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  2. May the Peace of Christ and the sacrificial love of Saint Valentine be with you. Here we go with another set of weekly news items to assist your ministry with pertinent information and formation. Kara Powell of Fuller Institute offers three faith building tips that any youth leader might offer to parents. Tis’ the season. As we near spring, we begin to engage in the season of hiring. US Catholic magazine asks a related question and wonders if our hiring practices, especially when it comes to a rejection letter, have become a social justice issue? Last week, I posted about “small v” vocation assessments. I found this article from the New York Times about how colleges are becoming more intentional about vocational discernment. We should be looking to answer similar questions. Are we using all the parts of our community to help young people understand their own personal vocational call? In two weeks’ time, the Holy Father will gather Bishops from around the world to address the abuse crisis in the Church, For a wider perspective, read the Houston Chronical report on how this has also plagued the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest religious denomination in the US. Still got space in your life for a New Year’s Resolution? Want to be a better leader? Mark Cole has 11 Statements for you to consider in the remaining 11 months of 2019. On this week of Valentines' Day, know that you are loved... as a child of God but also as someone who accompanies young people in faith.
  3. May the Peace of Christ be with you as we enter into February. Here we go with another set of weekly news items to assist your ministry with pertinent information and formation. Not sure about you, but we cancel Sunday evening classes on Super Bowl Sunday in deference to a Sunday afternoon Souper Bowl of Caring service effort. Since we weren’t teaching last night, it might be important to consider what lessons were being taught through the commercials on the Souper Bowl telecast. Chris Wesley wants to know (and wants you to know) if your volunteers know Jesus? Just in case you were ever wondering about this as many states move towards legalization, Illinois Catholic bishops, citing a commitment “to the common good;” took a stand against legalizing recreational use of marijuana. A recent report indicates that most Anglican churchgoers have a 'total lack of confidence' in speaking about faith 'at all and with anyone', according to a report for the Church of England's General Synod. How might we develop a culture of invitation in our communities? FOR PARENTS: Service is defined as “Lending a hand to help someone else.” How can we teach our kids to embody this principle? How can we teach our kids to use their hands to give instead of take? ParishCue has some suggestions. Finally, here what’s been making me happy… I witnessed a presentation by Luke Burgis based on his book Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person. I feel as if it is a total game-changer for the next years of ministry for me. It has only been days since the presentation but there has been an abundance of blessings overflowing since then. God bless you for all that you are doing to lend a hand to help someone else by accompanying them in faith.
  4. May the Peace of Christ be with you as we enter into February. Here we go with another set of weekly news items to assist your ministry with pertinent information and formation. Not sure about you, but we cancel Sunday evening classes on Super Bowl Sunday in deference to a Sunday afternoon Souper Bowl of Caring service effort. Since we weren’t teaching last night, it might be important to consider what lessons were being taught through the commercials on the Souper Bowl telecast. Chris Wesley wants to know (and wants you to know) if your volunteers know Jesus? Just in case you were ever wondering about this as many states move towards legalization, Illinois Catholic bishops, citing a commitment “to the common good;” took a stand against legalizing recreational use of marijuana. A recent report indicates that most Anglican churchgoers have a 'total lack of confidence' in speaking about faith 'at all and with anyone', according to a report for the Church of England's General Synod. How might we develop a culture of invitation in our communities? FOR PARENTS: Service is defined as “Lending a hand to help someone else.” How can we teach our kids to embody this principle? How can we teach our kids to use their hands to give instead of take? ParishCue has some suggestions. Finally, here what’s been making me happy… I witnessed a presentation by Luke Burgis based on his book Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person. I feel as if it is a total game-changer for the next years of ministry for me. It has only been days since the presentation but there has been an abundance of blessings overflowing since then. God bless you for all that you are doing to lend a hand to help someone else by accompanying them in faith. FOR PARENTS: Service is defined as “Lending a hand to help someone else.” How can we teach our kids to embody this principle? How can we teach our kids to use their hands to give instead of take? ParishCue has some suggestions. Finally, where what’s been making me happy… I witnessed a presentation by Luke Burgis based on his book Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person. I feel as if it is a total game-changer for the next years of ministry for me. It has only been days since the presentation but there has been an abundance of blessings overflowing since then. God bless you for all that you are doing to lend a hand to help someone else by accompanying them in faith.
  5. May the Peace of Christ be with you as you continue the ministry and mission of Saint John Bosco (feast day: January 31) to accompany young people in faith. Here we go with another set of weekly news items to assist your ministry with pertinent information and formation. David Brooks, of the New York Times, recently reminded us all that Students Learn From People They Love. Always remember when sharing faith with young people in a gathering of 100, or a class space of 20, or a work project of four – which pretty much describes my schedule yesterday – to place the quality of relationships at the center of your evangelization and catechesis. My friend Marisa posted over at Project YM and challenged us all to imagine the March for Life as something beyond a once-a-year event on the streets of Washington DC or a large March in some other metropolitan cityscape . Being Pro-Life can be found in the in the small steps of the individuals you encounter in your daily ministry. Last week, I sat down with a potential donor who might fund our local participation in the National Day of Youth Ministry Training. If you have not seen information on this just yet, I invite you to take a good look at the opportunity for training, ecumenical interaction, and support for your volunteers that download youth Ministry is bringing together for us all for this upcoming September. Michael Sanem recently wrote on the Millennial blog about Flannery O’Connor’s The Displaced Person. In the midst of the abuse crisis, we find great discomfort as outside events and people seem to impact our environments can cause questioning of our own position and role. Sunday morning, Pope Francis made concluding remarks to those gathered for World Youth Day in Panama. You, dear young people, are not the future. We like to say, “you are the future”. No, you are the present. You are not the future of God, you young people are the now of God. He invites you and calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your grandparents, your elders; to stand up and with them to speak out and realize the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you. All of the Holy Father’s WYD Panama addresses can be found here. Finally, where what’s been making me happy… the opportunity afforded me by the occasion of the commemoration of the day of my birth to just sit with children and grandchildren – Always a blessing. God bless you for all that you are doing to serve the Lord and ministering to our next generations – those that Pope Francis describes as the “now of God.”
