Youth Specialties Blog

Trending Links: More On Selfies, Don’t Mock The Megachurch, Chasing Elvis, Noah

By Youth Specialties on April 01 2014 | 0 Comments

In this week's trending links, are talking more about the selfie pandemic, why we shouldn't mock the megachurch, chasing Elvis, looking at the new movie Noah, and letting you know about a new iPhone app that will help create worship graphics for you.

She's Not A Megachurch. She's My Sister.

We all hear it, the constant debate back and forth of the value of the Megachurch. To some, they are the next best thing after Grace itself, but to others, they are the biggest threat we've ever experience in ministry. Regardless of your opinion of them, the big churches exist. What we need to do as youth workers and ministers is to do our part to understand them and their role in the Kingdom. Author Shauna Niequist rcently wrote a great post on her experience with the Megachurch.



Movie Review: Noah

Our good friend Brian Berry, took to the theatres with some friends this past week to catch a glimpse at the new movie, Noah. Last week, we highlighted a movie review on Divergent, and thought we'd keep the theme going with new one.

Brian - a fantastic youth worker in California gives us a great perspective on why we should see the movie, even if it's not 100% Biblically accurate.





NEW APP: Shift Media Creator

"You could keep finding worship media the way you’ve always done it. Search. Sort. Search some more.

Or you could use that powerful, high-end camera you’ve got in your pocket to shoot exactly the image you want, quickly and easily make it exactly the right size - and make it gorgeous - before sending it straight to your ShiftWorship account to download into your software.

It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s fun. And it puts all the creative power right in your hands. Worship media will never be the same."



Our YS Team Leader, Mark Matlock, recently wrote a post for YouthWorker magazine in which he reflects back on his own personal faith journey and battling the changing cultures. Take a read on Mark's perspective as he takes a few moments to reflect back on his journey, and shares with us the experience he had with a chasing Elvis.



Young People and Selfies

Jonathan McKee is one of these guys who just has a tremendous understanding of teen culture, and can frame things so well for us youth workers. As a father of three of his own teenagers – he get's it.

Selfies, or a picture of yourself posted on the interwebs, have become the latest and greatest craze in pop culture tp the point that our pop culture "icons" and "role models" are jumping on board and taking things even further.

Take a read on Jonathan's read on what this Selfie thing is really all about.


By Youth Specialties on April 01 2014 | 0 Comments

YS Idea Lab - Tim Eldred: Student Ownership of Ministry

By Youth Specialties on April 01 2014 | 2 Comments

What would it look like for students to own their own youth ministry? Tim Eldred offers some inspiring and challenging thoughts on the implications, risks, and rewards of seeking out students' gifts and interests and then empowering and allowing them to shape the ministry themselves.

By Youth Specialties on April 01 2014 | 2 Comments

Trending Links: Divergent, Selfies, How to be the best teacher, and the influence of a teenager

By Youth Specialties on March 25 2014 | 0 Comments

Movie Review: Divergent

 What did your teens see in the theatre's this past weekend? Divergent was the king at the box office this past weekend, claiming the top spot with an estimated $56 million. Meanwhile, the Muppets failed to take multiplexes in Muppets Most Wanted, earning $16.5 million, and the faith-based indie God’s Not Dead inspired an awesome $8.6 million from just 780 theaters. We know that you couldn't have been at all three movies yourself this past weekend, so we thought we'd point you to a review of Divergent from Christianity Today, to catch a glimpse of what it was all about.



Selfies! Pretty Selfies, Ugly Selfies, Selfies for Everyone!

Selfies - it's a term not just for teenagers anymore. In fact, “Selfie” was the Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 word of the year. However, what is the craze all about, and why are some teenagers intentionally taking bad pictures of themself? What's the point, and why the choice? Take a read from the NY Times on what teenagers told them.


12 Rules The Best Teachers Live By

We were pointed to this article on Huffington Post from this post on It's a great article from the perspective of a teacher - you know, those heroes who teach our kids everyday? Take a look at the post, and then see what Rachel Blom had to say at DYM.


Not Every Teenager Is A Leader. But Every Teenager Has Influence.

Hop over to our friends at YouthMinistry360 and read a fantastic reminder about the value of each student that we know and minister too. We don't need to make leaders out of all of them, but we do need to reminder them that they has influence.


By Youth Specialties on March 25 2014 | 0 Comments

YS Idea Lab: Terry Linhart - Ideas to Spark Youth Ministry Leadership

By Youth Specialties on March 25 2014 | 0 Comments

What are some strategies and habits that youth ministry leaders can practice to grow as a leader and build into their ministries? Terry Linhart gives four ideas to help youth workers be intentional about their ministries and about their personal development as a leader.

By Youth Specialties on March 25 2014 | 0 Comments

3 Things I Wish I Knew When I started YM

By Josh Griffin on March 25 2014 | 1 Comments

I just crossed 20 years in youth ministry … so I suppose there’s now some grace for me to reminisce about way back when I started in youth ministry? I spent some time reflecting with a friend the other day about those early years in youth ministry, and he asked me what I would tell myself if I could go back in time and help a brother out.

