Good stuff!
 
 
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I HATE coming up with games for Youth Group every week.  I like leading them, I like playing them, and I like the excitement it brings to our time together, but I despise having to come up with them every week.  It's definitely not my strong suit.

That's why I LOVE the NBC game show "Minute to Win It".  It's like God heard the cries of desperate youth ministers everywhere and gave us this show.  If you haven't checked out the official website yet, do it right now by clicking here.

On the site there's a complete listing of the games they use, plus video demonstrations.  What a life-saver! I went through the list earlier today and wrote down the ones I thought would work well for me.  Here they are - it might save you some time going through them all on your own.

Back Flip, Broomski Ball, Bite Me, Caddy Stack, Candelier, Candy Elevator, Cantagious, Don't Blow the Joker, Extreme Hanky Panky, Face the Cookie, Go the Distance, How's It Hangin, Junk in the Trunk, Penny Hose, Pink Elephant, Stick the Landing, Sticky Situation.

Hope this helps you!

- Tim B.
 
 
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Do you, as a youth minister, desire to have influence among the young people in your church and community?  If you’re like me, being able to influence students with the life-changing message of the Gospel is the goal you’re aiming for, but it is also one that can often seem difficult if not impossible to reach.

The problem that many youth ministers/ministries face when trying to gain influence among the young people of their churches and communities is that they try to gain that influence based solely on a strong desire or assumed “right” to speak in to students’ lives.  Without laying down some essential “stepping stones”, you will never be able to have the impact you hope to have on teenagers and their families.  However, if you build a path toward influence by focusing on a few basic steps, you will see your influence increase and God begin to change lives and do something great in and through your ministry.

Instead of focusing on the end-goal, focus on each of these in progression to build the path to influence:

Intimacy
Before you are able to influence anyone, you need to be influenced by your Heavenly Father.  Spending consistent time with God in prayer and devotion is the well-spring from which all of the following steps toward influence flow.  Without being plugged in to the Source of the life-change you desire to see, how are you ever going to see your ministry become a catalyst for that life-change?

Inspiration
Spending time with God in worship, prayer, etc. will ultimately lead to inspiration.  If you are consistently and earnestly praying for God to move amongst the young people of your church and community, He will eventually answer that prayer by inspiring you to some sort of action or next step to take toward that goal.  He may speak to your creativity, your leadership, your passion, or your pastoral heart; and when He does, you will know!

Implementation
It’s important then to act on the inspiration that God has given you by implementing whatever changes, new strategies, creative programming, individual or group mentoring, leadership development, etc. you’ve been inspired to do.  So often we feel led in a fresh direction, get inspired to do something, and then fail on the follow-through.  This may be the hardest step on the path to influence because it often requires the most work or encounters the most resistance from our critics.  But remember to be faithful not just to your inspiration but to the One who inspired you in the first place!

Interest
If you’re lucky, whatever changes or new directions you’ve implemented in your ministry will begin to generate interest among the youth of your church or community.  It’s important that you construct your ministry so that what you’re doing captures the attention of students.  Lack of interest or boredom among the young people you engage can not only kill momentum in your ministry but can kill your passion as well.  Remember that patience is key – it may take months or even years to see the fruits of what God is doing, but staying true to what God has inspired you to do and working hard to implement that is one sure way to make sure that interest is generated and that those fires stay hot!

Involvement
Once students begin to take interest in what your ministry is all about, it’s time to get them involved.  Make sure you have a process in place that moves youth along the most basic path of involvement:  fringes à committed à core.  You should be taking those students that are interested in the message of your ministry, helping them to own it for themselves, and then equipping them to be leaders.

Influence
Once you have generated enough interest, and students begin to become involved in owning their own faith and growing in to leaders, congratulations – you’ve gained influence!  You will be amazed at how deeply you’ll be able to impact the lives of those young people God in His grace has seen fit to send to you.  And remember – it all started because you relied on God and your relationship with Him to be the source of this influence, so remember to give credit where credit is due.

