Culture Shock

Sometimes I’ll tell you what, I am downright surprised about what I find in youth culture. The things that were “bad” in my youth such as The Simpsons, Cheers, Married with Children and Metallica are now pretty mild in comparison. Our teens see old shows like that as pretty mild and acceptable in their own lives! New shows like, How I Met Your Mother, South Park and Family Guy have taken over the airwaves and they are more edgy. Musicians sing about orgies, lesbianism, drugs and alcohol like they are normal ways of life. This new culture has taken liberty to a whole new level and I wonder if there won’t be a new move toward Puritanism is the near future.

In the Bible we are called to be in the world, but not of the world.


Lesson Illustration Idea for Youth Ministry | Object Lesson

I saw this on FB on a friend’s page and I really liked it. Nothing too profound, but it is illustrative!

“Tried something fun today. I was teaching a group of high schoolers and junior highers about the Gifts of the Spirit -their purpose, accessing them, operating in them, etc. so I started by explaining that there is a “wireless network” that can be picked up anywhere. no device is needed to access. It is free to subscribe because the annual subscription fee was paid once by someone else a long time ago. there is a one-word password that has never been changed, nor will it ever be (hint: it is the first name of the person who paid the eternal lifetime sub subscription fee). The number of people on this network at the same time, in no way slows down the speed of downloads. The only reason the subscribers often down use is because they choose not to log on – if more subscribers only realized all the benefits of the “KOG network”!

10 iPhone Apps Youth Workers Might Find Useful

10 iPhone Apps Youth Workers Might Find Useful

student ministry iphone apps

Just thought I’d share a few of my apps that get me by when I am in a pinch. Am I missing an important app that would be beneficial for youth workers? Let me know.


Creative Whack Pack– This is a fun way to take old ideas and see them through a new lens. Nice for the price, considering I paid $20 for the actual card pack.

Receipts Lite– Ever get in trouble for not turning in your receipts? This will help you budget and get those receipts in. For more detail, get the paid app.


Guitar Tool Kit – I have to fill in sometimes to play for worship. This app is great for me because it has a tuner and a ton of chords I can look up.

Atomic Fart– Need I say more?

You Must Choose– Fun digital version of the Would You Rather books. Great for road trips or small group openers.


IBook– This is a pretty good app for reading books on your phone. You can save your page, highlight paragraphs, and make notes.


POW– This is a fun app and a different way to post pics of your students. You can make short comic strips complete with dialogue bubbles. Oh the stories you could tell.


Fluent News– This is a great app because is culls major news organizations and picks top stories. You can also check stories by categories and save the stories you like in a folder.


Story Cubes– This is a fun tool to get kids to make a story. Shake your phone and roll the dice. Each student has to take a die and make the word on the die part of the group story.

Word Twiddle– Feeling stuck for a word or thought? This random little tool may jog your memory. I use this sometimes when thinking about new names for youth programs.


See the original post at Called to Youth

Fun Game High School Ministry!

Last night we played “The Adventures of the Traveling Gnome” at our high school group. We started with a BBQ, then went into worship and the message for the night, and we left about 1 1/2 hours at the end of the night for the game. I wasn’t sure how it would go. I started with the template from The Source 4 YM with their game called “kidnapped gnomes“, but I wasn’t too impressed. So I tried to spice it up a bit by having each of my adult leaders use their iPhones to film each one of the tasks (which are worth certain amounts of points) and then send me their clips so I can edit them this week. Next week we will watch each groups’ video and judge which one is the best 🙂

So here’s the basic idea. We split our group into three teams of 6 (a carload) and gave each team a gnome. They had to name their gnome, someone had to be the voice of the gnome, and the had to give him/her a personality. Then each group had a list of items they needed to film their gnome doing with it’s personality/name/voice. For example:

50 Points Each
Drinking coffee at a coffee shop
Shopping for vegetables at a grocery store
Playing on a swing set
Going to school
Dancing or playing an instrument
Driving a car as if in a speed chase
Trying to get in a store that has a “Closed” sign up

