Youtube Video Of The Week!!!

This weeks youtube of the week is a bumper video we did for our stories weekend were students give their testimony. Usually we have someone speak, but at story weekend the students who share their story is the message.


Youth Worker: A Serving Opportunity Overlooked!!

472192_10151458957492646_1092250979_oI asked Michaela Coon, who is a senior in high school and apart of our youth ministry, to write some of her thoughts on encouragement. She has a huge heart for encouraging others. I can remember a while back when she came to me with this idea that she had started doing on her own. She bought blankets from the dollar store and if she was by the beach or any where else and saw a homeless person she would just give them one. My first thought was “this is brilliant” second thought was “what if we taught other students to do the same?”.  So we came up with a bunch of ways to serve as individuals or as a group.  We put them in our life group training packets as opportunities to serve. She now leads our encouragement ministry!  It’s a super easy way to get students connected and it’s a ministry that is low maintenance. I believe it’s revolutionary because it’s something you can do at a personal level and at the group level. So here is her heart on the power of encouragement.

Encouragement is a spiritual gift that is often overlooked.  However, it is actually a vital part to the Body of Christ that we need to be instructed in!  We are called to encourage one another daily.  Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  I’ve found that encouraging others is an easy way to selflessly serve on a daily basis.  Words are lasting, and speaking the truth in love to others can show the enormity of Christ’s love.  In Latin, the prefix “en” means “to put into,” and “cor” means “heart.”  So, being intentional and personal can develop a powerful presence in someone’s life. During finals week of last school year I gave my friends note cards with Bible verses on them, and I still them in their binders!  Also, within the church it is important to encourage other believers in their walk.  The journey can be weary at times, and encouragement can serve as a reminder of God’s lasting promises.

There are many practical ways to encourage, either in a group or as an individual:

  • Letters: Writing letters of thanks to a leader within the church or even just the Starbucks guy!  Groups can target a specific person and shower them with personal letters.  Even one letter can mean a lot.
  • Make use of conversations: Fill your words with grace and put your focus on the lives of others.
  • Keep a blanket in your car to give to someone in need (at the beach, in the city, etc.)
  • At the drive-thru window of a fast food joint, pay for the person behind you. This is a simple and humbling act of service.
  • Pray for those in need- homeless, jobless, hungry, hopeless, broken…
  • Pray for your church family and those leading it.
  • Pray for the Persecuted Church, and those serving around the world.
  • Pray for your peers at HSM services and at school.
  • Pray for local schools and local churches.
  • Do a chore at home without being asked.
  • Write an encouraging note to someone who needs it.
  • Get a group of friends together to purchase food and cook a meal for a family who is struggling financially.

-Use your talents: From baking to technology, any skill or talent can be used creatively to uplift another.

hope it helps


Youth Worker: A Response To Justin Bieber!!!!

No signThis is really nothing new. I’ve seen this so many times where the young star comes out and caters to the parents of young fans by playing the role model part.  When it’s time to grow their career up they start with racy behavior.  Cathleen Falsani who is an award winning writer wrote a blog post to Justin Bieber concerning the recent video of him smoking weed.  I thought it was pretty thoughtful and insightful so I’m sharing it.  Read below and then head to her site for the rest.

“…Last year you reached a milestone when you turned 18. You are living in a liminal state, standing at the threshold between childhood and adulthood, still more boy than man.  Times of transition and change are difficult for anyone, never mind someone whose every move in public is chronicled by relentless paparazzi and other members of the media. You must be gentle with yourself as you navigate these new waters, but you also must be diligent to guard your heart and mind more now than ever.  Whether you’ve partaken of the “sacred herb” just once or burn more cabbage than Tommy Chong at a Furthur show is not the issue that most concerns me. Click here to READ the rest!

Do we talk at all about things like this knowing that our students are buying their music and going to their concerts? I would love to hear your thoughts on how you approach these types of things with your students!!

Youth Worker: We Are Confusing Students!!!!

Its-really-confusingThere are church words and phrases that we use all the time that are probably confusing our students. I remember this one lady in church who would always respond when people would ask her “how are you doing” she would respond with “blessed and highly favored of the Lord”. I would think, “what do you mean by highly favored? I mean, does God favor you more than me?”  I think about this incident and how it has made me conscious about the terms I use talking to students.  Now, I grew up knowing all of the Christianized lingo, and I still know it and I use it when it’s appropriate. It is not appropriate when I’m talking to students who are coming to church for the fist time or a student you are mentoring.  The last thing I want them doing is decoding what I’m trying to say while I’m speaking.  Here are some of the words and phrases I replace with regular language.

  • Resting in the arms of God
  • Sovereign
  • Spiritual high
  • Just give it to God
  • Surrender your heart
  • Quiet time
  • Walk with God
  • Christ increase while I decrease
  • Be all you can be in Christ
  • Not my will but thy will
  • Leave it in the hands of God

We use these words and phrases all the time with good intentions, but the likely hood of students knowing what we are really talking about is slim to none.  Be intentional about using regular language so everyone understands you.  If you do need to use words like sovereign give the meaning so students can follow.  Saying ” we all need to have a quiet time with God” is totally true but it’s a metaphor; it’s not really explaining what you mean.  Think about it.

