine the end for your kids, what you truly want is to help them develop a healthy, positive view of sexuality. Sometimes, one of the most effective ways to teach healthy sexuality is to help them understand that “it’s not that” (pornography), but “this”(God-honoring, positive sexuality). Use the poor choice of looking at porn as a positive opportunity to teach them the beauty of God-given sexuality and why we wait until marriage and adulthood.

3. CREATE CONSEQUENCES WITHIN REASON

If stumbling upon porn was truly accidental there should be no consequence; but if they chose to view a porn site then yes, developing boundaries with consequences for their actions is the right thing to do. But do it without shaming them, and create the consequences as a boundary to keep them from constant porn use and, more importantly, help them make better decisions. For the first offense, this might mean taking away a mobile device and adding a blocking filter along with regular monitoring by a parent or parents.

4. TEACH POSITIVE, HEALTHY SEXUALITY

The prescription for making better decisions about sex is for parents to proactively teach their kids healthy sexuality. All studies show the more positive healthy sex education is communicated in the home, the less promiscuous kids will be. So don’t just have one conversation. Make it an ongoing dialogue.  Sure there will be awkward moments. That’s okay, sexuality can be awkward. I write books on the subject, and my own kids have mocked me plenty of times for those ongoing conversations.

5. FIND HELPFUL RESOURCES

There are excellent resources to equip you to help your kids develop sexual integrity, and even in the area porn addiction. I always suggest you find Christian resources that stay true to your values to come alongside you. A few of my go-to websites are CovenantEyes.com, xxxChurch.com and of course HomeWord.com for “Pure Foundation Resources” for ages 3 to adult.

In this digital world, it is harder than ever to protect our kids’ eyes and minds. So start the conversation early and have it often.

06.12.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Show me a way to get more things done with my time. When you arrive in the morning begin at once on No. 1 and stay on it until it is completed. Recheck your priorities, then begin with No. 2 . . . then No. 3. Make this a habit every working day. #maxwell
 
Knowing someone’s story wrecks your ability to judge them. #acuff
 
The Christian living a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ is fearless, regardless of the situation. #chandler
 
 
FYI:
 
3. My Child Doesn’t Believe in God. Now What?… http://www.christianparenting.org/articles/child-doesnt-believe-god-now/?utm_source=Christian+Parenting&utm_campaign=8cabb73999-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_08&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_64355cce23-8cabb73999-273558069&mc_cid=8cabb73999&mc_eid=a5401c43e5
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
6 Reasons Your Teen’s Life is More Stressful Than Your Own by John Nicholls
Ten Ideas to Build Confidence in Teens by Tim Elmore (I thought there was some good stuff in here for core group time!)
How to Pass Your Faith to Your Kids by Jim Burns (Obviously for parents… but still good for us!)
How to Undo Our Biggest Mistake in Leading Students by Tim Elmore
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 

SHARK SIGHTINGS! by Kurt Johnston

We should have seen it coming.

A few years ago something new began to happen. Sightings and rumors of close encounters with juvenile great white sharks along the local beaches here in Orange County, California began happening from time to time. Not to worry, we were told. After all, “juvenile” sharks are relatively harmless and pose no serious threat.

Fast forward a few years. Shark sightings have become a fairly common occurrence, and a couple of weeks ago the unthinkable happened: A female surfer was attacked by a 15-foot adult great white shark at a local surf spot…the same place I’ve surfed since I was a teenager.

We should have seen it coming.

In an interesting way, this whole scenario reminds me about youth ministry. Specifically, the tendency I have to notice something that seems amiss, or has potential to cause problems down the line yet I chose to ignore it in the hopes that it’s relatively harmless and poses no serious threat. And more often than not, I end up getting “shark bit” a few weeks, months or years down the road by the very problem I should have seen coming.

YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT…

You should have seen it coming.

I’d like to give you a homework assignment before the busyness of summer kicks in. Take a look around your ministry for a few juvenile great white sharks. Small, seemingly harmless, threats to your ministry that you’ve ignored up to this point. Identify them and jot down a timeline and plan for addressing each one as soon as possible.

After all…juvenile sharks are easier to deal with than 15-footers.

What Is A Christ-Centered Life?

“Christ-Centered” – it’s a phrase we love to use. It’s probably in the mission statement of your church and in the title of a book you own.

But “Christ-Centered” is a lot easier to talk about than to live, isn’t it? In the mundane moments of everyday life, a lot of other things compete with Christ for center stage.

Today I want to share four words that have helped mold my understanding of what a Christ-centered life looks like.

1. SOURCE

A Christ-centered life begins with realizing that the source of everything we are is the Lord. He created us, he owns us, he gifted us with talents, he authors our story, and every blessing that we receive comes from him (Gen 1, Acts 17:26, James 1:17)

Additionally, Christ is the source for our daily righteousness. We have no internal desire or moral ability to live up to biblical standards on our own, but in Christ, we have everything we need for godly living (2 Pet 1:3).

