Calibrate Church Ministries Conference

There is still time to register your church leaders and volunteers for the Calibrate church ministries conference and the IGNITE pre conference banquet.

When: October 13, 2012
Where: Sioux Falls First Assembly of God (map)
Cost: $35 per person (group discounts and scholarships are available, registration form


Friday, October 12th
IGNITE Pre Conference Banquet at Sioux Falls First A/G
6:30-8:30PM Supper & Networking with Dr. Paul Alexander 
(for lead and staff pastors & spouses)

Saturday, October 13th
7:45AM Registration & Check In
8:15AM Opening Gathering in Sanctuary
8:30AM Workshop Block 1
9:45AM Workshop Block 2
11:00AM General Session with Dr. Paul Alexander
12:15PM Lunch
1:00PM Workshop Block 3
2:15PM Workshop Block 4
3:30PM Conference Concludes

Areas of Focus:
Children’s Ministry 
Youth Ministry 
Worship Ministry 
Technology and Media
Life and Leadership
Young Adult Ministry (We apologize as these workshops will not be available)

Visit for a complete schedule and list of workshops

New Girls Ministries Coordinator Announced

We are pleased to introduce Diana Kjerstad as the new district Girls' Ministries coordinator. Please take a moment to get to know the heart and vision of this enthusiastic leader.

She writes: "I was born in southern Indiana but grew up in Sisseton, SD as a 'home missions' pastor's kid. South Dakota has been my home since I was in the 5th grade. Youth conventions and summer camps where a big part of my life. I met my husband at summer camp and we got married in 1997. We youth pastored in North Dakota and Minnesota and then moved to Mitchell, SD and took the Sr. Pastor position and have been there for the past 6 years.

I started Girl's Ministries the first year we were here with Rainbows and every year we added the next class. This past year we just started the Stars program and we now have all four Girl's Ministries programs going. I love getting a chance to see the girls grow mentally and spiritually. This is a wonderful mentorship and discipleship program that all girls should have an opportunity to experience.

On the district level, I want to help develop the Girl's Ministries program in churches; coming up with innovative ideas to make it work best for your situation is something I look forward to doing. I am excited to see what God is going to do in our SD Girl's Ministries!"

You can contact her at to find out more about Girls' Ministries and how your church can start, revitalize, or strengthen its current discipleship process for girls.

2011 Year of the Child

2011 Year of the Child

The year 2011 has been declared “Year of the Child” by Assemblies of God World Missions in an effort to implement new and enhanced efforts to reach children with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and to minister to their needs. It is fitting that the current AGWM theme is “Every Generation.” The YOTC theme, “No Child Without,” is the hallmark of this endeavor; the goal is to see no child without Christ or without the essentials of life.

Each region of the world is working with national churches, raising awareness of the child, looking together at ways to meet the needs of the whole child and working to make resources and training for children’s ministry accessible to local churches everywhere. Emphasis is placed on including the child in any planning for all aspects of national and local church life. For instance, when a new church is erected for a congregation, plans should include space for children’s ministry; Bible school curriculums should include training for children’s ministry.

AGWM seeks to coordinate children’s ministry efforts, discovering what is already being done to reach children and determining how all parties can network and take this work to the next level.

AGWM recognizes that how children’s ministry will be done in each region, in each country, will be unique to the local culture and the specific needs of children in that context.

Funding of special projects will be done through Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC), with a special “Year of the Child” offering being taken in May 2011. These projects will range from Sunday school and other discipleship materials to meeting physical and basic healthcare needs of children.

Promotional materials—a poster, and a DVD—are available for local churches via GPH:

Youth Service Idea

I had the opportunity to share a meal with Jeremey and Ashely Merrill a few days ago.  He shared an idea they are doing that sounded great!

It features a great way to interact with the students, cover relevant topics to the teens present that night, use technology they are into, and create a safe environment for interaction.

If you are looking for a new variety on how to impact the lives of your students, check this out.

Our "Living Room" sessions. 
They're a part of our current series "reaLife" based on the movie "To Save A Life." Every three weeks we have a Q&A session for the students to ask questions. We have four ways for them to ask questions. They can e-mail the Soul'd Out e-mail address, they can send a facebook message to the Soul'd Out FB page, and then 2 way of asking them anomyously. They can write their question down and stick it in "the vault" (which is a tote with padlocks on it with a hole in the top), or they can send a txt message live to the Soul'd Out phone. I got a pre-paid cell phone for $20 and an unlimited txt plan for $20/mo. We don't have any numbers programed in so we don't know who they are. You wouldn't believe the questions we get from the students. This has been an awesome way for them to open up and ask what's really on their heart privately but publically. It's been really good for the students to hear what eachother are going through too.

Give it a try or send me your idea.

Calibrate Speaker: Jeremiah Johnson

I am a worship and young adults pastor at First Assembly in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I am married to an awesome wife named Rachel. I have two daughters named Zoe and Elle.

Jeremiah's self-produced album "You're the One" containing several oringal songs has been well received by the congregation at First Assembly of God in Sioux Falls. His "God-Inspired" lyrics are used weekly during worship services. Attendees at his sessions will be inspired by his focus on touching the heart of God.

Jeremiah's Sessions:
Songwriters Session: Some of the most powerful worship experiences come when we worship purely from the heart. Discover ways to harness the thoughts and emotions of personal worship and introduce them to your church. (WORSHIP MINISTRY)

Worship Team Dynamics: Every participant on a worship team has a different personality and level of experience. Discover ways to lead these teams without losing your mind. (WORSHIP MINISTRY)

We are happy to have Jeremiah as a workshop speaker at Calibrate 2010.

Calibrate Speakers: James & Bruce Dye

James and Bruce Dye are a father-son team who have been mentoring and discipling boys through Royal Rangers for several years.

They come highly recommended from children's leaders and will bring great experience and excellence to you through their session on reaching boys.

Bruce and James minister at First Assembly of God in Rapid City.

James & Bruce Dye's Session:
Mentor and Disciple Boys

James and Bruce will be workshop speakers at Calibrate 2010.

Calibrate Speaker: Heartland Masters Commission


Based in River of Life Church out of Cold Spring, MN, Heartland Master's Commission is focused on raising up the next generation of leaders ready for small town ministry.

Directors Adam and Amber Haugen have a passion for small town ministry and a desire to disciple the next generation to reach this vast mission field. Adam served on the leadership team at Cross Current in Rockford, IL under Jeanne Mayo and Jeremy DeWeerdt before receiving his BA in business form Souther Illinois Univerity. In 2004 he moved to Cold Spring and began working with Breakthrough Ministries. Amber received her MA from St. Cloud State University after finishing three years of service with Rockford Master's Commission. Amber began working at River of Life Church in 2003. The couple married in 2005 and have one son (Mataeo).

We are excited for the opportunity to team up with Heartland Masters Commission for Calibrate 2010!

Calibrate Speaker: Matt Wilkie

Matt serves as the director of Convoy of Hope’s Internship program and has a passion to see people involved in serving God by meeting those in need all around the world. I love Jesus, my family, serving internationally (and in this country too), Convoy of Hope, sushi, Johnny Cash and a good cup of coffee.

Matt’s Sessions
Pressure Gauge: Avoiding Burnout: (Super Session) Serving a compassionate Christ: How He feels about you--We work hard serving others by showing compassion. What does our Savior think of us? We'll discuss what He says about people like you.

Building People Through Compassion Ministries: We can build our people not only through challenging them with the great commission of Matthew 28, but through God's command in Matthew 25 to "do unto the least of these." Matt, who serves as a missionary with Convoy of Hope, will discuss ways of building students as they express the heart of Christ to those in need.

Missions Extreme: Extended Missions Opportunities (Student Session) So, you’ve done a 10-day missions trip. You don’t think full-time missions is your thing, but you want to do something more. You’re not alone. Thousands of students and young make the choice each year to spend a few months or few years serving in missions. See what’s involved and the ministries that need your help.

Preparing Your Ministry for Compassion Outreach: Just because you aren’t the pastor doesn’t mean you can’t coordinate compassion outreach. Lean creative ways to involve your small groups, children’s ministry, etc in meeting the felt needs of those in your community.

Video Interview with Matt

Calibrate Conference: Matt Wilkie from Mark on Vimeo.

We are so excited to have Matt as one of our workshop and super session speakers at Calibrate 2010.

Greg Washington

If you are looking for a back to school event, all night activity, retreat, or see you at the pole rally, and are in need of a dynamic youth speaker - I would like to recommend Greg Washington to you.

Greg is a student at Trinity Bible College with a call to Evangelism.  He has been mentored in recent years by two amazing DYDs (Mark Zweifel, and Steve Tripp) and spent time with Allen Griffen (youth evangelist).

His humble heart and passion for Jesus is contagious and your students will connect well with him.

You can find Greg on Facebook to connect for scheduling at your event.

Calibrate Speaker: Ryan Moore

Ryan is the National Young Adult Ministry Coordinator for the AG. Ryan moved to Springfield, MO in March of ’09 in an effort to equip and encourage existing and potential young adult ministries throughout our national network.

Ryan has ministered to young adults in both Florida and Oregon. He spent 3 years in Ocala, Florida serving full-time to youth and young adults before moving across the country in May of ‘06 to pastor young adults in Portland, Oregon.

His passion is to help develop emerging leaders and propel them into their God-given destiny. He also enjoys a good book, a cup of coffee, and game to watch on TV. Ryan is married to the love of his life and best friend, Alyson and they have one 3 year old girl, Alyza.

Ryan's passion as the National Young Adult Ministries Coordinator is to encourage and equip existing and potential young adult ministries throughout our fellowship. Ryan is a Central Bible College graduate.

Ryan's Sessions:
Understanding Young Adult Culture

Creating a Young Adult Sensitive Church

Re-Capturing the De-Churched

We are excited to have Ryan as one of the workshop and super session speakers at Calibrate 2010.

Calibrate Speaker: Rick Allen

Rick Allen has been a nationally appointed U.S. missionary since 2001 and currently serves in the Center for Leadership and the AG Trust Development Team. His assignment for the Center for Leadership focuses on local church leadership development and strategic missional involvement.

Rick functions as the National Coordinator for the Church Transformation Network. The Church Transformation Network is leading the effort to equip local, small membership congregations to discover and pursue God’s vision for health and vitality. Through key journey points which include being a fully Spirit Empowered church, focus on Biblically Based values, creating a Transformative Leadership team to equip believers for growth and Spirit Directive Strategic plan for ministry to every individual regardless of their place in life; the Church Transformation Network is dedicated to assist today’s churches for tomorrow’s future.

Rick will be one of the Ignite Speakers at Calibrate 2010


On 10/10/10 the Assemblies of God youth hope to make history with the largest single-day offering for Speed the Light.

In South Dakota we want to join the movement and make TEN something for the history books here too.  We are looking for 100 students who will set a $1,000 FAITH GOAL to be delivered on Sunday October 10th for Speed the Light.

I believe there are students across South Dakota waiting to be challenged.  Wanting to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  Hoping to be a part of a movement making an eternal change.  Speed the Light and TEN might be just what they are looking for!

Help challenge your students to set some crazy goals and then watch God bring in the overflow for their life.  We've seen it before - let's see it again!

We have a goal of $120,000.00 this year!  Let's set the bar and lead the way.

Are you connecting?

Does it ever seem like your ministry is in a rut; connecting with the same students week after week? Are you looking to expand the reach and influence of your youth ministry? Check out this excellent bit of practical ministry training from Jonathan McKee (

This illustrated talk breaks down the six types of youth you might encounter and gives practical ideas for connecting with, growing and involving each.

Children's Ministry Websites

Curt Rozean from Southern Missouri AG sent out this list of top Children's Ministry Websites.  If you work with children in your local church I hope you find this list helpful.


Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership

If I were to ask you what the following individuals have in common: Jimmy Swaggart, Bill Clinton, Abraham Lincon, and Rick Warren; It may take you some time to find the common threads.  So here you go - They are/were all leaders and they ALL have a dark side.

