Category Archives: lessons

2 Small Group Series Released – Elijah & Trusting God

I’m pretty excited about these 2 small groups. They are the first “stand-alone” small groups/lesson/curriculum material that I’ve written that’s been published in any form other than being printed from my computer. Plus, I love the fact that they have great looking covers (its a shame they are only downloadable).

If you have used these lessons, I would love to hear what you thought.


I wrote a 4 week series on Elijah and its now available for download from Simply Youth Ministry. Follow this link: Elijah Small Group Series to get more information and to download.

Lessons include:

  • Week 1 – He Was Confident in God (1 Kings 18:16-39)
  • Week 2 – He Battled Fear (1 Kings 19:1-8)
  • Week 3 – He Battled Loneliness (1 Kings 19:9-14)
  • Week 4 – He Was a Lifelong Servant (2 Kings 2:1-11)


I also wrote a 3 week series on Trusting God and its also now available for download from Simply Youth Ministry. Follow this link: Trusting God Small Group Series to get more information and to download.

Lessons include:

  • Week 1: With Your Past (1 John 4:10)
  • Week 2: In the Present (Ephesians 4:22-24)
  • Week 3: With Your Future (2 Corinthians 5:6-10)
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Learned from Twitter: week ending August 22, 2009

Gained a few more twitter gems this week. Just had to share these ones with you. Enjoy.

1. snavenel (Len Evans) shared a great link that churches need to look at.

We Love Our Youth Worker http://www.weloveouryouthwo… 7 promises churches make to ensure they properly care for their youth worker

2. pattigibbons (Patti Gibbons) will bring a smile to your face (if you’re a youth worker) with this quote from VBS.

Comment from VBS ldr after lesson on sin: “What’s not fun about a room full of pre-K & K kids and a pooping snake?”

3. giveawaylist (Big List of Giveaways) posted a giveaway that could be very useful (if you won) for some great foll0w-up material for your ministry.

New giveaway listed – check it out! : 250 5X7″ Custom Greeting Cards http://bit.ly/10c0VW

4. snavenel (Len Evans) suggests all youth workers (especially those who teach) read this free e-book.

Josh Hunt is giving way a free e-book Good Questions Have Groups Talking http://www.joshhunt.com/goo… great tool 4 Youth & SS teachers!

5. FlowerInTheRain (Janelle Painter) offers a great piece of advice. Read and take to heart.

Slow down. From what we know, Jesus never said, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you. I need to be in Jerusalem by sundown.” Pace your life.

6. AdamLehman (Adam Lehman) shared a great moment from his ministry – a “thank you” from a student. These are the things that keep a youth worker going for months.

Got my first “thank-you-for-what-youre-doing” text from a student: “Thanks for getting people together to play xbox. It was lots of fun.”

What did you learn from Twitter this week?

Learned from Twitter: Week ending June 27, 2009

This is the first full week of summer and for the youth worker that means not being in the office. That was noticed this week on Twitter, as many days were low on the tweeting by friends. I can only hope this means a lot of ministry was done with teenagers. Anyway, here are a few things I learned this week…

1. jenhowver (Jen Howver) shared an article on conducting surveys.

“an ingenious way to conduct a survey (& probably get a good grade on your research project!): http://bit.ly/xtxfV

2. ellerytheband (Ellery) has been sharing thoughts on what is going on in the studio. A new album is coming. If you do not know Ellery, check out their music – its good.

“Several times through “Christopher,” and a new idea w/ each try. Finally have an arrangement we’re living with; feels good.”

3. MarkMatlock (Mark Matlock) passed along an article on teens and sex. If you work with teenagers, you’ll want to check out this article.

“Teens Just as Likely to Have Sex, But Less Likely to Use Contraception Than They Were A Few Years Ago http://tinyurl.com/m5mp8o

4. outsideallday (Andy Brazelton) announced a brand new small group curriculum from Simply Youth Ministry. The Live curriculum is a downloadable 4 year curriculum that is easily customizable to fit your group. (I am honored to have been able to contribute a few of the lessons for this curriculum and hope they challenge students to live for God)

“Drum roll please…after several years in development, check out our brand new 4 year small group curriculum plan. http://budurl.com/bwaf

5. FlowerInTheRain (Janelle Painter) passed along some sad truth about Apple and the iTunes App store. They are now allowing porn in their apps, which means I am disappointed in Apple.

