Monday, June 25, 2012


As a recently married individual many times I am convicted about what it truly means to be a man.  There is a lot out there that our culture says about manhood.  Much of which is not found in scripture.

As a minister to students, many times they are looking at you as a role model to what true manhood looks like.

I think we have a man crisis in our nation, and men are not living up to their calling.

Last year I saw this video, it takes a minute to watch, but it is amazing, watch it, then I will pick up with the rest of my blog after the video.

The church today in America is running into a crisis.  If men won't finish well, who do the boys and teenagers in our student ministries have to look up to?  When men quit acting like men, and begin to act like boys, who leads in our congregations?

Pastors, Student Ministry leaders, the call falls on our shoulders.  If we don't step up, who will?

Are we ready to take the lead on this one?

If you want to check out this book I would recommend it, and not just simply for pastors or church planters, it is a book about how to lead a Godly marriage. I highly recommend it:

What, in your opinion, are we missing in the church today in regards to building up strong men?

How can we put a stop to this?

What are some ways in which you have tried to put a stop to this?

What were some of your favorite quotes from the video above? Mine was: "The story and the glory of the church, becomes bigger than the story and glory of God."

Guys, lets start today!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


What are some of your favorite youth ministry games?

I want this post to eventually turn into a page (I'm still working on the technical side of that and how to do it, so if you know how, let me know!!)

Here are a few of my favorite Student Ministry games:

  • Letter Game (10+ students needed)
In this game you can make a night of it. 
  1. Break your group up into teams.
  2. Instruct them to come up with a team name and cheer, then give them 10 minutes to do so.
  3. Have all teams come together and perform the cheer, award a winner, feel free to keep score or not (I usually choose not to, or give out bogus scores ie: 5000 points, a gold star, 3 thumbs up, etc.)
  4. Following that get on a perch, or if you're afraid of heights make a volunteer do it (stool, chair, table, catwalk, roof, be creative)
  5. Call out letters or numbers, after that the teams must lay on the ground and form that letter or number, the first team to form that letter or number, according to the discretion perch person, wins that round.  It can literally go on forever.
  6. At anytime you can call out pyramid, and the teams must form a pyramid using every team member.
  • Mafia (10+)
  1. Sit everyone in a circle and apoint a narrator (usually an adult leader, avoid students doing it)
  2. Everyone is a town's person in the city of (youth ministry's name)-ville, inside that city there are 3 mafia, 1 nurse, 1 sheriff.
  3. The goal is the mafia to kill off the towns people, and the towns people is to kill off the mafia
  4. Everyone goes to sleep, the narrator then appoints the people, one tap on the head is mafia, two is  nurse, three is sheriff (if you don't remember it goes alphabetically).
  5. Once the mafia is appointed and the town is all asleep, have them look up, make eye contact, and decide a person to kill, then put them to sleep.
  6. Wake up the nurse, have the nurse choose a person to save, put the nurse to sleep.
  7. Then wake up the sheriff, have him point to someone and you indicate by thumbs up or down whether they are good (towns person) or bad (mafia).
  8. Then wake everyone up and tell an elaborate story about who got killed (unless the nurse saved them).
  9. Now have everyone dictate who they think could be the Mafia. This is where the actual mafia people get to act a little bit by trying to confuse everyone that they are not actually the mafia.
  10. Once you come to a consensus on a person who they think is Mafia, you have a vote putting them on the chopping block, if the majority votes yes, that person is dead, if not enough move to the next person (you don't always have to kill someone at this stage, but usually it happens).
  11. Repeat the cycle by putting everyone to sleep (minus the person who died, they can watch, just can't talk). When there is only Mafia left, they win, if they all get killed off, the towns people win.

  • Powerpoint Games (any)
  1.  All you need is a projector, or tv of some sort.
  2. You can create little quizzes of 10 or so questions.
  3. Students can be individual or in teams for this.
  4. You can give our prizes for the winner at the end or just do it for fun.
  5. Google Powerpoint Games to find some, there are TONS out there!
Now its your turn, what are some good games that you know of? Post below and we will add them to the site, and give you credit!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fresh Start

Not all good things can last forever.

As a Colts fan (and as this blog was so aptly named prior to my revamping) we learned that back in March, when Peyton Manning choked out those famous last words before walking out of our lives and hearts forever, "I have always enjoyed being your quarterback."

