Tag Archives | fun

Youth Group Personality Test


You can’t log onto Facebook right now without seeing someone post the results of some personality quiz they took online. We thought we would capitalize on that fad and create a personality quiz of our own: Which HSM Team Member Are You?

Through the quiz, we are able to connect with our students in a really fun way. It has been so much fun to see students come up to team members and say, “I got you on the quiz!” or post a screenshot of their result on their Facebook page or Instagram! It helps add a connection (as small as it may be) to our adult leaders and serves as an opportunity to meet new students! It also helps outreach a little to unchurched students. The idea was that this could go viral and that students would post their results on social media—and it worked! The response we got was overwhelming! So by them sharing the link, their friends have an opportunity to take a quick test, have a quick laugh, see a face/get a name of someone that they can meet, and get more info about our ministry.

It worked so well for our ministry and can be a fun thing to do in yours. Uquiz is a free online quiz creator that helped us put together ours. They make it super easy to create and share. So the next time you get your team together have them fill out a quick survey and put together a quiz of your own!

Colton [Email||Twitter]

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First 2 Years: You Own the Small Group!


Once a year (usually around the new year), I throw a wrench in our small group calendar. Adapted from our You Own the Weekend series, I dedicate a month or so to have my small group be run by the students!

It is one of the most fun things that my group does and we look forward to it every year! I group them into pairs and assign them a passage of scripture (usually there is a theme, like parables or miracles). When it is their week, they are responsible for several things: bringing the snack, running “highs and lows,” leading the lesson, and overseeing prayer requests at the end. Of course I help prep them during the week leading up, but once small group starts it is all them!

Here are a couple reasons why I keep bringing it back:

-It is fun! You Own the Small Group (YOTSG) is a blast and allows students to express themselves and their creativity. Last year, when a group was teaching about the vine and branches, they brought in this HUGE tree branch, shears, fruit–everything! While it was super messy, it was super fun! The things that they do when they teach help make some really special memories.

-It helps the group. If you have ever worked in customer service, you find yourself having extra patience and saying thank you much more often when you go to restaurants. You do that because you know what it is like to deal with how crazy customers can be. This is the same principle. After leading their week, students know what it is like to try to get the group to listen and respect each other and how hard it can be to get people to participate. Students come out of it being a more productive and well-behaved student in group. It pushes them to take ownership in the group.

What are some things that you do to mix up small group?

Colton [Email||Twitter]

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First 2 Years: Controlling Chaotic Groups!

It is small group season once again and I could not be more excited! During small group season, each of our team members are assigned a few small group leaders to coach throughout the year. This year I got a bunch of freshmen boy group leaders—so fun!

We only got two weeks in before one of the freshmen leaders in my coaching group contacted me about how to keep order in his crazy group. I gave him a few of the classic tips (playing sports before to tucker them out, taking away certain privileges, and asking disruptive students to take a break from group for a week), but I wanted to give him more creative tips as well. I am convinced that my small group consisted of the WORST behaved freshmen of all time so I had a couple tricks up my sleeve. Here is my favorite one:

During group, if a student was being loud or disruptive, I would nominate them for “the worst behaved of the night.” At the end of the night, we would normally have about 3 nominees for the title. From there, I gave each of them 15 seconds to make a speech to the group about why they shouldn’t be “the worst behaved of the night” and after all the speeches the group would vote. The student who got the most votes had to clean up the entire room.

I loved it because it was discipline in disguise. It was something the students took seriously, but had a lot of fun with, as well. I want to know about the creative ways that you have kept order in your group.

What are some tips you would give to small group leaders that are losing control? 

Colton [Email||Twitter]

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The Magnetic Leader

Have you ever heard the phrase, “that person has a magnetic personality?” I think there’s a LOT to process in that sentiment – but I think we can all admit that most effective leaders are powerfully magnetic people! Think about it – in one sense you are pulling people toward you or pushing people away from you all of the time. Beyond charisma, what specific traits are really magnetic? Here are a few of the things that I think really stand out:

Positive // Negative Attitude
Both positive and negative attitudes are incredibly magnetic! A positive attitude helps others believe, it helps your followers see clearly in the darkness, it gives people hope. One of the greatest gifts you can give your team is a positive attitude. There are already enough negative people out there (probably some serving on your elder board).  You probably know a specific terribly bitter person in your church: they’ve just been hurt one too many times so they feel the need to attack. They kill good ideas. They do their best to infect others with their pessimism. Both sides of attitude are magnetic.

