Free Youth Group Message/Discussion!!!

IMG_4647Every now and again I would have a “one-off” message between longer talk series in youth group. It’s good to have a change of pace from time-to-time. I do remember a few times when THAT one-off Sunday or Wednesday was suddenly upon me (and I had to quickly come up with a talk). Well, maybe that is you today (or this week). Well, may this post bless ya! Here’s a quick lesson I put together for you!

Lesson Title: Preview a Life (Free Lesson For Youth Group/Small Group)

  • Opening Discussion Question: If you had to choose one of the following super-human  powers what would it be and why?
    • The ability to see what others are seeing
    • The ability to hear what someone else is hearing
    • The ability to know what someone else is thinking
  • Introduce: Let students know they are about to watch a video in which several characters will be shown, the goal is to find a character that you would most like to speak to if you had the opportunity.
  • Watch: http://youtu.be/Wl2_knlv_xw
  • Ask: Who would you speak to and why do you sense you were drawn to them?
  • Share: A story of when you were moved emotionally to meet a need (could be a story of obedience where you met the need or a time you failed to act)
  • Read: Take some time to read the story of Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-40
  • Ask: What stands out to you about Philip?
    • (Possible Answers You May Hear)
    • In spite of great ministry taking place in Samaria, when asked to go, he obeys
    • He engaged the conversation
    • He had been listening to the Ethiopian so he knew he was reading
  • Ask: What stands out to you about the Ethiopian?
    • (Possible Answers You May Hear)
    • He was returning from a journey
    • He was humble enough to ask for help
    • He asked questions
  • Ask: If we could see a bubble next to the Ethiopian what would it say?
    • (Possible Answers You May Hear)
    • Don’t know the way to salvation
    • Rich, but not at peace
    • Wants to know the One true God!
  • Ask: If we could go back to watch the video right now, what would be some of the engaging things we could do to enter into spiritual conversations with the person you chose in the video?
  • Discuss: What are some of the “thought bubbles” we may see at our schools on our teams or even here in our own group?
  • Review: In the passage it says “Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” He began sharing based on what the Ethiopian was experiencing right then. This is a key to evangelistic opportunities. We must:
    • Stop, look and listen (take the time to observe the other person/circumstances)
    • Start with where the person is (know their story and ask questions)
    • Share the story and your experience (share the good news about Jesus).

Jalapeños & Jesus

My son, Will, and I had just finished playing baseball this last weekend and did a quick stop at the store to get a few items for our homemade pizza night.

“Hey bud, what do you want on our pizza tonight?” I asked.

“Pepperoni and a lot of Jalapeños” he announced.

pizza-macro-shot-1312231After a minute or two of silent thought, he explained. “Dad, I used to like spicy stuff because of how much I love you… I really wanted to be like you. Now I love spicy stuff just because I love spicy stuff! I mean, I still love you, but I love spicy stuff on my own now too!”

I loved this; it was encouraging and convicting at the same time.

You see, though it wasn’t my goal to get Will to love Jalapeños (or other spicy stuff), it happened because he was willing to try the stuff that his Daddy likes. In the last couple years, Will has gone from a few drops of Tapatio on his burrito, to pepperoni pizza covered in Hot-Wing sauce and Jalapeños. He can’t get enough spice!

My quick-jaunt home from the grocery store that evening had my mind spinning. My prayer is that Will (along with my daughters, my 8th grade guys and other people I get to “do life” with) will emulate me in a way much greater than taste-bud satisfaction. My hope is that he will see the way that I prioritize my love for God, His Word and His people and begin to try that as well.

I long for a similar spiritually spiced-up conversation:

“Hey bud, what do you want do tonight?” I will ask.

“Let’s talk Scripture, let’s share Jesus with those who don’t know Him yet and let’s serve the community” he will announce.

1415262_bibleAfter a minute or two of silent thought, I imagine him saying, “Dad, I used to like Jesus and His stuff because of how much I love you… I really wanted to be like you. Now I love God, His Word and people just because I love Jesus! I mean, I still love you Dad, but I love Jesus and people on my own now too!”

Finally, on Sunday, at Subway, Will went through the line and confidently proclaimed his veggie choices, “I’d like both banana-peppers and Jalapeños”

May his love (and our love) for Jesus be proclaimed just as confidently!

You MAY Want to Add These To Your Calendar

The month of May is proving to be a pretty fantastic month of ministry opportunities. Not only will I have a couple trips including a site visit for next years National Youth Workers Convention, but there are a couple local Pacific Northwest Events I am a part of that have me pumped.

I think you (and many others from your church) should join me:

Youth Specialties Team Training, May 1-2

UnknownThis is the ideal setting to get your team talking! Not only does YS bring in great content/speakers, we give your team time to discuss and apply. One of the most prominent things Youth Pastors/Directors identify as a need is more/better lay-leadership training.

