12 Days of Christmas: Day 8 “Materialism Discussion Questions FREEBIE”

12 days of christmas logo.001

Happy Day 8 of the 12 Days of Christmas.!

Today we are giving away another FREEBIE, and no it’s not 8 maids a milking (you know, from the song).  It is discussion questions about Christmas and materialism to go along with the two YouTube clips below.  Have the students discuss section 1, then show the 2 clips, and then have them do section 2.  When we did this lesson in our youth ministry we had the students divide into tables and lead the discussion themselves, but do it however works best in your ministry setting.

You can download the questions here:

Christmas and Materialism discussion questions

Here are the videos to go along with the questions:

Video 1:

Video 2: 


12 Days of Christmas: Day 7 “NYWC Media FREEBIE”

imageThe gift for day 7 of Youth Ministry Cafe’s 12 Days of Christmas comes for the amazing people over at Youth Specialties.  The peeps over at Youth Specialties always put on a great conference for youth workers with their National Youth Workers Convention.  I would recommend this conference to anyone in youth ministry that is able to go.  You can check out the information on it here:http://nywc.com .  They also show how much they really do appreciate and support youth leaders by giving away the media (Logo, backgrounds, videos,etc)  from the conferences theme for FREE.  I used 2012’s theme “Wonder” just recently at this past year’s winter retreat for our youth group.  2013’s theme was “Onward” and I am excited to make a teaching series based on this theme.  They are only available in their website at certain times, and right now they have ALL of their themes available all the way back to 2002!

Check them out: http://nywc.com/themes/

They are great resources for theme ideas for a teaching series, retreats, or camps.    Plus the price is within any youth ministry’s budget.

12 Days of Christmas: Day 6 “New Years Trivia Game FREEBIE”


Happy New Year!

For today’s post in the 12 Days of Christmas series on Youth Ministry Cafe we are giving away a FREEBIE in celebration of the coming new year.  To kick off the new year in our youth ministry we reflect on the past year in world events, pop culture, and in our own youth ministry.  One fun way that we do this is having a trivia game about things that happened in 2013.  You can download the question sheet and the answer sheet in this post.  Feel free to use this in your youth group, small group, or whatever.  Enjoy and may 2014 be a year of blessing for you and your youth ministry as you bless others in the name of Jesus!

You can download them here:

2013 Trivia

2013 Trivia with Answers

12 Days of Christmas: Day 3 “Word Cloud Gift Idea”

wordle example.001

Every year my wife and I host a Christmas party for our adult volunteers in the youth ministry.  This is just one way that we try to make our volunteers feel appreciated for all that they do.  I also get them a gift every year with the youth group logo on it, and in the past I also got a silly gift for each of the them as well.  We would often play a fun game to see which silly gift each of the them received.  This year I got them something different in place of the silly gift.

A few weeks before the party I gave a bunch of our students a paper with all of the adult sponsors names on them.  I asked the students to write down as many words as they could think of to describe that adult leader.  I then compiled the lists and made a word cloud using http://www.wordle.net for each adult leader.  I then added the leaders name, printed them out, and framed it.  When I gave them out to the adults many of them got teary-eyed.   These were very meaningful for our adult leaders, and gave them a taste of the impact that they are making in the students’ lives.

For mine I used http://www.wordle.net for the word cloud.   I have also heard that http://www.tagxedo.com is good too, and you can create the shapes of the word clouds yourself.  However, I have not used this site myself so I do not know from personal experience.

12 Days of Christmas: Day 2 “The Change That Christmas Brings”

the change that christmas brings.001

The first restaurant that I ever ate at in our town of Shippensburg, PA was Mei Lins Chinese Restaurant.  But the restaurant that I have eaten at the most by far in our little town is the Select Diner. I have met with many students and adults over a meal or coffee at this eating establishment.  I got this habit of frequenting The Select from my senior pastor.  As many in our congregation know the Select Diner has been a big part of our senior pastor’s life for many years.  It has often been referred to as “Pastor Todd’s Office”.  While he denies this, I am told that before he had a cell phone that it was common for people to call the Diner when they needed to get ahold of him.  Well, a while back the Select was bought by new owners.

