2 New Resources for Blogging and Social Media


My friend Jeremy Smith, who writes for 78 Productions, just released two eBooks on Download Youth Ministry. Let me pause the rest of this post by saying two things:

1. I love 78 Productions. The content that they put out is Class A for technology and media in the church. I am a total idiot when it comes to this stuff, and since I’ve known Jeremy, this site, and people who network on this topic, I’ve improved drastically. Which is why the two eBooks are going to revolutionize the way you do ministry.

2. I love Download Youth Ministry. They have 3 of my 6 favorite female bloggers on there, for one. For two, everything they do, they excel at. They are pretty much amazing. I’m glad these resources are available on this site, and I hope they understand that the contributors at YouthMin.Org have a bromance (sismance?) for them.

Now that my initial advertisements are over, I will get to the main course! I got to read these eBooks very thoroughly, as I had the privilege of editing them (during a hazed migraine…so forgive me if and when they aren’t perfect!). Here are my brief reviews of the eBooks.

Retweeting the Church: 40 Social Media Ideas for Youth Workers


When you think of social media, there are typically two camps of answers: You either love it and desire to utilize it or you freak out and avoid it completely, even though you know you probably should use it. According to 78P, 46% of churches say that social media is their most effective method of reaching out to their community.

This eBook offers tons of practical ideas for: games, ministry opportunities, utilizing volunteers, equipping parents,and even soul care for professionals. This book is great, no matter what kind of ministry you are involved in. I will honestly use this book very often.

Practical Blogging: 52 Blog Post Ideas for Churches


Did you know that: The average company that blogs generates 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages. (Source: 78P)

Have you ever read something and went, “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?!” That’s how I felt about this eBook.  Everything about this is completely practical, and easily translatable to any ministry. Whether you’re a senior pastor, communications director, youth pastor, or just a ministry blogger in general, this book will give you ideas to improve your blog. As a blogger, there are many ideas that I will be able to translate to my own blogging.


GO. BUY. THESE. At $5 each, these eBooks give you countless practical ideas to use. Seriously: Just do it.

Truth Seekers

media, music

Okay, so maybe I’m overreacting… but today I was looking in the top albums on Google Play Music, and I noticed a trend in album titles.  I then went to iTunes and got a better list:

  • Magna Carta…Holy Grail by JAY Z
  • Don’t Look Down by Skylar Gray
  • Yeezus by Kanye West
  • Born Sinner by J. Cole
  • The Gifted by Wale

That’s just in the top 6. Thank you Ciara for the self-titled album to mix things up. Oh, wait, you’re explicit.

Other Top Album titles that are popular include religious references as well (my favorite title is (The Devil put Dinosaurs Here by Alice in Chains…made me chuckle), and that’s before you even click on the song lists of those albums.

I’m not going to go on a rant about “devil music” or “post-post-post-modernism” and “false prophets.” I think that many people are more gifted than I in spreading those messages when appropriate. I also don’t think it’s a “new thing” that secular music uses some religious themes in its music.

I’m just going to say one simple thing: The world is watching Christianity and religion in general.  They have something to say, too.  And they are also watching our responses.

One more thing: seek out truth for yourself in scripture.

Last week we encouraged our high school girls small group, when reading chapter 5 of Crazy Love, to go into the Gospels, drop our predispositions, and read about Jesus for ourselves.  The group will discuss what we discover, and frankly, I’m pumped.

Don’t listen to popular media or even what your church/pastor “pass down” to you. Seek it out using only red letters.

Videos for Student Ministry

fun video, lessons, media, music, youth ministry, youthmin.org


I would love to tell you about a NEW RESOURCE for STUDENT MINISTRY!

I can’t tell you how many times people in our YouthMin.Org private Facebook Community post the day of youth group, “Hey, does anybody have a video for ______?”

I usually hit up Google and give half-serious, half-kidding, but all-terrible videos for them.  I can’t blame them–how many times have I been an hour before youth group and gone, “I’m gonna need to fill an extra five minutes” or “I bet Francis Chan could explain this wayyy better than me” or “I need something funny to connect this truth to my students.”

That is where VideosForStudentMinistry.Com comes in!

There are many different categories. I’ll share some of my favorites for you!


Stuff Christian Singles Hear. I’ve heard 100% of these. :)

Sermon Jams

Jesus is the Victorious Ever Present God by Judah Smith. Can’t help but scream AMEN!

Music Videos

“Tell the World” by Lecrae. This is my current favorite song.

Spoken Word.

“GOSPEL” by Propeganda. 100% of youth groups need to watch this. Even white brothers gotta shout.

Clips that teach.

I am Second (Yo Soy Segundo) by Albert Pujols. I had to rep my man, even if he quit repping my city. BONUS: en español!


Go to the site, browse, and suggest videos you know! This new site is all a part of the NEW YouthMin.Org that will be launching VERY VERY SOON.  My friend Frank Gil has been working hard on this!

