2017 Grammy Awards Usher In The Future

By Allen Weed | interlínc | Franklin, Tennessee | allenweed@interlinc-online.com

This insightful guest blog is from one of our long-time industry friends Keith Stancil. His book “Monsters” (a great resource for aspiring young musicians in your ministry) was included in YLO 103.
The 2017 Grammy Awards ushered in the future last night. Another year of music, another year of trend setters and another year of an evolving industry.

There were a few performance highlights for me this year. The Weekend showed the world that he can seriously sing! While I miss his sculpted hair, I’m glad it proved not to be his source of stardom. Ed Sheeran showed us how to perform solo but sound like a band without it feeling like karaoke. Side musicians could be in trouble? I was super impressed with Lukas Graham and Kelsea Ballerini. Lukas immediately earned space on my Spotify playlist. Guy Clark Jr and William Bell owned the night with their performance of “Born Under A Bad Sign!” It was great seeing Morris Day and The Time as they reminded everyone where Bruno Mars draws much of his musical inspiration. And speaking of Bruno Mars, he absolutely slayed the Prince tribute performance of “Purple Rain.” The Lady Gaga Metallica pairing was brilliant and added serious rockdom to the evening. But the most memorable 2017 Grammy performance moment will be when Adele stopped mid-performance, let a few explicit words fly, and re-started her George Michael tribute in the correct key. While I’m glad she found the right key, it felt somewhat like the redo I grabbed during my first piano recital at six years old. Sans the explicit lyrics of course.

The one big take away for me from this year’s Grammy Awards is that independent artists can find their way to the top of the music industry food chain. Chance The Rapper walked away with three Grammys without the backing of a record label. To top it off, his winning album Coloring Book is a streaming-only release. And that my friends signals a seismic shift in the music industry. That future we have been hearing about for the last few years just arrived.




3 Reasons Youth Leaders Only Makes So Much Sense In The Changing Youth Culture World

By Allen Weed | interlínc | Franklin, Tennessee | allenweed@interlinc-online.com

We all know that kids love music. To be effective in student ministry we have to stay on top of the entertainment media that our kids swim in 9 hours everyday.

So…what are the BIG 3?

ACCESS – Everything moves SO fast… how does a youthworker keep up with the youth culture world? We keep you informed about and give you “insider” ACCESS to the artists, their upcoming music, videos, concerts.  With little expense of time or money we do the work to take you behind the scenes and introduce you to the best and newest Christian music, worship music and mainstream music.

GROUP RESOURCES  – We don’t stop with just giving you ACCESS.  We equip you with tools that allow you to use the artist and their music in your youth group meetings – Video Loop-YouTube Playlists, Bible Studies, Thematic Listings Of Songs, Mainstream Discussion Starters. Worship Band Resources and more.

MUSIC TO EARBUDS RESOURCES – TThis is where the student ministry impact explodes! What if you could get songs that tie to your weekly teaching time into your kids’ earbuds and grab some of that 9 hours of every day entertainment media? This is where we really help. Old school was a CD Lending Library (remember that resource??)…. Now it’s 100 times better! A Spotify or Apple playlist link that you can send directly to your students’ phones… Now we’re talking!

With the big changes in the way music is consumed by students (90% of high school students listen to their music through a streaming service)…  we have the greatest opportunity ever to get Christ-honoring music into kids’ earbuds….

interlinc and YLO are continuing to evolve from 1.0 (CDs and physical) to 2.0 (downloads) and now to 3.0 (a hybrid of downloads and streaming). The good news is…

You are getting the tools for ACCESS, GROUP RESOURCES, and EARBUD RESOURCES and the price keeps going down down down.

Be watching for the newer, faster, cheaper YLO 3.0!

Youth Ministry Take-Aways From The Super Bowl

By Todd Pearage | New Hanover UMC | Gilbertsville, PA | toddp@newhanoverumc.org

Tension, controversy, and questionable performances — there was also a football game.

Whether you tuned in for the game, the commercials, or the halftime show, chances are good you watched the biggest sporting event in the free world. So, what did we learn and how should we, as pastors for this next generation, interact with what we just watched?

