FIGHT 4 PURITY IN A PORN-SOAKED WORLD

31-DAYS-OF-PURITY

Gentlemen… Do you struggle with porn? Then you should join in Tim Challies’ 31 Days of Purity. I know many young Christian guys who know that this behaviour is destructive and yet feel like they are losing the battle to fight against it.

Have you overcome a prior addiction to porn? You should still consider joining Tim Challies’ 31 Days of Purity. I have some software on my computer called Covenant Eyes. When I was studying at Moore College, the lovingly College paid for all students to have this accountability software. When I finished college I decided that, even though porn wasn’t a present struggle, it was worth keeping the software to help remain pure.

Just this last week I thought it might be time to get rid of Covenant Eyes as it sometimes takes a little bit to log on. But I’m convicted of the wisdom in leaving it on my computer. Tim Challies recent article When you’re at your best plan for your worst was a great word to not let my guard down:

There is a kind of weakness, a kind of vulnerability, that may come when we are convinced of our strength. It is when we are not being tempted, it is when we are standing strong in the Lord’s grace, that we ought to consider the times we will be weak and tempted and eager to sin. We need to assume such times will come and we need to use the moments of strength to put measures in place that will protect us when we are weak.

Sounds wise, right?

31 Days of Purity will be taking place throughout March 2014. Here is Day 1. My tip for Australian readers is to stay a day behind because of the posting time.

Here’s the invite from Challies:

Men, I want to offer you a challenge. You too, women, but allow me speak to the men first. Beginning on March 1, I am going to begin a program I’m calling 31 Days of Purity. This is for all of us—for those who are young and those who are old, for those who are married and those who are single, for those who struggle mightily in the area of sexual sin and for those who may barely struggle at all. I would love it if you would commit with me to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of considering what God’s Word says about sexual purity and thirty-one days of praying that God would help us fight sin and pursue holiness in this area.

As well as following along at challies.com you can join a Facebook group with (at the moment) almost 2000 other dudes wanting to fight to be holy.

Who’s keen?

#SELFIES // #ESCAPETOREALITY

Selfies

Movies, entertainment, celebrity culture, video games, digital media and social networks are often used to escape from reality. The goal of this 4-part series is to consider how to escape to the reality that comes in knowing Jesus.

Part 1 of #EscapeToReality

#YOU + #SELFIE

In 2006 Time Magazine declared “You.” to be the ‘Person of the Year’. This annual award that normally belongs to World Leaders and other notable figures was given to YOU… “Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.”

It’s easy to think that I am at the centre of the universe when Time Magazine and a whole swag of advertising strategies tell me that I am.

Fast forward to 2013. The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is… SELFIE. A word that has its roots firmly planted in Australian slang; a selfie is “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

This makes sense. 7 years of being told that “You” are at the centre of the universe + a rapidly increasing number of camera-enabled smart phones + universal access to social media platforms = #SELFIE

When your school photos are made available or a collection of photos from an event you attended are uploaded to Facebook, who is the first person you look for? Yep, me too.

How do you think about self in a #selfie world? How are we supposed to think about our identity? WHO ARE YOU?

[Read more...]

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA // #NYMC

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA

The following is a bunch of resources from my REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA Professional Development Seminar from NYMC 2013. It was a fruitful 3 hours with stimulating discussion and a resolve to think this stuff through theologically. I began the seminar by disagreeing with my underlying premise from a similar workshop at NYMC 2011 (see some of those resources here). Previously my foundational principle was that “all technology is neutral, what matters is that we avoid the harmful and unleash it for good”. I still believe we should avoid the harmful and unleash it for good, however I don’t think all technology is neutral. I shared with people my journey in changed thinking. One of the books mentioned below was pivotal in my thinking shift. Keep reading to find out more!

[Read more...]

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA // INTERVIEW WITH NATHAN W. BINGHAM @NWBingham

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA

I will be presenting a 3 hour Professional Development Seminar at National Youth Ministry Convention 2013 on REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA. In the lead up to NYMC I have a series of interviews with Christians using online mediums in a deliberate way for the Gospel. I have asked the same 4 questions to each guest and there are some fantastic posts coming!