Clear // Unclear Vision
Unity isn’t just bringing people together for a common cause, it is rallying people to a vision for what could be. It is standing back to back, fighting the enemy off. It is crossing the line in the sand and drawing your weapons to fight the enemy, not each other. Pick unity and you’ll find people pulled toward you. If the vision isn’t clear, people interpret it on their own, they poke holes. Both sides of vision are magnetic.

Fun and Laughter // Somber and Boring
Have fun with your people. Drop everything every so often to just have a good time. Plan a game night. Watch a classic movie together. A good belly laugh, a good laugh that goes all of the way to tears –  your people will feel the pull of leadership magnetism. You’ve probably felt it before when you first came on the team you’re on now. Laugh again! Change the office culture. It attracts great people.

Leave another one in the comments! What kind of magnetism is coming from you today?


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7 Things A Small Group Leader Should Commit To

This week marks the beginning of our small group season. This is my favorite part of the year because all year-long students will be meeting with their leaders throughout the week, all over the city to talk and experience who Jesus is. There will be life change this year because of this and this makes me so pumped!

As a small group leader myself and as we are having training for our leaders throughout the year on how to be a better small group leader, I thought I would jot down some key commitments small group leaders need to make during the year.

My personal walk with Christ comes first. It’s a must. It’s a nonnegotiable item when it comes to me leading a group of guys. If I am not filled, how can I pour out to my guys?

I will be consistent in meeting. One of the most important things about small groups for high schoolers is that they are consistent because everything else around them and in them in changing so rapidly. Having a small group consistently is a great feeling for students and it makes them look forward to something stable in their life.

I will need to live a life worth watching. Being a small group leader comes with the expectation that I am living a Christian life-style and my students are watching me trying to live it out whether I know it or not. Am I going to mess up? Yup! But they are watching how I handle those situations to. Does my daily life leak Jesus?

I will communicate with our group and with their parents regularly to make sure everyone involved knows what is happening. The quickest way to lose trust of a parent is not communicate what is going on with their student or any event you have going on.

I will not be an island. Small groups can easily be a You Vs. the World thing. I will continue to learn and seek help, advice, encouragement from my mentors and other small group leaders and meet with them at least once every six weeks.

I will make sure to do the best I can for the personal growth and care for the students in my small group. I want to do the best I can to point them to Jesus so by the time they are graduated, they are independent and committed followers of Jesus.

I will make small group a place of not only learning, but of community and fun. Having group also be an enjoyable time for the guys in their break down so many walls they have up over the years. I commit to making this a place they want to be at mid-week during the school year where we can laugh and have a good time while learning about Jesus.

I am sure there can be more. But these 7 to me, are the most important commitments I can before going into a small group session.

What else would you add?

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Life Groups Are: Fun Video

The first in a series of videos we’ve made to help promote the launch of Life Groups this fall in HSM. Simple, effective and fun!


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5 Things That Make Small Groups Successful

We are gearing up this week for the launch of our small group registration. I am really excited for students to sign up for a small groups for the upcoming school year (you can check out our online registration at hsmlifegroups.com). It got me thinking about what makes a successful small group. I think these 5 things, when all going at once, make a successful small group wherever you are at.

Trained, Caring Adult Leaders- There would be no high school small groups without our amazing adult group leaders. They are incredible and make everything possible. Not only is it important to get an adult high school group leader who genuinely loves students but it’s important to make sure they are trained well in how to lead and care for their groups. Each year we start off with a long training with all of our leaders and we meet a few times during the year as well for other trainings and classes as well. In these meetings we go over how to lead well, how to adjust the curriculum for your group, how to make an authentic community, what do when a student is in crisis and mandatory reports. If we can get leaders who care for their students and are trained on how to make the group the best it can possibly be for them, it’s unstoppable.

(There are tons of great leader and volunteer trainings on DYM. Click HERE to check them out.)

Open, Honest, Authentic Community- The whole point of small groups is to be open and honest with what is going on in your life and what is going on with your journey and relationship with God. I always tell my guys, “If you can’t be open and honest here where else are you being open and honest?” I truly believe life change happens in small groups when you have an authentic and real community and trained, caring leaders. God moves in mighty ways with that combination. In order to have an open, honest and authentic community it usually starts with the leader being open and honest and setting the ground rules for the group. Students need to know it’s a safe place of no judgement and that it is a place where we can talk about real things, real struggles and real celebrations in a community of students who will love and support each other.