Feeling Boujie

Blogs about Heather, christ, faithfulness, fun video, identity, media, music, testimony

Holy cow, I can’t even describe how I’m feeling right now.  5 years ago, I was dirt poor both physically and emotionally.  I surrendered my life to ministry and went off to college, and my life drastically changed.  When I had my first hot shower in three years, I knew things were going to be different.  And while I’ve recently had some bits of financial blessing, it’s the love that I have discovered from my friends and Christ that make me feel boujie.

I’m sure all of my white friends are like, “What’s boujie?” Boujie is when a person acts as if they are rich (they may or may not be, in my particular culture it means they aren’t). So, usually this has a negative connotation. Yet I feel like I’m living life as if it has value, as if I have value. I feel like I have it all (even when my bank account says otherwise). I am boujie.

For fun, I included this video to describe the word “boujie”…and an insight to my life living in St. Louis ;) (excuse the one curse word)

Using Twitter to Network in Ministry

media, networking, youth ministry

Some people don’t understand the “point” of Twitter.  I absolutely love Twitter.  Some use Twitter to get breaking news from sports teams, celebrities, and news corporations.  I do that.  Some use Twitter to post everything they are doing that day. I’ve occasionally done that.  Some use Twitter to be passive aggressive about something.  I’ve been guilty of that.

But my favorite usage of Twitter is networking, especially with others in Youth Ministry.  When I was in college, I was an officer in the Baptist Association of Christian Educators, a national organization of Christian educators dedicated to networking.  My position was to facilitate connections with others going into ministry within my university.  BACE became my and the other officers’ baby, as our understanding of the need of networking within ministry increased.  Why is networking with others in ministry important?  That’s simple.  Because ministry is relational; networking provides resources, encouragement, and communication.

Twitter is a great way to network.  You can connect with people without exposing your profile to “creepers” like on Facebook.  There are many people who I communicate with on Twitter that I wouldn’t “friend” on Facebook because they are two completely different kinds of networking.  Facebook is more for connecting with real-life friends.  Twitter is more for connecting with people who you may not have met in real life, but still gain some kind of relationship with without sharing too much personal information.

Here are some #TwitterTips for networking with others in ministry, thanks to Rachel Blom @youthleadersac, searching #TwitterTip, and some own interpretations and pet peeves…:

  • Follow religious leaders, other ministers from around the country/world, and teen news sources.  All three will give you a nice plethora of information.  Make “lists” on Twitter to keep track of different groups of people.
  • Be generous in retweeting others’ posts. It’s a compliment and builds connections.
  • Tweet a mixture of personal and professional tweets.  Why?  Because the professional tweets give people resources, the personal tweets give people a relationship.
  • Do not tweet your personal blog post multiple times a day.  Maybe twice, perhaps three times; but posting the same personal blog post more than that is grounds for the “unfollow” button.
  • Don’t make your personal Twitter your Twitter for your ministry group…if you tweet dozens of times a day, parents don’t want to read that.
  • Post prayer requests.  There are Twitter accounts dedicated to praying for youth pastors.
  • If a stranger legitimately replies to your post, respond! You’re not too good for any Twitter relationship (if the account is legit).
  • If you want your tweet retweeted, leave room so they can do so. When retweet others’ posts, add a comment so show then your appreciation.
  • #HASHTAG. This is how you will find people to network with.  Hashtagging makes it simple to find the kind of information you want and people to follow.  My favorites are #stumin, #youthmin, #uthmin, and #fammin
  • Post a variety of resources.  In my Twitter feed, you will see news stories, music to listen to, blogs, and products.  They are all related to Student Ministry, but there is a lot of different resources
  • Follow people who follow you. It’s just polite. And there must be some reason they want to follow you, so check that out.
  • Attracting followers means communicating with them.  Don’t expect to have 1000 followers if you don’t talk to any of them.
  • Put the type of people you want to follow you in your Bio. If you want to network with those in ministry, put you are in ministry. Simple.
  • Try tweeting at different times throughout the day and see when you get the biggest response.
  • Numbers aren’t everything. It can be pretty easy to gain hundreds of followers, but would you rather have numbers or community? (sounds like a Jesus Juke!)
  • Tweet people the way you would want them to tweet you.

There are many things I am missing. For more #TwitterTip, look up that hashtag on Twitter. Also, here are the official Twitter Rules.

Question: What #TwitterTips am I missing?

Entitled…to what?

christianity, jesus, media, social activism

As Americans, we have rights: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  But we have other rights too, correct?  Right to a lawyer, right to vote, right to fair pay, right to etc.  All of our rights were fought for, and we still fight for them today.

We believe we have other rights, and although they may or may not be in the constitution, we still believe we are entitled to them.  We believe we are entitled to equality, a high-paying job, to be debt-free, successful relationships, success in general, etc.

As Christians (and also as ministers), we still believe we are entitled to things (not necessarily because of our Christianity, I’m saying in general).  We are entitled to that seat in church that “is ours,” entitled to eat first at the potluck, entitled to the best parking spot, etc.

Did Jesus have something to say about this?  Why else would I be writing this blog post?