2. MOTIVE

A Christ-centered life means that a Person is the motivation for everything we think, say and do. Many of us leave little room for Christ in our Christianity. By that, I mean that our ability to “keep the law” or our pride in historic tradition is what defines our faith, not the person of Jesus.

Is your Christianity intimate and personal? Do you want to know Christ? (Phil 3:10) Do you want to be part of his work? Do you want to please him? Do you want to incarnate his character? A Christ-centered life is deeply intimate and motivated by relationship.

3. GOAL

A Christ-centered life has one ultimate goal: that Jesus gets the glory. It’s not wrong to pursue personal goals, but the glory of Christ is the orienting compass that gives direction to all others.

Because we want Christ to be known, honored, worshipped and obeyed, we submit every other attainable goal to him. Our decisions are no longer controlled by selfish desires, but by new desires we get from his love (2 Cor 5:14-15).

4. HOPE

A Christ-centered life finally puts all our eggs in the basket of the Lord. We know that this life is not all there is, and that an eternity is coming (1 Cor 15:19, Rev 21:4).

But a Christ-centered life is more than just a ticket out of hell. We have hope in the here and now, because Christ has promised his presence and grace until we go home.

Ask yourself: is my life Christ-centered?

Is Christ my source for life? Is he the motivation for everything I do? Is his glory my goal? Is he my hope, both for today and for eternity?

Like I said at the beginning, a lot competes for center stage in our hearts. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus accepts us and forgives us when he is not at the center.

Our Savior patiently walks with us and fights for us as we progress to make him the main focus of our life!

Blessings, Kendall

06.12.17

6 Reasons Your Teen’s Life is More Stressful Than Your Own by John Nicholls

washingtonpost.com
I am the father of four very patient teenagers, two still living at home. They indulge my stream of dad jokes with a wry, sympathetic smile. My unfavorable comparison of their music tastes to the golden age of late-’70s classic rock is generally tolerated, perhaps with the occasional eye roll. But one day, their patience finally snapped after I delivered a particularly eloquent rant on how easy their lives were compared with my stress-filled adult existence. I wanted to swap!My daughter and son staged what can only be described as an intervention. They sat me down at the dining table and explained just how stressful their lives were. It was an eye-opening experience.

Despite living with these young people and observing the ups and downs of their daily lives, I had still failed to grasp many of the sometimes subtle pressures — biological, social and psychological — that make being a 21st-century teenager so complicated. True, they may not have mortgages or dependents of their own, but that’s not to say their lives are always easy.

Teenage sleep deprivation is real. “Sending kids to school at 7 a.m. is the equivalent of sending an adult to work at 4 in the morning.” — William Dement, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University. According to a study carried out by Brown University School of Medicine, ninth- and tenth-grade students should get nine hours of sleep each night to maintain optimal alertness. However, after surveying 3,000 high school students, researchers found that, on average, students managed only about 7.5 hours of sleep on a school night. This sleep deprivation was even more pronounced in high school boys than in girls.

Part of the problem is that even if students try to achieve nine hours of sleep each night, their own bodies may be working against them. Studies show that teenage circadian rhythms run around two hours behind those of the average adult, turning them into night owls who struggle to wake in time for school each morning. For this reason, early school start times are associated with significant sleep deprivation in adolescents, which can lead to a decline in performance, memory lapses and mood swings, as well as behavioral problems.

Hormones, anxiety and depression are on the rise. I admit that teenage hormones (and the strong emotions they create) can be stressful for the adults in their life. However, imagine carrying around that bundle of emotions with you 24/7. It’s an exhausting prospect. And it’s not just the hormones: rapid growth spurts, periods, acne and unreliable vocal cords can all add to a feeling of being out of control, which can trigger a cycle of anxiety and depression in teens.

In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers found that the prevalence of major depressive episodes in adolescent children in America increased from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 11.3 percent in 2014. The study also notes that the risk of depression sharply rises as children transition into adolescence. Adolescent girls are more likely to suffer from depression than their male counterparts, with the prevalence rising from 13.1 percent to 17.3 percent over a 10-year period from 2004 to 2014.

Teens’ lives are not their own. In traditional schooling, many aspects of a student’s life are decided for them – from what subjects they study to what they wear at school and what schedules they follow. This lack of control can lead to stress. Adults have the autonomy to do as they please, but if teenagers try, it is called rebellion.

In a report published by the Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, researchers found that students tend to try harder and enjoy school more when they work toward their own ideals of perfectionism. In other words, when students set their own expectations for themselves and try to achieve them — effectively directing their own destiny — they are usually happier and more motivated.

You have one boss, your teenager has six. Imagine having six bosses, all with large amounts of power over your daily life and future. Each boss has different expectations, ways of working, levels of competency and degrees of emotional intelligence. And if you don’t satisfy each one, your career is on the line.

