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

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

youthministryunleashed.com

Gen Z is upon us and if we confuse these students with Millennials we’re going to miss out on connecting with them and touching their hearts.

As James White tells us in Meet Generation Z, “If the heart of the Christian mission is to evangelize and transform culture through the centrality of the church, then understanding that culture is paramount.”

So sure, they have been brought up by the biggest generation of adults claiming no religious affiliation, and they are the first group considered post-Christian but what is the most surprising thing about this cohort of students?

The #1 Thing

We know also that they have grown up in a snapchat world of weekly terrorist attacks, gay marriage, and legalization of marijuana but what is at the heart of GenZ that needs to be understood and approached differently than previous generations? “They aren’t merely secularized. They’re not thinking about religion and rejecting it; they’re not thinking about it at all.”

That’s Right. The God Question isn’t Relevant. So what is? 

…The human condition. All research points out that in the absence of the God question, the human question is close to their hearts. How should we live on this planet (and Mars when we get there)?

In one way they aren’t waiting for God to solve world problems so they are looking at what can be done. Sadly, they will realize that they can do only so much without God. Also, they won’t have a solution for their own human failings.

Introduce them to the Jesus they Never Knew

With only the vaguest concept of God, GenZ can approach Jesus fresh. They can see him as someone who did something about human suffering and religious oppression. They don’t see him through the lens of boring church rituals or their parent’s God.

We need to let them know that, “When you see Jesus you’re looking at God. When you want to know what God is like, look at what Jesus did and said!”

Community Before Commitment, Service before Salvation

They are less concerned if God loves them that if you or I love them. Starved from genuine acceptance they want to be part of a small group of close friends that loves uncritically. Unsure they will be looking for constant affirmation. Only after standing that test will they be interested in the content of our faith.

A possible scenario is that we invite them to be part of a team building a house in Mexico before they have faith in Christ. We may have to change some of the screening criteria for our trips and other social justice initiatives. Groups that are constantly trying to prove that we can be Christians and still have fun won’t have much to offer Z.

A Reason for Hope

At the end of a retreat, a student asked me, “All weekend you have been telling me that Jesus died for my sin… How did he die?” His brother yelled at him, “It was a cross, stupid.” Every week I hear another story like this from youth workers and my students at Vanguard College.

Why does this give me hope? Maybe I’m too much of an optimist but I believe that when students have been loved by a group and they’re ready to hear about Jesus the power of the Gospel won’t be warped by years of negative religious experience. I’m excited to see Z will do with an encounter with the real Jesus instead of second-hand knowledge of a religious one.

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.

05.30.17

Netflix, TED and the Future of Preaching by Tiffany Delucca

tonymorganlive.com

I recently spoke with a church leader who shared some alarming statistics from research within his denomination. About 50% of all their lead pastors said they felt equipped in seminary to teach but not to lead. Their attrition rate for ministers was even higher, and growing.

I was surprised by one part of the research, and not by the other. That pastors feel like seminary fails to train them in how to practically lead a church towards growth and health… not surprising. But that these pastors felt secure in their teaching/preaching did surprise me a bit. Here’s why: Most churches still teach in decades-old formats that are increasingly abandoned by innovators in teaching methods. For instance,

  • A long lecture by one person on a stage to a crowd of passive listeners.
  • Messages, even when connected topically or by a single Scriptural text, that build one upon another, released one-week at a time at a certain time of day on a certain day of the week.
  • Few or no visuals, technological assets or other creative enhancements.
  • Lack of emphasis on captivating storytelling.

How equipped are pastors, really, to teach in our current culture?

I don’t ask this question to point fingers or assign blame. I just think there’s a lot of room for our churches to innovate, and perhaps, to better spread the message of the Gospel and better equip our people to take steps in their faith.

