Blog Archives

Need Help Starting a Conversation With Kids?

For some of us, it has been a long time since we were a kid. And in the words of an epistle writer, most adults have put their childish ways behind them. So how do you converse with children (especially today’s children!)? What do you say? What questions do you ask?

This is a great resource for starting a conversation with a kid: 100 Questions to Start Conversations

HT Ministry-To-Children

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Junk in the Trunk | Minute to Win It (video)

Junk in the Trunk:
Wiggle a box filled with ping pong balls and attached to your waist until the box is empty in under 60 seconds.

Video Blueprint
via Vimeo

Elephant March | Minute to Win It (video)

Elephant March:
Wearing a standard pair of pantyhose over the head, with a baseball placed inside the end of one leg, your challenge is to swing the baseball to knock down rows of bottles in under 60 seconds.

Video Blueprint
via Vimeo

Bocce Bag | Bean Bag Games (video)

There are so many variations one can do with a bin of bean bags. In this iteration we played a sort of “bocce” version where the students had to get the bean bag “on” to an object, or the “closest” to an object. For the objects, we just used things that were readily available. We had cones that we set out and divided the group into 3 teams and the team with the most bean bags the closest won. We moved the cones back and forth, closer and further away during each round. Then we had one of the students grab the cone and hold it toward their teammates, who in turn tried to throw the bean bag into the cone.

In the video above, we were doing a handful of challenging group throws, and we challenged the students to try to land the bean bag on the garbage can. One person was able to do it!

source Vimeo

Card Ninja | Minute to Win It (video)

Card Ninja:
Flip a playing card hard enough to stick into a watermelon half placed at a distance in 60 seconds or less.

Video Blueprint
via Vimeo

Nose Dive | Minute to Win It (video)

Nose Dive:
Contestant must transfer cotton balls, one at a time, from one serving bowl to another many feet away using only the nose in 60 seconds or less. Vaseline on the tip of the contestant’s nose is used as a transfer agent.

Video Blueprint
via Vimeo

Extreme Hanky Panky | Minute to Win It (video)

Extreme Hanky Panky:
Using a designated hand for each box, remove all tissues from 2 tissue boxes in under 60 seconds.

Video Blueprint
via Vimeo

Noah’s Ark Waterpark Trip (video)

On Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 27 middle school students and 5 staff people left Hayward, WI @ 4am and bussed down to the Wisconsin Dells, WI to spend the day @ Noah’s Ark Waterpark. It was a great day! The students had a blast! The staff had a blast! I rode on every single ride again! It was fun!

This was the 8th year that I took our middle school group down to Noah’s Ark. This tradition started all the way back in 2004!

via YouTube

Rites of Passage Project


This is fascinating… I wonder what kind of conversation this would spark, not only in the family unit between father and son, mother and daughter, but also in the faith community as a whole as we try to “intentionally” pass on faith (and wisdom) to the next generation…

As the parent of a teenager, you invest a lot of time, money, and energy into academic and athletic training into your student’s middle and high school years. As a believer, you know the importance of investing as much or more energy into their spiritual training; equipping them to become more like Christ as they cross over into adulthood.

The Rites of Passage Project is a strategic approach that helps parents acknowledge and celebrate key physical and spiritual growth stages with meaningful life-markers that their students will never forget.

Take 15 minutes to watch the WHY and HOW videos for your student’s grade level and then pray about how God wants you to lead them on the journey of a lifetime.

6th Grade
7th Grade
8th Grade
9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade
12th Grade

5 Ways to Get Kids to Listen in Your Ministry


Wayne Stocks wrote a great article entitled: Five Ways to Get Kids to Shut Up! Humorous and intriguing title, right? Read below:

1. Keep them Engaged

When kids are engaged they are much less likely to talk and cause problems.  This isn’t always true, but it holds up as a general rule.  So, make sure you’re presenting the Gospel and the Bible faithfully, but also make sure you are doing it in a way that kids are engaged.  Get them involved, have some fun, convey the excitement and your issues with kids talking at the wrong time will decrease.

2. Have Clearly Defined Rules and Consequences

Come up with a short list of rules for your class.  Keep it simple, but make sure being quiet when they’re supposed to is one of the rules.  Also have a very concise and clear consequence pattern.  Go over both of those every week so the kids know what is expected and know what will happen with they don’t follow the rules.

3. Give them Time To Talk

Build time into your lesson when they have the chance to talk.  Ask questions, get them involved in presenting the lesson, have an upbeat worship time.  Give them an outlet to speak and they will be less likely to talk when you don’t want them to.

4. Build a Relationship

Kids will have a lot easier time interrupting you and being disrespectful when you don’t have a personal relationship with them.  Build a relationship and speak into their lives, and you will be amazed at the difference in their behavior.

