On this edition of Our Picks, I wanted to share some awesome online resources with you. Throughout my time in ministry these websites have provided me with a lot of skills, resources, sermon tools, and much more. This will be part one of the picks because I didn’t want to overwhelm you with too much information. Instead, I want to encourage you to click through these resources and see what will be most helpful to you. Next week I will drop the second part and hopefully those will also be beneficial.
Some of the resources will be repeated from our last edition of Our Picks, but I will also go a little more in-depth about what you can find on each website. My prayer is that these resources can help you in your current ministry position and that they equip you and your ministry.
This is an amazing website with a bunch of free materials that is curated by Jonathan McKee and other youth ministry veterans. Jon is a great guy and friend, and the content he puts out is next-to-none. You can find free resources including thousands of games, discussion starters for movies and music, curriculum, messages, event ideas, articles, and much more. His online game generator is a must-have resource: simply plug in what you need and his website cultivates a game for your group. This is a lifesaver. Aside from all the free stuff, Jon also has tons of materials you can purchase and his books are phenomenal. I personally have purchased most, if not all, of his books for the solid materials and practical application they offer.
This is another website that Jonathan McKee has started because he understood the need for student ministry leaders to walk alongside parents and help equip them. This is a must-have resource for youth leaders as you look to walk with families and help them to be all that God has intended. Jon includes video game reviews, conversation starters for current music, discussions for current Netflix and Hulu series, cultural insight, curriculum, an opportunity to submit questions, and tons of amazing articles. Jon’s insight into the parenting world is solid, and will help you grow as a leader and shepherd to the families under your care.
This website has been churning out amazing student ministry sources for a long time and has a litany of great materials. The first thing you should do is create a log in and sign up for all their emails. You will get a ton of free resources sent right to your inbox that are great to have in your repertoire. Once you have your log in set up, click around the website and see what you can find. They have a freebie section that you need to just download everything from, and the paid resources are some of the best I have seen. The Deep Discipleship curriculum is amazing for student leaders or for small groups to work through as they grow in their faith. Also, if you are a church that has a D-Now weekend, make sure to check out all of their studies for that and you will find ready-to-go resources right in your hands.
If you haven’t heard of DYM yet, you need to check this website out! This is the brainchild of Doug Fields and Josh Griffin, and it was created as a place to have amazing curriculum, resources, and games. It also allows youth workers to sell their curriculum to others as a resource and means of income.
In order to utilize the full potential of the website, I would encourage you to create a log in and sign up for one of the memberships. It does cost money for the different memberships, but the Gold Membership is one the best deals in the youth ministry world. You get free downloads each month, online credit to the store, training resources, access to Sidekick (a ministry presentation tool and so much more), a newsletter builder, and much more.
There are also freebies on this website that are super helpful, but the curriculum and games can be lifesavers in student ministry. You can search based on your needs, the type of group you ministering to, and what you are looking to teach in order to help your youth group grow and flourish.
Youth Specialties is an awesome resource for everyone to be aware of. Their website hosts a job search function for youth pastors which allows you to search for a job, post a job, or search for applicants who may fit a need in your ministry. They also have a great blog that is curated by youth ministry veterans, current youth workers, and amazing writers from all over. The content that is provided is extremely beneficial for youth workers and will provide you with main tips and tools for working in ministry, as well as refreshing your mind and spirit. There is a great search function for the blog to find just what you need, so make sure to spend some time checking this out.
In order to have a successful student ministry, you must be thinking about ministering to the student holistically. This means, in addition to caring for the student, you have to be ministering to their parents, and their families. This website is one of the best out there for how to do just that. The materials they offer include a ready-to-go parenting website created for your ministry, tons of discussion starters and activities for parents, book reviews, articles, research, curated experiences for families, parenting classes, newsletter materials, and so much more. Another huge part of this website is they have content for either parents of students or parents of children, or you can get both and get all the material you need to help you minister to families.
There is a cost to all of this material, and they only open membership once a year. In order to know when the next enrollment period is, make sure to sign up at the bottom of the homepage. You will not regret this, and you will become a better youth worker as a result of leveraging this amazing resource.
An area many student ministries need to grow in is the transition from high school to college ministry. It isn’t always easy or fluid, especially when students are going away for school and entering a new environment. It is often hard for students to get connected to a church or ministry because they are overwhelmed or ill-prepared for how to even begin the search. This then leads to many students walking away from the church and their faith.
Enter Campus Ministry Link. This is a relatively new resource that is designed to combat the statistics and create a place to help students get connected to churches and ministries in colleges. This website is a search tool designed for students, parents, youth workers, and churches. Once you have selected the appropriate designation for who you are, you can search for schools and find the ministries and churches that are in that area. Or if you are a youth worker or church representative, you can add in your church information and help other students who are searching.
I recently rolled this out to our graduates and their families, and everyone was able to find at least one ministry or church near their school through this resource. The website also has some amazing resources including articles and video clips that are worthwhile and beneficial. I will say that since the ministry is just getting off the ground it isn’t foolproof or without glitches, but it is definitely a resource to have ready and one that I have found very helpful for my graduates.