4 Ways to Spend Your Downtime This Christmas

My friend, Josh Griffin, posted this great article a few Christmas seasons ago, but I still refer back to it when this season rolls around. It's all about how to spend your downtime (if you're fortunate enough to unplug!). I'll post a couple of his suggestions here, and you can go [here] for the rest!

"I realize not everyone gets to enjoy the Christmas season at a slower pace – for many youth workers, the Christmas season is a giant snowball that builds and builds, eventually gaining insane speed and crashing into the New Year with a resounding thwack. But for me this year, we’re scaling way back for the holidays. We cancelled the Christmas Extravaganza, small group parties are happening on their own, a special speaker doing the Christmas teaching and the big New Year’s Dance never made it on the final winter calendar. So what to do with all of this new found time, free from the endless barrage of emails, phone calls and events? If your pace does slow down a bit, here are 4 places you may want to spend your Christmas downtime:

Spend time alone Finish the books you’ve started 2 months ago and are still on chapter 2. Get away from the noise. Turn off your phone and escape for a day. Pray. Meditate, reflect, celebrate. Get a waffle cone and people watch.
 Spend time with students Gather up the core students for a spontaneous night out. That one kid who comes on Sunday morning – ask a regular kid what his name is again then take him out for coffee. Think about that regular kid who needs a big challenge, the newbie who could use a connection and the hurting kid who could use a hug. Go after the people you haven’t had the time for this Fall."

[Go here] for the rest of the post.
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Win Lunch or Dinner at Outback!

One of the things I've learned over the years as a youth worker is that the relationship that I have with my Senior Pastor can positively or negatively affect everything.  I value my friendship and the professional relationship that I have with my pastor, but I talk with youth workers all the time who don't have a good relationship with their senior leader.  Since I founded the Youth Worker Coaching Network over two years ago I've coached a number of rookie youth pastors who want to better their relationship with their boss and I sought ways to help them improve their relationship.
Regardless of where your relationship stands with your senior leader, you should take some time to celebrate your Senior Pastor for the work they do.  And in the spirit of celebrating Senior Pastors I thought I might offer my help to invest in the relationship between you and your boss too!
Here's what I've done...  I have spoken with my friends at Outback Steakhouse and they wanted to celebrate with us, so they've given me 2- $50 gift cards to giveaway here on the blog!   

[Go here] to find out how to enter this contest!  You are reading the old blog.  Subscribe to the new feed by clicking [here]. 

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[Video] The Key to Weight Loss

You may have heard the news that I announced my personal resolution to lose 100lbs by June 2013. I'm now 26 pounds down from my starting weight and I just joined the competition over at YouthPastorDiet.com, a 90-day challenge for youth workers to lose weight! But it's about to get serious up in here.  I just found this video online and it may just be the key to weight loss!  

Why have I not tried the "Lion" before?   

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4 Indispensable Qualities of a Staff Pastor

No job is ever secure in ministry. In fact, just two short years ago I  found that my position was on the cutting board due to major cutbacks in my local church. Since that time I've tried to lead as best I could from the second chair and serve my team to the best of my ability.  The last few years have definitely stretched me and have made me a better leader.  But it's called me to question (and also put me on the search to find the answers) for what churches really need as they go through difficult seasons as an organization. 

When churches are making decisions to hire (or fire) staff, particularly in this economy, I believe they are looking (or should be looking) at qualities beyond a specific gifting or skill set. They must look for indispensable qualities, indicative of a staff member that can thrive in whatever season you are in as a church.  So I've come up with a list of 4 indispensable qualities every staff pastor should have.  And yes, as a current staff pastor, I also realize I am holding myself accountable to these 4 qualities as a leader...  [You are subscribed to the old blog. To read the 4 Indispensable Qualities, click here]

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#GoingSocial on Social Media Church Podcast

I was recently interviewed by DJ Chuang on the Social Media Church podcast about my new book, Going Social.  We had a great conversation about the book and I'd love to share it with you.   Go [here] to listen to the podcast.

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My Weight Loss Revolution

((Left: Front pic of me at 277 pounds; Center: Headshot of me at 296 pounds; Right: Profile pic of me at 277 pounds))                               
I'm on a mission.  I'm on a mission to revolutionize my life!   Over the last few months I've made significant changes in my world -- physically, spiritually, financially -- and I'm shaking things up! Today I'm sharing about my mission to change my health... [click [here] to read the full post on my brand-new blog!] 
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5 Questions with Mark Oestreicher

Mark Oestreicher ((or "Marko" as I like to call him)) is a youth worker at-large and founder of the Youth Cartel - an organization that is seeking to instigate a revolution in the world of Youth Ministry. You can connect with him on his blog at www.whyismarko.com

