Category Archives: Young Life

Young Life Club Talks and Campaigners for Fall 2014.

YLQC Cover Fall 2014

I know we are already in the start of the Young Life ministry year.  But better late than never, some would say.  So I wanted to share with you our Young Life area’s Club Talks & Campaigner Lessons for this fall.  If they are useful to you, we would love for you to have them.

My goal is to create great content that Young Life leaders can use to tell the amazing story of Jesus Christ to kids.  To me, in Young Life Club, there is nothing more important that we do to tell God’s amazing love story in a compelling way each week.  Creating these is one of the most important things I do each semester.  I hope they are helpful you you.

Outline for the semester:

  • Who is God?  Why did He create? –  Acts 17:24-28a & Genesis 5:1-2
  • The Temptation of Jesus – Luke 4:1-13
  •  Jesus Cleanses the Temple – Mark 11:15-19
  • Jesus Heals the Paralytic – Mark 2:1-12
  • Peter Falls Asleep (Need/Sin Talk) – Mark 14:32-41
  • Cross Talk  – Mark 15:21-32
  • Resurrection Talk – Mark 16:1-8
  • Rich Young Ruler (Appropriation Talk) – Mark 10:17-22
  • Parable of the Sower – Mark 4:1-9 & 13-20
  • Christmas Club Talk #1:
    • An Angel and Mary – Luke 1:26-38
    • An Angel and Joseph – Matthew 1:18-25
    • The Birth of Jesus – Luke 2:1-7
  • Christmas Club Talk #2:
    • 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

Download links to the three types of files:

*Below are the download links for three different versions of the same file.  The PDF file can be opened and viewed anywhere.  The ePub version will work on all eReaders, except the Kindle.  Use the Kindle version for all Kindle readers.

Let me know if you have any trouble downloading any of the files.  I would love to know what you think!  Leave a comment.

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?


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 Club talks and Campaigner lessons for Spring 2014.

Young Life Club Talk Master - Spring 2014 Cover

We are starting a brand new semester of Young Life ministry.  Do you feel prepared?  If you don’t, here is a free semester of Club talks and Campaigner lessons.  Over, 1,200 people downloaded our Club talks and Campaigner lessons from the fall.  We love sharing these free resources with you!

What is included in these docs:

  • 11 Club talks and Campaigner lessons – intro talk, person of Christ talks, Sin talk, Cross talk, Resurrection talk, Appropriation talk and Walking with Christ talks
  • Background on the passage
  • Setting the scene of the Scripture passage
  • How this relates to kids
  • Campaigner questions and Campaigner questions 2.0
  • Media you can use in your Club talk or Campaigner lesson

Below are the themes and Scripture references for these Club talks:

  • The Beginning – Genesis 1
  • The Boy Jesus at the Temple – Luke 2:41-52
  • Attempt to Stone Jesus – John 10:24-39
  • The Parable of the Lost Sheep – Luke 15:3-7
  • Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand – Matthew 14:13-21
  • A Man with a Withered Hand – Matthew 12:9-14
  • The Woman Caught in Adultery – John 7:53-8:11
  • Peace and Hope – Romans 5:6-11
  • Jesus and The Doubts of Thomas – John 20:24-29
  • Do not Worry – Matthew 6:25-34
  • Messengers of Jesus – Matthew 28:16-20

Download these Club talks & Campaigner lessons in four different formats:

* Use PDF files in Adobe Reader ONLY.  Do not use Preview on Mac.

We would love your feed back or how you will use these.  Let us know!

Technology tips and resources to run your Young Life ministry.

Technology can be your biggest asset in Young Life ministry or it can be a thing that challenges us or frustrates us.  Technology should always make our lives easier.  Don’t let technology master you, you master it.  Below are my go to technology resources in our Young Life area.

Emma – The Young Life service center offers Emma at a very cheap price.  Some people use Mail Chimp, but the integration Young Life has already set up with Emma, makes it a win.  We send out an area wide Young Life email newsletter twice a month (on the 1st and 15th or each month).  We also send it out to our leaders and committee each Monday for Young Life stuff for the week.

EZ Texting –  Text messaging is not just for kids.  It is a main way in which most people (leaders, parents, staff, kids, committee, etc.) all communicate.  You can create different lists, keywords, ect.  It is not free, but you will be glad you have this account.

Evernote – You need a place where you can put ideas, thoughts and actions.  Evernote is that solution.  Evernote has every capability you could image.  You can place photos or videos into notes.  Now Evernote has a prevention mode, so you can present right out of Evernote.  You can also share different Notebooks with different people making it a collaboration tool.

Wunderlist – You need a shared To DO list in Young Life; at any level of Young Life ministry.  The best cross platform solution I have found is Wunderlist.  It is easy to set up and easy to share list with each other.  It is great for meetings and action steps.  You can have many different lists and share your list with different people.