In fact I could throw your name into the mix and the same would be true of you.  According to McIntosh and Rima every one of us has a dark side.  Not in the sense that we immediately think of in Star Wars - an evil Darth Vader set on destroying us.  But rather an often unexplored and unmanaged part of our personality.

The difference in the leaders mentioned above is some of them were acutely aware of their dark side and managed it while others were completely unaware or chose to ignore it.  In Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership, McIntosh and Rima help the reader understand the power of their dark side as well as provide a battery of tests to help you identify what your dark side is.

Here are the Five "Dark Sides" identified by McIntosh and Rima
1. Compulsive
2. Narcissistic
3. Co Dependent
4. Passive Aggressive
5. Paranoid

The truth of the matter is that we all possess some level of these "dysfunctions" in our personality, however in Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership you will learn which one(s) is most severe and the possible ramifications if it is left unchecked.

In reality, if we understand our dark side, are willing to confront it honestly, and put in the work to manage it our dark side can become an asset that drives us on to further success rather than blindsiding us and our tract of leadership.

A must read for every leader!


2010 Notes: If you are a youth leader in South Dakota you are invited to be a part of MOMENTUM, our annual youth leaders retreat held in January. Join other youth pastors and spouses for three days designed to help you relax, refresh, and renew.

Location: Comfort Inn (Mitchell, South Dakota)
Register by January 4
Download Information Sheet
Begins: January-14, 2010
Ends: January-16, 2010
Registration Deadline: January 4, 2010 - Bring your payment with you when you arrive
Cost: $95 Single/$145 Couple (plus lodging) - Includes all meals and sessions (if you are unable to attend because of financial limitations only, please let me know)
Kids: We will set up a "nursery" in our room nearby the meeting space for infants. We recommend toddlers and older stay with a friend or family member during the weekend. If childcare is requested we can assist you in contacting someone.

Need More Info?


For nearly two decades students across America have met around their school's flagpole for a time of prayer and uniting early in the school year.  Tomorrow again, these middle and high school students will gather to pray for blessing over their school, administrators, families, friends, and community.

But STATP isn't just for the flagpole.  SYATP has caught on and prayer is now also being encouraged for elementary students and parents to meet at the playground on the first Saturday after SYATP.

This day is designed to complement the prayer strategy of See You At the Pole. Many parents have expressed concern about their elementary age children being at school early to participate in SYATP without adult supervision. (Many Schools will not allow adults on campus to participate in SYATP.) SYATPlayground is designed to provide an alternative for those situations and is NOT designed to replace SYATP.

This Saturday, grab your kids by the hand and make your way to your local elementary school playground to join together in prayer with other families for God's blessing and guidance on the schools.

Nominate A Teacher

Teacher of the Year & Billie Davis Awards for Excellence

Since 1995, the National Sunday School Office has awarded the Billie Davis Award for Excellence in Christian Education to Sunday School teachers who faithfully contribute to a high standard of discipleship as they teach God’s Word to God’s people in Sunday School. Please help us to honor hundreds of teachers for their ministry and dedication.

Submit a nomination form for a teacher from your church to be considered as the South Dakota Teacher of the Year.  This recipient will then be eligible for consideration at the national level.

Complete all requested information on the Teacher of the Year Nomination Form (PDF: 506 KB). If you are a student or parent, confer with your pastor and/or Christian Education leader as needed.
Mail the completed form to the National Sunday School Office by the date shown on the nomination form.

Information and Process:

  1. All teachers meeting a set level of excellence will receive a certificate of excellence.
  2. Certificates will be mailed to pastors to be awarded to qualifying teachers.
  3. Teachers who qualify for the certificate of excellence become eligible to be considered for District Teacher of the Year. (One teacher will be selected in each participating district.)
  4. Each District Teacher of the Year will become a candidate for the NATIONAL Teacher of the Year Award.

50 Ideas

Recently I participated with a group of five leaders who's assignment was to harvest 10 ideas during the month of August.  With their permission I've re-posted their ideas.  Some of them may spark a solution for a problem you have been facing.  Other's might just give you a chuckle.  Regardless, I hope they inspire you to generate your own ideas.
  1. Group's new curriculum "Buzz"
  2. Book Think Orange by Reggie Joiner - about joining the forces of church (yellow) and family (red)
  3. "Believe it or Not" series in kids church - exploring the AG statement of faith
  4. "Will it float" segment for this series - something fun to break up the more serious segments
  5. Kids leadership team - have 4th & 5th grade kids take on some leadership responsibilities in kids church (ex. check-in, take offering, greet new kids, prayer team, etc)
  6. Interactive walls in kids church (lego boards, twister game, white boards, magnetic sections of wall)
  7. Computerized check-in for all kids areas
  8. Interview parents about how they are following through on being the spiritual leaders of their home - find out what's working, what's not, how they incorporate spiritual truths in their everyday lives
  9. Start a parenting small group just for nursery/toddler parents - start talking about being the spiritual leaders of their home while they and their kids are still young
  10. Caribou Friday - every Friday the staff get coffee :o)
  1. AIM Checklist for participants
  2. Ministry Direct Sermon Resource
  3. Schedule Kids Convention at the same time as JBQ District Finals
  4. Signet 2010 with Home Missions Pastors
  5. I should run the Sioux Falls 1/2 marathon on September 13
  6. I should NOT run the Sioux Falls 1/2 marathon on September 13
  7. Change the Ignite session from time with Joel Hunter, to Networking with all of the out of state presenters
  8. Have a missionary speak during HS camp
  9. Encourage pastors to use the 52.3 sermons on Sunday and the youth leader use the discussion groups on Wednesday (for churches with no f/t leader)
  10. MOMENTUM Lite - a one-day youth leader retreat for the volunteer. district or section based.

  1. Coffee and Worship. Need I say more? If you don't have a coffee bar at your church, invite a local coffee shop owner to come and prepare caffeinated concoctions for your youth ministry. Agree on a price and give away gift certificates. Let your worship team decide how the evening will flow. Invite youth from other churches in town. Make your youth room environment like a coffee shop.
  2. Let your pastor preach on a Wednesday night or arrange an activity such as a cookout at their home; give your students opportunities to rub shoulders with him and his family outside of Sunday AM.
  3. Outreach idea: Do a school supply scavenger hunt at the beginning of the school year. Deliver the backpacks full of school supplies to needy families or schools that can distribute them.
  4. Volunteer to be a tutor at a elementary, middle or high school.
  5. Volunteer to visit students at a local Juvenile Detention Facility. Pastors are often allowed visitation privileges not afforded to others. Some students can go an entire stay without a visitor.
  6. Utilize the Prayer Zone Partner resources available at Send an occasional prayer update to those who sign up to be PZPs. Also give them names and needs (with permission of course) of specific students to be praying for throughout the year.
  7. Enter the text from your next message at It will create word cloud for you and help you to clearly see if your main point is being communicated. (View this post in wordle)
  8. Now that school it back in session, write your children's and spouse's activities into your calender - in ink! (or bold, red, CAPS if you use a digital calendar.) Or set up a separate family calendar in applications such as Outlook, iCal, or Google calendars.
  9. Take an evening with your youth to prepare care packages and encouraging notes for college students who have just left the youth ministry.
  10. When interacting with kids, students or parents, keep the cell phone tucked away. No texting, or answering calls, or looking to see who called or texted. Give undivided attention; or as someone once said, "listen with your face." (Has also been know to work with family.)

  1. Host a workshop called "War of the Worlds" - focused toward parents and families (but open to anyone); providing balance of Biblical perspective about serious cultural issues that we're facing today (i.e. reality of sexual culture in our high schools, effects of relativism, homosexuality)
  2. Have a special "crowd" service once every 1-2 months. Evangelistic in focus (perfect time to bring friends) - lots of student involvement - great worship - possibly a Sunday night - open doors at 6:00 for concessions/hang out.
  3. Set a consistent week for small groups on Wednesday nights. Sort them by age. Since we don't have the resources to split jr/sr high, this is one way we can have some same-age peer interaction.
  4. Establish some kind of process for measurable growth for students. Saddleback uses a baseball diamond to show markers of completion.
  5. Assign student leaders to read one book a year that I choose (if they want more, great).
  6. Have a youth/children ministry fair during a Sunday service - maybe 2-3 week series. Expose congregation to need, priority, and opportunity.
  7. Have an "Ardent Open House" BBQ night for incoming 7th graders before school starts. (thanks FiftyTwo)
  8. Schedule a meeting with regional worship leaders to brainstorm about the benefit of a network across the state.
  9. Poll some students and get ideas for PURSUE nights - then I could plan PURSUE for the whole year.
  10. After every camp, convention, retreat, or other special spiritual focus event, have a worship night within a few days of getting home to revisit what God has done, share testimonies, encourage one another, etc.

  1. Sioux Falls Teen Podcast- This is a podcast I've wanted to do for some time now. The show would highlight various local events for teens, topics that apply to them, and interview homecoming king and queen, athletes, - possibly help bridge the gap between the principal, teachers and students by interviewing them. Basic idea is to have a non-Christian based local teen radio "show" that would connect kids, engage them, give a platform for various topics/issues that apply locally, and give the church/youth ministry another contact point or publicity with city teens.
  2. Bus surcharge on all trips- We all know church vehicles break down. Ours are heading that way fast. With not much money set aside to replace them I thought of adding a $5-$10 surcharge to any event cost that uses the church buses to start raising money for replacement vehicles. It helps when the time comes and also shows the church that the youth are doing their part.
  3. Bulletin Board of Needs: Based on Acts 2-"They were without need"; If a person has a need, specifically a felt need (financial, work on their house, ride to college, etc.) they could turn in a completed form. The top half would have their contact info, the bottom half would have their need listed. The bottom half would be ripped off and placed on a bulletin board in a commons area of the church. Others in the church would be able to go by and pull something off the board, take it to the office and fulfill the need. If it is something where their needs to be a connection between the two parties (work at their house, run an errand for and elderly person) the office could make the connection. However if it is not necessary that the parties know each other (financial needs may be processed through the church) it may be kept confidential since it is run through the church office. The body of Christ needs to take care of one another - were supposed to be the most loving place on Earth!
  4. Community Arts Festival- We were made by and worship the ultimate creator so shouldn't the church be leading the charge to celebrate the arts? Have an annual Arts Festival open to the community (small participant fee??) that will include any and all kinds of art (providing it's appropriate). Music stages for local artist, art galleries, poetry readings, shops with sculptures and items for sale. Potentially a great outreach to community. "Hey, isn't that the church that's all about the arts?"
  5. Skate Park outreach- Many communities have a skate park these days. In Sioux Falls we have one in the park next to our church. Each summer the city sponsors a couple of skate tournaments that bring out a lot of teens. For us we could have a concert in the parking lot right next to the skate park. Music, prizes, possibly free food to draw the kids over after the tournament and have an opportunity to share the message. OPTION: Sponsor your own city skate tournament. You run it, you promote it, you give out prizes, provide the music during the competition, AND still do some kind of a concert afterwords.
  6. Help a neighbor- Have church members go to their neighbors and have their bills brought to the church to be covered by other church people. Great ministry during these difficult financial times.
  7. Extreme Makeover Home Addition: Have church remodel one room, exterior, lawn, or, etc. Have church people build, donate supplies, fund the expense, etc. Great publicity and great ministry to the community. Will increase your value in the eyes of your community. We spent $10k on an outreach last summer that had little to no impact on our community. We could have used that money, even less, for this ministry idea.
  8. Staging your messages: Decorate stage/room, play themed music, have video throughout based on your message or series. This will involve students in your message before you even get to the sermon. I know I've seen some ministries do this to some degree but when I was in Orlando we went to Islands of Adventure & Universal Studios and on every ride, the story started the moment you walked in. By the time you actually got on the ride you were already immersed in the experience and the story. This just reminded me of this great ministry application, the importance and the effectiveness of it!
  9. Twitter Attendance: When the pastors leave our church during the day they are supposed to let the secretaries know and when they will be back. However, this doesn't happen as much as it should and the secretaries are left hanging when people come asking where someone is. And when the pastors do go in they can potentially get stuck talking/planning/helping for a while and it is a time/schedule killer. To fix this have a Twitter app (tweetdeck, spaz, etc.) open on secretaries computer with an account that all the secretaries can access from their various computers. When a pastor leave the church they can DM the office account (or have a creative hashtag and search window open) that they are leaving/returning and what time they'll be back so it comes up on the secretaries app. Pastors can "check-in" on the fly, from anywhere, aren't distracted, and anytime someone comes asking for them the secretaries can simply look at their twitter stream to see the latest post from that pastor. If the pastor is out and plans change they can update the twitter stream without tieing up the phone lines or interupting the secretaries day.
  10. Substitute Teaching/Lunch Room Supervisor - always looking for new and creative ways to get on the campus and be involved. Have tossed around the idea of getting on the Sub list and this year I volunteered to come in at least once a week (possibly more if they need it) to be a Lunch Room Supervisor. Otherwise the teachers have to do it and they have to skip their lunch as well as any planning or prep they normally have to do during that brief time.

i am resource

Found this amazing new ministry resource sharing network.  Very easy to use and has some quality stuff.

