All posts by Ben Mizen

I am the Youth and Children’s Work Adviser for the Diocese of Portsmouth. I cover all work with children and young people aged 0-18+ and work across Portsmouth, Havant, Gosport, Fareham, The Isle of Wight, Petersfield and Bishops Waltham. You can contact me at the diocesan offices on 02392 899652 and ben.mizen@portsmouth.anglican.org

Leader, Volunteer & Helper Basic Training 2013-2014

thekeyThis is the basic programme for equipping and orientating volunteers, leaders and helpers in youth and children’s ministry in the diocese. Participative, interactive and fun! Get booked! Packed full of ideas!

Dates for 2013-14 are as follows:

  • Sat 26th Oct, 10:00am-3.00pm – St John’s Church, Newport, Isle of Wight
  • Sat 30th Nov, 10:00am-3.00pm – Holy Trinity Church, Fareham.
  • Sat 1st Mar, 10:00am-3.00pm – East Meon Church.
  • Sat 7th Jun, 10:00am-3.00pm – Church of the Good Shepherd, Crookhorn

Download flyer here:

Developing Schools Ministry – Resource & Training Day

Tues 11th Feb 2014
10:00am-3:00pm
Shedfield, Study Centre, Shedfield

school tie

More than assemblies and RE lessons??? How does a parish engage in mission with schools in their area. A day to exploring ministry with staff and pupils in schools. Innovation, creativity, storytelling and plenty of resources with Amy Stock from Schoolswork.co.uk

For all clergy, church leaders and youth workers who are looking at how to connect with schools and pupils as part of their mission and outreach.

Refreshments provide but please bring your own lunch. Cost for the day is £5:00 – spaces are limited. For more information and booking details please contact:
Mrs Clare Jones,
023 92 899 678
clare.jones@portsmouth.anglican.org

Download a form here.

I Wonder If Sunday School Is Destroying Our Kids??

heroes-r1An excellent and very challenging article about the messages that we pass on to our children. Taken from “Beliefs of the Heart“.


Several years ago I met with a woman distraught by her son’s rejection of Christianity.

She said, “I did everything I could to raise him right. I taught him to be like the ‘heroes of faith,’ with the faithfulness of Abraham, the goodness of Joseph, the pure heart of David, and the obedience of Esther.”

She wondered why he rejected Christianity.

I wondered why it took him so long.

Here is how we destroy the gospel message

Look at almost any Sunday school curriculum. You’ll find:

  • Abraham was faithful, and God made him the father of a nation. So be faithful like Abraham.
  • Joseph was a good little boy (unlike his “bad” brothers), and God made him Prime Minister of Egypt. So be good like Joseph.
  • David had a pure heart (unlike his brothers), and God made him King of Israel. So have a pure heart like David.
  • Esther was an obedient girl. God made her Queen of Persia and she saved God’s people. So be obedient like Esther.
  • Finally, if we fail to be good, Jesus will forgive us (a “P.S.” tacked onto the end).

What’s so bad about these Sunday school lessons?

Nothing really. Except that they lie about God, they lie about these “heroes of the faith,” they lie about the Bible, and they lie about the gospel. Apart from that, they are pretty good. Oh, they also create “younger brother” rebels and “older brother” Pharisees.

Is the gospel our central theme, or is it a “PS” tacked onto the end?

The gospel storyline

The message of the gospel—the entire storyline of scripture—is God’s loving pursuit of people who run from him as fast as they can and who live lives unworthy of his love.

That’s why it’s called grace.

But our Sunday school lessons teach us to be good little boys and girls, and God will love us and use us. It’s the total opposite of the gospel. It’s a counterfeit of the worse kind.

The inside out of the gospel

The wonder of the gospel is not the love of the beautiful; it’s when Beauty kisses the Beast.

The Beast isn’t loved because he has changed; the Beast is changed when he is loved. Joy doesn’t come when he’s loved for his beauty; joy overwhelms him when he is loved in his hideousness.

If the Beast were loved for his beauty, it would be an unbearable burden. Any day he might be scarred, and soon he will certainly be a wrinkled old man.

So why do we burden our children with the unbearable load of “being good little boys and girls like the heroes in the Bible”? We wouldn’t load a pack mule with the burdens we place on our children.