And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 14: 7-11

Yesterday our guest-preacher at church talked about a “Mop Bucket Attitude.”  Even when you are the highest position at your company, you should still be humble enough to mop the floors of the bathroom. He gave to illustrations–When he himself was the school principal, he was the one who, for some reason, was called every time a toilet was clogged.  Perhaps it was because he was accustomed to having his hand in deep crap all day as a principal (cue laugh).  He also told the story of a young man who was beaten in Africa.  When he came over to school in America, the principal told him he could have any dorm room on campus.  The young man says, “Give me the room that no one else wants.”  The principal wept, as did I when I heard this.

I have been feeling extremely entitled when it comes to…everything.  “I’ve been here longer, so I should get more benefits.” “I am an expert in X, therefore you are lucky you are even being graced with my presence.” “I know more than you about X, therefore I should be the leader of this organization.” Etc. We all feel this way sometimes.  But what we need to be is humbled.

Phillippians 2 talks about how Jesus Christ, although God, humbled himself to be just as a man.  This is the “Mop Bucket Attitude” that we need. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”  Not even that, but he died for men.

We have the show “Undercover Boss”, a show where the CEO of companies start at the lowest job in their company and see how things run, as well as attempt to do the “Mop Bucket” jobs.

The difference between this guy and Christ is plain: Christ was willing to do these jobs, and never complained.  Also, Christ is not a Cubs fan.

As Christians, we are called to abandon our rights.  Our life is supposed to be about glorifying God.  To hold onto what we believe we are entitled to is futile.  We are not entitled to anything, but death.  Yet God gave us grace, something that we SURE don’t have the right to have, and he sanctified us and made us righteous.

Green Lantern, Thi’sl, Fear, my new job, youth ministry…they all connect, I promise.

media, unchurched, youth ministry

If you have been reading my Twitter feed or my Facebook statuses, you probably know that now on top of being a full-time student and part-time youth minister, I also now put in 32 hours at a girls’ shelter every week.  This shelter is a transitional living setting for teenage girls who have a range of issues, with most being mildly mentally retarded (“low functioning”) and having anger/aggression issues.  They have either been taken away from their families, or their families have given them up to the foster system.   Most have assault charges, many from the shelter workers, and many from their family (siblings, parents, grandparents, you name it).  This is a tough job.  I’ve been having nightmares about these girls.  They are for the most part as sweet as can be, but they get mad from the smallest (and seemingly strangest) triggers.  And when they get mad, they are likely to get physical.  It’s a difficult job.

I’m passionate about teenagers and youth ministry, that is no secret.  I am working in a church, and I love it.  The problem I have had in church work is that I’m not dealing with “real” issues it seems sometimes.  When I left St. Louis, I knew eventually I wanted to do inner-city ministry.  I want to work with people whose lives have been traumatized by drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, and abandonment.  These are issues that I know about.  I was needing something more than these “perfect kids” (which I am thankful for at times–makes my job easy! ;)).  This job gives me girls that, although aren’t in the “inner-city” area, have the same kinds of issues.

But they kind of scare me, something that I didn’t really think would happen.  I suppose it’s because if a girl with anger/aggression issues gave me a dirty look, the old me in STL could intimidate her back.  She cursed at me, she could get it back.  She fought me, I could fight her back.  But that’s the old Heather, a Heather who wasn’t concerned about how to help these girls, but how to not get my butt kicked.  So I’m fearful–how do I communicate with these girls, get them not to fight me, and spread the love of Jesus Christ to them all at the same time?

We saw the movie “Green Lantern” together last week, and the movie had a great message that I didn’t realize until now–we are to operate from will, not fear.  Will should be the guiding fuel for everything we do, not fear.  Fear is the tool of the enemy; the enemy uses fear to attack us.  We should be using our innermost desires to guide our actions.  For these girls, they want to be loved.  They’re fearful that they can’t so they operate from that fear.  If they operated from their will, they wouldn’t really use harsh words.  They would do everything they can to help others, to be kind, to be fair, and to be everything that Christ was and is.

Another thing that really spoke to me is the song “I Signed up to Die” by Christian rapper Thi’sl.  This song is about missionaries–whether local or abroad.  I was reminded that I am a missionary to these girls.  My responsibility is to be Christ to them, because they have never seen him and have no clue what Jesus was about. And what if they attack me?  What if they hurt me?  I signed up for this.  They need someone who is fearless of them, someone who is there out of love.  Love that can ONLY come from the Father.

Live such good lives so that when they speak against you as doing wrong, they’ll see your good deeds and glorify God. 1 Peter 2:12 (Heather Standard Version)

This is what I need right now.  They think I’m wronging them every time I discipline them or restrict them from doing things that they want.  But when they speak against me as hating them, they’ll realize that everything I do for them is for their own good, and out of Love.  Reminds me of how we cry out to God, “God, why do you hate me?  What did I do wrong?”  Yet God has never left our side, never forsaken us; always had our best interest at heart, an interest that desires for us to be like Him.  That’s my responsibility with these girls.