Want a Sneak Peek at the newest issue of Group Magazine?  The new issues isn’t out yet, but here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming soon.  Unfortunately I heard of too many people the “I Just Got Fired” applies too.

If you don’t subscribe yet, now’s a great time to sign up: Group Magazine Subscription.  In addition to the great content like posted above, you get tons of ministry ideas and help.  And for the techie in you, every issue has a great column from Brandon Early, whom contributes to this blog. I highly recommend it.

For all you Android users out there, Amazon launched their long rumored Android AppStore.  I was able to do a little browsing and bought a couple of apps from it. I found it a little easier to use than the regular android marketplace.  It seemed easier to find things, but that could be because the catalog is definitely smaller. I also appreciated that when i searched for “Live Wallpapers” to use on my Nexus S I didn’t get a bunch of soft porn offerings.

One thing they are doing that I’m sure will drive traffic is everyday they are going to offer one paid app for free.  Today is Angry Birds Rio, and I a huge Angry Birds fan, so that just makes it all the better.

If you’re an Android user, it’s worth checking out.  Also pick up the new Angry Birds Rio for free.

I saw a link to this site over at MoreThanDodgeball, and I thought it would be good to pass along.  It’s a site that YouTube has put together to for people to see what popular and follow the trends on the popular video site.  Sometimes in Youth Ministry is hard to keep up with what’s popular with students, but this might help tip you off to what they are watching online so you are ready to talk (or laugh) about it with them.

Check it out at YouTube-Trends.blogspot.com.


What’s in Your Bag?

Brandon —  March 14, 2011 — 4 Comments

Last week i was sitting in my room at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference and I thought it might be cool to dump my back pack and show you what I keep in there.

1. My Mac power chord
2. Retractable 6’ extension chord
3. Mini-DVI to VGA adapter
4. SHEMA Braclet ( Deuteronomy 6:4-6)
5. Power supply, three plugs and a USB charger in one
6. Two Headphone splitters
7. USB SD card reader
8. iPad pencil
9. Universal keychain remote
10. Five USB Thumb drives
11. 1 TB Western Digital USB powered hard drive
12. Post-it Note tabs
13. Micro USB Cable (and some change)
14. Pens (metallic silver writes on anything)
15. iPad/iPod charger
16. Elgato Eye TV USB dongle (made by Pinnacle)
17. Droid X (main cell phone)
18. iPod (80gb classic)
19. Droid (Original, backup when/if Droid X battery dies)
20. Notes to edit from a few messages I taught.
21. Two Chapstick tubes (Don’t know why there’s two), and Dramamine.
22. Targus Matrix backpack
23. Three packs of gum
24. Travel Kleenex
25. iPad
26. Letter from Doug Fields to 2009 SYMC speakers (I am not creepy, it just has good leadership insights)
27. Mac Book Pro, 2.8 GHz, Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB, 1067MHz DDR3
28. iPad SD card reader
29. My business cards (Postcards).
30. Bose Comfort fit noise cancelation headphones
31. Three Note books; a Moleskin, a Dare2Share (Moleskin look-a-like), and the top one is from the Apple Store (yes, from the mother ship in Califirnia).
32. Some booklets from recent conferences and workshops (Gurus of Tech, Dare2Share, Willow Creek).

Chris is going to post his later this week, and we’d love to know what’s in your bag. Post your pictures or list in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Stay Classy Music Video

Chris —  March 6, 2011 — Leave a comment

Here’s the latest music video from my friend Jake Rutenbar.  It premiered tonight at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference, and it’s a good one.  Stay Classy youth worker!

Stay Classy!

UPDATED with Vimeo embed.

Yesterday Apple announced the second version of their game-changing iPad product.  It is another product for us to drool over and desire, but the question most (usually under paid) youth pastors are asking right now is can I justify this as a “ministry expense.”  To that I answer a definite maybe.

That is to say that I would have told you no this time last year about the original iPad.  Apple’s M.O. is to initially release a revolutionary product that is a bit more simple than their final intention (think original iPhone with no app store, copy / paste, or 3G).  Which means that unless you are uber-wealthy or have some other justification, you always wait for the second version.