As you undoubtedly know, Lady Gaga was the halftime entertainment, and opinions on my Facebook wall ranged from “incredibly entertaining” to “worst halftime ever.” While you won’t find a Lady Gaga song on my iPhone or any Spotify playlist, I was glad to see it was less sexualized then previous halftime shows.

I thought the commercials as a whole were disappointing. I did like the Terry Bradshaw (it may be because I’m a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan) and the “stuck” one – the kid flipped over on the big wheel made me laugh. The Melissa McCarthy “eco warrior” one was my favorite. So while they provided some great conversations in my house, I have to say the T-Mobile one sparked the most controversy. Between the marijuana jokes and inappropriate 50 Shades of Gray and S&M references, I thought they really crossed the line.

Now that the game is over and the Lombardi trophy has been given to the New England Patriots, what’s next? Let me encourage you to take advantage of the incredible opportunities we have to initiate meaningful conversations with students about things that matter most. I love football, but at the end of the day it is a game.

This year you can talk about never giving up, overcoming impossible odds, teamwork – the list goes on and on.

So don’t miss your chance to impact the lives of your students!

PS. Weren’t the hundreds of drones amazing?

What’s Expected of a Youth Leader at a Meeting?

9 Tasks You Need To Do Even If You Don't Have Anything To Do

This is a special cross-ministry “guest” blog by our Editor, Ken McCoy – the Emperor of JumpStart Ministries. He originally posted it at JumpStart’s website, and gave us permission to repost it here. Thanks, Ken!


Okay, so it’s an hour before the youth meeting is supposed to start, and you’re wondering why you should go. You don’t have any responsibilities for the program, and this has been a tough few days. You could use the time off. After all, they don’t need you there, right?


Here are nine essential tasks that MUST be accomplished BY YOU if this youth meeting is going to be effective ministry. So, get off the couch, start thinking of all the great kids you’re about to interact with, and go for it!

  1. Be in Prayer: Before you even come, pray about the meeting. Pray for the person who will be teaching, and pray that God will use you to minister to students.
  2. Be Early: The times before and after the meeting are your prime ministry opportunities. Please be at least fifteen minutes early for the meeting.
  3. Be Positive: Portray a positive and enthusiastic…

You can read the rest of the nine items here. Copy/Paste/Print and share this with your volunteers!


By Greg Stier | Dare 2 Share | Arvada, Colorado | dare2share.org


Do your teens have evangephobia? In their “live and let live” world, evangelism can seem like an antiquated idea. We shouldn’t be surprised that evangephobia has spread like an epidemic through our youth groups.

Jesus clearly stated that He came to seek and save the lost, and He’s charged us with spreading His message to those who don’t know Him. Sharing the Gospel is not optional simply because of the times in which we live. It’s something we’re commanded to be about until His return.

Get all the Evangelism Articles in YLO105 when you become a YLO Member.

So what’s a youth leader to do? I’ve identified five key reasons teens don’t share their faith. I’ve also uncovered a few insights that can help you address their evangephobia and help you mobilize them to share the Gospel with their friends.

 Reason #1: Fear – What will my friends think if I talk about Jesus? Fear of rejection looms large, but you can help your teens overcome their fear straight from the pages of Scripture. Show them that they’re not in this faith-sharing thing alone. God goes with them and promises to provide His power as they share His love and truth with others. 2 Timothy 1:7-8 assures us: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.” Help your teens learn to rely on God’s power and promises. Encourage them to pray for their lost friends and to ask for God’s assistance. This can give teens the courage they need to step out bravely.

Reason #2: Lack of Urgency – What difference does it make anyway? Hell is a very unpopular concept these days. But, Jesus spoke matter-of-factly about a literal hell. Jesus used the word gehenna (“hell”) eleven of the twelve times it appears in the New Testament. He never described hell as figurative, temporary, or anything less than horrific. The Bible describes hell as “for real” and “forever.”

Sometimes, the twenty-first-century version of the Christian God is just loving instead of just and loving. The just part of God (which demands absolute justice, holiness, and perfection) has been minimized and the loving part of God (which shows mercy, grace, and forgiveness) has been emphasized. As a result, teens have begun to view God as more of a cosmic Santa Claus who caters to their every whim instead of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) By helping your teens understand the reality of hell and the hope of heaven, the urgency of the message of the Gospel comes alive. They need to see that their friends’ eternal destiny hangs in the balance.

