THE YOUTH CULTURE REPORT BLOG

Soul Provider

in Blog // written by // on November 27, 2017 // 0 Comments

Soul Provider

Youth Doing Ministry

I believe that it’s our desire as youth workers to see and encourage our students to do ministry. As Timothy Eldred says we want to see “youth in ministry.” Recently one of our students revealed to us a burden that God has placed on her heart.

I would like to encourage parents and youth workers to help this little girl out in her ministry. Below is a short snapshot of how she is trying to fulfill God’s calling in her life.

“I just want to help out kids who don’t have shoes.  When I heard about the little girl who still has a pair shoes our ministry gave to her two years ago it touched my heart”

At age 12, I, Ashley Diane, am going Barefoot with a Cause and giving up shoes to raise awareness for those who don’t have any shoes during the next year.  Many children in Ghana do not own even one pair of shoes.

I might not be able to change the world but with your help we can change the lives of many children in Ghana. With your assistance, we can provide kids with protection for their feet and provide them with the message of Jesus to bring comfort to their souls.

How can you help me? Consider a financial donation or a donation of slightly used shoes to Soul Provider.  All financial donations are tax deductible and all monies will go towards providing shoes to kids in Ghana.

Please make checks out to: V2H (memo Soul Provider) and mail to V2H 2046 Khyber Pass Snellville GA 30039.

Slightly used shoes should be mailed to:
V2H c/o New Vision Church 479 Inman Road Fayetteville Georgia 30215

 

Mike Liebler
President Of The Youth Culture Report

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RIP Joel Stigale: Youth Ministry Legend

in Blog // written by // on August 16, 2016 // 0 Comments

Well done, good and faithful servant!

It was an honor to work with Joel for so many years with Miami Youth For Christ and to have the privilege of supporting his ministry. Joel was a Legend, He was Jesus in the flesh to so many.

The following is a social-media snapshot of what others are saying.

Mike Liebler: President of The Youth Culture Report

Joel David Stigale, born November 6, 1974, was called home and received ULTIMATE HEALING at 8:56pm on the Lords’ Day, Sunday, August 14th. He was surrounded by his family & friends and went into the arms of Christ peacefully as the warm afternoon sunlight streamed into his hospital room window. It truly was beautiful and God’s presence was felt powerfully.

Today is 9 months 1 day since Joel’s lung transplant and I feel like he was reborn in heaven today with a perfect body that will never get sick & will never die again.

It’s hard to find adequate words to express my gratitude to you all for being on this journey with us. Vivian Stigale

My heart is in anguish over the loss of my friend, Joel, but I mourn with hope for beyond what I see & feel. Joel did gang ministry back in the day & that led him to share that when it comes to trusting Christ… “It takes a minute to pray and a second to die.” Praying many kids… old & new… will take that minute to pray through the ripple effect of Joel’s life & physical death. Thank you for praying with me for him this last year. Now it’s time to#‎prayforCATALYST & his family.   April Lovins

My friend,my partner in…

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Join Us At The First Ever Open Atlanta Next Month!

in Blog // written by // on March 23, 2016 // 0 Comments

April 9th

@ Candler School of Theology

Hear George Lockhart from The Youth Culture Report talk: “Creatively Communicating Christ”

What is Open Atlanta? Open Atlanta is part of a movement of youth ministry events created to celebrate practical, front-line, local-to-local youth worker idea sharing and training.

Why is it so crazy cheap? “If it’s only $25 per person it can’t be any good, can it?” For the past five years Open events have happened all over North America (and a couple in France) for just $25 per person. How? No one gets paid. The speakers don’t get paid. We borrow space. We ask a small group of ministry partners to help us cover any other expenses. And we at The Youth Cartel donate our time. Even when these events are profitable we give the money away to a local youth-oriented charity. We believe everyone wins when it’s not about money. That’s why Open is so cheap. (And it’s always free if you’re in college or seminary.)

Interesting. Where can I learn more? 

Here’s the Open Atlanta homepage. Here’s the schedule. And here is where you register. And here’s a Facebook event if you’re into that kind of thing.

Questions? Email me – adam@theyouthcartel.com

See you in Atlanta in a few weeks!

