Jr. High

The Truth About Kids And Social Media – Speaker’s Spotlight Blog

 

The benefits that Amy Jo Martin points out in her must-read book, Renegades Write The Rules may surprise you – it’s an important read for anyone trying to understand social media.

As most of us already know, there are clear downsides with kids using social media and this topic has been covered for years. Cyberbullying, privacy , and identity theft are only a few negatives that should be considered. Just as we teach our children how to ride a bike, we need to teach them how to navigate social media and make the right moves that will help them. The physical world is similar to the virtual world in many cases. It’s about being aware. We can prevent many debacles if we’re educated.

Question: What are the benefits of kids using social media?

via Speakers’ Spotlight – The Truth About Kids And Social Media.

When Parents Are The Ones Too Distracted By Devices : All Tech Considered : NPR

This is a great article. I have been wrestling through this issue with a few ministry friends lately.

How are you as a parent balancing your screen time with real time?

“One of the many things that absolutely knocked my socks off,” she says, “was the consistency with which children — whether they were 4 or 8 or 18 or 24 — talked about feeling exhausted and frustrated and sad or mad trying to get their parents’ attention, competing with computer screens or iPhone screens or any kind of technology, much like in therapy you hear kids talk about sibling rivalry.”

via When Parents Are The Ones Too Distracted By Devices : All Tech Considered : NPR.

Low-tech parents: Why Steve Jobs wouldn’t let his children touch an iPad and other digital gadgets | Financial Post

Even parents who work for tech companies are asking the question: How much is too much time in front of a screen?

Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and now chief executive of 3D Robotics, a drone-maker, has instituted time limits and parental controls on every device in his home.

“My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules,” he said of his five children, 6-17. “That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”

The dangers he is referring to include exposure to harmful content like pornography, bullying from other kids, and perhaps worse of all, becoming addicted to their devices, just like their parents.

Some of the questions that I had after reading this.

What limits do you set for your kids in the home?

Do you have limits that you place on yourself?

via Low-tech parents: Why Steve Jobs wouldn’t let his children touch an iPad and other digital gadgets | Financial Post.

Risky play and skinned knees are key to healthy child development | Toronto Star

By exhilarating kids, it gradually exposes them to things they fear, so they can learn to cope and master new skills. Fear protects them from situations they aren’t ready to handle.

Taking risks is important towards understanding who you are. How do you as parents and leaders encourage smart risks?

Or, why do you feel kids should not take risks?

Share your thoughts below!

via Risky play and skinned knees are key to healthy child development | Toronto Star.

The Orange Conference 2014: Highlights on Vimeo

I finally came across the highlight video from the Orange Conference I attended in the spring time. Have a look at the video below for only a small sampling of why this might have been the best conference I have attended in years.

The Orange Conference 2014: Highlights on Vimeo on Vimeo

via The Orange Conference 2014: Highlights on Vimeo.

Ministry progression: Thoughts from the spring.

The following are my speaking notes from a one-day conference we hold at The Peoples Church called Reaching High. This past year we broke up the main session and split it into three and covered the life of a child that would go through a ministry from birth to college. The goal was to equip and encourage the Life Group leaders by teaching them that what they do matters in the life of our kids and families. We tracked the child from children’s ministry and into a jr. High ministry and finally into youth ministry. We as presenters focused on three main questions:

  1. Children’s Ministry – What do I believe?
  2. Jr. High Ministry – Who do I believe I am?
  3. Youth Ministry –    Why do I believe what I believe? and How do I show it?

Each child asks these questions in their respected ministries, but the interesting thing about kids in ministry is that each child is at a different place in their spiritual understanding. You could have a new believer in youth ministry that is asking the basic question “What do I believe to be true?” We placed that question as the defining question in children’s ministry because we would like our grade 6 students that leave our ministry to know what the Bible says is true and to understand God’s plan of restoration. However any new believer will start by asking the same question, “What do I believe?” We decided that if we looked at the progression of ministries as a straight line it would mean that without knowing it we saw spiritual growth as having an end point. A line eventually has to end.

Ministry Graph 1

As you can see children’s ministry has a child for about 11-12 years followed by two years of jr. high and another 4-5 years of high school and then they are done. A linear perspective also speaks to the fact that the leaders in each of these areas is finished when the child passes into the next ministry. This leadership is what causes students to fall through the cracks.

We proposed a different type of ministry model. A more circular look at a child’s life from beginning to end. This is where I will let me notes take over. Enjoy!

Ministry Graph 2

Let’s start with how many church’s view birth to college ministries. One linear line and you are lucky if the children’s pastor and the youth pastor even agree with 80% of what they do. What is even more dangerous is that if we view spiritual progression as one straight line from birth to college we are doing our students a huge injustice.

 

So let’s talk about how we want to move forward.