I am Resource is an online resource for youth pastors to share sermons, graphics, and other ideas. You can easily browse graphics from other youth groups or upload your own to share. It was developed by Keegan Walsh, a Minnesota youth leader and NCU grad. For more info, visit the website at

Need additional sermon resources?  Give volume III a try.  If you're an AG minister or church leader you can obtain a FREE access code.  Want to know more?  Send me a message.

Calibrate Sessions (developing)

Working list of classes for 2009 Calibrate Conference (full details)

Oil Change: Spirit Empowered Ministry (Super Session)
Test Drive: Implementing New Ministries (Super Session)
TEC: You and the Word
Building People through Compassion Ministries
Empowering Rural Youth Leaders
Building the Generations
Mentor and Disciple Boys
Impacting Girls
AIM 2010 (Student Session)

Speed Traps: Growth Pitfalls Ahead (Super Session)*
Pressure Gauge: Avoiding Burnout (Super Session)
TEC: You and Your Mission
Strength-Based Leadership
The CAUS of this Generation (Student Session)
Children's Ministry in the Small Church
Help Them Stay: Overcoming obstacles to visitor integration
The 411 on the Millennial Generation
Worship Team Dynamics*

11:00 General Session with Joel Hunter

12:15 Networking Lunch

Pit Crew: Team Growth Strategies (Super Session)
Horsepower: Prayer Strategies (Super Session)
TEC: You and Your Students/Groups You Teach
Preparing Your Ministry for Compassion Outreach
Turn Off the Scoreboard
Live Above (Student/Parent Session)*
Creative ways to Include Parents in your Kids Ministry*
Songwriters Session

Reinventing the Classics: Tradition and Relevance (Super Session)*
Overhaul: Changing Your Reputation (Super Session)*
TEC: Excellence in Teaching
Unlocking Spiritual Health Through Church Engagement
Lasting Fruit in Ministry
Missions Extreme: Internships and other Missions opportunities (Student Session)
10 Keys to a Successful Children's Ministry
Young Adult Ministry Essentials

3:15 Informal Dismissal

NOTE: All class times are not finalized.  Expect some changes to the final schedule.
*Pending Confirmation.  Please view for the most current conference schedule a

Pastors Kids Network

First to get to church, last to leave, and there at least 3 times a week…yep, you’re definitely a pastor’s kid.

This network is all about connecting PKs around the nation to be a support to each other. When it feels like no one understands or can relate to the joys and pains of being a PK, we’re here for you.

Because we’ve been there, done it and probably felt the same as you at one time or another.

If you are a PK or know one, encourage them to join PKN to connect with leaders and other PKs across the nation.


52.3 Launch Event from Mark on Vimeo.
Promo video that NYM used during the launch event in Orlando, FL. A great resource for your youth ministry. Need a video or graphic for your ministry, check they developed this and other quality videos and graphics for ministry.

You may have heard that TheFiftyTwo Volume III is being given to all of our Assemblies of God churches at no cost.

Thanks to AG Trust and National Youth Ministries. The letter containing your church's three unique membership codes have been mailed to your pastor.   Why three?  Simple, one for the Sr. Pastor, one for a youth leader, and one for a student leader.

Pastor's can choose how they use them, but we wanted to make sure a church was able to equip a team of leaders passionate about reaching teenagers.

Join us at Calibrate for a session on how to make the most of your online subscription to 52.3.

Free Ministers Forum

South Dakota Family Policy Council and Focus on the Family are hosting a FREE Ministry Leaders Form in three SD cities:

August 24 – Sioux Falls, Linwood Wesleyan Church, RSVP to 877-733-2645 or email

August 25 – Huron, James Valley Christian School, RSVP to to 877-733-2645 or email

August 26 – Rapid City, Journey Museum Theatre (1st 142 registered will get seats), RSVP to 605-791-2808 or email

Here’s an excerpt from the letter…

"As a ministry leader you’re aware that homosexuality is one of the most difficult issues many individuals, families, and churches face today. Popular culture promotes it’s simply an alternative way to live… Some Christians want to know how to stand faithfully in their biblical beliefs about human sexuality while also reaching out lovingly to those directly affected by homosexuality. Other Christians want to know how to complement their bold commitment to righteousness with compassion and kindness. For everyone the answer is balance – balancing biblical truth with Christ’s grace…We will tackle a wide range of issues surrounding homosexuality – compassionately and without compromise. Nationally known Christian experts will address everything from why some people struggle with same-sex feelings to the profound significance of God’s created intent for sexuality."

There will be two keynote speakers from FOTF – Melissa Fryrear and Jeff Johnston – former homosexuals themselves. They will share their testimonies and address the following topics:

Understanding the contributing factors of male and female homosexuality; and
How Christians should respond – balancing both truth and grace.

- Thanks Annette for passing along the info.

When Was the Last Time?

We preach about avoiding all the evils in the world.  We'll say stop listening to bad music, spending time with bad friends, going to bad places, and saying bad things.

A whole lot of effort goes into helping define what the bad things are and why we should avoid them.

But when was the last time we told our kids how much God loves them?  

When was the last time we looked each one of them in the eye to pierce to their heart and reminded them that God has an amazing plan for their life?

When was the last time we told them that God has a special name and identity for them - something different than what the world thinks of them, or even what they think of themselves?

When was the last time you put an arm around a child or teen to let them know God is still in control?

When was the last time your lesson reinforced that God does not make accidents - EVER!

When was the last time through you teaching, but more through your personal interaction, you let them know that they are loved beyond what they can imagine - and there is nothing they can do about it?

I think if we spent more time reminding of God's unstoppable love we could save a lot of time emphasizing what to avoid.  Ultimately, this then, saves a lot of heartache from poor choices down the road.

When was the last time?  Why not today?  Why not now.

Quit Giving Kids Bibles!

On numerous occasions I've visited youth and kids ministries with a "stash" of Bibles.  I've seen churches that provide "Pew Bibles" for use by church goers as well.

This seems like a great idea on the front side.  We help those who didn't bring their Bible, or possibly don't even own a Bible to follow along and get into the message.

However, I wonder if we were to survey those who are regular attenders (coming at least three times a month for more than three months) to find if they weekly use the "stash" or if they bring their own.

I would venture to say that most people get accustomed to using the Bible "stash."  However, I think this creates an unexpected negative outcome - no personal responsibility to bring their own Bible, read their own Bible, highlight their own Bible, or memorize what is on the pages.

If a Christian cannot remember to bring their Bible to church even some of the time - what makes us think they will remember to read it at home?  Or pray, or fast, or give, or have morals and integrity.  We must start EXPECTING that they will bring their Bibles, pray, fast, give, etc.  But we must also INSPECT that it is being done.

Bringing a Bible is not the key to salvation - but I suppose the presence of a Bible by their side could be a pretty good indication of how important it is in their life.

For a three month period - use the "stash" only for those newer attenders and start challenging the kids to bring their own.  But don't stop there - start giving them reading or memorizing assignments to use their own Bible at home or at school.

It just might help make stronger spiritual champions in the long run!

TEST:  Ask if they have ever left the house without their cell phone and returned to get it.  Then ask if they have done the same thing for their Bibles?  How important is His Word to us!

Never Alone

In ministry sometimes I feel that we have this, “I have to do it by myself” mentality. Believing that we are cheating if we use what someone else has done.

“That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See this is new’?” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10a)

In a busy world we often become overwhelmed with all that needs to be done. We try and manage our time down to the millisecond so that we can fit everything in. Do not be afraid to use what someone else has already done. Take the base of what they have done and make it your own. People are willing to help, just ask them. Use the resources that are available too you. There are many tools and resources that will help you to utilize your time in the best possible way.

The next time you are feeling alone, overwhelmed and out of time, remember to ask for help, utilize the resources available to you, and do not be afraid to take what someone else has done and make it your own.

Depression in Preschoolers

With all the things our kids deal with these days, here's one more. Depression. A condition more often associated with troubled teens and adults is now appearing full force in the lives of children. The second most prescribed psychiatric medication prescribed to children is an antidepressant. In fact, preschool age children are the fastest growing market for antidepressants. At least four percent of preschoolers - more than a million - are clinically depressed. (

So what's the cause of all this? Aren't kids supposed to be care-free and fun-loving? And who's to blame? Parents? Schools? Drug companies? Society in general? I don't know. And in fact, it doesn't really matter. It's simply a fact we need to recognize and face in our churches today. Along with providing Bible stories, crafts and snacks, we also need to provide emotional and mental support to preschool children who may be hurting. And now, more than ever, it's imperative we demonstrate the love of Jesus to this impressionable, young group of people.

JBQ Produces Leaders

Ready for a ministry for children that create leaders?  Then you are ready for Junior Bible Quiz.

Watch the 700 Club's "Church of the Week" feature then get more information on how you can use this great ministry to train up today's leaders!

Ministry Information
South Dakota Information

Some Things Might Take a While

I enjoy a round of golf when the weather gets nice, but I've never had a hold in one...yet. I know that the more I practice and play, the better my chances become.

Results in ministry often seem beyond our control. Some say it's luck, others say it's who you know, many believe its a matter of reading the right book or attending a certain conference.

Sometimes, it seems everything you try ends up off course, in the fringe.
Stick with it, you don't know how or when the effort will pay off. The seed planted today may take weeks, months or years to produce fruit. As one person put it: "the harder you work the luckier you'll get."

In God's economy we must pray a lot, listen more, do our best,
keep swinging, and leave the results up to Him.

Help Them Finish

The youth, children, and parents we minister to are in a race. They face adversity and injuries...they might even trip and fall. Help them finish. 

She is hurting deeply but wants to move forward and achieve her dream. Others have told her it can't be done. Break through the crowd and help her finish

He is waiting for someone who believes in him to come along side and help him cross the finish line. Are you that someone?

" know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:3-4

Introducing Kimberly Pfitzer

I am proud to introduce you to our summer intern Kimberly Pfitzer.  Kim will be working with us in the district office and Crosswalk Community Church to gain valuable ministry experience and assist us with camps, special projects, and the local youth and children's ministry.

The following bio will help you get to know Kim a bit better.  Please send her a welcome message ( to help her get to know you.

Hello! My name is Kimberly Pfitzer (facebook | twitter). I am a senior at Trinity Bible College. At Trinity, I am pursuing a double major in Biblical Studies and Ministerial with a concentration in youth ministry as well as a double minor in psychology and counseling and music. It is my goal to one day obtain a master’s degree in counseling. I have been a Trinity for three years and have participated in various activities, including serving as a Resident Hall Assistant for a year.

I grew up in Omak, Washington and graduated from high school in 2005. After high school I attended a community college for a year before coming to Trinity.