Adam McLane (and the organizing team– Sam, Andrew, Joel, Jack, and Mike)

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How Is Your New Year’s Resolution?

in Blog // written by // on January 22, 2016 // 0 Comments

New Year’s Street Wisdom

by Victor Manuel Labrada

Some New Year’s street wisdom for y’all from someone who lost 75 pounds, gained 40 then lost 50 then gained 25 over the last decade:
1) Make resolutions that are measurable. Anything that is abstract, “be more creative,” “read more,” “lose weight” is likely to stay in the abstract. Resolve instead to “paint 20 paintings,” “read 40 books,” “lose 30 pounds.”

2) Use math to divide your resolution by 12. This sounds obvious, but you’re likely not going to read 40 books or lose 30 pounds in one month, or even six. Don’t listen to people who brag about accomplishing all of their goals in some boast-worthy time period; let them write a book about it, but don’t make their schedule yours. So divide by 12 and set a schedule. Where do you have to be February 1st so that you can achieve your goal by December 31st? Keep track of your progress.

3) Welcome accountability. If you could do it “on your own” you would’ve done it already.

4) Understand that you are resolving to form new habits, which is only slightly less difficult than changing the color of your hair through sheer willpower. Habits are difficult to re-form because you’ve spent decades forming the ones you already have, whether you know it or not. “First you make your habits, then your habits make you” only gets more true over time. So behind every resolution, think about what habit you are trying to re-form. What does that habit look like at 7am, what does it look like at 10pm? Will-power is like physical energy, most of us have more of it in the morning than in the evening, be aware of that as you are trying to form and eliminate habits. It takes about 66 days…

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Back To School Basics

in Blog // written by // on August 27, 2015 // 0 Comments

by George Lockhart

 

A sermon from a couple years ago but the principles still apply. Hope this helps students to live as #ONESENT as they enter a new year of missional living.

4 Back To School Basics Sermon

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How To Reduce Teen Sexual Activity

in Blog // written by // on December 1, 2014 // 0 Comments

How to Reduce Teen Sexual Activity

Jonathan McKee

 

A Baptist, a pediatrician, and an executive from Planned Parenthood walked into a bar to try to resolve how to reduce teen sexual activity…

I guess the first sign that this is a joke is the fact that a Baptist actually walked into a bar. Sadly, this has to be a joke, because everyone knows that there is no way that these three would ever listen to each other… even though all three of them would probably agree on the one practice that could reduce teen sexual activity.

It’s true. There is one habit parents could employ that would truly make a difference in the lives of teenagers today, equipping them to make better decisions in the area of sex and intimacy. It’s the one thing every expert agrees on.

That’s the funny part—agreeing on something. I spend anywhere from three to ten hours a week reading research and opinions about today’s teens and tweens. And when it comes to parenting practices, especially in the area of preventing teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections… no one agrees!

Except about one thing.

Last month Planned Parenthood supported research published in the Journal of School Health titled, Protective Effects of Middle School Comprehensive Sex Education with Family Involvement. The thrust of this report was simple: talk with your kids about sex.

Sure, Planned Parenthood thinks these conversations should probably be something like, “Since we know you can’t help yourselves and you’re going to have sex, then consider wearing a condom to protect yourselves.”

This, of course, gets conservatives all upset… so upset that they miss the kernel of truth in this approach: communication.

If we look at the polar opposite opinion of Planned Parenthood, you’d find abstinence educators like Pam Stenzel. Pam educates young people about the risks of sexual activity,…

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In Life And Death…Give Thanks

in Blog // written by // on November 27, 2014 // 0 Comments

In Life And Death…Give Thanks

 

“The boat is on fire!!  Do you see it?” That is what I told my wife as we were driving over a bridge on our way to a church a fews weeks ago. All that could be seen was a small cloud of smoke billowing up from one of the sailboats anchored in the harbor. My previous experiences with boat fires are that the boat quickly becomes an inferno which may be accompanied by an explosion.  I immediately cut across the other car lanes and pulled into aparking spot.

