Monday, 26 November 2012

Be in the world differently

This youtube clip was posted around Facebook recently. It is certainly encouraging and inspirational...until you get to the end and find out that its an ad for Coke. Then you are left feeling just a little bit manipulated.

When the video did the rounds the last bit was edited out so that people didn't know it was an ad, until people starting posting the real source.

Despite the video being an ad it still touches something deep within us. It reminds us that (even if in this video it is staged) no matter how bad we think the world is small acts of kindness, grace, joy can make a difference. If this wasn't the case the ad would fail to move us.

While the cameras are watching us to catch us doing evil, they also catch us doing good, being loving, kind and free.

For me this video reminds me that as Christians we are meant to be caught "red handed" living in the world in a different way. The youtube clip gives us a starting point for helping students think about what a life lived in the Kingdom of God might look like.

I wonder...if we could watch all the security camera footage of ourselves ever captured, what would it show?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Youth Mental Health First Aid

All of us who work with young people, especially teens and young adults, will probably find ourselves encountering someone with a mental health disorder, illness or problem sooner or later.  How should we respond?

Recently, I undertook a two-day course called "Youth Mental Health First Aid."  I imagine there are a few of these kinds of courses around, so this is not just a straight ad for a particular provider, but it certainly gave me fresh insights into how to deal with troubled young people (and the price seemed very reasonable).

In the same way as a conventional First Aid course, we were given a manual to study over the two days and then take home.  While I can't share the entire contents here, it strikes me as a very useful book to have on the shelf, with stacks of sound clinical advice, numerous resource links and, featured throughout, the artworks of young people themselves illustrating their own illnesses or problems, with their comments on what they were thinking at the time they created their artwork.  These thought-provoking pieces lend authentic and colourful youth voices to what could otherwise be a rather 'black and white' text.

Over two days, we discussed developing mental health problems (depression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders, substance misuse) and mental health crisis situations (suicidal thoughts and behaviours, non-suicidal self-injury (sometimes called self-harm), panic attacks, traumatic events, acute effects of drug or alcohol use, and severe psychotic states).  Some of these involved rather confronting elements, but noone walked out.
Just as those of us who have undergone other First Aid courses are taught to remember something like "DR ABC", so we were taught "ALGEE" which stands for:

1. Approach the young person, assess and assist with any crisis
2. Listen non-judgementally
3. Give support and information
4. Encourage appropriate professional help
5. Encourage other supports [i.e. self-help and others who can help]

The resource sections were great, but will need to be updated regularly. Some of the resources aimed at young people themselves listed under 'Substance misuse in young people' included: (compare drinking habits with those in the same age group) (click on 'enter the youth site') (interactive activities about tobacco use)

And also: (to help parents counter teen alcohol misuse)

I came away feeling much better informed about the scope of youth mental health issues, and also feeling that I now had some tools at my disposal for the next time these kinds of issues emerge.  The YMHFA courses are held regularly around Australia, so feel free to seek them out for some PD time well spent.

Creating Prayer Spaces in Schools is a great site if you want to explore ways to engage students in prayer throughout the school.

While the site is based around the idea of creating a specific prayer space  there are lots of different and creative prayer activities that could be used in a classroom, outside or in a chapel with little requirement to create a separate space. offers a fairly comprehensive approach to setting up a prayer space including planning tools and case studies. Their approach considers both permanent and temporary arrangements.

I love the idea of creating a one day outside prayer space for a special occasion or season as a way of engaging a wider segment of the school than might normally turn up to a prayer meeting at lunch. 

There are all sorts of resources on the site including lesson plans and a top ten prayer activities page.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Body Image, Photoshop and Paper People

Body image is a hot topic issue for young people and educators these days but it's often difficult to know what to do about it in a constrcutive way.

Paper People is a documentary that personalises the issue by highlighting the campaign that a young Australian girl, Jess is undertaking to change the way photos are digitally altered in women's magazines to present perfect unachievable bodies.