The fifth and final guest is Nathan W. Bingham. Nathan is an Aussie now based in the United States working for Ligonier Ministries. I really appreciate the resources that they make available. I’ve also been encouraged by Nathan’s personal blog and the godly wisdom he brings to navigating the digital world. He writes with precision and his response below helps to clarify and extend my own thinking ahead of the seminar I will be running. Make sure you click all the links below, lots of gold to be mined.
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1) What church and/or ministries are you part of?

I’m a member of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida and serve as Internet Outreach Manager at Ligonier Ministries, a teaching ministry founded by R.C. Sproul in 1971. I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia, growing up with Vegemite and Weet-Bix, but after completing a theology degree moved to Orlando, Florida in 2012 with my wife and three young daughters to assist in managing and expanding Ligonier’s digital outreach and e-communications. I still get Vegemite imported, but now occasionally eat donuts and bagels for breakfast.

2) What ways do you use online mediums in your ministry and witness?

[Read more...]

GROUP GAMES APP 2.0 // #YOUTHMINISTRY GOLD!

GROUP GAMES

Calum Henderson is a saviour (not THE Saviour!) of youth pastors around the world! 18 months ago he launched an iPhone app jam-packed with games suitable for groups. I wrote about it then, and have been using it since! I love the range of activities, the easy navigation and the time that this app saves in programming for our youth community. Calum has just launched version 2.0 of the app. It’s now available with an iPad version; fits in with the iOS 7 look and has a handy new favourites option.

To coincide with two of my presentations for NYMC 2013, Calum is giving away 5 free downloads of this App. To win one of those 5 downloads, simply leave a comment below and I will use random.org to choose 5 winners. If you miss out, not to worry, it only costs $1.99! Find out more on the groups games app website or download it from iTunes. Check out Calum’s intro video:

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REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA // INTERVIEW WITH STU HARRIS FROM @yesHEiscom

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA

I will be presenting a 3 hour Professional Development Seminar at National Youth Ministry Convention 2013 on REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA. In the lead up to NYMC I have a series of interviews with Christians using online mediums in a deliberate way for the Gospel. I have asked the same 4 questions to each guest and there are some fantastic posts coming!

The fourth guest is Stu Harris. Stu works for yesHEis.com and will be hosting a Panel Chat with Q&A that I will be participating in at NYMC this Saturday. Having interacted with him via email and read his answers below, I’m really looking forward to gleaning more wisdom when we hang out!
—-

1) What church and/or ministries are you part of?

I’m married to Jeanette, and we have 2 handsome boys Samuel (7) and Luke (2), and a little princess on the way :-) We’re originally from the UK, but moved to Sydney 12 years ago. Since then we’ve lived in Tassie and now we’re living in Queensland. We’re part of Good Life Church on the Sunshine Coast. We love their missional heart for the local community.

I work with a great team of young, energetic, passionate folks who love to share their faith in Jesus and encourage others to do likewise. Christian Vision have been involved in evangelism ministry since 1988, and 4 years ago started the transition to developing a focus on online mission introducing yesHEis, a website and app (Apple + Android) that is designed to help Christians share their faith on the various social media platforms. We operate in multiple languages around the world. I lead the International English team which includes creatives, marketing and community specialists who connect with the local church.

2) What ways do you use online mediums in your ministry and witness?

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ALL STREAMS FLOW INTO THE SEA

FLOW

This is part 9 of a 10-part blog series on HOW TO GET YOUR MINISTRY ONLINE. You can follow the DIGITAL SKATEPARK tag or go back to the intro post for links out to the rest of the series.

< See the previous post in the series

ALL STREAMS FLOW INTO THE SEA

The key way to use these media streams is to let them all flow into the sea. What’s the sea? That’s your youth ministry’s online HQ.

Even if Facebook or Instagram get more traffic, use each of the social media streams you have to direct people back to your main website. It doesn’t matter if it has lower traffic. But it’s useful for youth and parents to know that there is a constant web presence at HQ.