Even from a distance the smoke was getting visibly thicker and the flames growing bigger.  As I was running through the backyards of the houses along the water, I saw a mom on the boat.  She was screaming “My boy! HELP HELP!” The dad was bravely trying to enter the cabin of the boat but the flames were burning up towards his face. One of the houses had a dock and a woman stood at the end of it crying in disbelief as the horrific scene unfolded. She gave me a brief assessment of the situation and I dove into the water. Even though I was in shape my blue jeans were weighing me down as I tried to swim toward the boat.  I felt like someone might need to rescue me.  Off went my jeans  as I continued to swim as hard and fast as I could.  As I approached, two men in a small dingy boat were yelling to the couple “Get off the boat; it’s gonna explode!”  I was able to feel the heat and smell the smoke from the flames. However, I knew the mom and dad were feeling more pain than smoke inhalation and burns can ever give. Finally, when all hope…

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Changing The Trajectory Of Your Youth Ministry

in Blog // written by // on October 7, 2014 // 0 Comments

Changing the Trajectory of Your Youth Ministry:

From a ministry to students, to students having ministry to the world.

by John Vandervelde

 

In 1994 Doug Franklin, a youth pastor in Wheaton, IL, launched a non-profit organization called LeaderTreks in his basement.  That summer Doug and a small staff ran 4 mission trips for churches that were looking for something more out of their annual summer trip.  These youth workers were looking for more challenge, deeper discipleship, intense spiritual growth, and real leadership development for their students.  LeaderTreks delivered those things then, and we continue to deliver them today, in fact, 20 years later we’re still working with those 4 original churches…as well as over 3,500 more.

 

Today LeaderTreks runs leadership development focused mission trips and wilderness trips all over the world for youth ministries.  We lead unique, experiential leadership-training events at churches, colleges, and high schools.  We’ve created Refuel Retreat, a youth worker training event unlike any other because we love and care for youth workers and we want to help them be the best they can be as they lead their ministries.  We produce over 150 different curriculum resources designed specifically for youth ministries.  We have resources for Disciple Now events, mission trips, bible studies, mentoring relationship, small groups, and just about every other topic you can think of in youth ministry.

 

We run these programs and offer these resources because we love students.  We love it when they come alive and lead.  Because we love students we also love the youth workers who are in the trenches with them 52 weeks a year.  We are passionate about youth workers succeeding.

 

In my work at LeaderTreks one of my favorite questions to ask a youth worker after I get to know them a little bit is, “So…

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DO I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUTH CULTURE?

in Blog // written by // on September 23, 2014 // 0 Comments

DO I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUTH CULTURE?

 

By Walt Mueller

 

I think I’m your average looking fifty-six year old man. That might be why I get so many funny looks when I go to the mall. The cashiers and people in line behind me either think that I’m a crazed middle-aged maniac, some kind of creeper, or a terrible father. On one mall excursion several years ago I stood in line at the book store to purchase a stack of magazines including YM, Seventeen, Cosmo Girl, Teen, Rolling Stone, and Tattoo Savage. When I catch people curiously glancing back and forth between me and my armload of goodies I quickly utter what I’m sure comes off sounding like a pretty lame excuse – “I study youth culture for a living.” I can always tell what they’re thinking – “Yea, right.”

 

But is it really that important to know today’s youth culture? And why do I feel it’s so important to convince you as a youth worker to do the same? The answers are many. Here are four.

 

First, there’s a divine given that is non-negotiable. Youth workers have no option but to go into the world of their children and teens. Jesus said, “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life. . . instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20, The Message). Today’s youth culture is a cross-cultural mission field that groans for redemption. While youth culture is a mission field that’s near (right in our own churches and homes!), it is also far – far from what we ever experienced or knew when we were passing through our own adolescent years. Our initiative must include the resolve to go…

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Bold Parenting: Book Review

in Blog, Youth // written by // on February 10, 2014 // 0 Comments

Bold Parenting: Book Review By Mike Liebler

Lars’ goal is to help parents focus on the meaning of “bold” faith and
reevaluate their cultural priorities in order to pass on life-
sustaining faith to their children. “Our own faith journey is probably
the most important thing that needs to be worked out in order for us to
pass on bold faith to our children.” Despite being a veteran in youth
ministry and a parent, he is willing to be honest and transparent about
his own personal faith and parenting weaknesses. His book is a guide
for parents who need to know they are not alone in this faith journey.

