Category Archives: youth work

A reminder of what we get to do and how it works

We’ve told Bible stories to teenagers as examples of how God wants to use even them. So shouldn’t it make sense that God wants to use even us? Even you? Even me? And doesn’t it follow that God will work through us to draw teenagers to him, whether we have brilliant youth ministry skills or not, whether we have the right approach or not?

A modern-day story, shared with me some time ago by a friend of mine, gifted veteran youth pastor Sam Halverson (author of One Body: Integrating Teenagers into the Life of Your Church):

Sam had a teenage guy in his group (we’ll call him Tim) who’d shown no spiritual interest whatsoever and was normally brooding and dark in his outlook. At a particular worship time, the students in Sam’s group were given some space to reflect on their spiritual lives. Tim sat by himself and was drawn into a very personal something. Sam couldn’t tell what was going on, whether Tim was having a profound spiritual moment, or was angry, or something else. He noticed Tim with his head down; as Sam moved around the room and neared Tim, he could tell Tim was in the midst of something intense. Sam said he had no idea what to do. Should he interrupt what was possibly a personal moment between Tim and God and ask Tim what was going on? Should he lay hands on Tim and pray for him? Should he leave Tim alone?

Sam, feeling helpless and bumbling, lightly touched Tim on the shoulder and said, “I’m here.” Tim only nodded but said nothing. As he walked away, Sam felt he’d probably blown it, that there was likely something better he should have done (but he had no idea what that better thing would have been).

A week later, Tim’s mom called Sam about another issue. At the end of the call, she said, “Oh, and I wanted to tell you thanks for what you did for Tim.” Sam was confused. Tim’s mom continued, “Tim told me that he was really struggling with whether or not God even exists. In that prayer time, Tim was begging God to reveal himself. He prayed, ‘If you’re real, God, then do something—right now—to say “I’m here!” ’ Tim told me that the second he prayed that, you put your hand on his shoulder and said, ‘I’m here.’ ”

The fact is: Sam is a great youth worker. He’s smart and relational and creative and caring. But that moment with Tim had nothing to do with Sam’s youth ministry skills. Sam felt like he’d blown it! But God was working through Sam and in Tim.

Adding a Cultural Descriptor

back in 2007 or 2008, when Scott Rubin and i were writing the manuscript for Middle School Ministry: a Comprehensive Guide to Working With Early Adolescents, i wrote a chapter with seven descriptors of middle school culture. not long after the book was published in 2009, i realized they were descriptors of youth culture in general. then, a bit later, i realized they were apt descriptors of western culture in general, which brought me to the realization that my original identification of these realities was more about encroaching cultural realities, rather than uniquenesses of being a young teen (or teenager) in america today.

the uniqueness, for teenagers, is that they are indigenous to this culture (and these realities), whereas those of us over 30 are immigrants. for example: i live in a culture of information just as much as a 13-year-old does; but my immigrant status allows me to see it (if i choose to). for a teenager, it’s the air they breath, and the only cultural realities they’ve every known. that means their identities and world view and faith have been inseparable shaped by these realities every day of their entire lives.

a few years ago, i posted a blog series on these descriptors, and multiple people suggested an eighth descriptor (in varying language), which i’d then added as the fourth on this list:

  • A Culture of Information
  • A Culture of Immediacy
  • A Culture of Disposability
  • A Hyper-Sexualized Culture
  • A Culture of Consumerism
  • An Intense but Temporary Culture
  • A Networked Culture
  • A Driven/Sedentary Culture

reading an article in Time magazine the other day, i realized another shaping descriptor that needed to be my ninth:

  • An All-Access Culture

this reality has overlap with the first two on the list (really, all of them have overlap with one another, informing each other and creating the soup of cultural experience). but i think it’s worth noting separately.

until very recently, our lives, and the information we had access to, were almost-completely curated by people and organizations who acted as gate-keepers.

publishers curated reading options (books, magazines, newspaper). and our options were significantly limited by these gatekeepers.

