Top 5 youth ministry sites & resources

Here is a very simple list of my personal Top 5 websites for youth ministry ideas, resourcing, training, and networking.

The Youth Cartel  http://theyouthcartel.com

Barefoot Ministries   http://barefootministries.com

Youthfront  http://youthfront.com

YouthSpecialties    http://www.youthspecialties.com

Sparkhouse  http://wearesparkhouse.org/

emerging youth ministry recommended resources

These are not listed in any particular order. I hope you may find some of these resources beneficial in the ever-changing climate of contextual youth ministry.

I have benefitted from these organizations, curriculum, and networks both in New York and now in an international setting in France.

Barefoot Ministries  http://barefootministries.com/

Recommended:  “Missio Life”, Immerse Journal, Credo, “A World Unbroken”

http://www.immersejournal.com/

http://barefootministries.com/aworldunbroken

Sparkhouse    http://wearesparkhouse.org/

“SPARKHOUSE CREATES RESOURCES FOR CHRISTIANS THROUGH COLLABORATION AND IMAGINATION. OUR MISSION IS TO SPARK NEW LIFE IN CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES.”

Recommended:

Re:form curriculum (Confirmation, Ancestors, Traditions)

Echo the Story

The United Church of Christ  http://www.ucc.org/

“Our Whole Lives” Justice and Sexuality Education series

http://www.ucc.org/justice/sexuality-education/our-whole-lives.html

Paraclete Press  http://www.paracletepress.com/

The Jesus Creed (student edition)  http://www.paracletepress.com/the-jesus-creed-for-students-loving-god-loving-others.html

YouthFront- spiritual formation and camps

http://www.youthfront.com/

The Youth Cartel

http://theyouthcartel.com/

“Instigating a Revolution in Youth Ministry”

Recommended:

The Good News Curriculum

http://theyouthcartel.com/products/good-news-in-the-neighborhood-a-6-week-curriculum-for-groups/

Open YM events

http://youthwork-magazine.co.uk/main/index.php

Short-term missions:

Envision   http://envision-culture.com/

Habitat for Humanity   www.habitat.org

Group Work Camps  http://groupmissiontrips.com/workcamps

Academic and Theological Training:

Princeton Theological Seminary

*Institute for Youth Ministry  http://www.ptsem.edu/iym/

Fuller Theological Seminary

*Fuller Youth Institute http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/

International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry (IASYM) http://www.iasym.net/

“Youth Ministry Theology”- an Immerse Journal article

Picture this: You are staring at a dusty old bookshelf in a library with a codex, of sorts, as your guide. You scroll through each section then each aisle, until finally you come across a small book that you carefully and reverently remove. The dust is whisked away, and with great care the cover is opened to reveal a table of contents you have rarely observed before. This is the hunt for theology in youth ministry.

Over the years, conversations have circled around regarding the importance, or lack thereof, of theology in youth ministry. For some youth workers, this discipline is viewed as archaic and unnecessary while, for others, yearly curricula are structured around theological treatises. So which is it? Is theology important in youth ministry or not?

Here is perhaps a better question: Do students need to learn theology (i.e., learn about God) in order to follow him? Or can students begin to follow and then learn to trust and believe? Are students’ experiences more important than their beliefs? If we believe the answer to be yes, then how important is theology in youth ministry?

*To read the rest of the article, please click on the following link:

Immerse Journal-featured article

Kansas City…a new hub for youth ministry?

Last week I was able to visit Kansas City, Missouri for five days.

What in the world is happening in Missouri you may ask?

There are some incredible, ground breaking, and innovative ministry happening in KC.  I was excited to be a part of the voices being represented, but wanted to go there myself to see what it’s all about.

KC is quickly being a hub of sorts….men and women with deep theological insight and tremendous passion for student ministry rethinking…..

Camp ministry

Church

Community development

Youth worker development

Curriculum for Christian ministry

Spiritual formation for students

There are some great thinkers and practitioners involved in these conversations.  Many are interconnected and partner with each other, which brings a certain level of trust, collaboration, and collective vision.