  6. May the Peace of Christ be with you and all those who strive for unity and equality as we strive towards the Reign of God. Here we go with another set of weekly news items to assist your ministry with pertinent information and formation. As we commemorate the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr., we might take note of Father Bryan Massingale insistence that “At its deepest level, racism is a soul-sickness.” In his US Catholic article To dismantle racism, we must heal the human spirit. And, that might be found in a revolution of values Were you aware that the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry was engaging in a prayer of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Though that you might maybe not… Check out the daily updates on their facebook page and a full explanation here. Noted Christian Leadership guru John Maxwell suggests that if You Want to Grow, Cultivate a Teachable Spirit, He offers five practices that he has adopted in his own life and anticipates that a teachable spirit will become for you a reliable way to make transitions that last. Lifeteen has some worthwhile suggestions for your young people regarding how to practically live out God’s mission for you in the right here and now. Please pass along Start Living Your Personal Mission Now. This week’s LINK TO SHARE WITH PARENTS is one that I used already as an insert into my own parish youth ministry’s e-bulletin (via Flocknote.) It is important that we as parents continue to show our kids that Forgiveness Matters. Finally, here is a story that is making us happy this week. Last weekend, it snowed - -which means we celebrated that grace-filled event known as a “snow day.” For those of you who might not experience such a blessing, here is your ninety-second moment of snowy zen (which features a massive snow-ball fight outside the Washington Monument.) God bless you for all that you are doing to serve the Lord and ministering to our next generations.
  7. May the Peace of Christ be with you as we return to Ordinary Time. Here we go with another set of weekly news items to assist your ministry with pertinent information and formation. Here we go! From the business side of the world, Fast Company has recently explored Six Common Beliefs about Productivity that are Total Lies. I am confident that if it was written from the youth ministry perspective, it might include that extensive time on social networking or gaming sites does not really count as “accompaniment” of young disciples For those of us who think fondly back to the earlier Spiderman movies, the line “With great power comes great Responsibility” was often a teaching point. (See Video ) Recently, another business author, Seth Godin, offered a new take on the Spiderman Paradox. First and foremost, consider what this message means FOR YOU. And, then, I invite you to respond to the same challenge that I have set for myself – transforming this message into some final words for our Confirmation candidates who, about to receive great power, must rise to great responsibility Whew! Back to youth ministry, amIright? Youth Specialties is offering a prognostication regarding Five Youth Ministry trends for 2019. I was especially challenged by the last two- “Teaching them how to Care” and “From Bounded to Centered. The SEEK2019 conference, sponsored by Focus, concluded recently in Indianapolis. On YouTube, you can find an extensive treasure trove of videos for your own spiritual journey and/or your programming. This week’s LINK TO SHARE WITH PARENTS comes from Jenna Scott who writes at Parent Cue about Guiltless Lessons of Love. Finally, here is a story that is making us happy this week. Barry Corey, President of Biola University, an evangelical Christian college in California, had a “selfie” moment with Justin Bieber who was hanging out at the valet stand singing Marvin Gaye’s classic “Sexual Healing.” Here’s the Christianity Today coverage of this moment of encounter God bless you for all that you are doing to serve the Lord and ministering to our next generations.
  8. Welcome back to blogging Scott! I missed your take on things. Hope all is well and that our paths cross again sometime soon. God Bless.
  9. May the Peace of Christ be with you throughout this New Year. We hope to offer weekly news items to assist your ministry with pertinent information and formation Here we go! Recently, long-time youth minister Walt Mueller reflected on his many decades in ministry. He has come to clarity, as we all should, about what youth ministry is not about and what it should be about. Seventeen years after the Boston Globe first placed a Spotlight on the clergy abuse crisis, last week the US Bishops participated in a retreat requested by Pope Francis to reflect on where we find the American church in this time of continue turmoil over abuses. Pope Francis wrote a letter to them during their time of prayer. Please note the following quote meant not only for our brother bishops, but for all of us in service of the Lord. For the first time, it’s as likely as not that American children will be less prosperous than their parents. For parents, giving children the best start in life has come to mean doing everything they can to ensure that their children can climb to a higher class, or at least not fall out of the one they were born into. “As the gap between rich and poor increases, the cost of screwing up increases,” said Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland who studies families and inequality. “The fear is they’ll end up on the other side of the divide.” The New York Times recently offered insight into The Restlessness of Modern Parenting. Something we might all strive to be better at – for bishops, for abuse victims, for parents, or even that smelly, pimply seventh grade boy on the fringes of our weekly program – might be to practice listening. Oh, yeah, and listen to the Lord as well! Here’s a story that is making us happy this week: The lingering scent of incense is confused as someone suggested that a priest was wearing cologne. Read more here. God bless you for all that you are doing to serve the Lord and ministering to our next generations.
  10. Eric Gallagher