A teenager will typically have to deal with six different teachers who are effectively their “bosses” – not to mention parents or guardians. If an adult has a poor boss, they have the means and ability to move to another job. A typical teenager doesn’t have such options.

To complicate the issue further, researchers found last year that stress levels among teachers could contribute to student stress. After measuring cortisol levels in elementary school students, researchers learned that children showed higher levels of this so-called stress hormone when they were being taught by teachers experiencing burnout. Another survey by Gallup in 2016 found that 46 percent of teachers in America reported high daily stress levels, which means this problem could be more common than thought. What’s more, when teachers are stressed, students show lower levels of social adjustment and academic performance.

This, of course, isn’t to say that all teachers are terrible, stress-inducing people in our children’s lives. It is simply a reminder that a stressed-out teacher — or any adult in their lives — could be a source of much angst for your already hormonal teenager.

The dilemma of standing out while fitting in. The struggle for identity is hard. Teenagers like to be different, but at the same time they want to fit in. Because of this, they often face pressure from peers, parents and society to behave a certain way to feel accepted and valued by those around them.

The Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois discovered in a study of nearly 500 adolescents that peer-related stress contributes to depression in youths. Teachers have also observed that peer stress negatively affected students’ academic performance and overall emotional well-being. What’s more, when adolescents were unable to adapt to these external stressors, they ended up ruminating over the issue, which exacerbates the problem and increases their susceptibility to depression.

Examples of stressful events listed by the researchers included everything from a friend dying to physical fights to not being invited to a party — anything that could undermine their social security and identity. Girls tend to be more affected by these kinds of social setbacks than boys, as they put a greater emphasis on interpersonal connectedness and therefore are more sensitive to peer stress and negative self-evaluation.

The uncertain future of job security. For those of us who still remember a time before the Internet, being a teenager was a carefree time. Many of us weren’t as bogged down by worries about joblessness and a lack of financial security. It was expected that whatever we did, a fully-fledged career would be available for us when we grew up. I’m afraid that this is no longer the case. The global economic downturn, job automation, globalization and an increasingly competitive job market are causing great anxiety among young people. With the use of artificial intelligence imminent, teenagers find themselves caught in a transitional phase that is expected to uproot economies and labor markets around the world.

In fact, it is getting increasingly hard to predict which way their careers may go. In her book Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work and Learn, Cathy Davidson states that 65 percent of students currently entering grade school will end up in jobs that have not yet been invented. While there is perhaps something exciting about that prospect, it does make it hard to plan for the future — and that can be terrifying.

These are just a few of the typical teenage stressors that my daughter and son outlined that day. Overall, I am amazed at how resilient, “gritty” and good-humored they are, considering the pressures and uncertainties they juggle on a daily basis. If I were to revisit my offer to swap places, I’m now inclined to say, “No, thanks. My adult stresses are just fine.”

06.12.17

Ten Ideas to Build Confidence in Teens by Tim Elmore

growingleaders.com
We just received survey responses from students in a variety of locations around the world. In our survey, we asked what leadership skill or quality students believe they lack the most. While respondents were kids of various ages and from a variety of locations (low income and high affluence), most shared something in common.

They felt they lacked confidence.

More than any other trait or skill, these students desired to feel more confident about the decisions they made and the direction they felt they should go. Predictable you say? Perhaps, but fifteen years ago, Millennials had plenty of it as they graduated from high school to take on the world. We’ve definitely seen a shift on perspective among teens today.

Ten Methods to Build Confidence in Students

1. In discussions, don’t constantly correct. Instead, use the word AND.In brainstorming conversations, be intentional about building off of their ideas, rather than telling them how their idea won’t work. If your first response is a correction, students will certainly “shut down” internally and “shut up” externally. Using the word “and” after someone speaks is the secret of all good “improv.” It cultivates confidence.

2. Affirm what you can.

Whenever I host a Q and A session in a forum or a classroom discussion with students, I work to affirm whatever I can. Once I begin with encouragement, I feel I can redirect their ideas—if necessary. This slowly develops confidence in students. Then, I can move from that point to a tougher level of learning and achievement.

3. Hear them out and don’t interrupt.

Interrupting communicates the other person is wrong. This is demotivating. Do your best to completely hear out a student before you speak. This is the principle behind one of our Habitudes®: “The Indian Talking Stick.” We should always place an imaginary “talking stick” in the hands of our students, permitting them to finish.

4. Set doable goals for each discussion.

When you set clear, attainable goals at the start, they’ll know what a “win” looks like by the end. For example, what if you said at the beginning: “By the time we end, I want you to know how to XYZ.” When they’re finished, you can say, “Congratulations! You now know how to XYZ!” I always write down my objective at the top of my lesson plan and make all learning goal-oriented.

