The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan's Resource Ezine

Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

In This Issue

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New "Top 10 Games" Lists: We Revamped Our Games & Icebreakers Page with Several New Features including Four Different "Top 10 Games" Lists

We are consistently adding ideas, updating resources, and revamping our pages to better serve you and help you in your ministry. Don't miss our newly re-vamped GAMES & ICEBREAKERS page!

Check it out. You'll see several new features:
  • You'll see a new link for "Top 10 Games" Lists. For years we have been expanding our game list and adding new ideas. Believe it or not, some people have been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of games on our page. So we decided to give you some resources providing you with some "favorites" among some of us here at The Source and some of our ministry partners. Check out these youth ministry favorites!

  • You'll also see a new link for our "Custom Game Search" Tool. If you haven't used this tool yet, you'll want to give it a spin! This "Custom Game Search" allows you to find a game or activity to fit your unique situation. Select your group size, room size, game type, messiness factor, desired prep time... then just hit the button. You'll love it!

  • We also just added a small but helpful little resource to the game category buttons on our GAMES & ICEBREAKERS page. We've added mouse-overs (simple little text boxes that appear when you drag your mouse over a button) to each game category button to describe in more detail what kind of games or activities you'll find on that page.

All this on our newly re-vamped

Something You Can Use Now: A great Video Clip Idea and discussion on prayer with small group questions, a scripture passage, and a wrap up talk

Ever looking for a discussion starter for youth group? Here's an idea from the movie "MEET THE PARENTS" with discussion questions, a scripture, and a wrap up talk. For free, as always!

(just head to your local video store and rent the "Meet the Parents" DVD... and we provide the rest!)

Understanding Prayer

Goal: Students will understand what Jesus taught regarding prayer in His Sermon on the Mount.

Before Your Meeting:
  1. Before your meeting, gather a white board and dry erase markers or flip chart w/bold pens. You will be making a Top 10 List on the chart. You may want to pre-write Reason #1, Reason #2, Reason #3, and so on, allowing space for you to write in student ideas.

  2. Create "Small Group Question Cards" (see sample below). Each student will need a question card and a pencil during Small Group.

  3. Make copies of Matthew 6:1-13 in two versions (printed below).

    I know lots of people who pray well
    1) Never True
    2) Rarely True
    3) Sometimes True
    4) Pretty True
    5) Definitely True

    Praying is important
    1) Never True
    2) Rarely True
    3) Sometimes True
    4) Pretty True
    5) Definitely True

    People can and should pray however they want
    1) Never True
    2) Rarely True
    3) Sometimes True
    4) Pretty True
    5) Definitely True

    I feel good about how I pray
    1) Never True
    2) Rarely True
    3) Sometimes True
    4) Pretty True
    5) Definitely True

    I could use some help with the topic of prayer
    1) Never True
    2) Rarely True
    3) Sometimes True
    4) Pretty True
    5) Definitely True
Opening Statement:
Tonight we're going to talk a little bit about prayer. Christians often mention prayer or praying. You see people do it at church; some people pray at home; sometimes you even see people pray in restaurants. Prayer can be confusing. Even people who follow Jesus and are committed to obeying God struggle with the subject of prayer. I'm interested to know what students think about prayer and what struggles they may have with the topic of praying.

Just for fun, let's create our own "Top 10" list including the Top 10 reasons people might struggle with prayer. Think about it for a minute, what makes prayer difficult? Or, why might someone NOT want to pray? I'll get us started:

(Write on white board or flip chart)

Reason #1 It's hard to talk to someone who is invisible.

What else? What can make prayer a struggle?

Allow students silent thinking time, 10-15 seconds. If more than one student answers at a time just say, "Hold that idea, I'll be right back to you..." and then return to students as you complete the Top 10 Chart. Don't look to adult leaders for answers until you have at least seven student answers, this allows students the time to really think and perhaps dig a little deeper in their own opinions as they consider the topic of prayer.

HINT: You may re-ask the question occasionally to keep students on topic. Simply re-phrase: "What makes prayer hard?" or "Why don't some people pray?" or "When is it difficult to pray?" or "How do people know what to pray?" You may include a few of your own answers. Be honest, setting an example for students which allows them the freedom and safety of being transparent or vulnerable.

When your list is complete, or even if you only get FIVE answers, wrap up the Top 10 List by saying something like this...

