RSS

Tag Archives: students

Face Time Over Screen Time

Technology is quite simply a part of our culture. I love the phrase “digital natives” because it describes our students so well. My niece, who is just 5 years old, is quite adept at operating her mom’s iPad. I remember sitting at a basketball game a season ago and had twin two-year old girls sitting on my lap. They were scrolling through my iPhone trying find the game apps. If they opened an app they didn’t like, they knew how to close it out. They are simply natives to technology. They have grown up with it.

What is interesting then in the results of a survey I read on the Simply Youth Ministry Blog. They referenced research done by Common Sense Media that asked 1,000 13 to 17 year olds how they are communicating today. 90% have used social media. 68% text and 41% consider themselves addicted to their phones.

That makes this infographic so interesting. A higher percentage prefer Face Time over Screen Time.

Face Time to Screen Time

It’s a good reminder that we all want to connect with others and relationships are important. Sometimes the screen time can open the door to meaningful face time conversations.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

InstaScavenger Hunt @DownloadYM

This weekend our IMPACT students participated in an InstaScavenger Hunt.  Using smartphones to capture various pictures and videos, they uploaded them to Instagram with the hashtag #impactinsta.  While the concept of the scavenger hunt has been around for years, we had a great time going around town taking pictures under bank signs, of the entire group in a bathroom stall and a video of the chicken dance under the KFC sign.

A few of the pictures are below.  You can search #impactinsta on Instagram to all of them.

I modified a list for our hunt from Download Youth Ministry.  It was a great resource to use and had some fun ideas. (Thanks DYM!)

IMG_3642

IMG_3643

IMG_3644

IMG_3645

IMG_3646

IMG_3647

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Images over Words

snapchatSeveral weeks ago I posted about the growth of Instagram and how it surpassed Twitter in number of users. It appears that people prefer images over words.

After meeting with a group of junior high students, Tim Elmore found that trend is showing up in how teens communicate with each other. Text messaging is being replaced by apps that allow teens to share images.

Here’s a small portion of what he posted on May 6th about the growth of images over words.

Snapchat — an app that allows users to send photos to one another that disappear after a few seconds—has taken over many teen’s portable devices. So has Instagram. It may well be the future of phone interaction. Just like Facebook, once parents and teachers began to figure out how to use text messaging, students were bound to find new ways to communicate.

It wasn’t that long ago I reported to readers that teens today send about 3,000 texts a month, or about a hundred a day. That’s changing now. And not just for teens but for all ages. As a whole, people are texting less now than we used to. According to Chetan Sharma Consulting, “The average U.S. cell phone user sends about 628 text messages per quarter, down 8 percent from a year ago.”

Technology and communication are ever-changing. We’ve gone from land line to cell phone to email to MySpace to Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat and other forms of staying connected. For those who work with students, it’s interesting to see where the trends go.

What do you see students using to communicate with each other?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Importance of Mentors

Apple_Podcast_logo-642x642This weekend served as a good reminder to me of the value of mentors in the lives of students. For the past 8+ years, we have made small groups a primary part of our student ministry. We connect students with adults who will meet with them on a regular basis to build relationships, to study God’s Word and to create a safe place to share both the trials and triumphs in life. This weekend, we experienced a couple of “wins” that reinforced the value of that.

I am learning the importance of celebrating the wins. We tend to focus on what’s not right or what didn’t work and there is value in pointing out when good things happen. Also, with the nature of small groups and student ministry in general, you don’t normally see fruit or results until later down the road.

This weekend one of our junior high boys small groups made an effort to invite and include another guy in their group. They saw the guy at church, invited him to come to small group, made sure they knew where he needed to meet and he showed up! While they were encouraged by their small group leader, the students made the invitation.

Another of our groups – a 6th grade boys group – just completed a challenge put forth by their leaders. Each boy was given a certain amount of money to invest into a kingdom project. Each boy was given the freedom to choose where to use that money. I just received a report from the leaders about what each boy did. That’s a win!

Then, this morning, on my way into the office, I was listening to the Catalyst Podcast. One of the interviews was with Josh Shipp, who leads a mentoring ministry.

He said the biggest problem our students face today is a lack of Christian, caring adults involved in their lives. He then shared these two statistics. Students who have a caring adult who is not mom or dad in their lives are 50% more likely to succeed and 50% more likely to stay away from things that are destructive. What he shared just continued to point to the importance of involving caring, Christian adults into the lives of our students.