My buddy Josh Griffin (from Saddleback Church) is one of the presenters in Seattle this year. I think Josh is one of the best in the business!

The timing is perfect— it’s only a Friday evening and goes through Saturday mid-afternoon. But more importantly, I think the timing (calendar) is perfect— you can use this as an opportunity to recruit your program-year staff for next fall. Give those new recruits some great training that they can test over the summer before you kick-off next fall. Click here to register your team.

Mission51 Retreat, May 8-9Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 10.51.06 AM

This 24 hour retreat is chock-full of ideas that help you and your students engage in real conversation with those who may not yet know Jesus! Rather than calling it an evangelism training retreat, I see it as a cultural engagement training.

The Mission51 Retreat— training for the 51 weeks of life outside of the trip— is a fast-paced 24 hour onsite-event; meaning: you and your team stay at Grace Church in West Seattle (Friday night) and all three meals are provided on Saturday as part of the training! To register follow the instructions on the flyer here and contact Nathan.

Something for your team. And something for teens!

Join me in May!

3 Phrases I Disagree With (Sort Of)

My latest post at the Dare 2 Share blog may have you wondering if I’ve lost my senses… I make the argument that I really don’t like these three phrases:

  • “Make sure you invite your friends to youth group.”
  • “Sign up for the mission trip!”
  • “You want to get saved?”

I have a lot of fun writing for Dare 2 Share and I can see already that this latest post has gotten some good action! Check it out here!

Grace,
Brian

Summer & Fall 2013, Speaking Needs?

I got a late start on my spring cleaning, but who can blame me, the spring was jam-packed with all things BUSY! Mission51 Retreats, consulting and speaking at a couple conventions/conferences.  But the cleaning did begin!

The fish was THIS big! My stories are NEVER exaggerated!

The fish was THIS big! My stories are NEVER exaggerated!

I would love to head into the summer with most of the little clean-up projects taken care of so that I can get rolling with some larger Youthmark projects (a few big writing projects). I’m pumped about this summer, time with family, time for writing, but yet my schedule is fairly open, perhaps a little too open? If you have summer or fall speaking opportunities, I’d love to fill in some gaps for you…

I just updated my speaking page, you can link to it above or right here. Maybe your church or org should be added to that list? Don’t hesitate to contact me (just give a few details of what you’re looking for and when)!

My car is clean, the garage is next! Blessings on your late spring!

Grace,
Brian

 

 

A Trip To Consider (meet real needs)

The moment you realize God just used you to meet the need of somebody else…

Seriously... views like this!

Seriously… views like this!

It’s mid-April and you’d think that most (if not all) youth groups have their summer plans laid out, but you never know? In the last week I have had two Montana towns (pastors) in need contact me to ask if I may know of a youth group that could come serve them this summer.  Great needs and they’re asking the Lord of the harvest to provide the workers…

If you’re in the northwest and/or interested in a trip to this region, I couldn’t think of a more beautiful place to do a VERY inexpensive mission trip! Seriously, you could likely do a trip like this for less than $200 per person! Because our mission product-line is less “sending” and more “all-inclusive mission prep/follow-through” I’m happy to show you how to do this in a super-affordable way!

Both of these communities in Montana will provide you and your group the opportunities to:

  • work with children (sports camp or Vacation Bible School)
  • serve with hands (service projects to bless Christians and the unchurched)
  • peer-to-peer evangelism (give your students practical opportunities for real-life outreach)
  • discipleship (Christian teens in community need to see the spark in your students)
  • food/housing (most, if not all, of your meals taken care of)
  • team time (not a scripted trip, you have great freedom to speak into formation and plenty of time to disciple your own group through evening debrief)
  • scenery unparalleled . Seriously, these places are beautiful
Guaranteed real-life impact with hands, heart and words!

Guaranteed real-life impact with hands, heart and words!

If you’re interested in some last-minute planning (that we’ll help you with), but a FULL IMPACT trip, please contact me here, I’ll get you in touch with the right people.

You may just be the answer to prayer for one of these two pastors who contacted me this week!

Grace,
Brian

When Your Parents Say No To Evangelism

Being a parent of three I understand the dilemma that parents face when it comes to exposure to the things of this world… For my most recent Dare 2 Share post, I was faced with what may be my most difficult question yet.

Check out the full question and answer here.

In summary, “Ben” asks, “what if my parents tell me I can’t relate to non-Christians, but I really want to evangelize?”

I provided my answer via YouTube below, but I’d love for you to read his entire question at the Dare 2 Share blog.