    Unmeeting Christ

    A great video from PetersBoat.net that speaks about how once you've truly met Christ, all that comes with it can not be "undone" because of scandal in the church. A great discussion could be to discuss what "changes" when one meets Christ. How are things different?
  11. I’ve been an Amazon customer since 2002 when pretty much the only thing that people used it for was to avoid going to the University bookstore and paying full price for college textbooks. Now Amazon seems to be the first place I look whenever I have need for anything! To start off this new Catholic Youth Ministry Blog I’ve decided that for my first post I would go through the last 16 years of my Amazon orders and share with you the top 8 things I’ve purchased for youth ministry. Also, please note that if I were to give a true top 8, it would likely include 5-6 books. I’ve decided that I’ll stick to games, resources, supplies, etc. and I’ll devote another post to my favorite books. So here we go: Please note: these are affiliate links that allow us to receive a portion of any sales made when you purchase these items by clicking through on our site. This "kickback" goes to support the work of the Catholic Youth Ministry Hub. Games Supplies Poof Soccer Balls We tried out three or four types of balls to use for dodge ball in our gym. These were by far the best ones we could find. They are soft enough, they last a long time, and more importantly it feels great when you zing that youth with one of them! See it here. Spike Ball An excellent game to have sitting around in a youth room, at camp, etc. It’s a very common game that most know how to play and it can serve as an excellent ice breaker. It’s also extremely affordable and is great quality! See it here. Kan Jam This was another well known game that I discovered later on than most. Similar to Spike Ball (above) this is affordable, it’ll last forever, and most people can just pick it up and play it. See it here. Board/Party Games Pharisees - The Party Game This is the "Christian" version of the popular youth ministry game "Mafia". I often tell people it's the perfected version of the game. See it here. Curses Game This is an older game but it’s one of those go-to games that is great for small groups. In larger groups it’s entertaining enough that observers have no problem just watching! See it here. Exploding Kittens Game I have officially ordered 25 of these from Amazon. It is an awesome game that can be played in 3-5 minutes and rarely gets old. It’s another one of those games that observers enjoy watching. It can be expanded to take more players as well. See it here. Other Sleeping Cot I got tired of air mattresses and these have been an excellent replacement for when we need additional beds at camp or on retreat. They are durable, long lasting, and fairly inexpensive. They aren’t the most comfortable to sleep on but those who have them are usually grateful to have anything! See it here. Pope Francis Bobble Head Definitely the coolest affordable prize that I have bought so far! See it here. I hope you've enjoyed this list! If you have other items you'd like to mention, please comment below!
  12. Eric Gallagher

