Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Middle School Questions About Sexual Purity

We gave some students a chance to ask any question concerning sexual purity that they want an answer on. Here's some of those questions:

Questions by Students for Purity Day

1. Why are guys so obsessed with sex?
2. Why do guys act so immature?
3. Are guys intentions as bad as some people say they are?
4. Why are guys so demanding?
5. How do you tell a friend that she is going to far with someone?
6. What are herpes?
7. How do you get AIDS?
8. Would the average Christian guy go all the way, with any girlfriend is she asked him to or thought it was ok, even though his standards are high?
9. Is oral sex bad for Christians? What about in marriage?
10. Why do guys most of the time pressure girls into doing things?
11. What are some good Bible verses to help keep you strong when standing against sexual temptation?
12. How far is too far?
13. Is masturbation bad?
14. Why do rappers use language and sexual terms that are demeaning?
15. How do you ask your boyfriend if he is pure without insulting him?
16. Why is sex inside of marriage ok, but outside of marriage it’s bad?
17. How do you know what to do? (I assume this person is talking about sex?)
18. Does sex hurt?
19. Why do people make kissing seem so bad?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You think your teen sends too many texts?

Check out this story. This might make some parents feel a little better about thier "always texting kids."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Teens and the Economy

I was reading USA Today (the actual newspaper, not online) and came across an interesting article on teens and the economic crisis that we find ourselves in. Do you talk to your student about the financial side of your family? Judith Sachs from Parenting Teens Online says, after sex "money is the least favorite topic among families." But, after reading this article it looks as if this generation is ready to scale back on their spending. Some of the things reported on in this article surprised me (not much, but a little). Teens from a very economically well to do community said that packed lunches, part-time jobs and walking were in and that resturants, allowances and driving are out. Jim Taylor, vice chairman of the Harrison Group, which canvases young gamers for its market research says, "except for boy/girl relationships, the economy is the No. 1 topic with kids right now." Some areas in the country are seeing some kids actually competing to see how cheap they can get their jeans, or who managed to find an iPod on eBay. One student said that, "On the surface, your friends make you feel they're doing well. But I guess you see very quickly it's affecting everyone." This article spends some time talking about the concessions students are having to make and how reality is beginning to hit students who never had to worry about money. College funds are something that has taken a big hit during this time and some teens are realizing that helping out the family is the only way to make that dream come true.

Here are some tips USA Today gave on talking to teens about money:

1. Nix the Plastic
Plastic is not real to kids and cash is something that is real and reassuring.

2. Encourage employment
This helps the teen understand with it means to work for pay.

3. Explain yourself
Give them a reason why you're saying "no" to something they may have taken for granted.

4. Open the books
For older teens parents should consider showing the basics of the family's finance.

Friday, December 12, 2008

20% of teens say they've put nude pics of themselves online

The internet makes anyone who works with students very nervous.  These statistics don't make you feel better.  

"A survey of 1,280 teenagers (users age 13-19) and young adults (age 20-26) conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com has revealed that one out of five (20 percent) teens overall have posted nude photos or video of themselves on the Internet—that number goes up to a third when young adults are included. While 71 percent of teen girls and 67 percent of teen guys who have sent these photos say they've sent them to a boyfriend or girlfriend."

Here's the survey.

I found this MSNBC video on Kate McKay's blog, and it deals directly with this issue.

Brian Mills also has a blog post on this issue.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me

Take a couple minutes to watch this video.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

4 Warning Signs of an Abusive Teen Relationship

Our friend James West over at Total Life Counseling Center had this to say on the topic of "Abusive Teen Relationships."
"Having a teen dating in today’s world is quite a challenge! Because so many
teens are accepting some level of abuse as 'normal' in relationships, knowing
the warning signs of a potentially abusive relationship become critical."

He goes on to list and discuss 4 signs that parents should be aware of. These are:
1. The relationship becomes very serious quickly.
2. Controling behaviors are very aparent in the relationship.
3. One begins to isolate the other from friends and family.
4. Veberal abuse

He talks more in depth on his blog about these 4 red flags.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tis the Season for Spending

Came across some staggering statistics about Christmas time economy at the local Starbucks.