If I were to boil the book down to one word it would be modeling.
Lars writes about the importance of parents modeling faith to their
children. He also discusses the negative impact of poorly modeled
faith. Unlike bold faith “living for and with Jesus,” parents teach
moralism devoid of the gospel and a God who is not viewed as
omnipresent and omniscient.

His second section covers encouraging children to take steps of
faith boldly. Parents must believe and act upon a true and living God
taking steps of faith boldly before the eyes and ears of their
children. Next, Lars provides practical tips to help children
experience and express their faith and provide opportunities to help
them own their faith.

Most parents do not have the time to read all the latest studies
and books on developing faith of adolescents and children. Dr. Lars
Rood has done the heavy work for parents. He understands the issues
hindering children from having bold faith and provides parents and
youth workers with practical…

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The Growth of Global Youth Ministry

in Blog // written by // on October 7, 2013 // 0 Comments

Terry Linhart

The Growth of Global Youth Ministry

The growth of Christian youth ministry around the world has been nothing short of phenomenal. In regions where strategic ministry to youth barely existed 20 years ago, you’ll now discover well-organized ministries with established histories of effectiveness. Where none existed ten years ago, a group of adults works to establish a steady presence among the young people in a community. A quick Internet search will reveal a growing number of international conferences (like The Youth Cartel’s Open Paris) and regional summits on youth ministry, often coordinated by significant cross-national support networks (like Especialidades Juveniles and Global Youth Initiative). Universities and seminaries are developing courses related to global youth ministry and the International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry continues to flourish and expand its service for these academic initiatives.

Randy Smith of Youth Ministry International once said, “97 percent of the world’s formally trained youth workers live and work in the United States, ministering to less than 3% of the world’s youth population.” In 1992 it was an accurate assessment and used as a refrain to encourage North American youth leaders to invest in youth ministry overseas. However, the remarkable and exponential growth of youth ministry around the world over the last 22+ years has caused many to recognize that this stat has changed significantly. And that’s exciting.

The youth of the world present one of the greatest challenges and opportunities for the church today. Half of the world’s population is under the age of 25, a percentage that will grow before it gets smaller. In some countries, more than 70 percent of the population is younger than 25, and 90 percent of those live in developing countries. Despite its size, it’s not an economically powerful group. More…

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Miley…She’s A Wreck…And So Are We!

in Blog, Youth // written by // on September 18, 2013 // 0 Comments

 

Things I’m learning from Miley Cyrus and about myself.

Here’s a bit George Lockhart wrote for The Youth Culture Report.

No one would debate the fact that there has been more than a hurricane of hub-bub over Miley Cyrus during the last several weeks. Her appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards catapulted her to more than water cooler conversation in a matter of minutes! Since then, her newest release Wrecking Ball (viewer discretion advised) has garnered more than 95 million views on VEVO, earning her the top spot for the week of September 8.

As I’ve been listening to and reading through more than a few articles about Miley, I thought I’d take some time and see what could possibly benefit us all from her recent activities and direction in life. As I did I looked at her songs as windows into culture as well as her soul. They are her way (as for all artists) to bear her soul, philosophy and belief system to a world that is groping for the next new thing.  As you read, you may be surprised by what you hear and see not just about Miley but yourself…just like I did.

miley_cyrus_twerking_vma_awards_thg_130827_16x9t_608

 

Please click on the title below to read more..

Miley…She’s A Wreck…And So Are We!

 

George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as student pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA

 

 

 

 

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Why Readers of The Youth Culture Report Should Attend The Summit

in Blog // written by // on September 9, 2013 // 0 Comments

 

Mark Oestreicher

 

Let me be blunt about this: I totally dig The Youth Culture Report. I’m constantly recommending it to youth workers. I use the web version, the iPhone app, and the iPad app. It’s become one of my favorite and most reliable places to browse content that can and should be forming my ongoing thought development about youth ministry.

 

And I can easily imagine the type of youth workers who also use YCR. They are (you are!) thoughtful. They are open to inputs from a variety of sources that will cause them to think in new ways. They crave ideas, big and small.

 

And that sort of youth worker is who The Summit was created for.

 

Of course, youth workers need skill training. There are other events for that (and other websites).

 

Of course, youth workers need game and event ideas, and curriculum suggestions. There are plenty of other sources for that.

