Monthly Archives: September 2008

Tips On Planning a Youth Retreat

1.      Determine Place & Date of Event (Several Months Prior)

a.      Ideas for location:  State Park Lodge – Good pricing and facilities are usually scenic and more “retreaty-like”, Christian Campgrounds – Will often accommodate use from youth groups with use of facilities and staff if needed

b.      Time of Year Ideas:  Beginning of School year to promote unity of new members, During Winter Break – Longer time provide opportunity to travel farther and more time without missing school,  Holiday Weekend – Holiday weekend gives students extra day so homework is not an excuse for not attending (ex.  President’s Day, Labor Day)

2.      Choose Theme and Direction

a.      If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time – Choose a theme based on God’s direction and His Word.  Pray and led God lead you.  Whether it is unity, worship, or discipleship, you need to know what the purpose of your trip is.  Otherwise, it is just a glorified vacation away from your families.  Use this time to build your group spiritually!

3.      Be Organized

a.      Budget your trip – from speaker costs to bug spray

b.      Provide Notebooks/Schedules – Give your students opportunity to journal, discuss, and know what to prepare for next

c.      Structure your time wisely – Don’t just have session, free time, devotion, free time, etc.  Be purposeful with your time.

4.      Enjoy it!

a.      If you are like me, you tend to try to follow the schedule and forget you are ON A RETREAT!

b.      Be organized, but also use this time to disciple, hang out, and be a friend to those that need it.

If you have thoughts or additions, let me know.  I can always use more ideas!

Possibly Best Football Catch Ever

Yeah, I was skeptical too thinking of Franco Harris “Immaculate Reception” or the Braylon Edwards “One-hander” at Michigan….This might be the best catch I have ever seen.  My jaw was literally to the floor.  This may even rival Kevin Mitchell’s one handed grab as one of the best grabs in sports.  Okay, maybe I’m getting carried away, but I had to share it.

Top 10 “Bad Habits You Develop When The Wife is Away”

  1. Seat up, no flush, etc. – No detail needed here, you get the point.
  2. “Dish Towel Napkin” – The dish towel gains multifaceted use. It is used as a napkin, potholder for microwaved meals, and of course as a dish towel used 5 minutes before your wife arrives home.
  3. Sleeping diagonally
  4. Watching 5 TV shows in a half hour period.
  5. Hot pockets become a 3 course meal – let’s see 3 hotpockets at 2 minutes in the microwave a piece, that’s only 6 minute prep time for your dinner!
  6. Parking in the middle of the 2 car garage…luxury of not squeezing out your driver side door like a toothpaste out of the tube.
  7. Quick nap at night before the “long nap”.
  8. Smells.  Nuf said.
  9. Pajamas left on the nightstand – it’s just so convenient.
  10. The Works:  Unmade bed, coasters??, closing mouth while chewing, etc.

Truth About Teen Girls

Call me an old man, but I enjoy sitting in my fake leather recliner and reading my time magazine or golf digest.  No wonder my nickname in college was grandpa.  Anyways, here is an article that may help you in youth/student ministry.  Time Magazine has published an article called the “Truth About Teen Girls”. Although it is definitely done from a secular standpoint, it has some interesting points to be considered, both for parents and youth workers.

Lesson On Student Leadership/Importance of Discipleship

As I drove to work this morning, hoping we had power in the office, I listened to sports radio hoping for a sports update to satisfy my craving.  What I heard was a lesson on student leadership.

The conversation I heard was about control in the lockerroom.  One 1530 in Cincinnati, the guest claimed Tony Dungy or Billicheck have no control of their players in the lockerroom.  While I found that hard to believe, the next statement made it make sense.  He went on to say, the player leaders have control.

The lesson here is not that professional players do not listen to coaches, only the sound of more money padding their bank account.  No, the point is there are players that perform, work hard, and lead by example.  And I thought, this is the key to student leadership!  These teens will not always listen to me, but they will listen to their peers.  Peers that lead by example, other students that have been discipled by their youth leaders and are now an extension of the Biblical leadership set in place.

Great teams have great leaders like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.  They may not always listen to their coaches but they will listen to those players when they open their mouths.  Great youth groups have great leaders.  It is your job to find them, disciple them, give them the play calls, and bring your youth ministry to the next level.

