Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Comic-Con 2015 Reel

Let The Music Tell The Story

STORY 20 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

We started working closely with Lisa, Andrea, and Danielle (known as Out of Eden) soon after they did their first record. We soon found that they had a great love for God’s Word and for teenagers (because they were teenagers themselves!) As we did more and more TalkBack meetings between youth leaders and the girls, what emerged was a tremendous heart to minister to the real needs of young girls.

Out Of Eden
Out Of Eden

We connected Out of Eden with several female youth ministry denominational leaders. They identified the key issues that the teenage girls were facing. The Out of Eden girls started writing songs, and our writers began working on the scope and sequence for the video and instructional package around these six key issues:

  • Discovering Life’s Destiny and Purpose
  • Finding Security and Acceptance
  • Maintaining Modesty and Fashion in Today’s World
  • Discerning God’s Views On Dating and Sexual Purity
  • Overcoming Abuse
  • Sorting Out Parental Relationships

The outcome was spectacular—and over 15,000 girls went through theOut of Eden Girls’ Event materials during the next year.

The Out of Eden Youth Event
The Out Of Eden Youth Event

We have worked with Team interlínc Artists in developing dozens of youth events including:

  • Petra’s “This Means War” Youth Event and “On Fire” Youth Event
  • Steve Taylor’s “I Predict The 1990’s” Youth Event
  • DC TALK’s “Largest Youth Group Lock-In”
  • Tobymac’s “City On Our Knees” Youth Event and “Speak Life” Youth Event
  • “ROCK’N U” Youth Event
  • Owl City’s “Good Time Youth Event”
  • The “Beach Party” Youth Event
  • Uncle Si’s “Si-cology 1” Youth Event”
  • …and many more
The Steve Taylor Youth Event
The Steve Taylor Youth Event

Here’s why these events are so popular with Youth Leaders Only members: when a youth leader combine the power of music and media with the power of God’s Truth, their students are more likely to internalize what they encounter. That means that their lives will change as God’s Word works it way from their heads into their hearts!

There’s another reason Youth Leaders Only members love these events so such: teenagers are “event” oriented. They need something “fun” to look forward to—preferably something a few weeks away from now. Think of those anticipated events as highlights on their calendar during the year. The Youth Events that we’ve created help youth leaders have enough “events” during the year to keep the momentum, enthusiasm, and anticipation flowing!

Finally, the Youth Events that YLO members have available to them help them plan better camps, retreats, overnighters, and other special events. So much of the “work” of planning those things has already been done, so youth leaders can focus on the students and other issues about those events.

There is no doubt, when you let the music tell the story, good things happen!

Youth Ministry Goes To The Movies

STORY 27 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

We have worked on over forty movies over the past thirty years, starting with ECHOES – a film that we produced, directed, and distributed in 1985. One that has reached as many teenagers as any faith-based film was Soul Surfer – The Bethany Hamilton Story. Rick Bundschuh, longtime Team interlínc Member, told interlinc’s Allen Weed, “There’s a 13-year-old surfer girl in our church who got her arm bit off by a shark. I believe that the Lord is going to do some amazing things through her life.” Allen totally missed how important what Rick was saying would be.

Several months later, Allen was eating lunch at Puckett’s Grocery — the local hamburger joint — and noticed on the television on top of the soft drink machine that the young teenager Rick mentioned was making a guest appearance on the Oprah show!

She was amazing as she shared her remarkable confidence in the Lord about the events surrounding the shark attack, how she had been dealing with it, and how she viewed her future. She quoted Jeremiah 29:11 as her rock-solid stance.

Allen immediately called Rick and asked him to get interlínc connected with Bethany’s family. From that association, The Heart of a Soul Surfer documentary was shot and sent out to all YLO members. Interlínc then worked with her family and her manager producer to coordinate the youth ministry outreach for the Soul Surfer theatrical release.

Soul Surfer Movie Guide
Soul Surfer Movie Guide

When most youth leaders think of interlínc, they rightfully think of music. We are, after all, heavily involved in the Christian music world, and most of our resources are created to use music as a hook to teach biblical truth. While teenagers are exposed to more music than any other media, we know that movies are very important and have a huge impact.

