On Robin Williams & Depression

Robin Williams was loved by many. He’ll be missed, most of all by his family and friends. And there’s nothing we could have done to prevent it. But there is something you can do for your friends and family. Support them. Be there for them. And be the voice of reason – the push – that some people truly need.



Here in Tennessee we are one week away from the start of the school year.

It’s a hectic time for families, students, churches, staff, and volunteers as we all scramble to make our last minute preparations for the upcoming semester.

But no matter who you are, or what you do, don’t forget to take a moment to slow down and remember: being too busy to recognize Who are we are doing this all for makes our work mean nothing.


[Infographic] Are Teens Addicted to the Internet?

I saw this graphic posted today on Download Youth Ministry – with all the discussion lately we’ve had with teens and internet usage (and on being a “Digital Disciple“), we should remember that there is a point of “too much”.  It’s our responsibility as parents and leaders to make sure that students aren’t addicted to the Internet.  There’s more to life than surfing and chatting. There’s a great, wide world out there, and without a chance to go see it, students won’t be able to form the life experiences and stories they need in order to be effective witnesses (or effective people!)


Want your Students to Push Themselves? Take Them Rock Climbing

Last night our student ministry kicked off our “Summer Nights” 2-day event by taking the middle schoolers to “The Crag” – a local indoor rock climbing gym. I used to rock climb quite a bit (as in, 15 years ago I went somewhat frequently), but it had been quite a while since I strapped into a harness and scaled the walls. I expected to be sore the next morning (which I am) and to thoroughly enjoy it (which I did). What I didn’t expect was how some of the students stepped up in the face of a good challenge.


Digital Discipleship, Part 3: Facebook (Friends, Messages, Groups, Pages, and Privacy)

It’s impossible to hide from Facebook – no matter how hard some people try. It’s the grand-daddy of all social media, and (while opinions are polarized on its usefulness), more people use Facebook in the US than any other social network. In case you’re not in the know, Facebook is more than just posting status updates. Hit the break below to see how most people are using Facebook.


That Youth Leader: Curated YouTube Playlists

I’ve been putting together a YouTube playlist of videos that youth groups can use in their services.  I’ll be adding more videos (and more playlists) as I can figure out which ones have the most need, but so far I have:

Ultimately I’d love to create a few of these myself, but for now I don’t mind curating the best ones out there and adding them to the Playlist.


Stuck: The Space Between the Promise and the Payoff

Do you ever feel stuck?

I used to live in the back country of Kentucky, surrounded on all sides by farmland, forest, and hunting trails as far as the eye could see. Before I acquired my drivers’ license, one of my favorite activities was to gas up my ATV and ride the trails in the woods across from my house. I had them mentally mapped to the point where I could get anywhere I wanted in our small town without driving on the highway once.
These trails weren’t gravel – some of them weren’t even full roads. These were deer runs, river beds, the edges of farmland, and grassy knolls that served to link together the various forests and fields where I made my home.

The payoff? An amazing (rumored) Indian burial mound the locals called “Tater Hill”. The local university’s archeology department had sent teams to excavate the hill over the years. They never really found anything, but (to me) it wasn’t the hill itself that lured me out. It was the amazing view from the top.

The trails, the hill, the rivers… It was a great place to get out and ride. Unless it rained.