There’s gotta be a better way

Let’s teach the wonder of the gospel. Let’s show our kids that God loves us … simply because he loves us. In our beastliness. That he loves us before we are good.

That his love isn’t vague sentimentality, but it cost him his most precious treasure to turn us into his prized possession; that the storyline of the Bible is God’s Search and Rescue mission to find the dying Beast and kiss him into joyous life.

  • How Abraham was an idol worshiper and God loved him and pursued him;
  • How Joseph was a narcissistic boy and God loved him and pursued him;
  • How David was a murdering adulterer and God loved him and pursued him;
  • How Esther had sex outside of marriage with a non-believer and God loved her and pursued her.

Our heroes weren’t loved because they were good; they were good because they were loved.

We may believe in the innocence of youth, but our children know better. They see the children in the schoolyard (and they see us at home!). They don’t need the counterfeit gospel of pack-mule-moralism; they need the kiss of the Beauty.

Maybe we do too. Besides, it’s what the Bible in fact teaches.

Sam

(Reposted from Beliefs of the Heart, June 26, 2012)

Comment below. What do you think?

Self Harm Training – Portsmouth

5244753198-1If you work in any capacity with young people, the likelihood is that if you haven’t already, before long you will find yourself in a conversation with a young person who self-injures. How will you respond? Do you know enough about the issue to direct them to help?

It is now believed that one in ten young people deliberately self-harm in some way. Hospital admissions for children and young people have increased by a shocking 68% over the last 10 years and statistics clearly show that recorded cases are on the rise.

For many young people self-harm is a lonely and often misunderstood epidemic surrounded by myth and stigma. Nearly all cases of recovery start with a young person disclosing their behaviour to someone they trust and so we need to be ready to know how to help.

As a teacher, parent, youth worker or professional working in any capacity with young people it’s essential you equip yourself with the skills to deal with this complicated and delicate issue.

Training Event:

11th October 2013
City Life Church,
Portsmouth
10am-4.30pm

Cost: £65
Book a place

Gig News: Superhero playing in the Portsmouth Area

Advance notice of a gig night in Portsmouth by the band Superhero. If you’re looking for a fun night of rock music with a relevant Gospel message get your youth groups booked in. Tickets are only a fiver! BARGAIN!

portsmouth

Check out their rocking sound here:

encounter – rather than trying to measure a child’s understanding of God we should try and explore their experience God

newsphoto_1173_863_xoaHere’s a useful reflection by Sam Donoghue on the tension between teaching or making space to encounter God in our work/ministry with children. I think this is a valuable article and one that needs to be pondered when statements about why “children don’t come to church anymore” or “why do they drift away when they get older” are made. Read on


How can we teach children the un-teachable

Dana Hood talks about how we asses faith in children and raises an interesting point. She says that rather than trying to measure a child’s understanding of God we should try and explore their experience God. She says that this is because God is not supposed to be understood but encountered.

There’s lots we could say about this and I’m aware that it isn’t a statement without its flaws but it got me thinking about how whether children in our churches are encountering a living God or being taught about Him. It is OK to have teaching as part of your sessions; I’m not saying we should abandon everything we do and replace it with us all sitting in a circle ‘encountering God’. You can try it with the children in your group if you want and good luck with that!

But here are a few ideas you can use that will create space for spiritual encounter in your group.

Ritual

Children benefit from rituals that help them to find a mood or sense of stillness.

It’s easy to think children can’t do this because they are generally so active but good use of ritual can help them focus on worship. It doesn’t have to be elaborate and ornate it really just means doing the same thing each time you pray together so that the children associate those actions with prayer.

This may mean stuff like giving each child a ‘holding cross’ and lighting a candle, moving to a specific place in the room that contains a spiritual focal point of a candle and a cross or it could mean laying down and listening to a specific piece of quieter music.

Alternative Prayer

I couldn’t think of a better word for this but I hope you know what I mean! It’s that type of prayer that you do where you go and do little activity stations that help to focus your prayers. This multi-sensory approach is excellent for children and will help them to engage with God.

Wondering

Children often encounter God as they think deeply about things so play to this by following up Bible stories with open ended questions that draw children into the mystery of the Bible rather than checking they’ve remembered it properly.