The entire interview is a good as Josh shares his story of how mentors in his life made a huge impact on him. (The Mandisa interview which preceded his is good, too.). Check it out on the Catalyst website.

I’m so grateful for the adult leaders who have been (and still are) are a part of my own children’s lives and for the small group leaders that lead in our ministry. They are making a difference.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Progressive Dinner #impacteatandgo

Group SelfieThis weekend we took our IMPACT students on a Progressive Dinner. The idea of a progressive dinner is definitely not new, but it creates a good opportunity for students and adults to spend time together around a meal.

We had three stops for our evening (salad, main course, dessert) and our hosts were awesome. The weather was nice enough that after finishing a course, we could go outside.

To add another element to the evening, we had various photo challenges at each home. We encouraged students with smart phones and Instagram accounts to take different pictures and post them on IG with the hashtag #impacteatandgo. It made it easy to search all the pictures that our students took.

While getting ready for the evening, I read about a website – ink361.com – which allows you to connect to your Instagram account. Then, you can search for specific users or hashtags. I plugged in our hashtag on that site and it pulled up all the photos we took.

It was a fun evening with a good balance of structure and free time. We had good food, took some fun pics and enjoyed hanging out together.

Here are just a couple examples of the pics our group posted:

1979487_10152259139348011_1298916964_n

1932311_10152259140053011_318989558_n

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“affluenza”

affluenzaI’ve posted in the past about information shared through Tim Elmore’s Growing Leaders blog. Today, I learned a new word - affluenza.

I guess it has been around for a while (since the 1990′s) and refers to a condition in which children — generally from rich families — have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol. Elmore references a court case where affluenza was used as a defense by a man who hit and killed four people with his truck.

I have copied Elmore’s blog below regarding this “condition.” As I read his thoughts, it kind of hit me from two sides. First, as a parent, am I or have I been guilty of contributing to this “condition” in my own kids? Also, as one who works with students on a regular basis, where do I see this showing up? Interesting to think through.

You can read Elmore’s thought on his Growing Leaders blog and offer your comments as well.

Some journalists are using a term when speaking about parents and the problems they have raising their kids today. It’s called “affluenza.” At the court hearing for a tragic auto accident in Texas, where teenager Eric Couch hit and killed four people with his truck, the defense attorneys cited “affluenza” (when one is raised with wealth and never given limits) as the cause for his crime. He’s been sentenced to ten years of probation. The term “affluenza” was popularized in the late 1990s by Jessie O’Neill, in her book “The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence.” It has since been used to describe a condition in which children—generally from rich families— have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol.

Like a disease, affluence, or living as if you have it, can harm a child as they’re growing up. Today, moms are sending birthday invitations out, with a gift registry inside the card, letting guests know where and what gifts to buy their child. Many parents assume they are “poor parents” if they don’t provide their children everything they want.

Obviously, when the bar is set this high, a child’s sense of entitlement increases. They start believing they deserve all the latest gadgets, tablets, smart phones, name brand clothes, expensive tutors and coaches, and costly vacations that are always better than last year’s.

What we’re finding is—this “afflluenza” begins translating into the notion that students deserve good grades just because they showed up, especially if mom and dad paid for this expensive school. Some college students have even sued their alma mater for not guaranteeing a job when they graduated.

I do not claim to be a parenting expert. I develop students and student leaders. But allow me to comment and offer some common sense.

We live in a day of “encore problems.” We expose our kids to so much so early in their life that it becomes difficult to engage them as they move into adolescence. They have been on trips and vacations; they’ve attended amazing ballgames, and they own incredible technology by middle school. What more is there to experience when they grow up? The problem is, the “more” they want is probably unhealthy.

Parents and teachers must navigate this “affluenza.” We must figure out how to pace our students, exposing them to measured amounts of possessions, and appropriate experiences as they mature. Often, they get exposed to things today before they’re emotionally ready for them. Most elementary kids have watched a sex scene on TV, on a computer, or at the movies. Most have watched violent acts and murders, and seen people do illegal drugs. It’s tantalizing.

