The Power of Coming Together

Youth-Ministry-NetworkLast weekend I was in a small town outside of Minneapolis where I witnessed something I rarely see in the world of youth ministry. I saw a network of 8 youth workers from different ministries come together to share ideas and do ministry together.

I almost pinched myself. A Lutheran, a Baptist, a Methodist, someone from the Covenant church and a Campus Life leader were drinking coffee together (sounds like a joke, right?) Yes, it’s not the first time I’ve seen it, but let’s just say I don’t see it often.

The youth ministry buzzword at hand here is called Networking. Faith leaders coming together to encourage each other, support one another and talk ministry. It’s something that doesn’t happen as often as it should.

I know, because I fly into about 30 cities a year to speak at conferences and events. In the majority of the cities I’ll sit down at dinner with a youth pastor and begin talking ministry. I always ask, “Do you know the youth pastor at the big white church I passed two blocks South? What about the church two blocks east across the park?”

4 out of 5 times the answer is, “No.”

“I’ve just been really busy. I’ve been trying to get things in motion here first, then I intend to start networking.”

Sadly, it rarely happens.

This small network outside of Minneapolis not only meets regularly, they run a weekly campus ministry together. Eight churches and Campus Life combine efforts to feed 400 to 450 kids weekly at the local high school. One of the churches is strategically located across the street from the school. Every Thursday, students have the option of going “to church” for lunch. They eat, they have fun, and they hear a little truth from God’s word.

The eight churches take turns providing the lunch, and all the churches provide leaders who interact with the kids each week.

None of the churches could do it on their own. But eight churches standing together… stronger than the Ecclesiastes 4 cord of three strands!

What might you accomplish if you came together like this?

What’s stopping you from stopping by that church down the street and inviting the youth worker to lunch this week?

JONATHAN DIVES INTO NETWORKING EVEN DEEPER IN THIS FREE TRAINING TOOLS ARTICLE: NETWORKING, VITAL… YET IGNORED

Posted in Jonathan's Rant, Youth Ministry Management | 3 Comments

Life in 6 Words

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 10.07.32 PMA week ago I got to hang out with a good friend of mine, Greg Stier. And Greg’s ministry has an amazing giveaway right now for youth leaders—free books for their entire youth group.

The book is called Life in 6 Words. Many of you have already seen the video (with hip hop artist Propaganda). The book creatively and artistically spells out the same “GOSPEL” message… literally, using the word GOSPEL as an acronym to share the Good News.

Greg’s ministry, Dare 2 Share, is giving these books away for free—only have to pay shipping. An amazing deal.

I encourage you to take a few moments and check out the video, the free online sample of the book… and if you think it would help your kids, then sign up to get the free books.

A huge shout out to Greg and Dare 2 Share for inspiring, equipping and deploying Christian teenagers to engage their friends in gospel conversations!

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Talking with Teens about Their Smartphones

teen-social-media-hookup-cultureTeens typically think their smartphone use is reasonable.

Parents and teachers, however, think teen smartphone use is out of control!

Who’s right?

That’s the question I just proposed in the brand new blog I’m writing to teenagers every week (the blog is being hosted by that amazing new Faith Happenings site, the new online hub of Christian happenings in your city).

Here’s a snippet of that blog post Continue reading “Talking with Teens about Their Smartphones” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Internet, Jonathan's Rant, Parenting, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

Free Books This Week

The-Gospel-Walking-DeadLots of opportunities to get free books this week:

1. CONTEST: Those of you who’ve followed me for a while know I love using pop culture as a springboard for conversations about the truth of the Bible. One of the ways we do that is by using the popular TV show The Walking Dead. This week, on our The Gospel According to The Walking Dead blog we are celebrating The Walking Dead Season 5 Premiere with a contest giving away half a dozen personally autographed books, my The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers. Jump on that blog post real quick and enter to win!