  • 2007 Holiday Retail Sales = $474.5 Billion
  • 30 to 35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. every year.
  • $9.3 billion in jewelry-store sales during November and December, 2007.
  • 20 billion cards, letters and packages are delivered by the US Postal Service between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • $19.8 Billion in computer and video game, console, and accessory sales during November and December, 2007.
  • In November and December of 2007, consumers accumulated an estimated $12.8 billion in new debt, according to cardtrack, an organization that tracks credit card use. That is 16% of the total debt accumulated that year. (According to a 2007 survey, 1/3 of consumers were still paying off debt from the 2006 holiday season.)
  • In 2007, the average consumer planed to spend more that $800 on Holiday related shopping and more than $100 on themselves.

Crazy stats.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Students Cheat, but STILL See Themselves as Ethical

Found this article on Drudge Report. You can read it here.  Here are some of the most concerning points of the article. 

“American teenagers lie, steal and cheat more at "alarming rates," a study of nearly 30,000 high school students concluded Monday. 

The attitudes and conduct of some 29,760 high school students across the United States "doesn't bode well for the future when these youngsters become the next generation's politicians and parents, cops and corporate executives, and journalists and generals," the non-profit Josephson Institute said. 

Boys were found to lie and steal more than girls. 

Overall, 30 percent of students admitted to stealing from a store within the past year, a two percent rise from 2006. More than one third of boys (35 percent) said they had stolen goods, compared to 26 percent of girls.

An overwhelming majority, 83 percent, of public school and private religious school students admitted to lying to their parents about something significant, compared to 78 percent for those attending independent non-religious schools.

Despite no significant gender differences on exam cheating, students from non-religious independent schools had the lowest cheating rate, 47 percent, compared to 63 percent of students attending religious schools.

Despite these high levels of dishonesty, these same kids have a high self-image when it comes to ethics."

Some 93 percent of students indicated satisfaction with their own character and ethics, with 77 percent saying that "when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know.”

Monday, December 1, 2008

Vision, Purpose and Values

It's always important for volunteers and staff to know the vision, purpose and values of the ministry. Keith keeps this in front of us all the time so that it is something that we never loose sight of.

Vision and Purpose
*Love God (Passion for God) = Great Commandment
*Love People (Passion for People) = Great Commandment
*Go Tell (Passion to Serve) = Great Commission

AMP’D Student Ministry Core Values…
*God loves lost people, therefore we love lost people.
*God’s Word is our authority for faith and daily living.
*Life-Change best occurs through discipleship.
*Excellence honors God and inspires people.
*God’s unconditional love and grace transforms lives.
*Christ-followers pursue spiritual growth.
*Uncompromising integrity reflects God’s character.
*God uniquely gifts Christ-followers regardless of race or gender.
*We are culturally relevant without compromising God’s Word.
*Loving relationships permeate through every aspect of AMP’D.

Lunch with Brent Crow

Keith and I had a chance to spend time with
Brent Crow over lunch at Orlando Airport a week ago. Brent is Jay Strack’s main man on the Student Leadership University front. He sees a lot of student ministries all over the world, so it was cool to get his take on what’s on the horizon for studnet ministry.
Here are some bullet points from our time with Brent:

-Do what no one else is doing.

-Students are looking for an experience.

-You have to let students lead and they must have ownership. Students love to create things and experiences and opportunities.

-“The greatest things going today are student created. Youth Ministers aren’t coming up with the new things, because it’s coming from the students.”

-Students want to be challenged like adults.

-“We treat a lot of our students like kids and we don’t tackle the deep things of God.”

-Teach them the Word of God. They can handle the Word, they have algebra, chemistry, etc.

-Give students a cause. Students are hungry for the Word and for a cause, something to believe in and run with i.e. social injustice…

-They have passion for these “causes” so you have to give them an outlet.

