Your greatest path of influence with teens

love

As youth workers, we are striving to make an impact on the life of teens. Ultimately, out goal is to make them into devoted followers of Jesus. But how do we get them there?

Programs?

Bible studies?

Sermons?

Discipleship?

Small groups?

I think these all have their place. But sometimes we focus so much on these, that we forget our greatest path of influence with teens: love. Unconditional, selfless, Christ-like love. [Read more…]

Get more done with Gene Schwartz’ 33 minutes rule

hour glass

For the last few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with a productivity tip called Gene Schwartz’ 33 minutes rule. It’s a ‘system’ designed by famous copywriter Eugene Schwartz that allowed him to write many books, successful ads and much more in just 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. So I gave this rule a test drive and I have to say the results have been far better than I expected: I’ve worked more focused and gotten more work done in less time.

Intrigued?

[Read more…]

Pornography addiction explained

I’ve written about pornography, the demise of guys and arousal addiction before, but this video explains very clearly why porn is so addictive: it releases dopamine, which stimulates the brain to look for more…and that’s how a vicious cycle starts. You might want to use this video to start a discussion with your teens about the effects of porn on their brain, their relationships and their sexuality.

[HT Churchmag]

Lady Gaga’s prayer

Lady-Gaga

This YouTube video of Lady Gaga praying is a fascinating study in contrasts. Here is this superstar, dressed in outrageous and sexy costumes and in the voice over she’s praying. Earnestly praying.

At first, I thought of making a Bible study using this video, but I’m not sure I’d actually want students to watch this. Aside from the fact that she’s in various stages of being barely dressed, the prayer itself is confusing to say the least. Lady Gaga is praying to God (‘Dear Lord’) and there’s gratefulness and a focus on others, but there are also puzzling requests.

[Read more…]

Rules: it’s the ‘how’ that matters to teens

rules

Contrary to what you may think, teens don’t have a problem with rules. But they may have an issue with how you bring them. How you communicate rules as a youth leader or a parent is a huge factor in teen’s decisions whether or not to stick to these rules.

The University of Gent (Belgium) has come to these conclusions after multiple researches amongst young people. Their conclusion is that you shouldn’t avoid rules with teens, but how you introduce them is important.

If you introduce rules in an authoritative and forceful way, teens will feel threatened in their freedom and will likely act out the opposite of the rules. This phenomenon is known as psychological reactance and it’s been well documented in several researches.

[Read more…]

Helping students develop a realistic vision for marriage

marriage

In the previous post I explained how many young people are expecting the perfect marriage, meaning the perfect partner, the perfect wedding day and a perfect life. My conclusion was that we need to help our students become more realistic about marriage, so that they are better equipped to make their marriages last. But how do we do that?

I think that if we want our students to develop a more realistic vision about marriage, we need to do three things:

Give them a vision for serving, not being served

Give them a vision for suffering, not perfection

Give them a vision for fixing, not quitting

[Read more…]

The illusion of the perfect marriage

wedding

Over the years, I’ve had lots of conversations with students about love, relationships, and marriage. Here’s my observation:

Young people want a perfect marriage and they won’t settle for anything less.

That may sound like a good thing. We could all do with a little more ‘perfection’ in our marriages, at least in the sense that we could all work a little harder to make our marriages better. But that’s not what young people mean and do. For them, the perfect marriage means this:

The perfect partner

The perfect wedding day

The perfect life [Read more…]

4 Youth Sermon Topics from the Psalms

youth sermon topics

1. Psalm 1: Just like a tree that’s planted by the waterside…

Bible passage: Psalm 1

Key message: Studying the Bible helps you grow roots and bear fruit

Synopsis: There are many reasons why it’s a good habit to study the Bible regularly. One of them is the central message of this Psalm. If we ‘delight’ in God’s Word, we grow roots that will last a lifetime and make our faith stand strong, even in times of drought. What does it mean to delight in God’s Word? It means reading, studying, meditating (= thinking about it) and then applying it. How do you score on these four and what could you do to grow in this area? How strong are your roots right now? And what does it mean to bear fruit? This is mostly about character, a godly character that will be blessed by God. [Read more…]

Bullying brings status: an anti-bullying policy for youth ministry

bullying

Bullying is gaining more and more attention from researchers, school, parents, lawmakers and others and rightly so. In the last few years, there have been several heartbreaking stories of the effects of bullying and it’s a serious problem we need to address as youth leaders as well.

We can’t pretend bullying doesn’t happen in youth ministry. I should know, I left the teen ministry of my own church as a teen because I was bullied and the leaders did little or nothing to stop it. I still attended my ‘home church’, but I was involved in another church’s youth ministry (one that was way less radical in its message I might add!) because I was accepted there and felt safe.

We need to stop any and all bullying in our youth ministries. But what does an affective anti-bullying policy look like?

[Read more…]

Seder Meal Experience: go deep and authentic this Easter

Seder plate

A few years ago we wanted to do something different for Easter, to make our students more aware of the Jewish roots of the Pesach or Passover fest. We decided to organize a ‘traditional’ Jewish Seder meal, also known as a Pesach or Passover meal, but with Jesus at the centre. You could call it a Messianic Seder Meal.

The Seder Meal is held on the Thursday before Easter and it’s a combination of a ritual meal with lots of rituals that have a deep symbolism and an actual meal with great (Jewish) food. It’s the famous ‘last supper’ Jesus celebrated with His students. [Read more…]