Resource List on Race

I decided to contact some of the people within my network and circles from around Canada and the US to find resources for Youth Ministries to talk about race and injustice.

I decided to contact some of the people within my network and circles from around Canada and the US to find resources for Youth Ministries to talk about race and injustice. There was not a lot of option if I’m honest and I’ve got some ideas about that. But I did receive a few recommendations. I’m sure there are fantastic resources out there, and if you know if any, I would like to continue to update this list. Feel free to email me with the information. 

Tackling this conversation will be hard but we have an obligation to try.

  • Stuff You Can Use: Every year in Grow Curriculum, we create youth ministry teaching series specifically about injustice, suffering, and doubt. If you need help leading these kinds of conversations right now, these series are free. To get them go to bit.ly/agiftfromgrow or text DOJUSTICE to 555-888 if you want the link sent to you.
  • LeaderTreks: We live in unprecedented times. Our world is filled with voices trying to define who “belongs” and who has value. In the end, the answer to those questions is only found in Jesus, who tells us that as members of his body, we are incredibly important and valued, no matter what we look like or where we come from. DownloadBelonging to The Body 
  • Be The Bridge: There are a ton of recourse to check out and one of the most comprehensive places I’ve found so far. Check out the Be the Bridge Youth Kit or one of the many free options they have available. 
  • Anti-Racism Resource: There has been a list of resources circulating some of my circles. There are lots of amazing resources but make sure you read them before you share as some of these resources have mature content. Download Here

 

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If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

My Personal Action Plan

I believe relationships, student empowerment, prayer and community are what Student Ministries need to be as we respond to Covid-19. 

I believe relationships, student empowerment, prayer and community are what Student Ministries need to be as we respond to Covid-19. 

Not the last two weeks, I have been watching from the sidelines as church and ministries react and adjust to the new realities of the world. But it’s been a sidelines view so far, as I’m not currently in a full-time ministry role.

However, I started to ask myself what I would do in this situation? What would my focus be? How would I lead at this time?

So the following is what my action plan would have been had I still been in a full-time Student Ministries role. I want to be clear this is not a critique of how people and churches are responding. The following is 100% how I would tackle this situation based on what I believe about Student Ministries and my 19 years of experience as a Pastor. 

Click the download link to access the PDF and if any of this sparks a question or you have feedback for me, please send me an email and let’s chat. 

DOWNLOAD: My Personal Action Plan Covid 19

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If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

 

Best Prayer App

I don’t know about you but over the years I have struggled to build a consistent prayer life… until now.

I don’t know about you but over the years I have struggled to build a consistent prayer life. I’ve never been one of those people who can just sit down and focus and pray for hours at a time. I’ve always enjoyed little moments of prayer throughout the day but if I’m 100% honest there are times/days when prayer really only happened around my dinner table.

Then last spring during a local missions opportunity we had a chance to go to a 24h Prayer Room in Vancouver, BC. It was an amazing experience but the biggest impact came from a short conversation about prayer tools. That day I discovered an app called “Inner Room” and it changed everything.

“Inner Room is an app from 24-7 Prayer that turns one of our biggest distractions – our mobile phones – into a portable prayer tool. Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your inner room…” (Matt:6:6). Inner Room is a prayer list app that equips, enables and inspires you to pray, each day.”

The app itself is extremely simple and easy to use. It allows you to create lists of prayer requests in several categories or you can even create your own. You add the title, some information about the request and can even add a picture. Once you’re done there are a few unique ways to pray through your list.

My favourite method is the “quick prayer” option. It grabs 3 of my prayer requests at random and gives me a series of prompts over three minutes to pray for those requests. What I love is that God seems to use these moments to bring three very specific requests to mind at that moment and anecdotally there seems to be a connection between my prayers and what’s going on for those people at that moment. I still like those quick prayer moments but now they feel more focused and when combined with notifications on my phone I’ve become significantly more consistent.

This is a fantastic app for anyone to check out but it would be an epic resource for any Pastor/Leader to promote with their students. The best part is that it’s 100% FREE.

DOWNLOAD: Apple or Android

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If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

 

Freebie Jan 2020

Hopefully, this FREE resource will help and inspire you to look inward as you enter 2020.

Years and years ago when I was in university as part of a Soul Care class we did a week-long retreat to a local camp. That week we did a spiritual exercise called a “Soul Dot”. Essentially we just drew a big circle on a piece of paper and were asked to pray and write/draw how we were doing on the inside. That was it, there were no real extra directions. The whole goal was to pause and take a moment to self reflect on how we were doing spiritually.

