Month: August 2012

Teen Social Media Infographic from Common Sense Media | Common Sense Media

A great infographic that looks at how teens view their social life.


Teen Social Media Infographic from Common Sense Media | Common Sense Media.


The Story Teen Edition Curriculum Review

The Story Teen Edition DVD Curriculum

First off, the creativity in the story clips is very refreshing. The clips are concise, eye-catching, and easy for teens, or pre-teens in my case to refer back to. I have used a few of these story clips so far with different groups of students and have found that starting with The Story video clips and then following up with some questions that ask students to explain what they saw has been very helpful for them. The clips allow the students to see a broader context of multiple chapters,or even books of the Bible in a short period of time which allows them to see God’s larger story playing out.

Michael Novelli has seen that when teens experience a story, as opposed to it being told or shown to them, they absorb and remember it more thoroughly. This DVD offers youth workers a new way to engage teens in the grand narrative of the Bible.

One of the downfalls for me was that some of the clips cover a large portion of scripture, so it makes using these clips outside of the curriculum very difficult. For example, if you were teaching a 3 week series on Nehemiah, or Revelation there is only one clip that covers these works. Also, the miracles and parables of Jesus are also covered in one section. This is only a minor flaw for me because it goes outside of the intended use of the curriculum, but for a small, or none existent budget for some youth groups the re-usable ability of the clips could be very important.

However, what you do get in this curriculum is very impressive.

The DVD Contains:
31 video sessions (including additional Recap and Rewind videos)
Reproducible Teacher’s Guides for 31 weeks including Reading Scripts
Reproducible Student handouts
Subtitles (please use subtitle option and not the CC option on your tv or DVD player)

The handouts are great and they ask the students to interact with the story with all their senses. This is fantastic for all the learning types that can be found within any group of students. They can draw, listen and engage in simple question formats and I have found that the artistic outlets with this curriculum, especially in a camp setting make this a must for any Jr. High group.

The students are asked to engage the story that they have just heard and to timeline the events, but they get to choose the character whose point of view they would like to focus on. I have had students draw out the major points of Nehemiah’s story from Nehemiah’s criticizers point of view. I love the creativity that this curriculum draws out and it is written in a way that allows this to flow naturally.

As a leader you get a scrip of the story that is a paraphrase of the passages that are covered. We have used these to act out stories as well as to read in a large group setting. I have found that reading has not brought out the creativity and if you are teaching from the front of the room knowing the story so that you can tell it without the script allows for greater use of the students imagination.

Script from Session 15 – God’s Messengers

You also receive a student handout and this is where there is a clear intention to include all learning types. Students are asked on these handouts to engage the story in three ways.

1) See the story.

See the story – Session 15

2) Hear the story.

Hear the story – Session 15

3) Join the story.

Join the story – Session 15

The last written piece that is at your disposal as a leader is the Teacher Guide. The guide is full of scriptural references, context and  personal preparation suggestions. It then breaks down how to break down 75 minutes in order to get the most out of the curriculum. It timelines each step of the night as a guideline for you that allows you to place more emphasis on the key areas that you would like to focus on within your group. You can emphasize prayer time, teaching time, engagement, or small groups as this is meant to be a tool not a rule to go by.

Part 1 –  Rewind

  • Intro and prayer, video of the previous week and brief response
  • 5 Min

Part 2 – See the story

  • Explanation and handout, session video, create symbols, share symbols with group
  • 10 min.

Part 3 – Hear the story

  • Story reader scripture reading, student response to scripture, break into small groups.
  • 25 min

Part 4 – Join the story (small groups)

  • Discuss story, create personal responses, share the response, closing prayer.
  • 35 min.

There is an even more detailed breakdown for a typical session in the Teacher Guide that is really helpful. I have found that this helps volunteers manage their small group time and to keep the focus on the scripture. I do think that if small groups are a focus in your ministry there needs to be time built into the schedule that allows for time for personal sharing of the weeks activities for the students.

I would recommend that any youth group that wants to teach on the metanarrative, or even any group that is looking for an affordable curriculum. You can find the DVD curriculum for around 50 dollars in most locations and can be found on The Story website. One perk is that you can teach this curriculum without any of the other Story products as the scriptures are given to you. I would give this curriculum a 8/10.

