Youth Specialties Blog

Summer Camp (in Words)

By Shawn Michael Shoup on July 11 2009 | 1 Comments

Summer camp is...kamp-ys-05 strong relationships a blast tiring making new friends salvation the ropes course young people important decisionskamp-ys-01 exhilarating swimming quiet time a hoot! sun burns healing water balloons group leaders cabin pranks drawing closer to Himkamp-ys-03 zip lines living out loud dehydration activities / team challenges mentoring a release group devotionskamp-ys-02 exhausting pain killers worth it like experiencing God as 1,000 batteries plugged into your face P.D.A. (squashed) freedom caring adults life-changing late nights funkamp-ys-08 sacrifice testimonies receiving a life-calling bonding exercising rarely used muscle groups leadership an annual kick in the pantskamp-ys-06 worship sharing life laughter learning together unforgettable ... What words do you think of when you hear "summer camp"? [thanx to Abby, Janessa, @baldbob, @auggnation, and @chriskidd for your input)

By Shawn Michael Shoup on July 11 2009 | 1 Comments


Meet Liz Murray

By YS on July 08 2009 | 0 Comments

New to the line-up of speakers at NYWC this Fall is Liz Murray. Since she is new to Big Room this year we thought it might be helpful to learn a little bit more about Liz and her story.

By YS on July 08 2009 | 0 Comments


Global Youth Ministry Continued

By Brooklyn Lindsey on June 30 2009 | 0 Comments

My wheels have been turning this week on the topic of global youth ministry, especially as I head into mission trip mode on Sunday. Today I stumbled across a book that has been foundational and motivational  for me as we work to bring the students in our youth ministries together on a local level, as well as  provide them chances to interact and serve the world. The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World (Edited by Heather Zydek). Below are some questions it begged of me a few years ago. Perhaps it would be good in the conversation to know that what I'm referring to here isn't just an openness to other world cultures but an openness to understanding the differing plights of our world and how we, as youth ministers in America, can respond to them by giving our students a chance to think in opposite ways of our culture and offer Christ to a world in diverse and imaginative ways. Listed are a few of the things that grabbed me, things I am still working through: P. 4- Head to hands How are our mission trips working? Local outreach? How do very young middle school students relate to missional experiences? How do they process them? What are the outcomes. Kara Powell's materials might be able to help us here. p. 8- Reshaping worldview How do guide the adolescent worldview to a place where they begin to see and respond like Christ may have responded? How do we do this organically? What's the most important thing? Bible study? Experiential learning? Modeling? p. 14- Prayer What's the role of prayer in our youth ministries? Is it often overlooked and undervalued? p. 17- Violence Are our eyes becoming immune to violence? What stories can we tell to help our students see pain found in violent acts? How do we tell these stories without being manipulative? p. 35- Susan B. Anthony How are are we expressing this radical kingdom message to our students? Are we comfortable with the status quo? Are we willing to take risks to articulate the message? p. 67- Hunger Do we give our students opportunities to empathize, to enter into the pain of another and experience solidarity at their own level? Is it important? Can things like the 30 Hour Famine become more than a weekend, but a way of life? How do we do that? And finally, how do we break all of this down? How would this blog be different if I were writing it for a 13 year old? Maybe that is what I should do! Nevertheless, these are the questions as of late. Maybe you have thoughts of your own?

By Brooklyn Lindsey on June 30 2009 | 0 Comments


Living Missionally for Evangelism

By YS on June 30 2009 | 0 Comments

evangelism-remixed-missionally It is quite fashionable these days to live missionally. Doing evangelism, on the other hand, does not get you invited to parties.  I am sympathetic but nervous about this inclination on the part of Christians. For far too many years the church in America has focused on getting the words said right and delivered widely.  We have wrongly assumed that evangelism simply requires better coaching in our presentation of the gospel.  Lots of good folks spent lots of hard-earned money and precious time getting these presentations into a transferable form, a package that was easily understood and easily passed on.  No one actually said that words were more important than a loving lifestyle, but our training values sure weighed heavily in that direction. In recent years we've been listening a little more to those we want to reach.  It's not been without pain we've realized that an unintended consequence of guarding the gospel through witness rehearsal may be Christians who come off as glib and insincere to many non-Christians.  This has led to a proper corrective, I think.  Our lives must be beyond reproach if our words are going to have impact.  Living missionally is about putting the horse before the cart, where it must be. What, then, about using words to point people to Jesus?  Still critical, in my estimation.  In fact, research cited in our new book specifically identifies the importance of a well-timed, well-framed invitation as students reach out to their friends for Christ.  And there is evidence that student explanations about how their friends can begin their own relationships with Jesus still work--they are especially important to those teens who don't have a church background. Preach the gospel at all times.  Use words if necessary.  And by the way, words may be necessary more often than we think. evangelism_buttonAbout our guest blogger: Dave Rahn is the co-author of Evangelism Remixed. Dave Rahn is the vice president and chief ministry officer for Youth for Christ/USA and continues to direct the MA in youth ministry leadership (http://www.youthministryleadership.com) for Huntington University. A youth ministry researcher, author, and leadership strategist, Dave now guides a team whose focus is to coach, train, resource, and serve Youth for Christ men and women from all over the country who lead nearly 2,100 community-based relational outreach ministries among teenagers. He and his wife, Susie, are empty nesting and cheering on the youth ministry careers of both recently graduated children, Jason and Alison.