Great Curriculum- Walking students through the Bible is huge. Having the right curriculum for your group is huge. The sweet thing is, there is a ton of great stuff out there for pretty cheap. It will take a little bit of shopping around to find the right stuff for your students but it’s out there. What I love more (if you have the resources and the time to do it) is customize curriculum for your students. You know your students better than anyone else. So if you can, make your own small group curriculum and pass it out to your leaders. We just switched to our own curriculum our team just made this last year and it turned out pretty great. It’s more in tune to what we feel our student need to be going through.

(There is a ton of great small group stuff on DYM as well. Click HERE to check it all out.)

Age and Gender Specific Groups- I know everyone has opinions on this, but I really think age and gender specific groups are huge to being successful. If we want an open, honest and authentic community there are some things guys will not be open and honest about if a girl is sitting in the circle with them. A girl will not be open and honest with certain things if a boy is in the room as well. Same with leaders, we want guy leaders counseling guys and we want girl leaders counseling girls. If you do not believe me, watch what a freshmen boy does and how he acts when a girl walks in the room. You will see.

Fun- Fun is huge in a successful small group. If it’s boring, students won’t show up. I think it’s okay to be studying the Bible and to have fun. Our leaders do an amazing job at making small groups something our students want to be at. They do a great job at making it a safe, fun, genuine place where they can be open honest with each other and have fun while doing it. It’s something the leader makes happen and it doesn’t seem forced. They just love what they do and it comes naturally. Each group is different on how they do it. I have seen groups rotate dinners each night, girls do pajama groups and snacks, groups go to Starbucks, small group in the jacuzzi and some groups just go out some week and go bowling. It’s about doing life together. Fun will come with trained leaders who make an authentic community with students. So have fun.

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Provide the Opportunity


This week I went to the beach with some of my small group boys. I had the day off, my wife was working so I had the whole day to just chill. So the beach it was!  One of the boys asked if he could bring a friend to hang out. He did.

I brought a cooler full of drinks and told the guys they were responsible for their own lunches. We had a great time just hanging out, body surfing, talking. As the day was wrapping up, the friend whom I just met that day asked me, “So you guys are a small group? What does that mean exactly?” I explained to him what we did and what church we were from and he told me he has not gone to church since the 6th grade. He asked if he would be able to come check out what we do. “Of course”, I said. And that was that.

On my way home it got me thinking about how we make connections with our core students friends:

  • When we provide the opportunity for our students to hang out, they will.
  • When our students know that our group is open and a safe place to invite friends, they will.
  • When sometimes we provide an atmosphere that is open and fun and there is no real agenda besides just hanging out and having fun it can intrigue a student who is not used to church maybe think differently about what they once thought about it.
  • Having fun with our students is key. Having fun breaks down walls. It breaks down a new students walls as well. We had a great conversation and he got invited to come to hang out with the group on the weekend services.
  • You can really tell that students who do not go to church are searching for something. I really think a big part of that is real, genuine relationships. Both with friends and with God. If we provide the opportunity for them to see what that could look like, it can and will lead to life change.

I love hanging out with my boys. I love meeting their friends. I love providing opportunities for friends to come and hang out and are interested in the community our small groups provide.

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Married 7 days a week_Day 7: Say "YES"

This isn’t a free day…it may not sound as “serious” as the other six days, but today is just as big!

If you didn’t read last week’s posts, here was the challenge: do something simple every day that could impact/change/redirect the course of your marriage (over time).

Day 7 (Sunday) is Say “Yes!”

YES is attitude! Yes is sexy! A little more “yes” and there might be a little more fun, spark, romance and joy in your marriage.

It seems as though I hear troubled spouses say, “He/She never wants to do anything” or “I make suggestions, but they’re met with a ‘no’ or ‘I’m tired.’” Don’t allow that to describe your marriage. Add a little “YES” to it!

Review the other 6 actions from this “Marriage Week” blog and practice:
1. I’m going to minimize my spouse’s annoying behaviors. YES.
2. I’m going to look for ways to connect and listen and talk. YES
3. I’m going to stretch myself and use words that affirm. YES
4. I am going to become an expert in sexual/non-sexual touch. YES.
5. I’m going to figure out some fun & laugher & shatter routine. YES
6. I’m going to become an expert on my spouse & serve. YES.

