I am always looking for some cool ways to keep the youth room neat and tidy…so when I stumbled onto this I wanted to share.

HideIt Mounts has the hook up.  I hope it works as good as it looks, it seems to.  The only problem I had is the unsightly power pack to run the xbox will still be visible, but we can’t have it all sometimes.  In our Student Center we have some great diamond plate wall mounted cabinets that were custom-made however comma, the airflow in ours is an issue and we have had more than a couple overheat.  I am now modifying them to get more airflow.  Let me know if some of these work out for you.

 

 

However, this is the one that is going in my house.  Slick with the changeable LED backlighting. Saweet! Case Holder:Raise your Case

 

The following information was taken directly from the website and the linkto the site is below.  Of course they have wall mounts for both sizes of Xbox 360’s, Wii’s, PS 3’s, Apple TV, Cable box, and more.  Check it out.

“Designed for use with the New Slim version of the Xbox 360® game console, the HIDEit XS Mount is designed to store your Slim Xbox® vertically behind your wall mounted plasma or LCD television. Also, it looks great right next to your TV if you want to show it off! Made of clear acrylic, the HIDEit XS Mount is nearly invisible and is a perfect way to set up your newer slimmer Xbox 360®.”

Features: Made from acrylic, your HIDEit XS Mount is lightweight yet rigid enough to support the weight of your Xbox 360. Now, you are able to wall mount your Xbox on either side of your wall mounted flat panel TV. Additionally, the HIDEit XS Mount does not block the power button, disc opening, memory card slots, nor cable ports on your Xbox 360. Since the HIDEit XS Mount is designed so that your Xbox 360 Slim can easily slide out at anytime, you are free to take your Xbox traveling with you on vacation or to a friend’s house with very little effort.

Inside Dimensions*: 10.75 x 10.375 x 3″

Exterior Dimensions*: 11.1875 x 10.375 x 3.5″

What’s in the box? Along with your HIDEit XS Mount, you will also find screws, drywall anchors, and detailed wall mounting instructions for securing your HIDEit XS Mount and wall mounting your Slim Xbox 360!


www.hideitmounts.com

The “Snowpocalype” has landed on Arkansas in full effect, I was able to sled with my son, pull a dozen brain-dead rednecks from ditches, and catch up on some reading.  I wanted to pass on a good idea that was pulled off by a Youth Pastor friend in Texarkana.  He is a very humble guy and attributed the idea to his brother Brian Mills, but since I haven’t met Brian and creativity in Student Ministry is “forgetting who you stole the idea from” AND because Brian is still using blogspot…Brian is out of luck on getting props from me. 🙂

So onto my friend Sean and his team at Beech Street Baptist Church in Texarkana, AR.  Snow fell all over the place and most of us had to bail on our mid-week services around here…so with a video camera and Bible in hand, they busted out a quick Vlog to bring church to their students (and mine) via Facebook. Check it out here.  Another good use of tech and social media. Read Sean’s post about it on www.seanmillsh2o.com as well as other insights into student ministry.  This is surely a trick that anyone with a shoulder-cannon and software that is packaged with any computer now-a-days can do.  For those of you that are perfectionists and have the newest Mac…you can be as elaborate as you want.  But in the end, great message via great social media avenues that a lot of students are using…equals a good way to connect God’s word to those at home.  Grab a Mt. Dew and sit down and think about how you could do something like this.  Have a great continued snow day! DVS

For the past several weeks I have had the opportunity to be shadowed by some new friends from Germany.  Jens and Steffi attend a Bible College in Germany that requires them to serve a 7 week internship each year.  Tobias, a great friend from Germany, knew Jens and Steffi and contacted me about hosting them at our church.  Good idea.  If all of Germany’s Youth Ministry oriented people are as quality as Jens and Steffi, then they have a very bright future!

I wanted to share a few thoughts in regard to Mentoring that I have been reminded of at this point.