    The Chisel Skit by the Skit Guys

    This is a classic skit from the Skit Guys that would be great to use before confession. It's a skit that shows the challenge and gift in allowing God to work on (in) your life.
  13. Eric Gallagher

    Egg Russian Roulette Game

    This game was a huge success at our summer camps. To start you will need one dozen eggs for every two teams. Seven of the eggs in each dozen should be boiled and five should not. Mix them up in the carton so you can't tell which ones are which. We had the teams (small groups) send a representative up to challenge a representative from another team. They each selected one egg and (on a count of three) smashed it on their head. The first team to get three of the raw eggs lost. Here is a video of Jimmy Fallon doing this with Ryan Reynolds: Please share other ideas and stories of your experience of this game below! Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash
  14. Matt Fradd from Ascension Presents answers several users questions on various topics, including; virtue, sin, and music.
  15. Sorry! These are coming soon!
  16. Eric Gallagher

    Discussion Forum Guidelines

    Sorry! These are coming soon!
  17. Eric Gallagher

    The Jail Fundraiser

    The Jail Fundraiser is one of those fundraisers that does far more than raising money. It's a ton a fun, draws in the entire parish community, and it doesn't ever really get old. To start, this fundraiser only really works if it's part of a larger parish event like a parish bazaar. Brief Explanation Set up a space designated as "the jail" where people will be able to sit when they are arrested. It should be able to hold roughly 10-12 people comfortably. People will pay you to have someone else arrested for a set amount of time. You will issue the warrant and the arrested individual will have three options; 1) serve their time, 2) pay to not be arrested, or 3) counter-arrest (post bail and have the person who arrested them be arrested instead). It's really that simple! Here's our list of tips: Borrow a large kennel or something to make the jail even more real Purchase or borrow police outfits, handcuffs, etc. to make the experience even more real. Ensure there are little information signs all over that explain the process Put a limit on how many times an individual can be arrested. Offer something fun to do in the jail (reading, facts about prisons, etc.) To keep track of finances well, have an adult manage the jail and the log, require warrants for arrest, etc. Documentation Needed Arrest Warrant - should include the name of the person arrested, who arrested them, cost, and the three options for the arrested person. Jail Log - keeps track of finances, arrests, etc. I'll be putting together a package of resources very soon to make available in the Marketplace. Stay posted!
  18. I've literally been asked dozens of times how I'm able to work in ministry and support my growing family while my wife is also able to stay at home to take care of the house and little ones that are not yet in school. The quick answer is always...we make it work. With the launch of the new Catholic Youth Ministry Hub and the freedom to blog "as I wish" I'm planning to use this space to share ways that my wife and I have been able to make things work. The title "Other Duties as Assigned" gives insights into how we've really been able to make things work. With my first youth ministry job, I was responsible for the parish website. Using what I learned in that process, I actually started my own web management business. At one time I had about a dozen clients (parishes and local businesses) that paid me a monthly fee to maintain their website for them. Now that I spend most of my time in my work at the Diocesan level, I get the privilege of consulting and working hand in hand with parishes. I've always desired to share with I have learned. This led me to starting the Catholic Youth Ministry Hub (long ago) as well as several other websites focused on youth ministry, discipleship, etc. To say it bluntly, while I'm incredibly grateful for the salary and benefits I receive in my Diocesan work and I believe they are paying me what is right and just, it would be extremely difficult for my wife and I to live on that income alone. We have four children, three of which are attending our parish catholic school, and we made a commitment early in our marriage to get out of debt and to never return. About two years ago, with the supplemental income we were bringing in through little side projects, saving through rewards programs, etc, we are now debt free and working on our next financial goals (primarily a 10 year anniversary vacation and small (overdue) home improvement projects). Anyway, I'm hopeful that this new blog will give me a space to share with you many things that I have learned and have allowed me to stay in ministry and continue doing what I love! Be sure to click the follow button above to receive emails and updates when I post to the blog!
  19. A great video to introduce a simple prayer that can be used to venerate the cross daily.
  20. In this Ascension Presents video Jackie Francois talks about daring, marriage, and how you know when you have found "the one".
  21. If we find ourselves having issue in coming up with content, we will often just Poll the students for ideas via a survey.
  22. Calvin Hammond