Introduction to Video Clip:
Prayer has been a part of my life for a lot of years. I have read books about prayer and I've been in Bible Studies about prayer, but sometimes praying is just hard. I feel like it's something that I'm supposed to do, but I don't always know HOW or WHY. Here's a silly movie clip that I can relate to. It's from a movie called Meet the Parents with Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro. Ben Stiller's character is in love with Robert DeNiro's daughter and they've been dating for about ten months. She finally brings him home to "Meet the Parents." Ben plays Greg; the nervous, in-love house guest who wants to impress the parents of Pam (DeNiro's daughter) and DeNiro plays a quirky dad who doesn't automatically like Greg just because his daughter does. In this scene, the four are sitting down to their first family dinner together. Watch this.

If you are going by Scene Selection, chose Scene #5, "Dinner with the Folks." On the DVD Counter, this scene begins at 24:00.

Scene Script:
    Greg: Wow Dena, everything looks fabulous. I'll tell you something, it's such a treat for me to have a home-cooked meal like this. Dinner at my house usually consisted of everybody in the kitchen fighting over containers of Chinese food.

    Dena: Oh, you poor thing! What? There wasn't enough food to go around, Greg?

    Greg: No, there was. We just never sat down like a family.

    Dena: Oh!

    DeNiro: Greg, would you like to say grace?

    Pam: Oh. Well, Greg's Jewish Dad. You know that.

    DeNiro: Are you telling me that Jews don't pray Honey? (To Greg) Unless you have some objection...

    Greg: No, no, no. I'd love to. Pam, it's not like I'm some kind of Rabbi or something. I've said grace at many a dinner table. (Greg starts to stumble through a prayer) OK, Oh...Dear God. Thank You. You are such a good God to us; a kind and gentle, accommodating God. And we thank you, oh sweet, sweet Lord of Hosts for the smorgasbord you have so aptly lain at our table this day...and each day...Day by day. Oh, Dear Lord, three things we pray: To love Thee more dearly; To see Thee more clearly, to follow Thee more nearly day by day. Amen.

    Dena: Oh Greg, that was lovely.

    DeNiro: Thank you Greg. That was interesting too.
End the scene at 26:16 on the DVD counter.

Transitional Statement:
Ever heard anyone pray kind of like that? Have you ever felt like that? It can be tricky business praying out loud; especially in front of people who you are just getting to know, or if you feel a little bit intimidated by the people around you. Maybe they seem to know more about prayer than you, or perhaps they've been Christians for a long time. I can really identify with Greg at that moment. He wanted to pull it off and impress Pam's parents.

Divide into Small Groups:
We're going to take some time in our small groups now to look a little bit closer at this topic of prayer. (NOTE: You will need the pre-printed Small Group Question Cards and pencils for each student.)

CLICK HERE for the rest of this VIDEO CLIP IDEA including the small
group questions, scripture and a wrap up talk

Movie Reviews: Get Jonathan's 2 cents on what to see and what to skip in the theatre and on DVD

As you know, every once in a while Jonathan gets an opportunity to screen new movies and pass on his "2 cents." Here's a couple new ones that you'll want to see... and a couple that you'll want to skip:

Barnyard: The Original Party Animals

Rated PG for some mild peril and rude humor.

Directed by Steve Oedekerk (writer of Bruce Almighty, Kung Pow, Patch Adams, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls)

Starring the voices of Kevin James, Courtney Cox, Danny Glover, Sam Elliott...


It's been a while since I've seen an animated film this good. Barnyard will end up on my DVD shelf next to Finding Nemo and The Incredibles.

It's funny; several people have tried to wiggle into the "computer animated" market in the last few years. We saw decent attempts from movies like Hoodwinked, and Home on the Range. But the final consensus is, "It was good, but it was no The Incredibles." Or "... no Finding Nemo."

I think Barnyard has made the leap.

The tagline for the movie is, "What happens in the barn, stays in the barn." Basically, when the farmer is away, all the animals play. But the story is really about a cow named Otis (Kevin James) who is thrown into the position of responsibility. Otis quickly learns the truth behind his father's words: "A strong man stands up for himself. A stronger man stands up for others."


Lady In The Water

Rated PG-13 for some frightening sequences.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Starring Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, M. Night Shyamalan...

JONATHAN'S SCORE: Theatre Worthy

I've seen two trailers for this film: the first is the one I call the "fairy tale" preview. It begins with the words "Once upon a time," ending with the words "A Bedtime Story by M. Night Shymalan." The second preview starts with eerie music, segueing into a typical horror preview.