 Reason #3: Live and Let Live – Other’s spiritual beliefs aren’t my business. Sometimes teens think evangelism is all about standing on a street corner with a bullhorn and yelling, “Repent!” They may see spiritual conversation as inappropriate or intrusive. Evangelism, however, is actually about…

For the rest of Greg’s article, go here.


Don't Make a Typical New Year's Resolution

By Ken McCoy | JumpStart Ministries | Charlotte, North Carolina


When I get to heaven, I’m really looking forward to meeting Daniel – the Daniel, the one from the Bible. That guy was a STUD for the faith! His intelligence, capabilities, and character were world class. Of all the characters in the Bible—besides Jesus, that is—Daniel is the one I admire most.

And it all started with a “New Years” resolution.

Daniel 1:8 starts out, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself…” Note that key word: resolved. He made up his mind. He was committed and determined.

If you know the story, you know that Daniel was probably a pre-teen or teenager when this happened. He was one of who knows how many wealthy and intelligent boys who were taken from their families, transported across the Fertile Crescent from Israel to Babylon, and put into a three-year crash course that would strip them of their Jewish identities and turn them into government employees.

“But Daniel resolved…”

Even though almost all the young Israeli guys were going along with the program, even though you can’t fault them for thinking that God had abandoned them, even though the price of going against the established order was high, Daniel resolved not to leave his faith back at home.

And God came through for him.

Daniel and his three roommates first asked the school Principal for permission to eat only kosher food, but he denied their request. So, they struck a deal with their homeroom teacher – a ten-day diet to prove that the teacher wouldn’t get in trouble with the authorities. I don’t know about you, but my experience with ten-day diets is that they don’t work. In this case, it did – in reverse. The four young men looked healthier than the rest of their school after the ten days were over. Plus, God gave them greater intelligence, and favor with others – and Daniel was given a supernatural ability.

And for three years, those guys were vegetarians. Three years!

So, here’s the reason I’m thinking about Daniel’s teenaged determination to remain faithful to God. It’s New Years, the time to make “resolutions” for positive change in the coming year. You know as well as I that New Years Resolutions rarely work. The reason is that they’re not resolutions. They’re hopes. They’re goals. They’re good intentions. But there is no “resolve” in those resolutions. There’s no determination.

So, this year, think about something that is so important that you can be resolved about it. Don’t make any New Years Resolutions this year – instead, become resolved to follow God with everything you have.

And then, don’t be surprised when He comes through for you!


The Real Meaning of Christmas

15 Ideas to Keep Your Students Focused on the Real Meaning of Christmas

By Dave Weiss | New Creation Fellowship | Redding, Pennsylvania


As we approach the Christmas season, our thoughts usually turn to wish lists, gifts, shopping and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. It’s a great time of year and there’s nothing wrong with having a wish list, but Christmas has a deeper meaning — it’s the time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the greatest Gift of all. How do we as youth workers turn our students’ focus from the gifts to the Giver? The answer can be found in Matthew 25:34-40. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me.” (NIV) Since Christmas is the time we celebrate “Jesus’ birthday”, the way we give gifts to Jesus is by serving His brothers and sisters — other children of God, especially those less fortunate.

Here are some ideas to help your students participate in sharing the greatest gift of all, the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

  1. Serve Meals at your local homeless shelter, soup kitchen, etc. Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” Meeting this most basic human need is a great way to help your students appreciate God’s blessings.
  2. Caroling and visitation: Yes, caroling is old fashioned, but there are many people who feel forgotten during the holidays. Something as simple as singing a few songs for some “shut ins” from your church and including a gift like a fruit basket can be a great way to show that love and care.
  3. Angel Tree: Many retail stores and churches have “Angel Trees” that contain ornaments listing needy children in your community and their needs. Have your students…

Dave has a ton of great ideas, and you can read the rest of them here.

It’s The Thought That Counts

Meaningful ways to show love and appreciation without spending a lot of money.

By Jay Helms | Mt. Sylvan United Methodist Church | Durham, North Carolina


One of the most rewarding aspects of being involved in youth ministry is showing God’s love in practical ways. Giving gifts, the “assumed” method at Christmastime, is just one way to show love and appreciation to your students. Here are some ideas that may connect even better.