By YS on June 30 2009 | 0 Comments


Global Youth Ministry

By Brooklyn Lindsey on June 24 2009 | 13 Comments

I'm sitting here in a denominational youth meeting with delegates from around the world, realizing that youth ministry is so much bigger than us. It transcends so many things, reaching into teenagers hearts, in so many languages and cultures. When I'm doing youth ministry at my local church, it's easy to forget how big our world is and how important it is to talk about the things that unite us. What are some of the common denominators in youth ministries throughout our world? As I look at the youth groups in Mumbai, Brazil, and in the Dominican Republic, I see that there are some things that don't seem to vary much, even though our cultures do. There are passionate and courageous leaders, some paid, some not. There are adults walking together with teenagers joining in their stories and encouraging them to grow in their walks with God. There is zeal. Teenagers and youth leaders are excited and passionate people. There is a love for Christ. For Christian youth groups, no matter, their make-up, we are seeing a passion for Christ, a movement of teenagers and leaders who are looking for a reason to die to self.  It's awesome to watch, it's awesome to be a part of. What themes do you see in global youth ministry? How can we open our groups up to begin thinking of themselves as a body bigger than the local church? These are the questions ruminating within and now I'm curious about how I could use technology (skype, iChat, etc.) to unite my local group with a global group. Anyone doing this already?

By Brooklyn Lindsey on June 24 2009 | 13 Comments


Blogging from Los Angeles

By YS on June 23 2009 | 2 Comments

Print Thursday starts DCLA in Los Angeles. Most of our staff is already on site at the LA Convention Center while the rest of us will head up in the next 24 hours. We will be tweeting, YouTube-ing, Facebook-ing, Flickr-ing, and of course blogging from DCLA. If you or your ministry is going to be posting for LA this weekend let us know by leaving a comment.

By YS on June 23 2009 | 2 Comments


Fundraising That Doesn’t Feel Like Fundraising

By Shawn Michael Shoup on June 22 2009 | 3 Comments

I remember one of my professors at Bible college telling us that "fundraising is the necessary evil" that we would all eventually have to endure in student ministry. After all, it's no fun constantly asking the same people over and over again for money -- even if it is for a "good cause".  You start to feel like a used car salesman... and what's up with the people who walk the other way when they see you coming?!  (grin) Well, if you are one of the many youth workers that has to do fundraising to supplement your budget or raise money for student trips, this post is for you. Somehow my wife and I stumbled across some really great ideas for a couple of annual fundraising events that are actually fun and raise substantial amounts of coinage for our students. Yup, people actually look forward to attending these events! Here's one that we just finished up last week; probably nothing ground-breaking, but worth sharing, I think... We call it the ELEVATION TALENT SHOW -- Elevate is the name of our student ministry. elevation-talent-show-09
Lots of people enjoy variety shows, especially if you add some humorous elements to the program! We start the whole event process by auditioning fifteen to twenty acts for the show.  You generally wouldn't want more than that for a two hour program. Everything from comedy, to music, to sketch, to poetry, creative art -- you name it -- the more variety the better.  Make sure you have enough time in advance for people to prepare their acts before the auditions open up.  We usually start talking about auditions a couple months out. Piece the program together and tell everyone to come out for the big night and vote for their favorite acts with cash or check. It works great because it pulls in lots of family and friends that wouldn't normally step foot inside of a church, but they are willing to come and support their buddy, grandchild, cousin, etc. We make the show more interesting by selling concessions (popcorn, candy bars, soda) and splitting up the acts with "commercials" (funny videos or a humorous video-story / sketch theme that runs through the night).  We also dim the house lights and keep just the stage lights on to give the sanctuary more of a movie-house feel. As a bonus, this event gives a platform to a lot of very talented people in the church that we wouldn't have necessarily discovered otherwise. Such a fun night! If you are wondering about the voting process, we usually just set up a table with voting receptacles (can be cups, Chinese take-out boxes, piggy banks, etc.) that correspond with each act listed in the event's program. We have an intermission and a time at the end of the night where people can get up and have the chance to "vote" for their favorite acts. After everyone is done voting, we show a few more fun video clips or provide some other entertainment while the money is being tallied and then announce the top three winners of the evening (the ones with the highest amount of cash). The top three go home with prizes and the profits go into our student ministry budget.  Win-win-win! Here's some video highlights from this year's event...
I'll share our other annual fundraising event closer to it's corresponding holiday: Valentine's Day. Do any of you guys have great fundraiser events or ideas?  We'd love to hear from you!

By Shawn Michael Shoup on June 22 2009 | 3 Comments


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