5. Give students the chance to choose what they learn.

Here’s an idea. What if your teaching time looked more like their lunch time? One teacher suggested to me recently, “Try a learning menu or choice board where students get to choose which activities they like, what methods they prefer and what topics they want to learn about.”

6. Keep a journal and celebrate even small progress. 

This is paramount. People (including students) become more confident when they see they are making progress. Success breeds success… and confidence. So why not keep a log of how far they’ve come and share it? Then, celebrate improvement and let them see the milestones they’ve crossed.

7. Use visuals.

The use of visuals or images helps retention of any material, hence inducing a sense of confidence and progress. I’ve said it a million times—images help us learn and remember which gives us confidence in our ability to improve. There is an artist and musician in all students—even if they don’t believe it. We must harness that creativity.

8. Have students do a “mind dump.”

Confidence grows when we see how we’ve grown. So, after a learning period why not have students jot down all they can remember from it? Edutopia calls this a “Brain Dump.” Students take a blank piece of paper and record all they’ve acquired in the period. “It helps to raise student confidence and is also a useful approach for the teacher to receive feedback and see where gaps exist. For some students, holding the information inside their head can cause anxiety.”

9. Build off of prior knowledge. 

The best teachers know to introduce a new concept by utilizing an already familiar one—and building off of it. Analogies from students’ lives can be golden. They create a sense of comfort before moving into the new and uncomfortable. We want them to be stretched but not overwhelmed.

10. Communicate when they are on the right track.

Educator Julie Thompson says, “Nothing succeeds like success. Design activities where your students can shine, and they will still want to continue the positive feelings generated by that success. Use differentiation techniques to reach as many learners as you can.” Always relay when they are getting “warmer and warmer.”

These ideas are a start. When used, I’ve seen them cultivate leadership as well as learning in students. We need students who take initiative—but it will never happen until they are self-confident. Helen Keller said, “Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

06.12.17

How to Pass Your Faith to Your Kids by Jim Burns

homeword.com

With all the great children and youth programs within churches today, many parents allow churches to “take the wheel” when it comes to their kids’ spiritual development while they take a more passive role. We can easily become convinced that it’s the church’s job to help our kids grow spiritually, not ours. Yet, guess what? God specifically places the responsibility for nurturing a child’s spiritual development on parents — not the church! In the Bible, in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, we read, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” While our churches serve to partner with us in this great task of spiritually nurturing our kids, God has given us — parents — both the responsibility and the tremendous opportunity to pass our faith to our kids. Still, I understand that many parents find it hard to talk to their kids about God and spiritual issues. So, here are some practical suggestions about how to get started.

1) Be yourself. You don’t need a seminary degree to talk to your kids about God. So, be yourself! Share your understanding of who God is and why God matters to you — in a way that reflects the real you.

2) Don’t limit your conversations on spiritual matters to Sunday morning! This is not to say that Sunday morning is off-limits for spiritual discussions, but don’t get caught in the trap of compartmentalizing faith issues to the days your family attends church services. Let your kids know that spiritual issues are important in your life all the time! This is exactly what the quote from Deuteronomy is talking about: talking about God when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up! Spirituality is to be part of an ongoing discussion in our homes, with our families!

3) Let your kids catch you in the act of doing something spiritual. Do you have a regular devotional time — where you read the Bible and pray — that you spend with God? Do your kids know it? How about letting your kids “see” you engaging in your own spiritual disciplines? Don’t forget that your actions will teach your kids a lot about your faith — probably even more than your words!

4) Look for natural opportunities to raise spiritual issues. This takes intentional work by parents to be on the lookout for opportunities “along the road” of life, where issues almost beg to be discussed in light of our Christian commitment and faith. Many opportunities will arise as your kids watch you live life. How do you, for example, demonstrate your faith when some jerk cuts you off on the highway? Perhaps, depending on your reaction, this may be a time to discuss the issues of revenge or forgiveness!

5) Take the posture of a “fellow-learner” as opposed to that of a “teacher.” Being a “fellow-learner” takes the pressure off you to send the message that you “know it all” (and your kids will already know this isn’t true). When discussing spiritual issues, you will most likely hear a question from your adolescent that you can’t answer. It’s fine to say, “I don’t know. Let’s work on finding the answer together.”

6) Utilize media to launch discussions about God and the Christian life. While much of today’s media is negative in its influence and portrayals of values, it can provide a launching pad for discussion of how Christian values compare to whatever is seen, heard, or read.

7) Have a plan for family devotional and prayer times. First, find a devotional book. Then, create a plan (daily, weekly, at certain mealtimes for example) and stick to it. Build the habit so your kids learn, “this is what we do as a family.”

8) Have fun with your kids! Unfortunately, too many kids are taught through role modeling of their parents and other adults at church, that Christianity means being grumpy and bored. Perhaps one of the most spiritual things you can do for your kids’ spiritual growth is to model for them that the Christian life is filled with love, peace, and joy! So, plan intentionally fun times for your family. Let them know that the Christian life can be fun!