Celebrities & Politics

It bothers me when celebrities use their status to push their political views. For example, Mr. Matt Damon lost some popularity points when he bashed Sarah Palin for having a Creationist view. Frankly, it would be much easier to bash someone that believed our ancestors had a banana diet and threw poo at each other. Damon calls this choice “A really bad Disney movie” and calls the Vice Presidential pick “absurd”. He goes on to ridicule her ever thinking that dinosaurs were on this earth 4,000 years ago.

This was just the icing on the cake. Celebrities are wearing shirts on shows that say “Barack the Vote” or an Air Jordan t-shirt with Obama in the background. Are you serious? What is next, a link between John McClain on Die Hard and the Presidential candidate from Arizona? The sad thing is that people are actually swayed by Oprah’s picks and celebrity interviews on YouTube.

First of all, anyone ridiculing the Creator God and his amazing creation is a hard pill to swallow, but abusing your celebrity status to promote your political views does not make sense. I’ve realized now that this site and my position as a pastor are not even modes to promote a certain political leader. I believe that is someone’s personal choice. However, it is my calling and purpose to promote Biblical mandates that are set in Scripture and to encourage people to vote according to what God’s Word says. I will continue to use my Bible as my leg to stand on, not how many millions I brought in at the box office.

Youth Ministry Networking & Resources

Just want to say what a blessing it is to be able to network with other Youth Ministries to gain ideas, advice, and encouragement.  Recently, I contributed a guest blog article to a site that I support and believe has great value in youth ministry.  Check it out.

P.S.  Also, check out Mark Artrip & Jordan Muck for valuable insight in youth culture and ministry.

Got other websites that you suggest? Throw them my way.

Developing a Youth or Student Ministry Mission Statement

1.      Pray.  First things you want to do is ask God for help.  The minute you think this is YOUR plan and not GOD’S plan, you are setting yourself up for a big nose dive into failure.  Allow God to give you HIS vision and follow that.  This is done through prayer, meditation on God’s Word, and Godly counsel.

2.      Establish Reachable Goals.  Once you have “caught the vision”, set goals that can be reached.  It is unrealistic to have a mission statement that says “Here at John Doe Youth Ministry, we desire to have events that will attract thousands of teens, evangelize 200 people every day, love Jesus every second, and serve across the world”.  Rather, it should read “Here at John Doe Youth Ministry, we desire to have effective programs that promote spiritual growth, evangelize the lost, worship the Lord God, and encourage service to God’s people and the community”.

3.      Don’t Stretch The Truth.  If you do not plan having evangelism as part of your ministry, don’t put it down on your mission statement to make it look good.  Or if service is not a thrust in your ministry, don’t act like it is with a statement.  Make your mission statement reflect what God has laid out for you, and what you actually do!

4.      Cast the Vision.  Don’t make it a secret.  Make your students, parents, and leaders know and memorize the purposes of your ministry.  The old saying “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it everytime”.  Make sure everyone that takes part in this ministry knows why it exists!  Some may think it is just there to keep out of trouble, or a place for teens to go during “big church” time.  Youth ministry is so much more than that!  You know that, so tell them, and get them pumped at the goals of the ministry.

5.      Pray some more.  Keep God in this.  Don’t just cast your line and walk away.  Allow God to help you stay with your “pole” and reel in some amazing spiritual victories.

Update:  Check out Developing a Youth or Student Ministry Mission Statement Part II


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Great Youth Lesson Called “Cell Phones & The Bible”

Have you noticed lately how attached young people are to their cell phones?  If you disagree, here are a few points to jog your memory:


1.      1.  It has gotten to the point where there are laws that are being made about texting while in the car due to this problem.  

2.       2.  The world texting champion is 13 years old, largely due to her texting an average of 4,000 texts a month!

3.       3.  Next time you go to a restaurant, look at the family dinner section.  Mom and Dad are probably helping the youngster with the final bites of their mac & cheese and the two teenagers are glued to their cell phones working on forming blisters on their texting fingers. 


With those thoughts running through my head about our young generation, this lesson would resonate in the hearts of these diehard texters and cell phone junkies….


Cell phone vs. Bible

 Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

 What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

 What if we flipped through it several time a day?
 What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

 What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

 What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?

 What if we gave it to kids as gifts?

 What if we used it when we traveled?

 What if we used it in case of emergency?

 This is something to make you go….hmm…where is my Bible?

 Oh, and one more thing.
 Unlike our cell phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being
 disconnected because  Jesus already paid the  bill.

 Makes you stop and think ‘where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!