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Rick Warren on CBS' Early Show

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posted by Joshua Griffin @ 6:01 PM |

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AIDS Youth Summit at Saddleback Tomorrow

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Spent a good part of the day getting ready for the AIDS Youth Summit tomorrow - going to be a great time. Details here!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 6:00 PM |

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Hillary was Here

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Thought this article from today's SF Chronicle (thanks for sending me the the link, Rob) had an interesting take on Hillary Clinton's visit today to the Saddleback Church AIDS Conference. I have to admit, it was cool see her and hear her speech today:

A wise man once said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven - and it used to be nearly as tough for a Democratic candidate to take a presidential campaign to a conservative evangelical church.

But Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton did just that today with a visit to one of the country's most influential megachurches that dramatized the new Democratic efforts to win support from evangelical voters the party once considered out of reach.

Clinton received a standing ovation before a full house at Saddleback Church at the annual Global Summit on AIDS and the Church hosted by the Rev. Rick Warren and his wife Kay. Warren, the youthful, bearded, bluejeans-wearing pastor who hails from San Jose, is the author of "A Purpose Driven Life" - which has sold more than 23 million copies and now ranks as one of the best-selling nonfiction books in history. The church he and his wife lead attracts as many as 20,000 attendees to its diverse Sunday services - Gospel, traditional, "worship rock," Polynesian and singles among them.

Last year, Warren welcomed Democratic Sen. Barack Obama to the stage here, and this year, the minister invited all presidential candidates in both parties to address his congregation on the HIV pandemic. With just five weeks until voting begins in the presidential nominating contest, only Clinton came in person; Republicans Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Mitt Romney, and Democrats Obama and John Edwards addressed the congregation through videos.

Clinton delivered an unusually personal, often emotional speech that quoted regularly from Scripture - and explored issues including her religious experiences.

"I was fortunate enough to be raised to understand the power and the purpose of prayer ... but had I not been, probably one week in the White House would have turned me into one," she said to laughs.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:05 PM |

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Free Christmas Stuff

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Watch this page for free Christmas stuff for your youth ministry in the coming days. Should be 12 or more of them when it's done.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:26 PM |

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1-Minute Bible Sale at Simply

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Simply Youth Ministry just put up their 1-Minute Bible on sale for $9.99 for the month of December to help students start the New Year off right. It's the best-selling resource in the store. Awesome!
The great thing about the One Minute Bible for Students is that you will never again get stuck in Leviticus for forty years. The One Minute Bible for Students moves you through the entire Bible—from Creation to the return of Jesus—in just ONE YEAR!

The One Minute Bible for Students won’t replace your Bible. It will inspire you to take side trips into your Bible to see what came before and what comes after the passage you just read. These bite-size servings of Scripture are sure to increase your appetite for God’s Word.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:13 PM |

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Podcast 61 is in the Can

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Just finished up recording the latest installment of the Simply Youth Ministry Podcast featuring Doug Fields and his Superfriends. It was great fun - look for it tomorrowish!

Also: listen to the show for a contest on how to be Matt's replacement on the podcast we'll shoot live at the Group Conference in Cincinnati if he can't make it.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:04 PM |

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The Wal-Mart Christmas Special

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I didn't even know this! How cool - from the press release:
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., in partnership with The Salvation Army, will broadcast a Christmas Carol Concert in all stores and Sam's Club locations on Dec. 7 via the retailer's in-store TV network. The Concert features a Christmas message from Pastor Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," and music by The Salvation Army's New York Staff Brass Band and the Wal-Mart associate choir.

Pastor Warren's message, which was specially recorded for Wal-Mart and Sam's Club shoppers, is at the heart of the Christmas Carol Concert to be aired on Wal-Mart and Sam's Club TV at 9:30 a.m. in all time zones. Wal-Mart and The Salvation Army approached Warren after the pastor gave a speech about the importance of giving back during The Salvation Army's NAOC Conference in April 2007. As part of the event, The Salvation Army recognized both Pastor Warren and Wal-Mart with the organization's coveted Evangeline Booth Award for excellence in spiritual leadership and corporate philanthropy respectively.

"The holiday season is a time of reflection and togetherness, and a time for all of us to gather with loved ones and count our blessings," said Pastor Warren. "I hope the Christmas Carol Concert, and my special Christmas message, will make this season extra meaningful for all who watch it."

You'll even be able to watch it online starting December 7th right here. Awesome!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:54 PM |

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Book Review: What Would You Do?

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Just finished up the book What Would You Do? by Kevin Mahaffy and really enjoyed it. Basically it's a collection of discussion starting questions from the likes of Doug Fields' Would You Rather? and Brian Schulenburg's Choose Your Top 3. It's something that I think you might thumb through when searching for a small group icebreaker, a table talk question in a big setting, or something to help you start some basic discussions with any student.

The questions range from the business world (What would you do if Apple put Microsoft out of business) to intensely personal (What would you do if you could one person back from the dead?). I enjoyed the book and think it would probably be a good tool to either give your small group leaders or have on your shelf when you need to find a quick connection point with someone. A-

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:54 PM |

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LiveBlogging the AIDS Conference at Saddleback

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My friend Tony is liveblogging the AIDS Conference this week here at Saddleback. So far he's posted a bunch of good stuff from John Ortberg, Rick and Kay Warren and more. Here's a clip from some of it, bookmark his blog for lots more through Saturday afternoon:
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:51 PM |

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Shhhhh ....