TV was curated by a few networks and their broadcast schedules. i very much remember, as a child, how all of the kids playing on my detroit block would run simultaneously run inside on friday nights to make sure we didn’t miss The Brady Bunch at its scheduled broadcast time.

of course, there are still gatekeepers and curators (for good or ill). but in a revolutionary shift, most people now choose what (information, entertainment) to consume, from a functionally endless or infinite catalog of options. and most people now choose when they will access this what. and the what is just as likely to be user-generated (social media, for example) as it is to be curated. in fact: teenage engagement with information and entertainment certainly skews to user-generated content (us older folks access some of both, but still rely quite a bit on curators).

think about how this reality would shape you if it’s all you’d ever known. there are upsides, to be sure (cultural realities almost always have benefits as well as risks): having the ability to make choices is empowering, and offers us the advantage of parsing our intake toward our interests.

but this shift brings threats also, particularly when it shapes everything you understand about yourself and the world. some possibilities (i would love to hear more in comments below) include an increase in narcissistic egoistic perspective, along the lines of “i’m the best arbiter of what has worth.” marinating in an All-Access Culture for your entire life (and particularly, your formative years) could also lead to a distrust or dismissal of input from those with informed perspectives, or curators with the best intentions (like: a youth worker).

thoughts? additional implications?

 

our 3rd Women in Youth Ministry cohort of YMCP

At The Youth Cartel, our flagship program–the Youth Ministry Coaching Program–is experiencing some amazing growth. With more than 250 graduates now, we continue to refine and tweak and see massive transformation in the lives of participants and their ministries. Just the other day, a fairly recent grad who has simultaneously jumped into our Level 2 cohort and our Coaching Certification training emailed me, writing:

As I stand waiting to board my flight from Chicago home, I’m struck with an overwhelming appreciation for the Cartel. A little over a year ago I didn’t know The Youth Cartel existed and as I reflect over the past year, I can’t believe how far I’ve come-how I’ve grown in ministry, what I’ve learned, but more importantly how my life has so drastically changed from being bitter and focused on the past to future-focused and hope-filled. Thank you for the role that you and the Cartel have played in that transformation. I am forever grateful!

If you’re not familiar with YMCP, you should read this overview.

If you’re wondering about the 8 cohorts we’re currently filling, click here.

But I’m particularly pumped about the four topic-specific cohorts we’re currently looking to fill. So i’m posting about each of them, four days in  row.

Tuesday, I wrote about the new Ministry Architects cohort co-lead by April Diaz (from the Cartel) and Jeff Dunn-Rankin (VP of Coaching at Ministry Architects).

Wednesday, I wrote about the new Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry cohort I’ll be co-leading with Kurt Johnston of Saddleback Church.

Yesterday, I wrote about the 2nd Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian Context cohort.

And, today: the THIRD (woot!) Women in Youth Ministry cohort:

There’s something about the mixture of a group of likeminded individuals coming together and the accountability of a trained coach that does wonders for your growth and development as a leader and youth worker. We’ve learned that journeying with a safe group of peers provides fertile soil for long-lasting change.

We think that women in youth ministry are the intersection of some of our favorite people: leaders, women, and youth workers. And this environment is a beautiful opportunity for my gifts and background to be used for other women!

This whole-life coaching program is all about developing and empowering women in leadership. Being a woman in youth ministry is different. It demands unique skills and awareness as we approach the challenges and opportunities due to our gender.

We will learn across a scope of subjects focused on leadership development and youth ministry realities in this changing culture. This specialized cohort will have 8-10 women in leadership, and meets twice for 2 days plus 4 times online (2-3 hours each). Each component is very intentional and structured to provide encouragement, training, challenge, and transformation.

