Youth Specialties Blog
By YS on September 10 2008 | 1 Comments
My dad just emailed me about a difficult speaking engagement that’s rapidly approaching. He got booked to fly to Anaheim and go deliver a keynote to a national organization working with ADHD kids. All of the people who will be attending recruit people to work with ADHD kids, but… get this… they are all ADD or ADHD themselves! Talk about your tough gigs! My worst speaking experience by far was an event I did on New Year’s Eve. The guy who booked me explained the event to me. “The gym will be full of kids we draw from local neighborhoods. They’ll be playing basketball, dodge ball, hanging out, eating, etc.” I asked, “Well, how are you going to pull them together for me to speak to them?” He was silent. He hadn’t even thought about it. I clarified, “You do realize that we don’t want to just stand up on stage and say, ‘Hey everybody… drop your dodge balls for a second, I want to tell you about Jesus!’” He agreed and I gave him suggestions of some fun up front activities and videos that would help him transition everyone into a seated position with their attention on stage. Fast forward to 11:28 New Year’s Eve. I’m on at 11:30. Kids are smattered around the room everywhere playing, talking, eating… fornicating… So I ask him. Are you ready to pull them all together. He nods quickly and runs up on stage. He grabs a mike and after a quick squeak of feedback, he says, “Hey everyone!” Three kids stop and look… 597 keep doing what they were doing. He tried again. “Hey everyone!” Nothing. He looks a little frustrated at this point. Then he looks at me… just like Judas did before he kissed Jesus. He lifts the mike up to his lips. “I want to introduce you to someone who’s going to speak to you this evening. You’re gonna love him. Let’s bring up our speaker, Jonathan McKee!!!!” What would you have done? Jonathan McKee will be teaching two seminars at the YS conventions this fall, including the workshop, Using 10-Minute Talks: Speaking to a Generation with a Short Attention Span. President of The Source for Youth Ministry, Jonathan is the author of numerous youth ministry books, including 10-Minute Talks, Do They Run When They See You Coming?, and the award winning Getting Students to Show Up. He speaks and trains at camps, conferences, and events across the U.S., and provides free resources for youth workers around the world on his Web site, TheSource4ym.com.
By YS on September 10 2008 | 1 Comments
By YS on September 09 2008 | 4 CommentsWe received lots of great entries for this contest. Thanks so much for your pictures! After a lot of deliberation here at the offices we've picked these two as the winners. [gallery] That's right, we couldn't pick just one. The Chuck Norris cutout kind of told us that if we didn't pick it we'd get a round house to the face next time we saw Sarah. And the rubber ducky Jesus... that's just brilliant on so many levels. I think my life has been changed Molly. Both Sarah and Molly will be recieving one of our famous "boxes of fun" in the mail. These boxes are specially flavored with books from YS founder Mike Yaconelli as well as some other goodness we find in our prize closet.
By YS on September 09 2008 | 4 Comments
By YS on September 09 2008 | 16 CommentsHomosexuality. Do you ever get scared by that word? Be honest … it can be a very scary word for a youth pastor. Not so much in theory because it’s easy to sit around and boisterously talk about homosexuality and how to handle it with other youth pastors. But no, the crippling fear rushes in like a tsunami crushing an unsuspecting village as you stare at someone you have loved and shepherded, their eyes swollen and bloodshot, and they’ve just poured out their deepest and darkest secret to you; they’re gay. And all you can do is try to quickly scrounge up something, anything, that won’t have this beloved youth running out the door for good. The pull between the secular world and its school system vs. Christian living and its beliefs are a powerful thing, especially when it comes to homosexuality. When the world is ready and willing to accept and affirm gay youth as they are, regardless of where they are, what a difficult theologically relevant challenge for the Christian community who thinks gay people are broken and need to be fixed. When you were in high school, which route did you take – easy and accepted or difficult and broken? And we wonder why so many youth’s run away from the Church? Over the years I have had a lot of youth pastors tell me their biggest fear is to have one of their kids admit to a same sex attraction. An even bigger fear: one of their kids is actively involved in a same sex relationship without anyone knowing. And the biggest fear of them all: two of your youths are in a same sex relationship together, and everyone in the community knows! Has it happened to you? Have you ever had one, or more of your youths tell you they’re having some ‘different’ attractions? Do you fearfully picture them kissing another youth of the same sex? Or how about ‘coming out’ to everyone they know as you watch them first hand, immerse themselves into the broader gay community as they continue to grow older. And no matter what you do it never seems to have an impact. You’re left helpless in a confusing set of circumstances that many churches and youth programs aren’t equipped to handle; not because they don’t care, but because they don’t want to put the painstaking effort into being intentionally committed no matter what the outcome. Where does that leave you? You try to talk to them about the Bible’s intent for sexuality; you try to tell them they can change their behaviors and attractions; you pray for them and you wish you could just do something more. But even after all of your love and support, heart and tears, you helplessly watch them drift away because you can’t give them a definitive answer that reconciles anything that is happening inside their mind, body and soul; as well as with their faith and sexuality. But the time is now, as too many youths have been lost to a secular understanding of the Father and turned their backs on Christianity because they weren’t able to find any Believer who was never going to give up on them; regardless if they were ‘fixed’ in your timeframe or not. The difficult discussion has just begun… Andrew Marin, general session speaker at all three NYWC's in 2008, is president and founder of The Marin Foundation, a organization created to build bridges between the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) and religious communities through scientific research, Biblical and social education. He has been published in academic research journals, been featured in national media publications, and appeared on various TV and national radio programs. Andrew is newly married to his wife Brenda, and they reside in the 'Boystown' neighborhood of Chicago.