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I needed this today. You, too? Thanks Corey.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:36 PM |

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Fuel Pics

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Alanna just uploaded a ton of great pictures of the FUEL night CD recording session to her Flickr. Awesome!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:21 PM |

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A 20-Something in Youth Ministry

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Simply Youth Ministry has a great new article from Saddleback intern Josh Pease. Here's a clip of his thoughts about starting out in youth ministry.
I don’t know why they hired me. I was an over-confident, 23-year-old college grad with a pretty impressive resume, well impressive for someone going into journalism or political science. The “they” was a growing church in Texas that was running over 2,000 people on Sundays that needed an associate student pastor.

I had next-to-no experience in student ministry, but less than a month after I graduated from college, I found myself sitting in my own office, with my own nameplate, collecting a very generous salary. I should have been overwhelmed with gratitude. I should have been humbled by the church’s faith in me.

Nope.

However, I did get in an argument . . . with the senior pastor . . . over one of my radical, “change everything” ideas . . . in front of the entire staff . . . at my very first staff retreat.

Hi, my name’s Josh, and I’m an idiot.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:34 PM |

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Guy Talk, Girl Talk

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Just noticed that a couple of new resources are up on SimplyYouthMinistry.com. Check out Back Packs Volume 5 and more importantly, the exciting new Guy Talk, Girl Talk.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:55 PM |

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Indiana Jones Pics

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Nothing more needs to be said.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:54 PM |

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Do Not Let This End Today

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DO NOT LET THIS END TODAY. So where do I go from here? In my mind you’re next step could be any of these 5 things:
INITIATE – maybe your response is to simply say “yes” to God. Yes to a relationship with Christ, yes to what God is stirring in you. I hope you’ll talk to a youth leader nearby you at your location and talk about what God is doing in your life as a result of today.

EDUCATE – maybe today your big takeaway is to educate yourself and others around you to the HIV pandemic. Maybe you need to be the champion in your student ministry, the voice and heart in your church. Educate people about what is going on and how the church can and should respond.

PARTICIPATE – there are scores of ways to participate in your local community. Look for mission trips, local shelters, where ever there’s a need - volunteer somewhere to directly and physically help someone with HIV/AIDS.

DONATE – give yourself away. Give away your time – be present with someone. Touch someone with HIV/AIDS hug them with your body and embrace them with your heart. Give away your resources, your time your money. Give. Give it all.

PRAY – really, all of us should be doing this. Pray for those infected with AIDS. Pray for those that are affected by AIDS. Pray for the countries that are ravished by this pandemic. Pray for the church that it would respond like never before. Pray for leadership (of your church, your government) to make wise decisions. Pray for health and education of the helpless orphans. Pray that we will no longer sit but respond to the crisis.
And that’s the point of this whole day. RESPOND. We’ve had enough awareness. We’re all aware. It’s time to do something. And when you do, let us know about it and maybe you’ll be on stage at next year’s summit. See you then.

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:17 PM |

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Wing Clips Contest Ends Today

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Last chance to enter the contest from a couple of weeks ago courtesy of WingClips.com. Read the post here and you might win a free shirt!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:47 AM |

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Fuel Was Amazing

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Fuel was absolutely inspiring tonight. It was an amazing night of student-led bands, songs, worship, communion, scripture, challenge and inspiration. The CD will come out early next year, and it will be fantastic. Wow.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:03 PM |

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Gamerscore of 14,000

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My kids are getting better at videogames than I am. Thanks to them playing Screwjumper and Bionicle Heroes, our Xbox 360 Gamerscore just crossed 14,000 this morning. Yes!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:42 PM |

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Reverent Video Game Faces

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Marko had a great post about monk faces guys make when they play video games. Kurt has a strong follow-up to it, too. Enjoy them both!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:21 AM |

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Your Most Important Ministry

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Good post from Neil Benson over on the PDYM Blog today about his most important ministry. Here's an excerpt:
Can I encourage you to take the time with your spouse on a weekly basis to keep your marriage fresh and exciting? Think about all the times that you had when you were dating and you did your best to make that person fall in love with you… that was fun! What are you doing to keep your marriage fresh? Is your marriage in the right priority order? And lastly have your committed adultery on your spouse with the church? Take the time to repent and make the relationship whole again. Your spouse will always be there and that work you left at the office will be there tomorrow. Set up a “date night” and love on your spouse! The best thing we can do as leaders is keep our lives and marriages healthy.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:20 AM |

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The Unifying Cross

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I liked the new article on Christian Post today from Greg Stier. Here's a clip of it, thought this was the most interesting point:
1. The message of the cross unites our efforts.

I reminded the audience that whether they were Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, non denominational or other denominational if they have put their faith alone in Christ alone then we were united in a kind of communion of the soul by the torn body and shed blood of Christ. Whatever someone’s philosophy of ministry is (“I am of Doug Fields” or “I am of Ron Luce” or “I am of Duffy Robbins”) if they have put their faith in Jesus then we are blood brothers/sisters in Jesus.

The cross unifies our efforts without compromising our theology because on top of Mt. Calvary all of the great doctrines that make Christianity Christian come together.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:04 AM |

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Fuel - Live Recording Tonight

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Oh man, they've pulled out all of the stops for this one - Taffy and the student ministry bands are doing a live CD/DVD recording tonight and the place looks amazing. They've begged, borrowed or stolen so much great gear for the night - I'm super proud of their work and can't wait to go there tonight and listen in. Gonna be great!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:55 AM |

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Leaving a Legacy Video

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Thought this video would be good for a series on legacy or Beyond the Yearbook at the end of the school year.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:46 AM |

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Video Game Review: Undertow

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It isn't quite as good as I was expecting from some of the online hype, but it's still a teriffic new game exclusively in the Xbox 360 arcade. The kids and I downloaded it and beat the entire game in about an hour and a half, but there's some solid replay value there and it was great fun.