A Few Details…

  • HOW MANY: 8-10 women will be accepted
  • WHO: Our group is from all over the U.S., and you do not need to be in full time ministry or a point leader. But each woman must be in youth ministry in some way.
  • MEETING SCHEDULE: This cohort will meet twice for 2 full day meetings (the first and last) in Northern Indiana and have 4 online meetings (2-3 hours each). The specific dates will be chosen by the group. The first meeting will be scheduled roughly 3 – 6 months after the group is filled.
  • 1on1 COACHING: Participants receive four 30-minute phone calls with me between our face-to-face meetings
  • CONNECTION: Private Facebook group for ongoing support and interaction
  • HOMEWORK: We will do a good amount of shared, cross-disciplinary reading. I believe that Leaders are Readers! Additionally, each participate will self-assign homework based on learning and necessary, personalized growth areas
  • COST: $2250 (+ participant travel costs)

Interested? Questions? Email April Diaz at [email protected].

Ready to apply? Apply online at http://theyouthcartel.com/coaching.

Read more here: http://www.aprildiaz.com/blog/wymcohort2.

Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian Context cohort of YMCP

At The Youth Cartel, our flagship program–the Youth Ministry Coaching Program–is experiencing some amazing growth. With more than 250 graduates now, we continue to refine and tweak and see massive transformation in the lives of participants and their ministries. Just the other day, a fairly recent grad who has simultaneously jumped into our Level 2 cohort and our Coaching Certification training emailed me, writing:

As I stand waiting to board my flight from Chicago home, I’m struck with an overwhelming appreciation for the Cartel. A little over a year ago I didn’t know The Youth Cartel existed and as I reflect over the past year, I can’t believe how far I’ve come-how I’ve grown in ministry, what I’ve learned, but more importantly how my life has so drastically changed from being bitter and focused on the past to future-focused and hope-filled. Thank you for the role that you and the Cartel have played in that transformation. I am forever grateful!

If you’re not familiar with YMCP, you should read this overview.

If you’re wondering about the 8 cohorts we’re currently filling, click here.

But I’m particularly pumped about the four topic-specific cohorts we’re currently looking to fill. So i’m posting about each of them, four days in  row.

Tuesday, I wrote about the new Ministry Architects cohort co-lead by April Diaz (from the Cartel) and Jeff Dunn-Rankin (VP of Coaching at Ministry Architects).

Wednesday, I wrote about the new Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry cohort I’ll be co-leading with Kurt Johnston of Saddleback Church.

Tomorrow: the THIRD (woot!) Women in Youth Ministry cohort:

And today, some info about the 2nd Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian Context cohort:

This whole-life coaching program is all about developing and equipping you as a youth worker within a Post-Christian context of ministry. How do you know if you’re in a Post-Christian context? Well, have you found traditional ministry strategies becoming less and less effective? Are you finding that it’s getting more difficult to get students to come to your church? Or that when you do, students have little to no church or Biblical context? Well, those are signs that your church or area may be Post-Christian. (You could also check out this post from Barna.)

Ministry within a Post-Christian world isn’t always easy. It’s a whole new world of ministry, which requires blazing a different trail in order to effectively reach students with the gospel. We will learn across a scope of subjects including theology, practical life realities, sociology, and issues defined by this group. Each time we meet is very intentional and structured to provide encouragement, challenge, and transformation. This cohort provides customized attention to your specific context and needs as a youth worker in a Post-Christian context.

Details

This group will launch roughly 3 – 6 months after filling. The group will collaboratively choose meeting dates. This includes:

  • Three 2-day, face-to-face meetings lead by Jake Kircher (author of Teaching Teenagers in a Post-Christian World, and the 4-volume THINK curriculum), with either April Diaz or Marko attending the first meeting.
  • Three online meetings for 3 hours each (via Google Hangout) led by Jake Kircher, and including guest contributors.
  • Participants get seven 30-minute coaching sessions (3 in-person and 4 via phone).
  • Access to a secret Facebook group for ongoing support, connection, and interaction.
  • We’ll do a healthy amount of reading and cross-disciplinary learning, as well.
  • Cost: $2500. We will work out a payment plan with you, if needed.
  • 8-10 people will be accepted.