100 Points 
Caught in the act of trying to escape
Eating with chopsticks
Having a conversation with another LO about the experience
Being interviewed by a reporter about his/her adventures so far

200 Points
Asking a stranger for a date
Posing with a community or emergency worker (paramedic, fire dept. personnel, police officer, etc.)
Working behind the counter at a fast food joint
Posing by a house with a “For Sale” sign & saying why they like this house
LO doing a TV commercial for a product

Prizes will be awarded for: 
Blockbuster Award: Most Points
MTV Award: Single funniest scene
Director’s Award: Funniest overall video

Our groups’ video ends with the gnome in Heaven after a deadly car crash resulting in the high speed chase that resulted in being caught breaking into the closed dry cleaners shop while trying to get his dry cleaning from spilling sushi on his clothes while eating with chopsticks after a hard day’s work making a commercial for a dental company… It was a saga.  And the kids loved it.

The cool thing (and the hard part from my perspective), is that the kids are looking forward to seeing their videos next week and seeing who won.

Here is our group video with a little sneak peek…

Training and Networking

Online Youth Ministry Training

One of the most profound ways that we can grow as youth workers is through the continual deepening of our relationships, and through continuing education. Most churches will offer some kind of fund for conferences, books, continuing education; it is usually just a matter of asking. And it doesn’t matter if we are a paid staff member or a volunteer who believes in investing in the lives of our teens, the importance of YOUR personal growth is still critical.

Last night we had “The World’s Largest Ice Cream Sundae” which consisted of 4 gallons of ice cream, an entire bottle of chocolate and caramel syrup, three jars of cherries, one jar of nuts, three cans of whipped cream, and 10-15 bananas.  We sat in a row, all 9 of our high school students, and ate from a 10 foot plastic rain gutter! It was delicious! I cannot wait to tell my friend Nate Dame, a youth ministry volunteer and the founder of Called To Youth; that’s the power of networking. It is a relationship with a person on the other side of the country who I have only met through Google Hangouts- yet I cannot wait to tell him about this activity and HOW MUCH FUN IT WAS.


Called To Youth Ministry is offering several new opportunities for you to network with other youth pastors and volunteers dedicated to seeing their youth ministry grow. These groups are limited, we can only take 9 participants per group to be led by a veteran youth pastor/minister. We limit the groups for several reasons, but one of them is to keep them intimate so every person is able to share their own experience and we can all learn from the groups.

I know that in my ministry here in San Diego, these groups have been so very important in sharing my struggles, getting ideas, being encouraged to keep moving forward and I believe they will do the same for you.


Groups offered on Tuesdays at 9am and Thursdays at 7pm Central Standard Time will be Creating a Movement of Student Discipleship. Creating a Movement is designed to help you figure out the nuts and bolts of a plan for deep discipleship. It’s focus is on the long-term impact of youth ministry and strategic planning for the future as we seek to make disciples of Jesus.

The training is a unique online experience for youth pastors, injected with the type of networking that only happens when a group of youth pastors get together to talk and pray about what only youth pastors understand. Register now to get the tools and support you’ve been looking for.

The group offered on Thursdays at 10am Central Standard Time will be from the Priorities series specifically focused on prayer. Without question, the person of Christ was the most influential person to ever walk the earth. Priorities is a new series focused on exploring the foundational principles Jesus lived and taught so you can apply them in your own youth ministry.

The goal is not just to “teach” these topics to students. You will be equipped with tons of practical ideas that will help them take ownership of these principles in their own lives so they can reflect the life of Christ.

Now What?

You can sign up with me right now. Any time before May 2 and you will get a $10 discount just for being an early bird. And you know what they say about the early bird. Get on it, you won’t regret it!

Creating a movement Tuesday at 9am CST sign up: $45 before May 2. Regular price is $55.

Creating a movement Thursday at 7pm CST sign up: $45 before May 2. Regular price is $55.

