You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2008.

I received this book a few months ago (thank you Michelle Coffman) and placed it on the pile to be read after seminary. Well, that time has come.

Edward Fashbaugh verbalizes 6 key principles that would be worth any youth ministry (or any ministry) to consider in evaluating and developing what they do. These are (and I share them because he does on the back cover of the book:

  1. Healthy youth ministry flows from an intentional ministry of faith formation to and with adults.
  2. Healthy youth ministry understands positive expressions of teen empowerment.
  3. Healthy youth ministry understands the difference between youth activity and youth ministry.
  4. Healthy youth ministry recruits a diverse team of adults who are growing spiritually.
  5. Healthy youth ministry plans to help teens grow spiritually.
  6. Healthy youth ministry is in constant transformation.

I’m telling you, if I were helping a church assess what is going on in their youth ministry, I would encourage them to read this book prior to my arrival. If churches began reshaping youth ministry based on these principles, there would be greater health throughout the church and a more significant impact would take place.

Yes, I do recommend reading it. It’s easy to read while not telling you how to set up a program. That is for God to show you within your context. Good stuff!


Walt Mueller (from wrote an article on the quality and themes marketed to youth and teens by MTV and BET. His goal is to help Christians and parent become aware of the culture. A brief synopsis is below. Check out the full article by clicking here:


The reports stated goal “was to assess the quality and degree of adult-themed music video content marketed to and viewed by children.” Afternoon and early-evening programming on MTV and BET were monitored for a two-week period in December 2007. Struck by the high amount of objectionable content, researchers wanted to validate that their findings were accurate by viewing the same programming for a one week period in March 2008. Not only were the results validated, but the March programming revealed even higher levels of objectionable content in comparison to December’s findings. Analysts counted instances of explicit language, sex, violence, drug sales or use, and other illegal activities.

So what did they discover? They stirred the soup of today’s media culture and discovered – among other things – the following:

  • During March of 2008, there was an average of 95.8 instances of objectionable content per hour. During December of 2007, there were 59.9 instances per hour.
  • Content during December breaks this way: sex (45%), explicit language (29%), violence (13%), drug use/sales (9%), and other illegal activity (3%).
  • The content breakdown for March looks like this: sex (42%), explicit language (37%), violence (10%), drug use/sales (9%), and other illegal activity (2%).

While these are the general overall findings, you can read more detailed analysis by downloading the report at I recommend that you read the report in its entirety to get a better sense of what your students are seeing and hearing on MTV and BET.

Matthew McNutt is a youth pastor and a former contestant on The Biggest Loser. He recently decided God was calling him to do ministry at a different church in a different state. He wrote a brief article about leaving. It’s worth our time to read. Check it out by clicking here.

There was a great article in Group Magazine (July – Aug 08) about the value of thinking of yourself (like when one grabs the oxygen in an airplane). Here were the three questions to ponder:

  1. When was the last time you had a Sabbath?
  2. How did you intentionally move into the presence of God yesterday?
  3. How recently have your prayed, “Lord, show me myself”?

Check it out if you’re able. Page 32.

Practicing Unity
By Steve Case

One of the great ways to deal with overly competitive students—or simply to promote unity in general—is to remove competition altogether. If you are playing musical chairs, remove a chair but not a student (they must sit on each other). If you are playing baseball, every time a runner scores, that person moves to the pitcher’s position. When rotating in volleyball, have students rotate to the other team. When you remove the idea of “winners and losers,” the focus shifts toward enjoying the game rather than beating someone else. Use this to start a discussion about cooperation; about Jesus saying, “I am the way”; or about the desire within our culture for someone to put another down in order to get ahead.

Here’s an interesting article on the growing trend called “gap year.” It’s about graduating high school students taking a year off before they go to college.


Nothing is meaningful without context.

Comparable sales in the recent past are the context which gives meaning to your house valuation.

Eternity past and future is the relevant context for our lives.

Youth Culture Hot Quote

“I got into music for the reason I think that most people do, even though they won’t admit it – for the fame and the fortune. But then I got there, and I thought, ‘Is this all there is?’ I feel like there are greater things I’m supposed to do, but I don’t know what they are.”


– Melissa Etheridge, Rolling Stone, July 10-24, 2008, pg. 20

by Steve Case

Provide each student with one M&M. Explain that the assignment is to peel the candy shell from the chocolate. (You can also do this with Hostess Ho Hos, but M&Ms are better.) Use this activity to start a discussion on how most of us focus way too much on the little, nitpicky rules of society. Talk about how the Pharisees knew every word of the entire book or Leviticus (613 commandments), yet many of them missed the point. Jesus summed up all 613 commandments with two overarching principles: Love God; Love each other.

College Caffeine and Caring
by Steve Case

Ask a group of adults in your church to remember what it was like when they were in college, to be away from home, to have little or no money, to pull all-nighters, and how mail (any mail) was like gold. Ask them to pick up a gift card from Starbucks, Caribou coffee, or a favorite local shop. Drop these in the mail to a college student with a simple note such as: “We’re proud of you” or “We’re praying for you.” It’s a great way to keep your young people connected to their home church as well as a great outreach for the adults.

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