Youth Ministry Resources Giveaway

Hey, it free, why not?

If you are a supporter of your Youth Pastor/workers, enter this free contest and give them all the goods if you win!  Its full of resources, and who can say no to that.

They say it is $565 worth of stuff.  If you don’t win, I guess you could just donate $565 and buy it outright, too. 😉

Click for the link to enter with just an email address.


4 Myths about Teaching Apologetics in Youth Ministry

I saw this article on youthministry360’s blog. Bam. Right on brother. I believe that apologetics needs to be in the regular diet of christian teens. Check out the full article through this link: 4 Myths About Teaching Apologetics in Youth Ministry

(I addressed the need for more curriculum options in a blog around a year ago. Here is the link if you want access to ton of resources and ideas for High School, Middle School, and Elementary School age Apologetics.  Check it out:  Age-Graded Apologetics Resources)

The 4 myths Benjer McVeigh deals with are accurately described. Thank you Mr. McVeigh for the insights!

Myth 1: I’m not smart enough to teach apologetics.

Books on apologetics are intimidating, even before you open them up to start reading. The latest comprehensive tome on apologetics, Doug Groothuis’ Christian Apologetics, weighs in at an impressive (and heavy) 750 pages. Teaching apologetics may take a bit more work. But you don’t have to be an expert to teach apologetics. You only have to be willing to learn. (In addition, there are some great resources out there that let you learn right along with your students.)

Myth 2: Teenagers don’t care about or aren’t ready for apologetics.

Next time you’ve got a small group of teenagers together, simply ask a question such as, “How can we really know that God exists?” and you’ll likely be peppered with several follow-up questions. Teenagers discuss spiritual matters with their friends far more than we realize. They want to know whether what they’re learning at church is trustworthy. Teenagers are already thinking about apologetics, even if they haven’t ever used the word. And if they’re already asking the questions, they are ready for some solid answers, developmentally speaking.

Myth 3: Apologetics is too academic.

Yes, apologetics does involve a bit more brainpower than some youth minister and their students may be used to using. But it’s OK to make your students think. After all, God created us with brains. He designed us to use them in our pursuit to know Him and to make Him known. I understand the danger of having too much of a “heady” approach to one’s walk with Jesus. But your students can handle a few weeks out of the year dedicated to apologetics. You’ll probably be surprised at how many students end up wanting a whole lot more of it!

Myth 4: Faith means not questioning the Bible or asking whether Christianity is true.

If this is what you’re teaching your students, whether it’s said out loud or implied, please stop. Apologetics can’t answer every single question we have about God, faith, or life in general. And at the end of the day, we can only see and know in part (1 Corinthians 13:12). But there is plenty of evidence available that gives us confidence that what we believe is true. Apologetics not only removes intellectual barriers some people have before they decide to follow Jesus, but it also strengthens followers of Jesus in their faith, because they can have confidence that what they believe is true.


Can you be “Too Theological” for Teens?

–   NO!  –  You can be too boring. You can be a bad communicator. You can refuse to speak their language. But you cannot waste Truth. Theology is how we understand God. If you think someone is “too theological” you probably are reacting against individual characteristics of that person rather the desire to understand and know God.

Sometimes we think that teenagers don’t care about the things of God or they wont understand theology if they were taught it. Shame on us if we believe or propagate this lie. Teenagers today care deeply about spiritual things, they just have had little exposure to Truth! This generation is seeking something real. Why else is there the hunger for social justice we see in young adults if there was no understanding of right and wrong? Why is this generation so driven for purpose and meaning if there is no fulfillment for that desire in something bigger than ourselves?

I believe this generation is starving for good theology. They are hungry for real convictions. And, by the grace of God, when given the opportunity they will soak it up like a sponge. Yet, they can sniff out insincerity like a shark smells a drop of blood in the water. They refuse to play a game when it comes to matters of faith. They are looking: What will you offer them? What will you live out in front of them?