Your students are into movies—big time. Most of our young friends watch several movies a week. They watch them alone and with friends, on their phones, computers, televisions, and local theater screens. They quote lines and sing songs from favorite films, and adopt the fashions they see in the movies they like. Yep, movies are big time important to teenagers.

That means that YOU want to be able to take advantage of films that will help you reach young people for Jesus Christ, and help them to grow in their relationship with Him!

When we find movies that you would find useful, we create resources that help you use those films in your ministry to students. We review scripts and view screeners to find movies that can help you use the movie experience to impart Biblical truth to your students.

Some of the movies we've created youth ministry resources for
Some of the movies we have created youth ministry resources for

We have developed youth ministry resources for large blockbuster movies (like The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and The Passion of The Christ), medium sized movies (such as Soul Surfer, and Disney’s A Christmas Carol) and smaller movies (like Alone Yet Not Alone and The Identical).

Movies can have a big impact on students. We want to help you to use that potential for Christ!

The Future – YLO Anytime, Anywhere

STORY 30 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

The interlínc warehouse is a 5600 square-foot barn filled to the bursting point with CDs, DVDs, Bible study books, posters, artist standees, and old YLO boxes. It is literally a gold mine of youth ministry resources—just sitting there.

That was 100% true—until this year! Thanks to the “digital bookcase” (aka the “YLO music-media resource vault”) those resources are no longer stuck in a warehouse or stuck on a bookcase behind your desk. They are available to YLO Members 24/7 ready for you to use—What you want. When you want it. Where you want it!

ylo_ipadLooking for a song with a theme you are teaching on this weekend? Worship band need chord charts to learn new songs? Got a student struggling with depression? One of your students asks about a mainstream band that’s got a top 10 hit? Got a student who loves Lecrae’s music? Need a movie and study for a retreat movie night?

It’s all right there in the YLO Music-Media Vault! All YLO Members anywhere around the world have their own user name and password.

We would love to show you the future! Give us a call for a Test Drive of the new YLO!

I Need Something Other Than A Book To Give To My Grads

STORY 25 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

We have done over 50 music-based ministry projects: Centrifuge Camp Music Projects (1988-1992), More Than Gold (1996, 2000, 2002), Insiders Guide To High School (1999), Surviving Middle School, Fatherlove (1987), A Mother’s Love (1988), Pump’d Workout Music (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), Soundtraxx (for Assemblies of God Youth Sunday School Curriculum Companion), and tons more. This story told by our long time Team interlinc Member Chris Renzelman is probably our favorite.

“One day I was sitting at our church library table with two interns who both happened to be recent graduates. We began discussing the needs of students in the transitional season of life and what resources were available to them. We were actually looking for a graduation gift beyond the smorgasbord of book options we historically offered each senior. We hoped for something more culturally engaging that would encourage our grads along their path toward adulthood. I had benefited from the Jesus Movement music of the 70’s (Second Chapter of Acts, Love Song and others) and as well as the resources provided from my association with Word Records northwest field representative Jim Brady. As the three of us met that day in 1989 we wondered if such a collection of grad-theme related music might be compiled for use as a gift for graduating seniors. It was launched for the Class of 1990. The ConGRADulations! music-based graduation gift was born!”

grad1

grad2

grad3

Music & Sports – A Winning Combo

STORY 24 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

There are not two more synergistic elements in student ministry than sports and music. Athletes listen to music all the time and want to be musicians. Musicians want to be athletes. Music is the “game before the game”. There is one thing that is true all the time before a game – the athlete is listening to his music. We have involved artists and their music on many projects Pump’d workout music FCA, a special edition of YLO53 (2003), More Than Gold music projects in over 100 countries with Major Sports Event Partnership (1996, 2000, 2002), and Athletes In Action World Cup Outreach 2010.

pumpd

mtg1

DC TALK Talks About Billy Graham

STORY 23 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

We had enjoyed a strong relationship with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association dating back to EXPLO 72 the historic gathering of 85,000 Christians in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Our work in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s centered around collaboration with Scott Lenning and Gary Cobb who initially coordinated the youth ministry component of the work with the city-wide Graham Crusades. In 1992 Scott approached us with the idea, “I know that interlínc has a special relationship with DC TALK. Do you think that they would be willing to do a video that we can use to promote our Saturday night youth nights at the Crusades?” I took the idea to Toby, Michael and Kevin and their managers Dan Pitts and Laurie Anderson and they were up for doing the video entitled ‘DC TALK TALKS ABOUT BILLY GRAHAM’. Scott would write the copy from the Graham perspective and then Toby would translate it into pop-culture student-friendly language. The four sections of the video would be “Who is Billy Graham?” “What happens at a Billy Graham Crusade?” “Why should you get involved in a Billy Graham Crusade?” “How do you get involved in a Billy Graham Crusade?”

