Top Ten Tuesday Now Exclusive To “Get It First!” Crowd

What is the Top 10?

The Top 10 are songs I have scoured from itunes and believe they would be of value to someone’s youth ministry. We are all busy but I know more times than not, we are looking for that extra edge, that song or idea that ties our lesson together. Some of these songs are “Christian”, some are “secular” but with a message of hope, some are quirky, some are weird, some have no point other than to have fun with.

Who is the Top 10 For?

Busy Youth Workers who want songs that make lessons pop or to make a lesson from. Each week these songs come with my suggestions as to how you could use these songs. Some songs are message driven like Sons Of Sylvia’s John Wayne and some are for fun like Renee Fleming’s Endlessly. Want to know my ideas behind these songs and the eight others I chose? Sign up for the Get It First newsletter and it is all yours. This resource will only expand so jump on this train now.

Looking forward to serving you.

What’s Your Story?

I love a good story. I love stories because  I can’t tell jokes. Everything for me that is funny is in a story. My youth group likes to hear stories about my younger days because much of it is humorous. I like to tell the tragic parts because it involves God’s grace. I’ve been thinking a lot about story lately. I’m thinking about it so much I am writing this at 6:00 a.m. I have been part time at my church for a year now. I have been keeping a my eyes open for our story. Every group/person tells a story –

Haiti- A tragedy –

Congress- a mystery –

Hollywood- A fantasy

I just listened to Michael Novelli do a YS session on the narrative gospel. It makes me long to lead my group into the larger story, God’s story. How does our activity reveal God’s plan to the world? What story does our youth group meetings tell about God?

I had a chance to do a short e-mail interview with Michael Novelli on his last book Shaped By The Story.

Here it is   1. Where should a youth leader begin if they want to shift from “come to the program” to live the story?

This is not an easy shift. Moving from a programatic, top-down ministry approach to a collaborative learning environment takes a completely new approach. Youth workers should not try to make this change without really understanding and owning this new approach. I would encourage youth workers who are interested in this to research it, read about narrative theology, Bible storying, and dialogical approaches to teaching.

2.  How can a youth leader get parents and volunteer staff on board the shift to story?

I think the best way to gain ownership of parents and volunteers is to share your heart. Try Bible storying with students for a few weeks and get their feedback. Take this feedback to the parents and volunteers. Do a Bible storying session with parents and volunteers so they can experience how dynamic it is, and discuss concerns and questions.

3.  If we want to change the future we have to change the process. If young person comes to Christ in your ministry, what does that journey look like? What should we look for and how do we facilitate it? (beyond read your bible and pray)

Wow… this is a tough question to answer in an email! I like that you used the word journey to describe the process of one giving themselves to Christ. To truly give our lives to Christ, we have to come to a realization that God desires to save us into a Kingdom activity, not just save us from ourselves. What I have striven to do is help students be captured by God’s story and find their identity and purpose within that story. Instead of thinking of a student coming to Christ, it is more like Christ comes to them through the Biblical story, and they see their lives as part of something bigger than themselves.

4. What kind of “do it today” list would you offer if a youth worker said , “I’m in”.

This goes back to my answer to question 1: I think youth workers need to make sure they know what they are getting themselves into when they reorient their ministry to a Storying approach. It is not merely using a new curriculum or telling stories and asking pointed questions. It is a challenging process of building a new learning environment and helping students to take responsibility for their own learning. Once a leader has a sense of how this process works, they should begin trying it and experimenting. Adapt the process and try different creative approaches to retelling and replaying the stories. Get students involved and let them shape it. I recently did a storying session based on the arrest of Jesus, in John 18. The students jumped right in and some amazing things came out of it. One students said of Jesus: “He was like a shepherd giving his lives to the wolves so the sheep could run away.” This was 15 minutes well spent.

Michael offers a few links on storying. please visit his website @ Here is his Amazon Link to other story telling resources Look for his new book Here and  Here along  with other resources I recommend You can read a review of Micheal’s book Here by Lars Rood Have a great week everyone.

8 Teen Centered Movies To Watch For

I love movies. I love movie about teenagers like The Breakfast Club and  Napoleon Dynamite. So, I have seen a flurry of movies coming up that we should keep our eyes open for. Ready? Here ya go.

The Runaways (out now)

Kick A@$

The Karate Kid

Accidents Happen

Twilight Eclipse

The Last Airbender


Scott Pilgrim vs The World

These are not necessarily recommendations because  I have not seen the movies. I’ll let you watch the trails and let you decide. Am I missing a movie? Let me know.

Here’s a few great links about movies and teens

36 Movies for Teens in 2010

Best Movies for Youth Group Activities

The Source for Youth Ministry

Wing Clips

Making Real Men From Scratch

I can’t stand it any more. I have to say something. I am frustrated with the type of commitment I am seeing from the guys in our our youth group. I don’t even think I can blame this on theology as much as as on society. I mean really, what was the last good “Man Movie’ you saw? Consider your choices

Think about the men in these movies. They are all complete morons. They are uncommitted, drunken, sex craved deviants. This is what is shaping today’s young men’s character. We’ve made a full switch from the 80’s I grew up in where there were men in movies like:

  • Rambo
  • Dirty Harry
  • Rocky
  • Terminator

Now, these movies had their own problems in that they had too much violence, or swearing, etc. They showed guys as thugs or that we only knew one way to handle things. In their defense, it takes less energy to tone a young man down than to get him to man up. In addition, however warped some of these movies were, they seemed to esteem some man values. There were rules, justice, and even compassion. We now live in an age where men are more metro, listen to screamo, and  guy-liner. Did we have our share of deviant movies?  Oh yeah. Is my age showing? Yep. Much of this is perception, but I am deeply concerned about the new manliness that is portrayed in our culture.

