Category Archives: Bible

Tips & Tricks for leaders giving their first Young Life Club talks.

145027_logoGiving your first Young Life Club talk can be a scary thing.  I have seen people giving their first Young Life Club talk be excellent or be bad.  But, if you follow the steps below, you can have the confidence to deliver your first Club talk in an excellent way.

Go back to the basics.

Review why we give Young Life Club talks.  Ask your team leader or Young Life staff person to go over that with you again or look through your leader training materials.  Knowing the why behind Young Life Club talks will help you in your preparation and delivery to give an excellent Club talk.

Do you know kids?

If you don’t know kids in Club, don’t give your Club talk.  Instead, spend time in building relationships with kids.  It is much easier to give a Young Life Club talk, especially for your first Club talk, to a room of kids that you know.  We are relational, not event driven.  Make sure you know kids and they know you before you give your first Young Life Club talk.

Prayer. Prayer. Prayer.

This can’t be over stated enough.  Spend a lot of time praying about your talk and see where Jesus leads you in the Scripture passage, personal story and cultural references.  Spending some good time listening to Jesus move around your talk, will give you the confidence to do an excellent job.

Get others to pray for you at the time of your Club talk.

It will give you confidence to know that a certain number of family and friends are praying for you during your first Young Life Club talk.  Remind them of the exact day and time you will be giving your talk.  Ask them to pray for specific things during the time of your Club talk.

Prepare well.

If someone took the notes out of your hand before you gave your first Club talk, could you do it from memory?  This is the level of preparation you should have for all of your Club talks, not just the first one.

Be yourself.

Don’t try to be someone else when giving your talk.  Don’t make up a story or steal a story from someone else’s life.  God created you uniquely in His image and has a plan for you in your Club talk.  If you try to be someone else, you miss out on kids connecting with the real you.

Go over it with other leaders and get feedback.

It is important for other leaders to hear your Club talk before kids hear it.  Make sure the person that you are giving it to, before you give it to kids, has given many Club talks before and can help you with your delivery and any theological issues you might have in your Club talk.

Steal concepts from great communicators.

Study, watch and listen to other great communicators about their approach and delivery.  Some of my favorites are: Andy Stanley, Judah Smith & Craig Groeschel.  You might have others.  See how they use illustrations, voice inflection, movement, etc to engage their audience.  Use some of their best delivery styles integrated with your style.

Practice your delivery.

The more you go over your Club talk, the more you know it and the better it will be delivered.  Go over your Club talk with another leader or your staff person.  Practice in the mirror or in your Club room.

Prepare early.  Leave room for the Holy Spirit to move.

If you are overly prepared early, you make room for the Holy Sprit to move.  If you are rushing to complete your talk right before you give it, you will miss out on this key step.  This is where the gems of your Young Life Club talk comes from.  This is where we see Jesus move in big ways.

What is missing from the list?  Leave a comment and let us know.


What Scripture translations do you use in Young Life ministry?

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There are hundreds of different versions of Scripture are available to use in Young Life ministry with kids.  Most people have a preference of what Scripture translation they prefer.  For many of us, our favorite Scripture translation is the translation we first started reading.  This is what we hold close to our hearts.  These Bibles are highlighted, written in and held as sacred.

Relating Scripture to kids.  As Young Life leaders we have a mission to present the person of Jesus Christ the best way we can.  This might mean that you need to use a different translation of the Bible than you normally use.  You need to think in terms of what kids will hear, not what you are comfortable with naturally.

In an effort to connect Scripture to kids, in the best way we know how, we have landed on these three Scripture translations.  Are they the right fit for everyone, certainly not.  But after many hours of getting the right Scripture translations for kids to hear, read and understand; I feel these are the best options for Young Life kids.  Use what you are comfortable with and what related the story of Jesus to kids the best.

NIV (New International Version)

The NIV version of the Bible is the most commonly used version of the Bible.  The NIV has been updated as recently as 2011.  The NIV has a rich history of translation and has been translated into over 100 different languages.  The NIV is also the Bible translation we give to kids at Young Life camp.  For many kids this is their first Bible.  This translation will transform their lives.

NCV (New Century Version)

The NCV version of the Bible has a middle between the NIV and The Message.  It preserves many of the contexts of the NIV translation, but offers many modern day words and terminology that The Message offers.  The New Century Version (NCV) puts biblical concepts into natural and easy-to-understand English terms.  The New Century Version aims to make the Bible easier to comprehend, so that even those who own multiple Bibles can relax and allow God’s message to clearly, accurately, and eternally reach their hearts, and read the Bible for the sheer enjoyment. (1)

The Message

The Message is a translation from the ancient Greek in common day language.  Some consider it as a paraphrase of the Bible.  The intent of Eugene Peterson is that this would be a Bible translation in modern day language.  He originally translated it so people could easily read and understand it for themselves.  Is this not what we are doing with Young Life kids?

