11.19.2009

Great Youth Ministry Resources

Maybe it's because I've been called the "Curriculum Nazi," or because my bookshelf is packed, but I get a LOT of questions about youth ministry books and resources. These are some of my favorites [as well as some of my kids' favorites].

Curriculum
Scary, Gross, and Weird Stories from the Bible- my 5th and 6th graders LOVED this. It's fun and easy to teach, and the lessons are memorable.

Middle/High School Talksheets: 50 Lessons on the life of Christ- alright, so I'm a little biased because Terry was my advisor/professor at Bethel, but we've been using this as our Sunday School curriculum all year, and my students still are challenged by it.

The InterActions series- You have to tweak it and choose topics based on your students' needs [it's written towards adults], but the Pepplers used this for their summer Bible study, and our students easily connected with it.

Books for Leaders
Starting Right- one of our textbooks from Bethel. Super practical, and it connects the academic side of youth ministry with the realities of actually leading a youth ministry.

Helping the Struggling Adolescent- this is a MUST HAVE. it covers every topic your teens will face, as well as provides Biblical insight on how to walk with them through the storms. It's got assessment tests and it's alphabetical, making it a great handbook.

Simply Strategic Volunteers- a great handbook for building and maintaining your team. Easy to read, and easy to impliment.

Web Resources
Youth Group Games- a searchable database with new games that I know our kids havent played before. Easy to use, too.

YouthMinistry.com, specifically their Freebie Library- because i don't know any youth workers who would turn down free [and good] resources.

Planet Wisdom- get this link in your kids' hands. It's a great resource for students ministring to other students. Along with this is Real World Parents for, duh, parents :)

Blogs for Youth Workers
Adam McLane- Adam's blog is probably the one blog I will always take time for when it pops up in my Google Reader. He works for Youth Specialties, and he's got great insight into the workings of the church and youth ministry. Plus, he's from the 'Bend. What up, Michiana?

Josh Griffin- Josh is the High School Pastor at Saddleback. That's not why you should read his blog. Josh often posts from both sides of the youth ministry spectrum: "Here's what's going on with Youth Ministry from an academic standpoint" and "Here's what's going on in our youth ministry." Plus I think it's key for YP's to know what other churches are doing.

Kem Meyer- Kem's the Communications Director at GCC, and I don't know anyone who understands communication better than she does. Whenever I'm making flyers/announcements/etc, I CONSTANTLY have Kem's words of wisdom running through my head. She's on point. Plus, communication in the church seems to be one of the biggest obstacles we run into, so it's nice having Kem's blog to turn to for ideas.

11.10.2009

Live your Life.

Since probably March or April, God has continually been trying to tell me to stop planning out my life the way I do. I'm naturally a planner- I want to know every detail, so as to avoid as many risks as possible. I want my life to be strategically planned out, and when I live in this mindset, I limit not only myself, but what God can do with the unexpected. I feel like I used to not be so neurotic... maybe not... but it's one of those things that suffers from the snowball effect. It builds and builds and builds. I spend so much time worrying about the future that I miss out on the present. My mom and I have been talking about this a lot lately, and she's given me a lot of wisdom when it comes to the topic.

The stupid thing about all of it is that 9 times out of 10, all the options are great options. All the options will make me happy. I just freeze at the thought of picking the wrong one, when in reality, as long as the decision doesn't damage my relationship with Christ or my witness to others- as long as I'm still honoring God- I don't need to stress about it.

As a result of all this soul searching, I'm doing something incredibly random on Friday that will be a constant reminder to live in the moment. I've got to stop stressing about what the future may or may not bring, because the only things I can control are my actions and reactions today. Awhile back, Mark Beeson wrote on his blog, "We must plan for the future while participating in the present." I've been doing a lot of "planning for the future," without enough of the "participating in the present," and that's not how it should be. I don't want to spend my whole life planning for things that may never happen.

Change takes baby steps, and change takes constant reminders. I've found when I relax and go with my gut in situations, as opposed to planning out every step and stressing when things don't go according to plan, I am MUCH MUCH happier. So I'm going with my gut, and I'm incredibly excited about it :)