How do people learn today? A few things that immediately come to mind; you can probably think of others…

  • Podcasts
  • Online courses
  • TED Talks (live events, online videos and TED Radio Hour podcast)
  • YouTube tutorials
  • Netflix series
  • Hands-on lab work
  • Service learning/volunteering

Here are a few questions I’m wrestling with:

  • Is a church’s standard 40-minute sermon once a week the best way to help people gain knowledge or take a next step? If not, why can’t we break the mold?
    For example, what if pastors preached for 18 minutes on a Sunday and released a podcast episode or short video on Monday that offered deeper study into the topic? Could we at once be more compelling for the masses and more effective at offering on-demand ways for people to go deeper?
  • What if we made planning visuals and stories a key component of sermon prep?Jesus used visuals all around Him to teach key truths. What if we put a higher emphasis on telling a great a story every time we communicated? I recently heard Andy Stanley point out the fact that Jesus was constantly answering questions with stories. We have no better model.

    Think back to the best sermons you’ve ever heard. I bet you remember a story before a pithy statement or a specific Scripture verse.

  • What can we learn from popular “lecture-style” events like TED?People sign up in droves and pay money to sit through a full day of talks. (Shocking?) I’ve only been to a few events like this, but the best ones, kept me on my toes. A 10 minute talk followed by a 3 minute video. Then a 3-song set by an interesting musician, or a short comedy act, or another visual art performance of some kind. Then another 8 minute talk, etc.

    The exact format isn’t the point, but we have the ability to think outside our traditions. Jesus taught while walking down the road, hanging out by a lake and from a fishing boat. Why are we so stuck in our routines?

Where Do We Go from Here? 

I’m not saying we throw out Sunday morning teaching. Not in the least. But we can push ourselves to innovate.

I asked a creative lead pastor on The Unstuck Group’s team, Gabe Kolstad, to share some practical thoughts for how pastors could start thinking about the future of teaching and preaching. Here were his suggestions:

  1. Carve out more time to think and pray
    Senior leaders, no one can prioritize this for you. And you know from experience that people will push back and crises will always vie for your time. Great ideas start when you give yourself space to have them.
  2. Reevaluate how you structure your environment and your spaces for creativity.
    Where do you think best? Where do you feel most creative? If being at desk under fluorescent lights drains you, it’s not where you’re going to have your best ideas.
  3. Invite creative people in.
    Most churches have some highly skilled members who would be willing to volunteer to help make church content more engaging, if you cast vision and create the right systems.
  4. Invite wise people in.
    You most likely have people with wisdom who like to study Scripture or like to teach Bible Studies in your church. How could you engage them to support you in digging into topics for extra content and sermon prep?

As Peter McGowan recently wrote,

“Until the Industrial Revolution, the church was a cultural leader for centuries in the arts, technology, and science. The modern printing press that printed the Gutenberg Bible was an invention of the church. But we’ve allowed history to be rewritten. We’ve lost touch with our creativity and individuality. We have stopped intentionally and strategically thinking through our story and how it impacts our brand and culture.”

What if we could get our minds around the cultural implications of how content outside the Church is delivered – and most importantly, received? I think we’d find ourselves more willing to try something new. I look forward to seeing how the Church continues to innovate to advance the Gospel.

04.17.17

Teens Can’t Get Enough of Mobile Video: they watch a lot of Netflix and YouTube daily by Rimma Kats

emarketer.com

US teens spend a lot of time watching video on their phones.

And with so many options out there—like YouTube, Netflix and Hulu—that’s not really surprising.

According to a Think with Google survey conducted by Ipsos, roughly seven in 10 teen smartphone users spend at least three hours per day watching video on their phones.

That’s a higher percentage of respondents than any other smartphone activity mentioned, including social networking.

Over half (51%) of teens said they spend three or more hours a day on social networks, and another 52% said the same about messaging apps.

Meanwhile, roughly four in 10 respondents said they spent 3 or more hours each day playing games.

Smartphone ownership, which often bolsters video viewing, is high among teens.