What Scripture translations do you use in Young Life ministry?  Leave a comment!


Young Life Christmas Club Talk #2 & More

Here is the second installment of our Young Life Christmas Club talks.  In this Christmas Club talk we focus on the shepherds, magi and the escape to Egypt.  Here are the main Scripture passages that we talk about:

  • The Shepherds and the Angels – Luke 2:8-20
  • The Visit of the Magi – Matthew 2:1-12
  • The Escape to Egypt – Matthew 2:13-16

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Download Young Life Christmas Club talk #2, click HERE!

If you have only one Christmas Club talk, you can combine the two talks into one talk.  Below is a link to some slides that used in a combined Club talk.  This hits the main points, but hits all the main characters and themes.

Download a Keynote of Christmas Club Talks #1 & #2 combined, click HERE!

Here are two Spotify playlist for your Christmas Club:

We would love your feedback!  Leave a comment!


Young Life Christmas Club Talk #1

Can we make the assumption in today’s culture that kids have heard the birth story of Jesus?  Some might have, but others have not.  The post modern/post-Chirtsian world in which kids live in, they might know pieces of the story, but not the real story of Jesus.

This is a great opportunity as Young Life leaders to present the person of Jesus in His birth story to kids.  We as Young Life leaders will need to work hard to direct kids to the truth of the story.  Besides the story of the cross, no other story has had so many incorrect facts associated with it.  Give kids the true facts about the story of Jesus’ birth.  Tell the narrative of the story in a compelling way.

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These talks are purposely split into two different talks.  There is to much to cover in an excellent way in just one talk.  Young Life Christmas Club talk #1 focuses on Joseph, Mary, them traveling to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus.  Young Life Christmas Club talk #2 focuses on the Shepherds, Magi and the flee to Egypt.

DOWNLOAD Young Life Christmas Club Talk #1 HERE.  I will load Christmas Club talk #2 the week of Monday, December 2nd.

How do you tell the Christmas story to kids in Young Life Club talks?  Leave a comment.


Young Life Club talks and Campaigner lessons for this semester.

A new semester of Young Life is upon us.  This means Clubs are starting and Campaigner groups are back together.  So, what is your plan for Club talks and Campaigner lessons this fall?

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What do they offer?

  • Complete Club Talks with three scripture versions (NIV, NCV & The Message) in each talk.
  • Each Club talk has – points you can make in your talk, background around the passage, setting the scene and how it relates to kids.
  • A great Campaigner lesson around each Club talk.  Each talk also offers Campaigner questions 2.0 – for a more advanced discussion.
  • Most talks offer a video clip that could be used.

Download different versions here:

  • Print PDF Version – This version is made to be printed out used.  It has QR Codes you can scan with links to the Club talk videos.
  • Interactive PDF Version – This version is a larger file with imbedded video for the Club talks.  It is best viewed on a computer in Adobe Reader.

Let me know if you need any help.


4 Digital Resources all Young Life leaders should have.

Our lives have been transformed by technology over the last few years.  With the launch of smart phone and tablets, the way in which we consume media and content has completely changed.  We have the ability to have digital resources at our finger tips.  Why not have some digital resources at your finger tips to be a better Young Life leader.

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As Young Life leaders, we are continually on the go with kids.  We pursue relationships with kids.  We get to have some amazing conversations with kids.  We need to have resources at our finger tips to help us do these things.  Here are a few.

Here are the digital resources we suggest:

  1. Growing Leaders Podcast – Tim Elmore is a gifted teacher looking at the millennial generation and how they are impacting our world.  They do a great podcast and have amazing materials you can use with staff, leaders and kids.  Download the episodes in your favorite podcast app.
  2. The book ‘Letters to a Young Life Leader‘ in a digital copy – Some moments as a Young Life leader can be difficult and challenging.  You will want to be motivated and inspired during these times.  Letters to a Young Life Leader does just that.  Having a digital copy, means you can read it anywhere.  With short and inspiring letters, it is a must have for all Young Life leaders.
  3. The book/resource ‘Lifting Up Jesus in Every Talk as We Proclaim His GospelTy Saltzgiver has a great book/booklet that will help you plan and execute great Young Life talks.  It can also help you in conversations with kids and leaders around amazing stories of Jesus in the Bible.  Get the digital copy and have it in your favorite book reading app.
  4. Campaigners Training Digital Resources – If you are leading Campaigners, you know that sometimes it does not go according to plan or you might need additional resources as a leader to excellent Campaigner ministry with kids.  There are some great Campaigner lessons on this web page.  Load up your smart phone or tablet with these PDF documents and you will be good to go.

What else is in your digital arsenal as a Young Life leader?  Leave a comment.


