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8 Sep 2021

Mariners JHM Weekend in Review: Volume 6

By |2021-09-06T23:52:50-07:00September 8th, 2021|josh griffin, junior high, junior high ministry, Mariners Youth Ministry, Teaching, Teaching/Programming, Youth Ministry Ideas, Youth Ministry Resources, Youth Pastor Life|2 Comments

You can download the weekend program
here to see if how we do it is helpful for you or
inspires you when you create something for your students!

Weekend Teaching Series: What I Wish I Knew in Junior High (series finale, week 6 of 6)

Sermon Synopsis: This week was the conclusion of our big summer series and the week before Summer Camp. It was a great weekend, lots of momentum and excitement for the week ahead of camp. Spooner taught on her junior high experience, capping off a great series that may become and annual event. She talked about the core of who we are on the inside – using the analogy of the earth’s crust, the core, etc. She had a ton of stories about her life in junior high, and it was a solid finale for our summer series!

  • Service Length: 62 minutes
  • Key Scripture: Philippians 4:5-9

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: Say What You See was a fun game we played this week, kinda of a puzzle game that kids seemed to really like. We played it “king of the hill” style so one contestant gets a chance to answer the screen first, if they get it wrong or don’t know, the audience gets a shot. Very fun, kids loved it. Our second game we played Name That Burger, which is a super simple game where it shows a burger on the screen and you have to identify where it came. Sounds simple … but it was pretty hard. See my review on the product page for more info on how I would improve the game if you want to play it in your youth ministry, too.

Student Involvement: This week we had a full tech team of junior high students and they ran Sidekick.TV for both the Pick Me [to pick random a student who checked in for the service] and Wheel of Destiny [to select their prize]. They also ran the live stream service completely with students on camera, lights, sound and the switcher. SO proud of them!

Favorite Moment: This week was our new Huntington Beach youth pastor got to share on stage for the first time. Spooner has been working with our JHM team this summer to get the “Mariners Youth Ministry DNA” before heading to HB to lead their youth ministry. This will be the pattern moving forward as new congregations (some churches called them campuses) and Spooner CRUSHED this summer and set the bar super high for future youth ministry leaders at our new congregations!

Up next: Fact or Fiction (series kickoff, Josh speaking)

7 Sep 2021

Mariners JHM Weekend in Review: Volume 5

By |2021-09-06T19:12:05-07:00September 7th, 2021|josh griffin, junior high, junior high ministry, Mariners Youth Ministry, Teaching, Teaching/Programming, Youth Ministry Ideas, Youth Ministry Resources, Youth Pastor Life|0 Comments


Weekend Teaching Series: What I Wish I Knew in Junior High (week 5 of 6)

Sermon Synopsis: This weekend Mandy spoke about her junior high years and focused in on identity. She talked about all of the things she valued and didn’t value, and how she also felt sometimes that way about herself. She had a TON of ways to engage students, had some funny pictures of her as a junior high student (always a win). She works hard to create  lots of touch points and self-deprecating humor in her message, and could become a regular on the list of people who speak. So fun!

  • Service Length: 62 minutes
  • Key Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:17

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we played a SUPER game called Olym-Pics – where you are shown a picture and have to determine if the sport was/is really in the Olympics. They were just plausible enough to really fool a bunch of students and this was the hit game of the weekend. Perfect for the Olympic season and serious fun/chatter had by all. We also played a few quick rounds of 4 Corners Olympics Trivia which was good as well, got kids moving and in the Olympic spirit.

Student Involvement: This week we had 3 student greeters! Yeah, progress!! As always we also had a full tech team of junior high students and they ran Sidekick.TV for both the Pick Me [to pick random a student who checked in for the service] and Wheel of Destiny [to select their prize].

Favorite Moment: I’m a sucker for the Matt McGill sports instructional videos – they’re 3-4m of awkward fun – people think they were made recently and given this amazing late 90s vibe … but they’re actually FROM the late 90s and preserved perfectly. Stupid fun, and I’m here for it.