I caught up with my friend, Marko, recently to see how things were going at The Youth Cartel. I asked him 5 questions about the upcoming Summit in Atlanta, GA.   I thought I would share with you his responses: 

1. What is the Summit?   It's a youth ministry training event; but our intention has always been to do something very different than the many other excellent training events offered in the youth ministry world. For those familiar with TED (http://www.ted.com/), you can probably see how it was somewhat of an inspiration for The Summit. We want to stir imaginations and spark creativity in thinking about each attendee's unique context. We're not promoting a particular approach, or suggesting a methodology, because we firmly believe that--today, more than ever--those approaches and methodologies need to be spiritually discerned, unique, and contextually appropriate. So, think of The Summit as the "chemical agent" intended to bring about a combustable reaction leading to change! 

 2. How does the event set itself a part from other Youth Ministry conferences?   To be clear, The Summit is not a "skills training" event. It's an IDEA event. We believe that by bringing together a group of carefully selected presenters, each giving short, concise talks based on ideas that should shape our thinking and practice, youth workers will leave buzzing with applicable and unique thoughts about the "new things" God might want to do in their ministries. To that end, each of the first three sessions will have five or six presenters, each giving a 12 - 15 minute talk on an area of expertise. Each session is grouped under a theme umbrella; so there's a sense where the presenters in each session will each share a unique facet of the same cut gem. After each of these sessions, attendees will self-select one of the presenters with whom to spend another 45 minutes in what we're calling "Digging Deeper." The presenters are preparing these times not as further lecture, but as a guided interaction toward contextualization for everyone in the room. 

This is NOT the full post, please click [here] to read the full post.  You can go [here] to subscribe to the new feed! 

This event sounds so good! Go [here] to register for the Summit now!   

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Manic Monday Minute

This is only an exerpt of the Manic Monday Minute! It's published on my brand-new blog. To read the full post, please click [here]. Go [here] to subscribe to the new feed!

Youth Ministry Legacy

I think about making an impact and the legacy I'm leaving (er not leaving...) a lot. And I do mean a lot! I shudder to think about the possibility that time would pass me by and students (and adults) who have been a part of our ministry would not be impacted in some way as a result of my leadership. I so desperately want to make a difference. I want to leave a legacy... [Click here] to read the rest of this post.

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Review Of #GoingSocial by Matthew McNutt

Matthew McNutt recently shared a review of my book #GoingSocial on his blog.  I'll share a couple of exerpts from his review here and you can go [here] to read the full post.
"Crawford does a great job of introducing the concept of using social media for ministry, the value in doing so, and the cultural relevance. He also does a great job of tackling some of the concerns people have that hold them back. The book is ideal for people with little to no social media experience or knowledge, as he carefully walks people through how to start using the major social media outlets out there. 
He also gives some great practical advice on how to take advantage of the many outlets out there; blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. I actually found myself putting down the book as I was reading it to make some immediate changes to some of the social media outlets our student ministry uses, and then jumping back into the book. #GoingSocial is a must have for church leaders! It’s a great book, and one that I will be passing on to the other leaders in my church to take a look at."  
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Manic Monday Minute

The Manic Monday Minute has returned! It's published on my brand-new blog. To read the full post, please click [here]. Go [here] to subscribe to the new feed!

The New TerraceCrawford.com

Check out the all-new TerraceCrawford.com, which launched recently, overshadowed by the release of  my new book, Going Social!  Many of you have found the new site and have already subscribed to the blog.  If you haven't done so, make sure to subscribe today!  Hope you enjoy the new site!

The Next Best Thing

I had a great time at my first of several book signings for #GoingSocial today. Special thanks to ChickFila for hosting and for everyone who came out to support me. 
Today attendees were able to purchase my book (and get it autographed!) for $15.00.  That is a couple bucks off the retail price and, of course, they had no worries about shipping costs!  I had some books leftover so if you'd like the same deal (and can't make it out to one of the signings) I'll be glad to send you one and autograph it for you!   
Here's how it works: I will send you an AUTOGRAPHED COPY of my book, Going Social, as a gift for your donation of $15 or more here on my site!  Just click the "DONATE" icon in the sidebar, make a donation of $15 or more and I'll send you a copy (autographed!) in the mail. 
Thanks for helping me spread the word about the book and get this resource into the hands of as many leaders as possible! With your help, I know it is possible.  Go ahead... secure your copy today.

Book Signing Hosted by ChickFila

Going Social Book Now Available

My new book, Going Social: A Practical Guide on Social Media for Church Leaders, released today!   To celebrate, my publisher is giving away a FREE copy [here].  You must enter quick though... this contest is only up for two days!  

Going Social Book website [here].  LIKE #GoingSocial on Facebook!   Tweet #GoingSocial on Twitter!

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