Don’t sell your teenagers short when it comes to theology. If they can do physics and calculus in their school settings, we know they can handle complicated issues when they put their minds to it. Why should it be any different in church? Teenagers will rise to the level of expectation you place on them. If you expect them to only appreciate pizza parties and 3 minute devotionals, that is probably what you will get. If you challenge them to dive into the richness of scripture you may just see a new side of your teenagers.


Last night at our student worship service I tested the limits of theology with teenagers. On the verge of summer break I taught on the “Supremacy of Christ over Your Summer”. We read over Colossians 1 and discussed who Christ truly is and how that applies to us right now. The kicker was this video I showed.

John Piper does a 18:53 minute talk on the doctrine of the Supremacy of Christ posted with a symphonic background by Brent Fischer. It planted new thoughts to grow in their mind. It painted a grand picture of Christ, one larger than we can fully comprehend. If you have not seen this video it will be 18 minutes and 53 seconds of well spent time. It will challenge you and give you perspective on the person of Christ.

Did Piper preach this for teens? Of course not. Can it inform and light a fire for teenagers? Yes! Because good theology provides the foundation for a passionate Christian life at any age.

Christian Teens Bullied by Teacher Ignite a Nation-wide Effort

In our day, Christian teens get bullied for their faith by peers and authority figures on a regular basis. One group of teenagers has taken a stand and made a statement to the nation. It all started when a public school teacher in northern Idaho assigned students an essay titled, “I Believe.” But there was one obvious and blatantly biased rule concerning the assignment – the students were not allowed to write anything about God in their papers.

A group of Christian teenagers began to start asking questions. Primarily “Why?”. Why is it not allowed to talk about God in the public school arena by students? Why can’t personal religious commitments be tolerated anymore? Why has christianity in particular been “frozen” out of contemporary culture?

In the aftermath of that event these teenagers decided to produce a video based on the questions that after the school teacher refused to allow students to mention God in their papers. But the video was just the beginning. These teens in Idaho have launched a nation-wide organization.

Reach America – check out their website.

Reach America Facebook  is the social media page for this group of teenagers.

The Huffington Post even did a write up about this group.

This is the power of teenagers who refuse to accept the low expectations placed on their generation and stand up for Christ! Way to go! This is an example for my student ministry and for teenagers across the world to follow Christ.  All Glory to God!

5 Tools Needed to Reach Teenagers

toolI read today an article by Cameron Cole of the Rooted blog. He posted this article on the Gospel Coalition site, 5 Tools Needed to Reach Today’s Teens.  I must say that I fully agree with these points, but I believe there is an even bigger more essential point that Cameron assumes on the outset. One that cannot be understated or glossed over.

Before I reveal my additional point to his 5 tools needed, let me summarize his article and recommend you read it in full to get a much deeper appreciation for each point.

  1. Knowledge about the canonization of scripture: More often than ever we face questions concerning authority. How can we be sure God’s Word is authoritative for 2013? If teenagers do not trust the bible, they will not have the foundation essential for Christian doctrine or practice. 
  2. Developed Theology of sexuality, especially homosexuality: Teens today are bombarded with competing truth claims. We need a balanced and biblical answer for these questions. If we do not speak boldly with truth and compassion on these topics, the biblical message will be drowned out in a rising tide of unbiblical messages. While homosexuality is a hot topic, we need a balanced view of all aspects of sexuality. Teens need instruction on what a proper biblical heterosexual relationship looks like, as much or more than warnings of improper relationships.
  3. The ability to teach the Bible in the greater context of redemptive history: While telling your own story is important, teens today want to be connected to a bigger story as well. They want to know there is meaning and purpose behind how we got to where we are today. Explaining the grand narrative of redemptive history and then describing our chapter in that story is very powerful.
  4. A Theological, not only moral, understanding of Sin: This is very important. Teens need to understand the eternal weight of actions not just focused on consequences in relativistic society, but in a view of an eternal, unchanging, completely perfect God. Teens today recognize the futility of just slapping sin on the wrist, but need to understand why.
  5. Understand Adoption as an Element of Salvation: In a culture of divorce and superficial relationships the opportunity to be a part of a true community can be life changing. Teens place a huge value on relationships. Since this is true, the biblical concept of “Koinonia” (greek for doing life together, i.e. fellowship) when righty applied in a church should be a significant factor in discipleship and life change. Teens long for meaningful relationships, this need is met first in Christ and then His bride.