The exercise was impactful and has become part of my personal and ministry routine for the last 20 years. I regularly invited students and leaders to take time at Youth Group every few months and run through a similar exercise. I also encouraged them to keep a copy and compare them along the way. To use it as a physical reminder of what God’s been doing in their life.

So as 2020 kicks off I wanted to share this resource with you all and encourage you to give it a try every few months this year. I’ve refined it a bit over the years to help people be a bit more focused but feel free to adapt the concept to fit your needs.

If you have any questions reach out and enjoy this free resource.

FREE RESOUCE: Emotional Map Exercise

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If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

 

Happy New Resources

Take a moment to check out some of my favourite resources and see what’s new here at Fresh Ministry Consulting

The other day a new friend of mine and I got together for coffee and Youth Ministry shop talk. We got to talking about resources and leadership development and it was a great conversation. When we were done I promised him I would send an email of resources his way.

That email got me thinking that maybe more than one person might appreciate a resource list. So here is what I sent my buddy Dan and a few extras for you internet folks… enjoy.

RESOURCE LINKS

  • LeaderTreks: Fantastic organization that is focused a lot on student leadership. This link is specific to their “Sweet Spot” resource.
  • Sonlife: This is a classic resource website and you will want to check out their “two X two” resources.
  • Growing Down: My buddy Ken Caster wrote an excellent book about how to build a Jesus centred faith. It’s a small but powerful resource.
  • YouthWorks: If you’re looking for missions opportunities for your students these guys are epic. But they have also created a ton of free resources you won’t want to miss.
  • 228 Publishers: Chase and Anne are epic and their ministry is 100% worth checking out. Not only do they help people (like me) get published. Chase is an excellent writer himself and has produced some fantastic resources.
  • The Source For Youth: For the last 10+ years this site has been the source for some of my favourite youth ministry games. Scroll down to the game search and enter what you’re looking for… you will take me later… trust me 😛

FRESH MINISTRY RESOURCES

  • Journey Book Series: A new devotional book series designed to help a student/adult process what they are reading from the Bible. The Gospels are currently available and my goal is to have the whole Bible done by the end of 2020. Everything will be available at your local Amazon store.
  • Digital Bookstore: Over the last few years Fresh Ministry has published 6 digital ebooks. All of where are available at our bookstore or you can find them on DYM.

EXTRA EXTRA

  • 3131 Worksheet Freebie: A few months back I put together this free worksheet for event planning. Free free to use and manipulate it to your heart’s content.
  • The Future Of Youth Ministry Manifesto: A while back I had some thoughts about the future of Youth Ministry. Maybe you’ll like what you read or maybe you won’t but my hope is that it will spark you to think.
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If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

 

Creativity Spark

I passionately believe creativity is a muscle that needs to be stretched to grow and become stronger. In a world of “box resources” I think we are losing the creative edge we once had in ministry.

Written by Jesse Criss and edited by Sophia Savalli


Over the next few months, I want to spark some creativity in our community here at Fresh Ministry Consulting. I passionately believe creativity is a muscle that needs to be stretched to grow and become stronger. In a world of “box resources” I think we are losing the creative edge we once had in ministry. I am not saying “box resources” are bad, but when it’s just plug-n-play, we lose the ability to think critically about how that resource, game, study, retreat etc… will work within our individual setting. Strengthening a creativity muscle will not only give you the capacity to re-image the “boxed resources” you use but also give you the confidence to experiment and create for yourself.  

Now I know what you’re going to say, “Jesse, I don’t have time for this, being creative takes too long and I just don’t know where to start”. My push back for you is that taking time to be creative is good for the soul. God is a creative God, just go outside and sit in nature for a few minutes. God’s creativity is all around us every single day. It doesn’t have to take up all your time. If you take small steps every week, over time it will become easier and easier. It will change how you look at and see the world around you. I believe being creative can become natural, you can create muscle memory for creativity, and when that happens creativity will just flow from you. 

However, for some of you, this might be really easy or really hard. Like fitness levels, we are all starting at different stages. Do what you can each week and don’t stress about it too much, this is supposed to be fun. My best advice as you get started is to get out of your head and just go with it. Don’t seek perfection but be willing to try and fail. There are no grades, so you have nothing to lose.  

From a structure point, for the next few months every Monday/Tuesday I’m going to post three creativity challenges. They will focus on Program Creativity, Spiritual Creativity and Personal Creativity. You can do as much or as little as you want but remember the goal is to spark your creativity and stretch that muscle. I am also going to jump into this project and post my creative journey, and I would love for you to share yours.

If I had a BIG DREAM it would be to collect some of everyone’s adventures and share them with the whole community here at Fresh Ministries Consulting. So if you are interested in sparking your creativity, just stay tuned for week #1 and get involved however much you want and consider sharing your creative journey.

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If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.