Youthfront is really on the forefront of ushering in a new wave of camp ministry.   A dedicated, united, (and fun) team/family of passionate and gifted youth workers under the direction and spiritual leadership of Mike King follow Mike on Twitter are rethinking old philosophies and structure of camp ministry. I was able to visit their two campuses and witness firsthand the transformation of physical space into sacred places of spiritual formation.  The direction and vision are focussed on intentionality of spiritual formation, rather than attractions and programmatic.  They write their own content for the summer camps and additionally are produced some of the best curriculum and resources for camps and youth workers.

One of the main premises and dreams of Youthfront is to provide students opportunities to do life together and listen to God’s voice. Creating, nurturing, and allowing freedom for students to encounter God’s presence in real life.

Youthfront

Many of staff at Youthfront attend Jacob’s Well church, which is probably the most refreshing and intentional faith community I have seen.

Located in an old brick Presbyterian building in the center of midtown KC, they have reclaimed the physical space in the building and breathed new life.  The children’s program is by far the most innovative I have seen.  Storytelling, communal sharing, interactive learning, creative arts, sacred space for kids, etc…

The community has great aesthetic atmosphere and deeply values and includes all members of the family in worship and community life.

There is a focus on the eucharist, daily office, and learner style teaching on Sundays. The word on the street is that the music, led by Mike Crawford is profound, earthy, real,  musically amazing.

Mike Crawford music

Here is a brief blurb from their site….

“Welcome to Jacob’s Well. Thanks for joining us here.
Jacob’s Well began with a handful of people in 1998. We are joined together around a dream and a call to build a community in midtown Kansas City with Jesus Christ at the center. Our desire is that we would be an authentic, biblical community where people experience and express the reality of God’s love in the way of Jesus.

Our name reflects our dream and our mission. In the New Testament book of John, Jesus encounters a woman who is at the fringes of her culture, a woman with great hunger and great need. Jesus reaches out to her and invites her into his life and kingdom. In so doing she becomes a part of a new community. In the same way, Jacob’s Well is striving to be a place — like the biblical Jacob’s Well — where people who are searching can encounter God and find a place in his kingdom and community and join him in his work in the world.”

The focal of service and gathered worship is the eucharist, daily office, and learner-style teaching on Sundays with time constructed each service for the community to share their thoughts about the Scripture reading.

Jacob\’s Well church

Another visit while in KC was to the The House Studio, a very creative and artistic group working to create culture in Christianity.

The House Studio creates, comments on, and shapes the Church’s ongoing conversation—taking seriously good stories and making them available to faith communities.

The office is in a….wait for it….house!

It is located right across the street from the main headquarters of the Nazarene Publishing House

The good people at the House are pursuing a way of life together in intentional community

Their words:  “We publish. Not because this world needs more books. Not because the Church needs more resources. We publish because God is still telling stories.”

The House Studio

NPH (Nazarene Publishing House) was quite impressive. I was able to get a tour of the operations from ideas, marketing, publication, processing, shipping.  I am really honored and excited to be working with them to produced a number of forthcoming books and projects.

I had never been inside a major publishing house before, and it is quite extensive what goes into the inner workings.  Though part of a denomination, NPH is expanding its vision and reach and collaborating with a wide variety of authors and ministry partners.

NPH- youth ministry resources

The ministry in KC that I have personally supported and now partner with is Barefoot Ministries.  Under the leadership and vision of Chris Folmsbee,  follow Chris on Twitter Barefoot is really leading the way in producing great resources for youth ministry, as well as spiritual formation for students, and youth worker training.

In my opinion it is on the leading edge of creating thoughtful, innovate, and helpful resources for the church.   At my church, we use Barefoot products for part of our Sunday AM teaching time, spiritual formation and missions with our students, and all of our youth worker training.

Barefoot Ministries

Another cool thing I was able to learn about during my time in KC is an intentional community development project in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City.

Youthfront and Barefoot staff and friends are intentionally moving from the suburbs into this neighborhood to bring hope, redevelopment, social justice and advocacy.  They are seeking and working towards the ushering in of God’s kingdom-working in and for this community.

I was able to stay with one of the couples in their home during my time in KC and really appreciate their passion and long-term vision for the area.  One of the members  wrote a thoughtful piece on his blog regarding the reason he and his wife chose to move there.  It is well worth the read.