Connecting with young people: Death by Tech

VirtualConnection.250w.tnAre you using Facebook, Twitter and other social media as your primary means of connecting and communicating with students? Perhaps you need a real connection rather than a virtual relationship with those among your ministry. This article by Mike McGarry on youthworker.com throws up some challenges to those who think that tech has the edge in youth ministry. CLICK HERE

Including young people on the Autistic spectrum

Ann Memmott, the Adviser on Autism for the Diocese of Oxford, has produced a great resource to aid inclusion of young people on the Autistic spectrum: Including Young People on the Autism Spectrum.pdf

She also flags up this VIMEO video that attempts to embody what sensory overload feels like and why it is such a difficulty.

Thanks to Youthblog for this!

Feelings Not Allowed – How our response to boys sabotages their relationships

In I Don’t Want to Talk About It, therapist and author Terrence Real talks about the difference between how we raise girls and boys in our culture. Research shows that boys begin life with as many feelings and emotions as girls, but at an early age many boys start hearing a different message about their expression of these feelings than their female counterparts. 1 Fathers, mothers, teachers, coaches, youth workers, and friends often start telling boys things like:

  • Be a man”
  • Don’t be a wuss”
  • Pick yourself up”
  • Stop crying”

Read more of this interesting article from the Fuller Institute on how we inhibit boys from expressing their feelings here. (Thanks Mary Hawes)

Online Harvest Resources

Here are some links that might be useful for you as you prepare for Harvest.

  • Christian Aid -Christian Aid is focussing on the Brazilian rainforest ‘Bear Fruit for the Future’ – Christian Aid
  • World Vision - World Vision has ‘Food not Famine’ materials for use in churches – World Vision
  • Tear Fund – Tear Fund has a pack called ‘The Choice’ – Tear Fund
  • Water AidWater Aid’s Harvest theme is ‘Seeds of Hope’ – Water Aid
  • US (was USPG) - Bring what you have is US’s suggestion, with resources for Harvest services and celebrations – US (was USPG)
  • CMS – CMS’ theme for 2012 was A rich feast for all peoples, and has a range of materials and downloads including a church quiz – CMS
  • Church Urban FundCUF has resources for Poverty Sunday which could be used at any time to raise awareness of need in the UK – Church Urban Fund
  • Barnabas in Churches – This site from BRF has lots of ideas for Harvest talks and activities with children. – Barnabas in Churches
  • CTBI (Churches Together in Britain and Ireland) – This year’s theme is Sustainable Energy – CTBI
  • Traidcraft – A pack of ideas focussing on Abundant Life. – Traidcraft

Inside ROOTS – Making the most of the weekly resources

roooootsOpening the Word

The ROOTS resources are all based on one of the four Sunday lectionary Bible readings. In the Open the Word section you’ll find a range of age-appropriate ideas for presenting the reading.For Very Young Children – a play activity linked to the reading enables even the youngest to be included in worship. Ideal for a creche, within an adult service, for Sunday School or a midweek group.

For Children – a specially-written retelling of the passage, presented in an attractive storybook style.

For All Ages Together – each week Present the reading offers a way of engaging everyone in hearing the passage, through dramatisations, retellings, actions, mime and sound effects.

For Adults – Bible notes newly written by a biblical scholar, with questions for reflection. And links to notes from previous years’ resources.

<


Try ROOTS for yourself – Find out how ROOTS could support your work.

For a free sample copy, phone 0845 680 5317, or email rootssales@rootsontheweb.com

Subscriptions and single copy purchase also available online at www.rootsontheweb.com

Messy Church:What Next?

messyFollowing the success of Messy Church across the country (and further afield!) many are asking how these new congregations are growing in faith. The themes of what “discipleship” is, how to sustain and grow our teams, what do people expect and how to use sacraments (Holy Communion, Baptism etc) in Messy Church will be explored in this exciting day led by Lucy Moore from Messy Church & BRF.

Saturday 5th October 2013
St Wilfrid’s Church,
Padnell Rd,
Cowplain, PO8 8DZ
10.00am – 3.30pm
Cost £7.50 per person.

Hosted by the Diocese of Portsmouth Children’s and Youth team. To book
places, please contact Clare Jones (t: 023 92 899 678)

Download a flyer here!

Why Volunteer Youth Workers Need Greater Investment From The Local Church

This is a brilliant article exploring why investing in youth volunteers is essential. Our Diocesan training programme for 2013/14 will be out in July… so why not encourage your valuable volunteers and come along with them!