graham_2
Allen Weed (interlinc President), Dr. Graham, and DC TALK

The shoot was a very low budget two-camera shoot directed by Eric Wyse in Nashville. All was in place. The script had been written and “translated”. There was a problem though: the DC TALK boys had just finished a major TV appearance with Arsenio Hall where production was world class and now they walked into this shoot. Toby pulled me aside, “Bro, I don’t think this is going to work. It is going to turn out cheesy and not be good for Billy Graham, student ministry, or DC TALK.” Dan and I pulled together the three guys and somehow in that conversation God convinced Toby and all of us that He was in this idea and that we should move forward.

I can’t remember what happened in that meeting but I am so thankful that the Lord convinced Toby that we needed to move ahead. The shoot was full of DC TALK fun – one interesting insight, while all three guys obviously knew who Dr. Graham was, none had ever been to a Crusade!

graham_1Scott used that video in promoting “Youth Night” to over 5000 churches in crusade cities. Then the big one came from Scott and Rick Marshall who was in charge of the North American Crusade Ministry with BGEA. “The only way people know that our ‘Youth Night’ is a youth night is because we call it ‘Youth Night’. No young people are coming. We would like to do a real rock concert and have Dr. Graham speak at the end of the concert. Would DC TALK be open to doing the first of the new ‘Youth Nights’ with Michael W Smith at the Cleveland Crusade (June 1994)?”

That began an amazing approximately ten-year run of youth nights (Cleveland, Atlanta, Toronto, Sacramento, Minneapolis, Charlotte, San Antonio, Oakland, Ottawa, Tampa, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Fresno, Cincinnati, Dallas, San Diego, Oklahoma City, and maybe a couple more) that were historic in response to the Gospel.

Music, Media, and the Youth Room

STORY 13 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

The “Joyful Noise Room” was a very effective student-parent bridge builder strategy in my youth ministry in 1985. It was an innovative approach pioneered by Word Regional Promotion Staff Jim Brady and Doris Scott to connect students to quality music with a faith message and to allow parents to see the heart behind the music. We set it up like a library check out system right in our youth room area. We purchased 6 Walkmans and allowed students to listen to the music provided by YLO. Every time our doors were open there were students in that room. We had at least a hundred different titles. It was an instant hit! The students (especially those who were new in their faith journey) used it constantly. Soul work was done…countless lives were changed.

lending_room_1
Monty Hipp and Jim Brady Joyful Noise Room Yakima WA 1985

The “Joyful Noise Room” was a bridge builder in my youth ministry in 1985-86. It was an innovative approach pioneered by Word Regional Promotion Staff Jim Brady and Doris Scott to connect students to quality music with a faith message, and to allow parents to see the heart behind the music. We set it up like a library check out system right in our youth room area. We purchased six Walkmans (remember them?), and allowed students to listen to the music provided by YLO. Every time our doors were open there were students in that room. We had at least a hundred different titles to start in our “Joyful Noise Room.” It was an instant hit! The students (especially those who were new in their faith journey) used it constantly. Also, in that era, Christian music was introducing a new style of music that many parents were hesitant about. The combination of the material provided through YLO and the Bible studies that corresponded with the band was profoundly impactful.


lending_room_2


As a result of that innovative approach, we never had little difficulty with parents be use they could listen to the music with their kids, and work through the Bible studies with them as well. We often would have parents come check out new bands their kids were talking about to be able to say they knew their music and much about the band. This also set the course for us having bands like Petra, Mylon LeFevre, WhiteHeart, DeGarmo & Key, come do concerts in our town and opened the door for many youth to connect to a message of Christ that would have never done so.

