Archive for category: Articles (Page 3)

Transitioning from a Small Church to a Larger Church

08 Jan
January 8, 2010
transitioning from a small church to a larger churchtransitioning from a small church to a larger church
A little over a year ago I made the transition from a small church in coastal Maine to my current church just outside of Philadelphia. In …

He said what?!

08 Jan
January 8, 2010



I have a column in The Journal of Student Ministries, a professional journal for youth workers.  The column is called ‘Tending the Temple,’ and you can find the rest of my articles here.  I just realized I hadn’t posted my most recent column yet, so here it is!  Basically, it’s an article written mostly to male youth workers with thoughts on how our words and actions can be damaging to student’s self image; in particular how we relate to female students.  I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous writing it because I certainly wouldn’t claim to be the expert, so it’s mostly based on my experiences, observations and what I’ve learned from female youth workers.  Click the link, give it a read and let me know you think!


He Said What?! – Journal of Student Ministries, Winter, 2009

Top 100 Kids’ Online Search Words for 2009

31 Dec
December 31, 2009

Wow, I saw this over on Youth Ministry Geek – it’s pretty sobering.  It’s also very, very informative.  Definitely something parents should be aware of; for me, as a youth worker it’s particularly telling about how early kids in America are starting to think about, and wonder about sex – and where they’re going to find their information.  It also shatters some stereotypes; young girls are looking up sexually explicit material almost as much as young boys are.  Where they actually did the research breaks it down even further than what you see below (you can see it all here), I was shocked to see that the number four search for kids 7 years old and under (that’s a year younger than my oldest!!!) is ‘porn.’  And these are kids whose parents have installed protective software, so they’re in households that are at least trying to prevent this kind of thing from happening by being somewhat proactive; this is why I’ve said for years that parents should never allow their kids to have internet access in secluded areas of the house – it should always be somewhere that it is easily monitored visually.  Protective software isn’t enough – it’s actually pretty easy to get around for tech-savvy kids.  On the other hand, with pocket size devices having wireless technology, and lots of porn available through cell phones, it’s becoming even more challenging.  Anyway, here’s what Brandon wrote over at Youth Ministry Geek:


There is an interesting article over at about the most popular words searched by teens.  This is good insight for youth workers.

Here’s what they deemed as “bad” in the top 100:

by boys and girls (ages 18 & under)

#4 – Sex (#4 for boys & #5 for girls)
#5 – Porn (#5 for boys & #24 for girls)
#32 – Boobs (#17 for boys)
#82 – Pussy

Here’s a little of what they found:

You can learn a lot about someone by what they search for online. These top search results paint a pretty clear psychographic picture of the priorities, preferences, and habits of online youth.

Kids and teens are obviously learning and experimenting with adult content much sooner than many parents, kids’ ministries, and youth ministries realize. As Time magazine reported early this month, 40% of adolescents have intercourse before ever talking to their parents about safe sex, birth control, or sexually transmitted diseases. Parents often dread giving their kids the sex talk(s), but studies show that kids want to learn from their parents. Instead, many kids learn about sex through friends, the Internet, and experimentation.

I find it really ironic that in the top 100 is a search on how to disable one of the more popular internet filters that many parents use thinking they are protecting their kids.

Rob Bell on Youth Ministry

23 Oct
October 23, 2009

I stumbled across this article from Rob Bell this morning entitled Courage, Communication, Contradictions: Rob Bell on Youth Ministry.  Very, very cool article – I love what he has to say!  Basically, Youthworker Journal (my first article ever was in Youthworker Journal!) was interviewing him about the state of youth ministry.  Here’s a part that really jumped out at me as being incredibly relevant to my context:

The dominant paradigm in churches is production, not discipleship. It’s about how to keep kids coming—how are the numbers? In the gospels, whenever there were large crowds, Jesus gave a difficult teaching that thinned out the crowd. Over and over, He chose those moments: John 6—Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood. Nice. Very accessible for kids. There is a certain pattern where He’s trying to find out who is serious. Youth workers are put in this position where their paychecks are based on how many people they can keep in the place. When they read the gospels, they realize this whole system seems to be going the other direction. Many youth pastors I’ve met are promoting something they don’t believe.

