Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology

The Center on Media and Human Development in the School of Communication at Northwestern University recently published "Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology: A National Survey," which highlights ten key findings.  This list includes: parents still turn to family and friends for parenting advice far more often than to new media sources like websites, blogs, and social networks, parents do not report having many family conflicts or concerns about their children’s media use, Read More …

The Role of Youth Ministry

Doug Franklin, president of LeaderTreks and seasoned youth minister, recently blogged about a common problem in youth ministries in our consumer culture: expectations.  Franklin suggests that parents rather than youth ministers or those volunteering in youth ministries should serve as the primary faith influencers of their teenaged children. So what? What is the point of youth ministry? Put differently, why does your congregation engage in ministry in an age specific manner to students Read More …

Who Volunteers Most?

While religious people tend to volunteer more than non-religious, a new study finds that one factor makes more difference than any other in determining who volunteers the most: type of high school attended.   Jonathan Hill and Kevin den Dulk's research, published last month in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, "shows that graduates of Protestant high schools out-volunteer peers from Catholic, secular, public, and home schools—all by significant margins." So What? While Read More …

Teen Pregnancy – Reality Check

Perception and reality often differ dramatically.  According to a national telephone survey conducted earlier this year for The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy by Social Science Research Solutions, most American adults are not aware that the rate of teen pregnancy has declined significantly since 1990. FACT: Since 1990, teen pregnancy has decreased 43%. FACT: Since 1991, the birth rate among teens has decreased 49%. Reality Check: 68% of those surveyed who were Read More …

Chuck Knows Church

Chuck Knows Church is a relatively new educational resource funded by the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church.  Every Thursday, a somewhat goofy yet always personable, pastoral and knowledgeable man named Chuck shares a new 2-4 minute YouTube video on a basic topic related to Christianity.  Past topics include liturgical colors, the offering plate, the Narthex, the baptismal font, and Lent.  The latest video is on the Lord's Prayer: So What? In addition to Read More …

Youth Group Memories

Jessica Misener recently shared 33 ways you may know you were a part of a youth group during your teen years, including You were so excited your crush was going to the lock-in; You went on a mission trip to Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, Ghana, Nicaragua, Uganda, or Venezuela; Your parents bought you a purity ring; You prayed at school during "see you at the pole;" and All the concerts you went to gave you the opportunity to sponsor a kid. So What? I was never very involved in a Read More …

Being Teen Online

Zone Alarm recently posted an important infographic: The Secret Life of the Online Teenager.  While more than 4 in 5 teens use social media and more than 95% of all teens are confident in their ability to stay safe online, the details of their online behavior offer parents, educators and other caring adults reasons to monitor the online actions of teens.  More specifically, 69% openly reveal their physical locations 32% of teen girls and 24% of teen boys chat with strangers 28% download Read More …

Youth Ministry Is

Rachel Blom is a seasoned youth ministry leader who founded Youth Leaders Academy: "a blog aimed at training youth leaders worldwide to serve better in youth ministry."  Recently she wrote about her understanding of the shift underway in the preferred model or paradigm for youth ministry.  More specifically, she believes it is shifting from big youth ministry to smaller youth ministry; from event-driven and program-oriented to personal and relational; from making converts to making Read More …

Teens & Sleep

Understanding the  Zombie Teen's Body Clock may sound like a Halloween challenge, but is actually the title of Sue Shellenbarger's recent Wall Street Journal article exploring just how different the adolescent sleep cycle is from that of childhood or adulthood.  Zombie teens experience a "biological 1-2-3 punch:" Puberty creates a median 1.5-hour delay in the body's release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. The buildup of the need to sleep as the day wears on, slows during Read More …

Football, Jesus, and Ninja

Football, Jesus and ninja sound like words that might be associated with some form of a youth group game.  In fact, I may have played a modified version of ninja football on a retreat years ago.  Interestingly, these words can be found on the list of the 25 Most Popular Passwords of 2012.   So What? Reality check.  Apparently many people still don't take security seriously.  How else could the #1 most popular password be "password"?  Also appearing on the list are baseball (#10), Read More …