19 Jan 2024

Sidekick: Adults Love It Too!

By |2024-01-19T08:36:57-08:00January 19th, 2024|communication, Sidekick, Sidekick Hero Blog, Teaching, Teaching/Programming, Technology|3 Comments

It’s no secret that when we created Sidekick, we had youth workers in mind (they are our favorite, of course!), but recently, my wife (Cathy) and I were asked to teach a course at our church called Intentional Parenting (based off a book by the same name we wrote back in 2018). We had an idea that the course would be popular, but we had no idea we’d have hundreds of parents seeking advice each month! It’s been a whirlwind, to say the very least!

After seeing how much students love the new interactive features (such as live voting) in Sidekick, we decided to see if adults would feel the same way, and—spoiler alert—THEY ABSOLUTELY DID!

For the past few sessions, throughout the teaching, we’ve been sprinkling in questions like this:

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And, even though we knew it would be a hit, we were BLOWN AWAY by the response! Cathy and I have taught this curriculum in many different settings over the years, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the most engagement we’ve ever seen with a group of parents!

Here are a few things I’ve noticed about the parents in our course since we started integrating Sidekick Live Polls throughout our teaching content:

  1. They are more attentive – Since they know I might ask another question at any time, I genuinely think they pay more attention to the material we are presenting.
  2. They’re having more fun – I can’t even tell you how much I love their response when the “Show Live Results” feature is enabled. It’s not uncommon for people to cheer as the results come rolling in!
  3. They’re more likely to come back – I don’t need a lot of research (although it certainly is out there!) to tell me that people who enjoy an experience are more likely to come back a second, third, or even fourth time. That’s EXACTLY what we’re seeing right now with Intentional Parenting.
  4. They’re more likely to bring their friends – I’ve seen this in youth ministry over and over again, but this is one of the clearest examples of this happening with adults I’ve ever seen. Couples who attend one session are inviting their neighbors. Plain and simple: People want to attend engaging events.

Now, before I close out, there’s one more really important thing that I realized during our most recent course. It’s in the picture below. See if you can figure out what I’m talking about:

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It’s right there at the bottom of the screen. I’ll zoom in to help:

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During the session, I asked what grade parents would give themselves based on how well they show affection to their children. And 5% answered that they would give themselves a big ole F. I can say with 100% confidence that most of those parents would never have admitted this if they weren’t able to answer anonymously.

You see, Sidekick doesn’t just promote engagement, it gives people the chance to be honest without facing immediate judgment. You can absolutely be sure that the next words out of my mouth after this poll were different than they would have been had we not done the poll. Because of what we learned with this poll, I was able to pause and tell those parents that they aren’t alone and that simply by attending the Intentional Parenting course, they were already taking steps in the right direction. I’m not going to say it solved all of their problems, but you could actually feel the sense of relief in the room.

And none of this would have been possible without Sidekick.



If you’re using Sidekick and you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]. Or you can check out other helpful articles and walkthroughs at the Sidekick Help Desk by visiting https://help.sidekick.tv.

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

If you’re using Sidekick and you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]. Or you can check out other helpful articles and walkthroughs at the Sidekick Help Desk by visiting https://help.sidekick.tv.

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

17 Mar 2020

How to Use Zoom and Sidekick for Youth Group Online

By |2020-03-17T15:11:02-07:00March 17th, 2020|Leadership, Small Groups, Teaching, Teaching/Programming, Technology|10 Comments

Anthony Taylor put together two AWESOME videos on how to use Sidekick and Zoom for your online youth ministry!

So thankful for the DYM community as we continue to innovate and come up with exciting ways to reach students!

I LOVE having fun!! Especially with my wife Beth and our kids Sophia and Max.

I am a 7 with a 7 wing 🙂

Favorite things: building things, Children’s Museum, Paddleboarding, Surfing, Fishing, Playing with my kids, Leading.

Least Favorite things: Libraries, paperwork, and socially awkward situations and bad decision.

Check out Anthony’s DYM resources!

16 Mar 2020

What Have You Learned from Going Online?

By |2020-03-16T08:26:05-07:00March 16th, 2020|Leadership, Technology|0 Comments

We’re all learning a lot of new things as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

Many of us are streaming youth group for the very first time and figuring out what it means to be a digital community!

DYM has had a huge community online for some time on Facebook for youth pastors to share ideas, wins, and struggles.

If you’re still scrambling, join the group and search for the MANY ideas and tips youth pastors are giving out there! Below are just some of the lessons learned and quick tips for those who are going online this week!

Brad Daniel: Watch parties [on Facebook] are good but they can separate from your larger church comments, etc. People who interacted in my watch party didn’t show in the larger church livestream. Just a good learning-that isn’t bad, but strategically it is good to know.

Mandee Winrotte: We’ve never done any sort of ANYTHING online other than audio sermons so we had NO frame of reference on what to be doing. What we learned is to find the person/people in your church who have experience—they’re sometimes not well known for that sort of expertise, but they’re out there.

The person who shot and edited our video is a youth sponsor with an education background. If you didn’t ask him, you wouldn’t know what he was capable of.

Shawn Allen: I learned a standard definition video takes 2 hours to upload to YouTube today…. our plans got botched. We met this morning and recorded. Told people to go to YouTube at 10:30 (our normal time) to watch the message. Didn’t get uploaded til 11:30!

