Month: September 2014

3 Ways to Stop Being an Ineffective Youth Leader

3 Ways to Stop Being an Ineffective Youth Leader

Making disciples is harder than you could ever imagine, but simpler than you would ever think. For those involved in student ministry, discipling young people is not really complicated—it’s just costly. You don’t need a doctorate in theology, but you do need to have died to yourself.

3 Ways to Stop Being an Ineffective Youth Leader

BY: Adam Ramsey

What exactly makes someone an effective youth leader?

Here’s an example. Melisa is a youth leader who has been leading a group of junior girls at Mars Hill Bellevue. Each week she opens up her Bible with these ladies, listens to their struggles and questions, and points them to Jesus. She also opens up her life by pursuing their hearts relationally outside of a program or event. And when she was away on a family vacation for a couple of weeks, two of her girls stepped up and led their peers the same way Melisa has been leading them.

Melisa is just one of many examples of a godly and effective youth leader. By the grace of God she is making disciples who make disciples, by sharing the gospel, sharing her life, and empowering young people to do likewise.

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4 Ways to Protect your Kids Online

4 Ways to Protect your Kids Online

In the world in which we live, parents must engage in the battle for their children’s hearts, minds, and attention.  There is too much at stake to assume that they will “be okay.”  Ministering to students, whether that be as a parent or a pastor, is a full contact sport.  We must engage. We must to go war.  We must not sit idle by and watch our children’s lives unfold.

The linked article gives good practical recommendations on how to put a wall around your child’s internet access.  Something that must be considered when raising teenagers, especially boys.  It is a follow-up to a previous article written by the same author that I highlighted earlier this week.

4 Ways to Protect your Kids Online

By: Brian Howard

A few months back I wrote a post entitled, A New Way to Keep Pornography Out of Your Home, where I reviewed a Router from Pandora’s Hope. The post was quite popular and continues to be read daily. Since writing the post I have become increasingly aware of the range of ways that are available to help protect families from pornography. I recently read an excellent article on Yahoo’s new technology site that motivated me to do more research into this area. The post, entitled 3 easy ways to protect your kids online, reviews some excellent tools to help families stay proactive with the Internet. Here are the 3, my take, and a link to the Pandora’s Hope router as well.

1. Norton Family Online

Norton Family Online allows you to monitor every site that your kids visit, see everything that they search for, and track their activity across social media. Norton offers a a free version and a paid version. The paid version ($50 per year) adds instant message monitoring, video monitoring, and also monitors mobile devices. On the surface it looks fantastic. Reviews say that the software is buggy at times but it definitely is worth a look.

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A New Way to keep Pornography out of your Home

Keep Pornography out of your home

Move the computer to the living room.

Download covenant eyes.

Gain access to all of your students password protected sites.

All valid ways to help keep pornography out of your home but all are also limited.  No one technique is going to be able to provide perfect protection for your students.  That doesn’t mean you stop trying, but it means you take a multifaceted attack.  This article is a new tactic in the war again porn.  One that I think is worth adding to your arsenal.

A New Way to keep Pornography out of your Home

By Brian Howard

Like many of you, I am intensely concerned to keep all forms of pornography out of my home. Over the years, I have repeatedly witnessed the destructive force of pornography in the lives of men, marriages, kids, and the victims of sex industries.

We have four kids that range in age from 8 years old to 14 years old. Between the 6 of us, we have a dozen different devices connected to the web in our home. For years we have used software filters or accountability software to screen out porn. When we recently learned about a new device that promises to keep Internet Porn out of our house, we were excited to give it a try. The device is a router manufactured by Pandora’s Hope. The company promises that it’s router is easy to set up, works on computers and mobile devices, stops pornography at the “Gateway”, and causes no noticeable loss of browser speed. Today, I plugged in my new Pandora’s Hope Router for the first time. Here is my review:

Setup:

The Pandora’s Hope router was a breeze to set up. I plugged it in to my cable modem and one minute later, the lights on the front turned green indicating that it was ready to go. Next, I went to wi-fi on my computer and clicked on the wi-fi network called “Pandora’s Hope Wizard.” It took about 2 minutes after this to configure a username and password and setup was complete. The final step was clicking on the wi-fi Network “Pandora’s Hope”, entering my password, and boom goes the dynamite, I was set up in less than 5 minutes. Setup Grade: A

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Ten Reasons to Memorize Big Chunks of the Bible

Ten Reasons to Memorize Big Chunks of the Bible

Scripture memorization is a great discipline.  We have been challenging our students to simply memorize a few verses ever few weeks.  This article give 10 great reasons to memorize not just verses but big chunks of scripture.  Better yet it gives you a method as to how to do it.