Read the full article by Cameron Cole. It reminds us of the inside life that teenagers really are living day to day. To best reach this generation we need to understand how to connect.

Which brings me to my addition. In my 6+ years of full time youth ministry I believe a colossal step is being assumed by Cole, that needs to be clearly articulated constantly to all adults who work with teenagers. This is so important that all the above points completely lose thier meaning when this is absent.

  1. Personal Holiness and Passion Cannot be Faked: If you want to work with teens, prepare for your life to be examined and imitated. Teenagers can detect a fake in a heartbeat and once this is sensed they will turn off. Why do teens leave the church? In many cases it is because they see conflicting examples in their parents on whether or not church is important. As a leader, it doesn’t matter if you can wax on the details of the Canon, refute homosexual marriage, and recite the history of the church. If you are dead spiritually, do you really want mold teenagers in that same pattern? To be open and honest with a growing relationship with Christ is what teens need to see first. Before any other questions come up they have got see something real in your life. This cannot be assumed, it must be intentionally cultivated in the life of any christian, leader or not.

I am so thankful for guys like Cameron Cole who are striving to make youth ministry better. We all benefit from reminders like this. And it is my prayer that I can add to the conversation and push us all one more step toward Jesus.


Social Media Boundaries for Student Ministry Workers

social mediaLets face it, social media is part of life. It is a two edged sword if you are not careful how it is handled. When working with teenagers we have an added responsibility to model how to live and act, even in the online forum. I ran across this helpful article by Phil Bell of and forwarded it on to my small group leaders. Here are his wise suggestions for some boundaries regarding the powerful tool of social media.


Here are 5 social media boundaries for you as you go about your youth ministry:

1) Accept that leaders live in ‘glass house.’ This is hard to accept, but when you are in ministry and you are using social media, it automatically means that you are under the spotlight. Leaders, parents, and students are looking up to you and will often follow you for inspiration, guidance, and hope. On the other hand, others will follow you to get an inside track to see whether you fit their mold of an acceptable youth worker.

Like it or not, the reality is that a leader is always watched closely. What are others seeing?

2) Wait to be Friended or Followed: If you don’t know a student well, wait for them to friend or follow you. I know this might seem a little extreme, but unless I know a student quite well, I will wait for them to friend me. If there is a student in your ministry who is new and getting plugged in, it might be worth waiting for them to friend you. Waiting for a student to ‘friend’ you simply avoids any weirdness and ensures they are happy for you to get an inside track to their life.

3) Avoid Private Conversations: Avoid private messaging students. Try to keep messages public and for all to see. If a student wants to talk to you about an issue or a problem, try to do it face to face in full site of others. It’s also essential to communicate with parents that you are talking to their student. I know this might seem a little over the top, but here are two good reasons why contacting parents is a good idea:

  • It opens the door for a relationship to partner with parents.
  • It avoids parents wondering what your intentions are. In this day and age, parents are protective when other adults contact their kids, and rightly so. Honor parents by touching base and letting them know who you are.

4) Consider carefully what you post: Here are three things that can get you in trouble.

  • Questionable pictures: In certain social media platforms such as Facebook, you can create a setting that gives you the option to ‘allow’ pictures you are tagged in. Ensure that the pictures of you will always allow others to see you in a positive light.
  • Complaints: Complaining about others simply does not look good. It shows weakness that we can’t talk to the person directly as well as modeling a poor method of dealing with conflict.
  • Controversial Issues: For me I don’t post  anything that could divide people in my church. Political statements, local controversies, and attacks on political leaders should be avoided.

