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 …

The End of Children’s Sermons?

Mary Jacob's recent article considers the role of children's messages/sermons in worship.  Most importantly, she provides perspective that allows readers to more fully consider if the practice is appropriate in their congregation. It hasn't always been this way.  Children's messages/sermons began appearing in worship services in the late nineteenth century, but didn't become common until the 1970s and 1980s. Children's messages/sermons often lack focus or are directed at a different Read More …

The Adolescent Brain

The video below is a must watch TED Talk for anyone who cares about, works/serves with, and/or is raising adolescents.  TED offers the following introduction: Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically "teenage" behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain. So What? Blakemore provides many helpful Read More …

More Teens Are Sexting

A recent study led by Jeff Temple from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, shows how common sexting has become among teens: 28% have sent a naked photo of themselves via text or email 31% have asked someone for a sext 57% have been asked to send a sext So What? In recent years, churches have gotten more involved in educating youth and their parents about technology.  Sexting is too significant and has become too widespread an issue to ignore.  How is your Read More …

Teens Benefit from Time with Parents

A new long term study published in the August issue of Child Development reveals that teens benefit from spending time with parents.  While the study included only a small group of two parent families in Pennsylvania with limited diversity, the findings are worth noting.  More specifically: The study authors were surprised to discover that when fathers spent more time alone with their teenagers, the kids reported they felt better about themselves. "Mothers weren't unimportant, but they are kind Read More …

Golden Rule 2.0

Most Christians know and seek to live by the so-called "golden rule," which calls for a life of treating others as one would like to be treated.  Interestingly, an ethic of reciprocity is also found in many of the world's religions and cultures. The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, Conference Minister and President of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, recently  challenged participants at the UCC's National Youth Event to live by something he calls the Golden Rule 2.0: "Treat Read More …

The Best Youth Ministry Game

Tim Schmoyer, founder of Life In Student Ministry, recently asked people to submit their favorite youth ministry game.  From that list, he selected four: Cell Phone Pic Scategory Q-Tip Wars Fat Santa Shuffle Your Buns (If you are not familiar with one or more of these games, be sure to check out his post for explanations and illustrations.) So What? Every youth group has a few go to games that are always lots of fun.  While I have been fortunate enough to be involved with a Read More …

Ministry Job Musts

Adam McLane, a Partner at The Youth Cartel and Principal at McLane Creative, recently blogged about two things  youth ministers needs to consider in order to retain their current employment: metrics/measurables and donor relations.  Speaking bluntly he suggests that by managing these two areas well one can eliminate "90% of the reasons my friends have gotten fired." So What? Like any type of employment, ministry positions involve (or, at least should involve) periodic evaluation.  The Read More …

High School Ministry – Defining Success

Lutheran (ELCA) pastor Rich Melheim is the founder and chief creative officer of Faith Inkubators, which he describes as "a Christian education systems design think tank and resource provider dedicated to incubating faith every night in every home."  In the February 22, 2012 edition of the Christian Century, he answered several questions regarding faith formation as a family matter, including one about high school youth ministry. Q: How do you define a successful church program for high Read More …

Go Slow

Guy Chmieleski has served in campus ministry at four institutions of higher education associated with three different denominations (Baptist, United Methodist and Church of Christ).  He recently blogged about pace of life, reminding everyone that today's traditional college students have lived their whole lives in an instant culture.  The only real change these young adults have experienced is fast has becoming faster.  To help overcome this he proposes: I think we need to re-introduce our Read More …