    Honey If You Love Me

    What a smash hit. We were all laughing so hard our face hurt. Wednesday night is a smaller, more reserved bunch. It got them all awake!. There was only one who managed to avoid the middle altogether. I congratulated him on his poker face. He said "I just channeled my inner irritations." LOL
  23. The article focuses on contributions to the Blogs, Free Resources, Video Library, etc. For guidelines regarding our discussion forums, go here. For guidelines regarding Contributing to the Marketplace, go here. Introduction Our hope is that the Catholic Youth Ministry Hub platform will make it easy for anyone to share their insights, resources, and ideas with others involved in catholic youth ministry by offering a convenient blogging platform as well as a consignment shop that makes selling original resources simple. Guidelines for Contributing General Blogs All content must be original and not posted anywhere else. Posts should be at least 250 words. Images used can not violate copyright law. Posts may be edited by our editing team to correct simple grammar and punctuation errors. Posts that require too much editing will be moved to draft form and a note will be sent to the author. General blog posts will earn 250-1500 YM Bucks depending on quality, length, originality, etc. These do require a manual review and may take some time to reward. Resource Blogs (Games, Fundraisers, Etc.) All community members are able to contribute the resource blogs. It is understandable that some ideas used may also be listed on other web sites. That being said, contributions must still be original in content (you can't just copy and paste from other websites). Please only share ideas that you have tried and were successful! For games, fundraisers, etc. posts should include supplies needed, instructions, tips, etc. Images used can not violate copyright law. Posts may be edited by our editing team to correct simple grammar and punctuation errors. Posts that require too much editing will be moved to draft form and a note will be sent to the author. Contributions towards these areas can earn anywhere from 100-500 YM Bucks. These do require a manual review and may take some time to reward. Video Library Contribution Videos submitted to our video library should fall within one of the categories listed. It is permissible to share videos that are not your own provided they can be embedded (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) Videos should include a brief description/explanation. Video submission can earn anywhere from 50-250 YM Bucks. Videos that include a few good discussion questions to go along with the video will be given the highest reward. If you have not received your YM Bucks within seven days of your submission, please contact us. Finally, to maintain consistency to our audience, contributions are "locked" after a certain period of time. Should there be a reason that you need to remove a contribution, make further edits, etc. please contact us.
  24. For me the trick is then having a follow up ready to go for temporary program. Particularly if it goes well, after it finishes, I'm not always ready with the next thing to KEEP them engaged and coming back. I will whole heartedly agree with all of these! Just stating my own weakness in this area!
  25. Calvin Hammond

    BIBLE TABOO

    We actually purchased a bible version of "TABOO" Our teens LOVE it. You could easily do it yourself without buying the game though. All you need is a timer, a buzzer & some Bible/Catholic trivia questions. We have also discovered, this game is great at giving you insight to their personalities. You see who is competitive, who leads naturally as well as who is reserved.
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