I come from a Christian family background. My grandpa was the pastor of the church I grew up in, and my parents were very active in the church, serving in various areas of the church. I only have one sibling, a younger brother who graduates high school in June. I live out in the country and have all kinds of animals. I enjoy the outdoors: camping, hiking, and fishing. My favorite sport to play is baseball but my favorite sport to watch is football. I like reading and riding horses and my favorite food is definitely ice cream. I have a love for people and have a passion to share Christ’s love with them.

Free Prize Inside

Remember walking down the cereal isle and being drawn in by the free prize inside your favorite sugar drenched cereal?  You would beg to have it and your parent might give in.  Not because of the calcium enriched sugar puffs, but because you so desperately wanted the free prize.

In my house when I got home I wanted to dump out all of the contents of the box just to get the free prize - I was only successful some of the time.

As an adult I'm not drawn in (so much) anymore to the cereal with a free prize.  But a free prize still has an affect on me.  If I'm considering two items that are for the most part equal in value and quality, I will likely choose the one with the Free Prize Inside.

The great thing is, a Free Prize comes in many shapes and sizes.  Consider some of the following Free Prizes that are being used by churches today.

If you were looking for a church and found two in your community that both preached a solid doctrinal message and welcomed you as a part of the family - would one or more of these "Free Prizes" make a difference for you?

Venue: From theaters and storefronts to country churches and multi-million dollar church campuses
Staff: Professional, Traditional, Casual, Contemporary, Friendly, Compassionate, Organized, Driven
Quality Programs: Kids, Youth, Music, Missions, Outreach, Prayer Services, etc
Preaching: Expository, Topical, Story telling, Three Points and a Poem
Technology: From full video, lights, and sound to candles and an unplugged atmosphere
Size: Like to be small, growing, mega-church, and everything in-between
Age: Church Plants, Strong base of history
Culture: Focus on the reaching souls, bringing in current events as a part of a service, caring for those in the community
Climate: Friendly, To people want to get to know me, Can I be undetected, Will the pastor know my name?

What you must understand is that not everyone is attracted by the same "Free Prize." And simply having a great Free Prize in your ministry is not a replacement for a quality service and ministry that touches the hearts of people.

The examples above are not meant to show what the best Free Prize would be for your church, or even an exhaustive list.  But rather, to create pause for you just for a moment and ask - what does our ministry offer that is valuable to the people we are trying to reach.

Here's a simple way you can implement Free Prize thinking in your church:

  1. Keep your church foundation solid in the fundamentals - Preach the Word!  Pray without Ceasing!  Celebrate Salvation!
  2. Look for the Free Prize that will continue to attract individuals (Kids ministry for instance).
  3. Push that Free Prize all the way to the edge and make it the best it can be.
  4. Make the Free Prize something that is worth talking about AND make it easy to talk about.

Find more tips on Free Prize thinking, tips on implementing your Free Prize, and a host of other Free Prize ideas, pick up your copy of "Free Prize Inside" by Seth Godin.

What Kind of Work Do You Do?

Youth leader, how many things in this video from the folks at Simply Youth Ministry can you identify with?

Is it worth putting up with some of the trials and frustrations of youth ministry so that you can realize the joys that result from perseverance and longevity?


Maybe you've seen it all and then some...may God help you to remain faithful through it all. The best is yet to come.

Better Presentations: Bonus Round

At district council I had the honor of sharing a session titled "Preaching Off the Wall."  This session was designed to help Pastors maximize the effectiveness of a PowerPoint presentation used during their preaching.  In case you missed that session: Download the Notes or the Slides for review.

I received a blog post by Seth Godin that helps to reinforce the concept I tried to communicate: A Presentation is Not an OBLIGATION - It's a PRIVILEGE.

Here's his [original] post:

The Hierarchy of Presentations
A presentation is a precious opportunity. It's a powerful arrangement... one speaker, an attentive audience, all in their seats, all paying attention (at least at first). Don't waste it.

The purpose of a presentation is to change minds. That's the only reason I can think of to spend the time and resources. If your goal isn't to change minds, perhaps you should consider a different approach.
  1. The best presentation is no presentation at all. If you can get by with a memo, send a memo. I can read it faster than you can present it and we'll both enjoy it more.
  2. The second best presentation is one on one. No slides, no microphone. You look me in the eye and change my mind.
  3. Third best? Live and fully interactive.
  4. Powerpoint or Keynote, but with no bullets, just emotional pictures and stories.
  5. And last best... well, if you really think you can change my mind by using tons of bullets and a droning presentation, I'm skeptical.

A presentation isn't an obligation, it's a privilege.

And to you Seth Godin... I give a Hearty, "Amen."  :)

Ding! You Are Now Free to be Creative

I've never flown Southwest airlines...but I want to.

I hear that in this age of fees for checked bags, long delays, and disgruntled passengers, Southwest works hard to make flying simple, affordable, and enjoyable.

Three things struck me about this video that I believe contribute to their oasis of success in a desert fledgling airlines. I think they could benefit your church or organization too.

  1. The message may be sacred, but the method of delivery is not. Don't be afraid to try something different.

  2. The team benefits when members are given creative liberty. Individuality + passion = people actually enjoying what they do. It's contagious. Let your team loose and enjoy the results!

  3. If you do something ordinary in a remarkable way, people will take notice and tell others. Almost 1.3 million have viewed this video in one month. Southwest's TV spots are legendary (Wanna get away?). Go ahead and try to recall one of United or American's ads.
Yep, I can't wait to fly Southwest, let's just hope the flight attendant isn't a country music lover.

Congratulations for Credentials

I would like to offer congratulations to the following individuals who received a ministerial credential from the SD Assemblies of God during our 2009 District Council in Aberdeen:

Ordination: Danny Winter (Pastor, Sturgis, Crossroads AG)

License to Preach:
- Charles Bauman (North Sioux City)
- Brittney Bragg (Huron)
- Ashley Cole (Sioux Falls, First AG)
- Jennie Evenson (Sisseton)
- Lynnette Istre (Mission)
- Kathryn Murray (Sioux Falls, Crosswalk)
- Gregory Robinson (Rapid City, First AG)
- Isaac Smith (Sioux Falls, Calvary AG)

Specialized License: Julie Weller (Rapid City, First AG)

Certificate of Ministry: Julie Bauman (North Sioux City)

We are honored to recognize God's call on your life minister to your community.

New Office Hours

Wanted to pass along an administrative note that we have new office hours. Should you need to contact us with questions about camp, resources, or other items please know that someone will be in the office Monday - Thursday from 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM.

Does Your Church Twitter?

Have you ever wanted to send instant updates or information to a group of people in your church without making numerous phone calls? Email just isn't cutting it anymore?

Would you like to send an encouraging note directly to the mobile devices of your entire ministry team?

What if you could reinforce the main points of your weekly message throughout the week in 140 characters or less via instant message?

How much would you pay for such a service? What if it was free?

Enter With a free Twitter account you can inform, inspire, and build community. The possibilities with this tool are limited only by your imagination. Members of your group can choose to follow your updates (tweets) or opt out at any time.

For more great ideas, check out's article: "The Top 10 reasons for Churches to Twitter".

New to Twitter? Watch this video to learn more about it works.

What Every Volunteer Secretly Wishes the Youth Pastor Knew

I've never heard a youth pastor say he/she had too many quality volunteer leaders. Here's some helpful reminders I picked up at a workshop that will help you recruit and retain volunteers. Three things volunteers wish their youth pastor (or any pastor for that matter) would remember.

1. Remain Humble. Don't get so caught up with the dream of the perfect program that you end up doing everything on your own and fail to accept help. Volunteers are there to assist and they will be resourceful if you let them. Ultimately, if you don't use someone, they will go somewhere where they feel useful. Remain humble by not leaning on your position, education, or your wealth of experience. Use "we" instead of "I" or "me".

2. Everyone has the same number of hours in the day. It's easy to forget that volunteers also have needy children, full time jobs, and demanding schedules. Volunteers truly sacrifice to be part of your ministry. Find creative ways to make it easier for them, such as arranging child care for those who need to come early. Try seeing the ministry from their point of view.

3. Never underestimate the value of good communication. When you cast vision; take time to make sure your vision is clear and consistent, not vague or constantly changing. Communicate clear and practical steps for achieving a goal and follow up. Design meetings that overflow with substance, making it worth the volunteer's time to attend. Communicate meeting times well in advance and be on time.

Above all, it's about relationships. Take time to notice, empower, and appreciate volunteers. Do the little things that help them to love teenagers. Your leaders will flourish, the youth will benefit, and great volunteers will be knocking at your door to be involved.

Better Presentations Part 3 of 3

Taken from "Free Prize Inside" by Seth Godin

Five PowerPoint Rules

  1. No more than six words per slide
  2. No cheesy images
  3. No transitions
  4. No system sound effects
  5. No slide printouts

Better Presentations Part 2 of 3

Taken from "Free Prize Inside" by Seth Godin
  1. Give yourself cue cards - Practice your presentation, know your content well enough so all you need is small reminders of what is next.
  2. Use PowerPoint slides that REINFORCE not REPEAT your content.  An image that evokes an emotional response is much more powerful than text repeating what you say.
  3. Create a written document as a leave behind to give the audience after the presentation - you want their eyes and ears during your presentation
    • Your presentation connects emotionally
    • Your leave-behind is logical evidence
  4. Create a feedback cycle - ask for some type of response.
I hope you are able to put these principles to practice with your next presentation.  

Better Presentations Part 1 of 3

I know we've all been a part of public speaking venues (we'll broaden in it to include more than preaching) where the well-intentioned speaker had boring content.  The solution? PowerPoint!

Listen, PowerPoint cannot fix a boring presentation any more than I can overhaul the engine in my Lawn Mower!

PowerPoint has it's place.  I trust the following tips will help you use multimedia more effectively wherever you speak.

10:20:30 Rule

  • No More than 10 Slides
  • No Longer than 20 Minutes
  • No Smaller Font than 30 Pts

Follow these tips and you'll be on your way to keeping your audience with you during your presentations.

From Guy Kawasaki

Why Do They Drop Out?

LifeWay research has concluded a study on why 18-22 year olds drop out of church.  You might be surprised to find why some leave and some stay.

Read the study

Superior Message:

There are people all over passionately proclaiming their "superior message."  We've heard it for years - Coke is better than Pepsi.  Dogs are better than Cats.  My dad is better than your dad.

When we are preaching (and living) the Word of God, I believe we truly have a Superior Message.

However, our reliance on the superiority of the message can lead us to lethargic care for other issues (minor messages) shouting to cut off the message from reaching the ears of the recipient.

Here are some examples:

  • Poorly arranged services
  • Rude church-members
  • Preaching personal preference
  • Unkept church property
  • Not caring for the needs of those around us
  • Lack of prayer and preparation of the message
  • and the list goes on.

I am proud to be one who proclaims the Word of God.  I hope we take into consideration all of the things that "speak" to the listener.  If we can care for the minor messages and eliminate their cries for attention, those who come will in fact hear the Superior Message from the Word of God.

Shhh.... listen.  What minor messages do you hear screaming for your attention this week?

TBC and Flood Control Efforts

Trinity Bible College Students Unite in Flooding Control Efforts

As the Red River rises, the people of Fargo have been preparing for the worst.  In 1997 Fargo experienced its worst flooding since the 1890s, but 2009 could even top the records that were set over 100 years ago, which is not good news for anyone near the floodplain.  So they needed sandbags...perhaps more than 2 million sandbags, in order to protect homes and businesses.

One Trinity Bible College student in Ellendale, ND, heard the cry for help and decided he wanted to do something about it.  Michael Knipe, in his first year at TBC, said to one of the school administrators, "I want to get a team of students to go to Fargo and help sandbag.  What do I need to do?"  On short notice, with many students gone for the weekend, he was only able to get a couple more students to go with him.  But the experience really affected them.  They drove to Fargo on Saturday, March 21st, and spent the next several hours filling and throwing 50 lb. sandbags.  They came back late that night and immediately began rallying the troops for a return trip.  