Basically it's a Geometry Wars style shooter with Territories from Halo mixed in - all set in the undersea domain. Super fun, genuinitely pretty creative and overall a solid presentation. The only big drawback was the quality of the voices, which must have been super compressed to make it in the game. Still though, I would take that over reading a ton of text.

Enjoyable, if quite short game. B+
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:36 PM |

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Crossed 13,000 Gamerscore

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Thanks to ripping through some games the past couple of weeks (read my Xbox 360's blog right here) my Gamerscore now tops 13,000. Yes!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:31 PM |

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New ETV Video

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This weekend we're playing a new video from the Extending the Vision campaign - this was based on the script I posted a week or two ago. It premieres Saturday night, be the first to watch it right here!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:53 PM |

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Group Conference Brainstorm

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Finished our first programming meeting for the Group Conference this Spring (get a promo code for it here) and it was a blast. Took a picture of the white board and Fields being goofy. Going to be so much fun!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:38 PM |

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Dinner Tonight

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So ... the kids hated Ratatouille. Of well, it looked nice.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:30 PM |

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FUEL Live Recording This Monday

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Our Saddleback students are doing a night of praise and worship this week (I get to lead communion, which is awesome). It is a combined junior and senior high audience and they're even recording it for a new CD to be produced by student ministries. It's going to be great!




JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:27 PM |

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Dear Annie,

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Dear Annie,

During the intern lunch today we had loads of fun putting things from Red Robin in your purse without you noticing. Sure you discovered the seasoning salt, but there was more - much more. Enjoy!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:35 PM |

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Random Programming Ideas

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Just thinking today about programming - any of these useful to you?
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:56 AM |

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What is Best for Our Students

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This is what is best for our students.

I'm a sucker for this line. What is says is that tradition is out the window if it doesn't work anymore. It says that what we need to do is stick with what has been working, even if we've done it for a hundred years.

It means that someone has done tons of research for this statement and has thought about both the positives and the negatives. They've answered the questions people will be thinking when they hear about a big shift in methodology. They are ready to stand by this, ready to fight for it to be the best.

Couple of warnings - don't say this if you won't stand behind it. Don't say this if you haven't done your homework. Don't say this unless you're willing to accept the blame of it bombs or not willing to share the praise when it succeeds.

Only do what is best for your students.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:04 PM |

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Black Friday

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I like looking at all of the sales flyers on Thanksgiving and scoping out for some good deals on the Friday after when the Christmas season officially begins. It gives me something to do until the intense belly swelling goes down. I just bought a 23 lb turkey last night - this year is going to be a feast and we've invited over friends who don't have family here in California. Should be a blast.

Noticed that online retailers are kicking it into high gear again this year as well. Avoid the crowd and visit this page on Black Friday for some amazing deals from Amazon.com.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:49 PM |

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New Incredible! Series on the Miracles of Jesus

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There's a new resource on Simply Youth Ministry today - it is basically a junior high version of their He Did What series. The main focus is the miracles of Jesus - when we first brainstormed the series a while ago we did it with "The Incredibles" (Pixar) look and feel which was fun, too.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:21 PM |

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Ratatouille for Dinner Tomorrow

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Just picked up the ingredients for ratatouille - it is a peasant dish from long ago recently featured in my kid's new favorite movie from Pixar. What's fun about it is they asked for it for dinner in real life after watching the DVD last night as a family. Apparently what was true about the ingredients back then (super cheap) is still true today. I picked up most of what I needed for about $7.

I'm following this receipe, and I'll try to serve it like they did in the movie. Should be fun ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:26 PM |

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Anonymous Isn't Insignificant

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The best ministry in the world is being done by complete unknowns. The best churches in America will never make it on those lists of the 'fastest-growing' or 'most influential.' Some of the best writers write for their own congregation, and speakers that speak to their own people and not a vast worldwide television audience. Amazing impact is happening in little known congregations. Some of the most caring and Jesus-like people are serving selflessly today without a second thought about their "personal brand."

I love this!

Today in the message on ministry and serving at Saddleback (which was all video of Pastor Rick at various spots on campus with various people) Pastor Doug mentioned that, anonymous doesnt equal insignificant.

Youth ministry as a whole would be better served with people out to make a difference and not to make a name for themselves. What could you do today to make sure this is a reality in your life? Could you give credit to your volunteers instead of taking the praise for yourself?

What else? Add a comment if you've got something to say.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:26 PM |

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Video Game Review: Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warefare

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Was fortunate enough to borrow this game from Jaime and managed to beat it over the past 2 chunks of free time I had - in a total playing time of just less than 6 hours. But being just a bit short is about the only substantial flaw in this game - the graphics are unreal, the story is compelling and the gameplay is fun. At its heart it remains a Call of Duty game (if you've played any of the first 3 it'll feel somewhat familiar) but it is far and away the best in the franchise.

The much lauded AC-130 gunship levels deserves all of the praise it is getting, the Javelin tank killer is unreal, the graphics are superb and there's one sequence - that I won't spoil here - that is a video game first and I've been telling friends about all day. It plays almost like a movie, and deserves to be played by all.

It is graphic, contains some strong language, very realistic, and probably isn't a title you'll be playing in the back of the youth room. All in all a stunning new title that looks and plays amazing on the 360. A+

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:10 PM |

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Time Management for A.D.D. Youth Workers

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Enjoyed this new article on YouthMinistry.com on better time management - got any more ideas, leave them as comments!

Post-It Notes Before Palm Pilot
I know guys who have all the latest time management gadgets but they can’t seem to actually do the most important things first. If you can’t get the strategic things done with a Daytimer, spending your hard earned cash for a Palm Pilot won’t likely help much.