This may not be a sure-fire way to grow a giant-sized youth ministry, but it is a practical approach to gaining the ability to make a difference in the next generation of students for God’s Kingdom.  Good luck in your adventures in YM – I’d love to hear what you’re up to!  Comment this post or drop me a message using the “Contact” box at the top of this screen.

-Tim B.

 
 
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I gave away a couple of holiday handouts at our (poorly attended - but that's another story!) parent meeting tonight.  I'd love to share them with you.  Feel free to use these yourself, but remember to open them up and edit them for your use!

The first was a Christmas Gift Ideas list with books, music, and movies.  It's a short list and the suggestions are based on some material/media that works for our group.  Feel free to insert any ideas you may have that works well for your students and distribute this to your parents or hang it up in a common area in your church.  Click here to download the Gift Idea handout.

The second was a holiday service idea sheet that I came up with a few years ago to go along with a Christmas teaching series I did called "Give Yourself Away".  Again, this is full of ideas that work in our community and context.  Feel free to tweak this to fit your needs.  Click here to download the Service Ideas handout.

I hope you find these useful!

- Tim B.
 
 
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Click the new "Links" button on the menu bar up above (or, alternatively, click here) to check out tons of YM related sites.  From blogs, to downloadable media, to curriculum/resources, to missions, and more; you'll find tons of great content from people all over the YM world!

If you notice any glaring omissions or if you have a blog or website you'd like me to link to, please click the contact button on the menu bar above and let me know!

Happy surfing.

- Tim B.
 
 
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Thought I'd post a few great downloadable church media websites for you.  These sites provide videos for multiple uses - message illustrations/intros, worship transitions, just for fun, etc. A lot of them also offer free monthly downloads if you subscribe to their newsletters, so it's definitely worth checking out!

This list isn't exhaustive, but it does contain sites I've used as least once or twice.

Bluefish TV
Igniter Media
Highway Media
The Work of the People
Sermon Spice
Worship Films
Student Life

- Tim B.
 
 
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This weekend I'm teaching part 4 of our Bible Study series on making wise decisions.  I've really enjoyed this study out of Lifeway's Known curriculum (check it out at www.lifeway.com/known).

We're reading Genesis 25:29-34 - the story of Esau trading his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup - and pulling out some mistakes Esau made in his decision making process and applying them to our lives.  Here is an overview/summary of the study:

Title:  Decisions: Avoid the Pitfalls
Big Question: How can I keep from making bad decisions?
The Answer: Avoid some of the common pitfalls that lead to bad decisions.
Scripture: Genesis 25:29-34, the story of Esau trading away his birthright.

Quick Outline:
1. Take care of yourself physically.  (Esau made a huge decision when he was tired - big mistake!)
2. Don't make big decisions impulsively.  (Esau made this decision in a matter of minutes.  Yikes!)
3. Don't make a BIG deal out of a little deal.  (Esau traded his birthright away because he was hungry.  HUNGRY.)
4. Consider the cost.  (Esau did not really consider the cost of his decision.)


- Tim B.
 
 
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So I have serious trouble keeping up with the whole blog thing.  And I think my problem is that my focus is way too broad.  Every time I log on to Weebly to start writing a new post, I can't decide if I want to talk about YM, worship, my family, what happened on The Office last week, etc.

So I've decided to narrow my content focus.  I chose the new name - Youth Ministry (YM) Stuff - and switched the blog address over with the intent of having this blog focus almost exclusively on YM content.  I'll post what I'm thinking about in YM, what I'm teaching/speaking on currently, how I'm engaging students in discipleship and leadership, games that we're playing, songs we're singing in worship, etc., etc., etc.  I also plan on sharing some of the great resources that others in YM are putting out there, like my friends at Group and Simply Youth Ministry, Youth Specialties, Lifeway, and others.

I don't have any grand dreams of becoming a famous youth worker, or anything like that.  If anything, working on this project has reminded me of how small and "normal" my ministry to students is.  But I'm hoping that I'll get a lot out of the blogging process personally and that someone out there, either in my own network of YM friends locally or elsewhere, will find something they can use in their own ministry to young people.

Here's hoping this is the start of something good!

- Tim