With 18 students ready to go to Fargo on Monday, the TBC community woke up to cries for help in our part of the state.  Nearby Pheasant Lake had risen in the night and was forcing residents from their homes.  Additionally, the town of Forbes had many of their residents evacuated by emergency personnel, and a whole new objective was taking hold on the TBC campus.

As the facts came in, the trip to Fargo was canceled and students were asked to leave their classrooms and load into vans to help sandbag at Pheasant Lake.  Over 20 students left their classes and many even skipped lunch in response to the need.  Others on campus prepared facilities to house residents that were forced to leave their homes, and Trinity took on a whole new feel.

As the water continues to rise, students are on alert.  Eight of them went out late Monday night in another sandbagging effort not far from Ellendale. The students at Trinity are ready to help however they can, and are willing to respond on very short notice.

Campus Missions Testimony

Each month students who have signed up to be a Campus Missionary are asked to submit an online self-evaluation about how they have done on keeping the five commitments: Pray, Live, Tell, Serve,  and Give.  In addition they have space to share a story, need, or ask a question to receive assistance.

Here's the story I received a few days ago from Larisa in Hot Spring, SD.  I hope it inspires you as much as it did me:

This month has been really good. I have had many opprotunities to reach many kids and touch their lives. Today(march 16, 2009) I have been able to connect with kids I would have never dreamed of reaching. 

Thank you for helping and giving me advice to help reach the kids in my school and in the community.  It is working so far and I'm not going to lose hope.  I am going to fight for every one of these kids and pray for each one individually by going through the halls and praying for each locker. 

Thanks again and may God Bless you and your family. 


MEGA Sports Camp

GPH has recently been given a huge honor! MEGA Sports Camp: Game Plan and Welcome to Holsom: Adventures in Faith were selected as two out of the three Children's Outreach winners in Outreach Magazines 6th annual “Resources of the Year” issue.

If you have already tried MSC or Adventures in Faith, this is probably no surprise to you, but if you haven’t,what are you waiting for?! Keep reading for how you can try these great products for less!

Evaluator Angie Meus stated that, MEGA Sports Campcreates "an awesome opportunity for churches." She noted the camp features the right combination of competition, skill-development, biblical teachings and life skills to keep kids engaged.

To put Adventures in Faith to the test, Meus says she gave it to the boys. "They wanted to read the action- and suspense-filled comic until the end, not stopping at the section breaks," she shares. Meus says she also came away impressed by the godly examples and lessons woven into this adventure.

"Our greatest desire is to develop products that 'work' in today's culture," explains GPH National Director JT Wray. "The Outreach awards are an indication that we're headed in the right direction. I believe the recognition will encourage churches to try these great outreach tools.”

To celebrate, we want to offer you an exclusive 15% discount on starter kits for MSC Game Plan or our 2009 theme, Undefeated. Enter promo code WINWIN at checkout to receive you discount. As mentioned last week, Welcome to Holsom: Adventures in Faith is already on sale – click here to take advantage of it before it’s too late! Sales end March 31, 2009. 

Rembering Rev. Tufte

Today we remember the life and ministry of a hero of faith in Jesus Christ and a true leader in the Assemblies of God.  Christie and I had the honor of serving on staff with Rev. Richard Tufte in Rapid City.  He and Edna were a great source of encouragement during our first few years of ministry.

We will miss you Pastor Tufte but know that you are worshipping around the throne today.

Mark, Christie, Colby, Cadyn Entzminger

Following is the obituary from Kirk Funeral Home

Richard Tufte [March 7, 1928 - March 7, 2009]

Rev. Richard O. Tufte, 81, went to his heavenly reward on his birthday, Saturday, March 7, 2009 at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Richard was the only son of Knute and Sophie Tufte, born at home near Ludlow, SD on March 7, 1928. He joined three sisters, Helen, Mary Jane, and Florence.

He assisted his father in ranching on the homestead, and attended country school in Ludlow. After graduating from Central Bible College in Springfield, MO, he married his first and only love, Edna, on July 6, 1950. Their family soon included four children.

Rev. Tufte spent his entire 57 years of ministry pastoring churches in South Dakota, as well as holding state offices with the Assemblies of God. Recently he retired from serving as Senior’s Pastor at Rapid City First Assembly of God.

In his later years Richard faithfully did the daily crossword puzzle, completed jigsaw puzzles, spent time with his wife and family, and enjoyed activities with the residents at Somerset Court. He was also involved in Sons of Norway and Kiwanis.

He is survived by his wife, Edna; one son, Jerry (Donna) Tufte, Hermosa, SD; two daughters, Sharon (Gary) Rossow, Rapid City, SD and Rhonda Tufte, Apple Valley, MN; six grandchildren; and one sister, Mary Jane Rasmus, WI.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, and one son, Steve.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for Chinese Bibles through Assemblies of God Bible Alliance.

Church Ministries Conference Name Change

I've changed the name of our fall ministries conference to Calibrate.  Why?  Simple, Overall I feel Calibrate will have a much broader appeal as a usable theme.  Classes will be focused on helping volunteers calibrate their role in ministry for more efficiency and effectiveness.

We are building our presenter list now and will post the full list as they confirm on the official Calibrate page.  Hope to see you there to calibrate your ministries for maximum efficiency

I trust you are planning now to be a part of our 2009 fall ministries conference in Rapid City.  Check out the details.

Twitter Follow Up

Looking for a creative way to follow up with visitors to your ministry or stay in touch with your students?  I've been a Twitter user for several months, but just recently a youth pastor in Arizona (Waylon Sears) introduced me to a creative way to use Twitter for follow up.

Here are the steps to make it work for you.

1. Set up a Twitter account with your ministry name as the USERNAME.  Since you''ll only use this for important announcements with your students.  I recommend getting a personal/work account for your regular Twitter updates.

2.  Create a hand-out, graphic slide, or better yet, via personal invitation - ask the students to send the message "Follow USERNAME" (no quotes) to 40404 from their cell phone.

3.  If you have set up this Twitter account to function with your mobile phone (check settings), whenever you send a message to 40404 it will automatically be pushed to all of your students.

While you are at it, find a creative way to allow the parents to receive your updates, and send me your link so I can follow your ministry as well.

Church Multiplcation

The Church Multiplication Network is a simple idea… let's all work together to plant as many churches as possible until the coming of the Lord! (Watch Videos by CMN)

Our first goal is MX9: 1000 church planted or committed to be planted by 2009. Where did that goal come from? God “interrupted” a session of the Executive Presbytery in January 2007. Nam Soo Kim, Pastor of Full Gospel Assembly of God in Flushing, New York suggested that the Assemblies of God was capable of planting significantly more churches at a much greater pace. He suggested that we challenge our “top 1000” churches to each plant a church in the next year. The conversation became energized by the thought of thousands of people coming to know the Lord through these anointed new churches. The seed of the Network was born.

Over the next several months, the structure of the Network began to emerge. One driving value that has guided the process of forming the Network is to work hard to add value to what is already in place. This is not a new program that calls for you to drop what you are doing and do something different. We want to add value to what you are already doing as well as help you attain new dreams that you aspire to.

In reality, every Assemblies of God church is already part of the Church Multiplication Network. All we ask is that you consider what you have that can be a blessing to others in their effort to plant new churches and make your provision available to others as you are able. We are convinced that we can do more together than we can ever do by ourselves! Here are some ways you might participate in the Network. (read more)

Fire Institute

What if South Dakota had 100 students ready to lead a friend in a discipleship process?  Then that friend in turn began to lead another friend in the same process?  The Gospel would spread slowly and steadily at first, but soon it would begin to expand at a rapid rate.

One freshman student leading a process of discipleship to one other student every six months will grow to 256 students by the time they graduate.

How can you do this?  Below are a few resources that work together to help facilitate this process:

1.  Fire Bible Student Edition - A study Bible designed for every student
2.  Fire Starters - A devotional companion to the FBSE designed for every student (available as free downloads, or as a book for purchase)
3.  Fire Institue - An intenst discipleship process that cooperates with the FBSE and Fire Starters designed for students in leadership
4.  Fire Builders - The Leader's Portal designed to help facilitate the journey through Fire Institute

Why not move from a youth ministry to Youth IN Ministry?!

No One Will Grow For You!

There are many things in life you can delegate.  However there are a few key things that should never be delegated - one of those is your growth.

Though you may not be able to be an expert on everything, you do need to develop a plan to help you continue to grow in areas of both strength and weakness.

I find the best way for me to continue my growth pattern is in reading.  Here are some suggestions that may help you on that journey.

1.  Be purposeful in your reading: Find a topic you want to learn about and select three different authors.  This will give you a varied perspective on content.

2.  Take notes on your reading:  This can be done by highlighting, journaling, or publishing a review.  The key on this is to process what you have read in regards to how you can apply the information you took in.

3.  Stretch yourself:  Set a goal for when you want to complete your books, or how many you want to read during a certain time frame.  Do your best to achieve it.

4.  Put the book down:  Occasionally you may find a book that you struggle to read and finish.  And though I'm a proponent of finishing the book, you may need to just put the book away.  Be aware if you are in the habit of not finishing books - the problem might not be the book, it might be that you need to create a new habit.

5.  Share what you have read:  Talk about what you read, this helps to solidify what you have read in your mind, process the thoughts about what you took in, and help to inspire reading in others.

Here are my recommendations on books to read.
Strapped for time but would still like to start a pattern of growth?  Check out SignetLite.

Killing Cockroaches

I don't think I have highlighted more content in a book than I have this one.  Killing Cockroaches by Tony Morgan (Chief Strategic Officer at NewSpring Church), is filled with relevant topics and real-[church]world solutions to many of problems faced by church leadership.  Most issues may appear to be benign in scope and nature.  But over time, if left unchecked will create major issues in the church.

Tony has done his homework and provided Killing Cockroaches as an easy read for the pastor and church leadership.  Once read, I recommend keeping Killing Cockroaches close by as quick-reference guide.

Here are some of the topics Tony addresses:
  • Bad Websites
  • Better Blogging 48 Strategies
  • Boring Church Services
  • Creating Buzz
  • Exceeding Expectations
  • Finding Mr. Right
  • 10 Ways to Know You are NOT a leader
  • How would Apple do Church
  • People will Put their Money Where Their Heart is
  • Cut Out Staff Meetings
  • Reaching 18-34 Year Olds
  • 10 Advantages to Doing Ministry Without Strategy
  • 10 Ways to Sink Your Sermon Series
  • Hiring Strategy
  • Message Tips

And why is all of this important?
Killing Cockroaches is not designed to equip the pastor to do everything in the church.  Rather it is focused on one thing -- how to help the pastor make decisions about what is important and maintain focus rather than running to the next emergency.

"If we come running, the people will keep screaming." (p.200)

Read the Book Summary

Popping the Bubble

Ever wondered why it's so hard to relate to those who do not attend your church?  Do you sometimes wonder if your church lives in a bubble?

It's very easy to minister through in a bubble, never really relating to those outside your church.  Vocational ministers work among believers, worship among believers, visit believers, etc.  Then when it comes time to plan a service or outreach we still think like believers.

We are so focused on serving the believers, we forget what the pre-believers think like and what they need.

One church had a creative solution to keep the staff in touch with those who were pre-believers.  The Lead Pastor required his staff to volunteer one day at a place of secular employment.  This was driven only by the desire of the pastor to keep his staff in contact with those they are trying to serve and love.

How do you stay in touch with those you are serving?   Do you "walk slowly through the crowd?"

Did You Know?

Purple Cow

Remember the excitement of the new toy on Christmas day?  Remember how you played with it for several days (maybe), and then that new toy became boring?

Brown cows may be exciting the first time you see them, but after a while, the brown cow becomes boring.  But a purple cow - now that is something remarkable.

"Purple Cow" helps leaders of organizations and ministries understand the importance of avoiding the boring and become remarkable.