Volunteer-Youth-Worker-Training-570x446

Here are four reasons why I think the local church needs to invest greater time and resources in volunteer youth workers, today and in the future: 

1) Paid Youth Workers Are Decreasing in Numbers: Recently I had a conversation with a youth ministry guru who advises and consults churches. During our time together he made a good argument for how church finances will impact the ability to hire youth workers in the future. You see, Millennials are giving more to causes and less to churches. Churches across the country are already seeing their incomes decline. If this trend continues, we should expect paid positions in youth ministry to be lost and greater emphasis placed on volunteers.

In the next 10 years I expect the landscape of youth ministry to be filled with volunteers who are being trained by the church to do ministry…

2) Volunteers Can Reach More Students: Regardless of the future, we need to acknowledge how much impact and how many students a healthy volunteer team can reach and invest in. With a healthy volunteer team we can reach more students and ensure they are followed up, loved, and invested in. While many of us know this reality, we are not all as committed to recruiting and developing volunteers as much as we should. Many paid youth workers are living with a short-term view and allowing themselves to think they are the ones who have to reach every student. Even worse, some of us have allowed our insecurity to share the ministry with others… Which brings us to our next point:

3) It’s Healthier To Focus On a Team, (rather than just one paid person). Too often we look to the paid youth worker as the expert and ‘savior’ to our students. However, the paid guy or girl is only one person and we will see greater impact when we invest in training and equipping our volunteers. In recent surveys in our youth ministry, it was the names of caring small group leaders who were named as the ones who have made an impact in students lives… While it’s nice for me to be recognized, I know I have led well when students praise the volunteers…

4) Students Issues Have Become More Complex: If you have been in youth ministry for more than 10 years, you know how the landscape of student culture has changed. Many of the issues that students face have become wildly complex and messy. In addition, the shear amount of students facing these issues has exploded… Because of this, many would maintain that we therefore need more paid youth workers for this… I would disagree. I believe that the church needs to use greater resources to train volunteers and give them the tools to discern the issues and help students find the help they need.

With the amount of complex challenges our students face today, we cannot expect the paid youth worker to be available for every student. This is where greater training and resourcing is needed for volunteers.

What would you add to this list? If you are a volunteer, what are your thoughts? As a paid person, how do you see the youth ministry landscape changing?

Finally, how are you going to help the local church make a greater investment in its volunteer youth workers?

Are you caring for the introverts in your youth work or youth group??

introvertsHere’s a really useful reflection from Brian Kirk about looking after young people in youth activities who are more introverted. You’ll need to translate pastor as vicar/minister and youth minister as volunteer or leader… but there’s a great to think about here.

In my experience, many pastors I meet fall at least somewhat on the introversion side of the personality spectrum. Their introversion allows them to cultivate many of the gifts helpful for effective ministry: the ability to listen deeply, encourage introspection, and lead others without the need to take center stage.
Conversely, most youth ministers tend to be extroverts (you may disagree but I’m just sharing what I’ve observed over several decades working with youth ministry colleagues.) Considering the energy it takes to work with teens, it makes sense that many youth ministers are outgoing, enjoy being around large groups of people and have a high tolerance for noise and commotion. In fact, they might even thrive under such conditions which may explain why so many youth ministries are centered around programming that involves large group activities, wild games, lock-ins and road trips.
But it’s important to remember that at least some of the youth in our ministries are introverts — those individuals who tend to give of their personal energy to others and can be quickly tired out when being with a group. These teens need opportunities for small group experiences, silence, rest, quiet prayer, and the permission to opt out of high energy activities when they need time away from the group.  Think back over your last few youth gatherings. Have the activities been primarily aimed at the extroverts? What opportunities were included for quiet reflection, one-on-one interactionsor low-key activities?
This article suggests several helpful examples of things not to do if we seek to be more sensitive to the introverts in our ministries.  I particularly like this one:

“Since you’re not doing anything…” Sitting quietly and staring into space is doing something. It does not mean I’m waiting for a nice chat.”

For a more thorough study of the qualities and needs (and special gifts) of introverts, check out the texts The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.
What about you?  Introvert? Extrovert? (Not sure? Take the quiz.) How does your personality type affect your ministry? How do you attempt to meet the needs of both personality types in your youth ministry?