If your spouse takes any step toward making your marriage better, please meet it with a YES.
• Let’s toilet paper the neighbors’ house! YES
• I’ve signed us up for ballroom dancing lessons. YES
• Let’s go on a walk tonight instead of watch TV. YES
• Let’s put up a tent in the backyard and go “camping”. YES
• Let’s go on this hill and watch the sunset and yodel. YES
• Let’s buy Doug Fields some Laker tickets. YES

Give it a try. Put it into action. Change your “no” and “not now” into a “YES” and see what happens.

Question: What specific “yes” would make your spouse happy? Share it here.


[Are you getting this daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it’s real easy–go here.

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Married 7 days a week: Friday is Fun!

If you’ve missed Marriage Week on the blog this week, here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Monday is Minimize
Tuesday is Talk (which is really connect & listen)
Wednesday is Words
Thursday is Touch

Simple actions that you can take every day of the week. Today is FUN!

Many define fun as, “what you do after you’ve got all your work finished.” The problem with that statement is that work is rarely ever finished.

If everything is predictable…predictability kills a marriage. All work and no play makes a dull marriage.

For many, once the wedding is over “fun” gets put on the PAUSE mode.

Marriage gets last priority. “S/he’ll understand. We’re busy right now. Besides, this busyness is only temporary.”

Unfortunately, a temporary, hectic schedule can easily become a permanent lifestyle.

Couples wake up one day and ask, “Where did all are those loving feelings go?” They died with the death of fun.

Adding a little fun:

1. Make a commitment to shatter routine
The “WOW” of dating can easily be replaced with the “OH” of marriage. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

When was the last time you did something just for the fun of it?
• Something unusual to break the monotony?
• Something crazy just for your spouse?

2. Don’t make the time–you’ve got to take the time
Most marriages can attribute about 50% of our disconnectedness to our crazy pace of life.

Couples have to declare war on the pace of their lives. They have to blow up the excuses that keep an element of fun from appearing in their marriage. The nights of laundry need to be replaced with a dash of dating.

Forget “making time”… you’ve got to “take time”. What aspects of your courtship days were most enjoyable? Reintroduce some of that courtship into your marriage.

Hey, everyone hits a dry spell. Fine. Get over it. If it’s dry…add some water—do a slip-and-in the backyard and get things moving.

Question: What can you do to enhance some fun and playfulness in your marriage? Let’s gather some ideas and start implementing them once a week.


[Are you getting this daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it’s real easy–go here.

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The NEW "Youth Ministry Garage" debuts today!

We have been building, tinkering, dreaming, crafting, and partnering to bring our podcast back. Today is the day! We’re very excited!

We did 143 episodes when we were part of the Simply Youth Ministry team and now it’s time to be start a new era called the Youth Ministry Garage.

This new era is part of the “better together” principle. We’re amazed! First of all, Youth Specialties and new executive director Mark Matlock came to the rescue and said, “We’ll power up the show! I’ve always been a big fan. YS would be honored.”

Then, the creative crew at RemedyLIVE said, “We’ll host it, build it, maintain it, and take it to the next level.” And…they have! Seth, Clinton and their web-programming genius’ have been a blast to work with. I can’t wait to see more partnership with their ministry…it’s very exciting.

In addition to Youth Specialties & RemedyLIVE we have 3 amazing sponsors (who give away free stuff on every show) and organizations that we’re proud to be connected to: YM360, LeaderTreks, and APU.

The site (with show #1 and/or #164) will go live today at 5:30pm EST… see for yourself at www.youthministrygarage.com

Here’s a little tease of the opening:

YMG Intro Video from remedyLIVE on Vimeo.

[If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.]

In addition to our website, you can stay connected with us at our new FACEBOOK page… and TWITTER… and our EMAIL LIST. There’s a lot of ways to get connected to the podcast. Also, help us get the word out and post this ad on your blog.

If you’ve gone 5 years without checking out our podcast…where have you been? Here’s a sneak peak, but be sure to join us in the Garage. Our hope is that you’ll become like Jay…love his blog post and his eagerness for the podcast to return–good news Jay–today is the day.

Question: If you’re a podcast regular (part of our team) what are you most excited about?

Are you getting this daily blog in your email inbox? Real easy–go here.

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A 65 second tour of the Youth Specialties office

This video doesn’t end well! Please don’t watch on a full stomach.