12, 3, 1 – Ministry Strategy for Young Life leaders.

I know for many Young Life leaders, it can be overwhelming when talk about connecting with kids.  They maybe at a school sporting event, concert, etc; and feel overwhelmed on how do I connect with all these kids.  We don’t need them to connect with all of them, just a portion of them.  The question is which is the portion they need connect to?

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Jesus used a model of 12, 3, 1 ministry with his disciples.  We can easily transition that into our model of Young Life with kids.  We help leaders connect with their kids.  If you are looking to increase numbers, help leaders identify kids to connect to, or want a strong Biblical strategy for ministry; this fits all of these roles.

Using the 12, 3, 1 Ministry Model – Go through the Biblical view of who are the disciples; who are Peter, James and John; and why did Jesus pick Peter to be the leader of the Church. Each leader has 12 kids that they work with, that NO other leader has relationships with.  Of the 12, 3 are primary focus.  Of the 3, 1 is your total investment.

Download these sheets to go over with your Club ministry team:


Campaigner Lesson on Hope and a changed Life.

We often look for hope in the wrong places in our lives.  Below is an Oprah clip from her show on hope.  Hopefully, this will create a great discussion with your high school or jr. high friends.

Download a copy of this Campaigner lesson, HERE.


Campaigner Questions before the video:

  • What inspires you in life?  When you get this inspiration, describe how you feel?
  • What do you put your hope in?  Why these things?
  • If you were going to rate the issues in your life right now (1 out 10, 10 being high and 1 being low), what would you rate yourself and why?
  • What is the main thing you want to change in your life?  Why do you want to change it?

Watch the Video Above

Read the following Scripture Passages.

Titus 3:7-9 – Today’s New International Version (TNIV)

so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

Psalm 139:13-15 – New International Version (NIV)

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Hebrews 11 – Today’s New International Version (TNIV)

11 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Campaigner Questions after the video:

  • Describe how you feel after seeing this video?
  • If you are looking for hope, where do you need to turn?  Why turn there?
  • What do you want to change in your life?  What steps are your going to take to change it?
  • Would you want to share this video with other people?  If so, why?

End with watching this at the end of your time together.


Video Interview with Todd Pinkston from Campaigners Training

If you are looking for great materials for Campaigners or great Campaigners Training you need to check out http://campaignerstraining.com.  It is a wealth of knowledge, training and materials to have amazing Campaigner discussions with your kids.

Make sure to follow Todd Pinkston on Twitter to get most up to date information about the Campaigners Training website.


What will the iPad mini will mean for kids and Young Life ministry? Here are some thoughts.

If you remember the Christmas session last year, the number one requested gift for teenagers was a iPad.  Needless to say, I don’t see many teenagers carrying one around.  They are a little cost prohibitive for most families.  Many schools are now “giving” to kids to use, but most stay at the school and don’t come home.


The iPad is a great tablet that let’s you consume and create.  With Apple creating a smaller and cheaper device, it opens it up to become a practical device for jr. high and high school students to own.

1. You will be collecting iPads or iPad minis at Young Life camp next summer. – If last Christmas session teenagers wanted the iPad over anything else, you know they will be wanting it just as much this Christmas season.  With the iPad mini being a cheaper price, it becomes a possible purchase for a parent to a teenager.

2. Kids will be able to bring their iPads to Campaigners, to read their Bibles. – As I have discussed in previous posts, they is a trend in people reading the Bible on smart phones, tablets and the web.  YouVersion & Glo are must have apps.  There will be a day, sooner than later, you will be leading Campaigners with everyone studying the Bible on their smart phones and tablets together.

3. You could integrate kid’s iPads into Club games. – There are so many cool apps that you could use in Club.  Put kids using these apps on the big screen in Club.  Have the race on their iPads to find something.  Have them use their iPads to engage in the Club talk.

4. We need to have great content available for kids to read on their iPads. –  Kids look at all kinds of crap on their smart phones.  The same is true for when they have iPad mini devices.  If you are the creative type, it is time to create great content for kids.  I have devolped two books for the iPad that are free.  One on Young Life New Leader Training and another on Club Talks & Campaigner Lessons.  Check them out.  If you want help creating you own, let me know.

5. Kids will become more accessible through iMessage. – iMessage lives on every iPad, iPad, mini, iPhone and iPod Touch.  It is a way that people these devices can communicate with each other, with out being charged for text messaging.  You can use iMessage to send text, photos, video, documents, etc; and all for free.

6. Schools will be implementing the iPad mini into student’s school days. –  With the cheaper price, schools will be integrating iPad mini devices into the classroom.  They become a reality for many schools.  Kids will be so integrated with the iPad mini, you will be able to leverage their experience into your Young Life ministry.

Have a thought.  Leave a comment.