 

But TYC specializes, as does The Summit, in sparking imagination and provoking thought. That’s why YCR’s partnership on this event makes such good sense.

 

You might be asking, so what IS The Summit? Well, if you’ve ever watched a TED talk online, you would have an idea of what this event is like. We have 18 presenters all giving laser-focused, intentionally provocative talks, all aimed at helping you to think in new ways. We say it’s like rocket fuel for your imagination, and last year’s inaugural event proved that to be 100% true (based on the response from those who attended). On top of that, The Summit has the most diverse group of presenters I’ve ever seen at a youth ministry event.

 

So: if you like having your imagination ignited and your creative thinking about youth ministry sparked, then we really hope you’ll join us (The Youth Cartel, The Youth Culture Report, and a…

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Celebrating The Capabilities Of Early Adolescence

in Blog, Youth // written by // on August 27, 2013 // 0 Comments

By Adam McLane

YouthWorkers Lessons From The Little League World Series

 

It’s the bottom of the 5th inning, the score is tied at 4, and with one swing of the bat Japan takes an insurmountable lead against the American team from Chula Vista to become champions.
It is, of course, the Little League World Series. For a few weeks each summer cable sports is dominated by 12-13 year olds fighting for their chance to be world champions.

 

It’s a fascinating cultural phenomenon. For a few weeks each summer millions of people sit in front of the television to watch 7th graders compete. Why do we do that? And what can we learn from watching them that’ll help us engage with the 7th graders in our own lives?

 

  1. Early adolescents are physically capable. Of course, not all early adolescents are as capable as the boys in the Little League World Series. But the LLWS is a great reminder of the strength and fine motor skills that early adolescence brings. Even though the players are sometimes vastly different sizes they can still throw the ball 70 miles per hour, hit a homerun 230 feet, or pick off a runner at home plate from left field. Don’t underestimate what the middle schoolers in your life can do physically.
  2. Early adolescents are mentally capable beyond cultural expectations. When I talk to youth workers who don’t really like being around middle schoolers they have a tendency to underestimate what middle schoolers can handle. These young men play smart baseball! Emotionally, when you watch the boys play in the LLWS you are seeing them deal with pressure, joy, sadness, being a part of a team, and a whole lot more. But you can also see that it’s not quite adult-like. One of the things we all love about watching them…
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Growing Pains of the Achy Breaky Heart

in Blog, Media Entertainment // written by // on August 26, 2013 // 0 Comments

By Dan Istvanik

 

“Growing Pains of the Achy Breaky Heart and 4 Other Thoughts About the VMAs

 

What must Alan Thicke (the father “Growing Pains” and the father of Robin Thicke) and Billy Ray Cyrus (the father from “Hannah Montana” and Miley Cyrus)have been thinking as their two children took the stage last night at the MTV Video Music Awards.  Miley taking the stage in her immodest teddy bear outfit twerking it for all she thinks she is worth.  Robin then joining her on stage to further “blur the lines” of censorship, appropriateness and what is and is not music.

The worse question for us in youth ministry is what were our students thinking and what are they thinking now as the highlights of the night blow up the media world.  As we work with the young women and young men of our youth ministries going through the “growing pains” of spiritual maturity, will this just further “blur the lines” of who God has created them to be in His image.  I know for me as a Jr. High/Middle school youth pastor it just breaks my heart for both my students and for a world that needs hope.

Thinking Outside the Box, Inside the Box.

In her effort to continue to be artistic and edgy, Lady Gaga tried to think outside the box by literally starting off the show in a box…at least her head.   Quite honestly, that is pretty much sums it up, Lady Gaga once again kept her head “in the box”.  Her tired, worn out dance routines and simply, ridiculous on-stage wardrobe changes as she started off the night were just unfortunate.  Staying true to form she kept the most ridiculous outfit on, a shell string bikini, the rest of the night as she sat in her seat watching the rest…

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Popular Teen App Spotlight: Ask.fm

in Blog, Youth // written by // on August 26, 2013 // 0 Comments

By:Dave Rozman

 

In elementary school, I remember being tapped on the shoulder and handed a note. The note had my name on it and had been passed anonymously from someone in the room. Opening it up it read something like this: “Do you like A) Christina, B) Sally or C) Jen?” I was to circle who I liked and then send the note back.