“RT @kcampos: Porn is now allowed on the iTunes App Store, because 3.0 has age restriction ability. http://is.gd/1daEV // such a shame Apple”

What did you learn from Twitter this week?

Learned from Twitter: week ending May 9, 2009

Didn’t get to see as much of the Twitter stream this week, but I still managed to catch some good nuggets of wisdom and truth.

Here are some of the things I learned this week from Twitter:

1. riddlegroup (Mark Riddle) reminded us of one very simple part of leadership that we must be mindful about.
“dreaming with people brings life, dreaming for people is deadly.

2. saraeden (Sara Eden Williams) shared a prayer request that reminds us of the importance of what we do with students.
“Just hearing of an incident at a high school in the area: Senior committed suicide in the school bathroom this morning. Please pray for all.

3. dbeckner (Dennis Beckner) shared about his night teaching and reminded us that it doesn’t have to go “perfectly” in order to be effective. God shows up despite our fumbles.
“Crazy night of teaching. Everything went wrong, but message still got through. I’ll put that in the win column.”

4. YS_Scoop (Youth Specialties) provided a link to the video from this week’s conference call with Marko about the National Youth Workers Convention.
“Did you miss today’s conference call? Watch the recorded video right now! http://nywc.com/live

5. youthministry (Youth Ministry) offered a link to a free Mother’s Day lesson (if you still need one – which none of you reading this would, right?)
“Still wondering what to teach about Mother’s day? Here’s a great freebie lesson for you: http://budurl.com/ymmd

6. briandurr (Brian Durr) had a run-in with the campus security this week thanks to some school policy changes. All he wanted to do was eat lunch with his students.
“Wow- One of the local high schools changed their security procedures. I was escorted off campus for trying to eat lunch w/ my students.

What did you learn from Twitter this week?

Valentine’s Day lesson on God’s love for you

February means Valentine’s Day, which means everyone is thinking about love. From little kids handing out valentines to their classmates to adults going out for a romantic dinner, people are showing their love in special ways. And what do people love? What do you love? (get some responses) What do you mean when you say you “love” someone or something? I use the word love a lot during any given day. “I love porkburgers.” “I love my wife.” “I love my kids.” “I love to read.” “I love God.” Do they all mean the same thing? I sure hope not.

We tend to use the word love when referring to things we like, admire, think are cool, or have strong emotions toward. Saying I love my laptop is not the same as saying I love my family. It does not mean exactly the same as when you guys say you love ___________. And its definitely not the same as saying God loves me and God loves you. When I tell you that God loves you, it is so much more than some momentary emotional connection or feeling. Let’s look at three verses that show us what God’s love means for you and me.

The first verse to look at is John 3.16. “God so loved the world…” What does God’s love mean in this verse? Does it mean God really likes the world or thinks the world is really cool? No, it means that He sent Jesus to earth to die for your sins so that you can live with Him in heaven forever. God loves you so much that He was willing to let His only Son die in your place.

Do you have that kind of love for anyone?

The next passage is Romans 5.6-8. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Not only does God say that He loves you, He showed His love by dying in your place. You and I do not the power to take care of our sins, but Jesus died so that we would. Christ died for you when you didn’t deserve it.

Do you know anyone else who would do that?

The last verse I want to look at is 1 John 4.8-12. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

Again, this verse emphasizes the fact that God loves us enough to allow Jesus to die in our place. True love is not that we love God (for what He did for us), but that God loved us and sent Jesus to pay our price for our sins. Verse 12 tells us that if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. You and I can complete God’s love for others by loving them.

Are you loving others the way He loves us?

God wants us to love others, that means He wants us to treat other people with respect, to do nice things for them, and to be willing to sacrifice for them. And above all God wants you to know that when He says He loves you, He doesn’t just mean that He thinks you are cool or neat. He means that He loves you enough to send His Son to die on a cross for your sins. That is how much He loves you!

