By YS on August 11 2009 | 6 CommentsA few weeks ago I came across a website that allows college students to cheat on due dates, but without a “lame excuse.” This is a very witty way of using the complexities of technology to cheat. Very interesting to say the least. Here’s how it works…
By YS on August 11 2009 | 6 Comments
By YS on August 10 2009 | 2 CommentsIn my years of working with middle school boys I've learned that there are some kids who are just a little slow on how their bodies may be smelling. Somewhere along the way I've acquired a taste for deodorant humor. Which is how I came across this gem at Mental Floss called, "12 Essential Talking Points for the Deodorant Enthusiast." Here are my favorites:
By YS on August 10 2009 | 2 Comments
By Jen Howver on August 10 2009 | 3 CommentsUPDATE: I'm including a fabulous picture of me from 8th grade at the request of Scott Rubin. It's good for a laugh, at the very least...so enjoy! In honor of our week of middle school madness, I thought I'd share a little flashback with you from my middle school ministry days. I'm not talking about a flashback from my experience volunteering in middle school ministry... No, I'm talking about a WAAAAY back flashback to when I was in middle school ministry! I have a strange connection to Scott Rubin, co-author of the squirrely new release, Middle School Ministry. See, he's the youth pastor in the middle school ministry at Willow Creek Community Church, called Elevate. Well, Scott is pretty old, but I don't think he's old enough to be my middle school pastor. But I did go to the middle school youth group at Willow back when it was called Sonlight Express and was led by a different guy named Scott. (Is that a great ministry name, or what?!) I remember talking about my memories from Sonlight when I first met Scott a few years back, and it was fun to think back on why I loved my middle school ministry experience. Maybe in my fond memories you'll find something useful. Maybe not. Either way, here goes! I was only slightly overwhelmed the first time I walked into the dark room where a few hundred middle school kids were screaming and cheering while a few of the brave ones competed in the relay races happening in the middle of the room. I didn't know anyone there, but I was quickly introduced to Randy and Pam, who were the team leaders for the kids from my neck of town. I think my team was called the Pink Flamingos that year. Soon, like everyone else on my team, I'd show up for Sonlight on a Saturday morning with a pink boa, or some hot pink shorts, or some kind of flamingo decor to be used for cheering on my team. The energy at Sonlight drew me in quickly. And like every other girl in junior high, my crush on the worship band's lead singer kept me coming back. But it was the teaching from Scott Peterson and my interactions with my small group leaders that really stuck with me. The summer between 6th and 7th grades, I went to camp with Sonlight. Scott talked about Psalm 1 and pointed out the tallest pine tree across the river. He explained how this tree was planted firmly near streams of water, that yields its fruit and never loses its leaves...and I wanted to be like that tree. I wanted to be blessed like the one mentioned in Psalm 1. That summer, I decided to follow Jesus and I was baptized in the Tahquemenon River in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Not unlike so many other youth groups, there was transition in Sonlight. I think I had a different small group leader every year of middle school. But every woman who led me during those years was passionate about Jesus, about Sonlight, and about me. They spent time with me outside the walls of that church, they wrote me notes that I've hung onto all these years, and in so many ways they helped me become the woman I am today. Like a lot of teenagers, I wandered away for a bit during high school. But after I graduated, I found myself working at the very camp where I first chose to live like Jesus. I watched countless middle school kids get baptized in that same river that washed away my sins. And every time they came up for air with the wide smiles on their faces, I felt my own soul leap once again. I think that's where my desire to serve in middle school ministry was born... I really wasn't sure what I'd say when I set out to write this post. But now that it's done, I think I want to end with this: Whatever your role in the lives of middle schoolers, know that you are important to them. Your interest in their lives speaks volumes. Your desire to walk with them is priceless. Your impact on them, while it may not be visible right now, will go on forever... Thank you for serving middle schoolers.
By Jen Howver on August 10 2009 | 3 Comments
By YS on August 10 2009 | 4 CommentsYouth Specialties hereby declares August 10th-16th, Middle School Week, for youth workers all over. Here at the YS Blog we have lined up posts from guest bloggers and our team of contributurs to get you thinking about the middle schoolers in your life. Contributors are sharing reflections from their time in middle school, advice for ministering to the squirrely among us, some practical research about middle school dating and deoderant, and a whole lot more. Initially, we were going to have middle school things for the YS staff to do each day during middle school week-- but then we realized that it wouldn't be all that abnormal from a regular week at YS, so we're cooking up some other middle school fun instead! Participate in Middle School Week! We want this to be a participatory event. If you have a blog, please consider writing at least one post this week about middle school ministry and adding a trackback to this post. Feel free to grab our snazzy graphic for your post. Additionally, if you have a blog post about middle school, middle school ministry, or early adolescence, feel free to email it to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration here at the blog. Go Deeper Join us in celebrating the release of Middle School Ministry, the latest from Mark Oestreicher and Scott Rubin. This week we will be kicking off discussion about the book. Pick up your copy today and join in on the conversation. More Middle School week posts: Manic Monday Minute Middle School Week at YS Why Junior High Ministry Rocks
By YS on August 10 2009 | 4 Comments
By YS on August 05 2009 | 0 CommentsIsn’t that a phrase we hear (or say) a lot? And, this idea might be hitting home more now that’s it’s August and those kids you’ve spent 4 or more years of your life with are leaving. Sobering moment, for sure. So, what do we do? Are there practical things we can do to help our students transition more smoothly? To that, I say, "absolutely." Appendix C of the book, College Ministry 101 has a few more than I'll list here and gives detail to each of the below ideas (explaining practical ideas/balances for implementing them), but I thought now is a good time to begin thinking about these things. You may already have some of these in place in your ministry, but maybe there's one that can help you do even a better job at helping...
By YS on August 05 2009 | 0 Comments
By YS on August 04 2009 | 0 CommentsOne of the ways we asked students to make a difference at this summer's DCLA was with their money. For every purchase students made at the DCLA on site store we made a donation towards one of three ministries. If they donated to Compassion International's Bite Back program, their funds went to buy mosquito nets. If they chose Blood: Water Mission, their donation went towards clean drinking water in Africa. And if they chose Invisible Children, their money went to end child slavery in Uganda. When it was all over we were able to donate a total $4878 to those ministries. This just goes to show you that small decisions we make in our every day life, when working together, can add up to a big impact. Way to go DCLA students!
By YS on August 04 2009 | 0 Comments
By Jen Howver on August 04 2009 | 0 CommentsSo I thought it might be helpful after my last post, "Are You a Marketer?" to give you some tips and tools to help you with this whole idea of marketing your youth group to parents and teens (and sometimes even selling it to your church leadership!). If there's anything missing from my list that you think would be a good resource, please let me know! Websites/Blogs:
By Jen Howver on August 04 2009 | 0 Comments