Tag Archives: writegroup

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.

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.

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.

The WriteGroup With The Right Stuff

STORY 10 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. 

WriteGroup Annual Retreat (2003)

For this one hundredth issue of YLO, we asked the WriteGroup to explain why they are involved, why they passionately pitch in their efforts, and what benefits they derive from their involvement.

Here’s how a few of them responded.

Todd Pearage

Calvary Church, Souderton, Pennsylvania

While sitting in a general session at the national youth workers convention, I heard a speaker say, “Now I feel know what a donkey feels like at the Kentucky Derby. I know I’m not the best, but it sure is fun to run with the best.” That’s exactly how I feel being a member of the WriteGroup. I have the privilege of writing Bible studies for thousands of youth ministries with the likes of Ken, Rick, Mary, Eric, Jeremy, Paul, and others.

In the last few years, I’ve been invited to join Team interlínc at music festivals and leadership conferences around the country. Countless times youth leaders have shared how much they appreciate and value the Bible studies in each YLO magazine. Their words are encouraging, humbling, and serve as a powerful reminder of the privilege of serving on the WriteGroup.

Eric Gargus

Marie Baptist Church, Dublin, Georgia

An eccentric old hermit told me the force was with my family and I, so I decided to join the rebellion. After all, who wouldn’t want to use a light saber? Actually, I have loved writing since my college days. I was looking for an outlet for my passion for writing that intersected with my passion for youth ministry. But wait, there’s more! I love music—especially great faith-based music. Writing for interlínc was a no-brainer, if given the opportunity.

Ken McCoy sent out the call for potential new interlínc writers and I submitted a study. It didn’t get published because the album didn’t make the cut for the box. I thought it was because I had not made the cut. A few weeks later during a challenging time in my ministry I got an email. It was Ken and he invited me to join the WriteGroup. I’ve been in the group ever since! From writing movie studies, song and video studies, and even a retreat based on Si Robertson’s first book, I know that my studies have the potential to help many youth leaders.

Having been a YLO member long before becoming a member of WriteGroup, I was truly humbled to join the top-notch folks in the WriteGroup. These people had unknowingly helped me in my ministry countless times through their studies. And now I had the honor of calling them my colleagues! I still haven’t met many of them face to face, but the camaraderie via internet definitely spurs me on in my ministry.

There’s something so much bigger than just being published in a tall stack of magazines (or are they “Resource Books”?) along with the other in-the-trenches youth workers of the WriteGroup. It’s about impacting youth ministry across the world by engaging students in the media that drives culture. Ultimately, it’s about proclaiming the blood of Jesus to the world. And what more fun way is there than music and media?

Rick Bundschuh

Kauai Christian Fellowship, Poipu, Hawaii

One thing that lunatics really dislike is to be alone. Lunacy is only fun when it is goaded along by other lunatics. What lured me to be part of the Write Group was the idea that someone actually was willing to host (with other similar smart aleck, witty, imaginative thinkers who all happened to be youth ministry veterans) unfettered out-of-the-box thinking about what interlínc might be able to do that would be innovative. The lunatics were invited to suggest how to run the asylum! How could you turn down an invitation like that!

WriteGroup at Hog Heaven (2006)

For a number of years we descended upon Nashville and, taking our role as the vanguard of youth ministry, created havoc in some of the fine dining and lodging establishments interlínc hosted us at—such as “Hog Heaven” and Montgomery Bell State Park. (We did get to stay at the Opryland Hotel once, but I think someone stole the towels—so that ended that.)

In the end, all the wild and wacky stuff aside, I think all of us ended up in the WriteGroup because it seemed as if we could be useful in helping connect kids with good stuff that points them to God.

Why All The Mess?

Guest post by Rick Bundschuh from Kauai Christian Fellowship

Editor’s Note: Rick is one of the coolest lunatics you’ll ever meet. We are proud to have him as a member of Team Interlínc, and as one of our WriteGroup contributors. His video of their recent Middle School retreat (you can see it here) is what prompted us to ask him to explain, “Why all the mess?” You’ll no doubt identify with his explanation!