Young Adults as Volunteers

A great article regarding the implications of the developing adolescent brain through young adulthood and what that means for them as volunteers in your ministry.

Extended adolescence is not the fault of young adults. Sure, there are slackers. I’m guessing there always have been. But I think it’s wiser for us to examine ourselves, our culture, our churches, our homes, and stop pointing the finger of judgement at 20-somethings. Collectively, we’ve created the culture that isolates teenagers and young adults from adults and adulthood; we’ve created extended adolescence. They’re merely living into our expectations “You’re not yet an adult”.

It seems possible for some a few post-high school teenagers and young 20-somethings to step into adulthood, in some cases very quickly, to reverse the extended adolescent trend, or at least side-step it. I’m not talking about those outliers who naturally move into adulthood “early” by today’s norms, and would have in any culture, in any era; I’m talking about an average 18 or 21 year old newly leaning into the capabilities they already possess. What is required? In short: meaningful responsibility and expectation can you see where this is going, as it pertains to young adults in youth ministry?.

But don’t even start comparing your experience as a young adult in youth ministry, in 1982, to that of young adults today. Not the same thing, and you’re probably being revisionist in your memory anyhow.

via whyismarko — life, faith, youth ministry, emerging church, leadership, whimsy.

Guest Post: What Our Kids Hear from “Some Nights”

Love this guest post on Doug Fields blog about Fun’s song “Some Nights.”

I think it is very important to think critically about the media that is in our lives and I love finding posts that bring to light many of the questions that not only our students might be asking about the media in our lives, but also the questions us as leaders might not be asking.

My question is why do we not acknowledge some of the media in our lives with a critical outlook?

Are we too afraid that when we look deeper into the movies and songs that we have stuck in our heads that we will feel ashamed of the lyrics that we are singing aloud?

Here is a brief snapshot into the post about “Some Nights.” Hit the link to jump to Doug Field’s blog for the whole post.

3.It’s doing well on the charts

It’s #3 on iTunes as I write this, and it’s #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s getting plenty of airplay. I’ve heard it in the grocery store, the mall and the radio nonstop.

4.The lyrics raise questions about the meaning of life

One of the catchy parts of the song is when they repeat, “What do I stand for?” a question that probably resonates in the minds of the listeners. The music video doesn’t seem to offer much clarity, possibly serving as just one interpretation of the lyrics. But the message of “emptiness” seems to penetrate through most interpretations.

via Guest Post: What Our Kids Hear from “Some Nights”.

Jonathans Blog From The Source

I found that this blog article pointed out some great questions that we can ask when we embark on watching movies with our children, or youth groups. There is also a link in this post that takes you to another article.

Is this story glorifying violence or inappropriate sexual situations?Is this story making “bad” look “good” or enticing?

Does this story irresponsibly display imitatable attitudes and behaviors that our kids will absorb and eventually emulate?

Does this story needlessly sell out to showing “eye candy” like nudity or gratuitous violence?

via Jonathans Blog From The Source. by Pete Wilson |

I really enjoy this article by Pete Wilson. Praying this week for God to take control and that I allow him to take control.

I don’t know that anyone enjoys the process of surrender. It means voluntarily giving up power and control, and that’s a scary thing for most of us. Surrendering doesn’t feel safe. And yet we see it was a turning point for so many throughout Scripture, and it can be a turning point in your life today.

Is there an area of your life that you need to raise your hands in surrender?

I know it doesn’t feel safe.

I know it scares you to death.

But surrender leads you to the ride of your life.

via by Pete Wilson |.

Decoding Perry The Platypus And The “Phineas And Ferb” Phenomenon | Ypulse

This show is all the kids at camp talk about. I have been following up, so that I can talk with them about a show they love.

I think that is because the idea of a platypus being a secret agent is pretty random. Plus, you don’t see many platypuses in mainstream media so it’s a breath of fresh air. Perry fights the “evil” Dr. Doofenshmirtz (voiced by Dan Povenmire). Dr. Doofenshmirtz is a mad scientist who creates gadgets/weapons to rule the tri-state area. I like the show because the characters are original, the writing is witty, and the animation is excellent.

via Decoding Perry The Platypus And The “Phineas And Ferb” Phenomenon | Ypulse.