Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015 Year in Review

What is the point of goals if you do not look back and see how it went?  Seriously, it would be like a basketball player shooting and never looking to see if the ball made it in the hoop.  You want to see how successful your attempt was at your goals, and it also provides an opportunity to praise and thank God for all He has done.

Let’s take a peek on last year’s goals and provide an update…

2015 Goals:

  • WIN Event—Continue to broaden worldview of students by teaching students the needs of the world. Also, provide an interactive learning experience where they research the world needs on their own.  Grade: A. Teens were able to assemble potential charity projects, learn about needs across the world, and provide Biblical solutions to these problems.Blog4
  • Co-Mission Expansion—Collaborate with other youth pastors to plan a mission project or allow students to form community projects together. Grade: Incomplete. To no fault of trying, the logistics to making this happen proved to be too difficult. However, the event still turned out to be a success and provided great evangelistic training to nearly 100 students.
  • New Events—These new events for students include CedarMania and a trip to the Creation Museum. Grade: A. These events were well attended and well placed into the event calendar. The students really enjoyed each event and provided a great off-campus experience.
  • Community Reach—Continue the reach into community by working with a local school in a summer mission project. Grade: A. Community outreach has not always been a strength. However, this year God provided great opportunities such as a community garden rehab for a local school, spaghetti dinners for low-income housing, and homeless outreach to name a few.
  • Junior High Ministry—Continue to expand Junior High Ministry into more than Sunday School, but provide events just for Junior High. Grade: A. God has provided us with some incredible junior high directors that have made this ministry expansion possible, including our first junior high only event. The growth has been a blessing to see, and excited to see what God does in the coming year.
  • Informal Hangout—This is a common request from teens. Add another “Hangtime”, and pursue opportunities to hang out with teens outside of church. Grade: C. Although the goal was accomplished, it was not the best timing. We tried it in the summer, and things were just too busy. It was a lesson learned though to build in this hangtime within the events already scheduled. Once we learned this, it has been a benefit to the ministry.index
  • Student Led Mission Trip—Provide an opportunity for leadership students to lead a mission project over the summer. Grade: A. Sometimes you need faith and risk what God puts on your heart. This was one of them. There was more trust placed into the student leaders this year for the local project, and they delivered! Very proud of how hard they worked to bless our community this past summer.
  • Internship Track—Begin to develop ideas for future interns such as reading material, assignments, and training. Grade: B. While it is not deserving of an incomplete, there is still room for improvement. I was able to gather some books that will be good for training myself along with books the intern will be required to read. There is also a basic plan for the responsibilities of the intern.

2015 GPA – 3.6.  Is that considered honor roll?  Either way, God gets the honor!

 

 

 

 

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Youth Curriculum Review Series – 2015 Edition (cont.)

In the final installment of the Youth Curriculum Review of 2015, let’s take a look at some small group curriculum.

41efF+SLSLL._SX404_BO1,204,203,200_Creative Bible Lessons in Job by Doug Ranck.  Let me just say this.  I have searched and used many youth curriculum, and one of the curricula that I often recommend is the Creative Bible Lessons.  Here’s what you get with this curriculum.  A starter or icebreaker for the lesson that often comes with multiple options with minimal setup but maximum effectiveness.  Then the lesson is dynamic, easy to teach, good foundation of Scripture, and a good challenge.  In the end, there are discussion questions and worksheets that work very well in the small group setting.

66475Serving Like Jesus by Doug Fields & Brett Eastman.  This was a good fit for small group, but on a heavier teaching night, it would not work as well.  The teaching material is limited and often required some additional work.  However, the discussion questions and outlined series were phenomenal.  I actually added to the series by inviting people in the church who were serving like Jesus to interview them.  That added to the material.  The highlight of this curriculum was definitely the plethora of interaction and discussion questions.  So if you struggle in the teaching side, this might not be best series.  But in a small group setting with shorter teaching and more discussion, this is perfect.

indexSurrender by Francis Chan.  Disclaimer to begin:  I’m a huge Francis Chan.  I’ve read every book he has written and Crazy Love happens to be in my top 5 books of all time.  That being said, this series is a small group goldmine for many reasons.  It provides a DVD series to break up your teaching.  The subject matters are not fluff, but are very challenging, relevant, and hold the interest well.  The lesson is very well put together and Biblically based.  The discussion questions provided allow the small groups to flourish and have great follow-up.  The only down side is it only 4 weeks.  Other than that, it is well worth using for a “break” series during the year, to finish the year, or even in a retreat setting.

 

 

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Youth Curriculum Review Series – 2015 Edition

As mentioned in a previous blog article “Why You Should Teach Theology to Teenagers”, I decided to bravely go where few youth pastors have gone before…a series on theology.  Theology and doctrine are the foundation of our beliefs.  And it is what you believe and who you believe in that drives how you will live your life.  This makes this theology series called “Theology of a Teenager” a potentially life-changing series.  So, realizing the importance of these lessons, I decided to use several resources to enhance my study and prep for each lesson.  Below is a review of the resources used…

Curriculum Review:  Theology Resources

The Good:

41meerfMKnL._SX343_BO1,204,203,200_Clear by Chris Folmsbee.  This curriculum does  a great job of breaking down each major doctrine in a very understandable way.  The writer presents the material in a way that is very teachable with workable outlines.  This resource was used heavily in the outline phases of the lessons.  It often hit the major points that I desired to discuss and helped me narrow down my discussion points.  Also, Folmsbee does a great job of integrating Scripture throughout.  Large volume of Bible passages to work with in every chapter was very helpful.