Aside from not taking the bait of me going back and talking to myself – talk about creating some continuity problems and a rip in the time-space continuum … sheesh … I thought it would be fun to journal what I wish I knew. Here are 3 things I wish I knew when I started out:

Youth ministry is a marathon not a sprint

Youthful over eagerness can be strength at times, but often it is viewed as a negative. Passion is a powerful force, but passionate burnout is real and many well-meaning people have sprinted their way right out of ministry. I know now what I didn’t know then – youth ministry is about being faithful for a lifetime, not being faithful for the short-term. It is all about the lifelong journey.

A healthy youth ministry takes time

Turning a youth ministry around isn’t going to happen overnight. Building a youth ministry from scratch isn’t going to be done in a year. And just when you think you’ve got some things cooking, you’ll realize that something is horrifically broken.

Collaboration is the key to most everything

Want to be a better sermon writer? Collaborate with people in every stage of the process. Want to do great youth ministry events? Don’t feel the pressure to pull things off if it isn’t your gifting, surround yourself with great people who can help you win. Build a team. Love them. Love God. Love students.

Josh Griffin is the co-founder of Download Youth Ministry and the leading blogger in youth ministry and has created more than 50 youth ministry resources. Check out much more at Love God, Love Students blog at and on his Twitter @joshuagriffin.

By Josh Griffin on March 25 2014 | 1 Comments

Trending Links: 3 Lies, A Dying Church, School Starts Late, 300 Words, and Fame

By Youth Specialties on March 18 2014 | 3 Comments


This week at, Josh Griffin shares his thoughts on 3 lies that youth workers continue to tell themselves on a daily basis. Help yourself out this week and take a quick read on Josh's thoughts – don't become a Pinocchio.


Follow Josh on Twitter: @joshuagriffin



Millenials & Fame

"Millennials have been positioned as a fame-hungry generation for years, and have developed a reputation for wanting 15-minutes in the spotlight whether or not they have any talent. But how true is the idea that the generation prioritizes being famous? When we asked 14-29-year-olds for their thoughts on fame, we got a much more complex picture of their desires..."


300 Words A Day: Portable Routines

As we embrace the Lenten season, we wanted to direct you to a fellow who not only identifies himself as a social media chaplain, but has written quite extensively on Lent. Jon Swanson shares 300 words a day on routines, how to practice out our faith, and in this post shares the concept about routines becoming something around thoughs and mental activity, more than a task to do. Follow Jon on Twitter: @jnswanson



Mourning the Death of a Church

Statistics around churches that are closing their doors are scary. Some reports note that it could be as high as a church a day. Sure, older churches are being replaced quantitively by new church plants - but that doesn't change the situation that many churches face today.

Christianity Today features this post of a first-hand account of a church member who experienced her church close. It's really a terrific read, and something that we should all take a gander at - no matter what church you are in or how "healthy" you think your church may be.


To Keep Teenagers Alert, Schools Let Them Sleep In

Did you ever feel like school started too early? The NY Times covers this story of Jilly Dos Santos, a high school student in Columbia, Mo. thought so, and managed to get her school to push back it's starting time to 9:00am!

After more reaserch, it doesn't look like her school is the only one who thought it was a good idea. Others have followed, and now the trend is saying that by starting later in the day, the students actually are more attentive and perform better.


By Youth Specialties on March 18 2014 | 3 Comments

3 Lies Youth Workers Tell Themselves

By Josh Griffin on March 18 2014 | 3 Comments

3 Lies Youth Worker Tell Themselves - By Josh Griffin

From time to time I’ve caught myself in a terrible lie. I start to believe something that couldn’t be further from the truth – but at the time it actually feels like the truth itself!

Here are three lies youth workers tell themselves – add a 4th in the comments below, too!

1. I’m not making a difference

Are you kidding me? Every day you serve students in your church or ministry you are making a difference. The problem is that we sometimes don’t see results. For a long time. Or maybe ever. So, we get frustrated not seeing instantaneous fruit or burn ourselves out trying to produce a man-made youth ministry miracle. Always remember, in the highs and the lows, you ARE making a difference.

2. I’m going to be here forever

Here’s the reality – chances are the church you are serving at isn’t going to be the only church you serve at your whole life. But here’s the key: serve like you’re going to be there for the rest of your life. If and when God calls you away, a) you won’t be shocked, and b) you’ll have left it all on the table. Leave with no regrets and years of faithful service as if you were going to be there for the rest of your life.

3. I can live my life one-way and teach the other

I remember early in ministry I would find myself telling everyone else how to live and not be too concerned with the actions and decisions in my own life. Bad idea! You are producing who you are. Disciples are products of their masters (and thankfully God’s Spirit). Don’t fool yourself into believing the lie that you can life a double life. It always catches up with you.

What other youth ministry lies do we tell ourselves?



Josh Griffin is the co-founder of Download Youth Ministry and the leading blogger in youth ministry. Check out much more at Love God, Love Students blog at and on his Twitter @joshuagriffin.

By Josh Griffin on March 18 2014 | 3 Comments

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