9) Get involved in ministry together as a family. The call to Christ is the call to serve. You can communicate a lot about your faith in Christ by your willingness to serve; by being involved in ministry. For years, successful youth ministries have known that getting kids involved in ministry and service results in spiritual growth and in bonding together the youth group community. Do you know what? The same benefits will occur within families when they serve together!

10) Disciple and equip your kids. Actively participate in teaching your kids about God and what living the Christian life looks like. Why not do a weekly Bible study together with your son or daughter? Ask your children’s pastor, youth pastor, or leaders for ideas for Bible study material. They’ll never be able to use all the materials that are available to them, and they’ll be thrilled to help you!

06.05.17

Hi! Happy June!! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send any prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Preaching is not only explaining the text but also using it to engage the heart. #keller
 
God put you here to glorify Him. That is why you’re here. And there will come a point in your life when you will realize that life is more about significance than it is about success. #laurie
 
Someone will always have better coffee, music, facilities, and speaking. Showcase Christ and his gospel. No one can improve on that. #wilson
 
FYI:

1. Connecting with college students over break: they’re bringing home more than their laundry…. https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/connecting-with-college-students?utm_source=E-Journal+%2F+Parent+Update&utm_campaign=19db082c32-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e88a54a953-19db082c32-312895925

2. Your kids actually want you to talk to them about sex… http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/24/health/sex-parents-talking-to-kids/index.html

3. What Screen Time and Screen Media Do To Your Child’s Brain and Sensory Processing Ability… https://handsonotrehab.com/screen-time-brain-sensory-processing/

4. 45 AWESOME DROP OF THE HAT ACTIVITIES (Below)
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
How to Teach Junior Highers Without Losing Your Mind by Kurt Johnston
Social Media Making Millennials Less Social by Uptin Saiidi
How We Got Here: Spiritual and Political Profiles of America by David Kinnaman
7 Deadly Sins of Student Ministry Volunteers by Chase Snyder
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.videosforyouth.com/mini-movies/65332/searching-for-truth
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Courage by Chuck Swindoll
 
Someone once wrote, “Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap your character. Sow your character, reap your destiny.”

Standing tall when tested takes courage—constant, relentless, never-give-up courage! You can be sure that the old flesh will fight for its arousal and satisfaction. All it takes is a little rationalization—just a little. Just look the other way. Just shrug it off. Don’t sweat it. And before long you have a rattlesnake in your sleeping bag. 

First: Standing tall starts with the way we think. It has to do with the mind. As I’ve said so often, being a person of inner strength is really a mental factor. It has to do with the way we think about God, ourselves, and others. Then it grows into the way we think about business, the way we think about dating, the way we think about marriage and the family, the way we think about the system that is designed to destroy faith and bring us down to a lower standard. 

Second: Standing tall calls for strong discipline. This has to do with the will. Disciplining the eyes, the ears, the hands, the feet. Keeping moral tabs on ourselves, refusing to let down the standards. People of strength know how to turn right thinking into action—even when insistent feelings don’t agree. 

Third: Standing tall limits your choice of personal friends. This has to do with relationships. What appears harmless can prove to be dangerous. Perhaps this is as important as the other two factors combined. Cultivate wrong friendships and you’re a goner. This is why we are warned not to be deceived regarding the danger of wrong associations. Without realizing it, we could be playing with fire. 

Sow the wind and, for sure, you’ll reap the whirlwind. Eagles may be strong birds, but when the wind velocity gets fierce enough, it takes an enormous amount of strength to survive. Only the ultrapowerful can make it through the whirlwind.

 

The Five RE’s to Remembering names:

1. Repeat Names

Repetition builds memory. This is why your math teacher assigned you 50 of the same math problems for homework every night. The more you repeat a person’s name, the better chance you will have of remembering it later.

When you meet a person for the first time, say their name as much as possible. “Cool, Austin. Glad you are here, Austin. It was nice meeting you, Austin. Hope to see you next week, Austin.” The more you say it, the more it will stick.

2. Read Names

Read a person’s name in your mind. Visualize it. Spell it in your head. If you meet someone with an interesting name or a name that could be spelled multiple ways, ask them how they spell it. Then spell it in your head along with them. This may seem weird, but it works.

I can remember the names of hundreds of NFL athletes even though I have never met them or seen most of their faces without a helmet on. Why? Because I read their names every day on my favorite NFL news site.

3. Record Names

Keep a church database, or an app with people’s names on it. After the service, write new names down as soon as possible. Add little notes like “Natalie – married, two kids, husband Jeff, works at…”

Quickly review your notes once a week and picture the people in your mind. If you have a church database with people’s pictures, that is even better!

4. Relate Names

This is the most powerful memory tip on the list. When you hear a person’s name, find an image to relate it to.

