Today is #NationalSelfieDay.  Not really sure why we have a “national” day for this… but hey, we’re game for fun here!   If you’ve been listening to the Podcast the last couple of weeks, we’ve been encouraging our listeners to upload a selfie of where they listen to the Podcast!  And we thought we’d make it interesting and award FREE SWAG at random to folks who upload those selfies!   Take a moment, today, upload your selfie … and we may be sending you some FREE SWAG soon!

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5 Disturbing Trends in Youth Ministry (and How to Fix Them)


Today on the Podcast I interviewed my friend, David Olshine, author of What’s Gone Wrong with Youth Ministry about 5 disturbing trends he has identified in Youth Ministry. David is a youth worker with more than 40+ years experience and is the current Chairman of the Youth Ministry Department at Columbia International University.

You can listen [here] on iTunes or catch it here on the podcast site.

I’ll share the 5 Disturbing Trends with you here, but you’ll have to listen to the Podcast to know how we’ll fix them:

1. Lack of Student Leadership  
2. Lack of Empowering Parents  
3. Burned Out Leaders  
4. Lack of Creativity and Vulnerability
5. Pitiful Evangelism and Discipleship 

What are your thoughts?  Do you think these are spot on? Share in the comments.

Summer Events on a ShoeString!

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 2.19.32 PMToday on the Podcast I interviewed my friend, Lars Rood, author of Youth Ministry on a ShoeString about how you can do lots of great summer events on the smallest of budgets! You can listen [here] on iTunes or catch it here on the podcast site. For my blog readers I thought I’d share a few of the ideas shared on the podcast here, and add a few others as well:

Meet Me at the Movies:  Teens love movies.  Actually, we ALL love movies!  It would be super easy to promote to your students that you’ll be meeting at a certain movie, at a certain theatre, at a certain time… virtually any planning and a great event!  OR you can set-up a projector and screen in the church parking lot or at someone’s house and host an outdoor movie event.  Both work great! (*Note* Listen to the podcast episode for this one as I share a marketing idea you can couple with it!)

Park Day:  Nothing says cheap and easy quite like a park day.  Just literally promote to your students that you’ll be hanging out at the park (be specific) on a certain date at a certain time and show up!  Tell everyone to bring frisbees, a football (etc), and snacks for some fun!

Fast Food Fridays:  Several consecutive summers in a row I hosted a “Fast Food Friday” for my students.  I literally just sent out a mass text (and posted online) that we would be meeting up at Chick-Fil-a (provided the location information) at a certain time. Easy peasy!

Bigger or Better:  I love this scavenger-hunt-type game.  You split students into teams and send them out with a small item (just like a paper clip or a pencil) and ask them to stop by homes in friendly neighborhoods (church members or not — at your own discretion) and ask if the homeowner\friend has something they can give them that is bigger or better than the current item in their possession.  It’s so much fun to see what teams return with at the end of the night.  Of course, the biggest or best prize wins! So much fun!

Mall Madness:  Students love the local mall.  You can set aside a time to meet at the mall and just disperse into teams to shop and enjoy the mall!  You can also set aside a specific time to meet up in the food court to eat together (fun!)… and if you want to make it even more interesting you can add a scavenger hunt of some sort while you’re on-site.

What cheap\easy ideas are you planning for this summer or have you beta-tested? Share in the comments.

★ Perry Noble: The Most Excellent Way to Lead ★

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I just hosted Perry Noble on the latest episode of This Week in Youth Ministry Podcast.

Perry Noble is the Senior Pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC and author of the new book “The Most Excellent Way to Lead.”  During my exclusive interview with Perry, we discuss his days as a youth pastor, his battle with depression, and his advice to leaders everywhere on the subject of Leadership.

As you listen to interview, share your thoughts on the Podcast on social media using the #ThisWeekinYM. Thanks for sharing with friends!

Click here to listen to the Podcast on iTunes.
Click here to listen to the Podcast on Podbean, our Podcast site.

My Interview with Rob Bell

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I just hosted Rob Bell on the latest episode of This Week in Youth Ministry Podcast.  You may know Rob from his days as the former-Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan. Quite arguably, Rob Bell is one of the most controversial pastors of our time, but since leaving leadership at Mars Hill he’s gotten the world talking.  He has written numerous best-selling books (Love Wins, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, among others…) and has been profiled by Time Magazine as one of 100 of the Most Influential People of our Generation.

