Hands On Help: Resources
group magazine: March-April, 2003
“Keep a smile on your face and greet everyone, even the people that are rude to you. Only ask people on their way out for change. Why? Because if you ask people on the way in they can complain to the manager.”
—Guido Baggadontis, a homeless teenager in Oakland, offering panhandling tips that work at fast-food restaurants, quoted in YO!
Faith 4 Life
What it is: This new Bible study series is age-specific (preteen, junior high, and senior high) and interactive, with tons of flexible options for small or large groups.
The scoop: Group Publishing has taken the highest-rated topics in a youth leader survey and created a Bible-based approach to faith and life issues. Each four-session book focuses on one topic, such as “Becoming a Christian,” “Sharing Your Faith,” and “Is There Life After High School?” Every session includes a study-at-a-glance overview, a starter activity, an optional activity, a Bible study, and a life application. Many have reproducible handouts, and all have leader tips galore. There are even follow-up ideas in a “Changed 4 Life” section so you can help make the studies stick. The action and interaction of the suggested activities are age-appropriate and very engaging, but don’t try to walk into youth group and pull this series off without preparing ahead. The preparation for each session isn’t difficult, but you’re not likely to have some of the needed items on hand. As a whole, Faith 4 Life Bible Studies is a series that helps young people see that God does invade every area of their lives.
Available from: Group Publishing, Inc., 800-447-1070, (970) 669-3836.
Reviewer Susie Powley has seven years of youth ministry experience.
What it is: This online service provides every youth leader with the opportunity to have a highly functional, professionally designed site.
The scoop: vCHURCHES has everything—all the colors, the flash, the sound, the technical support to let you create, update, and maintain a completely usable, interactive Web site. You can use their pictures or add your own. You can use their format or create your own. Tinker. Move. Flip. Whatever you want, you can do. It’s like opening a giant box of Legos and seeing all the possibilities. You can oversee the site yourself, or it can be a wonderful stewardship opportunity for the techno-kids in your youth group. The service itself is a little pricey: $499 a year. But that’s all you pay. There are no monthly fees or hidden charges. It can take a serious bite out of a smaller church’s budget, but you may save that much in paper, postage, and copying. (For example, kids can download permission slips, Bible studies, schedules, and so on.) vCHURCHES is a great service that helps you create your own “Web presence,” even if you’re from a generation that didn’t realize how badly you needed one.
Cost: $499 a year
Available from: vCHURCHES, (818) 343-2222, or visit www.vchurches.com.
Reviewer Steve Case has 14 years of youth ministry experience.
Youth Worker’s Guide to Parent Ministry
What it is: Marv Penner offers a strategic, practical template to help youth workers build a substantive, intentional ministry to parents.
The scoop: For years we’ve been moving toward the consensus that youth ministers can no longer afford to ignore the immense impact that parents have on the faith of their children. But Penner takes us a step beyond theoretical agreement and gives us a strategic, nine-stage process that can lead us to authentic partnership with the parents of our youth. Though each chapter is followed by a marvelously creative curriculum piece, part of what I love about this book is how creatively unprogrammatic it is. In fact, four of the nine steps aren’t programs at all but strategies for building a positive ethos for parent ministry before we ever try to invite parents to one of our (notoriously underattended) parenting programs. I was left a bit curious about how Penner intended the curriculum pieces to be integrated because there didn’t seem to be a clear plan. When I get my hands on a resource of this quality, though, you can bet I’ll find ways to use it!
Available from: Zondervan Publishing, 800-727-3480, (616) 698-6900.
Reviewer Mark DeVries has 24 years of youth ministry experience.
5-Minute Devotions for Youth Ministry
What it is: These quick-prep devotions cover 100 topics relevant to teenagers and are easily adaptable for every area of youth ministry, such as meetings, Sunday school, small groups, retreats, road trips, and Bible studies.
The scoop: This collection of short, well-
organized devotions will soon become one of your favorite resources. The five devotional categories cover activities, events and locations, illustrations, music and movies, and object lessons. Each lesson gives you a Scripture focus and includes thought-provoking ideas and discussion questions that deepen scriptural understanding. The highlights of this resource are its flexibility and the wide range of topics. (For example, sexual abstinence, gender, tragedy, empathy, prayer, greed, fasting, Jesus’ birth, racism, romance, hell, and the Trinity.) An extensive index helps you locate devotions not only by topic but also by Scripture verse, devotion type, locations, and music and movie titles. It’s obvious from the book’s title that these ideas aren’t meant to fill a whole Bible study, but they definitely add a quality ingredient to any youth group gathering or event.
Available from: Group Publishing, Inc., 800-447-1070, (970) 669-3836.
Reviewer Kimé Murphy has 21 years of youth ministry experience.
2003-2004 Student Plan-It Devotional Organizer—This year’s expanded organizer has a more durable cover and provides increased space for journaling and planning. It includes weekly, experiential devotions that draw young people closer to God, as well as practical tips, wacky holidays, and little-known facts. Cost is $12.99. Available from Group Publishing, Inc., 800-447-1070, (970) 669-3836.
Timeless Youth Ministry—Former youth pastors Steve Vandegriff and Lee Vukich, who are now youth ministry professors, have written a guide that explores the principles of youth ministry in light of today’s youth culture. Cost is $24.99. Available from Moody Press, 800-621-5111, 800-678-6928.
31 Days to Living as a New Believer—R. Larry Moyer offers a one-month daily devotional that provides 31 essential truths every new believer can easily read and understand. Cost is $6.99. Available from Kregel Publications, 800-733-2607.
Dare 2 Dig Deeper Rack—Focus on the Family has designed an acrylic plastic, wall-mounted rack that holds a set of 12 booklets (seven copies of each). A variety of teen-relevant topics are covered, including pornography, eating disorders, purity, and gender identity. Cost is $119, including rack and 84 booklets; $1.25, additional booklets. Available from Focus on the Family, 800-932-9123, 800-661-9800 (Canada).
Too Christian, Too Pagan—Dick Staub challenges us to communicate the gospel by following Christ out of our comfort zones into “the perils and promise of our society.” Cost is $16.99. Available from Zondervan Publishing, 800-727-3480, (616) 698-6900.
by Jonathan McKee
Maybe you’re interested in reaching the students who aren’t making it to youth group every week, but you don’t know where to start. Here are some great online resources to get you going:
The Source—A good place to begin is The Source for Youth Ministry’s “How do I...?” page at www.thesourcefym.com/howdoi. You’ll find a ton of articles about programming, planning, recruiting...you name it. The article “How Do I Understand and Reach the Unchurched Teen?” gives you the basics on reaching unchurched teenagers and interviews five ministries that are actually doing this.
The Coaching Center—For anyone who wants to reach a campus for Christ, www.gocampus.org provides good resources and offers hands-on help to youth ministers—those who are just starting out and those who want to grow.
National Network of Youth Ministries—The strongest outreaches I’ve seen have been those made up of several different ministries working together. Networking is key, and www.youthworkers.net offers a great way to do this. Just click “Join a Network Near You” on the left-hand menu, look up your city, and you’ll find other youth workers who want to network.
Jonathan McKee is creator of The Source for Youth Ministry at www.thesourcefym.com and editor of The Source
E-zine, a free newsletter for youth leaders.
To order Group Publishing resources, go to Youthministry.com, click on Ministry Resources, and then select the titles.