5. Whisper

No really!  Try it sometime when your classroom is really really loud.  No matter how much they want to talk, kids also want to know what is going down.  As they get louder, you get softer in your voice.  When it works, it’s magic!  The kids will stop talking because when you’re whispering they want to hear.

via Ministry-To-Children.com

The Gathering (video)

Two months ago, Charlene Rohr called me and told me about a dream she had the night before. In her dream, she saw youth groups from around the area at an event together, in unity, in the metropolis of Drummond, WI. I thought it was a great idea and told her I would support her in any I could.

So Char went to work and did what she does best: organize! She pulled together youth group leaders from Hayward, Ashland, Cable and Barnes and we had a meeting. At that meeting we decided what the event would look like, time frame and such. We ended up calling the event “The Gathering.”

It ended up being pretty good. We played games, had snacks and pizza. Northern Lights Church performed a memorable skit and Sam Hansen shared his testimony. At the end, the students gathered in prayer groups and prayed.

It was a simple event designed to bring together youth groups from the area and help kick-start some things for youth in Drummond, WI.

It’s a start…

Books of the Bible | First Ten (video)


This past Wednesday @ msy YOUTH, we did a blitzkrieg through the first ten books of the Bible: Genesis through 2 Samuel. We used a Skit Guy video entitled: “The Skinny on the Bible” to introduce the evening, then we did 5 books at a time. We showed a video segment from JellyTelly for each of the books of the Bible. The videos are meant for a younger audience, so I was pushing the envelope a little using them with middle school students, but it worked out great. The videos did a great job of keeping their interest as we plowed through 10 of them.

While the students were watching the videos they had to write down some key words for each book of the Bible. After we did the first 5, then we had students go and write some of those key words on posterboard that we had taped around the room, one for each of the 10 books of the Bible. Then the students watched the second set of 5, the went and wrote on the posterboards. It was a neat exercise that took up our entire programming time, but it worked remarkably well.

Some of the students realized their names came from the Bible. It was funny, because after all the students wrote on the various posterboards, in order to personalize things, we had them pick one book of the Bible that was their favorite (of the 10 we went through) and write their name (and circle it, so it was different that the key words) on the posterboards. Students whose names were in certain books ended up putting their name on that one!

Here are the links to the JellyTelly videos on YouTube:

to make God’s kind of world?


@ msy YOUTH this past school year, we have been thinking through the statement:

“The Bible is about God continually working to fix this world through his kind of special people in order to make his kind of world.”

We’ve interacted with this statement by walking ourselves through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 Samuel. We learned how humanity came about, fell into sin, and needed to be redeemed. God started his redemption plan through his covenant with Abraham, which initiated the “special people of God” or his representatives on earth to show the world what he was like. God was going to “fix” this world through his special representatives in order to re-make his world.

This has been somewhat heady for middle school students, though we have had fun in the process. Right before the Christmas break we talked about how the author of Samuel was comparing and contrasting the boy Samuel with Eli’s boys, Hophni & Phinehas. It was an either or kind of thing.

I thought about the simplicity of that, and, conversely, the complexity of what we’ve been doing so far. I felt like we needed to take a sort of time-out to talk through what “God’s kind of world” looked like.

I came across a series entitled “Two-Faced” from LifeChurch.tv for middle school students. This series perfectly fit the simplicity of explaining what “God’s kind of world” looked like. And to this point we have done the 3 out of the 4 lessons so far.

As you can see from the graphic at the beginning of this post, we have two posters hung at the front of our room. One is labeled “Flesh” while the other is labeled “Spirit”.

The first lesson brought the topic of gossiping vs. encouraging (flesh vs. spirit), the second talked about the issue of stealing vs. giving (selfishness vs. generosity), and the third relayed the two opposing notions of lying and truth-telling.

These last 3 Wednesday night conversations have really brought some concrete and clearly labeled adjectives to what “God’s kind of world” looks like.

Planet Wisdom 2010 (videos)

This past weekend (Dec 3-4), we took some middle and high school students to the PlanetWisdom conference in the Twin Cities. The theme this year was “A God You Can Know” which was a teenage version of a class on the theology of God: a look at the character of God. Mark Matlock, Zach Hunter, The Skit Guys, and Dutton all did a phenomenal job of communicating this theme and keeping things concrete and engaging for the students. Below are some videos of the weekend:

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“The Bible” Motions

This year in our Middle School Youth group we have been journeying through the Bible. Our journey is chronicled on our website – click here.

One of the creative elements to this overview of Scripture is the motions we attribute to each segment of stories as we move progressively and chronologically through the Bible. Here’s what we have so far: