Youth Specialties Blog
By YS on November 21 2008 | 2 CommentsSomething new for 2008 to NYWC has been live blogging. In both Sacramento and Pittsburgh a team of youth ministry bloggers documented everything in real time. It was a fresh perspective and a lot of fun! Starting at 1:00 PM CST on Friday, you can follow the Nashville live blog. We'll be focusing most of our attention on capturing notes and media from the general sessions, but make sure to check-in periodically for other notes from seminars as well. If you are on site in Nashville, the live blog is iPhone and Blackberry friendly. NYWC.com/live
By YS on November 21 2008 | 2 Comments
By YS on November 20 2008 | 13 CommentsNYWC Nashville Live Blogger, Andy Thompson shares these insights on our host town.
By YS on November 20 2008 | 13 Comments
By YS on November 19 2008 | 2 CommentsGo ahead, grab a cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa and enjoy these five blog posts.
- The Time is Now by Doug Jones
- The Video Revolution (disclaimer: muffled foul language.)
- Setting the Tone for Effective Meetings by Craig Groeschel
- 30 Days of Thanks/Giving by Tony Myles
- Youth Pastors in a Negative Light by Mike Kupferer
By YS on November 19 2008 | 2 Comments
By YS on November 18 2008 | 30 CommentsThis story appeared on the Today Show last Friday. Now, let's get past the shocking reality that in America today Tyra Banks can publish research on teenage sexuality. Banks brings up some topics worth wrestling with for youth workers. Here in the YS offices we were disturbed by the findings presented. Of course, we really wanted to examine the data for ourselves. - Are parents really that blind to their kid's sexuality? Or is it that they don't want to know? - Do the survey's findings represent your community? - Do you see the glorification of teen mom's effecting students attitudes about getting pregnant? - What are the ramifications of this type of behavior for our student ministries? I could go on. But watch the video and share your thoughts in the comments!
By YS on November 18 2008 | 30 Comments
By YS on November 16 2008 | 2 CommentsThis is a guest blog post from Brian Ferry from Cincinnati, OH It doesn’t take long working with students before you realize that it’s the best gig around. Paid to play. We carry around wiffle ball bats and Bibles, we prep games involving gummy worms and discussion questions to help students encounter God. Most of us who got into this gig did so because we love being around teenagers. We may spend more time now with adults equipping them to invest in students but some of the best times we spend is engaging in conversation with these kids who God loves even more than we do. Youth ministry is at once fantastic and extremely taxing. We need to know we aren’t alone. And we need to laugh. A lot. Whenever our tribe gets together we share stories of the hilarious stuff that goes down on the job. There are no shortage of stories. My only problem is that I don’t get to share and hear some of these things often enough. I have some students that say the most amusing and ridiculous things. And I know my colleagues (that's you) do as well. So I thought, this stuff needs to be heard and I need to hear what students are saying in other youth ministry contexts. Recently I launched a blog called “Students Say the Darndest Things” where we, as youth workers, can get a quick, 10 second, laugh and a little jolt to keep us lighthearted and plugging away at curriculum or calendaring or writing notes to students or whatever. Also, and more importantly, youth workers can contribute by sending a text via the blog and it’ll be posted. Humor as fuel for ministry.