 

I don’t think that all of the circles are ever entirely separated. They all lead in and out of each other. However, our focus changes. For example when a child is heading out of children’s ministry and heading into Jr. High the question shifts to what does the gospel teach us about Jesus to what does the gospel tell me about my role in God’s plan.

 

The key question for Jr. High will be that of identity.

 

How do I identify my life within God’s ultimate plan of restoration. We need to give these kids the opportunity to experience a God that is huge while they feel super small.

 

Part of the Jr. High dilemma is that these students need to be told what God sees in them. What God sees in them becomes visible when we take the time to use affirming words that showcase God given talent within them.

 

As students begin to navigate out of the What do I believe phase we need to capture their attention through a compelling story of a God that is present in their lives. If a student enters Jr. High looking at who they are without knowing who God is our world is way to loud for them to make clear and correct decisions.

 

In Jr. High social media has produced a mentality that they have to create moments in their lives to generate likes on their social media sites. There is a pressure to perform and out do peers in those moments. (We will talk more about that in my session)

 

When we have done our job in Jr. High and showed the students how to experience a God that is alive in their life through engaging stories we can start to move them towards the next question – How do I use these gifts to live out the gospel message in my life outside these walls. I am not saying that students don’t ask this question earlier, I am  simply saying that as they round out their Jr. High years they will enter into this. Faith becomes their responsibility.

The end goal of this model was that the child would work their way through our ministries asking the questions that are relevant to their exact needs. Our goal as leaders would be to allow these students the opportunity to ask these questions and we would help guide them to the sweet spot where all our ministries intersect. That would be the home. Our goal is that the students begin to act out their faith at home, in their school and into their adult years.

Ministry Graph 3

#VBSatTPC – A Look Back : Mentoring the next generation of student leaders in #KidMin

One of the best thrills as a leader is seeing the next generation take hold of responsibility and flourishing with it and that was one of the highlights of this summer’s VBS program.  In a summer where over 100 children and well over 70 families were impacted through VBS it is easy to say that it was a success based on numbers alone, but I think a successful summer needs to be summed up by more than just numbers.

            The biblical teaching was filmed in the months leading up to VBS, which allowed for a tight theme to run through each day’s lesson. Each day we focused on a different individual from the Bible and a characteristic that made each person unique in their personality as well as their relationship with God. The theme for VBS was “Bible Broadcast” and our byline was “I can be like ____________.” As we looked at the various individuals in the Bible we discovered what it means to pray, trust, listen and how to be courageous in your faith. As the children learned about key biblical concepts they were able to tie them all back to Jesus and His wonderful gift of grace.            

Strong Bible teaching was a huge focus for us this year because we wanted the children to continue to grow spiritually and to set our summer program apart from the multitude of city camps.

            A highlight for the leaders this summer was creating a mentorship model of leadership that ran from the youngest child to the oldest volunteer. Older children were given opportunities to lead games for the younger ones to show them that they had the gifts and talents to be a leader too. Our goal was that every child and volunteer would have a three people teaching him or her leadership principles and they would teach one person themselves.  This was important for us to develop a mentorship model this summer so that our church family continues to establish themselves as leaders, and to have opportunities to serve in years to come. This also helps us to create a natural progression through our summer programs that starts when you are four-years-old and ends after high school.  We used 2 Timothy 2:2 as our model.

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

            Thank you for all the families that sent their children to VBS and thank you to all our volunteers that made each day possible.  

Book Review – Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity

by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof

Oftentimes, parenting can be a struggle full of love. Rather than being another “how-to be a better parent” book, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity focuses on how parents can fortify their parenting capacity by engaging their family in God’s story to the world. Parenting Beyond Your Capacity also has a wealth of helpful insights for those who are hoping to be parents one day, those who are preparing to soon be parents, for grand-parents, those who work with parents, have friends that are parents, or for those that are influencers in children’s lives.

The core of the book is divided into five key family values.

1)      Widen the circle

2)      Imagine the end

3)      Fight for the heart

4)      Create a rhythm

5)      Make it personal

Biblically based from Deuteronomy 6, the values and verses work hand-in-hand. Moses discusses in Deuteronomy 6 that God intended for family and faith-community alike that it takes a village mentality to raise spiritually-healthy children. Through this partnership of family and community mentors, God’s bigger story begins to unfold:

“Your children one day will seek affirmation and approval from adults other than you. Either you can become intentional about enlisting other trusted adults to influence your kids, or you can depend only on your limited capacity. You can leave them alone to discover random influences who will shape their character and faith, or you can help them protectively pursue strategic relationships for their lives.”

If our kids engage Christ with genuine and excited hearts, there is an even better chance that the family relationship can be used to witness to other friends and family – to a world that yearns to be restored. Honorable mention: There is no guilt trip regarding your parenting skills. The authors’ hope is to share the concept that the goal of parenting is not to impress others with your amazing parenting skills, but it is to instill within your children the love and nature of God.

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.