Table Talk Resource For Young People

boxThe Ugly Duckling Company has been working with a number of youth workers over the last several months to create a whole range of Table Talk packs for young people and children.

There will be four packs in the inital launch:

  • Table Talk for 10-11 year olds
  • Table Talk for 12-14 year olds
  • Table Talk for 14-16 year olds
  • Table Talk for 16-18 year olds

More information is available on the Table Talk website www.table-talk.org Copies can be pre-ordered (which would make it far easier to produce them) from the UDC shop.

Go to http://www.theuglyducklingcompany.com/ for more info.

(HT to Phil Dykes for putting me onto this one)

Invitation To Summer Youth Celebration – 12th July

Summer Celebration Final


Free Summer Celebration

12th July 6.30-9.30pm
For School Years 9+
Church of the Good Shepherd,
Crookhorn,
Waterlooville,
PO7 5QB

Games – Tuckshop – Sumo Wrestling – BBQ – Music

Please email: kevin@cogs.org.uk to book your place


Download a flyer here

YouthWork Magazine’s 100 Best YouthWork Websites

100BestWebsites

Looking for resources, ideas and youth work websites? Here’s 100 goodies to get you going!


INFORMATION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

1 Childline
www.childline.org.uk/Explore/OnlineSafety/Pages/OnlineSafety
Great advice pages keeping young people safe online. Everything from cyber bullying to sexting.

2 National Youth Agency
www.nya.org.uk/youthinformationcom/justice-and-equality
Offers help to teenagers – particularly young carers – and links to other helpful places, including stuff on young people’s legal rights.

3 YouthNet
www.youthnet.org
Their tagline pretty much sums it up: ‘YouthNet is the UK’s leading online charity, providing advice, information and support to young people aged 16 to 25. We are a one stop shop for every issue.’

4 The Site
www.thesite.org
YouthNet’s version of Childline for the next age group up.

5 Youth Access
www.youthaccess.org.uk/links/
Supplies important links for teenagers, parents and youth workers alike.

YOUNG PEOPLE AND SPIRITUALITY

6 Christianity Explored
www.christianityexplored.org
This isn’t a youth site specifically, but it’s a great introduction to Christianity for many teens.

7 Gospel Journey
www.gospeljourney.com
Explains the gospel, and offers a chance to respond, in clear, striking, uncompromising style.

8 Word 4U 2day
www.ucb.co.uk/w4u
A simple online daily Bible reading system for young people. Includes an optional read-it-in-a-year scheme.

9 Soul Survivor
www.thebibleinoneyear.wordpress.com
Also challenges you to read the Bible in a year – and the resources are very youth-friendly.

10 WordLive
www.wordlive.org/145176.id
Scripture Union’s daily Bible reading scheme. Ok for some teens if not all.

11 Tear Fund’s ‘Rhythms’ website
www.rhythms.org
All about ‘taking actions to change the way you live so that together we can change the world’. Registration needed.

12 Fusion and UCCF
www.fusion.uk.com and www.uccf.org.uk.
Great for linking up your young people with Christians on campus when they go off to university.

13 24-7 Prayer
http://uk.24-7prayer.com/schoolsand-youth
Provides lots of ideas and resources for making prayer an exciting adventure for young people – even at school.

14 Agape
www.agapetoolbox.org
Resources to help un-confident teens learn skills in sharing their faith with others.

15 New Generation
www.newgeneration.co.uk
Offers help, resources, advice and inspiration to get CUs started and flourishing in UK schools.

16 Festive
www.festive.org.uk
Supports Further Education college and Sixth Form Christian groups, with tailor-made Bible studies, programme suggestions and evangelism ideas.

THINKING ABOUT YOUTH WORK

17 Infed
www.infed.org
Will stretch your thinking – it tries ‘to provide a space for people to explore the theory and practice of informal
education, social action and lifelong learning’.

18 Youthwork Summit
www.youthworksummit.com
Features all the dynamic minitalks from Britain’s amazing TED-like youth ministry forum. (And while you’re improving your mind don’t forget www.ted.com either – not often Christian ideas, occasionally even hostile, but still valuable to chew over.)