  • Know why you do what you do.  Jens asks questions…actually that is an understatement.  He asks a lot of questions.  So there are many things that I do during the normal day-to-day routine that I just take for granted.  Having him around has helped me to evaluate everything I do on a step-by-step basis.  It has helped me to streamline my normal routine.
  • Learning and applying things to your life is only part of the process.  Evangelism has not taken place until discipleship has taken place.  The same goes for mentoring.  All the knowledge from peers/reading/studying/observing does not mature in value until you share that with others.  There is no such thing as “turf” in ministry.
  • Be transparent. Share the mistakes with the wins!  Revisiting past failures has been helpful to me and Jens as well. No one is perfect, don’t try to be.
  • Network!  I don’t know all the answers, I don’t even try to pretend.  But I have some great friends in ministry that have some answers as well and a world of knowledge to share.  So while you are mentoring, use your resources.  I have scheduled many meets with peers to allow them to see ministry on many different levels: from University Professors to Youth Pastors working in other churches, both large and small.  It is great for them to see servants at work and at play.
  • Evaluate.  Know what you both want to accomplish.  From the beginning there needs to be a game-plan for what needs to be accomplished.  7 weeks goes by fast…as does any length of time for mentoring.  Don’t get caught trying to fit it all in the last week.  Both of you will end up not liking ministry or each other very much.
  • Realize that it takes a lot of time.  So be patient and calm.  Don’t get overwhelmed with the feeling that someone is just following you around.
  • Have fun.  Life is too short not to.  Enjoy the time you have together.  Realize we are serving with the kingdom in mind.

I will be having Jens write about his stay and what he learned while in the States.  Pray for him and Steffi as they endeavor to serve in Germany.

Launched in 2002 with the XBOX, XBOX Live (XL) made the incredible XBOX even better.  Many moons ago, I locked down my gamer tag…dustinsams.  It is no yellowdogzoom3000 or something like that…but it makes it easy for my students to find me.  Basically they can find me on twitter, skype, and even at dinner by just using my name…I think that is pretty accessible don’t you?  I didn’t do much with it, I never played one single game with online friends or anything like that.  As a youth pastor my life was busy enough as it is and we were fortunate to have a multiple XBOX gaming area at our church with consoles linked up.  So anytime I wanted to hang with students and play, that is where it was at.  In 2005, the Microsoft debuted the XBOX360.  XL has been updated and upgraded ever since.  Membership has blown up and as of February 2010 there were 23 million subscribers.

I give you a little taste of XL history just so you can impress your friends.  I wanted to give some of you some ideas for using XBOX Live to connect with some of your students.  This is not for everyone and some of you will see no reason to continue…but there are a few of you that may be liberated by knowing that you can actually do some good while playing Live.  To speed things up, I will be using CODMW3 as an example.  I was recently locked in virtual battle  online with 2 other youth pastors in my home state, 3 former students (1 in AZ and 2 in FL), and a student in my current ministry…crazy.  Talking to them while playing, as if they were sitting right next to me…so much fun.  I personally have developed relationships with and have been able to speak into the lives of students that normally wouldn’t have given me the time of day. Since I have the talking point of CODMW3, many defensive barriers are immediately taken down and a connection is made.

So if you have an XL account, here are a couple of tips.  If you are an avid gamer, you no doubt have discovered most of these already.  Let the connecting and noob-tubing begin.

(keep in mind XBOX Live is now available in some form or another on every game that is released, I would love to hear if you have had similar run-ins with students in a favorable way. Gaming is not for everyone and this was not an article to debate gaming violence or whether it leads to someone car-jacking the church van, simply another avenue to connect with students where they really are.)

