FREE Easter Lesson from @YM360

My friends at YouthMinistry 360 have cooked up another great piece of curriculum just in time for Easter. This FREE lesson will help you share the message of Christ's glorious resurrection in a new light! The lesson helps you, the youth worker, tell the greatest story of redemption with a prepared outline, handouts, and a powerpoint presentation. Teenagers will walk away from this message having a better understanding of what Christ has done for them but will also see the thread of Love that has been woven throughout history.

Click [here] to download this FREE lesson now ... and also explore the other great resources from the folks at YM360.

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Win a FREE Ticket to the Orange Conference!

Are you attending the Orange Conference this year? If you've never heard of it, I'd encourage you to check it out. The Orange Conference is a premiere gathering of church leaders in Family Ministry (preschool, children, youth and senior leadership) presented by Orange, an organization that exists to equip churches in family ministry by providing strategy, resources, curriculum, and coaching.

I've really enjoyed attending the Orange Conference and I'm very excited to be a part of it again this year... and I want YOU to join me! I thought it would be fun to giveaway a FREE registration to the conference. You can win it here! (see details below)

Here are the details of the Conference:

Date: April 25-27, 2012
Location: Gwinnett Arena - Atlanta, GA
Here's how you can win the FREE registration in two-easy steps:

Step 1: Share this opportunity on Twitter or on Facebook!

Tweet this: RT @terracecrawford: Win a FREE ticket to the Orange Conference! #thinkorange #kidmin #stumin

Share this on Facebook: Win a FREE ticket to the Orange Conference! #thinkorange #kidmin #stumin

Step 2: Comment on this post and share in one sentence why you want to attend the Orange Conference. ((Link to your twitter status or Facebook status in the post!))

Please note:
*The deadline to enter is Tuesday, March 27th at 5:00PM EST. I'll use to determine a winner (your # will be based on the order you comment in) and the winner will be announced via Twitter just after 5.00PM EST on that same day.
*Airfare and hotel accommodations are NOT part of the giveaway. The "winner" receives one FREE registration to the Orange Conference.
*Only one entry (comment), per person, will be accepted.
*Entrants must follow both steps (Step 1 and Step 2 -- as outlined in the post).

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A Different Approach to Recruiting Volunteers

Recruiting volunteers is not easy for many youth workers. I'd like to encourage you to try a different way of recruitment next time you need to add volunteer staff. Here's a 3-step approach I tried recently with our student leadership team:

1. Ask your students WHO they would like to see on the team.
I gathered our student leaders together and asked them to identify one person (or at least one) that they would like to see help out in our ministry. Immediately they voiced the name of a person they highly respect and love. I heard things like "It would be awesome if they were a part of our ministry!" You're already off to a great start when you hear things like this...

2. Write down the names suggested and commit to pray over them.
Tell your students you would like to pray over the names and ask them to pray along with you. Ask God if these specific people should be a part of your student ministry.

3. Challenge the students to make the ask!
It makes all the difference in the world when the "ask" comes from the student. Why not challenge your students to go and ask the person they recommended if they would like to serve in Youth Ministry?

Follow these 3-simple steps, coach your students as much as you'd like in the process, and then see how God uses your teens to bring new volunteers your way! I only wish I would have let the students lead like this sooner.

Try this approach and comment on this post to let me know how it goes for you.

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The Summit: A New Event for Youth Workers

Have you heard of the Youth Cartel? It's a new youth organization led by two of my youth worker friends, Mark Oestreicher and Adam McLane. You really need to check out their website to learn about all of the things they offer, but one of the really cool things they are doing is putting together some great gatherings for youth workers.

Recently announced on their blog is a great, new event called "The Summit." It's a two-day gathering of youth workers to learn and dream together and its happening this November in Atlanta. I encourage you to check it out, visit the site often -- as new speakers are being added periodically -- and register!

I'd also encourage you to check out this quick promo video. Lean in... and listen to the bearded-Marko:

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Got Questions?

Got ministry questions? just launched a brand-new site recently where you can ask any ministry question that you have... and get some much needed feedback!