19 Youthworker
www.youthworker.com
Produces free weekly youth lessons (with hand-outs) and a magazine. Useful page surveying what youth
workers are currently blogging.

20 We Love Our Youthworker
www.weloveouryouthworker.org.uk
What should the deal be between a youth worker and a church?

21 Youth Specialties
www.youthspecialties.com/articles
Hosts several categories of useful articles for youth workers.

22 Frontier Youth Trust
www.fyt.org.uk
Always features valuable resources for your thinking about youth work.

23 Rethinking Youth Ministry
www.rethinkingyouthministry.com/
A lively blog-style exploration of many topics.

RISK ISSUES

24 Drugscope
www.drugscope.org.uk
Solid facts; many links; brilliant 144-page PDF that everybody should have for reference.

25 CCPAS
www.ccpas.co.uk
The premier Christian name in child protection issues, with lots of valuable documents to download.

26 Self-Harm
www.selfharm.co.uk/home
Just shaded it ahead of www.nshn.co.uk and www.selfharm.net.

27 Drinkaware
www.drinkaware.co.uk
An indispensable tool on alcohol, but so are www.dontserveteens.gov/index.html and www.thecoolspot.gov

28 Bullying
www.bullying.co.uk
This is tops, but also check the others listed at www.antibullying.net/resourceswwwlinks.htm

29 Online safety
www.kidsmart.org.ukhttp://ceop.police.uk or www.parentsprotect.co.uk/internet_safety.htm – and even better yet is www.thinkuknow.co.uk.

30 Eating disorders
www.b-eat.co.uk is great, and don’t miss www.eating-disorders.org.uk and www.eatingdisorderexpert.co.uk.

BIBLE AND REASONS TO BELIEVE

31 Bible.cc
www.bible.cc
Annoyingly clunky but contains most Bible study tools you’ll ever need to teach a passage responsibly.

32 Bible Gateway
www.biblegateway.com
Instant searches, commentaries, the lot, with over thirty English versions (and check out www.youversion.com
for your mobile).

33 CAR M
www.carm.org
A good, careful apologetics site, but also remember www.rzim.comwww.bethinking.org,
and the amazingly thorough www.christianthinktank.com.

34 Evolution and creationism?
In the red corner, Biologos (www.biologos.org/ ); in the blue corner, Christian Answers or Reasons To Believe (www.christiananswers.netwww.reasons.org).

35 Best evangelical RE site
by miles is ReJesus www.rejesus.co.uk.
Clear explanations, lucid arguments, and attractive presentation – not just to be used in the classroom.

36 Faith questions
From the Faraday Institute, Test of Faith (www.testoffaith.com) helps young people approach scientific questions sensibly. It looks great too.

37 Great blog by a top Christian scholar:
www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture.
Ben Witherington often deals with wild claims about Jesus in the media, giving facts calmly and clearly. He answers readers’ questions too.

38 And another:
www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts.
Valuable archives of past blog entries giving important evidence about the reliability of scripture and the identity of Jesus.

PROGRAMME IDEAS

39 Creative Youth Ideas
www.creativeyouthideas.com says, ‘I’m offering the best youth ministry ideas including games, icebreakers, teaching ideas, illustrations, devotionals…’ Registration needed.

40 YouthPastor
www.youthpastor.com – stacks of free resources since 1997.

41 Jonathan McKee’s The Source
www.thesource4ym.com deserves its great reputation. All the usual stuff, just more of it, and better.

42 Rod
www.rodschristiansketches.co.uk has a sketch for every occasion.

43 Schoolswork
www.schoolswork.co.uk
Lots of the resources can be used outside of school too. They’re cracking.

44 Puzzlemaker
www.discoveryeducation.com/freepuzzlemaker
This regularly saves my life. You can make crosswords, word squares, and other puzzles with one click, and print them out straight away.

45 Jonny Baker
www.jonnybaker.blogs.com
Down with all things worship-related. (Look especially for his ‘worship tricks’, but read the whole blog – always engaging and thought-provoking.)

46 Worship leaders sites?
It has to be Engage www.engageworship.org or Resound www.resoundworship.org.

47 Construct your talks with Talkbuilder
www.youthalpha.org/talkbuilder.
Why has nobody thought of this approach before?

48 Weird stories and bizarre facts
www.mentalfloss.com/
Honourable mention www.weirdfacts.com. Make your talks arresting and engaging!