  • Be aware of foul language.  A student sent me a message on XL the first time we met in a “party” and said, “Dustin, I just want to warn you, there are some that cuss a lot.”  I laughed and thanked him for thinking that I had never heard those words before.  This is a place where you and 23 million plus individuals hang out.  Quickly learn how to “mute” offensive players and encourage those that play a “clean” game.  I regularly thank those in the room for not spewing filth, whether we like it or not, there are many children that are playing the games that they are not even allowed to buy by themselves.  Also, take advantage of “rating” players.  You can mark another gamer with higher rankings (more of a possibility to be matched up in the future or on the flipside less likely for those ranked lower).  This isn’t VBS, you are in the real world where people cuss.  So be warned.
  • Send messages to those on your friends list.  This is easy to do and use it often to encourage, comment on their games, ask questions and join up in private matches where the conversation can wander freely.
  • You can search on XL for friends that play via Facebook and email addy’s.  I recently tried to add a Youth Pastor friend of mine and he was maxed out on the friends list…very nice.  I politely told him to bumb some seventh grader off his list so he can add me.  Cause that is how I roll.
  • Fill out your bio.  If you put on there some information, I have found that others do look at it.  I do, especially when in a room for any length of time.  I comment on there game play, where they are from, etc.
  • Don’t wear you feelings on your sleeve.  The first time I heard “dustinsams? that is a gay name” I could have pouted about why my mom named me that and how come I didn’t have some cool name like “Gunner”, but it didn’t happen that way.  People that don’t know Christ act like people that don’t know Christ. Period.
  • Don’t Team Kill.  If you are on a team, don’t kill your teammates.  This just burns me, so I thought I would throw that in.
  • Apologize if you accidentally Team Kill.  Names don’t always pop up fast enough before you fire…”my bad.”
  • Use moments to chat with your students that have taken the time to invite you into their world.  I ask about grades, family life, girlfriends, what “class” they use…etc. Anything to generate connection.
  • Set up times to “meet”.  If you get enough friends to join up to play in some private matches or as a “clan” do it.  It is fun and the conversations are great.  I have visited with other Youth Pastors about their youth groups, adult leaders, families, and have been encouraged myself.
  • Make sure your wife knows what is up.  I tell her that I am playing video games with some students for a little while and she loves it.  Also keep in mind that when you talk to your wife that your voice is audible in the game.  I once made a cutesy comment about my wife and the whole room exploded with laughter…kind of embarrassing, but I played through the pain.
  • Don’t waste you life.  I play a few hours a week and stay current.  But the conversations with students during our mid-weeks services have been great.  Discussing new games content.  If they struggle with making friends or even how much time they spend in prayer or reading the Bible compared to how much time they spend shooting a virtual ACR.  That is a tough question to ask anyone.  Have fun and share Christ!

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Updated.  If you are not using social media to further your ministry you are missing some great opportunities.  The social media footprint that you and your ministry has, needs to be examined on a regular basis.  For example, our student ministry used to have a myspace page, not anymore.  Not because myspace is going away (it is not) it is just because the demographic of our student ministry is less impacted by myspace than it is with Facebook.  But there are tons of ways to connect with students via social networking.  To better use your time, try this…print up a quick survey for your students and ask!  Crazy, I know…keep it simple, we all know that the combined user totals for twitter and Facebook are over 600 million (if you didn’t know that, now you do) so you don’t need to ask how many use what…just ask which they prefer.

Some questions you may want to ask:

  • Would you rather get info about (your name here) from Facebook/myspace/email/twitter/ning.com etc.
  • Do you have a smart phone?
  • What apps do you use?
  • Would you be interested in YouVersion Live? (see below for video explaining this wicked cool feature) I am finding more and more students using their cell phones during our teaching time to follow along with the scripture that I am teaching from.

Just get a feel of what communicates to your students the best and spend your valuable time on those.  Your students still may be the type to want a postcard.  I have students that don’t have access to internet unless it is at school, so I just have them on a list to mail calendars to.  There are not many, but I don’t want to exclude those students that cannot afford the Inet at home.

Feel free to add your thoughts of questions to ask students…

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Dear Friends of the Younger Generation,

“A blueprint for the Great Commission in Arkansas”
– Rodney Welsh, Youth Pastor in Heber Springs, Arkansas

What did Rodney mean by his statement? Let’s find out by following six spiritual generations deeply transformed by Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry (JFYM)–Shira, Olivia, Carrie, Rodney, Dustin and Eric.

6 Generations

We begin with Shira, a sophomore, who began a relationship with Jesus in 2008 through her friend Olivia who then discipled her. Both graduate this year and want to become missionaries. Before this, Carrie Welsh started a discipleship group for Olivia and four others. They learned how to communicate their faith to friends like Shira. Carrie was equipped to disciple students in a leadership team led by her husband, Rodney Welsh. Rodney took them through “the slow, but very rewarding process of making disciples” after attending a JFYM Forum in 2007. He heard Dustin Sams speak about it in 2006 and was drawn to “thinking about ministry that lined up with the way Jesus did ministry.”

Dustin Sams, youth pastor in Stuttgart, Arkansas, has implemented JFYM for seven years and is one of Reach Out’s Eagle Leaders. Dustin comments: “After hearing Barry speak, I started my first discipleship group with five guys. Four of the five now attend Ouachita University, preparing for ministry. . . . We have seen tremendous numerical and spiritual growth. . . . So many of our students are now going into ministry themselves.”