In the fascinating book, Moonwalking With Einstein, Joshua Foer writes about his experience transforming in one year from an average guy who was bad at remembering names to winning the US Memory Championship. This is a competition where you have to do things like look at a list of hundreds of names and faces, then remember all the names of each face.

“The secret to success in the names-and-faces event—and to remembering people’s names in the real world—is simply to turn Bakers into bakers—or Foers into fours. Or Reagans into ray guns. It’s a simple trick, but highly effective.” ~Joshua Foer, Moonwalking With Einstein

Our brains remember images, not words. So turning a person’s name into an image is the best way to instantly recall it. The more vivid and bizarre the image, the better.

5. Remember to Remember Names

I know, “Thank you captain obvious!” Just hear me out.

Most often, the reason that we don’t remember names is simply because we do not consciously make an effort. We hear the name, but we are too busy thinking about what we are going to say next. Maybe we are preoccupied with the stress of the service or what we have to do later. Whatever the reason, we don’t intentionally listen to the name and make a conscious effort to store it away.

If you are intentional about remembering people’s names, you will remember them.

Hope these tips are helpful for you.

 

HERE ARE 45 AWESOME DROP OF THE HAT ACTIVITIES THAT YOU CAN EASILY ADD TO YOUR YOUTH WORKER TOOL-BELT.

RANDOM FUN

  • Beanboozled. Russian Roulette with candy. Maybe you will enjoy a peach-flavored jelly bean or maybe it will taste like barf. Yum.
  • KAP IT. Water bottle flipping game, but with objectives and boundaries!
  • HEADS OR TAILS. A coin flipping game where kids guess by putting their hands on the head or tail. Guess right and stay in, guess wrong and you’re out!
  • HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES, CUP! Follow the instructions and be the first person to grab the cup.
  • Minute to win it! Sixty seconds to complete takes using random items from around the house. HERE ARE 30 EXAMPLES.
  • Giant cup stack. Play the cup stack game but consider giant cups or buckets. Fastest stacker wins.
  • Mannequin challenge. Have the children freeze in place while you play a worship song and capture the video.

TEACHING OR REVIEW

  • TRUE/FALSE CHAIR. Think musical chairs but with true and false questions!
  • Books of the Bible team challenge. Books are listed on craft sticks in baggies. one for OT one for NT. Challenge each team to put one set in order the fastest.
  • Globe beach balls. Pass the ball around and wherever your thumb lands, pray for them.
  • Tic tac toe review. Divide the class into 2 teams. Ask questions, team 1 tries to answer. If they are correct, they get the x, if wrong, the question goes to team 2. The first team to get 3 in a row wins.
  • Family feud. Play with whatever you were talking about in large group.
  • Review game or Bible trivia. Get bean bags that you toss and the kids race to pick up the bag and bring it back to you in order to answer the question.
  • Share missionary stories. Update the kids on what the church is doing overseas.
  • Bible drill.

GET THEM MOVING

  • Freeze dance. Play music while the kids dance and when the music pauses all the kids must freeze in place. If they take too long then they have to do 10 jumping jacks.
  • CHICKEN IN THE HEN HOUSE. Partners will make shapes using their body. Last to complete are out!
  • Impossible shot. Create a very challenging challenge for students to take turns trying.
  • SHIP SHORE. Very similar to Simon says but directionally focused.
  • Musical chairs.
  • Four corners. Use a mega dice or colors to switch things up!
  • Simon says / Jesus says. Follow the directions and the more the leader laughs the more fun this game will be for the kids.
  • Red light/green light or wax museum. Don’t let the game leader see you moving! 
  • Crows & cranes. The leader calls out either “Crows” or “Cranes.” This lets you know if you are the tagger or the person being tagged.
  • Indoor snowball fight. Either buy fake snowballs or wrinkle up paper and throw them at each other. Consider adding a twist like capture the flag or protect the president.
  • Hip hop to it! Have all the kids hop on one leg while playing Christian hip-hop. If they stop they are out, if they switch feet they are out. The winner is the last one hopping.

GET THEM QUIET

  • SILENT BALL. Leader counts down, “3, 2, 1, silent” and passes the ball to another person in the play area. Drop the ball, make a bad pass or make a sound and you’re out.
  • Guess the time. Choose a time like 60 seconds and everyone tries to guess how long that is. Start the timer and kids hop up when they think 60 seconds is over. Time doesn’t stop till last kid stands. Note time when first kid stands just to get reactions.
  • SLEEPING LIONS. The room of kids go to sleep and the lions try to get them to wake up by telling jokes or being silly. Anyone who wakes up becomes the lion.
  • DOGGIE, DOGGIE, WHO STOLE YOUR BONE. Similar to heads up seven up but with an object that the kids go get.
  • The Quiet Game. Teams have to sit absolutely still and quiet for a timed period. Anywhere from a minute to five minutes.