What To Do

In his latest book, David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell discusses how difficult it is to lead kids today, when there is too little or too much money. Obviously, a family living below the poverty line finds it difficult to raise kids well, because their focus is mere survival. They are living paycheck to paycheck. On the other hand, upper middle class and wealthy families find parenting hard because they cannot honestly say to their children who beg them for a new iPhone: “We can’t afford that.” That moment requires an emotional conversation, where the parent explains to the child why it’s helpful to learn to delay gratification.

Yeah. Good luck with that conversation.

The research tells us that an income of about $70,000 is the median income, to make parenting neither too hard because of poverty or too hard due to wealth. Outside of those lines, we will have to learn to pace our kids. This means our job may change:

Pace the sequence of possessions and experiences, allowing for a bigger and better one, as they mature. For instance, you might plan a trip across the state for them in elementary school, a trip across the U.S. when they’re in middle school, and a trip overseas when they’re in high school.

Don’t fall into the trap of comparisons. Other parents may win brownie points with their kids because they give them too much, too soon. Those kids are “wowed” in the moment, but are over-exposed and may have difficulty managing expectations as young adults. Do what’s right, not what’s popular.

Always have a reason for every “gift” (possession, experience, trip, etc.) that you give your child. Have a plan, to progress into bigger and better “gifts” in the future. I even explained my plan to my kids by the time they reached fifth grade. They realized there was a method to my madness and they “got it.”
Prepare to have meaningful conversations with your young people. Get ready for emotional exchanges as they learn to wait, to listen, to handle envy of their friends, and to save up their own money, perhaps, before getting what they want. This is what maturity is all about.

Just remember, leading students is a marathon not a sprint. In fact, it’s a pace, not a race. Pace yourself. Pace your kids.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Real Test Answers, Really

report2On his Growing Leaders blog, Tim Elmore posted these real answers that students put on exams. The answers are from middle school, high school and college students. Many are quite creative and will provide a good chuckle for your day.

I think my favorites are numbers 1 and 2, although you have to wonder what the teacher thought when reading these responses.

 

1. Biology class: Name six animals that live specifically in the arctic.

A: Two polar bears and four seals.

2. Chemistry class:  What is a nitrate?

A: It is much cheaper than a day rate.

3. Business and Technology class: Explain the phrase “free press.”

A: When your mom irons your pants for you.

4. Biology class discussion about veins: What is the meaning of the word “varicose”?

A: Close by.

5. Physics: Is the sun or the moon more important?

A: The moon gives us light at night when we need it. The sun only provides light in the day when we don’t need it. Therefore, the moon is more important.

6. Earth science: Over the last fifty years there has been a significant change in the concentration of carbon dioxide. Give a reason for this.

A: It’s easily distracted.

7. Business management class: What is a partnership?

A: A ship that takes two people to drive.

8. Biology class: What does “terminal illness” mean?

A: When you become ill at the airport.

9. Business: Define the term “stakeholder.”

A: Someone who hunts vampires. Buffy being the most famous.

10. Athletic Application: Church preference?

A: Red brick.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

What Some Students Need

root beer8I saw this article from Kurt Johnston on the More Than Dodgeball website. It was a good article and a great reminder to all those who work with students that each student has different needs.

I forwarded the email to one of my volunteers who is our go-to guy at camp when it comes to homesickness. Some youth workers have the ability to be able to hone in on what a particular student needs, much like the counselor in this article.

Good article. Check it out and pass it on.

At Summer camp last month, one of our counselors faced a classic dilemma but at an increased level of intensity. One of the 7th grade boys in his cabin was homesick. But this young man wasn’t the “normal” kind of homesick. He was the “kicking, screaming, face-melting, I’m gonna break things if I don’t get to go home” kind of homesick. Faced with that scenario, what would you have done? I know what I would have done, and it wouldn’t have been as wise and warm as the response of his counselor (my response would have included some sort of mocking and shame…but that’s for another article).

First, the counselor decided to call the young man’s parents to get their input. We have a fairly strict “No calls home” policy, so HE made the phone call instead of allowing the boy to. He enlisted the dad’s advice which was, “Tell Junior that we love him and miss him and that he is absolutely not coming home.” Way to go, Dad! The counselor then delivered this “bad news” to his young friend and followed it up with what I believe was the best youth ministry question of the summer, “Since you can’t go home, is there anything I can do for you to help you make it through the night?”

The answer is one of the reasons I love junior high ministry so much.

“Well, I think a warm shower and a root beer would work,” the student replied.