Here are a few of the key points of Purple Cow:

  • Old Rule: Create safe ordinary product and combine them with great marketing.
  • New Rule: Create remarkable product that the right people seek out.
  • Target the early adopters (people who benefit from being the first in line and try to maintain their edge over the population) who are "sneezers" (people who pass along their finds to others).
  • Make it easy for the "sneezers" to pass along your "viral idea" to others.
  • Stop making products for "everybody" that is a product for "nobody."
  • All of the easy remarkable ideas are gone - it is hard work to become remarkable.
When was the last time you did something truly remarkable?  You pushed through average and ordinary to create something that was so good, so amazing, so irrisistable, people could not help but "sneeze" it to others.

It is time to become purple!  It is time to become remarkable.

This book should be required reading for every ministry leader.

Move Along...

Here's an easy to implement tip to help your regularly schedule service:  Keep it moving.

We live in a culture conditioned to flow.  One thing runs right to the next.  It's seamless.  Or at least it's supposed to be. 

Consider this:
  • How do you respond at a stop light when it turns green and the person before you does not move?
  • What does it feel like when you are at the check-out and there is a problem witht the scanner or a price?
  • When your TV or radio station has dead time we flip the channel or become frustrated in a matter of seconds.
Now, how about your church service?  Is there dead time during your service?  Do you have irrelevant or boring content that is not related to the focus of worship and the preaching?  Do transitions from worship to announcements to special music lag?  When people have the microphone do they waste time?  Are media and technology issues consistently causing embarrassing moments?

In today's world there is something more important than money to many people.  It's their time.  Just like you are a steward of the funds they drop in the collection plate.  We should also be stewards of the time they spend in the pew.

This does not limit the moving of the Spirit, rather, it's shoring up the irrelevant content in order to create more time for what is really important.

Media Rules

More and more media is available for people to use during their regularly scheduled service.  So much media is at your fingertipe that a leader can be overwhelmed and feel pressured to use media that distracts instead of supplements the desired outcome of the service.

I have found that a couple personal rules help to guide in a way that insure any media I use will add and not detract from the service.  Here they are:
  • Only use media that requires no introduction or explaination - If your video/media doesn't communicate the message you want it to communicate throw it out.
  • Remember the threshold of your audience - Some videos may be considered OK by some viewers and not by others.  You must be considerate of the most conservative family in your group.  No video/media is worth losing a student or family or breaking trust.
  • Media that doesn't work in the practice must be scapped.
  • Do not ignore copyright laws
Here's some great resources for you to find video content for your services:

Failure: The Secret of Success

This eight minute video produced as a Honda Documentary is a great resource for leaders and ministries.

The Cage of Guilt

In a blog post last November, Pastor Mark shared thougths from Mark Batterson's new book  Wild Goose Chase.  His intent was to encourage readers to order a copy and experience this inspiring work firsthand. I ordered mine and was not disappointed.

In the book Batterson describes six cages that keep Christians from realizing their full potential. Here's some thoughts that impacted me from chapter five, "The Rooster's Crow: Coming Out of the Cage of Guilt."
  • "...for most of us, it is far easier to accept God's forgiveness than it is to forgive ourselves."

  • "We become so fixated on past mistakes that we forfeit future opportunities."

  •  "...if you focus all of your energy on past failures, you'll have no energy left over to dream kingdom dreams or pursue kingdom purposes." (let that one settle for a bit)

  • "If you want to impact someone's life, love them when they least expect it and deserve it."

  • When we put our faith in Christ, somehow our spiritual debits are transferred to Christ's account and His credits are transferred to ours.

  • "Nothing is as freeing as confessed sin.  Nothing is as isolating as a guilty secret."

  • "Guilt has a shrinking effect.  It shrinks our dreams. It shrinks our relationships. It shrinks our hearts. It shrinks our lives to the size of our greatest failures.  Grace has the opposite effect."
If you want to expand your vision, bust out of the cages that are holding you back and know what it means to be an adventurous follower Christ, purchase a copy of Wild Goose Chase

The Importance of Leadership

We must be leading.  We must be growing.  We must be allowing others the opportunity to be challenged by our growth as we lead them.

Effective ministries are those that have leaders in a constant growth pattern.  Their ministries grow (not always measured by numbers) because the leaders are growing.  Personal growth is not a guarantee of ministry growth, but I challenge you to find one growing and healthy ministry where the leader is not reading, setting goals, and in a community that fosters continued growth.  It does not exist.

Do you need some places to start:
  1. Recommended Reading:  These are books I have read and recommend for continued growth.
  2. Follow the Signet blog:  This year I have begun a growth journey with four other leaders from across South Dakota.  We will be logging our growth and invite you to encourage us and be challenged in your own pattern of growth.  
If you are leading a ministry or organization, be sure you find a way to begin your own systematic pattern of growth!

In the words of my former McDonald's manager:  "If you're green you're growing.  If you're ripe you rot!"

Natural Ingredients

Today I had one of my new favorite desserts: Kashi Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies.

Now when I make cookies (which I love to do), I use Mrs. Fields Recipe which is delicious - and fattening.  Mrs. Field's recipe calls for the standard ingredients: sugar, flours, butter, brown sugar etc.   You'll use these same ingredients in a variety of cookies, just in varying amounts.   It creates a cookie that is very delicious, but also has 260 calories and 12 grams of fat per cookie!

Contrast that with Kashi's and you'll see only 130 calories and 5 grams of fat per cookie.  Much better for you, and just as tasty!  The interesting thing about Kashi is their commitment to whole grains and searching for all natural ingredients.  My first sample of the Kashi Cookie caught me off guard - I was expecting a very bland almost flat tasting cookie - what I got was a surprise to my taste buds.

I had to see where "sugar" landed on their ingredients list.  It didn't.  Now maybe it's hidden in some 10 syllable word in their ingredients, but I could not find "sugar."  Mrs. Fields made an awesome cookie that is equally bad for you.  Kashi made an awesome cookie that is not!  The difference is the ingredients.

My question to you is what ingredients go into your ministry?  The traditional, easy to find ingredients (reliance new media and technology, fun games, cute action songs, quickly thrown together devotional or message), or do you use ingredients with the end result in mind (prayer, fasting, guidance of the Holy Spirit, preaching the Word of God and not pop culture).

If you find yourself using the traditional, easy-to-find ingredients in your ministry maybe it's time to search for a new recipe.  It won't be easy, but the payoff will be worth it.

Have you called a hero lately?

Last week at our district youth leaders retreat we were reminded how vital it is to make contact with students transitioning from high school to college within the first two weeks of their first semester. It's an easy way to remind them that they are not alone during what can be a difficult time.

I know how true this is as I remembered a letter that I received from my youth pastor in the fall of 1996 as a freshmen at Trinity Bible College. That note of encouragement reminded me that one of my heroes knew where I was and was cheering me on. It could not have come at a better time for me. I still have that note.

See, I was a shy sophomore in high school when he asked me to be on his team for a game of Foosball during my first visit to his youth group; suddenly I felt accepted, and I returned every week after. He was the one who encouraged me to go on my first missions trip even though I felt way less than qualified. The three missions trips I took in high school had a profound effect on my decision to pursue full time ministry. The examples of his impact on my life are numerous.

These reflections caused me to realize that I had not made contact with Pastor Mark in more than 12 years. So this morning I called him to let him know where I was, what I was doing in ministry, and how much he impacted me with that letter and in many other ways. It was a joyful time of reconnection and I look forward to continuing the conversation.

How about you. Is there a coach, pastor, teacher, parent, or youth pastor that believed in you and affected your future in a profound way? Have you taken time to let them know? Pause a moment to write a card or place a phone call. Don't wait 12 years like I did. You might be the encouragement they need to continue influencing lives for years to come.

Have you contacted a hero lately?

Last week at our district youth leaders retreat we were reminded how vital it is to make contact with students transitioning from high school to college within the first two weeks of their first semester. It's an easy way to remind them that they are not alone during what can be a difficult time.

I know how true this is as I remembered a letter that I received from my youth pastor in the fall of 1996 as a freshmen at Trinity Bible College. That note of encouragement reminded me that one of my heroes knew where I was and was cheering me on. It could not have come at a better time for me. I still have that note.

See, I was a shy sophomore in high school when he asked me to be on his team for a game of foosball during my first visit to his youth group; suddenly I felt accepted, and I returned every week after. He was the one who encouraged me to go on my first missions trip even though I felt way less than qualified. The three missions trips I took in high school had a profound effect on my decision to pursue full time ministry. The examples of his impact on my life are numerous.

These reflections caused me to realize that I had not made contact with Pastor Mark in more than 12 years. So this morning I called him to let him know where I was, what I was doing in ministry, and how much he impacted me with that letter and in many other ways. It was a joyful time of reconnection and I look forward to continuing the conversation.

How about you. Is there a coach, pastor, teacher, parent, or youth pastor that believed in you and affected your future in a profound way? Have you taken time to let them know? Pause a moment to write a card or place a phone call. Don't wait 12 years like I did. You might be the encouragement they need to continue influencing lives for years to come.

Discipline in the Classroom

I recently did some research for a church about discipline in the classroom.  They needed to create a policy to help guide the adults on what was appropriate and to provide consistency among all adult leaders.  Here are the resources I sent their way.

- Online Workshop by Dan Stanley
- The Discipline Guide for Children's Ministry
- Essentials of Discipline
- StepONE - age level guides for teachers and leaders
- Please Don't Sit on the Kids
- Teaching with Heart
- Growing a Healthy Children's Ministry

I Should Have Known Better.

Recently on a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for BGMC my son and I were walking to a restaurant on the marina.  In typical fashion we were approached by many people trying to sell jewlery, hats, cotton candy, and more.  Saying "no gracias" does it and we are on our way.

As we get closer to our dining destination we see a guy with two iguanas.  He'll let you hold them, put them on your head, and then take pictures of them.  Colby and I thought this would be fun.

We let the guy put them on Colby, I snapped a couple pictures of him and then he said - $4.00 please.

Huh???  What???  I should have known!  This wasn't a thing he does just because he likes bringing a smile to peoples face and has nothing better to do.  He does it to make money.

I don't like those kinds of surprises.  I don't like feeling like I've been snookered, bushwhacked, or blind-sided.  Most people don't.  They feel taken advantage of and like suckers.

What do you do in your ministry to ensure people don't feel like I did on the boardwalk of the marina?

Generosity in Difficult Times

The following text is from the Generosity Book Website.

Generosity? In times like these?  Giving is down, 401k's are shrinking, the credit markets are still tight.  Is generosity really practical?  Why in the world should I be thinking about sharing a generosity message with others at a time like this?  Consider:
  1. Christians have a unique opportunity to demonstrate generosity that will attract a watching world.  It's countercultural to give when everyone is scrambling to preserve.
  2. Difficult times like these often force us to examine how we have lived during the good times.  This is a great opportunity to introduce people to the joy and freedom of a generous life, a joy that lasts whether markets are up or down.
  3. We do not all have the gift of giving, but we are all called to be generous.
Order copies of this 31 day devotional by Gordon MacDonald for as low as $4.00 each.  Please download a free copy of a chapter for review pior to purchase.

3 Questions

It's a new year and a time to set goals for yourself, your family, and for your ministry. Here's some questions posed by Reggie Joiner, originally directed toward parents to ask themselves of their kids, but I've adapted them for the ministry.

  • Where do you want your ministry to be?
  • Where is it now?
  • What do you need to do to get there?

They seem like basic questions, but given some serious thought and consideration, we could really create some effective goals and strategies to win kids and students to Jesus. There's a goal for 2009.

It's the little things

Recently our family was treated to an evening stay at a nice hotel. It was a fairly new place full of suites; a step above most of the hotels we stay in when traveling. The decor and furnishings were modern, comfortable and quite accommodating. The breakfast was exceptional and the two large flat screen TVs in the room were more than sufficient. Everything was great except for one thing . . . something that my wife noticed as she pulled back the shower curtain in the bathroom.