51Sk5VTCtzL._AC_UL320_SR212,320_Practical Christian Theology by Floyd H. Barackman.  Why is this on the list you ask?  While it is true, this is not a teen curriculum.  However, this was very helpful in bringing it a notch.  I warned the students that there would be challenging lessons throughout.  But rather than getting eye rolls, I got enthusiasm and teens who were up to the challenge.  With this book, you are able to dive a little deeper and challenge your students.  I found the students appreciated me not dumbing down the material, but taking it to a higher level.  Those that were still new, I still had balanced lesson with the Gospel clear throughout the series.

516Sh0GA57L._SX404_BO1,204,203,200_Creative Bible Lessons in Essential Theology by Andrew Hedges.  Compared to the two above, this resource was not used as much.  But, this curriculum was valuable for other reasons.  It provided great discussion questions to keep the lessons interactive, rather than a long lecture.  Also, each lesson has a “breaking the ice” section which was helpful to bridge a game time or announcements to the lesson time.

The Bad:

41ESJRxLh3L._SL500_SY375_BO1,204,203,200_  I feel bad for even putting this in the bad category because of all that Kara Powell has contributed to youth ministry.  But I have to be honest, and it is not entirely her fault.  This resource was a hand-me-down from 1999.  So the material is a bit out of date.  There has been quite a progression of technology since then, and it puts many of the illustrations and teacher resources non-usable.  Also, the curriculum is very difficult to use and many of the teaching ideas require prep time and a great deal of materials.  This is not a curriculum tool that I would suggest using for a theology series.

Videos:

Introduction to Series:

Theology Matters – Dug Down Deep – Joshua Harris; #truth Jesus Wins

Other Illustration Videos: 

Does God Existevan-almighty-movie-clip-screenshot-you-did-good_large

Does God Exist – Albert Einstein

Evan Almighty Speaks With God

That’s My King

Heaven – It’s Not What You Think

 

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5 Reason Church Promotional Videos Are So Valuable

For years, I have wanted to make a promotional video for my youth ministry. I envisions action shots from youth group along with interviews and cool music in the background. Here’s the problem, I don’t know how to do any of that? Or at least not enough to make it not look like the public access channel.

Lo and behold, my brother-in-law starts a cinematography (I can’t even spell that, thank you Microsoft Word) company called 740 films. He graciously agreed to help me with this project. As we talked, I began to expand the vision to the entire church. How cool would it be to have a video for not only the youth ministry, but also a message from our senior pastor, a children’s ministry overview, and another video highlighting the young adult ministry. Why would I go through all this trouble (well, I actually did very little in the production process) to make these videos?

Here are 5 reasons why church promotional videos can be valuable:

  1. Front Door. As you may have heard already, the church website is the new front door for visitors. In 2012, as many as 1/3 of visitors went to the church website before they came to the church. I’m sure that number has gone up since then. So, having a professional video of the ministries of the church will only enhance that first impression.
  2. Awareness.  When we unveiled all 4 of these church promos late last month, it had an interesting reaction from our people. There were several people who came up to me and thanked me for all I did in the youth ministry. Why would they do that now? Well, maybe because they have never visited the youth group.   Maybe they thought all we did was play ultimate Frisbee, put rubber bands around a watermelon until it bursts (which is super cool by the way), and talk about MTV (anyone watch that channel anymore?). But now, seeing the vision and heart of the ministry, it raised the awareness and importance of the children, youth and young adult ministries to the whole church. It raised a whole new level of support.
  3. Advertising.  This basically goes without saying. But in the first day of showing our church vision video, it had over 1,000 views. Being a small church, we rarely see 1,000 anything. This was great to see the word of our great church spreading among our people’s friends and families.
  4. Social Media. This past year, I have had the task of upping our social media network. With the help of some willing teammates, the scope of our Facebook and Twitter has grown from non-existent to somewhat viable. To put it into perspective, the likes on Facebook have grown 5 times what it was a year ago. So with these videos posted on various Facebook pages connected to the church, it will only add to that growth.
  5. Experience.  For some visitors, the unknown makes visiting a church most terrifying. Providing a video of many of ministries along with interviews of the ministry leaders, it provides a number of things. It provides a familiar face when they walk in, even if it just was a face on the computer screen. Also, an explanation and vision behind the ministries here at the church provide reassurance. Our church is not after you money or will do anything that will make you feel uncomfortable when you walk through our doors. This reassurance is vital to anyone that desires to visit the church.

So without further ado…here are the 4 videos (credit:  740 FILMS)

Memorial Baptist Church

Memorial Student Ministries (MSM)

Kaleidoscope Children’s Ministries

Turning Point Young Adult Ministries

 

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