I walked into the big room used by the Middle School every Wednesday night. There were feathers everywhere. There were feathers in the light fixtures, feathers on the shelves, feathers piled in the corners and feathers in the window screens. My first thought was, “It sure looks like someone (other than a goose or chicken) was having a load of fun!”

A certain part of youth ministry gets messy because messy means more fun.

Tie a donut on a string and have a contest to see who can eat it first. This could make a lot of crumbs, but it is really not all that messy. Take the same donut; dip it in chocolate syrup, and feed it to a partner lying on the floor and you now have “messy” with a capital M.

The messy factor is what turns an okay stunt or game into something that kids talk about for a long time and one that they tell their friends about.

Of course messy doesn’t attract prissy girls or too cool guys—but it sure works great with the average Middle School monkey.

  • Getting messy is what mom won’t let you do at home, which makes it even more fun.
  • Getting a girl messy is the way that a Middle School guy shows affection.
  • Getting your friend messy is the way that you show brotherly love—in Middle School terms that is.
  • Getting messy makes for great movies, photos, and publicity on social media.
  • Getting messy makes for lots of laughter and even more mess.

Messy is part of the message that says to kids, “Hey, this Christian thing is wild, fun, and exciting!” It wins us the right to talk about the “abundant life” with credibility because, for a Middle School kid, the more mess you make, the more abundant life truly is!

And yes, messy can have some downsides. Someone has to clean up all that mess. Shaving crème stings the eyes. The chocolate handprints your cleaning crew missed will come back to haunt you in the form of a scolding by the non-messy lady from the Women’s ministry. A few killjoys may make noise about bad stewardship in the waste of noodles, feathers, shaving crème, cooking oil, etc. Or, you may have to get out the vacuum and go after the feathers that your cleaning crew didn’t see in their hurry to suck up eight pillowcases worth of down.

But messy is one of those things that adults have generally grown out of. We have forgotten the pure joy of rolling in mud, being lathered in a bath of Jello, or getting a pie in the face. We would never think of bobbing for Baby Ruth bars in a toilet filled with Mountain Dew, or rediscover the missile launching pleasure of a good old fashion food fight.

And in a way, that’s too bad.

But, making a mess in the name of Jesus is what we in youth work are called to do. Many of us take great pride in our, mess, uh, err, work!

Let’s fight for “One More Song!”

Guest post by Eric Gargus, interlinc WriteGroup and 15-year Youth Ministry Vet

There’s something really special about most Christian albums. Back in my teenage years I would buy a cassette from my favorite secular bands (yes, I’m old but not as old as the 8-track guy) and only find one or two really great songs. I always felt ripped off. In my experience, about nine out of ten Christian albums really deliver on all the cuts. That’s a pretty astounding (and thoroughly unscientific) statistic! Of course, the seven to nine terrible songs on those cassettes I bought back in the 80’s are what built iTunes (that’s just my theory but let’s assume Steve Jobs got tired of buying albums and only enjoying twenty percent of them).

The majority of Christian artists and songwriters out there are making excellent music. Those whose hearts aren’t in it or just couldn’t make it in the secular industry are always brought to light. And those stalwarts who have stayed faithful to God — like Third Day and Skillet — always seem to cross generational lines and put out terrific tunes.

So with all the great Christian-themed music, why are your students’ portable devices full of secular music? Sure, some of it is both great and clean. But come on, have you kept an eye on the Top 20 lists lately? Grandma would blush. Grandma’s dog would blush.

Check out new music from Newsboys, Stellar Kart, The City Harmonic and more

It’s a fight to keep putting Christian music out there in front of your students. More often than not it’s a losing battle when trying to get uplifting music into their digital playlists. Don’t tire in the fight. Last Sunday a parent approached me and said, “My son now has one song on his playlist that I like.” My first thought was, “DELETE THE REST OF THE PLAYLIST!” Then I took a step back and thought, “Something connected! We actually won a battle!”

That song in that kid’s playlist came from my most recent Youth Leaders Only Box. I think I’ll adopt a personal motto this Fall — “One More Song!” Let’s use the resources we get from interlinc to fight to get just one more song at a time into our students’ playlists.

Rock on!

Not a YLO Member? Learn how you can get music, videos and Bible studies for your ministry for less than $13 a month!