49 Scripture Union’s amazing free programme resources
Schoolslive www.scriptureunion.org.uk/49490.id and Lightlive www.scriptureunion.org.uk/123553.id. Used
by thousands, and they aren’t wrong.

50 Energize
www.energize.uk.net
You pay for it – but there are lots of giveaways and it’s great. From Urban Saints.

51 Simply Youth Ministry
www.simplyyouthministry.com
Click on ‘Freebies’. Simply loads.

MEDIA

52 Damaris
www.damaris.org
Has a superb Culturewatch podcast (and much more). Stay up to date with what’s happening around you. Much of this site you pay for, but the free bits are great.

53 Muziic
www.muziic.com/dj
Lets you DJ online without any gear! Instant youth club fun.

54 KOR Emedia
www.kore.uk.com
Some astounding video resources, and showcase them

55 Viral Friday
www.viralblog.com/viral-friday/
Keeps you abreast of the top video clips everybody’s watching. A weekly summary.

GAMES AND RECREATION

56 Simply the greatest Egad
www.egadideas.com.
Helpfully categorised into indoor, outdoor, large group, small group and so on.

57 Youthwork Practice
www.youthwork-practice.com
2000 games from Germany. Also includes intriguing stuff about the theory and purpose of games… worth
thinking through.

58 Icebreakers
www.icebreakers.ws
The unique specialists in start-up games for all occasions.

59 UK Campsite
www.ukcampsite.co.uk
This has a terrible design format, but contains authoritative articles and an indispensable campers’ checklist.

60 Card games: www.pagat.com/
alpha/. For board games see www.boardgames.about.com/od/rules/Rules_and_Instructions_for_Board_
Games.htm. Indispensable for those awkward what-do-we-do-next house-party moments.

61 Definitive rules for sports?
Sports Know-how: www.sportsknowhow.com/rules/index.html Claims (probably correctly) to be the only place to go for other producers too. Lots here you could use, and often updated.

COUNSELLING AND ADVISING YOUNG PEOPLE

62 Living Life to the Full
www.llttf.com
Brilliant life skills help from a Christian psychiatrist.

63 Mind and Soul
www.mindandsoul.info
Churns out acres of useful practical stuff on churches, Christians and mental health.

EFFICIENCY

64 Zoho
www.zoho.com
One place where you can create documents, write letters, and make presentations online. (But check
out Google Docs too; or Google Drive, as it now is – www.drive.google.com).

65 Simplenote
www.simplenoteapp.com
Stores every note you make, instantly, in your own online notebook. (Use it with www.resoph.com on your computer, or www.notational.net on a Mac – everything’s synched instantly!)

66 Dropbox
www.dropbox.com
A brilliantly simple way to store and transfer stuff online. Like having a massive extra drive on your computer!

67 Web2pdf
www.web2pdfconvert.com
When you save a webpage, turn it into a PDF first. Makes it much easier to store and read!

68 Jottit
www.jottit.com
‘Makes getting a website as easy as filling out a textbox’. (But there are other similar services too: www.alternativeto.net/software/jottit ).

69 Producteev
www.producteev.com
This has got to be the ultimate task manager and to-do list-er. Turn e-mails into tasks with a click!

70 Doodle
www.doodle.com lets your team set up meeting dates online – saves ages in committee meetings, and
arguments too.

71 The “Swiss Army knife” of websites
You won’t believe all it does www.1dl.us.

72 Droplr
www.droplr.com
Hello makes sharing files with friends simpler than you’d ever believe.

73 Tidypub
www.tidypub.org
Lets you publish anything you like online – instantly, perfectly, easily. Everything from a paragraph to your life story!

74 Flexlists
www.flexlists.com
Creates databases for addresses, books or equipment lists faster than you can dream them up.

AUDIO, VIDEO AND ARTWORK

75 Wordle
www.wordle.net
Creates logos and ‘word clouds’ quickly and easily. Impressive artwork without really trying.

76 Creately
www.creatly.com Is great for instantly making stunning diagrams, but it has rivals: www.smashingapps.com/2011/08/26/45-free-onlinetools-
to-create-charts-diagrams-andflowcharts.html

77 Prezi
www.prezi.com
For those tired of Powerpoint – this is the future.

78 WordPress
www.wordpress.org or Weebly www.weebly.com.
Both make website making as simple as writing a letter in Word.

79 Zamzar
www.zamzar.com
Helps you to download and convert YouTube videos. Alternatively try Keepvid www.keepvid.com. If you use Firefox, try DownloadHelper www.addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/video-downloadhelper You pay for
some features but the basic ad-on is free and stupendously powerful.