Blocks and Balconies
Start your week by identifying the major chunks of time you will need to do the most important things. Start with your Sabbath day, then three more blocks in the week when you will be uninterruptably at home. Then carve a 3-hour block to focus on "balcony time" - working only on things that aren’t due this week. Fit your meetings, phone calls and to do lists around your core blocks of time.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:51 PM |

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Intern Focused Past Few Days

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Enjoyed some time with Jeff up at a press screening of a movie in Hollywood last night, grabbed a great lunch with Brian working on his resume as he finishes up his internship in early summer, and we just told the interns we're taking them up to the Rethink conference in Anaheim this January, too. Going to be fun!

30 Aha! Moments from 30 Leading Influencers
This January, Rethink will orchestrate an unprecedented convergence of some of the most influential Christian and global thinkers, innovators, and leaders at the famed Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. Rethink is hosted by the internationally renowned Dr. Robert Schuller (Hour of Power), and thought provoking cultural architect Erwin McManus.

Cultural Icons - Get inside their minds
For three days, you'll be immersed in the latest thoughts of respected icons in media, politics, faith, science, business and technology. Utilizing the latest media technology, each speaker will reveal their perspectives, discoveries, strategies and action plans in 20 riveting minutes. Challenged to deliver an information packed presentation, the speakers will weigh in on everything from life-changing world issues to surprising cultural trends to Christian outreach to secrets of success to the dynamics of relationships.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:37 PM |

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Power of a Changed Life

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Cool new promotion at Simply Youth Ministry these days - I enjoyed How to Shout Without Screaming and Power of a Changed Life both (series on evangelism from Saddleback) - and now you can get them both for $27. Good deal!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:34 PM |

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Get Halo 3 Free

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As if there weren't enough reasons to get an Xbox 360, now you get Halo 3 with purchase. Amazing.
According to the official Xbox web site, gamers who buy a new console between now and the deadline, sign up for a new Xbox Live account and register their systems with Microsoft will receive a copy of Halo 3 in their mailboxes.The game will arrive by Jan. 18, Microsoft said.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:31 PM |

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Hillary Clinton Here Soon

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Just read that Hillary will be coming to Saddleback in the coming weeks for the AIDS conference. Should be awesome ... according to the article, other candidates have expressed interest and I'm hearing might confirm soon as well.
Presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., will attend a meeting on AIDS at the Saddleback Church hosted by pastor and "The Purpose Driven Life" author Rick Warren and his wife Kay, church officials announced Thursday.

"I commend Rick and Kay Warren for their work to fight HIV/AIDS," said Clinton, who is considered the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. "Our churches have a powerful role to play in raising the consciousness of the nation and the world to this pandemic and urge compassion for the sick and the suffering."

The third annual Global Summit on AIDS and the Church will be held Nov. 27 through Dec. 1.

Other presidential candidates, including former Democratic North Carolina Sen. John Edwards; Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.; and former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., also have expressed a desire to participate and are currently working on scheduling issues, according to the church.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:13 PM |

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Xbox 360-Driven Youth Ministry

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This post was originally called "Why Every Youth Worker Needs an Xbox 360" but then I realized that perhaps there's a remote possibility that not everyone should have one. Fine - there might be a few extreme cases where someone wouldn't want or need a console - like if you were born videogame-challenged or without the technology geek gene commonly found in many youth workers. So if you're on the fence I think I can build a moderate Lee Strobel-like Case for an Xbox 360.

This post was a request from a youth worker while I was in San Diego at the Youth Specialties Convention a few weeks ago. He basically said he was looking for some ammunition to support his purchase of a next generation console and I think there's actually some great reasons for youth workers to have one:
Quick and easy common ground with students.
The videogame is really directly from a students' world. The previous generation of adults didn't get to grow up on games and perhaps doesn't even understand the draw. But most students of today? They are people who know videogames. They know when the big games are coming out and treat it like a movie premiere. Many youth workers might not have seen the lines at stores at midnight for HALO 3 but it was the major media event of the Fall - raking in more revenue than the biggest movie, TV show or DVD release this year. And having a 360 says a lot about you - it says, "let's hang out, let me get to know you."

Enjoy some fun multiplayer.
When you do get a system you'll also need to pick up 3 extra controllers so you can really rock with the gang. Sure there's multiplayer over LIVE which is also critically important, but there's something about a youth worker and students sharing a living room and those tiny 1/4 screens. The comradery of a videogame moment - it has to be shared to be truly appreciated. You don't have to just play shooters (which have an element of controversy) but you can enjoy party games, Project Gotham Racing 4, Madden '08, and of course have a battle of the bands with Guitar Hero III or Rock Band.

Its a really easy icebreaker.
There's no better way to meet someone casually than to do it behind an Xbox controller. It's completely non-threatening environment. It's the student version of an adult's Styrofoam cup of coffee. Watch the sense of relief when a student enters your home for the first time and beams when they see the console's green lights.

Hang with your peers on LIVE.
One of my new favorite past-times is hanging with other youth workers on Xbox LIVE. Just this week I played games with people from my own church and other student ministries from four states. One of the guys even said, "Do you ever have one of those days where you want to leave youth ministry?" to a group of guys that has lived it and truly appreciates the sentiment. Can real community appear here? You can certainly taste it and hey, it's way more fun than Facebook.