In a recent seminar at YS, led by Mark Helsel, I learned that :

  1. 39% of men make up a congregation
  2. 90% of men leave the church by age 20. (some come back later and stats differ)

This being true, it burned me to the core. I went back to our church and God hatched a plan in my heart. I don’t have many basketball players in my group so I chose to take March Madness and turn into March Man-Ness. We did a full court press in man games, man messages, and all around manliness. This is a start. No dramatic changes yet. We are moving toward a Christian brotherhood that will rally around the the cause of Christ. Men love a good revolt. I’m not sure I can do a fulll “How To Get Your Boys to Man Up” session yet , but I am working on it.

Here is my March-Maness Plan , if you can glean from it, great.  Got some add on ideas? Let me know. Here’s to our young men discovering the God Man, Jesus and becoming more like Him.  Let’s Man Up!

Let Me Re-Introduce Myself

We recently had a new member or prospective new member luncheon. Each of the staff had a minute or two to introduce themselves and share what they did at the church. I thought I made a good pitch but our Pastor made an interesting observation about all our introductions.

He said, “What I noticed was that each of you introduced yourself as being “over” something. I went back through some of the job descriptions I wrote and saw that the words “over things” does not exist”

It was a keen observation that I took to heart. So, I made a short list of communication flubs which may be keeping  others from wanting to join our team. When we are saying we are “over”something we are unintentionally saying:

  • If you join my team you will be “under me,” “under” my supervision”, “under my thumb” Who wants that?
  • I am the leader of..(too vague, all kinds of leaders good and bad)
  • I am in charge of ( too much responsibility. it all falls on you, no shared value)
  • I am  the Youth Pastor (still very generic and everyone has a their own idea of what that is)

So, what can we say instead of using sabotaging language that kills our opportunity to add more people to our team? These are some of the phrases I came up for myself, feel free to add your own.

  • I am the lead youth discipler
  • I am the minister of fun (you could say that to a group but individually it sounds a little creepy)
  • My role is to  connect students to Christ and adults to students for the purpose of ministry/discipleship/building the kingdom We do this through…. (I like this one best)
  • My passions is …
  • I am privileged to …
  • I  share….
  • I am the lead developer… ( I know, sounds like I am making an app or a video game, I am sorta)

I think you get the point. How we introduce ourselves paints a picture for people. Based on the picture, positive or negative, people desire to join or not join you in your cause or mission. Try using intentional language that best describes what you think your role is (try asking a deacon, he would love to tell you what your job is). Try it out and see what kind of reaction you get. Leave your reconstructed introduction here so others can benefit.

Need more help? Try these links

How To Introduce Yourself

Tips for Introducing Yourself


My Introduction (great advice)

Is Sunday A Day of Work or Worship For Pastors?

I was just thinking: “When do I get to worship? I mean, really” Sundays are frustrating for pastors and anyone who works in the church. I can see why we feel ripped off. We work/serve all week long for others and then we are suppose to put on our happy faces again on Sunday. Think of all the Sunday “duties” a pastor might have in addition to preaching

  • Touch base with someone
  • Discipline someone
  • Teach someone
  • Counsel someone
  • Make sure certain people know certain things
  • Announce something

The list is endless. In addition, we think about all the other things we have to do next week, not including the things that have cropped up on just this one Sunday. When do we get to worship? I want to sit back and enjoy worship. I want to go to a Sunday School class and not have to teach it.

According to Judaism

“A religious Jew tries to bring holiness into everything they do, by doing it as an act that praises God, and honours everything God has done. For such a person the whole of their life becomes an act of worship.”

In thinking about this, it puts what I do on Sunday’s in perspective

  • If I have to discipline one of God’s children for their benefit and for the benefit of the body, this is honoring to God.
  • If I have to counsel someone in trouble this is honoring God.
  • If I have to do announcement so a need is met, this is to the Glory of God.

It boils down to how we use our time all week. What we put out time into. If we are waiting on Sunday to “get out worship on” then we are modeling the wrong thing. We shouldn’t be frustrated if our students or adults do this, they are learning it from us.

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Take some time this week to week God through everything you do. Pray at work. Scriptures while waiting in line. Fasting. Worship in your car instead of the news. This is not a legal list to follow but some suggestions for weaving our worship into everyday life. Have a great worship service every day!

Minute To Win it


Here it is boys and girls, a youth ministers dream show. When  Minute to Win It came on tonight I was stoked! Game after game I could here youth workers yell out their windows “I am so doing that next week.” The shows premise is simple, be the best at 10 games and and win a million bucks.

The games are simple and the materials are in your house or at the dollar store down the street. This show must stay on forever!! Long live games.

What is your favorite? Which will your groups like best? If you use them , send me a pic or video.

How Do You Deal With Blab-Aholics?

This short learning activity came about because our student leadership team (and I) were gabbing about their day, their relationships, school, food, etc and we were not getting down to Kingdom business. We only have an hour a week and so this lesson helped us realize the weight of our words and that what we share makes a difference.

The kids got it and it was a lot of fun. Try it with your small group, sunday school, adult volunteers, heck, try it with you pastoral staff and see what happens.

Here it is Blabbing Freebie

Do you have a method of keeping your students dialed into a topic? Share it with us.