Learning my lines . . .
. . . discovering what it means to follow Jesus, seeing my story swept up into his . . .

Blog

Teens And E-Cigs. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

School teachers and administrators are a gold-mine for information on youth culture trends. That’s why I threw this question at a high school principal friend a couple of weeks ago: “What are you most concerned about with kids these days?” “You want to know what we’re having to deal with more than anything else at... more »

Phones, Addiction, and The Health Of Kids, Families, and Youth Groups. . . A Helpful Video. . .

This weekend I’ll be speaking to youth workers and parents out in Michigan. . . addressing cultural and spiritual issues among our kids including things like anxiety, narcissism, and social media. While thinking about the inter-relationships between the three (think symbiosis along with cause and effect in both directions) I realize that there’s a kind... more »

Pornhub, Heinz, The Super Bowl, and Teaching Kids To Process Ads To The Glory of God. . .

The Super Bowl is about football. . . mostly. . . and millions will be watching on Sunday with great anticipation focusing not only on the game, but on showcased ads. Heinz is best known for making “America’s Favorite Ketchup”. . .  and millions douse the red stuff all over their french fries every day.... more »

Super Bowl Weekend. . . Some Thoughts On Blows To The Head. . .

It’s got a bigger grip on me that it should. I know that. It’s not that it’s a bad thing. It’s just that I put way too much thought and worry into following my favorite pro sports teams. When I say that I’ve “lived and died” with my Philly teams that’s not totally true. .... more »

It Was 50 Years Ago Today. . . Youth Culture, The Beatles, And How Time Flies. . .

I remember my pre-teen self feeling four news-induced punches to the gut during my “wonder years”. Three were assassinations. The TV news bulletins (no Internet back then!) disrupted the normalcy of our days when JFK, RFK, and MLK were each gunned down unexpectedly. The fourth was something I learned about when I got to the... more »

Teen Slang. . . A Helpful Infrographic. . .

TBT. . . most of us older folks are clueless on the latest teen slang. There are new words, acronyms used in texting, and a lexicon that’s sometimes motivated by a desire to continue to keep us in the dark. When there is a POS there’s nothing a kid wants more than to keep that... more »

Who’s Changing Who? Youth Ministry, Culture, and Truth. . .

It’s  been an interesting couple of weeks spent with my good buddy Duffy Robbins. I’ve been poked, prodded, and pushed to think about new things in new ways, and new things in light of old ways. Last week it was facilitating a Symposium on Traditional Biblical Sexuality in a Changing Youth Culture on the Massachusetts... more »

A Streaming Peek Into Today’s Youth Culture. . .

Netflix is now streaming the film “Eighth Grade.” If you’re a parent, grandparent, or youth worker who wants to jump into the world of today’s teens and and learn what it’s like to grow up in today’s youth culture, then this is a film you need to watch. Be forewarned. . . there are a... more »

How To Block Porn On Kid’s Devices. . . .

Whenever I’m speaking to parents and/or youth workers about matters related to our Digital Kids Initiative, I am inevitably asked for recommendations regarding blocking software or technologies that can keep kids from danger and danger from kids. I never know how to answer. I’m not up-to-date on these things as new filters and work-around’s seem... more »

Youth Workers. . . Guilty Of Oppression? . . .

Oppression is a word that’s used quite a bit these days. In most cases, I think that’s a good thing. One way that the dictionary defines oppression is as preventing people from having opportunities and freedom. When a people group or individual is being oppressed, we need to be made aware so that steps can be taken... more »

A Youth Worker’s New Year’s Resolution. . . “Read And Feed!”. . .

Quit and begin. That’s just about always what a New Year’s Resolution is all about. We resolve to quit something that’s destructive. In it’s place, we aim to begin a habit that promotes our flourishing in constructive ways. Typically, our resolutions have to do with our physical health. This year, like last, a bunch of... more »

Parents. . . Christmas And How Time Flies. . .

A few simple words today and something that caught and brought a little bit of moisture to my eyes. My wife decorated our tree with a scheme that put these four hand-made ornaments in close proximity to one another. . . right in the middle of the tree. When I saw them all together, it... more »

Teens, Wicca, And Alternate Spiritualities. . .

“Huh???” That was my response when, as a young college student, one of my campus pastors told me that “all human beings worship.” In my naivete, I wondered how one could worship when they weren’t a follower of Christ. But when the pastor explained that since all human beings are created by God to worship, we... more »

Your Mid-Year Youth Ministry Checkup

I’m not a hunter, but I’ve got a son who is. A few weeks ago he took a couple of hours to head out to friend’s farm to “sight in” his rifle. It’s a process of getting everything lined-up so that when he pulls the trigger he can send an accurate shot toward his target.... more »

Movies, Ministry, And Asking The Right Questions. . .

Later this morning I’m engaging in a fun and eye-opening little exercise that can yield powerful ministry opportunities, responses, and results. I’m going to be meeting with a group of local youth workers who have a passion for knowing Christ and ministering to kids. We’ll spend time watching the film Eighth Grade. It’s a good one... more »

Self-Injury. . . The Scream On The Skin. . .

As a culture-watcher, I sometimes like to “rewind” as a way to gain perspective on just how much and how fast youth culture has changed. The practice serves to wake me up at times when familiarity with what was once relatively unknown lulls us to sleep because it’s become all-too-common and widespread. That creates huge... more »

He Makes Her Walk To School. . . This Dad Is Awesome! . . .

This morning, someone I know sent me a link to the video I’ve embedded below. It’s going to be very interesting to see what kind of response snowballs as people watch a 10-year-old girl walking 5 miles to school as discipline for getting thrown off the school bus the day before. Listen as her dad... more »

Detecting Body Image Issues In Teens. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

We’re told that the average teen in America sees between 4,000 to 10,000 marketing messages a day. So many of those messages picture idealized human beings. . . defined primarily by appearance. These standards imprint themselves into the minds and hearts of our kids. As they grow and ponder what they see in the mirror,... more »

What Do Kids Brag About On Social Media?

I ran across this data on teens and social media bragging/boasting from Pew today. I’m reminded that our sinful/broken default setting leads us to try to assuage and eliminate our insecurities (we all have them) any way we can. Social media, if we’re not careful, can become an enticing playground on which to boast. .... more »

Youth, Faith, and Church. . . Will They Stay Or Will They Go? . . .

I’ve been around way too long to think that it really isn’t an issue. Sadly, my personal “way too long” includes way too many stories of kids who were a part of my youth groups. . . who then graduated from high school, youth group, and church. And judging from the number of ministry efforts... more »