COMMUNITY BUILDING

EASY CLASSROOM GAMES

  • Pictionary.
  • Hangman.
  • Parachute games.
  • I spy.
  • Rock, paper, scissors and creative variations. Egg, chicken, eagle.
  • Relay Games.
  • Feather blowing competition. Kids try to blow one another’s feathers off a table using a straw.
  • Juggling contest.
  • Keep the balloon up.

Consider using lesson review words or phrases in these games.

06.05.17

How to Teach Junior Highers Without Losing Your Mind by Kurt Johnston

Youthministry.com

Junior highers are my people.

For most of  ministry career I’ve had the privilege (did I really just say junior high ministry is a PRIVILEGE?) of focusing exclusively on this age group, and even as my role has changed this wonderful little tribe has remained the closest to my heart!

So you’d think that after 26 years of teaching junior highers in virtually every setting imaginable I’d be an expert; that I’d be the Peyton Manning of teaching young teens. Hardly. But I have learned a few things over the years, and this month I’m going to share some of what I’ve discovered.  I don’t have a formula…just a boat load of tips, tricks and tidbits that you may find helpful in your efforts to teach junior highers without losing your mind, or your salvation, in the process.  Each week I’ll share three somewhat related thoughts.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.

One of the most important things any communicator can do is have a thorough understanding of his/her audience, and never is that principle more important than when preparing to teach a group of junior highers.  You need to know the stuff that is true for EVERY junior high audience such as having a good understanding of adolescent development and the universal junior high journey as well as a good understanding of YOUR junior high audience because it is unique and your students are different than mine.  Remember, junior highers are twelve to fourteen years old, and as such have completely different needs in a teaching setting than a room full of thirty year olds.

Practical Tip:  Knowing your audience starts with approaching your lesson prep with “what they want to hear”, not “what you want to say”.

KNOW YOUR POINT.

What do you want your audience to walk away with? You don’t need a 5-point sermon. You don’t need creative nuance and elaborate illustrations. What you do need is a point! The best junior high lessons are those with a clearly articulate point or “goal” of the lesson; a “takeaway” that every student in the circle will understand. Don’t be so creative that you are no longer clear. Don’t worry about being impressive, concentrate on lessons that make an impression! Keep It Simple, Stupid. Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them…and then tell them what you just told them!

Practical Tip: Start with the end in mind, then build every piece of your learning experience in a way that points toward that ending.

KNOW YOUR CHURCH.

How well do you know your church’s theology? Do you have a firm grasp on your Senior Pastor’s take on various subjects, social issues etc.? What subjects would be considered taboo or inappropriate for church? What type of jokes and language is “off limits” in your setting? A little understanding of your context will help prevent big headaches.

Practical Tip: Better safe than sorry. If you don’t know…ask!

Last week I had the joy to “preach” in our church’s weekly staff meeting. Somebody teaches every week; I hadn’t in a very long time. Afterwards, no fewer than a dozen people pulled me aside to share how much they appreciated what I had to say. But the truth is they didn’t really appreciate what I had to say as much as how I said it. My “delivery” helped make a message full of mediocre content memorable. All I did was utilize two of my favorite junior high teaching tips. You won’t think this stuff is profound until you make it part of your teaching routine.

KEEP IT SHORT

I have an old saying when it comes to teaching: “It doesn’t have to be long to be good, but if it’s going to be long it has to be good!”  My staff meeting sermon was thirteen minutes long, and you’d be shocked at what I crammed into those thirteen minutes. Here are a few benefits of a short lesson:

  • Less opportunity for the audience to lose focus.
  • Forces me to cut out unnecessary content, stories, etc. I only include what’s most impactful.
  • Leaves the audience wanting more!

I’ve never heard anybody complain about a short sermon. Never. Anybody. Yet far too many youth workers (and junior high youth workers are no different) write lessons that are far too long for their young audiences.

Practical Tip: Put a time limit on your lessons (our limit is 20-minutes) and aim to always be 2-3 minutes short of that limit.

KEEP IT ACTIVE

As part of my relationship with Group Publishing/Simply Youth Ministry I have attended many of their workshops and training events over the years. Something that they are famous for is an insistence on active learning. An insistence that used to bug the heck out of me has now become routine almost every time I teach. In my staff meeting sermon I spent about three of the thirteen minutes working the crowd through a very simple activity; so simple, in fact, that I almost scratched it beforehand. I’m glad I didn’t. People loved it and mentioned it over and over again. Here are a few benefits of including some sort of active learning in your lessons:

  • Keeps the audience engaged.
  • Makes the lesson tactile and memorable.
  • Provides an opportunity for movement.

Like I said earlier, there’s nothing profound here. The idea of keeping things short and active when teaching a room full of young teens is as old as the hills. Yet most junior high youth workers break the very same rules they say are so important! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lamented at the end of a weekend over the fact that my lesson seemed “too long and boring”.  Because it was both!