The web address of your HQ becomes key for all your communication and branding. Have the website on t-shirts, postcards, flyers, letters, email signatures and on the profiles of all your social media streams.

See the next post in the series >


This series forms the basis of a chapter I wrote in a forthcoming Youth Ministry book to be published by Anglican Youthworks. The rest of the book is written by Scott Petty (Youth Minister from Christ Church St Ives) and is published here with permission.

CREATE MEDIA STREAMS

CREATE MEDIA STREAMS

This is part 8 of a 10-part blog series on HOW TO GET YOUR MINISTRY ONLINE. You can follow the DIGITAL SKATEPARK tag or go back to the intro post for links out to the rest of the series.

< See the previous post in the series

CREATE MEDIA STREAMS

For those who have been reading along closely, it might seem strange to suggest working hard to create a centralised HQ when most of your young people will naturally flock to the latest social network.

Therefore, I think it’s worthwhile setting up youth group accounts in a few of the popular social networks. If all of your youth are hanging at the beach and you want to hang out with them or communicate something to them, go to the beach.

At the moment we have the following social media streams:

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Mailchimp
YouTube

Each of them is used in a different way.

Facebook is currently the champion. It’s a key way that I communicate with leaders and the majority of our youth are online each day.

Instagram is a close second. Facebook doesn’t allow children under 13 to have an account. A significant number of our years 7 and 8s have, with parental permission, Instagram accounts as they allow for under 13s. (I’m currently checking whether this is still the case… stay tuned, or let me know in the comments if you know…)

Twitter doesn’t much pull in our youth ministry and we could do without it.

Mailchimp is the system we use for our weekly newsletter, only 25-30% of our youth open the email while close to 100% of parents who are subscribed open it.

YouTube is used every time we have a new video to share.

Through each of these streams we engage different people at different times.

See the next post in the series >


This series forms the basis of a chapter I wrote in a forthcoming Youth Ministry book to be published by Anglican Youthworks. The rest of the book is written by Scott Petty (Youth Minister from Christ Church St Ives) and is published here with permission.

NOBODY LIKES STALE BREAD

Nobody likes stale bread

This is part 7 of a 10-part blog series on HOW TO GET YOUR MINISTRY ONLINE. You can follow the DIGITAL SKATEPARK tag or go back to the intro post for links out to the rest of the series.

< See the previous post in the series

NOBODY LIKES STALE BREAD

We’ve all visited out-of-date websites advertising the Christmas lunch from 4 years ago. Content is king online. So keep the content fresh! I know you might be thinking that this requires a lot more work. Right? Not necessarily.

There is probably someone(s) that is regularly producing content for your weekly gatherings. So rather than producing brand new material for your website, adapt the material you’re already creating.

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MINIMAL IS BETTER THAN MAYHEM

MINIMAL > MAYHEM

This is part 6 of a 10-part blog series on HOW TO GET YOUR MINISTRY ONLINE. You can follow the DIGITAL SKATEPARK tag or go back to the intro post for links out to the rest of the series.

< See the previous post in the series

MINIMAL IS BETTER THAN MAYHEM

If you’re not a designer, don’t pretend to be. If you are unable to find a designer in your community – be content with a simple minimalistic website.

WordPress comes with many great and simple free themes as well as a good range of paid themes at affordable prices.

Christians have been known to perpetually commit the most grievous of design sins: using the universally banned typeface Comic Sans. Youth leaders have likewise committed other design faux pas in choosing and using ugly themes for their websites. Go for simple and minimal.

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REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA // INTERVIEW WITH STEVE FOGG @stevefogg

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA

I will be presenting a 3 hour Professional Development Seminar at National Youth Ministry Convention 2013 on REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA. In the lead up to NYMC I have a series of interviews with Christians using online mediums in a deliberate way for the Gospel. I have asked the same 4 questions to each guest and there are some fantastic posts coming!

