Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Moving, plus Saw news

Well, we're moving into our house this week, and as such, some activities are going to have to be put off, like thrilling you with details of our Invite Night activities. But I wanted to hear your thoughts on this article from Plugged in.

According to MTV News, theaters "all over the country" hosted Saw marathons to mark the arrival of the fifth entry in the torture/horror franchise. MTV sent two female interns to sit through the 10 hours of Saw and to record their observations. "The doctor begins to saw his foot off," Kristen Freethy writes during the first movie. "Meanwhile, I'm thinking I have eight more hours of Saw movies." During Saw II, Summer Barry notes, "An hour into the movie, I am finding myself bored. The sequel isn't keeping me on my toes quite as much, and the novelty of blood is wearing off." A few hours later, she says, "Saw IV opens with an autopsy of a naked Jigsaw [the franchise's torture-inflicting mastermind]. ... They rip his face off, then cut him open—I assume they're going for shock value here. Oddly, I discover it's not working on me. I suddenly realize I'm becoming immune to blood, gore and torture. This can't be good." As the fifth installment rolls, Barry says, "The movie opens with a guy being chopped in half. This does not surprise me, but what does surprise me is that the theater erupts with cheers. The question goes from 'What have I become?' to 'Who are these people I'm surrounded by?'" [mtv.com, 10/24/08]

Friday, October 24, 2008

Invite Night pt 1: Advertising

Wednesday the 15th of October we held our first Invite Night at Lake Stevens AG. It was a great night, filled with fun and faith. I thought I'd post our schedule for the night and let you in on a couple ideas we had to make the night fun. Feel free to steal these ideas (because I stole them from someone else). If you end up taking something, leave me a comment and let me know how your night went.

I'll break this up into four parts, advertising, games, schedule and sermon. Hopefully this will give you a picture of what we did, and you can take it from there.

  1. The most important form of advertising you can have is Word of Mouth, and for this event we relied on that exclusively (not on purpose though). When coming back from a conference or retreat, you NEED to do one of these nights. I took our students aside at the end of our trip, handed them an envelope with cards in it and gave them some quick instructions. I told them that when they got to school Monday, they should tell their friends about their weekend and then they should hand them one of these cards. I got several good reports from students who did this, it gave them the opportunity to share with their friends about something exciting in their lives, and they also were able to follow up by giving them an invite to our event.
  2. Here are the cards we used, they're nothing too special, but they were effective.
  3. One thing I wanted to try was to take this invite and put it on myspace, along with the code so the students could copy it to their own pages, but I couldn't figure out how to disable the html code until this afternoon. So here it is for you, I'm sure it will be a hit even though I haven't been able to try it out yet. Put your html code inside a textarea command. This displays the text as is, instead of implementing the instructions from the code. I will do this in the future and let you know how it works out.
Well, that was more about advertising than I was planning on writing, check back next week to hear about what we did for our games and stuff.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mystery Worshipper?

I saw this over on MMI. Here is a blurb from the website:

Mr. Harrison -- a meticulous inspector who often uses the phrase "I was horrified" to register his disapproval of dust bunnies and rude congregants -- poses as a first-time churchgoer and covertly evaluates everything from the cleanliness of the bathrooms to the strength of the sermon. This summer, Mr. Harrison scoured a megachurch in Cedar Hill, Texas, and jotted down a laundry list of imperfections: a water stain on the ceiling, a "stuffy odor" in the children's area, a stray plastic bucket under the bathroom sink and a sullen greeter who failed to say good morning before the worship service. "I am a stickler for light bulbs and bathrooms," he says..."
Click here to read the whole story.

My first thought is, what a cool idea! I believe in trying to be excellent in ministry, and I know that churches get sloppy at times because we forgive each other when we let things slide. To have someone come in and be brutally honest with us would be a great thing.

But I do wonder about someone who's paid to be a professional critic of churches. That would be a tough job for me to do, because so much of what a church does is through volunteers and people who are there more for their heart than their skill. You would hate to see a report like this get to one of those people.

If you've ever tried it post a comment and let me know of your experience!


Youth Ministry Tools: Polleverywhere.com

Last night I tried something out for the first time, and it worked so well I had to come and blog about it. Polleverywhere.com is a website that allows you to not only poll your students, but to embed the poll in PowerPoint and display the results in real time. Here is a sample poll so you can get the idea:

The one tricky part to this whole thing is that you have to remind the students to type the word "cast" then the number. If you don't type cast, it won't go through. So go ahead and try it out, it works great and is free for the first 30 responses (which is probably good for 75-100 students depending on how many text).

They also have a feature that allows students to text in questions, and those questions update in real time. I asked the teens last night who their favorite superhero was, and they gave all sorts of responses, including captain caveman and batman. Several students had fun just putting their own names or the names of their friends up there. For some reason I can't embed the poll here, or I'd show it to you, but it was great fun.

All in all, it's a very well done, easy to use site. I would highly recommend that you check it out.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And we're back!

Howdy! The last several months have been crazy for me, with trying to find a new job and all, so I decided to put blogging on hold for a few months until everything sorted itself out. Well, I've been at Lake Stevens AG for 1.5 months now, and I think things have settled down to the point that I can devote some time to this passion of mine. I have a fairly consistent group of regular readers and I’d like to know from you, what would you like to read about? After going through my stat reports, it looks like a lot of people come to my blog while searching for Jeremy Johnson. This is because of what I wrote here. But since I don't have funny Jeremy Johnson stories all the time, I'm looking for new material.

I know for sure I want to finish up my series, "What should I do after I get saved?", but then after that I'd like to know what you're looking for. So leave me a comment and tell me what you'd like to hear about.