Utilizing Skype in Student Ministries

early computer

Last year I was an interim Freshman Bible Teacher at a local high school. Our students were reading through a book, and I thought it would be awesome to finish out the project by doing a Skype Q&A with the book’s author. The classroom has a smart board in it (which is basically a 6-foot iPad on the wall). That never panned out, but my dream… wouldn’t… die. Are you inspired yet? ūüėČ

Years ago I flew in an incredible apologist to come and speak in my High School Ministry. After paying for the flight, hotel, food and honorarium it got a bit expensive. It was worth it, but it was expensive. I wanted to bring him back right away.

And then it hit me… why not Skype him in?

No flights. No meals. No time away from his family.

We have the technology available (laptop, strong internet connection, mics). SO WHY NOT?

And it’s working out. It looks like we’ll lock him in at about 1/4th the cost! He’ll have to do some prep and do two 30-minute Skype sessions, so I want to honor his time with an honorarium… but he’ll get to speak from his house, with all his resources right there in his lap, his family down the hall, while getting piped into our youth room hundreds of miles away.

Is anyone else utilizing this kind of technology in a ministry setting? It seems like such a win-win!

Couch Races

Here’s an event idea for youth pastors.

Last week we had 14 teams face off for our first-ever High School Ministry¬†Couch Race. We transformed our church’s parking lot into a simple race track. We piled hay bails at the sharp turns, but thankfully nobody crashed into them! We decorated with race flags I found on Amazon for next to nothing, set up some speakers, and I did the color commentary. We got couches from local thrift stores from $6-$20.

We had 14 heats, then the 2 teams with the top times raced to determine the overall champion. I got some fun trophies from a local trophy shop to award our overall champs, 2nd place, last place AND the couch that was “Most Likely to Survive a Zombie¬†Apocalypse”. That team got Chuck Norris bobble-heads.

It was a GREAT way to kick off the school year- giving a handful of our groups something to work on together. The kids are already asking for us to do it again next year.

Take a peek: 

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/50449583″>Couch Race Recap</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/missionhs”>Mission HS</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

My Horrific Beginning as a Youth Pastor

It was 2001, and I was given my first chance to teach as the new HSM intern. As I look back, I feel like I spent months preparing that sermon, but it was probably only a couple weeks. The big day finally came and it was time to show the High School Pastor my notes.

He stood in front of me and read them over for a few minutes, furrowing his brow once in a while. He looked confused, even a little bit surprised.

“You can’t teach this. This isn’t what we believe as a church. You’ve got to teach something else.”

A few months later the church entrusted me with leading the Tuesday night outreach program for the Children’s Ministry. They were taking a big risk, but apparently they saw the potential in me. The program had hundreds of kids coming, and dozens of volunteers. There were two men leading the ministry before me who had to step out for good reasons, and they both agreed to help me transition in as the new leader. We scheduled an official “pass the baton” meeting between the three of us, where I’d get all the information I need and leave ready to own it.

As they both sat across from me I was nervous. Really nervous. I kept repeating that old phrase, “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called” over and over again. Apparently it worked because I calmed down… so much so that I fell asleep.

Right there in my chair. As they both watched.

“Did you just fall asleep?!”

Yes, yes I did.

A few months later I was super honored when they asked me to be the Junior High Director. I planned my first event, promoted it like crazy, spent hours and hours setting it up… and one kid showed up.

We had like 150 students coming to our gatherings every week as I took over, and none of them came, except this one kid.

Have you ever wanted to get away?


Don’t ask me why, but we had set up hay bails in the back yard. Him and I went outside, along with the volunteers who were there, and we both somehow ended up standing on our own hay bail. Mine was about 5 feet from his, so I wondered… can I jump from mine to his?

I sure could.

As I landed on his bail it flipped, and so did he, landing really funny on the hard ground.

The fall broke both of his arms.

Think about this the next time you’re discouraged, or feeling like a failure. Remember me… and feel better about yourself.