Google Drive – You will need a place for collaboration and Google Drive is the best solution for that.  You will need to place to share word docs, excel docs and presentation docs.  Your whole team can be in a Google Drive doc at the same time cola berating.  You will also need a place for people to register for things from time to time and creating a Google form is easy and powerful to help people do just that.

Handbrake – You will need pull video off DVD’s from time to time or change the formatting of video.  Handbrake is by far the best solution to that.  You can export video to any file format or device.

Instashare – You will need to move pictures, docs, videos, etc from one device to another device.  Instashare is the best tool for that.  Say you have a presentation on your Mac that you want to get on your iPad, use Instashare.  Say you have pictures and videos from Club you want to get from your smartphone to your computer, use Instashare.

What technology do you use in your Young Life area?  Leave a comment.

Young Life team leader training materials and recruiting.

screenshot_128Young Life team leaders are the an amazing asset to any Young Life area ministry.  They help bring leadership, spiritual depth and model ministry to other leaders on their teams.  They become the face of Young Life at a school.

Who are team leaders?  Young Life team leaders are student staff, teacher staff, volunteer adults, or others who are invested at a high level in Young Life.  They can be paid or volunteer.  They can be college aged or in their 60’s.  They are the future of Young Life in our mission.  Not, all will go on full time Young Life staff, but great team leader training will prepare them how to lead, a skill more people in our culture need to have.

What to look for in a Young Life team leader?  Finding the right team leaders, is key in the success of your Young Life area ministry.  They may not always be the best leader on your team.  You will see below the three things I use to find great team leaders in our area Young Life ministry.  The most spiritually deep person on your team, may not be the best team leader.  Don’t take your best leader with kids and automatically make them a team leader if they don’t have the the other qualities below.

  • Spiritual Depth.  Our team leaders need to be walking very close to Jesus.  When we have team leaders that are not walking close to Jesus, other members on the team may not respect them.  Do they have the insights to help other leaders on their team with their Club talks and Campaigner lessons?  Do other leaders got to them about personal questions of faith and spiritual questions kids may have?
  • Relationships with kids.  They need to have great relationships with kids.  They need to be able to model out successful ministry to other members on their teams.  Are they one of the best leaders on the team with kids?  Are they a model of ministry to younger or new leaders on the leadership team?
  • Leadership capabilities.  This is the one you need to have maybe before the other two above.  Are they willing to have hard conversations about ministry with members on their team?  Are they willing to go to the school, when no one else on their team can go?  Are they willing to create relationships with kids and give them away to another leader on their team?  Are they teachable?

Successful team leaders need ALL THREE of these attributes above.  If you don’t have someone with all three, wait to find the right person that has all three.

What is your plan for training team leaders?  This is the time of the year to start thinking about who will be your team leaders next fall.  Young Life team leaders need to be trained well.  This means before they start as team leaders and as they are going as team leaders.

Download our Young Life Team Leader training materials here:

Let us know what you think.  We would love to hear from you, leave a comment.

Is your Young Life ministry Social Media ready for this fall?

When it comes to social media around your Young Life ministry, not having a plan for Social Media this year is not good.  Social Media should fall under your overall communication strategy as a Young Life area or as Young Life leaders.  Social Media used to be a techie thing, now it is an everyone thing.  It is a great way to tell the story of Young Life in your Club or area.

Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

Where should you start with Social Media in Young Life ministry? – If you are beginning Social Media around a high school or college ministry, you should start with Instagram.  What, not Twitter or Facebook?  Instagram is the platform you want to be on to engage the most kids.  The Instagram pictures that you post, showcase your Young Life ministry and tell a story.  Instagram also adopted video along with it’s photos.  You should post at least one picture or video after each Young Life Club or event.  Tag people in your post.

If you are looking beyond Instagram, you should look to Twitter as a second Social Media service.  Twitter is where high school kids are, so you should be there as Young Life leaders.  Use Facebook as a third Social Media choice.

* Note – if you are leading a Wyldlife ministry or Capernaum ministry, you will want to start with Facebook.  Why Facebook?  That is where parents are.  And you want to be where parents are when it comes to Wyldlife ministry and Capernaum ministry.

Use the service IFTT to help connect your Social Media platforms.  One of the difficult things about using Social Media, is how do you link everything together.  The service If This, Then That let’s you connect Social Media together.  One of the difficult things about using Social Media, is how do you link everything together.  So, when a picture is posted to your area Instagram account it then can be also posted on your area Facebook page.  The set ups and connections are almost endless.

Do you or then insights, thoughts or questions around Social Media and your Young Life ministry?  Leave a comment.

Technology and your Young Life Club room.