The third guest is Steve Fogg. Steve has some really sharp thinking on how churches and Christians can use social media for the gospel. I enjoyed seeing Steve at work on twitter interacting with the world during The Bible Mini Series and benefitted from his recent blog post on part of his church engagement strategy.
—-

1) What church and/or ministries are you part of?

I’m the Communications Pastor (read Director) at Crossway church in Melbourne. I oversee all of the communications at the church which also includes leading the following teams creative video, graphic design, Web, PR, and of course my pet passion, Social Media.

2) What ways do you use online mediums in your ministry and witness?

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CREATE AN OFFICIAL “HEADQUARTERS”

pic from http://www.flickr.com/photos/lac-bac/

This is part 5 of a 10-part blog series on HOW TO GET YOUR MINISTRY ONLINE. You can follow the DIGITAL SKATEPARK tag or go back to the intro post for links out to the rest of the series.

< See the previous post in the series

CREATE AN OFFICIAL “HEADQUARTERS”

It is worth having one website that becomes the official headquarters (HQ) for your ministry.

There are two ways that you could do this:

  1. Your own website e.g. www.youthministryname.com
  2. A section on your church website e.g. www.yourchurchname.com/youth

If you choose to house your HQ on your church website, you will need to talk to those responsible for the site about how to gain access so you can keep the content up-to-date.

If you choose to house your HQ on your own unique youth ministry website, you will need to get it made. You can build it, you can get someone in your church to build it for free or you could pay a designer. Companies like Bridge Element (www.bridgeelement.com) create good-looking ministry websites at a very reasonable price. Likewise you can find others via a search engine or asking other ministries who they had make their website.

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REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA // INTERVIEW WITH STEVE KRYGER @communic8jesus

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA

I will be presenting a 3 hour Professional Development Seminar at National Youth Ministry Convention 2013 on REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA. In the lead up to NYMC I have a series of interviews with Christians using online mediums in a deliberate way for the Gospel. I have asked the same 4 questions to each guest and there are some fantastic posts coming!

The second guest is Steve Kryger from Communicate Jesus. Steve’s website exists to glorify Jesus by serving his people. He writes from a Christian perspective on the following topics: Websites; Leadership; Social media; Strategy; Church life (giving, volunteer recruitment, welcoming, etc.); Communication; Outreach; and Online safety. I’ve personally benefitted from the resources that he shares and would encourage others involved in ministry to visit Communicate Jesus.
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1) What church and/or ministries are you part of?

I serve as Executive Pastor at Church by the Bridge. I also started Communicate Jesus, and am a regular contributor to Open House on Hope 103.2.

2) What ways do you use online mediums in your ministry and witness?

[Read more...]

SOCIAL MEDIA SOAP OPERA

SOAP OPERA

This is part 4 of a 10-part blog series on HOW TO GET YOUR MINISTRY ONLINE. You can follow the DIGITAL SKATEPARK tag or go back to the intro post for links out to the rest of the series.

< See the previous post in the series

In 2006 MySpace was massive! It was the social network of choice. It died a painful death and was subsequently taken over by Facebook. Close to 1 Billion people in the world actively use Facebook. However, while MySpace try desperately to resurrect their way back into the social network spotlight, some have suggested that Facebook is on the decline. The current teenage generation spend less time on Facebook and more time on mobile apps like Instagram and Snapchat. Add to that people being annoyed by constantly changing policies by Facebook regarding advertising, ownership and privacy.

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REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA // INTERVIEW WITH NATHAN CAMPBELL @NM_CAMPBELL

REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA

I will be presenting a 3 hour Professional Development Seminar at National Youth Ministry Convention 2013 on REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA. In the lead up to NYMC I have a series of interviews with Christians using online mediums in a deliberate way for the Gospel. I have asked the same 4 questions to each guest and there are some fantastic posts coming!

The first guest is Nathan Campbell from St. Eutychus. Nathan is on message in the way that he points people to the good news of Jesus as he intelligently interacts on different social and political issues online. See his most recent post for a fascinating book review on the history of social media.