Up next: What I Wish I Knew in JH (series finale, Spooner speaking)

2 Sep 2021

Mariners JHM Weekend in Review: Volume 4

By |2021-09-01T00:21:15-07:00September 2nd, 2021|josh griffin, junior high, junior high ministry, Mariners Youth Ministry, Teaching, Teaching/Programming, Youth Ministry Ideas, Youth Ministry Resources, Youth Pastor Life|1 Comment

Weekend Teaching Series: What I Wish I Knew in Junior High (week 4 of 5)

Sermon Synopsis: This weekend we continued the What I Wish I Knew with our worship leader Bella Johnson talking about storms from her junior high years and the pressures on a young woman when she was growing up. It was a great message from her story that invited all students to realize that Jesus is with them in their boat and cares for them as the navigate the waters of their junior high years.

  • Service Length: 61 minutes
  • Key Scripture:

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we played a couple really fun games First up was Summer Games trivia getting ready for the Summer Olympics and also played the inspiring Matt McGill Sports Instructional Video each week (the 3 pack is just $1 and hilarious, cheesy, nuts) into our crowd favorite … Head, Shoulders, Knees, Cup. It’s SUCH a simple game and yet so perfect. We’ll play it again at Fall Kickoff for sure!

Student Involvement: This week we had a full tech team of junior high students and they ran Sidekick.TV for both the Pick Me [to pick random a student who checked in for the service] and Wheel of Destiny [to select their prize]. I’m proud of our tech students, they’re doing a GREAT job and even started their own Instagram, too!

Favorite Moment: This weekend the church janitor revealed his next creation – a Summer Camp promo animated video! He previously made the amazing Llama Countdown video (now available on DYM as well) and it made me SO proud. He’s SO talented! I’m hoping his stuff blows up on DYM and he can support himself someday with just his amazing creativity. I loved it! Easily my favorite moment of the week.

Up next: What I Wish I Knew in JH (week 5, Mandy speaking)

31 Aug 2021

Mariners JHM Weekend in Review: Volume 3

By |2021-08-31T23:16:35-07:00August 31st, 2021|josh griffin, junior high, junior high ministry, Mariners Youth Ministry, Teaching, Teaching/Programming, Youth Ministry Ideas, Youth Ministry Resources, Youth Pastor Life|2 Comments

 

Weekend Teaching Series: What I Wish I Knew in Junior High (week 3 of 5)

Sermon Synopsis: This weekend I had my favorite guest speaker come teach at our 5 services … DYM co-founder and our youth pastor at Mariners, Doug Fields! He taught a simple statement, “What I Wish I Knew in Junior High – serving is better than sitting” and taught students about serving. He shared some great pictures from his junior high years and how serving has shaped his life. It was a great talk that ended in an application where students could fill out a response card to serve in 4-5 areas of the church. So good!

  • Service Length: 64 minutes

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we used the sequel to the popular Where’s the Ball game and this was soccer edition and it crushed. Some questions are stronger than others but they’re all great and some are so unlikely they elicit a laugh. This week in the first game slot we played Where’s the Ball: Volume 2. Again a total blast – the ingenuity of youth workers never ceases to amaze me! We also tried something new in the 2nd game slot – a new DYM discussion-focused resource called Space Thoughts. I think the element got better through the course of the weekend services, but the idea wasn’t really a game with a prize, but for students to get to know each other better in circles and friendly debate some fun questions.

Student Involvement: This week we had a full tech team of junior high students and they ran Sidekick.TV (which is included in DYM’s gold membership) for both the Pick Me [to pick random a student who checked in for the service] and Wheel of Destiny [to select their prize] – we also had a couple students greeting at a few of the services, something we’re really trying to build up in the fall.

Favorite Moment: This weekend the church janitor revealed his next creation – a Summer Camp promo animated video! He previously made the amazing Llama Countdown video (now available on DYM as well) and it made me SO proud. He’s SO talented! I’m hoping his stuff blows up on DYM and he can support himself someday with just his amazing creativity. I loved it! Easily my favorite moment of the week.

