3 Small Things That Make Big Differences at Retreats


I recently spoke at a weekend youth retreat for Gospel Centre and I was again reminded of the importance of retreats in the rhythm of the youth calendar. However, just because they are important doesn’t mean that we always make the most of these opportunities.

The problem is that we see the importance so we try to do big radical things to get the most out of the weekend.  The results are often scattered.  What would happen if there were three small things we could do that would have a big impact?

Here are three of those small things you can do at your next retreat.

These “Beauties” Share 3 Surprising Secrets

The things you see on Face Book! One of them that I see more than others is every female student or young adult commenting on photos of their friends as, “beauties” or gorgeous and, of course, they have to return the compliment.

Since teens discovered face book and made their profile public, there has never been as much pressure on girls to measure up. Some have made incredible efforts to take shots that put them in the best possible light. Selfies that flatter and photo-shopped pictures to make the perfect glamour shot, are everywhere. And, as you know, some have crossed lines of modesty and decency…

But I believe these photos and the telling comments reveal 3 surprising secrets that every parent needs to see

How to Stop Stumbling from One Video Series to the Next & Free Giveaway!

Most of us use a hit or miss approach to teaching in our student ministries. We latch on to the best new video series out there and look for the next before this one runs out. What is the result, after three years of our patchwork teaching? What have our high  school students got as a foundation for life, when we are done with them? Is there a better approach? I think there is!

Photo Credit: Cayusa via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Cayusa via Compfight cc

The Challenge

I was challenged by my prof, Dr. John Wilkinson, to do better than that. He asked us to compile a list of 100 Characteristics Every Fully Discipled Teen should develop in 3 years under our teaching. I was skeptical that it could be done! Like there are 100 attitudes, behaviors, and truths that every student should have when they left my ministry?! Really?!

Well, I took the challenge. Do you have any idea what I came up with? I am dying to share it with you!

SEX – too little or too big of a deal?


If you work with students the topic of sex is bound to come up.  Doug Fields has a joke where he says students want to know about sex and end times and if you can have sex during the end times.

The question I often get is, “What’s the big deal about sex?”  Do we make too big of a deal about it or do we not make enough of a deal about sex?

Unfortunately, I think society and even the church only talk about and address the surface of this issue.  Paul however digs deep into the results that sex actually have in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

I think when we address sex, as Paul did, we will be making the proper deal of a subject that is sensitive but extremely important.  Let’s look at what Paul said.

3 Attitudes That Will Create a Successful Short-Term Missions Trip

I just recently returned from a short term missions trip

… in New York City with a team of 30.  It had fun, frustrating, and impacting moments throughout it.  However, I think it was a huge success because there were three attitudes we constantly reminded ourselves of.  I think these three attitudes are the differences between a good and a bad trip.

3 Things Parents can do about Teens, Texting and Intimacy

As you have probably noticed, teens are texting instead of calling. They have on average 300 face book friends but few intimate confidants. The result “is a decline in intimate friendships, Patricia Greenfield a UCLA researcher says. Instead, many young people now derive personal support and affirmation from “likes” and feedback to their postings.

“The whole idea behind intimacy is self-disclosure. Now they’re doing self-disclosure to an audience of hundreds.” says Greenfield 

As I talk to parents of teens, they say, “That’s just the way it is. What can we do about it?” What I am learning is that there is a healthy way to help teens communicate better.

Three Things the Olympics Taught on How to be a Better Youth Worker

Photo Credit: kenyee via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: kenyee via Compfight cc

I won’t lie, I love it when the Olympics are on.  All TV watching rules are thrown out of the window in our house and we consume hours upon hours of watching athletes compete for their country.  It is exciting, patriotic and exhilarating to watch.  The two weeks never seem to be long enough.

This year as I was watching the Winter Olympics I realized these athletes could teach us something on being a better youth worker.