—-

1) What church and/or ministries are you part of?

I’m finishing up my time at Queensland Theological College at the end of next year, and in 2014 will be the Campus Pastor of a new inner-city Brisbane campus of the church I’m currently part of – Creek Road Presbyterian Church. I’m also on the Presbyterian Church of Queensland’s “Gospel in Society Today” Committee – we think about how we can speak about Jesus in today’s world, to todays issues. Before college I worked in Public Relations and I love figuring out how to apply truths about communication to communicating the truth.

2) What ways do you use online mediums in your ministry and witness?

[Read more...]

DON’T REINVENT THE INTERNET

DON'T REINVENT THE INTERNET

This is part 3 of a 10-part blog series on HOW TO GET YOUR MINISTRY ONLINE. You can follow the DIGITAL SKATEPARK tag or go back to the intro post for links out to the rest of the series.

< See the previous post in the series

DON’T REINVENT THE INTERNET

Sometimes people with tech-know-how propose big plans for getting ministries online. While I don’t want to stifle original, creative online ideas, the good thing with the Internet is that you don’t need to reinvent it. It already exists and there are plenty of free (or relatively inexpensive) and flexible tools that you can use today and more to come in the future.

The other good thing with online tools is that you don’t need to be an expert. You don’t need a tech department or an IT Crowd! If you are able to switch a computer or smart phone on and send and receive email, you have enough skill to get your youth ministry online.

One of the key principles is to utilise and leverage technologies that your community are already accessing. This will be explored further in future posts.

See the next post in the series >


This series forms the basis of a chapter I wrote in a forthcoming Youth Ministry book to be published by Anglican Youthworks. The rest of the book is written by Scott Petty (Youth Minister from Christ Church St Ives) and is published here with permission.

ONLINE COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTES TO OFFLINE COMMUNITY

ONLINE OFFLINE

This is part 2 of a 10-part blog series on HOW TO GET YOUR MINISTRY ONLINE. You can follow the DIGITAL SKATEPARK tag or go back to the intro post for links out to the rest of the series.

< See the previous post in the series

ONLINE COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTES TO OFFLINE COMMUNITY

Let’s assume that your youth ministry meets two times per week, a larger youth group meeting and smaller bible study groups. Unleashing the Internet and mobile devices will give you an opportunity to have an impact into young lives every day of the week. Some might think that’s too much! But it doesn’t need to be overwhelming for youth or youth leaders.

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THE DIGITAL SKATEPARK // GET YOUR MINISTRY ONLINE

DIGITAL SKATEPARK

This is a 10-part blog series on HOW TO GET YOUR MINISTRY ONLINE. It is written with a primary application for youth ministries but a more general church or other ministries application should be obvious enough. You can follow the DIGITAL SKATEPARK tag or come back to this post for links out to the rest of the series.

  1. THE DIGITAL SKATEPARK
  2. ONLINE COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTES TO OFFLINE COMMUNITY
  3. DON’T REINVENT THE INTERNET
  4. SOCIAL MEDIA SOAP OPERA
  5. CREATE AN OFFICIAL “HEADQUARTERS”
  6. MINIMAL IS BETTER THAN MAYHEM
  7. NOBODY LIKES STALE BREAD
  8. CREATE MEDIA STREAMS
  9. ALL STREAMS FLOW INTO THE SEA
  10. MAKE SOME NOISE!

DIGITAL SKATEPARK

In 1990s youth ministry, one way to connect with teenagers was at the local skatepark. This is where lots of them hung out, so this was a good place to connect socially with teenagers who were already part of your youth ministry and their friends.

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IS THIS A PHONE WORTH KEEPING?

According to www.phonebloks.com, “A phone only lasts a couple of years before it breaks or becomes obsolete. Although it’s often just one part which killed it, we throw everything away since it’s almost impossible to repair or upgrade.” Their solution? Watch this video:

It’s only a concept at the moment and obviously looks ugly. But could it work? I’m guessing Apple, Samsung and co wouldn’t want it to work! Unless they could capitalise on it!!

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.