Some may look at the cost and discount their participation. We’ve come to believe, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” If this is something you’d benefit from, let’s find a way! At the same time, a helpful way to compare the cost is asking: What’s the cost of a job change? a divorce? a moral failure? This cohort is designed to help avoid all of those things and strengthen you as a youth worker, which will only lead to better ministry! That perspective makes $2500 well worth it! It’s one of the best investments you can make in your leadership. The learning you’ll have from the others in the group will be beyond a conference and these detailed bullet points! And you are worth the investment.

Details in summary:

FormatHybrid cohort – 3 face-to-face meetings of 2 days each + 3 online meetings of 3 hours each. 7 individual coaching sessions (3 face-to-face and 4 phone).

Price$2500

CoachesJake Kircher, with April Diaz or Marko

Launch Date3 – 6 months after reaching 10 participants

LocationGrace Farms, New Canaan CT (1:30 Northeast of NYC)

Interested? Questions? Email Jake Kircher at [email protected].

Ready to apply? Apply online at http://theyouthcartel.com/coaching.

Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry cohort of YMCP

At The Youth Cartel, our flagship program–the Youth Ministry Coaching Program–is experiencing some amazing growth. With more than 250 graduates now, we continue to refine and tweak and see massive transformation in the lives of participants and their ministries. Just the other day, a fairly recent grad who has simultaneously jumped into our Level 2 cohort and our Coaching Certification training emailed me, writing:

As I stand waiting to board my flight from Chicago home, I’m struck with an overwhelming appreciation for the Cartel. A little over a year ago I didn’t know The Youth Cartel existed and as I reflect over the past year, I can’t believe how far I’ve come-how I’ve grown in ministry, what I’ve learned, but more importantly how my life has so drastically changed from being bitter and focused on the past to future-focused and hope-filled. Thank you for the role that you and the Cartel have played in that transformation. I am forever grateful!

If you’re not familiar with YMCP, you should read this overview.

If you’re wondering about the 8 cohorts we’re currently filling, click here.

But I’m particularly pumped about the four topic-specific cohorts we’re currently looking to fill. So i’m posting about each of them, four days in  row.

Yesterday, I wrote about the new Ministry Architects cohort co-lead by April Diaz (from the Cartel) and Jeff Dunn-Rankin (VP of Coaching at Ministry Architects).

Tomorrow, I’ll post about the 2nd Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian Context cohort.

And, Friday: the THIRD (woot!) Women in Youth Ministry cohort.

But today, I’m pumped to tell you about the new Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry cohort I’ll be co-leading with Kurt Johnston of Saddleback Church:

There has been an explosion of churches moving to a multi-site approach in the last few years. Understandably, a church’s decision to move to a multi-site approach is rarely (if ever) driven by the mission of the youth ministry. And as such, youth workers in these churches are often scrambling to figure out best practices, formats and structures, success metrics, and all sorts of other variables. We felt it would be great to host a YMCP cohort exclusive to youth workers wrestling with these questions.

This cohort will still embody the values and promises of YMCP: leadership development and growth in self-knowledge, problem solving and personal transformation. But Kurt Johnston, the leader of all youth ministries for Saddleback Church’s 17 campuses, will also guide some specific conversations on the uniqueness of multi-site church youth ministry.

As a bonus: The Youth Cartel and Saddleback Church will be hosting a 2-day mini-Campference on the topic of Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry. One meeting of this cohort (probably the first meeting) will coincide with this event, with the fee for this event being included in the cost of the cohort.

Details in summary:

FormatHybrid cohort– 3 face-to-face meetings of 2 days each + 3 online meetings of 3 hours each. 6 individual coaching sessions (2 face-to-face and 4 phone). One of the face-to-face meetings will coincide with a Multi-Site Youth Ministry mini-Campference co-hosted by The Youth Cartel and Saddleback Church.