So while Junior took a warm shower, his counselor made a late-night trek to the vending machine and bought the most strategic root beer in the history of youth ministry. Problem solved. The evening routine for the rest of the week? A warm shower followed by a root beer night-cap.

This little story reminds me of numerous junior high ministry principles, especially this one:

Junior high ministry is made up of all sorts of junior highers, and that requires us to be willing to minister in all sorts of ways.

A mistake junior high youth workers often make is viewing every young teen through the same developmental lens. While it’s true that, for the most part, the junior highers in your ministry are going through the same developmental changes, they are going through them in vastly different ways.

Some students need you to talk to them about sex and dating.

Some students need you to nudge them toward their next spiritual step.

Some students need you to help them see themselves as normal.

Some students need you to coach them on their friendship choices.

Some students… well, some students just need a warm shower and a root beer.

- See more at: http://www.morethandodgeball.com/junior-high/junior-high-ministry-101-warm-showers-and-root-beer/#sthash.pAnF0fgW.dpuf

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

For All the “Old” Youth Pastors

dym_logo_featured-450x253One of the blogs I subscribe to is on the Download Youth Ministry website. They not only offer low-priced, downloadable youth ministry resources, they also provide articles for those who work with students.

Today’s blog had a good article for those who are getting “old” in youth ministry. For a long time I think the ideal youth worker has been pictured as young, “cool” and in touch with students because he/she is close to their age. I thought today’s post, The 40 Year Old Youth Pastor, had some good insights for those who have been in a youth ministry, well…for a few years. Read on….

Looking back, I thought they were the golden years of youth ministry for me….I was close in age with the students and was often confused for being a teenager by parents. I thought this is it…it will never get better. I related to their world and I didn’t have to try hard to be cool…I was cool (notice the past tense.) Now as I prepare to celebrate my 40th birthday…I can’t help but feel that I am a better youth worker than I have ever been.

At least, mostly better. When we got back from summer camp this year, it took me a week or more to recover when before all I needed was one day to sleep in and “veg-out.” (Of course, I didn’t have kids myself so “sleeping in” was really sleeping all day.)

Or when I use to talk with students about their favorite movies or music…I would find that we liked very similar things. I could relate to their world. Now when we talk about movies or music a student is quick to say “Oh yeah, my mom likes them too.” Nice.

Besides it taking longer to recover from camp and being compared to their mom…I feel like I am in my sweet spot. I love being with students and with our leaders. I feel like I am just getting started. Instead of trying to be cool, I can focus all my energy on caring. I also find that rejection hurts less now the older I get…Don’t get me wrong…it still hurts but I have learned to not take rejection so personally. It’s not so bad being older.

This got me thinking about the trends of youth ministry and how long youth pastors stay at a church. Or the new trend of youth workers planting churches. Neither of those things is bad but I want to encourage my youth worker friends…that longevity is a gift and your best years may be ahead of you.

With that in mind:

If you are young, don’t give up….stick it out…you will find it only gets easier and more rewarding the longer you stay.

If you are in the middle, we’ve made it…keep going strong…it’s just getting good.

If you are “older” than the average, thank you! Thank you for not seeing youth ministry as a stepping stone and for believing in teenagers. I look up to you. You are my heroes. And if you start to doubt yourself…know that teenagers need your love more now than ever due to the breakdown of the family unit. Don’t believe the lie that you are too old for youth ministry.

Truthfully, I look forward to the day that a student says “oh yeah, my grandma likes them too.”

What about you? Where do you find yourself? Any “older” youth workers have some wisdom for the young-uns?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Here’s to Camp!

Bball Camp #2 2013It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything on the blog, but one of my reasons/excuses is that last week I was gone at camp. And it was a great week!

Turns out this was my 9th summer leading the Basketball 2 week of camp at Butler Springs. Our week is an interesting mix of basketball camp, cheer camp, science camp and Kids Cafe (cooking) camp. It sounds a bit different, but it works!

I had a great group of adults who served as faculty and we ended up the week with four baptisms in the camp pool and two more taking place at home. We had several campers from our home church as well as several faculty. My son and daughter served on faculty along with Joe’s girlfriend.

Here are some pics from the week:

Families discussing the theme for the day from the book of Ephesians:

IMG_2291

Some of the basketball skills stations

IMG_2308

One of the baptisms at the end of the week:

IMG_2317

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,348 other followers