A gob of hair stuck to the shower wall.

It was evident that the housekeeping staff took pride in the appearance of this hotel, but someone missed a detail. It was small...but it altered our perception.
I wondered, how would someone else react to that oversight? Is it worth calling the front desk? Does it warrant switching rooms? Might someone avoid staying there in the future? Could it result in negative feedback at Who knows.

In the end it wasn't a big deal. We dealt with the hair, slept soundly that night and enjoyed our stay.

One thing is certain, little things matter. In life, in ministry, at your job, in your riting. They matter to your children, your spouse, your neighbors, and the IRS. Pay attention to the little things this year. You never know who will notice and how their perception will be affected.

Church Metrics

An old management adage says "You can't manage what you don't measure."  Another way to say it is "If it can't be measured, it's not real." The problem in the church world is many churches may not have the means to track and measure their weekly data in a way that means something.

Enter Church MetricsChurch Metrics is a free resource for churches provided by

I took a moment to check it out and it appears to be an easy to use tool for churches to track attendance, salvations, baptisms, offerings and more.  I can see how this resource would be great as you can see where you have been and make projections/goals on where you are going. has done a nice job of integrating graphs and reports to make it valuable to churches of any size.

Check out Church Metrics and see if it will work for you.

Permission Marketing

Today the noise and clutter of media and social networking is getting so loud there is something more valuable than an open pocketbook. 

Something so precious that if abused, or even the hint of abuse is perceived, the individual may never give it to you again.  That precious commodity is their attention.

In Permission Marketing, Seth Godin outlines the fundamental flaws in traditional marketing. 

In our recent history, just getting your product or idea in front of a large number of people worked.  They would see your ad and make their purchase.  Mass media almost guaranteed your product would sell.

Today, however, because the noise level of the multitudes of advertisements screaming over the top of each other, people are less likely to give you the attention and time you need to present your product or idea.

Permission Marketing should be required reading for anyone in ministry today.  While it sounds very rugged and almost sacrilegious to compare Church Ministry to Marketing (read Church Marketing 101) - this book carries essential information about how to build bridges to people over time.  These bridges earn trust which results in their attention and permission to present your passion to them.

Seth describes six levels of permission ranging from Intravenous where you allow others to make the decisions for you based on trust, consistency, and relevance, to Spam.

Permission Marketing is a bit dated in some of the illustrations.  It was written almost a decade ago (1999) and many of the internet/technology companies used as support arguments may not be remembered by a younger reader.  However, that does not mean the fundamental process proposed is irrelevant.  On the contrary, Seth hit the bulls eye in '99.  Permission Marketing is even more accurate today when the noise level has all but increased.

Disclaimer:  I receive no remuneration for the review.  Sales of this book by the link provided support STL and BGMC.

More than coffee

Recently I sat down for coffee with a youth pastor who is just starting in his first church. The coolest part about this encounter was that he sought me out and came prepared with written questions. The plan was to get to know each other and talk about ministry. The result was much more. We have decided to get together about once a month to continue the conversation.

I didn't realize it at first, or maybe I had forgotten; but there is something invigorating about pouring into someone who is just starting out.
I came away energized knowing that God had used my experience to help a friend. And something was rekindled in me; fresh ideas and renewed passion for ministry. I was reminded that God never intended for us to do this alone!

Talking with young leaders is something that I enjoy but do far too little of. It's easy to get too busy or feel like you have nothing to offer. The truth is you have way more than you realize. God wants to use you and your experience. You don't have to be an expert or have all the answers. Be available and watch what happens.

Someone invested or is currently investing in your life. Who are you investing in? Don't wait for someone ask, give a younger leader a call and buy them a cup of coffee.
If someone does seek you out, make time for them. Find out how they are doing, offer encouragement, share your successes and your failures, pray for them, or just listen.

Pour the coffee and pour into the life of another leader.

28 Days

We live in some crazy times.  Our nation, which was founded on Christian principles, has become increasingly hostile to those who openly follow Christ.  Teens are especially under assault.  In every aspect of their life, from their education to their entertainment, is telling them that their faith in God is useless and irrelevant.  Because of this, God has placed it on my heart to put together a special emphasis that challenges our teens to live a Spirit-filled, POWERFUL life according to Acts 1:8.  Thus, the idea of “28” was born.

“28” represents the 28 days of February during which we will be encouraging our students to read one chapter of Acts and pray every day.  28 Chapters.  28 Days.  There will be daily emails and text messages to encourage this.  Students will be encouraged to memorize a weekly memory verse.  All of my messages in February will center around the book of Acts.  Every Friday in February, we’re going to have an “Underground” Bible study at secret, undisclosed locations around town.  We’re partnering with other youth ministries in our section, and on Saturday night, February 28, we will be having a final celebratory Youth Rally in South Sioux City, NE.

- Idea reprinted with permission from Tim Lillard - Youth Pastor in Norfolk, NE

Signet: Launching Soon

Signet (a leadership journey) will be launching in January 2009. I am anxiously awaiting the first applications to come across my desk in the next two weeks.

The first team will be limited to four people yet I believe this will create a close knit group of leaders who will have the ability to challenge and spur each other on to a greater level of growth in leadership.

Signet Development Progress:
  1. Group values have been established (hunger, humility, and excellence)
  2. Annual reading plan has been laid out
  3. Applications and information have been delivered through digital format
  4. Purpose and goals have been defined - Cooperative Leadership Growth
  5. Books have been selected and ordered for the first team
  6. Blog ( is live and ready for use by the first team of participants
Signet is open to anyone wanting to grow in their leadership ability and effectiveness in ministry. It's not about specialized ministry skills -- simply leadership. Will I be getting your application in the next two weeks?

Is Signet For You?
Applicants demonstrating signet values (hunger, humility, and excellence) are more likely to be selected over those who do not. Signet is not about creating the desire for growth, it is about creating a process that accelerates and focuses growth.

Signet Book List 2008

Following are the leadership books we will be reading in the first signet group.

Leadership Books: (Included FREE for Signet Members)*
AX-I-OM - Hybles
The Purple Cow - Godin
5 Dysfunctions of a Team - Lencioni
11: Indispensable Relationships - LenSweet
Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership - McIntosh/Rima
Starfish and the Spider - Brafman/Beckstrom

These are the additional books I will be reading during the year:

Personal Growth:  Husband/Father
Help! I'm Raising my Kid while Doing Ministry - Mayo
A Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey with your Kids About Sex - Leman
Sacred Marriage - Gary L Thomas

Focused Learning: About the Mind
A Users Guide to the Brain - Ratey
Patterns of High Performance - Fletcher
The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Rebuilding the Human Brain - Cozolino

*Purchased by Signet Leader for the team

Purple Skittle Days

Our kids' Worldview, Character, and Moral structure (WCM) are being shaped all the time.  When they are in school, at their job, in the home, and when they are confronted by media and friends.

As Christian parents we hope and pray that our kids will grow up to be lifelong followers of Christ.  Yet all too often we are simply banking on the fact that we get our kids to church a couple times a week and are not intentional about spiritual training in the home.

The chart pictured shows approximate hours druing a typical students school year.

This shows that for 1360 hours each school year their WCM is being shaped by teachers, administrators, and friends that may not encourage the same values.  Another 612 hours year by coaches, employers and those involved in after school activities.  Going to church four hours a week will add up to 136 total hours of impact each school year.

But the focus is on the 1700 hours of miscellaneous hours that go "uncaptured."  These hours when we flip on the TV, priorize balancing the checkbook, driving to all kinds of after school activities, hanging out with friends, and our own parental responsibilities at the expense of spending quality, intentional time with our kids.

You might not be able to capture all 1700 of those hours, but can you make sure to focus on a couple hours a week at least?

If each bar in the graph were represented by a colored skittle (school as yellow, extra/job as green church as orange) and they were all mixed into the life of your child what color would you see?  Now if you start to add the miscellaneous as purple - what color will start to come out?  Purple.

As we live in the home we impact our kids to determine what those purple Skittles will represent as they are mixed into the "bowl" of our child.

Let's maximize the purple skittle days.

Wild Goose Chase

After having read "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day" I new Mark Battersons Sophmore release, "Wild Goose Chase," would be inspiring and challenging.  I ordered a pre-release copy and got one that was autographed by the author -- pretty cool.

Here are some of the top things I picked up from WGC:
  • "I wonder if some of us are living such safe lives that not only are we bored, but so are our guardian angels." page 7
  • There are six cages that can keep us from the adventurous life-pursuit of God and what He has for us - Responsibility, Routine, Assumption, Guilt, Failure, and Fear.
  • "When God puts passion in your heart... that God-ordained passion becomes your responsibility." page 20
  • Many problems of boredom come out of the fact that we have never defined our goals, values, or passions.  Essentially we are out of touch with our heart's desires.
  • "When Christian ity turns into a noun, it becomes a turnoff.  Christianity was always intended to be... an action verb." page 29
  • Sometimes we should stop praying and become the answer to our very own prayer.
  • We all need a "stop-doing list."
  • "Hurry kills everything from compassion to creativity." page 57
  • "The word diaper spelled backwards is repaid." page 126
  • "Getting where God want's me to go" isn't nearly as important as "becoming who God wants me to be" in the process. page 137
  • Pastor Mark and the staff of NCC did the Napolean Dynamite dance in a packed Atlanta Airport a few years ago. page 141
  • "The way to stop sinning is to get a God-sized vision that consumes all your time and energy." page 161
I hope these "teasers" will entice you to pick up the book and read it.  It spoke to me in so many ways, I know it will do the same for you.

Just Give Up

Schedule a Sharpening

The calendar pictured here hangs in my office above my computer. A casual glance at this image might lead you to guess one of the following:

1. He likes airplanes. If you guessed this you would be right, especially military aircraft. Comes with growing up on an Air Force base I suppose.

2. He has an empty calendar and too much free time.
Not so fast, I use the Outlook calendar on my computer for the essential appointments, dates, and deadlines. My wall calendar is "for show". You know, the kind that takes up space with nice pictures, is good for an occasional glance to see what day of the month it is, and keeps you aware of those ever-important holidays such as New Zealand's Labour Day (October 27 by the way).

3. He's a little confused. Those who are exceptionally observant might think this after noticing that my calendar is still displaying October. On this conclusion you are absolutely correct!

The truth is I didn't realize my calendar was displaying October until Monday, November 17th! Usually I flip the page on the first or second of each month. The funny thing is that I looked at this calendar numerous times in November before I came to this realization. I had been checking days in November by straining to see the tiny preview calendar in the bottom right hand corner for almost three weeks!

This may seem like no big deal but here's what I realized: My schedule during the first couple of weeks in November was pretty hectic, so much so that I didn't take the time to slow down, reflect, and notice that my calendar was outdated. I kept going without taking a brief moment to increase my productivity by turning the page.

Then I wondered, if I wasn't taking the time to do something as simple as changing a calendar, what else was I overlooking? A phone call to return? Something around the house that needed fixing? A moment of play with one of my girls? An unhurried conversation with my wife? Time alone with my Savior? I was reminded that if little things are getting overlooked for the sake of my frantic schedule, there's a good chance I'm missing other important needs along the way.

How are your calendars? Any clocks in the house that still need to be turned back one hour? It's the little things that make a difference and reveal how busy we really are. Maximize your effectiveness. Take time out to sharpen the ax. Build buffer zones into your day to help you slow down. It will require a few moments that you think you can't afford . . . but can you afford not to? You'll chop more wood in less time. And who knows, you might even be able to talk your boss into closing the office to observe Labour Day, New Zealand style.

Who Start's The Fire?

I visited a "revitalization church" this morning. And, as I like to do, I sat in on the teen Sunday School class. When I asked the teacher what he was using he mentioned "FireStarters." He loves them (among other reasons I'm sure) because they are FREE.