Price$2500

CoachesMarko and Kurt Johnston

Launch Date3 – 6 months after reaching 10 participants

LocationSaddleback Church, Lake Forest CA

For more information (including pricing and a full overview of the Youth Ministry Coaching Program), click here.
To lock in your spot for one of the 10 spots, click here to apply and put down a $100 deposit.

announcing the Ministry Architects cohort of YMCP

At The Youth Cartel, our flagship program–the Youth Ministry Coaching Program–is experiencing some amazing growth. With more than 250 graduates now, we continue to refine and tweak and see massive transformation in the lives of participants and their ministries. Just the other day, a fairly recent grad who has simultaneously jumped into our Level 2 cohort and our Coaching Certification training emailed me, writing:

As I stand waiting to board my flight from Chicago home, I’m struck with an overwhelming appreciation for the Cartel. A little over a year ago I didn’t know The Youth Cartel existed and as I reflect over the past year, I can’t believe how far I’ve come-how I’ve grown in ministry, what I’ve learned, but more importantly how my life has so drastically changed from being bitter and focused on the past to future-focused and hope-filled. Thank you for the role that you and the Cartel have played in that transformation. I am forever grateful!

If you’re not familiar with YMCP, you should read this overview.

If you’re wondering about the 8 cohorts we’re currently filling, click here.

But I’m particularly pumped about the four topic-specific cohorts we’re currently looking to fill. So i’m posting about each of them, four days in  row.

Tomorrow, I’ll post about the new Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry cohort I’ll be co-leading with Kurt Johnston of Saddleback Church.

Thursday, I’ll post about the 2nd Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian Context cohort.

And, Friday: the THIRD (woot!) Women in Youth Ministry cohort.

But today, I’m stoked to tell you about the new Ministry Architects cohort co-lead by April Diaz (from the Cartel) and Jeff Dunn-Rankin (VP of Coaching at Ministry Architects):

Ministry Architects and The Youth Cartel are partnering together to offer an exclusive, one-of-a-kind development opportunity for youth workers. Built on the model of The Youth Cartel’s proven and successful Youth Ministry Coaching Program, the two organizations will each bring their strengths, approaches, and ministry values to a cohort of 10 youth workers who will meet together over the span of a year. The Cartel coach (April Diaz) will focus primarily on holistic leadership development, while the Ministry Architects coach (Jeff Dunn-Rankin, VP of Coaching) will focus primarily on building sustainability in your church’s youth ministry. The program includes: three meetings of two days each, in Nashville, three online meetings, plus seven one-on-one coaching sessions (three in person, and four via phone or skype).

 
We’re hoping to launch this cohort in the Fall of 2016 (participants will speak into actual date selection); but we will look to schedule the first meeting 3 – 6 months out from when the cohort is full.
 
For more information (including pricing and a full overview of the Youth Ministry Coaching Program), click here.

To lock in your spot for one of the 10 spots, click here to apply and put down a $100 deposit.

Details in summary:
FormatHybrid cohort – 3 face-to-face meetings of 2 days each + 3 online meetings of 3 hours each. 7 individual coaching sessions (3 face-to-face and 4 phone).

Price$2500

CoachesApril Diaz (The Youth Cartel) and Jeff Dunn-Rankin (Ministry Architects)

Launch Date3 – 6 months after reaching 10 participants

LocationNashville

For more information (including pricing and a full overview of the Youth Ministry Coaching Program), click here.
To lock in your spot for one of the 10 spots, click here to apply and put down a $100 deposit.

the values driving my church’s middle school ministry in this season

if you read my blog much, you know i talk and write a lot about leading from values. it’s a central theme in our Youth Ministry Coaching Program.

i define values as the answer to the question: What is God calling us to embody in this season? (and by season, i mean: this chapter of our ministry life together.) values should flow out of mission (Why do we exist?), and lead to strategy (How will we embody our values?) and goals (What are our measurable, actionable plans?).