This is no exception.  We now have an iPad with a stout processor, front AND rear facing cameras, multi-tasking and a robust number of apps (60,000).  That means that you will have no problem justifying whether the hardware is going to be made totally obsolete in a year the way this has pretty much done with the original iPad.

Now that we’ve justified the hardware as a legit expense, we need to turn our attention to the apps.  This is what will make or break your proposal.  Here’s the question you need to ask: will these apps increase the effectiveness of your ministry and/or save you money?  There are several interesting things you can do with apps now.  You can video chat with a missionary you are supporting, you can control keynote and ProPresenter, you can record your praise band with garageband (8tracks), you can edit movies with imovie, you can have a virtual whiteboard run into the projector, and you can show HD movies off of netfllix or other streaming services through the new HDMI attachment.  On the saving money front, you can use this as an ebook reader which has saved me as much as $30 on a single book.

What do you think?  Justifiable?  Maybe.  The clincher may be using this to replace your laptop or desktop, but that is a bit trickier.  While this is incredibly powerful for a tablet, it is lacking in that department when compared to a notebook.  Though, if you don’t do a TON of serious video, graphics, or audio work, you might be able to make this work.  It will allow you to connect an external keyboard and mouse via bluetooth which makes it a bit more credible, but BE careful.  If you are looking into using this to replace a traditional form-factor computer, I would suggest borrowing one for a couple of days to see if it does everything you need.

So, go ahead and run the numbers, write a proposal, and let us know how you end up using this to connect with teens!

A Message to the Sound Guy…

Chris —  March 2, 2011 — 1 Comment

This goes out to all my sound guy friends in ministry. Hopefully you have never gotten this phone call, but I bet you’ve heard similar.

Please don’t let the lights turn red, it’s unreasonable and uncalled for.  It’s against the law.  You’ve got one more week.


Favorite Productivity Tools

Chris —  March 1, 2011 — 2 Comments

I am leading a seminar this weekend at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference called Working Smart. It’s about ways we can be more productive, and not let tasks over run our lives.

As part of the class I’m including a liar of my favorite productivity resources, and thought it would be great to include some of yours as well.

If you have a website, software, book or other resource that has helped you leave it in the comments. After my session is done I will post the entire list to help out everyone.


Over at SimplyYouthMinistry.com we are giving away triple reward points on every purchase for the next 2 days.  It’s a great time to pick-up any resources you’ve been thinking about.

(And yes, that’s me on the Social Network poster, are they trying to tell me something?)

The folks over and YouVersion.com and Zondervan have made the new version of the NIV available as a free offline version in the Bible App.  Check out their announcement:

2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. To commemorate this milestone achievement, which made the Bible available in the common language of the people, throughout 2011, YouVersion will roll out events and opportunities that will help you more easily access, engage and share the Bible. The first of these events is that Bible App™ users will be able to download the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. Made possible through a special partnership with Biblica and Zondervan, this offer will only be available for a limited time.

Beginning THIS SATURDAY, February 12, at 8:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time (GMT-5), and lasting for 400 hours, you’ll be able to download the NIV to your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Android device. When you download the NIV, that means you’ll be able to read it even when you can’t connect to your service provider or to the Internet. This special promotion will end on March 1, at 12:00 PM noon U.S. Eastern Time (GMT-5).

Read more about how to download over at their blog.

I loved seeing this, I had actually stopped using the Bible app and had started using the TNIV Bible – Tecarta app because it had two features that the Bible app lacked.

  1. Notes feature: I liked being able to take notes directly in the app.
  2. Offline feature: I liked being able to have access to my favorite version when i wasn’t connected.

In the last few months, YouVersion has stepped up and added the notes feature, and now they have given me the version we use most at church.  Tecarta still has a few features that I like, a parallel version view and cross references, but I still find the YouVersion app so much easier to use, so I think it’s time to switch back.

If you don’t have the Bible app you can get it here:

There are others available also, but I think those two links should cover most of you.

Remember the free NIV download is only for a limited time.  Don’t miss it.

Happy Reading!