Words. Whether written or spoken, words are food to the soul. Write handwritten letters to your students. Create “Affirmation Awards” (such as “Mr. Selfless,” “Miss Rock Solid,” “Miss Humble,” or “Mr. Fearless”) and present them at a youth meeting. Have your volunteers write out a “What We Love About Billy (or whomever)” letter or poster. Anything that is spoken or written that will communicate clearly of your love and God’s care for your students will have a long lasting impact.

Time. Recently, I took three of our high school guys a movie and then to the Krispy Kreme downtown. They had more fun that Friday night than they would have if they’d done something else with their friends. Bring students a free lunch from their favorite restaurant. Attend one of their performances. Bring them along on a service project. Take them out for dessert after a youth meeting. Play disc golf, or regular golf, together. Everyone craves to have another person pay rapt attention to him or her!

Service. Consider doing one of their chores for them, washing a student’s car, teaching them a skill, helping them find a job, making dinner for them and their family, rebounding for them as they practice shooting basketball, or providing…

To see what else Jay has to say about this topic, go here.

Carol Power

By Rick Bundschuh | Kauai Christian Fellowship | Koloa, Hawaii


It started off as a wild hair dinner idea to help new adults in our church get to know people by sharing some flaming BBQ ribs and a touch of something personal – but not scary personal. It became something far more significant.

The invitation to the party included the following instructions:

… for something completely different, please imagine that you have been banished to a desert island for an indefinite future. You have been given a solar-powered CD player but you are only allowed to bring ONE CD with you. Which would it be? Please grab that CD and bring it along with you (we may want to play it) — if it is the Grateful Dead’s Greatest Hits, be prepared to explain yourself. Heck, be prepared to explain anyhow!

Now, being a clever guy, I thought that this would be a sneaky way to get to know something about these new folks without having to do serious gut-spilling — a safe and fun glimpse into new lives. But I was shocked and unprepared for what happened at that party. And in reflection, I realized that I should have known — after all, music can be more than mere entertainment; it can be the milestone or rally points for the most important events in a person’s life.

Why was I shocked? Because over half of the people who attended brought, of all things, Christmas CDs – carols and old, old songs. (I on the other hand, mysteriously brought Leif and Liege by Fairport Convention.)

As they started to share why they picked those Christmas carols to accompany them on their banishment, their reasoning made sense. These are songs…

To read the rest of Rick’s article, go here.

Making The Most Of Holiday Craziness

5 Ideas For Maintaining "Peace On Earth" At Christmastime

This article was written by Cindy Engøy | YesWeServe | Long Beach, California before she left us for Heaven.


“…and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14 New International Version)

The angelic vocals filled the fields where shepherds kept an eye on their sheep. Oh fine! Easy for them to sing to the shepherds! I mean, what did the shepherds have to do but hang out and count sheep? Seems to me their lives were fairly peaceful already. If the angelic host came today and sang to youthworkers, their song would probably be more along these lines: “…peace on earth, but you better get your groove on because the holiday rush is stampeding your way. So think of something quick to keep those young people in the spirit of the season, keep the parents and the pastor happy, plus the church programs going. After the holidays are over you can have your rest!” (Luke 2:14 Youthworker Version)

So how can we make the most of our holiday craziness and still have peace on our part of the earth? Here are a few suggestions that might ward off an anxiety attack:

  1. Christmas Stockings. In November take pictures of your youth and have the kids fill out information cards. On the cards should be their name, age, photo, and inexpensive things they like or need – i.e. school supplies, candy, favorite CDs, junk foods, hair products, etc. Then have different people in the church pick a kid for a Christmas stocking. Only the name of the child should be on the stocking, not the name of the giver. Have extra goodies on hand so that no one is left out. Also, older students could make stockings for the younger children.
  2. Cookie Exchange. Send out a flyer to parents asking them to volunteer for a cookie exchange. Have each kid in your youth group bring a dozen homemade cookies to exchange (i.e., four kids in your youth group bring four dozen cookies). For larger groups, you could divide into smaller groups. Ask the parent also to provide…

To read the rest of Cindy’s ideas, go here.