I subscribe to many RSS feeds, and this site was one of the updates that I read about today.

There is a new “Social Site” available for Youth Ministry. It is http://youthministry.ws.

YouthMinistry.ws was created by Steve Blanchard. He is the author of the “Youth Ministry Ideas” blog.

Here is the description from the site: “YouthMinistry.ws is an online community of youth leaders. The community operates like Facebook. You can start your own blog and share thoughts, pics, videos. There is also a forum where you can start topics and ask questions and get them answered by the community and also you can create groups based on your town you live in or state that you are from.”

This is the intro video that is on the front page of their site.

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If you are a social junky, I would encourage your to sign up and give it a shot. It is brand new, so the more the merrier.

I don’t think there can be to many free tools/resources for Youth Ministry, do you?

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Amazing use of video to explain something that some of us know…but all of us should.  My question is how can we embrace the technology in a way that brings Glory to God?  Sure the social networks are great for marketing/advertising/getting the word out…but how can we use it to share Christ.  This is something that I ask myself over and over…can we as Christians create culture?  The message is amazing…better than any new ipod or flat screen…how can we get Gen Y and beyond to use social media to share their faith?  Is it just a high tech Christian T-shirt or can it be much more than that?  Isn’t this fun…?  There are many apps that allow us to read scripture and share “thoughts of the day”…but what else can we do?

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Weekly highlight videos I put together during our L.I.F.E. Emphasis during ’09.  Always a crowd pleaser for students to see themselves on the bigscreen!  Used Adobe Premiere for editing, shot on a Sony Mini-DV video camera.

Below you will see a few more examples of how to use video in your ministry.  I repeat…everyone looks cool in slow motion.

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The following video was literally shot in about a half-hour at a Student Leader (STUlea) pool party when we thought of a way to promote the new website for Flipside 517…and yes, I know it says it is under construction, we are reworking it right now and it will be up soon lookin’ sweet.

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Room Invasion TRoberts…example of trying to get footage from a room with minimal props/material around.  Obviously these won’t be near as funny without knowing the particular student involved, but we do what we can.  I hope this gets some creative juices flowing in your ministry.

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What is it?  Not really sure…these type of things have been going on since the technology of capturing home movies has trickled down into the hands of people that work with students.  I am sure if someone looked hard enough, there would be some sort of room invasion, student highlight, “me and my locker”, or something of that nature on reel-to-reel 8mm somewhere.  That would be fun to see.  So, from shoulder cannon VHS to the latest HD Digital, we can assume there are youth pastors that use this technology to highlight students and improve our relationships with students all over the world.  Keep those cameras rollin’ and here is our little take on subject of shining the spotlight on students.

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I have done different variations of this for many years, but I think we have found the right mixture of fun and shenanigans to share with you as an idea that can really go places in your ministry.  It is easy and students love it.  The mission we have is to highlight a student’s room, ransack it, and clean it up without getting caught.  Obviously you want to get the parents involved otherwise…or you will have to explain to your Pastor and church how you were arrested and wonder if the bail money could possibly come out of your travel expense…or even better, jail ministry mission trip!

I begin with a mass sign up…students can sign up to have their room “invaded”, but this is not a guarantee that their room will be hit.  We use “Room Invasions” as a special treat in our ministry and it is not a scheduled event.  This helps you as well since there really is no “deadline” to have it cut and ready for primetime.  So with a base list of students to choose from, we work with the parents and get permission from them. Get the details on the “subject’s” room and even let them participate if they wish.  If it is a female student, you specifically want to know from the parent which “areas” of the room are off-limits.  These are articles of clothing that could embarrass both you and the student and with the goal of fun…not abuse…you stay away from those areas.  No worries, because most students have plenty of material in the room to fill a 5 minute video.

Here are some things to think about:

  • Highlight things that make the student unique. Hobbies, sports, awards, collections, i.e. stacks of broken skateboards
  • Take tons of footage, sure there will be dull moments or things that are not remotely funny…but those will never see the light of day and you don’t want to get to editing and not have enough footage.
  • Remember-everyone and everything looks cool in slow motion.
  • Bring props…the right goofy CD or “mom’s” prom dress in the closet can make for good fun and many laughs…but make sure you know your student and that they can take it.
  • All else fails…embarrass yourself.  Fall down, put on the clothes, taste the make-up, etc.
  • Pick great music to drive the video forward.  A great soundtrack can make ok-funny clips hilarious.  i.e. I once found a Kenny G CD on the floor…enough said.
  • Trash the room, but don’t break anything…explaining a broken tiara that is treasured to that student is not where I want to be.
  • Then clean everything up.  We have done tons of these videos and still haven’t been caught.  I even leave hints that I was there.  Money missing, names written on boards, hats left behind, etc.  Still, no one has come up to me before we roll that beautiful bean footage on Wednesday and asked, “Hey, have you been in my room?”
  • Thank the parents…burn them copies to keep.  It is a great tool to get to know the parents of the students and thanks them for letting their most treasured possession hang out with you.
  • Put your own spin on it…there are no real rules saying it has to look one way or another.  Have fun with it.