we teach a process of developing ministry values in our coaching program. and the awesome junior high pastor at my church (where i’m a volunteer) recently graduated from a san diego cohort of YMCP. last fall, we had a fantastic volunteer team retreat, where i got to lead our team in developing values. and recently, we came back together to identify which of our values were the most aspirational (we aspire to embody these, but don’t really do so yet), and to come up with strategy for those.

i was reminded how much i love the values our team came up with. thought i’d share them with you here (not so you can copy them, as the best ministries discern their own values!).

things to note:

  • they’re in no particular order
  • the initial italic words come from our discernment process, and are grouped together from a bunch of value-ish stuff that surfaced.
  • the bold sentence is the actual value.
  • the additional sentence(s) are an unpacking of the value.
  • our JH ministry is called Riptide (which is why you’ll see that all throughout).

Riptide Values

  1. Family/Belonging/Known

Riptide is a family. We will be a place of radical belonging for young teens and for leaders. Every junior higher who walks through our doors will be known and know others.

  1. Questioning/Safety/Honesty

We will be a safe harbor of support and honesty. Questions will be viewed as a cause for celebration rather than a reason for shame or embarrassment. Personal stories will be celebrated and treated with the respect they deserve.

  1. Experiencing God/Jesus

We desperately want junior highers to encounter Jesus. We believe that the best life is one that follows Jesus; and to that end, we want young teens to experience God as a means of cultivating their faith and being transformed. We will be leaders who will manifest our own personal relationships into the ministry and lives of middle schoolers.

  1. Celebrate Uniqueness/Culture of Encouragement

We believe each student and leader is unique and has gifts to offer the world. We will actively develop a Culture of Encouragement, intentionally identifying and nurturing competencies.

  1. Integration with church

Junior Highers should be connected with Journey, not just Riptide. We believe that a long view of faith development means we are compelled to think of junior high as one chapter in a life long faith journey. Because of that, we will work to reduce the isolation of young teens in our church and find meaningful ways to integrate them into the life of the congregation.

  1. Take Risks/Embrace change

Change is constant, and growth requires risk. Riptide cannot stay the same, cannot coast, cannot become complacent. We will consistently evaluate, discern the Holy Spirit’s leading, and experiment with change in order to become everything God has dreamed our ministry could be.

  1. Face outward/Mission/Outreach

We will help junior highers engage their faith outside the Riptide room. We refuse to allow our ministry to become program-centric and only occurring in our room. We will engage the world around us in mission and outreach, both for the formation of our junior highers, and to engage the work of the Kingdom of God.

discussion dice

i was trying to think of a creative way to get my 8th grade guys talking about their hopes and fears for the summer, their freshman years and beyond. this week is our final regular small group meeting (we have a small group party next week); and, as i’ve posted before, this group has been particularly tough to engage in meaningful conversation about…well…anything.

since we’ve been re-orienting these last few weeks (me and my co-leader), and attempting to both finish well and meet the guys at their level of interest and desire, rather than ours, i knew whatever we did needed to be fun. so i came up with an idea that i’m hoping will fit the bill.

i’ve seen ‘discussion dice’ before from other publishers. so i cut up a discarded amazon shipment box and taped together some very low-tech dice. i created 6 sharing prompts for one of the dice:

  • What are you excited about for this summer?
  • What are you anxious about for this summer?
  • What hopes do you have for your freshman year?
  • What makes you nervous about your freshman year?
  • What changes do you want to make in how you live your faith in high school?
  • What changes do you want to make in yourself for high school?

and i created 6 ‘reward’ items for the second dice (yes, i know the singular of dice is die — deal with it; and, no, not all of the 6 options are truly ‘rewards’ — gotta make it fun!). if they answer the prompt on the first dice honestly (as judged by me and my co-leader), then they get to roll the second dice:

  • Choose 1 Snack
  • Choose 2 Snacks
  • Choose 1 Drink
  • Choose 1 Drink
  • Admit an awkward truth about yourself
  • Crossfit Workout! (Spin around for 30 seconds, run in place for 1 minute, do 3 push-ups, do 5 jumping jacks)

i’ll pick up some drinks and small candy/snacky items, and we should be good to go! but, uh, who knows? could be awesome; could crash and burn when the 2nd guy crushes one of the dice.