Go check out the site [here] and ask away! Oh... and if you are a youth worker, please tag your question under "youth ministry."

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10 Quick Ideas for Connecting with Students

I'm always encouraging youth workers to build into students and find ways to connect with teens. In the past week I've thought a lot more about how important it is for me to set staff up for success. If I don't properly coach volunteers, and share practical ways to do ministry, I'm inevitably setting them up to fail. With that in mind, I thought I'd jot down a number of quick ideas I had for developing relationships with students and share them with leaders.

Disclaimer: This list was written exclusively for small group leaders, but these tips could really apply to anyone who is looking to connect with teenagers.

10 Quick Ideas for Connecting with Students (in Your Small Group):

1. Start a Facebook Group for your small group only
Start a Facebook Group and change the privacy settings to make it a closed group ("secret group"), which will allow you to share prayer requests, etc and it will keep things private. Just keep close watch on your group and moderate what is posted.

2. Mentor them
Each student really needs a mentor. Why not spend an hour with a student each week? (or even 30 minutes!) It's really the best investment you could make with teens.

3. Post regularly (or even periodically) to the wall of your official Student Ministry Facebook page
Sharing a brief message on the Student Ministry Facebook wall shows the excitement you have for your group and also may appeal to other students outside your small group that you might not otherwise reach.

4. Host a "girls only" or "guys only" (whichever applies to your group) event and get them to invite friends
Hosting an event for your small group is a great way to build into your students.

5. Each lunch with students (at school, on weeekend, etc.) or meet them for coffee or ice cream after school
There is nothing like getting on their turf! Meeting up with students to grab a bite to eat or treat them goes a long way. (I've heard youth pastors like this too. ;-)

6. Have dinner with their family
This is a wonderful idea -- if you can secure an invite from the family to come over for dinner. You get to see what life is like for the student (at home) and get to build into their parents too!

7. Attend their extra-curricular activities (sports, dance, etc.)Students love when you support their interests. This is a great way to show you care... and let's face it, sometimes you might be filling in the gap for their parent by sitting on the sidelines when the parent can't make it to cheer on their child!

8. Send them text messages throughout the week (between Sundays\Wednesdays) to check-in and encourage them
Students really need to hear from caring adults throughout the week. Sending them a text or tweet during the week is a great way to show you are interested in them. Otherwise, your communication with them sounds like just a plea to get them to your event.

9. Work on a service project together
Working a project together really helps create community within your group and will help you connect with students individually too!

10. Attend student events\programs you might not otherwise attend
Don't be content to limit your interaction with students to the one or two events or programs you are normally a part of. Why not surprise them by showing up to other youth ministry events to participate?

What other great tips & ideas would you add to this list?

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#SYMC Highlights [Video]

Here are some great highlights from the National Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Louisville! [Click here] to check out the new website and to register for next year!

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#SYMC Speaker Notes: Jon Acuff

  • Jon Acuff runs a well known blog,
  • So excited I got to present with him this weekend!
  • He started out with some "Jesus Jukes" satire from his blog.
  • Why do we allow 1 negative comment to ruin 1,000 compliments? (I personally did that this weekend -- ugh!)
  • Who is attacking your ministry?
  • Who doesn't like you? (We can normally think of 'that' person right away)
  • Why do we react to vanity? (Gave example of Twitter spam: "Did you see the awful things said about you in this video???")
  • Whatever you do that is 90% perfect and is shared changes lives...
  • Many times when we give 100% and don't share it goes nowhere.
  • The drive to be a Christian celebrity is the worst drug.
  • God is not surprised by the ministry you are doing now (no matter how large or how small it may be)
  • God wants us to know that He knows our name... THERE'S YOUR FAME!
  • We believe that if people find out who we are, they will only abandon us.
  • What is fear afraid of?
  • Do you listen to the voice of comparison?
  • Never compare your beginning to someone else's middle. (I love that!) For instance, don't compare your ministry (especially if you are only 2 years deep into ministry... to someone who has done ministry for 20 years)
  • What are your voices saying?
  • Sometimes when God is quiet we think we have failed!
  • Did you notice in the story of the prodigal son that the father didn't say one word to the son who returned home? He only called for a celebration! We need more celebration.
  • The work YOU are doing is critical!
  • Listen to the one, true voice -- the voice of God!
This post contains my notes from the general session at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference.