A December 2016 report from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization supporting children and media, revealed that nearly eight in 10 respondents ages 13 to 18 owned a smartphone. In fact, teens were more likely to own a smartphone than a tablet, video game console or laptop.

But looking beyond smartphone usage, this demographic generally watches a lot of video content—on mobile, cable TV or streaming services.

Data from Piper Jaffray looked at the different channels used daily by teens to consume video content. The study found that many teens like to watch Netflix: In H2 2016, 37% of teens’ daily time spent viewing video content occurred via the service.

Cable TV accounted for one-quarter of daily viewing, while YouTube made up another 26% of teens’ video time.

04.17.17

How to get your students to stop doing the “Christian” life by Darren Sutton
youthministry.com
Our culture values doing over being. Business cards reveal what we do, not who we are. College applications ask what students have accomplished, not who they’ve become. Even churches and youth groups sometimes unwittingly encourage right actions before faithful hearts.

It’s an easy trap to fall into, for sure. Here are a few ways to recognize the differences…

DO asks: Have you read your Bible today?

BE asks: When you read your Bible, what trait of Jesus do you resonate with most?

DO asks: When is the last time you raised your hands in worship?

BE asks: When was a time you were so captivated by worship that you felt lost in lyrics and emotion? What was that environment like, and how did it influence your response? What was happening inside you at the time, and why?

DO asks: How many service hours have you logged?

BE asks: Who are “the least of these” in your sphere of influence? When you notice them, what do you do, or wish you would do? Is prayer an action or a copout in these situations?

DO says: You know how to behave. Don’t step outside the lines and do something bad.

BE says: Your heart is the wellspring of life and action. When you mess up or fall short, what do you say to yourself? What does Jesus say to you? What would you want him to say?

DO says: Everyone needs a regular quiet time.

BE says: When you pay ridiculous attention to Jesus, every moment becomes your quiet time. He speaks in a myriad of ways, including special, set-aside times for him and everyday, run-of-the-mill times for you. Are you looking for Jesus in all your moments, not just the quiet ones?

Jesus is more intent about who we’re becoming than what we’re doing for him or even how we’re behaving.

Behaviors and actions are dictated and measured by the unseen forces on the inside. Those compel us to notice Jesus and allow him the space to transform us. If we help teenagers get their actions right before we help them engage their hearts, we create shells—whitewashed tombs—capable of regurgitating “water” from an unclean well, laced with toxins that don’t allow for a very long shelf life.But if we help kids embrace the BE of the Jesus-centered life before they embrace the DO? That builds a pure well whose water is life to those who drink it.

04.17.17

6 Ways to Craft an Ineffective Sermon by Tony Morgan
theunstuckgroup.com

You have never tried to make your message irrelevant, boring, or incomprehensible. At least I hope not!

But you find yourself preaching while questioning your effectiveness. You walk up to deliver a sermon lacking confidence in your content. You question your ability. Your capacity. Even your calling.

Of course, this isn’t the case EVERY time you preach, but more times than you’d like to admit.

Option 1:

The easy solution is to become hyper-spiritual. Say you are “trusting” God and the Holy Spirit to speak in spite of you. Not to be irreverent, though. We know at the heart of preaching, spiritual intervention is necessary. But we all know the difference between “I’m ready to go and trusting God to do what only He can do” and “I’m not close to ready, so God perform a miracle.”

Option 2:

You could opt to blame your church. “People just aren’t the same today. They’re not committed! They’re consumers!” Well, yes. Yes they are. People are different today. But that should never be an excuse for ineffectiveness. You can’t change culture, but you can harness it and leverage it’s power.

Luckily, the fundamentals of effective preaching are just that – fundamental. But if you want terrible sermons on a more consistent basis, just follow this list of rules:

1. Don’t connect.

Content comes through credibility. Not the letters you proudly show after your name, but the connection you create with the crowd. Your credentials aren’t enough to connect to your crowd. Preachers and teachers too often mistake their academic credibility for their crowd credibility. Just because you are wearing a microphone doesn’t mean people care what you are saying, especially those who are skeptical of God, the church, and pastors.