Before Arkansas, as a youth pastor in Florida, Dustin shared that he had one dad whose daughters were in his youth group “invest in me with no strings attached, just a desire to see me succeed in ministry, my family and my faith. I was an event-to-event style youth pastor and headed towards burn-out. But Eric Ball taught me about JFYM and literally kept me from burning out.” Eric serves as Reach Out’s International Director.

These discipling and mentoring relationships vividly illustrate “the blueprint.”

11 Multipliers

This blueprint of spiritual multiplication in Arkansas repeats itself through…

Matt Rothacher     Bill Newton    Donnie Burrows     Dave McClung      Randy Brantley
John Cowling    Lynn Riley    Mark Simmons    Grant Medford    Dustin Sams     Rodney Welsh

75 Introductions

We believe the blueprint of the present and future will exceed the past!

Last week Roger Palmer, Reach Out’s National Director, introduced Jesus’ model for ministry to 75 Arkansas youth leaders at our one-day JFYM Forum. John Caddy, our current leader in Arkansas, has plans for the Eagle Leaders to equip youth leaders in 35 areas of the state.

Every church in Arkansas will have the opportunity to implement Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry so that kids like Shira and Olivia will come to know Christ and be discipled by a caring adult like Carrie!

We need you to partner with us! Your investment of prayers and money will yield more of this kind of multiplied spiritual return in the days ahead!

Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry

Through applying this newly expanded resource, God will produce life-change and life-changers through you.  Details to be emailed soon! Go to www.reach-out.org for more information.

Jesus is Lord,

Donate to Reach Out Youth Solutions


PO Box 870141

Stone Mountain, GA 30087

Office: 770.413.6045

Fax: 770.220.1980

Website: www.reach-out.org
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Recently stopped in and got some pictures of the updated FBC Forrest City Student Ministry facility.  They used some great ideas with LED Lighting on plain walls so they can actually change the color of the walls whenever they feel like it.  Some other highlights of “The Stand” was staining of the concrete floors, leaving some of the frame-work for the ceiling tiles over the “cafe” area, and the sign-in desk.  Take a look at the pictures and let me know if you have any questions about it, or you can contact the Youth Pastor at FBC Forrest City.  His name is Chris Roller and you can find him on Facebook.  If you are within a day’s driving distance and would like me to share some of your creative ideas with Youth Workers around the world, please let me know.  Even better, if you have high quality pictures of your space, please send them to me at dustin.sams@fbcstuttgart.com so we can share with others. Blessings.

Other things to look at:

  • Screens Directly on a flat wall for the projectors.
  • Steel/Roofing Tin on Stage Front
  • Elevated Flat Screen TVs/Gaming Systems
  • Lighting
  • Updated Kitchen/Cafe Area
  • Ceiling Grid Left open over Food Area
  • Multiple Color LED Wall Wash
  • All Lighting is controlled from Sound Booth
  • It is very clean and roomy.  Good use of existing space in a building that the church owns.

I was hanging out with some of my favorite Youth Pastor friends a few months back and one of them (ARodgers) flipped me a sweet new business card he had.  They are small and very cool…a must have for those of you that use business cards.  I am already a big fan of the cheap ones that I have been getting from www.vistaprint.com for years and I usually get new ones every few months.  I purposely get them in small numbers so I can change them up.  Toss them out, put them in letters, write notes on them,  or just balance out your favorite table at the local choke and puke.

www.moo.com is a great little site and they love to print.  I like it also because they don’t have a million different products.  Just business cards, mini-cards, greeting cards, and postcards.  Check them out.

Some high points about www.moo.com:

  • You can choose from some great pre-designed artwork.  It looks sharp too, not some cheesy clip-art.
  • You business cards can have a ton of different designs or slogans (up to 100)…all in the same single order you make!
  • Uploading your logo or design is easy, click on the photo to see an example of the variety that I have ordered recently.
  • There “text-o-matic” design lets you put some creative text on the front.  Youth Pastor, Bobby Markham used it to put the title of the lessons series he had done in the recent past.  They looked sweet.
  • Packaging is recycled and very cool too. Enjoy.