Running for fifteen minutes, the film examines the issue and outlines Jess' strategy to create change against what seem like gargantuan odds.  But success is coming.

The video is a great snapshot of the concept of making a stand for a situation that needs change.  In doing so it is also a perfect parable for the "power of one" and the way truth catches on when spoken fearlessly.

It could be used to create debate and to have young people dream of ways in which they might tackle the values of a world gone askew.  You might use it alongside a website like Photoshop Disasters, which lists airbrushing mistakes in magazines, advertising, movie posters, and elsewhere to comedic effect.

Have a look here for Paper People...

Monday, 15 October 2012

Who Do You Say I Am?

Hi everyone, Stephen and Jonathan S have invited me to join the happy team here at a few smallish fish, and I'll be extremely happy to add what I can over forthcoming weeks.
This clip gives a modern-day interpretation of the context of Jesus' question in Mark 8:29.  From Mark's log-in, we see the process by which questions can be posed, and answers researched and posted in reply.
Despite the appeal of the clip to digital natives, I'd suggest the pace of the clip still needs some contextualisation before showing and possibly more than one viewing if used in a classroom.
Key questions might include: how were the Gospels written? Who would you expect to have been the best primary sources of information for Mark's Gospel?  If a Gospel were to be written today, what kind of information-gathering techniques might come into play (googling, "crowd-sourcing", etc.)?

Doing some media analysis of the clip itself, which forms of social media are shown?  What do the numbers of Likes and Dislikes on a post indicate, and what do the numbers we see in the clip indicate about how Jesus is seen around the world today?

In one scene, a televangelist declares that the title question is the most important question in history.  Why would he say that and to what extent do you agree or disagree?

Monday, 8 October 2012

Steve Jobs on asking for Help

I stumbled upon this short clip of Steve Jobs circa 1994 titled "Steve Jobs on Failure" but I think it should have been titled "Steve Jobs on asking for help".

This little clip might be useful for exploring the topic of prayer. 

One way of doing this might be to ask the question: What reasons might people have for not asking for help? From here it is easy to jump to the questions: Why don't people pray or what reasons might people have for not praying?

A suitable reading to link this with might be Luke 11.1-13 which has the story of the person going to the friend at midnight for bread, as well as the questions about the goodness of parental gifts.

Another activity that might work as a demonstration of asking for help, is to get a student up, have them untie one of their shoelaces and tell them that their shoelace must be tied up. The rule, however, is that they can only use one of their hands. Depending on when you do this they might ask for help, or not, either way it proves the point. Some things are done more easily with help. (The rule doesn't say they can't use someone else's hands)

This story could also be used:

A little boy was spending his Saturday morning playing in his sandbox. He had with him his box of cars and trucks, his plastic pail, and a shiny, red plastic shovel. In the process of creating roads and tunnels in the soft sand, he discovered a large rock in the middle of the sandbox. The boy dug around the rock, managing to dislodge it from the dirt. With a little bit of struggle, he pushed and nudged the large rock across the sandbox by using his feet. When the boy got the rock to the edge of the sandbox, he found that he couldn’t roll it up and over the wall of sandbox. Determined, the little boy shoved, pushed, and pried, but every time he thought he had made some progress, the rock tipped and then fell back into the sandbox. The little boy grunted, struggled, pushed, & shoved, but his only reward was to have the rock roll back, smashing his chubby fingers. Finally he burst into tears of frustration. All this time the boy’s father watched from his living room window as the drama unfolded. At the moment the tears fell, a large shadow fell across the boy and the sandbox. It was the boy’s father. Gently but firmly he said, “Son, why didn’t you use all the strength that you had available?” Defeated, the boy sobbed back, “But I did, Daddy, I did! I used all the strength that I had!” “No, son,” corrected the father kindly. “You didn’t use all the strength you had. You didn’t ask me.” With that the father reached down, picked up the rock and removed it from the sandbox.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

We are all Daniel Cui

I've talked often in workshops and seminars about the power of narrative to inspire and teamed with great visuals the pairing is formidable.