What other Christianized words and phrases do we use that are probably confusing to our students?

hope it helps


Youth Workers: My Child Is Gay!!

respondToday, I got the opportunity to be on The Simply Youth Ministry Show.  We got an email about a youth worker who had parents come and tell him that their son is gay.  While this topic deserves more than 12 minutes, we took it on. I thought I would elaborate more on the topic.

Popular opinion says it’s OK and to each its own and the only people that are speaking out loud in opposition are the people who are screaming God hates gays. Which is completely untrue. I believe that as culture continues to push embracing this life style as the norm, you will have a lot more students with questions.  We need to talk about it.

I’ve had enough conversations to know that there is no easy solution when dealing with students who struggle with homosexuality because every situation is different.  However, I do believe there is a framework that can help you best support and mentor students. As you tackle this hot topic, here are a few things that have helped me tremendously as I support and mentor students in this area.

Knowing the views of your church –  If you haven’t had a conversation with your pastor, elders or who ever does pastoral care with the adults in your church, you need to do it.  It will give you confidence in caring for students when you know the church has your back and supports you.  If you find out that you don’t agree on some things in this area, at least you know where you stand and can start working towards a resolution.  You can also collaborate on a plan on how to best support students. You don’t have to do it on your own.  How you handle this topic is a really big deal.  Remember, since you represent your church, how you minister to gay teenagers needs to reflect your church’s views on the subject.  Inconsistency will only cause confusion in an already tough to navigate situation.

Educate yourself   It’s one thing to know the scriptures stating that homosexuality is wrong; it’s another thing to support someone and mentor someone who is struggling with it in their life.  You must know more about it than just what Leviticus says when it comes to mentoring and supporting students who are struggling or questioning their sexuality.  Read up on both sides of the topic.  Simply Youth Ministry has a new resource written by Shawn Harrison Ministering to gay teenagers.  There is a free sample of the book you can read and check it out.  There are plenty of websites and articles that are pushing a popular opinion driven agenda that you can read up on.  You need to know what they are hearing from culture concerning homosexuality.  Just as important, you must know what the bible says about it.  So do some research because students need to know you care and the more you know the more you are able to be passionate about reaching out and supporting them.

Allow God’s word to guide you   There is a bible verse that speaks to how we should approach sharing the truth of God’s word. Ephesians 4:15 talks about speaking the truth in love.  Paul is saying we as believers must do two things.  One, we must always speak the truth.  We are not called to sugar coat it or hide it in some politically correct lingo.  We are to speak the truth of God’s word.  With that being said, we must also handle God’s word of truth correctly (2 Timothy 2:15), so that we don’t speak truth in a way that misrepresents God’s position.  Secondly, We are also called to speak the truth in love.  That means:

I hope this gives you some type of direction and if nothing else something to talk about in your next staff/leader/volunteer meeting.  Allow God to put a burden on your heart for these students if you don’t have one already.

If you need someone to talk some things through regarding the topic, feel free to email me at  Praying for you all!!!

hope it helps



2012 In Review: Top 10 most viewed Post!!!!

logo19AI have really enjoyed writing and sharing my learning’s and insights with others in youth ministry.  God has definitely shown me a lot in ministry over the years,  He has also helped me share my thoughts with others in hopes it would help someone else.  Here are the 10 most viewed post on

Also, I started having some of my students share and write some guest post to their peers.  The response has been great, feel free to use them.  Looking forward to more in 2013.

hope it helps

Happy New Year


Youth Workers: The Honeymoon Is Over!!!

honeymoon1Do ministry on purpose! –  What use to be done automatically must now be done purposefully.  When you start dating someone everything is new and exciting. The time you put into the relationship seems effortless and everything flows perfectly.  Well, after a couple of weeks/months/years things aren’t as new as they once were and all the things that were cute early on become common.  All the things you did early on which came automatically now must be done purposefully.  Being thoughtful and considerate towards one another has to be done purposefully.  Because the more the relationship becomes common the more you lose those things. I believe it’s the same in ministry.  When you are young in the game of youth ministry everything is exciting. Loving on students is easy and when you see God doing something in their life, you are screaming “that’s awesome” and it gets you so pumped.  Then you get a few weeks/months/years into it and things become common.

  • You no longer reach out to the new students.
  • When God does something awesome in a student’s life you act excited but you’ve seen it happen a million times, so the enthusiasm and appreciation is not from the heart.
  • You stop fervently praying for students.
  • You no longer show genuine interest in the lives of students.
  • You become the “high-fiver’ that ask students, “how are you?” and hope they say fine so you don’t have to hear about their problems.

The list goes on and on.  When the newness of something goes away you have to become purposeful about it or you become noneffective.