These are just a few ideas…but go crazy…you will find a niche that fits your personality, use college students if you are too old or just not funny.  It is ok and we won’t tell anyone.  There is a reason that MTV/VH1 latched onto the idea as well, however, I think a youth pastor invented it first.  But it wasn’t me.  Have fun.

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See the movie here-> The Doorpost Film Project

I stumbled onto this short movie while doing some research on the cast of “To Save a Life.”  The youth pastor in the movie is played by a Joshua Weigel.  Joshua is a writer/director as well as an actor, he and his wife wrote and directed this movie and it is fantastic. joshuaweigel

The movie is about hope and I got the resounding message of how God can take the broken and do great things.  Our purpose is often much greater than what we envision for our own lives.  It is an inspiring depiction of worth and love…seeing true value in the individual and finding purpose.  Some will gather or may think that “Will’s” purpose is to eventually dive into water, but it is much more than that.  See for yourself.  I can’t wait till the DVD is available to purchase and show it to my students.

Joshua posted that the DVD is in the works and will be available soon.

butterfly circusYou can watch the film below, or at The Doorpost Film Project

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Have you heard of YouVersion? If not, let me go ahead and fill you in.

As quoted on their site.

YouVersion is: “A revolutionary online Bible that enables community and collaboration like never before. Organize important content; share thoughts, links and videos; and collaborate with others.”

LifeChurch.tv began in 1996.  They are the author of YouVersion.com which went live in mid 2007.

It’s purpose: “To lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ.”

There are many online Bible’s out there that are sadly “Plain Vanilla” search boxes. YouVersion is different. Not only is the web interface attractive, and smooth, the app is cram packed with collaboration features. Take a look at some of these for instance.

  1. Ability to search the bible by simply typing in a “Reference” or “Keyword”.
  2. 40 different translations in 22 languages.
  3. Ability to compare different translations side by side.
  4. Ability to play via “Audio”.
  5. Personal “Journal” of notes etc. (Account Registration Required)
  6. Contribute and comment on verses or sections of scripture, or read contributions from others.
  7. Tag, bookmark, or link verses or sections of scripture.
  8. The One-Year Reading Plan provides daily selections to keep you on track when you’re on the go.
  9. Similar to “twitter” you can follow other members and track there contributions. (So, invite your friends.)
  10. The site is completely mobile friendly, so take it with you!
  11. Did I mention that there is and “app” for that?
  12. Oh, It’s FREE!

This app is rich, feature packed, and constantly improving. If you want to know all that it can do for you, you will have to check it out for yourself.

What an awesome way to use technology to spend time with our more than worthy Creator.  Not to mention a fun way to dive in the Word.

As I get time, I will blog about the new ability of YouVersion called “YouVersion Live“.  But for now, this should keep you busy.

I’ve included some screenshots and videos below that I have gathered to give you a taste.

YouVersion.com

YouVersion.com

YouVersion Mobile

YouVersion Mobile

So Here is the first one. Lawn Mower Racing. You heard me. Our church-wide picnic has always been a highlight of our calendar year, but most of the time the young families would stick around after the lunch and play and the older generations would tend to head home out of the sun and to catch a nap. 😉 One of my trips back out to Washington State I went back to see my sister in Mansfield, a small wheat farming community in North Central Washington. They have “Mansfield Play Days” during the summer and it was in full swing. During the festivities were some lawn mower races and I fell in love. Check out the first year out and the wreck 1:00 into the video below. Worth your time. [youtube]iwDz6GgwbKk[/youtube] Basically with some simple modifications you could be running fast and with some more time involved…you could be on your way to the ER. Great fun for all involved. So I brought the idea up during one of our “fusion-of-the-forehead” meetings with the staff and we all thought it was worth a try. And the rest is fun history. The first event was held in May of 2006 and we have had races every year…uh, except ’08 when a tornado blasted us and 250+ homes/businesses here in Stuttgart, just a little bitter about that. We have learned and tweaked it as we go along. We have tried oval track, kidney-shaped, drag races, push-lawnmower footraces, stock lawnmower classifications, and who could have the most parts fall off during a race. Ha The Modified Classes are the most fun and by far the most popular. DSC_0091 So far it has been friendly fun and the only rules we have regarding the Lawnmower is that is has to have a stock lawnmower engine and lawnmower “rear end”. We did have one almost top 50 mph…but it couldn’t turn too good. 😉 All in redneck fun…but it fairly cheap fun for a great fellowship together.