Ten Reasons to Memorize Big Chunks of the Bible

By Jon Bloom
Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) is the author of
Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith and serves as the President of Desiring God, which he and John Piper launched together in 1994. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.

You can memorize big chunks, even books, of the Bible. Unless you’re part of the very small percentage of us who suffer from a traumatic brain injury or stroke or disability, you really can. And you should. But why should you?

1. Because you have a bad memory.

Don’t say you can’t memorize because you have a bad memory. That’s why you need to memorize. I have a bad memory too. I think it’s worse than average — seriously. I forget names of people I know and see regularly! I have to force my faulty, inefficient brain to drive things that matter most into my long-term memory. This only happens by the process of repeating (memorizing) every day over a period of time. You’d be surprised what you can commit to memory if you have a simple system and put forth some effort. I’ve memorized five New Testament books and am working on my sixth. And that’s because I have a bad memory.

2. Because you need to feed your mind.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. But how can we do this if we can’t remember such things? General positive Bible concepts are not very helpful. We need specific “precious and very great promises” in our memory to draw on when we are alone and battling discouragement or anger or lust or fear (2 Peter 1:4).

3. Because the Bible is too accessible to you.

It’s strange how having an abundance of something can result in our neglecting it. If the Bible’s always there on our tables, tablets, phones, computers, and on the web we can dip in, read sections, search for key words when needed, but feel no urgency to really internalize it. Memorizing is one way to fight that delusion.

4. Because you have the Internet.

Unfortunately the Internet is teaching us how not to read. We are becoming information scanners, quickly browsing but not digesting very much. We are losing patience for deeper, more reflective reading. Memorizing longer passages of Scripture forces us to reflect deeply on meaning and application.

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5 Tips For Communicating With Your Students’ Parents

Another great article from the guys at YM360.  A site full of great resources and articles.  In our ministry we are constantly trying to figure out how to “get the word out” to students and parents.  Here are 5 good ideas to use.

5 Tips For Communicating With Your Students’ Parents

Communicating with your students’ parents is a vital part of any youth ministry. We know this.

And so, here are five suggestions for being awesome at communication.

Use MailChimp

I say use MailChimp because I think it is hands down the best email client out there. I also love their corporate culture. (But you could certainly use Constant Contact or ay of the other email campaign providers.) It will take a little playing around with to get used to but it’s actually very easy to figure out. And the benefits are tremendous. Not only do they offer some really cool template building tools that will save you time (once you get your template “set”) and add an air of professionalism to your communication, but MailChimp will allow you to track exactly who is opening your emails and who isn’t. Which is huge.

Be Consistent

You need good habits in your communication. Send an email twice a month (or weekly if you’re feeling super awesome) no matter what. This creates a habit of expectation in your students’ parents. They will begin to look for (even subconsciously) your timely updates in their Inboxes. You’ll be surprised how consistency leads to higher open rates.

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3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church

leave

This is one of parents and youth pastors greatest fears, that their students would walk away from their faith after graduation.  The author of this article gives three common traits of youth who don’t leave the church.  This is well worth the read if you are a leader in student ministry or a parent of a teen.

3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the

Church

By: Jon Nielson
Jon is the college pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He blogs at Something More Sure.

 “What do we do about our kids?” The group of parents sat together in my office, wiping their eyes. I’m a high school pastor, but for once, they weren’t talking about 16-year-olds drinking and partying. Each had a story to tell about a “good Christian” child, raised in their home and in our church, who had walked away from the faith during the college years. These children had come through our church’s youth program, gone on short-term mission trips, and served in several different ministries during their teenage years. Now they didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. And, somehow, these mothers’ ideas for our church to send college students “care packages” during their freshman year to help them feel connected to the church didn’t strike me as a solution with quite enough depth.

The daunting statistics about church-going youth keep rolling in. Panic ensues. What are we doing wrong in our churches? In our youth ministries?

It’s hard to sort through the various reports and find the real story. And there is no one easy solution for bringing all of those “lost” kids back into the church, other than continuing to pray for them and speaking the gospel into their lives. However, we can all look at the 20-somethings in our churches who are engaged and involved in ministry. What is it that sets apart the kids who stay in the church? Here are just a few observations I have made about such kids, with a few applications for those of us serving in youth ministry.

1. They are converted.

The Apostle Paul, interestingly enough, doesn’t use phrases like “nominal Christian” or “pretty good kid.” The Bible doesn’t seem to mess around with platitudes like: “Yeah, it’s a shame he did that, but he’s got a good heart.” When we listen to the witness of Scripture, particularly on the topic of conversion, we find that there is very little wiggle room.

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