Regardless of your opinions of Bell, I’d urge you to listen to what he has to say in this episode of the Podcast. We talk about his days since stepping away from the pastorate, how he encourages people to care for their soul, the backlash over Love Wins, and even Donald Trump.  He also has a number of interesting things to say to Youth Workers (that’s where most of you come in…).  Don’t miss my exclusive interview with Rob Bell.

Click here to listen to the Podcast on iTunes.
Click here to listen to the Podcast on Podbean, our Podcast site.

How to Grow Your Ministry with Online Video

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This week on the Podcast I interviewed my friend Sean Cannell, founder of Video Influencers. We talked about how YOUR ministry can grow exponentially through online video!

But that’s not all … check out these other topics we covered:

  • Is Snapchat dangerous?
  • How you can shoot professional video with your smartphone for $100 or less!
  • Why you should be taking Instagram video seriously in 2016!
  • How to level up your social media content!
  • Examples of churches who are using online video well.

Here’s a link to the Podcast on Podbean.
Here’s a link to the Podcast on iTunes.

Have You Checked Your HIDDEN Facebook Inbox?


Hold the phone.   You may have zeroed out your Facebook messages but there’s a hidden inbox that may currently be stacked!

Yes, there’s ANOTHER message inbox needing your attention!

This secret folder was brought to my attention via this post online. If it’s news to you, too, get ready for a whole lot of spam, and some important missed messages too!

Upon checking this inbox I literally discovered dozens (yes, dozens!) of missed messages on my phone that have gone unanswered simply because I did not realize they existed! Let me quickly walk you through the steps here and let’s see what you’ve missed, okay?

STEP ONE:  Go into your Facebook Messenger App

STEP TWO: Click Settings

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STEP THREE: Click People

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STEP FOUR:  Click Message Requests

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STEP FIVE:  Click See Filtered Requests

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STEP SIX:  View, Read, and Respond to your Messages (as you like)!

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One additional note: Since you won’t get notifications about these messages, it might still be worth it to make the habit of checking it every now and then. Or, to be even happier, just ditch Facebook and stick to Twitter.  😀 (Follow me while you’re there– @terracecrawford)

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3 Benefits of Teens Telling Their Story

At the beginning of 2011 I felt like God was telling me to step away from the microphone and allow my students to pick it up. It was a very odd message, I thought, but essentially God was telling me to allow teenagers to speak to their peers.

Soon after I met with my team of student leaders and told them I wanted to create a series called “STORY” and allow students to tell their stories each week.  The leaders LOVED it.

We ran the series for longer than 6 weeks (our longest running series of all time actually). And God used it.

Here are a 3 quick benefits of allowing teens to tell their story (as I see it):
  • Teens can communicate to their peers – The second teens grab the mic they have an instant audience. Their peers listen to what they have to say.
  • Teens invite their friends – You could get Justin Bieber to show up to your meeting and there wouldn’t be as much excitement as you have when teens get to share. They invite their friends to hear their story. I recall a young lady was scheduled to share her story (during our series) and she told me before our meeting “I invited the whole city!!!”  Simply awesome.
  • God uses their story – Students invite their friends, they have a chance to share their faith, their struggles, and their hopes and dreams too. God will use it.

Last Day to Save on #OC16

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Today, St. Patrick’s Day, is the final early registration deadline for The Orange Conference!

This is your last opportunity to save some green on OC16! (See what I did there?) And speaking of savings, here are a couple of other options to help you maximize your coin:

  • Did you miss this post Orange did in December on getting to OC16 on a budget?
  • Also, check out the travel partners Orange has put together to get you some great discounts on airfare, car rentals and hotels. (Disclaimer: Hotels typically go fast!)

I sure hope you’ll join me in Atlanta for The Orange Conference! For more information on the event or to register, please visit TheOrangeConference.com.

Oh, and if you want your senior, lead or campus pastor to attend ReThink Leadership, this is also their last chance to save a few bucks. They also have until midnight tonight, March 17th, to save $20 off registration!  Don’t miss this.

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