Artcle: Youth Ministry Lessons From A Retail Store

Have you ever walked through a retail store and been frustrated at what you saw or experienced? I have more than a few times. I took one of those experiences and wrote an article about what youth workers can learn from retail stores.

I’d love if you took some time to check it out.
Let me know what you think. Add your own thoughts.

5 Lessons from The Office: Weight Loss

Thursday, Sept. 25, was the premiere of season 5 of The Office. They kicked off the season with an hour-long episode entitled “Weight Loss” You can watch it here or here

Here are 5 lessons from Weight Loss:
1. Being the new “guy” at work can be tough. (but funny…)
2. Sometimes going the extra mile to show someone you care about them makes a big difference.
3. When you love someone, you will do some crazy things.
4. People work harder at something when they desire to do it and are not “forced” to participate.
5. Discussing certain topics (homosexuality or mental illness) with people you just met can lead to awkwardness.

Some things I didn’t expect:
1. The “Fat Elvis” picture Michael put up on the wall for “Body Image Celebration”
2. Was Angela really starting to like Andy?
3. Jim proposing at the gas station.
4. Ryan back in the office, as a temp.

Youth Ministry through the Judges: Othniel

As I have been reading through the book of Judges, I am drawn to the lessons we can learn. Reading about the cycle the Israelites kept going through reminds me of myself. It reminds me of the students I work with and the adults I know, too. I thought I would go through each of the judges and share my thoughts on them, from a youth ministry perspective. First up…

Othniel (Judges 3.7-11)

  • First let’s look back at v. 4, “They (surrounding nations) were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’s commands,” God does leave people and situations in our life to test us and see if we will obey Him. Do your students recognize this? Do we (parents & youth workers) allow people to be there that might test the students or do we try to buffer them? Think about a few of your students. Who are their testers?
  • The Israelites did not do well with this test. They quickly forgot God. (v. 7) How often does this happen to students? I think the Israelites forgot about God because things were going well. They didn’t have any major conflicts with the surrounding nations; besides the people seemed nice. When we become comfortable with our surroundings, we lose sight of God. This happens rather quickly for students. Keep God in the forefront and remind them of what God has done in the past.
  • They got themselves into trouble, and God was willing to get them out. How amazing is that? Inevitably, the trouble is always our fault. Your students will make stupid decisions. They will make bad choices. They will think they are too far gone to be forgiven or loved by God – they might even think that all the bad stuff in their life is God punishing them. Take time to remind them of God’s love. Remind them that God wants to be there for them and will provide a way out of their struggles.
  • After a war, led by Othniel, the Israelites enjoyed a time of peace (40 years). Two things about this; first, it took a war for them to get to the peace and the peace only lasted as long as Othniel was alive. In youth ministry, there are times where the only way to get to peace is through a rough time. You have to wade through some negatives in order to get to the positive. Working with students means there will be some seasons that feel like battle. When you get through those, you get to enjoy the season of peace. Be willing to go through the tough times!
  • Students can depend solely on the youth minister. This is taken from the fact that the Israelites enjoyed peace as long as Othniel was alive. Just like the Israelites relied solely on Othniel, there will be students who live for God only when the youth worker is around. This could mean until the youth worker leaves the ministry or it could mean only moment to moment when a youth worker is around. Teaching the youth to wrestle with their faith helps them to not rely on the adults. The students have to be able to grow on their own or they will fall when the adult leaves. Be mindful of this as you work with students.

Next up, Ehud the left-handed.

5 most mentioned men in the Bible

As I was cleaning my office, I ran across this little tidbit of information, the five men who are mentioned the most in Scripture.

In order, from 5th to 1st

  • Saul with 338 mentions (He’ll probably want a recount)
  • Aaron with 339 mentions
  • Moses with 740 mentions
  • David with 1,118 mentions
  • and Jesus with too many to count

This list got me thinking. Who are the people you talk about most in your ministry? (people from Scripture, not pop culture) Do you spend a majority of your time talking about Jesus? Or do you spend most of your time talking about pop culture and other frivolous stuff?

What are the five topics that are talked about most in your youth ministry?