In what you post, would others describe you as a  divisive and opinionated person, or a inspirational leader? 

5) Leverage social media to inspire and uplift:  This should be a given, but many of us have discounted the great value of regularly posting to inspire others. As I said at the beginning of this post. People are looking for hope and direction. Consider what influence you can have by using social media effectively?


5 Reasons I Write My Own D-Now Curriculum

The Band has been rockin’, the speaker has been bringing the Word. Disciple-Now is in full swing this weekend for my ministry. The students just finished up a video scavenger hunt and have gone to a few hours of free time before our next session. In this moment to breathe I have decided to type up a quick blog on some of my methods. It was on my mind last night when I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking of all the details for the next day. If you work with teenagers, I hope this encourages you to take your next event to the next level.

Here are 5 reasons why I write my own material for event weekends like Disciple Now.

  1. It’s Free– When paying for a band and a speaker, hotel rooms, small group leaders, travel expenses, and the list goes on, here is an area I can save money. If you preach every Wednesday anyway, this is not very different study-wise, other than I just give the material to someone else to teach. By writing my own material I can maximize the funds toward keeping the cost low for the students. This year I charged $10. Bam. Success. There are lots of students who don’t participate in camps and retreats because it costs 100s of dollars. This is an event I want any and every teen to be able to come to. A little more work on my end helps keep it that way.
  2. Be Theologically Rich– Even though it is free, that doesn’t mean when you write your own material it will be lame! I make sure we tackle deep subjects and dive into the theological deep end! When you purchase a pre-packaged curriculum you do not know the theological leanings of the writer or the depth to which they will challenge your students. I want my students to have the best, so why would I leave that up to an unknown author? This weekend we are looking at Ephesians 3 – a theological treasure trove! Oh yeah!
  3. The Exegetical Approach–  On the heels of #2, I really believe every verse in scripture is important for believers. If that is true I want to instill that into my teenagers. When we take a whole weekend to unpack a single chapter of the bible, that is one message that is communicated. Also when you systematically approach a text, it makes it easier to see the bigger picture the author intended to communicate. I believe this also provides cohesiveness to the weekend. Each time we gather the students know where to turn in their bibles. I have not found any national chain producing exegetical material for events like this, possibly with the exception of Global Youth Ministry, but then again, refer to point #1.
  4. I know my group– When you write your own material you can tailor it for your specific group. While God can use anything and anyone to speak through, I doubt that same d-now material being used by 43 other churches this weekend can intentionally speak to the subtleties of a specific group better than a prayerful pastor who spends every week with them. So why not use a weekend to address what you want to see happen! It helps when another voice comes in and says the same things you have been saying all along.
  5. Graphics don’t have to be intimidating– “I cant make great looking flyers and promo material!?!” For real, don’t be scared, you can. Here are two things that make life super easy when it comes to promoting your event. Cool Fonts and Stock Photos. Combining these make great stuff.  My d-now was themed “The Mystery”, below is a cool stock photo and a cool font to title it. Bam, easy promotion. Sites I uses for photos are and Make an account and spend a few buck on a high res picture with no copy right issues for your next event. Then go to or just google “free fonts” and get some fonts that really add depth to your flyer.  It’s not that hard and for a couple bucks you can have a professional looking flyer/promo that corresponds to your personalized material.

I hope these thoughts help as you plan your next d-now or retreat weekend! Pray for me as we wrap up ours! May God be glorified by your efforts!


mystery image

Study Shows Protestant Decline Below 50% in the U.S. – My Thoughts on Why.

For the first time in U.S. history Protestantism (aka: anyone in the Christian tradition who is not Catholic) has fallen below 50%. The primary reason for this shift is the increase in those who claim no religion.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released an analytic study today titled, Nones on the Rise. It shows findings now that almost one in five Americans (19.3%) claim no religious identity. This is an increase from 15 percent in the last five years.