Up next: What I Wish I Knew in JH (week 4, Bella speaking)

26 Aug 2021

Mariners JHM Weekend in Review: Volume 2

By |2021-08-24T00:53:35-07:00August 26th, 2021|josh griffin, junior high, junior high ministry, Mariners Youth Ministry, Teaching, Teaching/Programming, Youth Ministry Ideas, Youth Ministry Resources, Youth Pastor Life|0 Comments

Weekend Teaching Series: What I Wish I Knew in Junior High (week 2 of 5)

Sermon Synopsis: Holiday weekend! When the 4th of July happens on a Sunday … argh. Painful! But … we managed and ended up with a solid weekend. My “wish I knew” from junior high was about trust, and how we are constantly trust-building or trust-busting with our parents. Told some fun stories from my teen years and used a tall Jenga set as an example of trust being difficult to build and maintain but so simple to lose. Students easily resonated with the object lesson, and I felt like it really help carry the talk.

Service Length: 66 minutes

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We introduced our students to a brand new game on Download Youth Ministry – Where’s the Ball?  simple game where students have to guess which ball is the real one from funny Photoshopped pictures of athletes playing various sports. It is SUCH a simple concept and yet … totally crushed. Kids loved the game, some were easier than others but helped them stay in a bit longer which is OK as well. As always we welcomed in new students with the Impossible Shot, and also played a fun game with no real answers called In My Opinion: Summer Edition from one of my good friends Todd Pearage. Kids played along, we had some watching live online as well, and they could put their answers in the chat. All in all solid program, made super easy by DYM. Not sure how I ever did youth ministry before them!

Music Playlist: Let Go, Lion and the Lamb

Favorite Moment: I had to “find my talk” – it wasn’t coming together super well but we have 5 services over the course of the weekend, so was able to kind refine it on the fly and felt like it was finally good by the 4th try. Hey, it happens! And it sure did this weekend.

Up next: What I Wish I Knew in JH (week 3, Doug speaking)

9 Nov 2020

Doug Fields: How Our Youth Ministry is Programming Christmas This Year

By |2021-05-18T14:19:51-07:00November 9th, 2020|Leadership, Mariners Youth Ministry, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Building Momentum for the NEW year by skipping December… wait… what?

I was explaining to the youth team at Mariners Church (where I’m the youth pastor) that when you put the pressure on yourself to always be original and creative… you often miss both targets. I love the goal and the enthusiasm, but my statement revolves around the word “always.” There are just too many ups and downs in a ministry calendar year to ALWAYS be anything. Since we’re in this ministry-thing for the long-haul, it’s okay to plan around seasons and build for momentum.

For example, where we are in November, I want our youth ministry to capitalize on the potential momentum of the new year (January). To do that, I’d rather beg, borrow and steal our way thru December (when everyone is overly busy, when themed-resources are abundant, when people aren’t expecting anything new original and creative to compete with Christmas, etc…) and then use our saved time in December to plan for the new year momentum in January.

I jokingly told the team I could program the entire month of December in an hour by using the resources available on DYM. After our meeting, I decided to back-up my claim and program an entire month using the GREAT content/resources that amazing youth workers have already created. AND… I’ve saved TONS of HOURS that we can now use to adequately prepare for January.

A couple days later when I was with the DYM team, I told them how much Josh and I love and depend on downloadyouthministry.com for our own youth ministry programming needs. I bragged about the ease-of-my-month of programming and immediately Michelle (the genius behind the pipeline of what makes it on the DYM website) got super hyped and said, “You should share all that with our DYM friends because that might save them time too!”

Oh… sure… super easy! If this helps you… great! If not, I get it. But, the heart and principle behind what I did for our youth ministry at Mariners is exactly why Josh and I started DYM—to save you time so you could spend it on only what you can do (that we/DYM can’t do for you). So, if you’re interested… here’s December planned out with the specifics of resources and why I chose them. And, in DYM-like-fashion we’ve bundled them all together for a ridiculously low price.

What we’re doing:

  1. A 3-week Christmas Series
  2. A take-home, grow on your own, 25-day devotional called Hope is Coming (leading up to Christmas)
  3. Two special events: one for our entire group, and one for our small groups to do as their Christmas party.

The 3 Week Christmas Series includes full-programming for each weekly meeting

  • Countdown videos
  • Games
  • Transition videos
  • Messages
  • Small group content

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Send a letter to parents in November letting them know the big-picture theme of the series (we’re calling it Hope is Coming) and encourage their family participation in the 25-day Christmas journal they can pick up at church (or we can email it) for them to start reading on December 1.