FireStarters are designed for individuals, self-study, and small groups, and have been designed to accompany the Fire Bible Student Edition. What a great way to help your kids dive into the Word of God and get them hooked on learning how to study the Bible on their own.

Here's the cool thing, on the Fire Bible Website students and leaders can download FireStarters for the entire New Testament. That's enough studies to last an entire year (with several left over) doing one a day!

Here's some ideas on making this work for you:
  1. Get all of your students a Fire Bible (All new Campus Missionaries get one FREE)
  2. Print up enough FireStarters for your entire class
  3. Have them go through the FireStarter as they arrive
  4. Guide the discussion as to what they learned from the Bible.
I'm sure you can think of other ways to integrate the FireStarters into your ministry, but just in case you need a jump start...
  1. Give them to your campus club leaders
  2. Pass them out on Wednesdays using the FS that correlates to your topic that night
  3. Send them home to parents as devotion starters
  4. Have your students share a FS each Wednesday as a part of your service
Oh, and keep plenty of FBSE's on hand. You just might find people so anxious to learn the Word of God on their own they will want to upgrade their "pew Bible" or children's Bible for something more in depth. I had the opportunity to give away my Fire Bible this morning to Roger - maybe you can give yours away too.

Logos for Mac

It's official. Logos for Mac is in production and available for pre-order. In my opinion, this is the best Bible Study software available.

I've been using the PC version for several years and have been testing out both the Alpha and Beta versions of the Mac edition. Those of you who are fans of the program but bummed because it's not available for your Mac -- Your wait is over.

Inbox Clutter

How full is your inbox? How long does it take you to reply to email? How often to you check your email?

The status of your inbox is one of the signs of the effectiveness of your time management and communication with those who are depending on you.

I'm not claiming to be perfect, but over the past few months I have started to really work on improving my inbox conduct. These simple steps have helped me improve staying on top of projects and get things done in a more efficient manner. I hope that you will apply these or try some of your own out to help you manage your time more effectively.

After all we are all equal in how much time we have each day... but we are not all equal in how efficiently we use those precious minutes.

Here's my inbox tips:
  1. Unsubscribe: Initially it was very cool to have my inbox ding every time I had activity on Facebook and a host of other sites. Typically these were deleted without reading them, but it was distracting and wasted time. Unsubscribe from as many of these subscriptions as possible, or turn off the auto send from items you don't read.
  2. Minimize Inbox Filters: Many email programs have "rules" that will automatically file your new mail for you. A very sophisticated system of rules to automatically file messages can be very appealing, but items needing your attention can get overlooked if they are not flagged properly. I use my inbox as the "not yet completed" messages of communication. If your program files it for you, you might miss replying to an important message.
  3. Turn Off Auto Check: Experts agree that having your email automatically delivered is a huge time waster. The audible or visual signal goes off which distracts you. Even if you don't check it the curiosity of what message just came my way can keep you from giving full attention to the project at hand. I have mine set to check every hour. When I'm in the middle of a project I can complete it without getting distracted.
  4. Daily Inbox Process: Whenever I check my email I have a very simple process. First, I read/skim each new email and file appropriately if no action is required. If information from me is all that is needed I reply immediately then file. If time is required on my part to reply with correct information it stays in my inbox and I will come back to it later in the day. Regardless of the amount of time or energy required on my part I try to reply to every email with at least a "thank you for contacting me" message right away. This lets the sender know I received it and I understand they are now waiting on me to complete my part of the conversation.
  5. Route: Sometimes email will come through that needs to be routed to the appropriate person for follow up. When that happens I always reply to the originator while CCing the new individual. This invites the new person to participate in the conversation and project to efficiently handle the situation.
  6. Skim: I subscribe to several blogs and get information daily that is useful. It just might not be useful at the current time. I usually don't read all of the details of these messages but after skimming the contents it gets filed Evernote or in a folder so I can search it out at a later date when it's needed.
Maybe this will help put things in perspective. Email allows hundreds of "mini-conversations" every day. Treat them like that. We wouldn't walk away from someone we were talking to without at least acknowledging their comments. Similarly we would expect that if someone came to visit us they wouldn't interrupt us if we were in the middle of something important.

Email, if managed properly will assist you in accomplishing your mission. If managed poorly or not at all it will scatter your attention and bury your effectiveness.


 I had the opportunity to complete Tribes - the latest release from Seth Godin - as he challenges people to lead their own tribe.

"Already an Amazon bestseller, the book is short and small and simple.  It argues, as clearly as I am capable, that leadership is the best marketing tactic to any organization - a company, a school, a church, a job seeker.

Our role today is to fine, connect and lead tribes in order to make change happen."*

Here are a couple of highlights I picked up from the book:
  1. A tribe is a group of people connected to each other, their leader, and an idea.
  2. A tribe only needs to things: a shared interest and a way to communicate
  3. You cannot have a tribe without a leader and you can't have a leader without a tribe
Leaders can increase the effectiveness of the tribe by:

  1. Transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal or desire for change
  2. Provide tools to allow members to tighten their communication
  3. leveraging the tribe to allow it to grow and gain new members
Although I took several notes, I still want you to get the book and read it for yourself and then pass it along.  But here's one more leadership tip I gained from his book:

  1. People don't believe what you tell them
  2. People rarely believe what you show them
  3. People often believe what their friends tell them
  4. People always believe what they tell themselves
The job of the leader is to give the tribe stories they can tell themselves.  Stories about their future and about change.

Enjoy the book... lead your tribe.

*Quoted from the Tribes lens on Squidoo 

Children's Ministry Training

Be sure to take a look at the Children's Ministry Webinars. These webinars focus on the following areas of children's ministry.

  1. Leadership Development
  2. Resource Training
  3. Early Childhood
  4. Elementary
  5. Pre-Teens
  6. Ministry to Girls
  7. Ministry to Boys
  8. Open Discussion
As my old McDonalds manager used to say, "If you're green you're growing, if you're ripe you rot." This is just a great resource to help you stay green and growing.

Beyond the First Visit

Gary L. McIntosh, author of One Size Doesn't Fit All and Staffing Your Church for Growth released Beyond the First Visit - a guide to connecting guests to your church.
Here are a few thoughts I gathered from the book as I read 177 pages in less than 3 hours (you can read faster too).
  1. Eliminate the use of "visitor" and implement "guest"
  2. Drop the use of "greeter" and start using "host"
  3. People are familiar with "concierge" - use the term and the concept
  4. If guests say; "That church is not friendly." - it isn't. Even if the people who attend say it is
  5. People make eleven decisions about us within the first seven seconds of contact
  6. Good child care has always been a contributing factor in growing churches. "With trained child-care professionals, there should be no more than four infants per worker and no more than five toddlers per worker. If you use volunteer workers, it is best if there are just two infants or four toddlers per worker.
To read more, pick up your copy today.

Choosing to Cheat

Andy Stanley has written a great book reminding us to prioritize family. All people in our life would like more of our time -- our family, our employers, our personal time, even our household chores -- but we have only been given 24 hours in a day. So in the battle for our time, who wins?

At 125 pages this "must read" is an easy read. Our family (spouse and kids) may not win all of the time, but they must not be the losers in this battle!

After all we will not retire from our family one day to finally be able to spend time at work - don't sacrifice them in the process.

Ministry - Made Easy

Twitter allows us to follow mini-blog activities of our friends through texting and the web.

Google is the central hub for searching anything on the web (have you ever wondered if elephants can jump? Google knows).

RSS feeds news that is of interest to you right to your desktop every day.

Facebook allows you to connect with people in your community, alumni of your school and relatives you usually only hear from in Christmas letters.

All these resources bring information to one location and when used correctly can save time and make your life richer.

Shouldn't there be something like this for youth ministry?

There is: at you will find Leadership resources, ministry strategies, sermon series and more.

Here's a sample of some of the Leadership Resources available in Volume II.
  • Personal growth plan
  • Weekly service planner
  • Youth Leader Online Spiritual Gift Test
  • Crisis Sites
  • Putting together you budget
  • Message Makers
  • Why Sinful people can be anointed
  • Assessments (for pastors, volunteers, and more)
Need sermons? can help with that too. Each volume comes with 52 sermons with corresponding parent-teen connections, small group studies, and powerpoint slides. You'll have sermons written by some of the top youth leaders in the nation at your fingertips!

Why not harness the power of the web to pull together some of the top resources available to youth ministers to save time and make your life richer.

Curious? Check out the free sample from Volume I. is ministry made easy.

NOTE: threebeans receives no money from the sale of or the promotion of subscriptions to - that means the promotion comes simply because I believe in the resource.

Carry On

I know many youth leaders that have incredible hearts for ministry but after a few months or years end up scratching their heads wondering... "Is this all there is to reaching teens?"

Scotty Gibbons has crafted a masterful book to help keep the focus on the most important items and your life in balance. Carry On is laced with humor and plenty of stories that every youth minister can identify with (well mostly, I never prayed with a kid who had food growing out of his ear).

Here's some of my favorite parts of Carry On:

  1. Stories from my suitcase: the food fight! Wow!
  2. God doesn't need your wisdom or power... God isn't looking for a youth leader with all of the answers... He's looking for a leader who recognizes their own inadequacy, yet still has a desire to do something that will count for eternity.
  3. Simple things that make a huge difference: the Word of God and Prayer
  4. Unfortunately, many youth workers spend their energy trying to blend in with the teenagers, rather than standing out as their leader... this may surprise you, but students aren't looking for someone who's just like them. They're looking for a leader that stands out.
  5. What could be more relevant to lost humanity than the fact that God wants a relationship with us and He's gone to incredible lengths to make that possible?

But don't just take my word for it, pick up your copy today. If you're not a youth minister pick up one to pass on to your youth leader and encourage them to Carry On.

Pop Out for Missions

Did you know that one-third of the world’s children struggle with inadequate food and drinking water—let alone having the luxury of soda pop to drink? Our Boys and Girls November Missionary Challenge is to “Pop Out for Missions.”
The national BGMC office is challenging kids to give up soda pop during the month of November. The money that would have been spent on soda pop would then be given to BGMC, which helps needy children around the world.

Here’s how it works
Kids across the nation are to make a pledge to give up soda pop for one, two, or three weeks, ending on Thanksgiving Day. On that day, kids may once again drink soda pop—remembering not only to be thankful for their own blessings, but remembering the children around the world who don’t get to celebrate the many material blessings that we are thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. Kids begin this challenge by taking pledges from their parents. Parents are encouraged not to purchase soda pop for their kids at restaurants or at the grocery store. Parents then calculate the savings from their household budgets and pledge this amount towards their kids’ Pop Out Challenge. Pledge forms can be downloaded below.
Kids can also get pledges from Grandma and Grandpa, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers, and church-goers in an attempt to raise as many funds as possible by “Popping Out For Missions!” We challenge you to not only have your kids take the “Pop Out!” challenge, but to take the challenge yourself as well. See if you can raise more pledges than the highest child. Kids love challenges like that. Perhaps the girls can compete against the boys, or the kids against the adults. Have fun as you “Pop Out for Missions!”

Resources to help you
BGMC is providing FREE resources for this fund-raising campaign. You can get 11 x 17-inch Pop Out posters to display in classrooms and around the church , Pop Out fliers to send home with the kids and Pop Out can labels to put on soft drink cans. On the Sunday you launch the campaign, give each child a can of soda with the Pop Out label on the can. Tell them that this is their last soda until the campaign is over at the end of the month.
The empty soft drink can could also serve as an offering bank if the children would like to go door to door or person to person gathering change for BGMC. (The opening would have to be widened.)
You can order all of these free resources online at the bottom of this page by contacting GPH at 1-800-641-4310. Since these resources are free, we just ask that you be good stewards and only order what you will need and what you will use.
Remember, BGMC funds help our missionaries to meet the physical and spiritual needs of people around the world by supplying them with whatever they need to spread the gospel message. Thanks for participating in this event to help reach the people of the world!
If you have any questions, contact the BGMC office at 417-862-2781 or by email at

View Original Article at the BGMC Site Here