“Part of what’s going on here is that the stigma associated with not being part of any religious community has declined,” said John Green, a specialist in religion and politics at the University of Akron, who advised Pew on the survey. “In some parts of the country, there is still a stigma. But overall, it’s not the way it used to be.”

Here is an info graphic that uses a picture to show the breakdown of religious identity in America.


So why is this happening?

That is the big question. If I had a definitive answer I could write a best-selliing book and change the world. But until that happens, let me just postulate some brief observations from my ministry experience.

  1. Insincere faith will not pass down through the generations.  –  Teenagers and children know when something is really important to their parents. They can read between the lines and see the real motive of the heart. If church is just another activity in the week, or just a social outing, the children in that family will begin to take on that value system for themselves. God understood this and placed the responsibility firmly on the parents for a sincere faith. Deut. 6:4-7 says: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
  2. The next Generation does not understand the tenets of biblical faith.  –  If people think Christianity boils down to a list of rules (that didn’t really matter to their parents) they will discard it  as another social construct meant for control.  If they never grasp the reality of our spiritual condition and the hope of the Gospel and the life of purpose that flows from giving control to God, of course they will try to find a way on their own. If the bible was taken seriously this generation would see that it truly is a guide for life that works in today’s culture!
  3. Churches may become more concerned with entertaining it’s members rather than teaching the Gospel.  –  While I already submit that parents have the ultimate responsibility for passing on a sincere faith to their children, churches are there to support this process. In student ministry, the wrong assumption is that we are all about pizza and games. If that becomes the focus, you raise up a uninformed, spiritually weak generation. As that generation of church goers has become the leaders in churches, the emphasis is taken away from the Gospel and placed on being “cool”. When a rocking band and a preacher with tattoos (while these things in themselves are not wrong) are more important than solid doctrine, you can expect people to see through this shallow version of faith and either (1.) give up, claiming no religion, or (2.) church hop from one place to the next looking for the best entertainment.

May all of us; children, parents, and church members, reconnect with the truths of scripture and make it the authority in our lives. May our faith be sincere and evident to everyone who sees us. Only then would we begin to see a change in the negative spiritual trend now on us. God bring revival! Wake us up! But whatever happens, God be glorified. Remember the words of Habakkuk.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;

    He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights.

God has a plan and we must trust in Him. Stay focused my friends. Your fellow worker in the field,  Adam.


Do You Know What Your Teen Is Doing Online?

The internet provides unparalleled access to information and communication for our generation compared to all the rest of history. Yet with the world at our fingertips there are dangers to beware. This is especially true for teenagers who lack the discernment and maturity of an adult, yet who have more interaction and access to the web with the rise of mobile devices.

In a recent release called “The Digital Divide”, McAfee Software Company revealed insights from their study of teen online behavior and parental knowledge.

The statistics make us rethink our perception:

  • On average, teens spend about five hours a day online, while parents think their kids spend two hours a day online.
  • 43% of teens intentionally access simulated violence online (only 15% of parents are aware)
  • 32% of teens intentionally access nude content or porn online (only 12% of parents are aware)
  • 12% of teens met with someone in person that they met online (4% of parents are aware of this)
  • 70% of teens have hidden their online behavior from their parents
  • 50% of teens would actually change their online behavior if they knew their parents were watching

Ignorance is not bliss. This is not an issue that parents should ignore. This is the age we live in and we must be responsible in it.

This was a crazy statistic. Half of teens claimed they would actually change their online behavior if they knew their parents were watching. The key for parents is to find healthy ways to facilitate transparency with their kids without becoming overbearing.

One healthy step in which parents can facilitate this transparency is by engaging their teenager in ongoing dialogue about their online habits. Parents can set up both responsibility and accountability for online behavior. Youth leaders can also provide a safe environment for students to disclose what they’re really doing online.

As students head back to school, how are you talking with them about their online lives?

Your fellow worker in the field, Adam