Well, I will never forget the day that I met with my senior pastor for breakfast on the opening day with the new owners.  We walked in and we could immediately tell that things were different: the lights were obviously brighter because you could actually see who you were eating with, they had painted the walls and covered the stains that had been there for years, the workers polo shirts were a different color, the menu had changed so much that we actually had to look at them (we hadn’t needed to look at a Select menu for a while at this point), and lastly the menu no longer had hand written section for the specials.

After we sat down in one of the booths I looked across the table at Todd and I saw on his face what can only be described as sheer terror.  I think that I even saw a tear in his eye. (okay that may be a slight exaggeration).  I asked him if he was okay and he replied, “I’m not sure.  This place has not changed in the 15 years that I have been coming here. So I am not sure how to deal with this.”

So what I saw on my senior pastor’s face was him trying to deal with the change going on around him at a restaurant that had NEVER changed before.

…..change is never easy.

We think sometimes that it is only when we get older that we struggle with change.  But let me tell you from over a decade in youth ministry that teenagers struggle just as much with change.  Change is hard for any age

There was a movie that came out in the 1990s called “Wayne’s World”.  And there was one scene where the character, Garth, was asked how he felt about making changes to his show.  He looked up and simply said, “we fear change”. Weird scene? Yes! But remember it was the 90s.Most of us if we were being honest with ourselves would agree with Garth.  We FEAR change.

In the account of the angels visiting the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus we read that the first reaction that the shepherds had was to be afraid.  Of course, we all would be if we were in their shoes.  This was a change in the norm in a big way.   We all to a certain extent fear change because change brings the unknown, it requires us to adapt, it threatens our comfort, and it’s unpredictable. However, change is a part of life, and Christmas is the celebration of change.  Jesus coming as a human child changed EVERYTHING!

However, this change was hard for people. They had become comfortable in the routine of the law. You can see throughout Jesus earthly ministry in the gospels how people were struggling with this dramatic change from law to relationship.

This relationship that we can have with the creator of the universe comes out of the change that Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection made in our world.  The very essence of our relationship with Jesus is change.   God is not satisfied with keeping us where we are in our faith.  The christian life is about growth, and growth cannot happen without change.

The change that Jesus wants to bring into our lives can threaten our comfort.  Just like Jesus was a threat to those who had become comfortable with the LAW and religious procedures.  C.S. Lewis said this: “If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly do not recommend Christianity.”

Christianity is rooted in change.  This change that Jesus wants to make in our lives does not stop with ourselves.  He then invites us to be a part of the change that He is doing in our hurting world.

The holiday season is a beautiful time to have a change of pace from our normal schedules and be reminded about what is most important: to celebrate the change Jesus’ birth brought to our world, to celebrate the change that He has made in our own lives, and to remember the change we are to bring about in our hurting world

When it comes to God making changes in your life I want to leave you with the words that the angel told the shepherds:  “Do not be afraid. This CHANGE is good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

Youth Ministry Cafe’s 12 Days of Christmas

12 days of christmas logo.001

Happy Boxing Day and Belated Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Well, today is officially the first day of the 12 Days of Christmas.  I hope that you all had (and continue to have) a great time of celebration, remembrance, and rest during this holiday season.  I am sure that many of you can relate to an overly busy month of December full of retreats, plays, parties, sermons, and the many other things that this time of year brings to youth leaders.  Since the weeks before Christmas are so packed I decided that I would do a “12 Days of Christmas” series of posts since that starts the day after Christmas.   So, everyday till January 6th I will have a new post related to Christmas in some way.  These posts will be articles/thoughts about Christmas, ideas we tried in our ministry this Christmas, and be on the look out for really cool FREE resources that I will be giving away.

And don’t worry…..

I won’t be giving away any partridge’s in a pear tree.



“Name That Mustache” Game on DYM

Name that Mustache.001

I have a resource on http://www.downloadyouthministry.com!

It’s a game about mustaches. I know, big surprise.

Here is a description of the game:

Can you name the face that goes with that mustache? Winner of the DYM game contest, this hairy showdown has students guessing whose famous mustache is being shown. From Burt Reynolds to Ned Flanders to Ron Burgundy, your youth group will have fun sleuthing out the answers to the questions you mustache them. Sorry, we couldn’t resist.

You can purchase the game via DYM here:


Happy Movember!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