 

re-orienting to the desires of teens

my middle school guys small group has been…uh…challenging this year. i think i could summarize it best with:

i really like each of the guys individually; but i don’t like them much collectively.

i come to consider it a ‘good night’ when we have a 5 – 10 minute bit of focus and honesty (out of our 60 – 80 minutes together). and we’ve been having a ‘good night’ about once every 6 or 8 weeks.

after a particularly bad night a few weeks ago, i was understandably discouraged. i got thinking a bit about what we’re trying to accomplish, and it dawned on me that we’ve been forcing our agenda (i have a co-leader) on the guys, hoping they’ll buy into it, rather than discovering and responding to their desires.

i called my co-leader and said something like:

we only have about 5 weeks left with these guys before they leave us for the high school ministry. i don’t want them to look back at our two years together and think, “that was ok; but marko and tyler seemed frustrated most of the time.” i want them, at the very least, to think, “my small group leaders loved me, and our group was a place i looked forward to being every week. it was like family.” if we had another full year together, maybe we could rethink this in some other way; but at this point, i think we’d be wise to consider what it is that they guys want out of this group — why do they come? — and meet them at their point of desire, rather than forcing our own spiritual/educational agenda on them.

after some back-and-forth, we decided to have a birthday party that week (for all of them — it wasn’t anyone’s birthday, really), and play some games, and make sure we left a good amount of time to pray for each other (one of the only spiritual practices they’ve taken to).

as i write this, we have 3 weeks left. we bought them each a copy of The Way Bible (a great bible for high schoolers and young adults), which we’ll give them on one of our last nights. and i plan on continuing this re-orienting for our limited remaining time.

(by the way, it’s clear to me that my thinking on this was totally informed by Morgan Schmidt’s excellent book, Woo.)

 

Recommended Graduation Gifts for Teenagers

Slide1we have a few resources either published by The Youth Cartel, or developed by me (marko) and sold by The Youth Cartel, that are worth your consideration as graduation gifts (either for individual students, or for a youth group context). as is always the case with stuff we sell in our store, excellent bulk pricing discounts are available.

The Amazing Next, by Brock Morgan. honestly, there are so many cheesy high school graduations books on the market. most of them fall into one of two categories: (1) inspirational drivel, or (2) “this is our last chance to cram some apologetics down your throat so your freshman philosophy professor doesn’t undo everything we’ve tried to teach you.” both categories are lame, and both don’t get read by actual teenagers. that’s why we worked with Brock to develop this book. we wanted a grad book that was fun, honest, helpful and–most of all–would get read rather than shelved. i love this book, and the response (it released last year) has been overwhelmingly positive.

The Way Bible. i was the general editor on this baby, and it took 18 months of my life. we wanted (we, in this case, being me and Tyndale Publishers) to create a bible that was truly honest and helpful for older teenagers and young adults. almost all ‘teen bibles’ have a target of a 15 or 16 year old. we had 17 – 20 year olds in mind when creating this. it’s full of evocative black & white photography, book intros and a variety of other elements all designed to connect young adults with scripture. this isn’t a study bible — it’s a reader’s bible (and as such, the new living translation is perfect). it’s available in softcover, hardcover, and a black leatherlike cover. (i’ve bought copies of this bible for the guys in my 8th grade small group as a gift — don’t tell ’em.)

Ignite Bible. i was a general editor on this bible also — and it is specifically focused on middle schoolers (so this would NOT be a good choice for high school graduates — but, instead, for kids graduating from grade school into middle school). softcover and hardcover available.