2. BY THREE GET ONE FREE!
Zombie-Guide-BLOGFor this week only, we are blowing out our The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers books, already discounted… but this week I’m throwing in a free book with any order of three or more books, you just have to write the word “Daryl” as your middle name when you’re ordering the book! (Yes, so if you’re Beth Green, then you’ll order the book as Beth Daryl Green… and you’ll get a free zombie book with any order of three or more!) You blog readers are the only ones who know about this secret code!

I also gave away a dozen books in person this past weekend at the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention, and I’ll be giving away a bunch more at the Atlanta convention as well! So if you’re going to that convention, make sure and come to my workshop!

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Sexual Consent… App?

sexual consent app

NOTE: As of Oct 7th, this app has been pulled by iTunes. See comments below.

We’ve seen apps helping people hook up, apps for people who just want to “cuddle”… I guess it’s no surprise that now some college students will rely on an app for sexual consent.

In a world where laws are emerging requiring mutual “affirmative consent” in attempt to prevent or reduce sexual abuse, miscommunication or regretted sexual activities, I guess I should have guessed this app would surface Continue reading “Sexual Consent… App?” »

Posted in Jonathan's Rant, News, Sexuality, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | 7 Comments

Parent Reactions

teenagers-phone-adviceI love hearing feedback from parents after they attend one of my Parenting the Smartphone Generation workshops– it’s fun to hear how their kids respond when the parents arrive home with all this new information (knowing that I’m telling their parents to start paying attention to what they are watching, what sites they are browsing, etc.), and I’m always curious to hear how the parents responded to the glimpse I gave them of music, TV, video games and other entertainment media.

A good friend forwarded me the feedback from a church in Amish Pennsylvania where I spoke about three weeks ago. They actually printed the parent feedback right in one of their newsletters to the church.

Here’s the feedback, as printed Continue reading “Parent Reactions” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Music, Parenting, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Speaking/Training, TV, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

10 Things That Made Me Pause in Uganda

Uganda-childI’m in my second week of my visit here to Kampala. Three days left. We’ve done three full days of training, I’ve spoke at several schools, met with youth workers, preached three services yesterday (three 2-hour services… a little longer than I’m used to. Wow!), and spoke at an Anglican conference that brought people from all over the region. It’s been a crazy week… with some amazing moments!

Here’s 10 things that caused me to pause and take notice in Uganda: Continue reading “10 Things That Made Me Pause in Uganda” »

Posted in Faith, Leadership, Travel, Youth Culture | 5 Comments

A Glimpse of Youth Ministry in Uganda

youth-ministry-ugandaAs I write to you at this very moment, my dad is teaching a little over 120 youth workers about how to prepare a sermon.

I wish you could see it. We’re in the basement of an Anglican church, and when I say “basement”, understand I mean dirt floor, echoing cement walls, and exposed electric wires that function most of the time (we were in the dark for a good 12 minutes of one of my workshops yesterday… I just kept going) Continue reading “A Glimpse of Youth Ministry in Uganda” »

Posted in Speaking/Training, Travel | 2 Comments

The Good Lie

It’s always fun when a quality film comes out that points to faith and hope, and maybe even shows churches in a good light.

This little feature clip just crossed my desk yesterday. It’s a film called The Good Lie, and it looks like it’s going to be excellent. Reese Witherspoon… with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer behind it. Wow.

Maybe I’m biased because I’m heading to Africa this Sunday… but this looks GOOD!!!

Posted in Entertainment Media, Faith, Movies | 5 Comments

Training Leaders in Uganda

Jonathan ShoulderThis weekend my dad and I pop on a plane to Uganda, a 23 hour itinerary… which is pretty long when I’m wearing this stupid arm brace for my shoulder.

Most of you have followed my shoulder injury, my surgery 4 weeks ago, and Instagram posts like the one I sent two weeks ago… declaring “four more weeks” wearing this thing! Well, the good news is that my shoulder is healing nicely, and I’ll actually get to ditch the arm brace halfway through the Uganda trip. And frankly, maybe this injury will remind me how much I need to depend on God throughout this trip, pointing to Him, not myself (II Cor. 4:5-7). Continue reading “Training Leaders in Uganda” »

Posted in Speaking/Training, Travel | 2 Comments