As I moved into middle and high school, the same style of anonymous questions continued. But now they were often asked by a peer who had been sent on a secret mission to figure out who I liked for their friend.

I remember two distinct feelings during these situations. First I would usually blush, get embarrassed and a little giddy inside thinking that someone may like me more than just as a friend. My second feeling was that of uncertainty and fear. “What if I circled a name and it was not the person who sent the note? Would they be upset? Would they tell the person whose name I circled that I liked them?”

These experiences, although somewhat anxiety ridden, felt more like a childish game than anything else.

Times have changed since I was young. Youth’s ability to utilize technology and social networking sites causes these types of encounters to be more secretive (as far as who is asking the questions) and more public (who can see the questions and answers) through apps and websites.

A few years back, the website Formspring (now going by Spring.me) was all over the news. It is a website popular with teens that allowed users to ask each other anonymous questions. It quickly got on the radar of all parents and youth workers because of the harassment that was occurring on the site.

Now a new website and popular app called Ask.fm

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3 Things Boys Must Know About Sexuality: Part 3

in Blog // written by // on June 12, 2013 // 0 Comments

By  Aaron Buer

 

Pornography

For the last two days I have been writing about how to talk to boys about sex.   Be sure to check out the previous two posts.

Unfortunately, parents and youth workers need to talk directly about pornography because it is everywhere.  It isn’t enough to repeatedly tell them, “NO!”  Pornography is so compelling and pervasive that boys need further understanding on why it is dangerous because everyone else is telling them that it is fine and actually good.  Here’s how I have talked about it with the boys in our student ministry.

 

  1. Dangerous Days

I am convinced that there has never been a more difficult time in the history of the world for a guy to protect his sexuality.  Our culture is obsessed with sex.  Sex is used to sell everything from clothes to deodorant.

But the greatest threat to purity isn’t what’s found in commercials but rather what is found on private screens.  If you have a smart phone you can access pornography anytime, anywhere, for free.

  1. You Are Not Alone

According to the research I’ve read, 98% of American males, middle school age and up have viewed pornography.  It’s next to impossible to grow up in our culture and not see pornography.

If you are a parent, this means you must change your approach to pornography.   Instead of creating boundaries and hoping he never makes that bad choice, you need to prepare for the inevitable.  What will you do to help your son process what he has seen?  And how will you help him untangle himself from the grip of pornography?

  1. Consequences

Because we as guys are designed by God to be fascinated with the female body and because we, especially as young men have a powerful sex drive, pornography is incredibly dangerous.  Research shows that 50% of us are addicted to…

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3 Things Boys Must Know About Sexuality: Part 2

in Blog // written by // on June 11, 2013 // 0 Comments

By  Aaron Buer

Guys Crave Respect

Yesterday I began a series on how to talk to boys about sex.  Boys need much more than a one time talk or a once a year teaching on sex.  They are constantly being bombarded with cultural messages about the nature of sexuality.  If we as parents and youth workers remain silent we are condoning what they are hearing.

Today, I want to share something that all guys need to understand about sex:  It’s isn’t actually sex that you really want.  It’s something else.  This is why many guys remain unsatisfied even if they experience a lot of sex.  Want to know what it is that you really want?  Keep reading.

  1. Significance

As guys, we want our lives to matter.  We want to be significant.  And, this is the way we approach relationships.  When it comes to a relationship, we want respect.

What is respect?  We want the woman we love to be proud of us.  We want to be considered worthy of her loyalty and love.  It’s really that simple.  If you think about it, that’s all we want out of life.  We wanted our dads to be proud of us.  We wanted our teachers and coaches to be proud of us and we want our girlfriends and wives to be proud of us.

If you are a woman, understand this:  If you show your man that you are proud of him on a regular basis, it will revolutionize your relationship.  All men have a little boy inside of them that just wants someone to be proud of them.  Most of what we do is designed to make you proud.  As childish as it sounds, the more you think of us like a little boy who needs a pat on the head and a proud smile, the better.  Praise…

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3 Things Boys Must Know About Sexuality: Part 1.

in Blog // written by // on June 10, 2013 // 0 Comments

By     Aaron Buer

God Invented Sex

Most parents are terrified to talk to their boys about sex.  Some don’t even try.  Those who do try often have one extremely awkward conversation about the mechanics of sex and then consider the job done.