The “Joyful Noise Room” model grew and we saw scores of youth ministries pick up on this idea. As a result, in our region of the country Christian music festivals exploded and our group was always the largest attending group. I am positive that because of the “Joyful Noise Room” model, our parents felt confident that they knew what their kids were going to experience. It truly is one of the highlights of youth ministry programming strategies that really worked for building relationships with the youth and their parents. Soul work was done through a music lending library that changed countless lives. I will always be grateful to Jim, Doris, and Allen for their part in helping me build an effective ministry by utilizing music. Monty L. Hipp, Founder CompleMentor, Youth Pastor The Stone Church, Yakima, WA (1985)

Why I’m a Pastor and Still a YLO Member

STORY 11 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

Once a youth pastor, always a youth pastor, right?

Regardless of whether a title changes as mine did a few years ago, I will always treasure my fifteen years in youth ministry as the formative years of my ministry life and calling. I am a better leader, teacher, mentor, and friend today because of the opportunities God afforded me through youth ministry. No matter what my current title may be, I simply cannot sever myself from my heart-connection to investing in youth.

Share this blog with your pastor, and get their approval to join YLO!

My relationship with interlínc and Youth Leaders Only began back in those early youth ministry days. A lover of music myself, I always had a deep sense of how powerfully music could be used to connect ideas to the hearts of human beings. Now in my sixth year as a Lead Pastor, I am still a member of YLO.


ylo_shirt


Why? Because, YLO is one of the great ministry tools out there. Although I’m not in the weekly trenches of youth ministry the way I once was, I see YLO as a blessing for numerous reasons. Some of those reasons include the following:

  • YLO blesses me with great current music. Every quarter, I get a box full of goodies, including hundreds of dollars worth of the latest and best stuff available in the Christian market. I benefit from it personally by the fresh new stuff, and I always have music on hand to give away as gifts.
  • YLO blesses me with great inspiration. Through the feature articles, artist interviews, online content and other tools, I am constantly reminded of the blessings and challenges of youth ministry. This helps me be a better lead pastor to my own youth pastor, and reminds me of how critical our student ministries are to the life of our church.
  • YLO blesses me with assistance. Even though I’m far less cool than I used to be, I’m still often asked to speak at youth camps, chapel services, graduations, and even once in awhile at our youth group when our youth pastor is desperate! With YLO in my toolbox, I can easily find help with prepping a great and relevant message targeted at the audience I’m speaking to.

There are numerous other reasons I love YLO, not the least of which is that over the years I’ve gotten to know the heart of the men and women who run this operation. They are youth workers themselves, they are ministry-minded to the core, and they truly desire to make your life easier as a teacher and communicator.

Are you a pastor?  You need YLO … click here to find out how to join

I’ve seen and even contributed to a lot of curriculum out there. YLO is so much more! It’s a culturally relevant, always up-to-date, Christ-honoring ,and truly helpful tool for doing youth ministry better. If you haven’t signed up, do yourself a favor and GO FOR IT!

Team interlínc

STORY 9 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

Team interlínc is the largest creative collective of youthworkers, artists, worship leaders, film makers, record and book company peeps, and other creative types committed to the effective development and use of popular media to reach the 8-18 age group students with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Over 5000 strong, from every major denominational and parachurch ministry in the US and from over 25 countries, Team interlínc equips “in the trenches” youthworkers to use music-media effectively in ministry.

interlinc_staff
The interlinc staff in 1999

When I first started editing the materials that make Youth Leaders Only way more than a music club, I learned something that may surprise you: most youth leaders are lousy writers.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Most youth leaders are gifted communicators. We are a creative lot, and value effectiveness, energy, and enthusiasm over stuffy, plodding, and grammatically correct. Our untamable and boundless creativity is one reason we are good at what we do. Just don’t expect us to be excellent writers.

So, I approached Allen
 Weed, the founder and head 
of interlínc, with an idea to
raise the written 
communication bar for our materials. I floated the idea of forming a smaller cadre of youth leaders who also happen to be pretty good writers, and leaning on them to help make Youth Leaders Only as good as it could be.

staff_faces
Once a youth leader, always a youth leader …

That’s when the ‘WriteGroup’ was born.

Since then, the WriteGroup has functioned as I imagined it—and more. It has become interlinc’s premiere youth ministry “think tank”. As members of Team interlínc they have come up with far more ideas than we could ever implement. They have helped shape the direction that YLO has taken. The WriteGroup has collaborated to create an amazing body of effective youth ministry materials built around thousands of songs, videos and movies.