Grace,
Brian

New In New England

This blog post was written at approximately 37,000 feet above the earth as I travel from Boston to Seattle. I’m certainly flying high after our first Mission51 Retreat in New England this past weekend!

mission_51Just like San Diego we had three different churches represented, which to me was a major victory for a first-time market! However, the most major victory belongs to the work of the Spirit in the lives of these teens. God did a new work in so many ways, here are a few:

Friday Night: This year we launch our Friday night program in the most unique way thus far… Without giving anything away (still have four more M51 Retreats this year), it was very evident from the start that this group was different than any we have had the last few years. Because there were no groups that had ever done anything Youthmark, this felt very new (much like 2009). We were about two-thirds through the night and it became abundantly clear to me that I needed to jump off track for a few minutes. I sensed the Spirit telling me to pause and simply present the Gospel. It was as if the Lord was telling me, “some are ready to trust in me.” I was obedient, He was faithful. Nine students placed their trust in Jesus for salvation for the first time!

Student, Jonah, leading his peers at M51

Student, Jonah, leading his peers at M51

Saturday: There were several “new” things that took place on Saturday. Our Band, Double Vision (15 year old twins Micah and Mason) continues to do a wonderful job leading not just in worship but in several other areas, well this time we recruited a couple other local teens to facilitate and speak. We are pushing Student Led, Adult Mentored Ministry (SLAMM) and it was phenomenal to see these Rutland teens step up into their areas of giftedness.

Double Vision

Double Vision

On Saturday evening, after an impromptu after-event concert (Double Vision performed), Rob Townshend had a conversation with one of his teens and she placed her trust in Christ as well!

Sunday: Though the M51 Retreat was complete, I was asked to stick around and preach at Calvary Bible Church. What an honor and the second time this calendar year! This time though I got to do a new thing; Rob Townshend and I tag-team preached, it was a blast!

I tallied one more new state as we traveled to Boston via lunch in Maine! While on that drive I received one more bit of new-news! Incredibly, one of the young ladies, who almost didn’t come to the Retreat (she says, “my dad made me go”) send me a Facebook message to pray for her as she was sharing her faith with an atheist. About 20 minutes later a second message… “He just trusted in Christ!”

I like all this new stuff! Thank you New England!

Grace,
Brian

How to Create Relationships with Unchurched People

Timing is everything…

I am honored to be a blogger for my friends at Dare 2 Share, through D2S I write four posts per month but never know when one may go live. The timing on a blog post this month couldn’t have been better.

On Thursday of this week I received an email from a youth pastor friend of mine who has been attending the Youthmark Mission51 Retreats I believe since they began. His letter virtually mirrors the Dear Aaby question I received a couple months ago for the D2S blog. 

Both questions were essentially asking, “how can I, as a pastor, create relationships with unchurched peers?” 

Check out the letter & question on the Dare 2 Share blog here.

Here is my video response!

Grace,
Brian

Five Things You May Have Forgotten

1328012_agenda_4When asked “what do you do?” most youth pastors can identify some major areas of his or her week (church meetings, youth group and message prep). Obviously there are other small areas that require more thought. However, many are forgetting some very basic but BIG areas. My hope is that this post will serve as a simple reminder.

Some things you may have forgotten to put on your schedule (in no particular order)…

Did you forget to encourage (and inform) your team members?

An early-week (short) email to your team (lay leaders) goes a long way. Share the wins from the weekend, the schedule for the next program event and give praise for the role your leaders play!

Did you forget to “read your Bible and pray?”

1415262_bibleThis may seem like a “duh” category, unfortunately I have to list it. I am discovering an increasing number of youth leaders who are only spending time in the Word to prep a message and MANY admit to not really spending any time in the Word itself, most just glance at the verses provided by curriculum. In addition, few of us are scheduling time to just listen to God and respond in prayer.

Did you forget to program as if someone new could be coming?

Take a minute to think about your Sunday School, youth group and small group settings from the perspective of the new kid. Would a new person know where to go upon arrival? Would he/she be greeted? Are people even trained in how to greet? Would you even be able to capture the new persons information so that proper follow-up can be done? Believe it or not, these things take time.

Did you forget to set the example in the areas of application that matter to you the most?

If I were to sum up my youth pastor-passion it would be to have students fall deeply in love with Christ, showing/sharing that love with the lost and propelling their Christian friends. But, I can only lead students/staff as far as I am able to go myself. Part of my weekly rhythm needs to include time prioritizing my own (peer, my age range) time with the unchurched and personal time with Jesus.

Did you forget to give others permission to develop and exercise their gifts?

Calling it as I see it: too many youth pastors spend too much time doing their own thing (agenda/direction for the ministry) rather than taking the time to equip and empower others to do the better thing. Even though it takes time, schedule times to collaborate (with students, staff and parents) and make space for others to use and develop those gifts!

Do these five things and you’ll see immediate results and long-term fruit!

What else would you say are areas we may be forgetting to schedule?

Grace,

Brian