By YS on November 16 2008 | 2 Comments
By YS on November 15 2008 | 0 Comments#1 You may not see that your ministry is disconnected from what God wants. In other words, what if your ministry stinks and you think its great because kids show up? Outside voices speak massive truths! You may know you've got some problems, but what if you're headed towards failure? #2 Your solutions may not make sense for your situation. Maybe you are trying something that worked at your last church? Maybe you are trying something that you read in a book, magazine, or blog? How do you know if those things will work today in your present situation? How do you know that you're not going to invest time and money on something that just won't work? #3 You are trying to figure it out without any expert advice. Let's face it, there is always someone who is smarter or has earned more expertise than you. Maybe you can learn from their experiments? Maybe you can avoid their failures or pitfalls? #4 You have dug in. Are you at the point where deep down you know your plan is going to fail but you are so proud that you won't admit it? Are you saying, "Either it's my way or I'm not the right person for this?" Are you frustrated by a lack of success and reward but you're banking on turning the corner any day now? Have you been saying that for a year? #5 You've labeled some problems as unable to be fixed in your situation. Have you said that your plan would work if only the kids would rally around you? You're telling your boss you just need that one thing or a little bit more money for more resources? Are you saying that if you had the right environment, building, weather, or soda machine everything would come together? Blaming curriculum? Blaming soccer? Blaming parents? Blaming the Holy Spirit? To quote Marko from this year's National Youth Workers Convention in Pittsburgh, "You have everything you need to be wildly successful in youth ministry." Sometimes people ask us why Youth Specialties has events. These statements show you some of the reasons. We are all in this together. We all need help leading our youth groups. We all need to hear fresh truth. We all need to learn from one another. We all need to be told that it's worth it. We all need to be affirmed. We all need to take time to rest. And some times recognizing those truths means that you need to get away from your day-to-day life to get away and figure it all out. You probably know about the National Youth Workers Convention. We also offer a one-day local training in over 90 cities called YS One Day. If you want to bring an expert into your ministry to determine exactly what is going on and come up with customized solutions, we offer YS Consults.
By YS on November 15 2008 | 0 Comments
By YS on November 14 2008 | 4 CommentsMost youth workers I know have a major problem. They love all things technology but lack the cash to buy the tools they long for. So the real question is, "What are great tech tools for my youth ministry that I can get cheaply?" Here's a non-comprehensive list of cheap tech toys that will make you look like you spent a ton of money, when you're really stretching every dime. Flip video camera: If you haven't seen this thing you are missing out. For as low as $120 you can buy your youth group the simplest video camera ever. Your turn this on, you press the red button to record, then you flip a switch and a USB connector pops out. It couldn't be easier to capture all your youth group moments! In fact, it was so easy I handed this to my 7 year old and she made a documentary about our move from Michigan to California. Have a bit more money? You can record in full 1080i HD video with the brand new Flip HD. There's no doubt why Flip has captured 24% of the camcorder market. Google Groups: Online project management and collaboration can be a fantastic way to communicate with your volunteer team or staff at church. In the past this meant that you needed to spend money on something like 37 Signals' uber popular Basecamp. The secret is, if you set up a private group on google, you get 99% of Basecamp for free. (Did you hear the angels sing there?) Your youth staff can plan events, shares files, work on stuff, and flat out communicate easily with this fantastic tool... and it's completely free. What's better than Basecamp about it is that it's a Google app so it's built to be as portable as Gmail and simple to use. You can access your group via your Blackberry, Smartphone, or iPhone. ChurchMetrics.com: One of the most common questions I hear is, "What tools are out there to track students?" Let's face it, 99% of churches out there can't afford or don't need something as comprehensive as Fellowship One. (Well, if you can afford it... get it, it's amazing!) That's why I recommend ChurchMetrics.com. This is a tool designed by Lifechurch.tv will allow you to track the most basic stuff for free. Check out this video describing a little more about it. New iPod Nano: I'm a huge fan of the new Nano and I think it's a great tool for youth ministry. You spend countless hours on road trips and other times where there is "soft time." Music helps you maintain the environment you're looking for. (Small groups, time in the youth room before your night begins, etc.) With a $7 cord from Radio Shack you can plug your iPod into pretty much any sound system on the planet. From there, you're just two clicks away from having an instant sound machine. Two features that I love on the new Nano are better cross-fading between songs and the Genius feature. When my small group comes over I can find a song I like and turn on the Genius feature to create a playlist for me of songs that sound great together. That way I don't have to worry about it randomly shuffling from David Crowder to Twisted Sister like on older models. (You know it's happened to you too!) With a better battery life and 8 GB of memory for only $149, I think the new Nano is a great tool for the price. Do you have others that should be on our list? Add them by leaving a comment!
By YS on November 14 2008 | 4 Comments