Aaron Mitchum\’s blog

*One final note:  If you do happen to visit KC, you must eat BBQ.  I have tasted some good meats in other places such as Dallas and Nashville, but nothing is quite like what you will find in Kansas City.  It is very much a passion and art for the fine folk there, and they take their craft very seriously.  I was amazed and impressed at how intensive and complex the process of smoking meat was, plus the importance of selecting (or making) the proper rub, spices, and sauces.

I ate too much that week, but it also was well worth it

And for the record, I do think Oklahoma Joes is the best!

Top Ten Youth Ministry bloggers

As we close out another here I wanted to give a shout out to the youth ministry bloggers out there.

This is my own personal list, not intended to be “the” list.

For a great list of youth ministry bloggers check out the Youth Specialties link below

Top 20 youth ministry blogs of 2010

*and by the way YS, no hard feelings that this blog didn’t make your list…maybe next year (hint)

I am not sure how these numbers are calculated.  Hits to site?  Readership?  Subscriptions? Impact?  Name recognition?

Here is how I created my top ten:

People that I actually read, value, and learn from their thoughts in youth ministry.  I have chosen a few “outside of the box” writers and thinkers.  Some of these men and women you have heard of and probably read, others maybe not.  Personally I don’t care as much about the statistics of certain blogs, but more about the ideas presented.  If I can bring some new, progressive, and emerging voices into the realm of youth ministry that would be great.

Clearly there are so many great bloggers out there.  My list will look very different from Youth Specialties or your own..and that is a very good thing.  Each one of us in on a different journey, and so diverse types of thinkers and bloggers will impact us and our ministry.  Here are the thinkers, writers, practitioners, activists, and bloggers who have impacted me this past year.

Top Ten Youth Ministry Bloggers

A new kind of youth ministry-   Chris Folsmbee (author, trainer, and director of Barefoot Ministries

Youth Specialties blog- Adam Mclane and an “assortment” of other youth workers and thinkers

Rethinking Youth Ministry-Brian Kirk and Jacob Thorne (mainline/progressive youth pastors offering new perspectives)

ReYouthpastor- Jeremy Zach (trainer and innovator in youth ministry w/ XP3 students

Mike King (author and director of Immerse Journal and Youthfont)

Why is Marko- Mark Oesteicher (author, speaker, YS emergent brain child)

evolitionist- Neil Christopher (activist and progressive youth pastor in TX)

Lars Rood (author, speaker, youth pastor in TX)

pomomusing- Adam Walker Cleaveland (theologian & “postmodern” youth pastor)

Peter Waugh (progressive and creative youth pastor in Belfast, Ireland)

Now I wish I made my list top 15 or 20 because there are so many other great youth ministry blogs out there.

For more of a fuller and broader list of youth ministry bloggers that I read, please scroll down the right of the home page of Emerging Youth

and find the RSS feeds under “Who I read”. That section is my personal blogroll for youth ministry people.

*Please comment with ones that you follow and read and I will probably add a few more as well!

Happy blogging and Happy New Year



Top Ten youth ministry resources

These are in no particular order.  Although the first few I personally like and recommend strongly.

I have found each one to be very helpful.  Some focus on youth ministry training, while others provide helpful resources such as curriculum and books.  Taken as a whole, this list is aimed to provide a youth worker with a holistic and balanced resource for their personal, professional, theological, and spiritual development.

Additionally, there are great resources for your students and your youth ministry program.  This list is intended to be diverse in nature.  I suppose that sub categories could arise from this list including: books, programming, blogs, journals, education, missions, training, etc…

These resources have blessed me personally in my own development in youth ministry over the past decade. Some of these are new, while others have a long (and good) track record in youth ministry.  I hope all of these will be around in the next decade as I sincerely believe they make a signficant contribution to the youth ministry realm.

Again, my list is not complete and I would love for you to comment with other helpful resources and websites (even if its your own)  Self promotion is fine with me!

I look for new and upcoming resources and also have an eye on ideas and ministries that are progressive and emerging.  I also try to include good academic/theological resources for those of you interested in pursuing more of that stream of youth ministry.  I left out youth missions/service resources as that can be a completely separate category.