If you want to ensure your content is never heard, never connect yourself to the audience. They won’t care, because they won’t know you care.

2. Don’t leverage felt needs.

The Bible is the ultimate source of truth. There is a seemingly unlimited amount of wisdom, life application, and help found in Scripture. But people are inherently selfish. They want to know exactly how what you are about to say is going to help them live better, enjoy life, or solve their problem. If you present the truth of Scripture before you engage their mind, you have a solution searching for a problem.

We call this “identifying the tension.” Every truth has a tension it resolves. You can find the tension by asking this question: What is the problem that needs a solution, the question that needs an answer, the tension that needs a resolution, or the mystery that needs illumination?

If you want your sermon to be ineffective, be sure to leave out any tension to hear the truth. The Christians will listen politely. The non-believers won’t come back.

3. Give tons of information.

For some reason we Christians have been led to believe more information makes for deeper sermons. But more information is the last thing we need. We have MORE than enough information. Christians as a group are the most over-informed, under-applied people I’ve ever seen.What we lack is handles of application.

If your sermon goal is loading up on information, please find a better goal. Or just accept ineffective as your result.

4. Make it boring.

People are consumers. We hate it in the church, but rather than fight against it, we should leverage it. If people are going to be visual, then leverage illustrations. I recently saw a stat claiming people remember only 10 percent of what is said three days later. Add a picture, however, and your recall rate will soar to 65 percent. Don’t fight that, leverage it. Use illustrations and images to help your congregation engage and remember.

We love using “sticky statements” to help make messages memorable. Such as, “Conversations create connections,” “Your growing relationship with Jesus is built on your growing trust in Jesus,” and “Church isn’t somewhere we go, it’s someone we are.”

Of course, you can just read the Bible to them if you prefer. Just make sure you wake them up when it’s over.

5. Make it LONG…

I hate reading the 250-page book that has 100 pages of actual content. The author just repeats themselves over and over to better prove the point – or to get more pages to the publisher. Many sermons feel like that. They go on and on and on. That’s good for batteries, but bad for messages.

Here’s a suggestion: Don’t preach for time; preach for purpose. Don’t preach the time allotment; preach the time necessary to make your point. If you can do it in 28 minutes, do it in 28 minutes. Sitcoms somehow make it happen.

If you want your sermon to be ineffective, preach for length. Your listeners will be sure to tune you out.

6. Make it a “Saturday Night Special.”

When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Somebody important said that.

When it comes to your message, the time your put into preparation will directly correlate to the effectiveness of your preaching. Plan ahead. Decide on topics, series, and passages weeks in advance. Leverage Evernote or other tools to capture ideas, illustrations, and stories.

Or, you can just ramble for a while, say a few Greek words to impress the Christians, and circle around a passage until the time runs out. That’s always an option.

Being ineffective is NEVER a preacher’s goal. But too often preachers don’t consider the simple components of a successful sermon. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way.

04.10.17

How to Understand How Unbelievers Think by Rick Warren

pastors.com

The longer you’re a believer, the less you think like an unbeliever. After you come to Christ, your interests and values change.

Because I’ve been a Christian for most of my life, I think like a Christian. I don’t normally think like an unbeliever. Worse than that, I tend to think like a pastor, and that’s even further removed from an unbeliever’s mindset! That means I must intentionally change mental gears when seeking to relate to non-Christians.

If you look at most church advertising, it’s obvious that it was written from a believer’s viewpoint — not from the mindset of the unchurched.

When you see a church ad that announces, “Preaching the Inerrant Word of God,” what group of people do you think that ad appeals to? Certainly not to unbelievers!