But I’ve never regretted providing a short and active lesson….and neither will you. More importantly: Neither will they!

Teaching junior highers; I’m not sure a higher calling exists! Churches often make the mistake of seeing junior high ministry as a place for young, or spiritually immature, leaders to cut their teeth and learn the ropes of ministry. This is a massive mistake, largely due to the fact that young teens are in an enormous season of  developmental change and it takes a mature leader to help junior highers navigate these changes well.

And one place immature leaders routinely mess up is in the teaching context.  While there’s no way to ensure a perfect lesson, I’ve developed a habit over the years that has helped me, and it may help you, too, whether you are a rookie or a seasoned pro.

When I’m done preparing a lesson, I like to run it through the following filter and make any adjustments necessary. I like to ask myself, “Does this lesson T.E.A.C.H.?”

IS IT TRUE?

Have I used scripture in context?
Have I considered the “whole of scripture”?|
Is God’s truth speaking more loudly than my opinions?

IS IT ENCOURAGING?

Does it motivate the audience toward some sort of action?
Does it do so in an encouraging manner?
Does it rely on the Holy Spirit to convict, not my delivery?

IS IT ACTIVE?

Does it involve some aspect of active learning?
Does it allow movement?

IS IT CLEAR?

Does it make a clear, understandable, point?
Will my audience remember it tomorrow?
Could a junior higher recount some of it to mom and dad in car ride home?
Will they know what the heck I was talking about?

IS IT HUMOROUS?

Is there an element of fun in the lesson?
Laughter helps the medicine go down; do I provide that opportunity?
Is the humor edifying and age-appropriate?
I’m not a comedian, but don’t take myself too seriously!

06.05.17

Social Media Making Millennials Less Social by Uptin Saiidi

CNBC.com

It’s something everyone suspected, but now it’s official: The under-30 crowd is addicted to their cell phones.

Those are the findings of a new survey, which showed that as millennials spend more time engaged on social media platforms, it’s causing them to be less social in real life. The study, conducted by Flashgap, a photo-sharing application with more than 150,000 users, found that 87 percent of millennials admitted to missing out on a conversation because they were distracted by their phone. Meanwhile, 54 percent said they experience a fear of missing out if not checking social networks.

Nearly 3,000 participants were asked about how they felt about social media in social settings, and found that the guiltiest culprits are often females. The study found 76 percent of females check social media platforms at least 10 times when out with friends, compared with 54 percent of males.

The most commonly used apps mentioned in social settings among millennials were Snapchat, Tinder, Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.

Julian Kabab, co-founder of FlashGap said that people are too focused on looking at social media when they’re out at events, and it may be costing them in social interaction. “People miss out on parties because they want to see what’s going on, on social networks, take beautiful selfies and add filters to their pictures,” he told CNBC.

It especially becomes a problem when there is alcohol involved and regrets the next morning. The survey found that 71 percent of users regret posting a picture on a social network after more than three drinks.

FlashGap’s findings echo a similar study conducted in 2014, where research suggested that cell phones were increasingly undermining personal interactions. The widely circulated Virginia Tech University <http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/presence-smart-phone-lowers-quality-person-conversations-85805>report said that “the presence of mobile technologies has the potential to divert individuals from face-to-face exchanges, thereby undermining the character and depth of these connections.”

Concerns are growing that the practical impact of mobile device use is making humans more interested in their online lives, and less interested in each other. Yet Kebab told CNBC his intent for FlashGap was to help millenials make their experiences more relevant in real life.

In college, Kabab said he and his friends had strapped on GoPro cameras during parties and would gather the next day to watch one another’s footage. “The experience was so fun that I said that we had to scale this emotion with an app,” Kebab, whose company has 14 employees and is based in Paris.

“Discovering parts of your nights out you didn’t see at the same time as your friends felt exactly like the end scene of ‘The Hangover’ movie, and that’s when it clicked,” he said.

FlashGap is entering a hotly competitive space where any of the big players vying for millennials’ eyes already have a head start. The app was launched in France and recently raised $1.5 million in seed round funding to branch out to the United States.

The dominance of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, all owned by Facebook, and Snapchat, valued <http://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/29/snapchat-in-process-of-raising-new-money-values-company-at-up-to-16b-sources.html> at $16 billion by some estimates, raising questions as to how easy it might be for new entrants to get into the space.

“Shifting behaviors in a core audience are certainly factors as we consider investments,” Ellie Wheeler, a venture capitalist at Greycroft, told CNBC. “We’re seeing a lot of interesting ways to deliver mobile-first content and how that content needs to change in order to be right for mobile behavior.”

Wheeler acknowledges that social sharing is still an increasingly important piece of a person’s online identity.

“It is something that a generation that has grown up with social from day one has to learn in a way that past generations have not,” Wheeler said.