I was in an all-day meeting at the Youth Specialities office yesterday and I thought it would be fun to show a little bit of the office…well, and it was fun(ny). When you get to the end of the video, I was a little stunned and didn’t really know how to end the video. See for yourself:

Youth Specialties has a 40 year reputation of youth ministry training AND fun. Both “training” and “fun” are key values and they’re both seen at the National Youth Workers Convention.

We’d love for you to join us for both training and fun in either San Diego (Sept. 30-Oct.2) or Atlanta (Nov. 18-20). It’s a perfect way to affirm your leaders and get them the training that they desire.

Here’s the convention details.

Question: what is the primary source of training that you rely on to deepen your skills? Let us know.

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Creativity Challenge… win big!

I walked into a store and saw this sign and thought it would be fun to use it for a creativity challenge.

The person who comes up with the best line will win some FREE books.

I’ll pick the winner on Friday.

Share your ideas HERE.

Remember, you are the “sweet” to my “tea”

Enter as many ideas as you want!

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Duffy Robbins…to know him is to LOVE him

I get one of the most unique privileges on the planet…that is to travel and share ministry with Duffy Robbins. Duffy has a youth ministry pedigree that is in the top of this world. His books and speaking ministry is global and he’s easily one of the most influential youth ministry thinkers and practitioners on the planet and the youth ministry program that he’s built at Eastern University is among the best.

But what I love about Duffy is that he’s funny, quirky, he deeply loves Jesus, travel, family, friends, adventures and laughter. We always have fun together when we travel (see adventures of Dr. Ruth as an example). We are traveling and speaking at our events together about a dozen times a year, but we just got back from Korea and I thought I’d share with you a little “behind the scenes” photo montage of Duffy Robbins.

We arrive in Korea after flying 15+ hours and get in line in front of some sort of boy scout troop… Duffy thought that was funny, but after flying that long, everything was funny:

One day we met with some of the full-time youth workers in Korea. We basically encouraged them and then did some cross-cultural learning from one another and Q/A.

As you can see below, Duffy was the only one in the room with short pants. I would tease him that his legs were offensive to the Korean church, but he’s not easily teased.

It seemed as though everywhere we went there was opportunity for me to tease Duffy on doing something “wrong/offensive” to the Korean culture. Here we all put our shoes on on the ground (as is customary) except for that one pair that you see on the shelf…yep, those are Duffy’s shoes.

This was another time where we were meeting with a small group of pastors and this gentleman was making a hand gesture as he was talking and Duffy thought he was reaching to shake his hand. Duffy interrupted his hand gesture with a handshake and it was both awkward and funny. The photo below is my attempt to recreate the situation.

This is one of the funnier photos to me! Duffy and I were asked to preach in these amazing Korean churches (churches of 40-60,000 people–truly amazing). They told us to dress “business casual”. When we met in the hotel lobby on Sunday morning I said to Duffy, “You’re going to wear jeans?” He said, “I’m business above, and casual below…kind of like a mullet.”

It’s pretty public knowledge that Duffy is a very, very picky eater. I know we wrote about it in our book Speaking To Teenagers and I know Duffy talks about it regularly when he speaks. He LOVES food, but only a few foods. And he almost never eats at someone’s house because they simply can’t cook for him. Well, on this one night we didn’t have a choice. We were invited to the house of the daughter of the former President of Korea. It was a very rough night for Duffy. He didn’t eat a thing! But, our host never knew it because he masterfully moved the food around on his plate and created a lettuce barrier so she couldn’t see all that he left on his plate. It’s hard to tell, but this is his “finished” plate (below). At one point he had it hidden behind several cups.

Here’s the after-dinner look when the host finally left the table:

Trying on hats in the public square.

When people have asked my about my time in Korea, I say, “It was great! But, it wouldn’t have been the same without Duffy.” He is one-of-a-kind and one of the best human beings I know…and I get the incredible joy and delight of sharing life and ministry with him.

This fall and the spring of 2012, Duffy and I are doing a new seminar called, “Building a Faith that Lasts” and it’s geared for Youth Workers AND Parents. If you’re interested in hosting it (and I can see why you wouldn’t after these photos/stories), contact us here.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17

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The Skitguys…don't need much more than that

This weekend in Chicago there are a lot of fun things happening at our Simply Youth Ministry Conference, but one of the best is the Skitguys. They came to my hotel room to talk thru the weekend a little and I thought I’d shoot a little video of them being them and well…it’s difficult to scrip these guys.

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