Just scroll to 1:00 in the video and skip Irsay bumbling over his words and go to the heartfelt stuff.

The wise words of my idol on the football field, don't only work in competitive sports, they also work in life, and in youth ministry.  Not everything lasts forever.  God has a plan and purpose for you in your life where you are.

So in youth ministry, my guess, unless you are the rare exception, you will not retire from the same church in which you started with right out of college.  Which poses the question.  What are some good first steps when starting off with a new youth ministry?

I may not be the most experienced at this, but I did do it the wrong way the last time I entered a student ministry setting, and I want to make sure it happens the right way this time.

Here are just a few quick tips to make sure you start out the right way.

  • Get to know the surrounding adults
Yes, your job is with students, but if you don't get to know your peers you will be very lonely.  I think the key is understanding that students are not your best friends.  You have an obligation to them, but when you are hurting, where will you go?  What about your wife?  She will need to build friendships aside from the students you are ministering to as well.  So be intentional about setting up relationships with adults around you.
  • Don't change everything right away
You may already be knowing exactly what it is you want to change up.  But just wait.  Your goal at first is getting your self integrated into the fabric of the church.  If you're hired on a Sunday, and by Wednesday you have changed the name of the student ministry, the times, and the place of the meeting I bet everyone in the church already regrets hiring you.  Enjoy your early time at the church, learning names, meeting people, shaking hands, having conversations because eventually that will all go away.
  • Hang Out
Depending on the time you get hired, just find time to hang out with your new students.  Obviously be smart, don't hang out with a member of the opposite sex alone, but get groups together.  Bring them along when you start to paint the youth room or move couches around.  Go out for ice cream.  Attend the youth ministry events as just a volunteer for a couple of weeks before becoming the authority figure.  Student ministry is relational, and the sooner those relationships get built, the easier your job will be.

These are just a few quick tips that I would have as to how to start and make your mark on a church.  These are things that I would suggest.  Would I do other things? Absolutely!  But I guarantee that these things would help give you a good quick start to your new ministry.

But what about you? What did I miss in this post?  What else could someone do that would make a huge difference?  Leave comments below and lets discuss it!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This is our first Guest Post, and it is actually written by someone very close to me, my sister, Natalie Clason.  Enjoy her post and comment away!

As a student leader who just graduated from high school, I have seen the good, the bad, and the
ugly in Youth Groups and Student Ministries. I grew up watching my dad’s student ministries grow to the
extremes. A student ministry should be 10% of the amount in the congregation at the church. In the
church we attended of 2,000 people, my dad’s student ministry, on a big even night, would average
about 500 students. That number? The good.

The bad? That’s when the church is satisfied with the number they have. Yeah, they have more
than 10% of the congregation, they’re good. No, continue to grow! Continue to reach out to the
unsaved and the hopeless! Hopeless is pretty strongly negative. But, why would one have hope if they
don’t know what is going to happen to them after they die? Those are the kinds of people fully-devoted
followers need to reach out to. Everyone has a friend who needs reached out to. Reaching out to
someone does not necessarily mean talking about Jesus with them every time you talk. And it doesn’t
mean to tell them what they are doing wrong in their life and how to fix it. Reaching out to someone is
being Jesus to them: love them unconditionally and love God unconditionally.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” -
Matthew 22:37-39

The bad was bad, but the worst is the ugly. The ugly is the world. Our world is falling apart.
Everywhere you turn you find drugs, sex and alcohol. Usually the ones you find are doing these things
are between the ages of 13 and 18; underage. “Alcohol use remains extremely widespread among
today’s teenagers. Nearly three quarters of students (72%) have consumed alcohol (more than just a
few sips) by the end of high school, and more than a third (37%) have done so by eighth grade.” (http:// This is such an issue for me, because most kids grew up watching their parents do
drugs and come home drunk. Kids look up to their parents and normally obtain their habits. So, why
would my beliefs trump theirs?

