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Creating Engaging Video Content for Your School

Whether you are coping with a global pandemic or living within a “new normal,” knowing how to make a video for your church and school is a valuable skill. Videos allow prospective families to not just read about your ministry but also see your ministry. Videos don’t need to be long; in fact, it is better to keep them short with key speakers and an inspiring song. When I am working with brands for my own social media, I prefer to make a 15–30-second video to showcase the product rather than typing a page about it, because it shows how I use the product in my everyday life. Videos allow prospective families to hear testimonials from teachers, students, and parents while envisioning themselves as a part of your community. If your church is wanting to market itself, showcase its campus, or run a fundraiser, a video is a great tool to use and a great addition to flyers you might create and distribute.

Epic Fails Are Normal

When was the last time you failed at something? Did you truly fail or just stop trying? 

In my work, I ask students to recall failure as part of our now-common virtual interactions. When middle schoolers or high schoolers answer, they usually reflect on a major test or quiz. When college students answer, their responses are more mixed, as experiences at that age are more diverse. Some speak of an entire course, while others venture into explorations of failed attempts at making a team or becoming a part of a group. We then talk about what we learned from failures and how weaving past mistakes into our approach can equip us for future success. These are all from a perspective we see commonly spoken about in our world today.

Prayer: Standing before God’s Throne on Earth

If there is a spiritual struggle I’ve heard colleagues and coworkers raise again and again, it’s the struggle to maintain a disciplined prayer life. Perhaps it’s the busyness of our modern lives; perhaps it’s because this is an often-unseen aspect of our Christian walk in the fishbowl of professional ministry. It can be all too easy to fall into the habit of offering perfunctory prayers at prescribed times and hoping those we serve don’t catch on.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Simon the Zealot

The Gospels reveal little regarding Simon the Zealot. It is important to distinguish Simon the Zealot from Simon Peter. As “Simon” was a common name in Jesus’ context, it is not surprising that the Twelve included more than one. Regarding this Simon’s name, “Zealot,” there are possibilities. Either “Zealot” is about the apostle’s passionate faith, or his membership in a New Testament group called the “Zealots,” or both.

Given that details of Simon are so spare, I will address a couple of issues related to Simon’s zeal.

How to Make a Video for Your Church and School Social Media Accounts

Although many churches and schools would agree that the use of video is important, those same churches and schools may still be trying to figure out the best way to integrate video into their services or to create videos for their social media accounts. 2020 has presented a new phase of using and integrating technology into our ministries.

Fall and Winter Church Year Celebrations at Home

Holy Week of 2020 was … different. It came at the end of a Lenten season that seemed about five years long, thanks to the chaotic and ever-changing coronavirus pandemic. By the time Holy Week rolled around, my family had been in quarantine for a month, and there was no end in sight. My husband, a pastor, had been working nonstop during that month, trying to keep the congregation connected to worship and learning opportunities. But Holy Week was going to be an entirely different kind of challenge.

How could he and the rest of the ministry team help congregation members learn and grow in faith if they weren’t going to be together during the holiest of weeks? Usually, we’d gather together for worship and other special events on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and then Easter Sunday’s festival celebration. This year, we were all sequestered at home, scattered and isolated.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Thaddaeus

Compared to others like Peter or Judas, we read little of this apostle. Therefore, this month I’ll present Thaddaeus related to his context. There is much we can learn from the events that took place where Thaddaeus was present.

God’s Plan and Purpose for Youth

There is an existential crisis among our youth. That is not to say that such a crisis is sudden, or even new, to this young generation. In many ways, this crisis is at the root of the many challenges and fears facing our country today. Beyond the political and cultural crises—even deeper than the genetic code of the coronavirus—there is a deep yearning to have a purpose in a world that seems to suggest there is none. The world might suggest such a reality, but nothing is further from the truth. Paul says that God has “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing … even as He chose us in Him before the foundation” of the cosmos to be “holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:3–4).

Ways to Support Church Families without Using Zoom

Many areas around the United States are cautiously reopening following months of city- and state-mandated quarantines during the coronavirus outbreak. Congregations, their pastors, and church workers are struggling to find the right balance between enthusiastically welcoming people back to in-person worship and education programs, providing programs that adhere to local health requirements and ordinances, and offering ongoing support for individuals and families who simply can’t return in-person just yet. It’s a tough balancing act, and much patience and grace are needed as we figure out what things like Sunday School and confirmation and youth group continue to look like during a pandemic.

Spiritual Care for Students Delaying Dreams

How long is your list of cancellations this year? Each month of 2020 seems to try to bring back one thing we lost and also takes away something many of us were looking forward to. A majority of my day is spent helping high school students who are transitioning to college. One of the most disappointing pieces of news that I have to deliver over and over again is telling a student that he or she waited too long to take advantage of an opportunity. Yes, deadlines are clearly stated, but additionally, some things “run out” if you do not jump on them quickly enough. In my job, this happens most often when classes fill up, when dorms reach capacity, or when scholarship money is used up. As if these missed opportunities were not difficult enough, many students in 2020 are also encountering cancellations from the world as well—through no direct fault of their own. We struggle in this together.