Enjoy the great escape.
One of my favorite escapes from the daily grind of ministry is simply sitting on the couch with a videogame controller in hand enjoying some "me" time. Of course, this has to be balanced appropriately with family and marriage time as well.
OK, so not every youth worker needs one - obviously I'm having some fun with it here. But if you want to add it to your arsenal of youth ministry tools, I think there's some great community, interpersonal and individual reasons to pick one up.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:08 PM |

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Missile Balloons

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How awesome are these missile balloons? I want them.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:01 PM |

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Fire and Forget Student Ministry

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I know from personal experience that many youth workers like myself are great at launching - but terrible at sustaining, checking the gauges and stopping.
I think we need to be great "sustainers" and "stoppers." When was the last time you launched a ministry and then forgot about it? Answer: last week. When was the last time you cared for something you launched with passion in September now that it's February? Answer: never.

I've wondered for a while why student ministries are so fad-driven and always looking for the next and best thing. I wonder why we are always intent on launching something new - we're almost charter members from the Cult of Newfangled. What about doing what you've always done better? What about a commitment to stop 3 things for every 1 you launch? What about sustaining and existing program and making it really work?

Makes me think about The Dip. We fight to launch something, we see short term gains then a painful drop. But we don't bother to fight through it to real success, we just let it die and launch something else the following weekend.

No more fire and forget youth ministry allowed here.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:46 PM |

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Pray for Rain

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This news story about the drought in Georgia is worth reading ... brought a smile to my face today.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:55 PM |

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Shooting the ETV Video

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We didn't get it done last week - so we just finished shooting the new Extending the Vision video for big church in 10 days - it was fun, based loosely on this script I posted the other day. Fun, the Student Zone is coming along so quickly now!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:19 AM |

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PDYM Community Lunch Video

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Just finished up a shoot with Doug Fields and Megan Hutchinson for this fall's PDYM Community Lunch (for the first time we even got to use a teleprompter - oh yeah!). Should be a fun meeting - find out if there's one in your area. Cool!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:17 AM |

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Download Full Games to Your 360

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Starting this fall you'll be able to download full games to your Xbox 360 - purchase a game without ever leaving your living room. Can't wait - on the list is the original Halo for $15 amongst a pile of others ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:05 AM |

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Humility Always Wins

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Reading my devotions this week one thing continues to stand out - the principle of humility. I've decided I need to repeat these statements a few times each day until I get it - and I've got a feeling I'll be doing that for a while.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 6:48 PM |

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Idea Factory

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I was just reading about this leaked list of requested features to the successor to Windows Vista, and thought about the translation of that concept to youth ministry. There are hundreds of ideas out there waiting to be uncovered, many of which are better than the ones you could come up with by yourself. I'm sure the developers thought for weeks and months about making the best operating system, and in just a few weeks of release there's more than 16,000 tweaks and changes in the queue.

That's the power of people. Too often youth ministry is done in seclusion, where there's almost a resistance to the possible idea factory that could be generated in community.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:25 PM |

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Google Searches That Lead Here: Volume 41

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Here's a few of the 214 search phrases that landed people on the blog this week. Over 15% of the traffic on the blog comes from Google. Crazy!
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:59 AM |

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Writer's Strike Stops The Office

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The writer's strike in Hollywood is kind of big news around here - and this just in why it should be big news to everyone: The Office stopped production last week. Argh! Here's a video from Adam's blog to give everyone some perspective, including some of the office cast.

JG

PS: And you heard about possibly no 24 until 2009, right?

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:03 PM |

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IKEA Funny

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You think this site is another IKEA type store, but what happens when the page loads is funny. Check it out, with a nod to my dad.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 6:49 PM |

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Team Service

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Eating at Lucille's BBQ the other day the waitress informed us that while she was our waitress, the staff practiced "team service." She went on to explain that we could ask any of the wait staff of management for anything and we would get exactly what we needed immediately. I didn't think too much of it at the time, but letting it simmer for a while helped me see a useful parallel to youth ministry.

When a student comes to you for an answer - even if it's not within your "job description" - jump in and help them. Everyone should be informed of the basic programs and events on the calendar - the start times, when we'll get back, costs, deadlines, purpose, etc. When a parent asks a question about philosophy, anyone and everyone should know the answer. The larger a church staff of volunteer team gets the easier it is to slip into extreme professionalism and in some ways become unfriendly to the customer.

That must be fought with reckless abandon. At the end of the day, this is about caring for people, which we are all in the business of doing. Too often we leave it up to one champion to handle all of the requests from a particular area, when we should be practicing team service.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:41 AM |

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Remember What Matters Most

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Just saw on Tim's blog that you can download Doug Fields' talk What Matters Most from the YS Underground. You do have to give them all of your information to get it, but it would be worth it if you haven't heard it, want to share it with your leaders or want a reminder on what is the most important thing in life. Good stuff!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:33 AM |

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12,000+ Gamerscore

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According to my Xbox 360's blog - we crossed the milestone 12,000 in gamerscore this week, and it was only 14 days since we crossed 11K. Yes!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:25 AM |

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Video Game Review: Cars

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We're a bit late to the party on this 360 game, but we've wanted to see the price drop before we picked it up. $17 seemed like a good price!

The game is set just after the events of the original movie, and we've all really had a blast with it. I'm not a huge fan of the NASCAR games from EA, and this is like that but like the kids version of those games. It's fun and engaging, especially since it's done at a set your own pace, choose your own adventure format. The graphics are sharp, the sound is good and the music is repetitive. The real fun is blasting through the game and winning races - the game should give you about 6-7 solid hours of fun.