Some areas you might have to be more purposeful in:

  • Reaching out to new students.
  • Being genuine in your enthusiasm and appreciation when a students life is changed.  Know that you are being used by God to change the course of someone’s life forever.
  • Praying for students fervently and expectantly. If you are spending 8 hours a day programming and only 5 minutes praying and seeking God for your students, ministry has possibly become to common.
  • Show a genuine interest in all the lives of your students not just the ones you know.
  • Seek out students who need your time and love.  Ask more detailed questions than just “how are you”.  Ask: how’s your family or how’s your walk with Christ?

What has helped me do ministry purposefully has been keeping a heart of thankfulness.  I have this exercise I do that helps me stay thankful.  I play three of my favorite worship songs and while they are playing I write down everything that I am thankful for.  The first song I write down the things I am thankful for concerning my family. The second song I write down the things I am thankful for concerning individual students, and then the third song I write down the things that I’m thankful for concerning ministry.  When I am done I can visually see all things I have to be thankful for.  Seeing how God has used me in the lives of others gets me excited about what else God can do with my life.  Knowing that I don’t deserve the blessings God has chosen to bless me with reignites the fire for ministry and life in Christ for me.  I do ministry purposefully when I’m reflective and thankful.

So if you can see yourself in this post and you feel like you are just going through the motions, think about what areas you need to do ministry purposefully.  My prayer is that this post starts conversations that moves people back into a healthy place in ministry.  The honeymoon phase of ministry is over, now what?

hope it helps


For Students: God Which College Should I Go To?!?!

woman praying silhoutteChoosing the right school becomes a huge concern for a lot of students right around this time.  I’m sure God gets this question a lot, so don’t feel like you are alone if this has been on your mind.  I do think scripture gives us insight on how God views our lives on earth.  I believe scripture shows us that God is more concerned with where He is in our life, than where we are in life.  The bible says in Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  A lot of times we are seeking out where we want to be in life.  God is saying, “if I am where I’m suppose to be in your life, you will be where you’re suppose to be in life”.

praying-1bThe bible also tells us that God definitely has a purpose for our life.  Jeremiah 29:11 says For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  So if it’s your hearts desire to be used by God, He will use you, no matter where you go.  Allow God to be God and He’ll take care of the rest.  So put God where He’s suppose to be and you will be where you’re suppose to be.  Here are three things I apply to my decision making process.

  1. I commit the process to God. – Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the LORD, and then your plans will succeed.  You must understand that college is not the end; it’s a means to an end.  College will be a part of the story of your life.
  2. I trust God through the process. – Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  
  3. I trust him with my choice. – Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

hope it helps



7 Steps To Navigating The Craziness!!!

Issues and ConcernsFirst of all, there are no quick fixes.  Had a conversation with one of my life group leaders that was having issues with one of her students. Her student has been through some very tough things in her life, and my leader wanted to know how should she began to care for and support her student.  I shared with her a few things she could do and so I thought I’d share them with you.

  1. Prayer – Praying for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide the conversation is so important.  The bible says in Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  So you’re not just talking things through and everything’s all good.  You are going to battle with forces in the student’s life that wants to keep them where they are.  It’s a spiritual battle not a physical one.  You need to be prepared and ready.  You need wisdom only God can give (James 1:5), so prayer, prayer and more prayer should be your weapon of choice.
  2. Active listening – The currency to being heard.  Active listening is more than just not talking and hearing the other person.  There is a certain posture you carry when you actively listen. You are sitting and/or standing facing the person.  You are looking them in the eye, and if you are sitting you are sitting on the edge of your seat giving them your undivided attention. When you are actively listening you are very slow to speak.
  3. Empathy – You don’t have to fix or give instructions right away.  Mourn with them/cry with them/sit in silence with them.  Allow your presence the opportunity to comfort them.  We might not even know it but God uses our presence in peoples lives to just be a comfort to them.  Which is not easy because we want to say that word or sentence that puts them back on track.  The bible says in Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Sometimes students know what they need to do but just need the presence of someone as comfort.
  4. Give Holy Spirit inspired guidance – The reason why I used “Holy Spirit inspired” is because you should be seeking God to give you what they need to hear.  Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say what you say that makes the difference.  Sometimes you are just there to help them find the answer themselves.  Allow God to guide.  Whatever guidance you give them think baby steps.
  5. Refer when necessary – Don’t be afraid to refer students and parents to professionals.  Even though you refer them you still have a job to do.  You support them with prayer and your presence.
  6. Set Boundaries(Very Necessary) – A lot of times we get all the other points but then we forget to set boundaries and we burn out.  Students who lack attention from the proper channels will abuse the attention you give them.  They don’t do it on purpose, its just the way it is.  You must set boundaries for the sake of your spiritual and relational well-being.  You will be spiritually drained and all of your relationships will be affected because you are literally being drained by one person who is dealing with issues that must be dealt with responsibly.
  7. Don’t do it on your own – This must be a group effort between you and the parents.  Bring other trusted leaders into the mix to pray and maybe even spend time with the student.  The parents need to be in the loop every step of the way.  How much you share with the parents depends on the situation.  My rule of thumb is “when in doubt, tell them”.

What would you add to this list?

hope it helps