I've decided that since I'm such a big football fan and love GAMEDAY Saturdays I'm going to start posting my favorite and created games on Saturdays...
Fire Hydrant, Dog, Truck is a game that I've played since I was in youth group back in the 90's. I'm really not sure who invented it, but any time I bring it out, my students love it. It is similar to Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Have your students pair up and turn back-to-back. Countdown...1...2....3...GO! Students turn around and act out a fire hydrant by putting their arms by their side, a dog by lifting one leg, or a truck by acting like they are using the steering wheel.
Fire Hydrant beats the Truck
Truck beats the Dog
Dog beats the Fire Hydrant
And if you Tie....You Die
Keep playing till you have 2 students left and do a best out of 3 to determine the overall winner.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Yesterday I wrote about Be who you are and after reading it, I felt there was still somethings I wanted to say. I think that too often in youth ministry, we try to be who we are not because we do not take the time or are told to take the time to get trained in ministry. If you attend NYWC or Simply Conference, you can go around to all the exhibits grab some free curriculum or even buy every single one. You can pretty much pick up everything in the exhibit hall including entering to win a free iPad, iPhone 4, Macbook, and more. The only thing you can't pick up is the stylish youth pastor goatee, the Rob Bell hipster glasses, and the designer clothes of Steven Furtick.
Be Who You Are Called to Be....YOU
You can take all these things, go back to your local church and try them out. But most fail to look at the demographics and needs of their own groups. We get all this free stuff or buy the latest and greatest series and videos and try to pass them on to our group. Too often they fail, because they were not made for our group. We do not take the time to adapt them to our group. We hit play and we hope for the best.
Instead we need to take the same time we do to build relationships with our students to understand their spiritual needs.
I admit, I have been caught in this trap. I have a book shelf of resources that I bought, tried a couple weeks and failed with them. I was too caught up in the hype of the product, book, or video series to see that my students did not need this. Or if they did I did not adapt it to my group. It was a tough lesson to learn.
So where do we go from here? What do we do?
I'm not saying boycott Simply Youth, Group Publishing, or Youth Specialties and just write your own resources. I'm saying, take the time to know your group, know your students, and know your leaders. Take time in prayer to see where God is leading you to lead your group. Take the time if you buy a resource to adapt it to the lives of your students. Take the time to explain to your adults why you are using this resource. Communicate with the parents and get them involved. Take the time to let God shape and mold you to the youth worker He wants you to be, not a carbon copy youth pastor who has a goatee, Rob Bell glasses, designer clothes, carrying a shoulder bag with your Mac Book, iPad, and iPhone.
Be Who You Are Called to Be....YOU
Thursday, October 21, 2010
A friend shared this video with me and the first thing I thought was I have to share this via facebook, twitter, email, and my blog. After watching it for the third time it made me think....
It made me look at my 13 years of youth ministry and how I've tried at different times to be other youth pastors and not myself...
Back in 1997-1998, my first job was a part time 10 hour a week youth director position at Faith United Methodist Church in Lexington, SC. I was just finishing up my training to be a volunteer for Young Life. At that time I had never been to any type of conference or workshop for youth ministry. There were only a few books on youth ministry at the time. The only thing I knew about how to put on youth group time was from my youth pastor growing up and from Young Life. So I made it up as I went, I combined my knowledge of both and created my own format which is the base for how I still do youth ministry all these years later.
Over the next couple of years I started attending different workshops, one day training, and observed other youth groups. Slowly over time I could see myself trying to copy what I saw other people doing. I tried to do skits, music, and talks like the other guys that I was seeing. I was trying to be someone that I wasn't...I was trying to be carbon copy of other youth workers. Just a few years ago I stopped writing my own talks and started using talks from Simply Youth and tried to be Doug Fields by memorizing his talk transcripts.
I was trying music from the Passion movement and would introduce songs and read scripture exactly as I saw it live and own their CD. Everything in my Sunday Night youth program was a copy of someone else and was not fully of God or of me. I was trying to be someone else and not the Youth Pastor that God had called me to be.
Over the past couple years I have let go of that and have allowed God to show me who I am and who He wants me to be when I lead youth ministry. I too often see other youth workers fall into the same trap that I fell into. It can be very harmful to the youth ministry and to the church if they are not careful. With the hundreds of youth resources out there it is very tempting for us to just copy and paste. Just be who you are called to be. Use these resources, but take the time to see how God wants you to use it for your students and adapt things.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I recently was asked to tell about my faith journey...
My parents chose to raise my siblings and me in the United Methodist Church and I went through Confirmation class in 1993. Throughout this transitional, yet foundational time in my childhood it was very important to my parents for me understand what it meant to be a Christian, but also what it meant to be part of the United Methodist Church. Towards the end of my confirmation class I went with a friend to see Carmen in concert on March 13, 1993. On that night when the invitation was given, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. Two years later I was invited to go on a personal spiritual retreat through the South Georgia Episcopal Diocese called Happening. During that weekend I felt and heard a calling into youth ministry. When I returned home, within a couple of weeks, my church hired our first full-time youth pastor. Over the next two years, he gave me leadership opportunities and taught me a lot about the United Methodist Church and ministry.
In the fall of 1997, during my freshman year at the University of South Carolina I applied and started my first part-time job in youth ministry at Faith United Methodist in Lexington, SC. It was a great opportunity and for being only 18 years old, was a large part of my growth and maturity, spiritually and professionally. While attending the University of South Carolina, I was very involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Young Life. Both organizations helped me to gain leadership and youth ministry skills. After graduating from college, I moved to Atlanta and accepted my first job into full-time youth ministry. Throughout my first year, I learned about working in the church, but more importantly how to keep myself spiritually fulfilled on my own through reading, prayer, and listening to other pastors. I also learned how to network with other youth pastors, create connections and have accountability partners that have and are serving as great assets and friendships still today.
In 2007 I moved to Charlotte, NC after feeling called by God to step out in faith, out of my comfort zone, to accept a full time position at Blair Road United Methodist Church as their Director of Student Ministries. In May I married Jessica and we bought our first house, anticipating that we would live in Charlotte for many years. Then on December 1, 2007, we received a call from my parents at four in the morning that my little brother had passed away from meningitis. His death was very tough for my family and me, but after seeing how many lives he touched and how God used his life to fulfill his Kingdom, also changed my outlook on life as well as my ministry. These events ignited a desire in me to begin the next phase that God had for me which was to earn a Masters of Christian Education as well as my Deacon’s Orders in the United Methodist Church.