Priorities: Prayer Thursdays at 10am CST sign up: $35 before May 2. Regular price is $45.

The Power of Our God

The Power of Our God

By: Chris Rollman

 One of the biggest gifts you can give the teenagers that you love and lead is that you are committed to praying for them. Spending focused time each and every day in prayer petitioning the God of the universe, on their behalf, is absolutely invaluable in the grand scheme of things. I used to think the more wisdom I could impart, or the more that I could teach, or the more that I could somehow get into a teenager’s mind, that all of that would make more of a difference. And then I realized that there was something far greater then all of my wisdom, all of my effort in this area, all of the relationship clout that I carry with a teenager that I’ve invested in and it is that I have the God of the universe ON my side. As I pray for teenagers, I am trying to pray things that I believe God desires for their heart, families, lives, and relationships. I want to pray the will of the Father and be very careful about praying that “my will” be done.

People sometimes talk about the power of prayer in someone’s life. I have never liked the phrase because it would seem to me that there isn’t ‘power in prayer’ rather we serve a powerful God that we have the privilege of talking to. Often, he chooses to answer in powerful ways. He chooses to give life to the lifeless, heal the sick, blind, and wounded and totally restore brokenness. As I have prayed, I have seen teenagers released from addiction, become free from demon influence in their lives, give up whatever had them captured internally, and work out destroyed relationships with their families to total restoration. I have seen teenagers go from questioning the very existence of God to being totally convinced that he is ‘there, real, and active.’ I didn’t see these things in the days previous where I worked my tail off to address issues like this in teenagers’ lives. It was only when I started praying and asking God to give clarity and direction in this way that strange, bizarre, amazing things started happening.

I remember being on a mission trip (don’t crazy things always happen on those?) and coming upon a couple in our hotel lobby who seemed distraught. We had prayed passionately about an hour before for opportunities to love people that came into our path and this seemed like an opportunity. We took a few minutes to stop, to listen to what they had been through and experienced and heard a crazy tale. They had been robbed at gunpoint, most of their things had been taken, and this hotel was where the police brought them until they could recover some of their things. We offered to pray with them and they accepted (probably because they were in a moment of utter desperation). I remember praying confidently (on the outside) that they find all of their ‘stuff’ and that it be recovered in a timely fashion. On the inside, I had very little hope (which is not how you are to pray, according to some parts of scripture!). Honestly, they were alive and that was a blessing amidst the circumstances that they had found themselves in. No sooner had we got done praying that they got a phone call and recovered their materials. Our God is great, and most worthy to be praised! (Psalm 145:3).

This focus on praying for the teenagers that I work with and serve has not come easy and has been a process. There were several barriers to getting to the point where I could really focus daily on praying for them.

  • My own Pride
  • Theology of Prayer
  • Do I have time?

My own Pride

The truth is, I often believe that somehow I can help, assist, or even change someone from the inside out. And the reality is, that is God’s job only. You would think that I would have learned this a long time ago (Like after Adam and Eve gave a great example of what happens when pride takes control! Genesis 3) but I am in a continual learning track in this area. I want so desperately to protect, to save, to restore brokenness that I try to do this in my own strength and power. I lived frustrated for years doing this. I would ask my wife regularly, “What am I doing wrong that we are not seeing life transformation?” She would respond with something about staying faithful and trusting God to do the work. And that is exactly the answer that I needed to hear but was not willing to hear, until one very special occasion.

There was a student that we were working with that had some significant barriers to God in their own life that would go back and forth between following Jesus and rejecting Jesus. I never knew where this particular student was in their relationship with Jesus and I would regularly ask them to try and help them forward. I remember the day when the student pulled me aside and said, “Chris, I know that you love me. I know that you want me to be ‘changed’. I realize that you want me to follow Jesus. But until Jesus reveals himself to me, I will not follow your efforts. I need to know that God is who you say he is. So keep praying for me. Keep telling me who he is. Keep loving me. But don’t try and change me. You can’t.” That hurt and it was good. I had invested years of my life into this student. I wanted so badly to see them follow Jesus. But this conversation was revolutionary in the world of prayer for me. I had to relegate my efforts to simply crying out to the God of the universe on their behalf. God did his thing and came through. He revealed himself to this particular student. There are still other students that I have not had the privilege of seeing be transformed from the inside out, but I no longer carry the burden of trying to ‘change’ someone. That is God’s burden and my only burden is to cry out for them on their behalf to the God of the universe. He is all powerful, all things are possible with Him (Matthew 19:26).