Luke Beard: If you don’t have someone running the camera, make sure everything is in frame. Our preacher kept walking out of the camera frame, and the podium was even partially out of frame. They were trying to get the worship team and the pulpit all in one shot and it didn’t make the most sense. I think next week we either do two cameras or just have someone turn the camera after the sermon is done and then turn it back when the singing starts again, which is after communion and sermon.

Jeff Ross: Prepare ahead of time. We pre recorded everything and posted it on Facebook and YouTube as video premieres. Worked really well. We used songs that were from weeks prior. The only new thing was the intro, sermon, and outro.

Brandon Smith: Even with the best preparation, lag is still a thing.

Ervin Liang:  Tonight our youth ministry met online for small groups! We used ZOOM! Everyone met together first and then we broke people out into “break out rooms” (what Zoom calls it) so that each small group could meet on their own! It’s a really cool feature and the host has the ability to bring everyone back together and use an “announcement feature” to send messages to each small group! You can also create polls for everyone to answer as well!
We got the paid version! $15 a month per host, allows up to 100 people. Only the paid version allows the break out rooms to happen right now. But you can have individual free accounts and just have each small group leader create their own meeting!!
Shout out to Steve Anderson and Mathew McCabe 20+ years of YM experience and still killing the game. They have a podcast called Youth Ministry Sherpas that is going on the DYM podcast network soon!
And finally:
John R Slater: I learned you don’t need pants on to lead worship in an empty room… 😂😂😂
What you planning to use for your online gathering? Zoom? Facebook? Instagram? Are you going to download and learn OBS, free tool that lets you add in video, slides, etc?
Still have a few more days of planning before your first online gathering? Check out these free resources and how-to tips Doug and Josh put together for youth workers going online! It’s over $100 worth of content for free! Even in the face of a crisis, that’s how DYM helps youth workers win!
12 Mar 2020

How to Hold Youth Group If You Have to Cancel for Coronavirus *COVID-19

By |2020-03-16T12:46:41-07:00March 12th, 2020|Teaching/Programming, Technology, Youth Ministry Ideas, Youth Ministry Resources, Youth Pastor Life|2 Comments

This week many churches are making the tough decision whether to hold services or not — even in the church where I (Josh) serve, we’re making decisions today that determine the plan this weekend and probably our local church gatherings for the next 30 days. With high profile systems like the NBA and many colleges and universities canceling events, there will be enormous pressure to put church gatherings on hiatus as well. While this may be frustrating to some and relieving to others, there’s no doubt among followers of Jesus that gatherings are essential to their faith and walk with God.

So what do you do when you CAN’T gather? For centuries the church was unable to have large-scale gatherings because of persecution. Only in recent times is the regular gathering of the church a reality. So what do we do in the case of a pandemic like this? How do we hold the value of community and “breaking bread” when the very gathering together brings significant risks to our people?

 1. Gather together online
There are more powerful tools than ever to help you gather online. I would suggest YouTube.com first. They have the best tools and are built for community, chat, replays and voting. It’s also one of the key places where your students already are, so it makes it easy to point them to your channel and go live at the service time and/or times you normally meet. I think Instagram is a GREAT option as well, potentially even easier, and the “request to join” allows  others to appear on screen as well and share or sing or win an online game. You can look into others like Zoom but your students don’t have those apps or tools installed already and it is out of the “digital ecosystem” they frequently use.

2. Keep it fun
Download Youth Ministry is uniquely positioned to help you create a super fun online service. We have thousands of screen games you can use in person or online, as well as tons of social media resources and much more to help you keep it fun as well as meaningful. In a time of fear, isolation and frustration, it’s a great opportunity to have some fun and relief from the tension in a time when everyone is stressed and scared. Remember, DYM isn’t ONLY about having fun, it can certainly be a powerful tool in a time of trial and pressure.

3. Remember this is an incredible opportunity to really pastor
In a time like this, there is also a chance to really pastor students well. Love ones who get sick, care for students who lose someone they love, the fear surrounding it all, creates a GREAT opportunity to reach out and love well! You can still text, call, send messages over social media, and encourage students even when you aren’t in the same room! This is THE time to show up … even in a culture where we can’t necessarily physically show up

Another idea — kinda random I know — but I just bought www.youthgrouplive.com and am thinking about doing an online youth group 5-6 times this weekend: a youth ministry program/service for the whole country. Would that be helpful to you? Let me know in the poll below:

[crowdsignal poll=10519354]

And finally — for what it’s worth — my mom has a pre-existing lung condition and is 72 years old, so I really do take this one in particular very seriously. To speak frankly, she won’t make it if it the virus spreads to her. So if you’re gathering, be safe and smart, and remember to wash your hands and dab your sneezes. It helps her — and all of us.

So welcome to your new role as an online youth pastor — your students live in this space, and God has given us an incredible calling and opportunity even in the face of adversity.

Josh Griffin

PS: Grab a Hand-washing 101 freebie video here as well.

PSS: We also just recorded a spontaneous podcast on the subject once our church cancelled for this weekend. We planned to talk about youth ministry mission trips but this went sideways, and for the better. It’s a great very open, fluid and raw conversation. Listen now!

PSSS: We’re in this together – grab a ton of DYM freebies and articles and podcasts to help during the pandemic.

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