All in all a fun game that picks up where the movie leaves off. Fun for the whole family. B+

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:50 AM |

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Lunch with LifeChurch

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Just finished lunch with Scott Rogers, campus pastor of LifeChurch.tv's Phoenix site, in the area visiting. We had a great time touring the new Student Zone construction site and the church - grabbed some delicious BBQ at Lucille's before we had to all take off. I love what LifeChurch is doing - they've got some great people on their team. So fun.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:55 PM |

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Life to Motion

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Thought this story from the OC Register was full of life poetry. Worth the read:

Lori and Chris Coble now have hope for the future.

Just a few weeks ago, the Cobles found out that triplets – two girls and a boy – are expected to come into their life next May.

"It's kind of a two-sided coin," said Chris Coble, 36, Tuesday evening. "We feel amazed that it's happening but at the same time we're still mourning Kyle, Emma and Katie. Nothing will ever replace them. We feel joy for what's happening but we're crying and missing the kids."

The Coble children – Kyle, 5, Emma, 4, and Katie, 2, — died after the big-rig, loaded with more than 40,000 pounds of electronics, struck the family's Chrysler minivan May 4 on I-5 in Mission Viejo. The minivan was stopped in the slow lane of traffic. Lori Coble, 30, who was driving, and her mother, Cynthia Maestri, 60, were injured.

After the children died the community of Ladera Ranch rallied around the couple. Fundraisers were held, and more than 100,000 pink and blue ribbons were wrapped around trees and light poles through out south Orange County. The children's pictures were posted almost immediately on lifetomotion.com. People from more than 1,000 cities around the world sent e-mails to the Cobles.

Lori and Chris Coble have been focused on adding to their family since the accident took their children. From the minute they were married seven years ago they couldn't imagine their lives without children. Then they had decided on three. Now they get a second chance.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:27 PM |

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Displaying Blog Feeds on Your Page

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Thought this was a neat feature from FeedDigest.com. Want to display the latest blog posts from PDYMBlog.com or SimplyJosh.com on your page? Grab this code and drop it into your template and it's done!

SimplyJosh.com Latest Posts
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://app.feeddigest.com/digest3/VDXQW52WBM.js"><noscript><a href="http://app.feeddigest.com/digest3/VDXQW52WBM.html">Click for &quot;Simply Josh Recent Posts&quot;.</a> Powered by <a href="http://www.feeddigest.com/">RSS Feed Digest</a></noscript></script>

PDYMBlog.com Latest Posts
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://app.feeddigest.com/digest3/L5NUJASG8K.js"><noscript><a href="http://app.feeddigest.com/digest3/L5NUJASG8K.html">Click for &quot;PDYM Blog Latest Posts&quot;.</a> Powered by <a href="http://www.feeddigest.com/">RSS Feed Digest</a></noscript></script>

I've added the PDYM one in my right side bar if you want to see it in action!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:41 PM |

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Podcast 60 is in the Can

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Just finished recording the long lost Simply Youth Ministry Podcast. Remember when we used to do a show? Ha! Back in action today, it'll be up sometime tomorrow. Enjoy!

JGs

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:55 PM |

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Lieutenant

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I've been greeted warmly today by many friends around the office. I've finally joined the officer club in Halo 3. That's Lieutenant Griffin to you, soldier.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:49 PM |

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Video Game Review: Mutant Storm Empire

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This is a beautiful little game that arrived on the Xbox LIVE Arcade last week - I've got the original and loved it so why not pick up the $10 sequel? The format of gameplay has changed just a bit, but it's a solid game that is better than the original. I do miss some of the more creative powerups (like homing missiles) and bombs that to did extensive damage. Still though, every time I play I get intense. The timeless and simple control scheme works well here, one stick moves your ship and the other shoots.

The only possible downside is the game is way too short. Brilliant! A-

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:05 AM |

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What's Inside: NyQuil

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I love this series from Wired. Here's a clip of what's inside NyQuil:
Doxylamine succinate
Officially, this ingredient is on the label as an antihistamine. But it is equally useful as a sleep aid, providing a nice, convenient one-two... Zzzz.

Acetaminophen
One of the many wonder-pharmaceuticals that can be derived from coal tar, acetaminophen was used for nearly a century as a painkiller and fever reducer before anyone figured out how it worked. We now know that as the drug breaks down in the body, it turns into a cannabinoid: yes, stoners, the same type of compound that makes marijuana so irresistible. Doctors also once thought acetaminophen made users more talkative and outgoing. Current research suggests this idea was half-baked.

Flavor
P&G isn't talking, but we suspect the cloyingly repulsive taste of NyQuil is to ensure that you can swallow a tablespoon or two but can't drink enough of the stuff to start seeing Jesus.

High fructose corn syrup
A dash of sugar helps that tablespoon or two go down.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:45 AM |

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Book Review: Opie Doesn't Live Here Anymore

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I like this new youth culture book from Walt Mueller - as always he does a great job of connecting youth workers to events in culture and providing a discerning and rational response. The days of Opie and Mayberry are long gone, our culture is not black and white or sparkling clean anymore (if it ever was, really).

The only downside to the book is that it is composed of blog posts, articles and newsletter clips from the past 6 years - which means that in the ever challenging and changing world of youth culture the book is already a step behind. Still though, the content is strong and the observations on target - if you're looking for some insight into todays youth culture, this might be a good way to catch up.

Get this book and other great resources on youthministry.com ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:57 AM |

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The Expendable Crewman

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You've watched Star Trek, right? You know someone is about to die when a no-name actor, no name character boards the shuttle down to the planet accompanied by two main stars. Sure enough, a few moments later the star actors are OK and somehow the low ranking, forgettable character ends up dead.

He has become to be known as the "expendable crewman."