In this over-sexed culture our kids need multiple conversations and they need far more than just the mechanics.  The good news is that research shows that boys would still rather learn about sex from their parents than anywhere else, including friends.  In other words, if you’re a parent, he’s waiting for you to speak up!

Over the next three blogs, I’ll like to share a bit of how I talk to boys in our student ministry about sex and how I plan to talk to my sons.  I hope you find it helpful.

 

  1. The Best Idea Ever

God invented sex.  No, for real.  At some point God called his angels around and said, “I just had an idea.  A really good idea.  No Gabriel, way better than volcanos.”  OK, I know that’s not how God actually works, but God did invent sex.  It was His idea and it was an awesome idea—probably the awesomest idea ever.

I grew up in extra conservative churches.  We took our fundamentalism pretty seriously.  Growing up, all I ever heard about sex was that you shouldn’t do it before marriage and if you did you were basically a horrible person.  And what about sex after marriage?  Well, I guess that is OK but you better not ever talk about it you sicko.

One day I had the realization that God invented sex and it existed before sin and I’m pretty sure Adam and Eve were having a pretty amazing time before they ate the fruit.

  1. Better than Rainbows 

Growing up I always felt dirty for being…

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Is Warning Teens About Dangerous Stunts Effective: Rachel Blom

in Blog, Youth // written by // on May 15, 2013 // 0 Comments

By     Rachel Blom

Just today I read an article about the so-called ‘cinnamon challenge’, where teens have to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon without water. It’s becoming a bit of a trend, with many YouTube videos more or less promoting it. Doctors are warning about the dangers though, which include breathing problems and even the risk of a collapsed lung.

As a youth worker, my first reaction to news like this is: I have to discuss this with my teens, I have to warn them about the dangers of this cinnamon challenge to make sure they never participate in it. But you have to wonder: is warning teens about dangerous stunts effective?

Research shows it is, when you warn them the right way.

We all know that teenage brains aren’t fully grown yet. That doesn’t mean teens can’t calculate the risks of their actions though. As a matter of fact, teens tend to overestimate the risks of their actions compared to adults.

The big difference between teens and adults however is that teens have far more tolerance for the unknown and for unknown risks. Research shows that when the risks are known, teens take fewer risks than adults, but when the risks aren’t clear, teens will go for the new experience despite a general risk.

A second difference is that for teens the ‘rewards’ weigh completely different than for adults. Especially young teens have trouble weighing the risks against the rewards, because they value new experiences and the thrill (meaning dopamine release) so much.

It is effective therefore to warn teens about the risks of dangerous behavior, for instance this cinnamon challenge, or other trends that have come along. But this warning is only effective when the risks are clearly communicated in terms teens can understand. Statistics don’t mean anything to them, but…

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Overreaction or Interaction?

in Blog // written by // on January 25, 2013 // 0 Comments

By Jonathan McKee

“I don’t know why you spend any time looking at pop culture. All you need to know is in the Bible!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that accusation. Just last week I blogged about the number one song teenagers are listening too and received criticism for even bringing it to attention.

Is pop culture something we even need to pay attention to?

The Apostle Paul did. In Acts, Chapter 17, Paul went to Athens. While he was waiting for others, he did his normal routine, walking around the city and learning about the culture of the people he wanted to reach.

As Paul took in his secular surroundings, his reaction is noteworthy:

  1. He was distressed: Paul walked around Athens looking at the idols and listening to the pagan poets; and verse 16 cites “he was distressed” with what he observed. I don’t know about you, but I can relate to that. When I look at what young people are gleaning from today’s music, the over-consumption (dare I say addiction) of social media, or even the way young girls are choosing to dress today… as a parent of three teenagers, I’m distressed! The question is, how should adults respond?
  2. He used their culture as a discussion springboard to get to the Gospel: Some people might have expected Paul to start knocking idols over and kicking Athenian butt. Instead, Paul reasoned with them in the synagogues and in the marketplace. And when he began to talk to the crowds in that famous speech on Mars Hill, he started with their culture, using it to open the door to talk about Jesus. He basically said, Hey guys, I notice you are really religious—I can see that by all the idols you worship. You’ve been even worshipping an…
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