Personally, I consider the inerrancy of Scripture as a non-negotiable belief, but the unchurched don’t even understand the term. If you’re going to advertise and promote your church, you must learn to think and speak like unbelievers. The spiritual terminology that’s familiar to Christians is just gibberish to the unchurched.

I’ve often heard pastors complain that unbelievers are more resistant to the Gospel today than in the past. I don’t think that is necessarily true. More often than not, resistance is just a response to poor communication.

The problem is that the message isn’t getting through. Churches need to stop saying that people are closed to the Gospel and start finding out how to communicate on their wavelength.

No matter how life-changing our message is, if we’re broadcasting on a different channel from the unchurched, it won’t do any good.

How do you learn to think like unbelievers? Talk to them! One of the greatest barriers to evangelism is that most believers spend all their time with other Christians. They don’t have any non-believing friends. If you don’t spend any time with unbelievers, you won’t understand what they’re thinking.

I began Saddleback Church by going door to door for 12 weeks and surveying the unchurched in my area. I wrote down in my notebook five questions I would use to start Saddleback:

  1. What do you think is the greatest need in this area? This question simply got people talking to me.
  2. Are you actively attending any church? If they said yes, I thanked them and moved on to the next home. I didn’t bother asking the other three questions because I didn’t want to color the survey with the opinions of believers. Notice that I didn’t ask, “Are you a member?” Many people who haven’t been inside a church for 20 years still claim membership in some church.
  3. Why do you think most people don’t attend church? This wording seemed to be less threatening and offensive than: “Why don’t you attend church?” Today many people would answer that question with “It’s none of your business why I don’t go!” But when I asked why they thought other people didn’t attend, they usually gave me their personal reasons anyway.
  4. If you were to look for a church to attend, what kind of things would you look for? This single question taught me more about “thinking like an unbeliever” than my entire seminary training. I discovered that most churches are offering programs that the unchurched are uninterested in.
  5. What could I do for you? What advice can you give to a minister who really wants to be helpful to people? This is the most basic question the church must ask its community. Study the Gospels and notice how many times Jesus asked someone, “What do you want me to do for you?” He’d begin with a person’s needs.

This survey has been reprinted in dozens of books and articles. Several thousand churches have now used these five questions in their own communities. One denomination that I consulted with used these questions to start 102 new churches on a single day! If you haven’t ever surveyed the unchurched in your area, I strongly recommend that you do.

04.10.17

5 Reasons the Boys in Your Children’s Ministry Aren’t Singing During Worship by Dale Hudson
relevantchildrensministry.com

Take a close look at the boys in your ministry next weekend during worship time.  You’ll probably find many of them just standing there.

Over the years, I’ve observed this in most churches.  Many boys don’t sing during the worship time.  I’ve seen this happen in all size churches from mega churches to smaller, rural churches.  Why is it boys don’t sing during worship?  Let’s take a look at 5 reasons and how you can make changes to get more boys involved in worship.

There are few, if any, males up front leading.  In the elementary years, boys steer clear of anything that appears too “girlish.”  When they look up front and only see girls leading the worship, they put up a wall and refrain from singing.  Many children’s ministries work hard to get male role models in key areas like teachers, small group leaders, mentors, etc. but then neglect to place males in worship leading.  And it shows in the boys who stand with their mouths closed during the songs.

You can change this by making sure you place some males leading worship.  And if you have a female leading, make sure you have some males front and center with her.

You’re doing too many motions.  Motions have been used for years to help engage kids in the songs.  But if you’re not careful, you’ll use too much of a good thing and see it become a hindrance to boys worshiping.   When kids are more focused on trying to keep up with the motions than they are in singing to God, then changes need to be made.

Use simple motions that are easy to follow.  And less is more when it comes to motions.  You want the focus to be on the words more than they motions.

You’re singing too many slow, emotional songs.  Girls are naturally more emotional than boys.  Boys are not going to engage as much in songs that are filled with slow, emotional lines.  While it’s important to sing songs that cause kids to slow down and reflect on the love of God, heart matters, devotion, etc. – it’s also important to sing high energy, action-based songs if you want more boys to engage.