Thought Perry had some noble thoughts on the subject today as it relates to pastors and the church, here's an excerpt:

One night I was in my bed and began to worry about the church–what would have happened to it if I would have died? Who was going to lead it during my time away? Were all the things that needed to take place going to happen? What if someone forgot to do something and I wasn’t there to make it all better?

I had fallen into the trap that so many pastors fall into–I thought the church could not function without me.

So…God put me flat on my back for several weeks in a row to show me how AWESOME He is and how unimpressive I am. During the course of my freaking out about the church He just kept telling me, “Hey Perry, the church is MY Bride, not yours…and I will take care of her!” I came face to face during my hospital stay that me being used by God is because of His grace and kindness–NOT because he just could not get things done without me.

Since then I am very up front and honest about the fact that the church does not need me to succeed, it needs Jesus. I have said from the stage many times, “Do not put your trust in Perry Noble because that will lead you straight to hell…the world does not need me, it needs Jesus!!!”

Remember today that you are nothing, Jesus is everything. Humility never loses.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:39 AM |

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Learnings from Jedi Academy

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Spent a good chunk of Monday afternoon/evening with Kevin at Disneyland. The park was empty, so we (and 2 of my boys) had the run of the park, including Jedi Academy. Kevin made an interesting observation about the experience today on this blog, here's a clip from the introduction:

One of the highlights of the day had to be the Jedi Academy. In case you haven't seen it, real-life Jedis choose kids from the crowd and teach them a series of moves using a lightsaber. After they have "mastered" the routine, Darth Vader and Darth Maul emerge from the stage, complete with Storm Troopers. Each student then gets to take on one of the villains and effectively "defeat" the Darkside.

It's fun and hilarious.I learned something from it though. You see, after each kid is chosen, they line up and wait to receive a Jedi training robe. Right when Josh's oldest son made it to the front of the line, the person handing out robes walked away to help another Jedi-to-be. Immediately, panic set in. Josh's son thought that he had been forgotten and that there was going to be no Jedi training robe and thus, no Jedi training. You could almost see the questions that were forming in his head. "What about me? I NEED my training robe. What if I don't get one? What will I do then?" It was about this time that instructor returned and gave him a robe. End of story.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:43 PM |

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Great Posts on the PDYM Blog

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I'm super excited about the new PDYM blog - just today the state mentors added posts called Never Eat Alone, It Happens to All of Us, The Love Challenge and Halo, Guitar Hero and Video Games in the Church. So cool!

Gonna be a great in the trenches resource for youth workers ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:08 PM |

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Recording for Power Play: Volume IV

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Spent some time today with the rest of the Simply Youth Ministry gang recording the moderator/host voice for a Spelling Bee game they're including in the next installment of the popular Power Play series. I love PowerPoint table games, they're a great way to harness the energy of the crowd at the front end of the service. I think this one's gonna be neat.

If you want to check out the earlier volumes (and grab a free one to try this weekend) click on over here ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:03 PM |

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The Audiences of Student Ministry

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My latest article on Simply Youth Ministry is up today, you can read some of it below and the rest here. Thanks for those that contributed to the brainstorming on it last week, too. Cool!
Sometimes I wonder if those of us who are student pastors fail to realize we have audiences all around us. We know students are listening (well, we hope they are), but there are also many other audiences watching and waiting to see what happens next with our ministry. Here are a few of the groups I’ve identified who are checking us out, and probably you, too.

Students
This is the focal point of our ministry and really our intended audience. We are here to minister to junior high and high school students, and they are watching our every move. They sense cynicism more quickly than anyone, and they have a keen sense of when someone is inauthentic. So show them what the church is and what the church can be. Don’t be afraid of speaking the truth in love, and don’t shy away from God’s call to point young lives to Him.

Volunteers
If students are the intended audience of your ministry, volunteers are a close second. If you’ve been in youth ministry any amount of time, you’ve realized that pouring into volunteers who then pour into students is crucial for success. The longer I’m in youth ministry, the more I’m convinced our influence can be greatly amplified when our audience of volunteers is well-trained, encouraged and united.

Parents
Often overlooked and many times thought to be disinterested, many parents are hungry for your direct involvement. They appreciate your willingness to minister to their teenagers, but we only partially succeed if we fail to reach into the home. Parents are an eager audience, waiting to be engaged.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:15 PM |

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Playing Xbox Too Much?

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If you (or your kids, I suppose?) are playing Xbox 360 too much, there's a new parental control download coming out in December that will limit the amount of time the system can be on a day. Interesting ... wonder how long it will be before my kids will find a way around it? They love them some Xbox ...
Another all-new parental tool unveiled today is the Xbox 360 Family Timer, an addition to the console's existing set of industry-leading parental control features. The new Xbox 360 Family Timer can restrict children's activity time and can be set on a per-day or per-week basis. Helpful notifications will appear to warn the gamer that the session is nearing the end, and the feature will automatically turn off the console when the predetermined time limit has been exceeded. The Family Timer feature will be available for download via Xbox LIVE® in early December.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:01 PM |

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Small Group Video in HSM

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One of our interns (Jeff) was featured in this week's small group video in HSM.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:05 PM |

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An iTunes Run: Volume 16

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Enjoying some new tunes this week, here's what I picked up, this week in the form of whole albums:
Also grabbed about 10 songs from the Starbucks/iTunes deal the past few days, too ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:08 PM |

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Shooting an ETV Video Today

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Just finished up a script for our Extending the Vision video we're shooting today up in the Student Zone. This is a rough draft, but I think it'll give us a base to work from? Enjoy, I'll post the final video when it's done this weekend:
DOUG FIELDS
(standing near main entrance of Student Zone)
What do you see when you see the Student Zone?
51,000 square feet of dedicated ministry space. And it’s not just for students either. While they’ll get the majority of the time, I’m expecting the whole church – the community, EVERYONE to enjoy this new space.
When I see it, I’m starting to see less metal, dry wall and concrete. The construction equipment is fading away for me and I’m starting to see us using this place. Wow …

(beat)
Medium pace, music …

(inside the Student Zone)
I see students hanging out in this corner, talking about a struggle they are facing in their personal lives.