Keith and I keep getting reconfirmed on this thought that I have posted on before: the students of this generation are a cause oriented generation. They are more plugged in to the world affairs than any other generation.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sometimes I Wish I Was Stupid

The reason I say that is because this video is amazing. I wish I was stupid, becuase that is exactly what these guys are! But....I would LOVE to do this. This is an incredible 8 min documentary of these 2 guys who go to Dubai and base jump from the tallest, yet uncompleted, building in the world. It's worth the 8 minutes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jay Strack Dropped Some Knowledge On Me Over Some Coffee!

Jay Strack, one of the world renowned evangelical leaders of our day sat down with me, Keith Harmon and Brian Mills at a local Starbucks.
Here's a couple things that he said to us "young guys."

  • "Remember that promotion comes from above. God has you in the place you are for a reason, so have confidence in that."
  • Have a passionate commitment to keep growing. Stretch yourself. Personal development is key.
  • Churches that are growing usually out grow leadership. You have to keep growing personally.
  • Time management and event management can make or break you, so learn to do that effectively.
  • You’re building a "brand" with what you’re doing today. That brand is you. Everything you do from youth camps, to d-nows, to bible studies and how you interact with others is apart of how people perceive you. Work hard and grow to be better.
  • His book recommendation: The Lunar Men .
  • The future of youth ministry will be what he called “incarnational ministry”. Students want truth, and they want to know that you care about homeless, and the environment and the AIDS epidemic etc. and how they fit into those bigger stories. How can you get them to be apart of these larger stories?

I was blessed to be at the table with two youth pastors from a couple of the largest baptist churches in America, and Jay Strack, probably the most connected man in the evangelical world. Not many people can say they got to do this.

Time With Alvin Reid

I had the privilege of sitting with some of the great minds in Youth Ministry over the past few days. And so I’ll share with you over a couple blogs some nuggets of truth I gleaned from them.

Dr. Alvin Reid spoke for an hour to us and here’s some notes that I took from that.

“Don’t let your kids graduate high school without going to a 3rd world country. Let them see the world that is out there.”

Acts 11:22-26 22News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

**this is a significant turning point in the scriptures.
**there was a movement that was beginning with lay people (verse 19).

Barnabas gives a great model for what the leader must have or exemplify:
1) Vision- verse 23- Barnabas saw the vision because he was looking for it.
2) Faith-you have great faith because of the vision.
3) Encourage- he rejoiced and encouraged them
4) Example- verse 24- Be a Godly example to others. “I want to plant trees that I never sit under”-Dr. Reid
5) Life on Life- verse 25- mentoring. Barnabas took a guy named Saul and mentored him for a year.
6) Instruction- verse 26- taught the people for 1 year
7) Impact- first called Christians. Understood missional living.

A Week with Brian Mills

Keith and I had the privilege of spending 4 days with one of the top youth pastors in America, Brian Mills of Second Baptist Houston. It was great time of hanging out and just getting inside this guys head and getting his thoughts on all things youth ministry. It's so great to get a fresh take on this whole world of students, and to get that from a guy like Brian was amazing.
He's the real deal.
It's been awhile since my last blog, and I kinda got convicted since Brian blogs 5 times a day(and they're all really good). So, I decided to add some entries. Here's just some of the stuff that I gleaned from my time with Brian.

Brian has been at 2nd Baptist for about 14 months now so I asked him, "what were some of the first things you did when you got to 2nd Baptist in Houston?"

He said that the first meeting he had with his youth staff he did 3 things:
1) Set the vision and purpose for the ministry. “Everything flows from the vision.”
2) Set expectations for the youth staff. He gave them goals and requirements to be apart of that staff.
3) He began meeting with 3 people every week. He would meet with a principal, a coach and a volunteer youth worker every week.

**He said that you have to be very intentional with what you do. It must have purpose behind it.

He also made an analogy about the direction of his youth ministry, but I felt it's true in all cases. He said that in his youth ministry they’re on a 8 lane highway headed to downtown Houston. “We’re headed the right way, but I want to get us into the HOV lane. We need to be more focused with what we are doing. We’re not going to teach 2 topics a week, one on Sunday and one on Wednesday, but 1 topic for the whole week on Sunday and Wednesday."

You've got to be intentional in everything you do.