I will attempt to provide a very concise overview of each resources (and by concise I mean really really short)

Top Ten Youth Ministry resources:

1)  Youth Specialties (the mecca of all things youth ministry)

Youth Specialties

2) Barefoot Ministries (training, youth worker development, theology, spiritual formation for students)

Barefoot Ministries

3) The “Group” network (an assortment of everything from events, missions trips, curriculum, books, coaching, training)

Group-youth ministry

Youthministry.com

4) National Network of Youth Ministries (regional and national networking)

Youthworkers.net

5)  Youth Worker (lessons, magazine, articles, programming)

Youth Worker

6) YMtoday (articles, books, resources)

YMtoday

7 ) Student Ministry ( a youth pastor friendly site by and for youth pastors)

Studentministry.org

8 ) Fuller Youth Institute (theology, research, leadership, academics)

Fuller Youth Institute

9) PTS- Institute of Youth Ministry (theology, research, forums, degrees & certificates, academics,)

Princeton Theological Seminary Institute of Youth Ministry

Princeton Institute on Facebook

10) Sparkhouse- publishing & curriculum w/ innovation, creativity, and imagination for church and youth ministry)

Sparkhouse

Moving on up……

Youth Ministry 360 (* a new site for training, networking, bible studies, and resources)

Youth Ministry 360

Awakening Advent

Over the past few years I have recently learned to appreciate the season of Advent.  I grew up in church traditions that typically did not follow the church calendar nor celebrate Advent.

Though my particular church does not formally follow Advent, I have taken it upon myself to prepare for the Christmas season spiritually through the blessing of the Advent season.

We are also doing a new series at youth group on Advent, based from a number of Lectionary studies and advent devotions.

What I appreciate so much about Advent is the rich and vast history of it in the Christian church.  When we celebrate Advent we are tapping into a long line of believers and church history.  Additionally, millions of Christians around the world and across denominational lines join together in preparing hearts for Christ’s arrival.  It joins Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic Christians together in anticipation and celebration on what should unite us all….Jesus Christ.

In the busyness and chaos of the holiday season, I find myself more and more in need of reflection and solitude.  Advent readings help me focus on why Christ came and to prepare my own heart daily for his arrival and presence.

So often I would wait until the day before Christmas, when all the buying and wrapping and parties were over to really slow down and focus on what really matters-why we celebrate Christmas.

Advent provides time and space each day (or least on the Sundays leading up to Christmas) to do this intentionally.

We are encouraging our teens this year through a number of ways.  I would love to hear what you do to help prepare your students for the incarnation of Christ.

1)  We are doing a 4-part series on Advent:  Hope, The Way, Joy, and Peace

2) We have an advent calendar in our youth room

3) We will have an advent wreath and lighting of a candle for each week

4) We will have a nativity scene, without the Christ child, and will place him in the manger after our Christmas Eve service

5) We will give each student an Advent devotional

6)  We adopt a family in need for Christmas, purchase gifts and visit them to decorate a tree and sing carols

7)  We encourage our students to ask for one less gift or $$ instead and to support a charity, sponsor a child, or give to someone in need

Last year we watched the movie “The Nativity Story” during the last Sunday school before Christmas.  Might do that again  The Nativity Story

*Please share ideas and resources you have used!

Here are some resources to help awaken advent in your youth ministry or church

Advent Lectionary studies from Barefoot

Magnificat Advent companion

Advent Wreath

Advent Booklet_

The First Candle (The Candle of Prophecy/Hope)

The first candle is sometimes called the candle of prophecy because it symbolizes the promises the prophets delivered as messages from God; promises that foretold Christ’s birth. Others consider the candle to be a symbol of the hope we have in Christ and so it is called the Hope candle.

The Second Candle (The Candle of the Way)

The second candle shows that Christ is the Way. Christians are lost in sin and Christ is the Light sent into the world to show them the way out of darkness.

The Third Candle (The Candle of Joy)

The third candle indicates that the only lasting Joy to be found in life on earth is through Christ. All other joy is fleeting and does not last.

The Fourth Candle (The Candle of Peace)

The fourth candle reminds that Jesus comes to bring Peace to both the world and to people’s hearts. Without Christ there is no peace in this world.

The Fifth Candle (The Christ Candle or Christmas Candle)