Theology of Prayer

This was a barrier for me because I didn’t want to turn into someone that always simply makes requests of God, rather, I wanted to be someone that trusted him deeply and knew him well. I also had experience praying for something and then God didn’t come through. These experiences were painful. I had constructed a theology of prayer from my experience (which is dangerous) instead of from scripture (which would have been more healthy.) If this is a barrier to you praying, I would encourage you to get in the scripture. Find what principles, examples, patterns, and outcomes of prayer are held in scripture and begin to live some of them out. Begin to grasp the power and awesome nature of our God through prayer. I am more convinced today then I was yesterday that prayer is really the conversation piece of my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am able to have an ongoing discussion with my Savior (even if sometimes it seems one sided) but praying for people, for me, on behalf of someone else, etc. I’m also convinced that prayer highlights when God works and bring glory to God. If the Westminster Shorter Catechism holds truth that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever” then prayer does that. I can ascribe greatness to God’s name when I pray. When transformation and change was all up to me, I was often unable to do so and actually lived in a false humility. I would say things like, “I worked really hard to help make this happen, but really, it was God who did the work.” I didn’t believe that for a moment. But when prayer invaded my life and practice, I realized that God was glorified and I was humbled in my own right. I need to be humbled.

I don’t have time.

I’m a Pastor and Pastoral duties call. Answering email (which I find nowhere in scripture, by the way), making hospital calls, meeting with other folks, leading discussions, bible studies, and speaking at events, administrating staff and budgets, these are all things that I found myself doing. I had heard that the average Pastor spends less then 30 minutes per week in prayer and as I looked at my life, I realized that I was that guy. I used to take tremendous pride in efficiency. I could get a lot done in a short amount of time and I had delegated prayer to that same mindset. I needed to get a lot done in a short amount of time so I would put together an amazing list and pray through it quickly. The point of prayer was to ‘get through’ instead of to ‘pray through’ and develop relationship with the God that saved me. Once I realized the priority was not about praying more things but about a relationship issue, I tossed aside the list and begin to pray inefficiently. God no longer gets the list from me, but I get from God the intense love and clarity that only he can offer.

So What?

The power of our God is not able to be matched. He calls us to pray. He calls us to pray passionately. If you are leading teenagers in any capacity, one of the priorities that you can hold is to pray for them. There are several next steps that I would suggest if this is an area that you want to grow in and be intentional in.

·      Examine your own heart and life to see whether pride has kept you from giving the glory of transformation and life change to an almighty God that can do all things.

·      Read “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson

·      Search “Prayer” in scripture and begin to construct a biblical theology and worldview in this area.

·      Develop a ‘prayer team’ that would pray for each student you work with pairing an adult to each student. Give them instruction in these areas.

·      Share stories of “God’s glorification” with other members of your youth ministry staff and church.

·      Begin to keep a journal and log of what God does as you continue your relationship with Him through prayer.

If God never answered a prayer again with an affirmative, I know that he is faithful and that he has saved me from eternal punishment. What a great gift! Why wouldn’t I spend time in his presence, praying like crazy for students that I love and care about so much, but that he cares about and loves even more?

About Chris:

Chris Rollman is married to a wonderful woman, Cassie, and they have two pretty cool kids. Isaiah is a handful but a wonderful handful and Evy is a bundle of joy and a lot of fun! Chris is also a board member and contributor at If you want to contact Chris, you can email him at or check out his twitter,, or find himon facebook.