80 ‘Think of Spotify as your new music collection,’ 
they urge www.spotify.com. Millions of tracks, there online for you to pick up and use. Nearly as good: Last.fm www.last.fm and Grooveshark www.grooveshark.com.

81 Cooltext
www.cooltext.com generates instant logos and text-based artwork (so does www.logomaker.com).

82 Stockfreeimages
www.stockfreeimages.com and Stockxchng www.sxc.hu is great for free pictures – in fact I’m going for PicFindr www.picfindr.com which searches many sites for whatever you desire.

83 At Slideshare
www.slideshare.net you can store your Powerpoints and you’ll always have them available. (Plus everybody else’s too… Some interesting stuff to plunder for your own purposes!)

84 Indezine
www.indezine.com from India stands supreme among Powerpoint resource sites. Free templates, new software, training and tips.

85 Voicebase
www.voicebase.com lets you store your talks, podcasts and audio files safely online. You can even record
stuff directly to the site – audio or video. What nice people. (Just a thought: don’t miss www.eyejot.com
for making instant, simple videos. If you have a webcam you’re sorted in seconds.)

86 Impressive
www.impressive.sourceforge.net makes an instant slideshow presentation from PDF pages or a bunch of photos.

WORLD AWARENESS

87 Open Doors
www.opendoorsyouth.org is best for the persecuted church but I also like www. persecution.tv. Great videos
which bring important stories to life for young people.

88 Human Rights Watch
www.hrw.com and Amnesty www.amnesty.org.uk can’t be missed. Check them constantly for what’s happening.

89 Avaaz
www.avaaz.org
Both alerts you to breaking issues, and provides something you can do immediately.

90 Stop the Traffik
www.stopthetraffik.org
Sensitizes kids to the evil of people trafficking. Many resources (including film and Powerpoint) to launch youthful participation in campaigning, and www.startfreedom.org to keep kids
involved.

91 Ekklesia
www.ekklesia.co.uk will make you think about issues in the news and their biblical bearings. You needn’t
share their basically Anabaptist stance to benefit enormously from the questions they raise.

YOUTH WORKERS TALKING TO YOUTH WORKERS

92 Whyismarko
www.whyismarko.com
The legendary Mark Oestreicher’s blogthoughts.

93 US youth work blogger Patrick
www.adventuresinministry.com is great, and there’s also veteran Walt Mueller www.learningmylines.blogspot.co.uk, Canadian Danny Ferguson www.proyouthworker.blogspot.co.uk or the voluminous Life in Student Ministry www.studentministry.org.

94 One of the first and best UK bloggers, still going, still enormously relevant: Ian Macdonald www.youthblog.org.

95 Schools and Sixth Form workerTim Abbott is always reflective and profitable to read: www.timabbott.co.uk.

96 Mike Capener gets youth workers discussing key issues at www.talkingyouth.wordpress.com.

97 Devon-based Dave Pegg blogs Bible book explorations, tutor group sessions and more at www.davepegg.blogspot.co.uk (not to mention www.thepeggcast.podbean.com).

98 Chris Kidd www.chriskidd.co.uk thinks more deeply and widely than most of us – but his heart is in youth ministry too.

99 Jon Jolly www.jonjolly.com digs up some surprising (and very rewarding) topics.

SOURCES OF MORE USEFUL WEBSITES

100 Finally, if this wasn’t enough Internet candy for you, try Steve Hayes’ great collection at www.myfishbites.com/ , or Youth Ideas www.youthideas.co.uk/yw/links/index.shtml. Because even beyond
our top hundred, you’ll find gigabytes upon gigabytes of useful youth worker websites.

Just make sure you switch off your computer occasionally and put some of it to use in actual youth work!

John Allan is the chaplain of Exeter school and a regular contributor to Youthwork.

- See more at: http://youthwork-magazine.co.uk/main/internet/100bestwebsites#sthash.ZAxqhWGx.dpuf