They’re told by the senior pastor to encourage the students to attend the service where there’s a seven-part sermon on raising funds for a giant building, and kids don’t really buy it. At the same time, the kids are wearing a red bracelet and becoming passionate about AIDS and water in Darfur. So the youth pastors and the kids sit in a system that says the preservation of this system is the first priority, and they look around at these giant issues of justice that are demanding a generation to step up and do something about it; and guess what they do?

The problem for a youth pastor is that he or she has these gut impulses and can’t even articulate them, especially theologically or biblically; so the person is in this awkward place of not being able to say this in staff meeting because he or she doesn’t have pie charts and PowerPoint slides for it—just an intuitive sense that these kids are resonating with things and that we ought to be listening to these impulses; but they don’t fit into the paradigm. So, I would say the first thing youth pastors need is courage—courage to be holy men and women.

The part about asking kids to give to a massive building project (ours is over eight million dollars) while the kids are passionate about justice issues … that’s exactly where I live.  Not sure I have a lot of comments at the moment – still processing the whole article, but wanted to put it out there.  This is what I struggle with.  The incredible ministry opportunities we will be able to do with this property vs. the passion of the next generation.  Are we building and investing into a church model that is very different than the heart of teens today, who will be our pastors, elders and deacons 10-15 years from now?

Crying over spilled milk

12 Oct
October 12, 2009

Hey, Heather (my wife) wrote an article! It’s for a parenting website called Preteen through Teenage Parenting Action Guide. She wrote about the birth of our first son, Micah. It’s called Crying Over Spilled Milk, and you can find it here. Leave some comments for her!

Can I be selfish?

07 Oct
October 7, 2009


I just sent in my latest column (woo-hoo!) and realized I hadn’t posted this one yet!  If you don’t know, I have a column in The Journal of Student Ministries, a great magazine for youth workers and youth ministry volunteers!  It’s entitled ‘Tending the Temple,’ and it’s something I’ve been writing for a few years now – which I love doing!  Anyway, here’s the intro, click the link at the end to get the rest, and then let me know what you think!

Can I be selfish?

There are certain themes repeated over and over, season after season, on NBC’s The Biggest Loser weight-loss reality show. One of those themes used to really rub me wrong way the idea that contestants like me needed to put ourselves first, to make ourselves the priority, and to stop worrying so much about others.

We were literally told to be selfish, that it was “our turn now.” To my ears that sounded like such an un-Christian and un-pastoral value, something of the world and reality TV— and certainly not of God. And I just didn’t get its connection to weight loss. Why couldn’t I be selfless and healthy at the same time?

Can I be selfish? – Journal of Student Ministries, Summer issue, 2009

6 Tips for Infusing Video Content Into Your Ministry

20 Jul
July 20, 2009

I recently had a guest blog entry on the Youth Specialties blog!  Since I’m kind of a media nerd, I wrote my tips for using video content in youth group, Sunday school, small groups, etc.  Click the link to check it out and let me know what you think!  You can find it here!

Third Culture Kids revisted!

18 Jul
July 18, 2009


A few years ago I wrote an article that was very near to my heart, but ultimately didn’t make the cut for the magazine I was writing for.  Since then I posted it on my blog here, where it continues to be one of my more popular blog entries, but there was always a part of me that wished it could get a bigger distribution than my little slice of the internet.  Enter Youth Ministry Today, the new website that is all things youth ministry!  I actually have a bunch of different drama scripts and resources that I have written on there, but this last week they published my article on missionary kids and third culture kids and made it one of the featured articles in their email blast!  Sweet!  Check it out here if you want!

Imparting Value

17 Jul
July 17, 2009

Here’s my column from the May/June, 2009 issue of the Journal of Student Ministries.  The topic for me was how do we communicate value to all of our students through verbal and, more importantly, non-verbal cues.  I have to admit, I struggled with whether or not I should use some of the examples I used in the article; ultimately I went with them because they were significant moments in my life and ministry and ultimately impacted a lot of my thoughts on the topic.  Let me know what you think!

Imparting Value – Journal of Student Ministries, May/June, 2009

The Red Light

16 Jul
July 16, 2009

I just finished writing my latest column for the Journal of Student Ministries and realized I hadn’t posted the last couple I had written yet (you’ll have to wait a while for the one I just finished!).  Anyway, here’s one today that I wrote for the March/April, 2009, issue on the priority of rest, and tomorrow I’ll post the other one!

The Red Light – Journal of Student Ministries, March/April, 2009

Let me know what you think!