Another part of the ugly is greatly related to the issue of the world: student leaders. Because of
the way people have conformed to the world, it is very difficult to find reliable and trustworthy student
leaders for a student ministry. In the church, the student leaders seem to be very mature and devoted.
But, as soon as they leave the church and hang out with their friends, they become conformed to the
world. They fall into peer pressure; they hang out with the wrong crowd and want to fit in. It’s hard for
them to bring friends with them to church who will make a decision in their faith. Because their friends
see the person who goes out and parties and has sex with his/her boyfriend or girlfriend. Their friends
may think that’s it’s easy to be a “Christian,” and the make the choice to do so. But, after the fact, they
don’t have anyone leading them in the right direction to the best walk with the Lord. How ugly is that? It
makes me so sad, and I have been so disappointed in the way my student ministry has gone. My youth
pastor is amazing, it’s just hard to minister to the kids of this world and trust some other student leaders.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you
will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” –Romans 12:2

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Missions Trips

camera caseIt’s never too early to begin thinking about summer trips and plans. In fact I like to be planned out by beginning of fall school year prior to the trip.  I think the main reason I like to do it this way is because if a trip is $1000 you can tell students that it will only take $30 a month to fund the trip.

I like to be strategic in my summer plans.  I love mission’s trips, but I think if you take one every single year they can get a little daunting.  Students need to go on mission’s trips in order to see a different side of summer.  They can stay home, go to camp, play with friends, sleep in, and play xbox. Or they can take a week out of their summer and help others.

I have found mission trips to be incredible life changing weeks.  Students see God in a new and very real way during their time away in the summer.  I believe that mission’s trips should be a staple of student ministry.

The following summer instead of recreating the mission’s trip from the previous year, which your students will want, because of the emotional connection they made, take your students to a leadership training seminar.  One organization that I endorse is Dare2Share ministries.  Use Dare2Share to help train, teach, and equip your students to vibrantly share their faith.

Finally, the following summer do something local.  Stay home.  Acts 1:8 says, “You will be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Show your students how to effectively minister in their Jerusalem.  You’ve already taken them to Judea, and you’ve equipped them, now show them that ministry doesn’t need to be thousands of miles away.  Ministry is where you are right now!

If you create this cycle you will stretch your students each summer in a different way.  Yes, a mission’s trip will stretch your students, but by their senior year, if they’ve done a mission’s trip each year, it’s no longer a stretch, it is probably comfortable.  This rotation keeps students moving outside their comfort zone, which will stretch and grow their faith.

What is your current summer plan?  Have you been successful setting up a rotation of summer events?

Monday, June 11, 2012


As many of you know I got married this past June 2nd.  And I know that this is not a "youth ministry" related post, but I also just wanted to keep you all in the loop as to what is going on in my life.

Another big thing and factor that is playing into my blog writing is that the current apartment that I'm renting is still "wi-fi-less." (Which, if you've gone your WHOLE life with wi-fi, and now you're without it, it is a tough cycle to break). So that makes posting my blogs regularly and on time a little bit more of a challenge.

I hope ya'll can be understanding.  Either way, here are some pictures!!

We got married at the Officer's Club at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.  You don't normally hear the groom saying this, but everything went amazing. Like it was seriously picture perfect!

Our photographer was Lisa White, and she did a phenomenal job! (She travels too so if you need a good photographer, hit her up!)
This was our first dance, and believe it or not, this picture was taken by a student of mine from my old student ministry.  Good picture Josh!

So immediately following our wedding we took off and left for Palm Coast Florida.  Our flight left at 5:30 on Sunday morning.  Therefore we had to be up and out of our apartment by 4. YIKES!  But we had a blast in Florida, and I wish our real life was like that where people waited on you hand and foot!
We spent a ton of time on the beach.  We didn't get burned (until of course the one overcast day).  One day we even saw some sharks in the ocean (needless to say, we didn't spend much more time in that water!)
Life is slowly getting back to normal.  I just wanted to share with you all what has been going on in my life.  If you want to follow the new Mrs. Clason on twitter, just follow the link (she's got lots of wise things to say!)

Wednesday we will have a typical student ministry post up!

Thanks again for reading!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Week Out

Hey Balanced Student Ministry readers!

I hope things are going well for you!

As you may (or may not) know I made a contract with you all that I would blog Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

This past Wednesday was totally my fault.  Its my wedding week (getting married tomorrow) and all my groomsmen are in this week.

This next week I will be on my honeymoon, so I am going to be spending time with my beautiful bride.

Keep your eye out for a post on Monday morning June 11th!

Thanks, and I look forward to talking to you soon!