(by diner)
I see a kid grabbing lunch during school with an unchurched friend.

(on the junior high stage)
I see students using their talents for God on stage...

(in the sound booth)
… and behind the scenes for God.

(by water bar)
I see students getting a quick Gatorade after an after-school game of basketball with people who would normally never set foot in church.

(by fireplace)
I see students warming themselves by the fireplace as we endure a cold California winter.

(in ½ court gym)
I see a student getting pounded in the head by a dodgeball.

(at the information booth)
I see volunteers having a place to serve and using their talents like never before.

(high school stage)
I see a community concert going on it here. Man, it’s loud.

The pace starts to quicken …

A warm environment for students to learn about Jesus. Hey man, welcome back!

Open mic night at the coffee shop, I don’t even know what slam poetry is, but I’m glad they’re doing it.

I see church members grabbing a coffee and enjoying the free wif-fi.

Mothers with their children playing in the gym, smiles on faces

video games, pool tables

I see another baptism, oh, I wish you could see this!

there’s some kind of a food eating contest over there … oh man, that’s disgusting.

What do I see?

(beat)

… I see lives being changed.

(Student Zone behind in the distance)
Thanks for giving to Extending the Vision – every single dollar counts right now. Keep giving, keep praying and join me in giving a significant year-end gift to the campaign. We’re just a few months away from seeing a great space and place for our whole church’s use. I couldn’t be more excited!

What do you see when you see the Student Zone?
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:35 AM |

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Sleeping in the Church Office

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You took Monday off but didn't really rest after a long weekend serving in your church. Tuesday rolls around and you nod-off at your desk. Along comes the senior pastor (who already thinks you're a slacker) and catches you napping. Here are the BEST things to say:

8. "They told me at the blood bank this might happen."
7. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the dry erase board marker."
6. "This is one of the seven habits of highly effective people!"
5. "Rats! Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem."
4. "Boy, that cold medicine I took last night just won't wear off!"
3. "Ah, the unique and unpredictable circadian rhythms of the workaholic!"
2. "I wasn't sleeping..... I was trying to pick up my contact lens without using my hands."

And the #1 best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk:

1. "Amen"

(adapted from my dad's blog)

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:31 AM |

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Posting from Office 2007

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Just testing out this Blogger feature in Word 2007. If it works, I might do it more often. Not sure of the advantage of it over using their web interface, but I like it!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:44 PM |

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It's a Fat World After All

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I visited Disneyland Friday night with the family and noticed that It's a Small World was closed. Someone said it was to decorate for Christmas and I didn't give it another thought. Then I read this in Wired, talking about renovating the ride starting in January:
If there's a sadder commentary on the state of American society, we can't think of it -- we've grown so fat we sink the boats of It's A Small World.

According to Miceage, the boats routinely bottom out under the weight of super-sized riders, bringing the popular ride to a grinding -- literally -- halt. That's increased the wear and tear on the fiberglass boats, which have been in use since the ride opened during the 1964 World's Fair, when Americans, on average, weighed 25 pounds less than we do today.

It's a big problem. Other rides, including the drop in the Pirates of the Caribbean, face the same problem, Miceage says, but nowhere is it more of headache than It's a Small World.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:34 PM |

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My First Grade in Seminary

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Just got my first test back in seminary. Christian Theology: A-

Yeah!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:31 PM |

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Who Are the Audiences of Student Ministry?

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I wrote an article called "The Audiences of Student Ministry" this week for Simply Youth Ministry - just trying to think about the people the student ministry is trying to influence and identify others who are watching us.

Here's who I came up with - I'll be sure to post a link when the article goes live. Students, volunteers, parents, the team, other youth worker and the whole church. Got any others to add to the list?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:56 PM |

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Volunteer Check-In

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Thought this idea from HSM tonight was simple and transferrable. A quick and easy way for volunteers to check in and get updated on what's happening.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:36 PM |

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We're All in This Together

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Dear Wildside and Taffy ... you are brilliant. Tonight was remarkable.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:25 PM |

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Back Packs 4 at SYM

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There's a new resource on Simply Youth Ministry today - backpacks is 50 downloadable fall-themed backgrounds for use in your youth ministry.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:57 AM |

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Darth Vader in Love

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Treece sent me this today. Silly ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:34 AM |

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Kingdom Assignment in Your Church

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Just read in the Kingdom Assignment newsletter that they're giving away money to seed churches with a thousand dollars to do a Kingdom Assignment. Want to do it? Might be an amazing experience with your student ministry.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:59 PM |

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PDYM Community Lunches

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Have you heard about the PDYM Community Lunches this Fall/Winter? There's going to be about 50 locations in the US to get together with like-minded youth workers in community. Details here!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:52 PM |

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CONTEST: Wing Clips T-Shirts

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Want to get one of 4 WingClips.com T-Shirts I've got sitting here in my office?

They sent me a few shirts and a grand prize of a premium subscription to their service. I blogged about them earlier about how we use their free service in our ministry. Grab a movie clip to illustrate your point. So awesome - to enter, just leave a comment about a clip from their site you will use in a future talk and how it will support your message.

Oh, an sorry - I used to have a few more shirts, but the staff here has been raiding the box already this morning. Leave a comment quick to get in!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:50 AM |

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