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#SYMC Speaker Notes: Craig Gross

  • Craig is the founder of
  • He started off with a story about how his family was robbed once.
  • His family responded to this by adding alarms, traps (ok, made that one up), etc...
  • John 10:10
  • The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy!
  • Craig suggests that we let our sin write a letter to ourselves. Wow, that's deep!
  • He shared a video - "Letter from an Addiction"
  • Don't wait until you are sitting in rehab to make necessary changes in your life!!!
  • Responses to addiction:
  • -- Change your belief about yourself.
  • -- Be a better truth teller.
  • -- Protect yourself
  • -- Change your belief about God.
  • Think about your addiction (or obsession) in these terms: Do you want your wife and kids to be taken? Do you want to lose your job?
  • If you don't work hard to fight your addictions and the sin in your life you don't stand a chance!
  • Craig invited Jeffuhson Bethke to the platform to recite his spoken word piece, "Sexual Healing."
This post contains my notes from the general session at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference.

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Here's a little promo video for next year's Simply Youth Ministry Conference. Hope you can join us in INDY! Check out the [new site] that just launched! Registration now open!

You in? Leave your name and a link back to your blog!

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#SYMC Speaker Notes: Francis Chan

  • The investment of my youth pastor was monumental.
  • No one probably knows this guy but he dug deep and poured into me!
  • He understood "discipleship."
  • He got fired from his job because of his "numbers." He chose to focus on discipleship.
  • We all need to get realllly focused.
  • Francis told a story about a drugee he witnessed to for a while, named "James."
  • He told how God worked on James without him.
  • It's ALL up to God... it is HIS power that works in us!
  • Psalm 27:4
  • We are not good "dwellers." ((see Psalm 27:4))
  • If I got a transcript of your prayer for the last month would it be full of distractions?
  • Are you in love with Jesus?
  • John 15
  • I'm a simple man.
  • People try to talk us out of our faith...
  • Remember when you were a kid and you heard Bible stories and just believed?
  • Do you really believe John 14:12?
  • "Whatever you asks in my name I will do," says Jesus.
  • Do you ever get squashed down about what you can't do?
  • Talk to God! Ask in faith! Believe!
  • Do you believe this book (holds up Bible) literally?
  • As you look at kids in the face, don't forget the supernatural... believe the book!
  • Have the faith of the centurion! Remember that guy? He said "Jesus... you can just say the word and he will be healed!"
  • What would happen if we had that kind of faith?
This post contains my notes from the general session at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference.

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Watch the Simply Youth Ministry Conference LIVE!

If you can't join us in Louisville this weekend, I encourage you to watch the LIVE stream of the conference, beginning at 4:30PM later today. You can catch all general sessions plus some action going on between 1-6PM on Saturday and Sunday!

Follow my tweets for some play-by-play commentary and the #SYMC thread also.

If you're at the conference, I'd love to meet you. I'm doing a few workshops also and would love to see your face. Just look for my name on the infamous "yellow sheet" to get the times and locations.

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GroundSWELL Conference

I'm out in Louisville, KY speaking at the National Simply Youth Ministry Conference (LIVE blogging to commence!), but I really wanted to alert you to a FREE, online conference that you need to be watching today. It's called GroundSWELL and the speaker line-up is made up of all students! Gosh, we REALLY need to lean in and listen to this folks! My assistant, Seth Adams, is one of the speakers. You'll get to meet him at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference if you attend. =)

Here's a snapshot of the
GroundSWELL conference at

[Click here] to connect to A rebroadcast of the online conference will be held TODAY at 7:00PM EST.

Thanks to my friends at
Leadership Network for such an incredible event!

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