 

  1. Download Hope is Coming (the 25-day reproducible devotional) and make as many copies as you want for your group. As with most DYM products, if you want to edit or redesign you can do it easily (in Word format), but we won’t—it’s really well written by one of my favorite DYM authors (Sabrina Hadro). There’s also a promo slide included which we’ll use as a weekly reminder to pick-up the devotional.

  1. Download the 3-week series called New Season’s Greetings. It’s developed from veteran youth pastors and it’s outstanding. I personally like the format of how they teach it, and the content is biblically solid, the illustrations are strong and it won’t take much work to adapt to my students (BTW: I never teach a DYM product word-for-word—I always rework a little to fit my style, my illustrations, and my students). The series also comes with: (a) Game ideas, (b) Worship/Music song suggestions, (c) Stage Design Ideas, and (d) Background Music (pre/post service) selections. The only big-change we will make is on the series title—we’ll call the entire series Hope is Coming to match the devotional (see #2 above) and this title is a better fit for the end of 2020.
  2. Even though the teaching series has excellent graphics, I had new graphics made for the entire look/feel of Hope is Coming (which include social media/promo graphics). If you choose to purchase this bundle, we’ve included the new graphics for FREE – download them HERE!!!
  3. Download the “programming pieces” that add [what I commonly refer to as] an element of fun or engagement.
  • Game: My style is to use some type of fun/humor to break the ice and get the crowd feeling comfortable being together. Sometimes the games are based on a table-competition (your team is the table you’re sitting at) and other times I’ll pick students to come on stage and either represent their table and/or their grade. There are dozens of amazing Christmas-themed games on the DYM site, but here are the 3 that I chose that will crush and can be played in a variety of ways:

 

  • Transition videos: I’ll often use short videos to transition from a song to the message, or from a game to a song, or from announcements into a student testimony. These videos are just a simple way that helps reinforce a teaching or a the big-picture theme of the series and/or season. Videos also have a way of transitioning energy, quieting the crowd, and bringing their focus upfront. Here are 3 different but similar videos that I’ll use in this series:

6. Download Silent Night Guided Meditation for a 60-90 minute time of Christmas reflection. We have some student leaders and some spiritual mature students who will really enjoy this! It will be a mellow night of Scripture reading and reflection and a very socially-distant-friendly program. This one was a difficult decision, because I downloaded Be Still Worship Experience and The Christmas Story Worship Experience and both looked great. I have a volunteer who is going to run this night and sent her all three and she chose the one we’re using.

  1. Download Unlock the Box: Christmas Edition (There’s actually a Volume 2 headed into the store!). We’re giving this to all of our small group leaders for them to use as their small group gathering Christmas party. It’s super clever and it’s something that is so much better than I could ever do on my own (well, most things on DYM are like that). This will be a hit and take the pressure off of my leaders for figuring out what to do.
  2. Finally, when I was searching “Christmas” on our website, I found Advent Christmas Pack which I downloaded and will use to load up our Instagram during December. This is a no-brainer—25-Instagram ready-graphics to prepare students for Christmas. It was like the icing on the cake.

There it is… I hope it’s helpful. Now you don’t have to spend the last month of 2020 thinking about 2020… right? What a crazy year it has been! Now you can take December programming off and put your best creative and original thinking toward capturing the momentum that January, the new year, 2021, a Covid-19 virus, and the Rams winning the Super Bowl will bring to your students.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year… Hope is Coming!

HO HO HO – Don’t forget we are giving you 50% OFF you buy 10 or more Christmas resources! For real, if you go right now and add 10 Christmas resources to your cart, and then go check it out… you’ll see that we already applied the discount for you. Merry Christmas!


Searching for Youth Group Games? Discover thousands of turn-key resources at Download Youth Ministry.

11 Sep 2020

Youth Night Live! Season 2, Episode 9 & 10 | “Help me with” Series Finale

By |2020-09-11T09:49:26-07:00September 11th, 2020|livestream, Mariners Youth Ministry, online youth group|0 Comments

Last week you met Cooptaur and wondered if he would ever return… do not fret, HE’S BACK! Also we have tortillas, a look back at 2020, AND a great message from The Bible. We can’t wait to hang out!

Are you enjoying your history class? Because Alexander Hamilton is BACK on Youth Night Live, we’re playing with some bubble wrap… and things may get a little fishy.

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