Here’s an example:

Will boys engage in singing a slow, emotional song like “Your LOVE never fails?”  some will

Will boys engage in singing a high-energy, action song like “MOVING Song?”  more will

The volunteers aren’t singing.  When volunteers are standing in the back of the room during worship, the kids notice.  When volunteers aren’t engaged, the kids won’t be engaged.  When volunteers aren’t singing, fewer kids will be singing.

Cast vision with your volunteers about leading by example during worship.  Share with them how they have the opportunity to influence kids to be worshipers rather than spectators.  And in reference to the first reason, place your male volunteers among the boys during worship.  When the boys see the male leaders worshiping beside them, they will be more likely to begin worshiping themselves.

They are insecure.  This is especially true during the pre-teen years.  Kids are trying to find their identity and are very insecure.  They avoid any situation that might embarrass them or make them feel awkward in front of their peers.  This includes worship.  They are very conscious of their peers around them during worship.

The person leading worship can help kids with this by taking a minute before the first song to address the elephant in the room and remind kids about the purpose of worship and that our focus should be on God and not each other.

04.03.17

A Simple Template to What Students Crave by Tim Elmore

Growingleaders.org

I’ve been watching celebrities who’ve made their way onto center stage of the media and marketplace. The ones who’ve captured the attention of America, especially the emerging generation, are ones who don’t merely imitate what others are doing and do it better, but who begin a whole new way of doing something. They are, in fact, leaders. As I study these leaders, whether they are entertainers, tech gurus, athletes, or business icons, I notice some common characteristics, some of which we can learn and practice ourselves.

What would happen if we learned what captures the imagination of our students, and found our own way to apply it as we teach and lead them?

Case Study: Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper has appeared on late night shows, talk shows and even on Saturday NightLive. At the 2017 Grammy Awards, 23-year old Chance won Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance, beating out the likes of Drake, Jay Z and Kanye West. He’s a twenty-something who is secure in who he is. Performing at the Grammy’s, he brought in a Gospel choir and sang about his life and his faith. More than once, he’s performed on network television and done things that are just rare—whether it’s dancing, singing, acting or speaking. Yet, he’s disarming and humble.

So why was he able to catch the ear and gain the applause from young people who might not listen if someone else did what he does on TV? Let me offer a simple template we can use whenever we must engage students. This is within the reach of every one of us.

These Leaders and Artists Offer What People CRAVE:

1. Creative 

Chance is extremely creative. While he’s swimming in the same ocean as others in the hip hop industry, he has his own unique flavor and mix. It catches your ear. We don’t get the feeling he’s imitating anyone else. He’s unique.

Question: How can you introduce more creativity in your communication?

2. Relevant 

Chance’s message is timely and timeless. It feels like something new, but it reveals something ancient that we all need. It addresses your need right now. Unlike other artists who sing only of traditional feelings, Chance tackles what we feel today.

Question: How can you relay to your students that you understand their world?

3. Authentic 

He is himself. He’s living out of what’s inside. It feels real, not contrived or forced. He is disarming because it doesn’t feel like he’s selling you something . . . but he is. He is a genuine person, which is why he’s appealed to both celebrities and common folks.

Question: How can you send the message that you embody your message?

4. Valuable

Chance has sung about hope, in a difficult year for Americans. He meets a need. What he offers is worthwhile—it is helpful and hopeful. It adds value. In a genre that is filled with four letter words, anger and abuse, he offers what we want and need.

Question: How can you add value in every interaction with students?

5. Excellent

His music excels above others, including his mentor, Kanye West. He brings style and spiritual truth into a dark lyrical world. His “what” and “how” are superior. When we listen to him, we can tell he’s spent time taking his work to the next level.

Question: How can you excel above your colleagues in your industry?