Those who go to the theatre expecting the "fairy tale" won't be disappointed. Those who are looking for just another horror film might be let down. Lady in the Water is A Wrinkle in Time, not The Hills Have Eyes II.

I really enjoyed the film, but then again, I wasn't expecting a horror.

If you're an M. Night Shymamalan fan, I think you'll really like this film. Clarification: everyone who liked The Sixth Sense isn't exactly an M. Night Shymamalan fan. You have to ask yourself, did you also like Signs and The Village? Because Lady in the Water is much more about story and character development than jumps and plot twists.


V for Vendetta

Rated R for strong violence and some language.

Directed by James McTeigue (Assistant Director on all 3Matrix movies and on Star Wars: Episode II)

Starring (Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, John Hurt...)

JONATHAN'S SCORE: Theatre Worthy

After two very disappointing Matrix sequels... the pendulum has swung back and the Wachowski brothers have returned!

Andy and Larry Wachowski relinquished the director's chair to their assistant director from the Matrix films, James McTeigue. And wow... great directorial debut.

I don't know about you, but when I saw the ads to this film I didn't know what to think. The guy in the mask looked a little bizarre, Natalie Portman goes Sigourney Weaver on us with the shaved head, and John Hurt looks even nastier than normal (and trust me... this guy hasn't ever been on the cover of GQ). But something still intrigued me about the film... enough to go see it. I wasn't disappointed when it came to entertainment value.

"Remember, remember the 5th of November." The film is poetic and artsy. But not the kind of artsy that means BORING. V for Vendetta is original, well written, visually stimulating and filled with enough action to make you remember the good parts of The Matrix, but forget the over the top nonsense of the sequels.

The DC comic story is about a shadowy freedom fighter known only as "V" who uses terrorist tactics to fight against his totalitarian society in a futuristic Britain. Upon rescuing a girl from the secret police, he also finds his best chance at having an ally.

This was an incredible piece of film-making. I can't deny it. Too bad...because the film occasionally jabbed at the religious (in the fundamentalist sense), portraying them as intolerant, hypocritical and evil. Sad, the church was part of the corruption in this futuristic "big brother is watching" society. Apparently true freedom means "we should be able to do anything we want"...


She's The Man

Rated PG-13 for some sexual material

Directed by Andy Fickman

Starring Amanda Bynes


She's the Man is a 21st century version of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Amanda Bynes plays Viola, a girl who needs to dress like a boy just so she can be taken seriously as a soccer player. But then, like Twelfth Night, a love triangle develops that isn't resolved until the end of the story.

Is Amanda Bynes believable as a boy? No. Check your brain with the usher. But she is hilarious. Amanda Bynes is really talented. She's a natural comic and she's not afraid to make a fool of herself.

Unfortunately, she's also not afraid to cross the line.

PLOT SPOILER AHEAD: My wife and I watched this one together. We were laughing throughout and we really enjoyed the story overall, but the film earned it's PG-13 rating in several moments throughout the film... moments that would prompt parents to hit the pause button and remind our kids, "Now, we know that we aren't supposed to bare our breasts in public, right?"

Sure... the film didn't show Amanda's breasts (well, not her bare breasts anyway... Amanda's not afraid to show cleavage throughout her films). But in the pinnacle of the story, Amanda has her own Victor Victoria moment off camera. And her character's brother drops his drawers (off camera) for all to see as well.

Maybe the timing of this film hit me. I just finished speaking at a camp where I talked to teenagers about sex. In the final night of the camp, teenagers came forward and confessed areas of their life that they wanted to give up. They wrote out what they wanted to "give up to God" on a small piece of paper and laid it on the altar...


Free U.S. Shipping for Jonathan's Books: Right now you can get free U.S. shipping on Jonathan's book Do They Run When They See You Coming?, winner of one of Outreach Magazine's "Best Outreach Resource" Awards


Outreach Magazine's June 2006 issue announced their 2005 "Best Outreach Resources" award.Jonathan's book, DO THEY RUN WHEN THEY SEE YOU COMING? won in the Youth Outreach Category.

United States and we'll ship it to you

free via U.S Media Mail!

Do They Run When They See You Coming?
Youth Specialties new book by Jonathan McKee
dives right into the heart of how to reach out to
"unchurched" teenagers ... without scaring them off!


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