One of the main questions I get is around Young Life Club and how to set it up with technology at YL Digital.  So, today is showing you our new step up for our area Club room and what you can do to simplify your tech set up in your Club room.  There are many different configurations that you can have, this is one of many.

When is comes to Young Life Club and technology, you want to limit the amount of resources and devices you are going to use.  The more you add to the technology in Club, the greater chance it won’t work when it needs to in Club.  The more apps or resource you have to use in Club, the more complicated you make it.

One of the biggest questions around Club rooms in 2013, is – Do you have an internet connection?  If you do, great.  If you don’t you will need do more planning than if you do.

Apps we use on our iPads for Young Life Club:

  • Spotify – We use Spotify to run music for all of our music for Club skits, games, mixers, minutes, leader skits, kid skits, etc.  One of the great things about using Spotify for Club playlists.  For our Club’s that don’t have an internet connection, they open Spotify on an internet connection before Club and download new playlists onto the iPad.  Then, at Club when they don’t have an internet connection they can play updated music.
  • Keynote – Keynote is Apple’s presentation software.  It is one powerful mobile software.  It is $9.99 on the Apple App Store.  One of the best features of Keynote is the presentation mode.
  • Dropbox – This is the best way to get information to all of our team leaders at the same time.  We use Dropbox for music slides, videos for Club talks and announcement slides.  Dropbox will give you a free account worth of 2 gigabytes for free.  If you are using Dropbox for things like Club talk videos, music slides, etc; the 2 gigabytes of free space should cover you.  You can also get a paid account, if 2 gigabytes is not enough for you.

Leave a comment with your suggestions around Young Life Club room tech set ups.  I would love to hear from you.

Social Media & Technology transitions from jr. high to high school.

You most likely have students transitioning this fall from jr. high to high school or from high school to college.  These are huge steps for our friends.  We want to help make the transition as seamless as possible.


Walking into a high school as a freshman can be very scary for our jr. high friends as they transition into a new school and environment.  Just as they are transitioning from jr. high to high school, so will the technology and social media they use in their transitions.  Here are some observations that I have seen.

  • Smart phones are not just for high school students and older.  With so many smart phones being free or hand downs from older sibling or parents, many jr. high students have smart phone.  Just a few years ago it seemed that many of my high school friends were getting their first smart phone in high school.  Now, so many incoming freshman already have them.  My prediction is that many kids in a few years will enter jr. high with smart phones.  Are you ready for that?
  • Don’t assume that they have Facebook.  I had a couple freshman, on the way home from Young Life camp this summer, mention that they didn’t have Facebook.  I have observed the transition of kids from Facebook to Twitter, but for kids to deliberately choose Twitter over Facebook, is a big transition in the social media landscape.  We may see more younger kids, not even adopt Facebook as a useful social media platform.
  • More wide spread adoption of Twitter.  While many jr. high students are more geared to Facebook as a whole, many of the new Twitter users are new or newly high school students.  As freshman see older high school students using Twitter, they will adopt it as their platform as well.  Look to see how many new Twitter follows you have this year from freshman.
  • Transition from family computer to their own computer.  College for many years was the time in which most people got their first computer that was all theirs.  Now as high school classes are demanding more from students online, away from the classroom, many students are getting their first computer as they enter into high school or shortly after.  Most jr. high students are still using a shared family computer.

Have you observed any other social media or technology transitions from jr. high students to high school?  If so, leave a comment.

4 ways to make your Young Life Instagram videos look great.

When Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2012, I had a strong feeling that Facebook would add video to the photo service.  This happened a few weeks ago.  It would change how we see video online.  So, what do you think of video on Instagram?


I have seen some really good videos and some really bad one’s so far.  As Young Life, we can use this service to share our story.  Here are some ways to make your’s great.

  1. Make is short.  If you have used Vine (Twitter’s video client) you know the power of short.  You can use up to 15 seconds for your video.  Because you have 15 seconds, does;t mean that you have to use it all.
  2. Keep it still.  When you see video shaking all over the place, we use the value of our video.  Prop up your smart phone or tablet.  Use something like the Glif for your iPhone.
  3. Make it interesting.  Don’t take a video of a hall way or some random thing that has no explanation.  We have so many interesting things in Young Life to show, so show Young Life’s best.
  4. Brand it.  Use the Young Life logo or Young Life somewhere in your video to help brand it.  Make it Young Life focused.

6 (or more) uses for Instagram video  in Young Life:

  1. Show a Club game.
  2. Tell a Young Life story.
  3. Show a Young Life Camp.
  4. Share a kid or leader testimony.
  5. Show Young Life Campaigners.
  6. Show what Young Life Contact Work is really like.

Do you have some other ideas on how to make your Instagram videos great?  Leave a comment.