By YS on September 09 2008 | 16 Comments
By YS on September 08 2008 | 3 CommentsChances are your youth group has some sort of a project to participate in this fall. Whether it is a local, national, or international cause students are very socially aware. But connecting what happens globally to your students local mindset is sometimes difficult. With minimal effort you could remix this video with nearly any computer and maximize the impact for your group. Seriously, this is a 30 minute project that could make a big difference.Here's how.
By YS on September 08 2008 | 3 Comments
By YS on September 06 2008 | 0 CommentsReady to contribute? Follow the instructions at these websites. Sacramento Pittsburgh Nashville
By YS on September 06 2008 | 0 Comments
By YS on September 05 2008 | 3 CommentsIn case you hadn't heard, we have partnered with some of our bookstore friends to declare this Saturday, September 6th Youth Worker Appreciation Day! (Listen to this music while reading this post, it helps.) Please check out the Youth Worker Appreciation Day (ywad for short) website to find a retailer near you. Once at the store you will find all sorts of cool things to appreciate what you and your ministry do for your community. Activities vary by store but all of the participating stores will be offering 20% off of all YS and Invert products. We've even heard some of these stores will be including free YS gear with your purchases. Mindi Godfrey has been working hard on launching this "should be" national holiday for several months. (Still listening to the music?) She tipped me off that a couple of retailers put in extra effort to recognize YWAD. If you are anywhere near Logos Bookstore in Alexandria, KY or Lighthouse Christian Bookstore in Long Beach, CA please drop in and check out what they are up to. There are also a few bloggers who have been talking about Youth Worker Appreciation Day: (See more out there? Leave a comment with a link)
- Terrace Crawford's Life on Life blog has cool stuff all week.
- Erik (with a K) has some great gift ideas for the youth worker in your life. I especially like the paraglider. You definitely need that to avoid traffic on Sunday mornings coming to church.
- Mike teases you with his post, he's got some ideas coming Friday morning. Here it is.
- Jasper starts with a little self-reflection, then ask for suggestions on how to recognize his volunteers
- Adam Lehman helps us spread the word by posting our facebook message.
- Patti Gibbons shares her hope that this would catch on in local churches.
- Sara shares this killer video.
- Nick Burleson is fired up about YWAD and implores you to thank a youth pastor/worker Saturday.
- Shawn went to his local bookstore and helped them get on board in a big way!
Questions: What are some ways you'd like to be recognized and appreciated by your youth group? What are some ways you've been recognized in the past?
By YS on September 05 2008 | 3 Comments
By YS on September 05 2008 | 0 CommentsHere's the deal. If you were a subscriber of the YS audio podcast you may have noticed it now says "Not available in the US store" over at iTunes. Let me translate that into English, we killed that feed. The "why we killed the old feed" is a long, unexciting story. What is worth telling you is that our video podcast has a brand new feed at iTunes. And just because we know some of you love those early shows, all of the previous episodes are on our new feed. What do I have to do? Click here to go directly to the YS Podcast iTunes page. Once there, click "subscribe" and you're good to go. From now on when we release a new episode it will automatically download for you. While you're there go ahead and post a review to let others know what you think about it. If you've missed our new podcast format, take a few minutes to watch the first three videos now. Spread it around! Find the podcast useful or encouraging? Share the love! Feel free to post episodes on your blog, download it and show it to your volunteer team, or just help us out by talking it up at your next meeting of local youth workers.
By YS on September 05 2008 | 0 Comments