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Time Out
By Steve Case

Have your students peruse the newspaper or your church’s prayer list. Select one news item or parishioner to pray for. During the next week, tell your students to stop whatever they are doing at 1:23, 2:34, 3:45, 4:56 or any time during the day with consecutive numbers and pray for that concern. Remind them that God is a good listener who hears all prayers no matter how short or informal. Encourage the students to pray this way daily (even if they are in school). Follow the news or the concerns and journal about what happens. Sharing experiences can be a great introduction to a Sunday school class or small group discussion.



Here is a good article to get us thinking about how youth workers plan on what is going to be taught.


now what should i teach
by brian berry

How do you choose what to teach in your youth ministry? In some circles, it’s a heavily defended and debated process. Some say you should teach verse by verse through the Bible so you teach the whole counsel of the Word of God. Others claim that good teaching understands its audience first and then seeks to help them understand the Scriptures, often implementing a more topical method of teaching. Still others are tied to the traditions of their church or denomination, and find security in teaching not what they feel is right, but rather what a larger body of believers throughout church history has said is best, teaching the next message or text in their church lectern.

There is nothing wrong with any of those methods, and I won’t take the time to defend one over another. But this question comes up a lot in my world, so for what it’s worth, here’s my top two thoughts on how I do it.


About half of what I teach on a weekend I label as a “felt need” teaching. These are things where I could simply say to a student that this weekend we’re talking about “________” and they would say, “Sweet, I’ll can’t wait and I’m bringing my friend.” These are subjects like sex, dating, stress, parents, friends, forgiveness, end times, depression, anger, etc. I strategically place these series at the moments in the calendar when we are kicking things off, like the start of the school year, after winter break, and after Easter.

Then, I follow this with a teaching series that I call “Spirit led.” It’s something that I know I need to teach students but that they are not asking for at the time. My goal here is to have a student walk out and say, “I didn’t think I needed to hear that, but I’m really glad I did.” It’s usually labeled with a catchy title, one that’s not so obvious and gives away the topic. Subjects like a series on a Bible character, the non-transferrable attributes of God, the fruits of the Spirit, or a series on Paul’s letters to Timothy would all fall into this category.

I admit it. I steal. I borrow. I tweak. I do so from lots of different sources—both in my Bible and in the world around me. Here are some topics I’m waiting to use that you can steal, borrow or tweak if you want:

  • IDK: This is a series that answers questions to which the average student would respond, “I don’t know”.
  • I’M NOT GONNA LIE: It seems like I hear students say this every day. I always thank them for the comments that follow, and then ask if the other sentences they didn’t begin with this phrase were lies (but that’s another story). However, I think this would be a sweet series on the power of words.
  • INDIGNANT: This is a cool word. We have it slated as a Spirit led series that will be about things that anger God, like selfishness, hypocrisy, ignoring the poor, division in the body, etc.
  • IT IS WHAT IT IS: This is another phrase I hear almost every day. I think it’s begging to be a series about trusting God and dealing with situations and circumstances that are way beyond our control.

VBS is an interesting subject for most youth ministries. Most churches can’t do it without the help of the youth, but some abdicate too much of the responsibility to the youth. How can you make serving at your church’s VBS something your students will look back on with a smile?

  • SWAT TEAM: “Servants with a ‘Tude!” Servant attitude, that is! Create a “summer mission project” mindset. Have special shirts made and set up a SWAT team headquarters where your students debrief the VBS day (or night). Serve special SWAT-only snacks and share God-moments from working with the children. Invest in future children’s ministry leaders by providing a children’s ministry “tip-of-the day” for your youth. Make sure to talk about how each day’s VBS Bible Story is relevant to your students’ lives.
  • STUDENT ONLY VBS TRAINING: This is often a forgotten step. Work with your church’s VBS director to hold a FUN training event for the students serving at VBS. When unknown expectations for youth are not met, it never leads anywhere positive. Give the youth a chance to sample the snacks or make the crafts so that they can be ready to help the children on day one of your VBS event. I’m always amazed at how much my teens like doing the kids’ stuff!
  • VBS REUNION DAY: Children LOVE the teens they connected with at VBS, so provide a “hard to pass up” chance to bring the teens and children back together! Have your students work on a reunion follow-up event in keeping with the VBS theme. Show pix from the VBS week and sing all the songs. Play games related to the week. To send this event over the top, combine the reunion event for the kids with a Parents Night Out. It provides tired parents a much-needed rest and it is an awesome outreach opportunity into the lives neighborhood families.

Ideas from Stephanie Caro from Group.


Out of Control


More of your life is under control than it feels like right now. Answer these five questions:

  1. What areas of my life are settled down for five years or more? (Make a list…your
    house…clothing…parents…friends…what won’t change for five years?)
  2. What areas of my life are settled for one year or more?  (Make a list)
  3. What areas of my life are settled for one month?  (Make a list)
  4. What areas of my life are settled for one week?  (Make a list)
  5. What areas of my life remain, that are feeling completely out of control?  (Make a list)

Get one of the areas from list number five “under control”…no matter how small…today… and you will feel PROGRESS!

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