"We are all Daniel Cui" is such a match-up.  Ultimately, it's the story that is so powerful.

Daniel Cui, a freshman goalie, finds himself the target of online bullying after he is blamed for a series of defeats.  Some of his fellow students come to his defense and with some simple online acts, stand alongside him in solidarity.  For me this would be enough, but the confidence this inspires in Daniel enables him to greater things.

Reminiscent of that famous scene in Spartacus, We are all Daniel Cui shows that young people are not powerless in the face of bullying and that community in the face of cruelty is powerful.

It's an awesome video you may have already come across on Facebook,  easily useful in a chapel service or RaVE lesson.  Check it out.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Prayer Tree

 “Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden.” (Genesis 2:9, NRSV)  

At a school where I was chaplain, two prayer trees were established to provide sacred space when there was no permanent place, such as a chapel. Both these trees were planted within areas that were surrounded by hedges to provide some demarcation from play or other space.

The idea of the trees was to provide students a place where they could experience stillness and if they desired to tie their prayers to the branches of the prayer tree.

Throughout the school year, for particular milestones or even tragedies the prayer tree would act as a place where students could place their prayers, hopes and dreams.

Often it would be classroom teachers who would stimulate students to write a prayer and as a group they would go to the tree to hang it. As needed the chaplains would use the trees for individual students who needed strength or courage or just to say something to God.

There are many different ways to pray and tying a prayer to a prayer tree helps those who  prefer to have a visible sign, something tangible. This can be very helpful for younger students.

One of the wonderful things about the prayer trees at this school is that they are Golden Pendas which usually flower around Easter Time with bright yellow blossoms.

   “through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." (Revelation 22:2 NRSV)  

Thursday, 23 August 2012


This little video has been around for a while but it packs a punch and is done in an engaging style. Life in 6 words is a brief presentation of the core of the Gospel and may be useful for chapel or the RE classroom. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

How is digital culture rewiring our brains?

People are shaped by the culture they grow up in.  That's a given.  But what if that culture changes so rapidly that the process for shaping becomes shaped??

That might twist your brain a little bit but this article from the Sydney Morning Herald on the 7th of August by Baroness Susan Greenfield, the professor of synaptic pharmacology at Oxford University makes the explanation much simpler. Recently in Australia as a guest speaker at Creative Innovation Asia Pacific 2012, Baroness Greenfield asks the eponymous question: How is digital culture rewiring our brains?

Because the young people we work with are so thoroughly  in the thick of this rewiring, it can be helpful to get our minds around just how that happens and what we might do about it.  Everything from how we construct chapel experiences to the kinds of social justice programs we engage, to how education happens in the classroom are shifted by this rewiring.

So have a look at this article and reflect on your own practices and those of your school.  Are you on the right track?  What needs a little adjusting?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Youth Culture Window

I have mentioned The Source for Youth Ministry on this blog before, but thought today I would focus on the Youth Culture Window part of this site.

The Youth Culture Window has regular articles on all kinds of things to do with young people and the world they live in. Topics frequently covered include movies, music, alcohol, drugs and technology. 

The authors explore the issue under focus in a no holds barred way that is refreshing and often confronting. Articles often finish with advice for parents or youth workers on how to discuss or unpack the topic with young people.

I particularly like the discussions that focus on song lyrics. It is not unusual for trends to be discussed in this blog before they arrive in Australia.

Monday, 30 July 2012

First World Problems Rap

Not enough cereal for a full bowl!!

If being grateful for what you have is a crucial skill for school students then this is the resource that can begin the journey for those who don't have it.

The First World Problems Rap is a homemade song/video that satirises the catalogue of hassles besetting the first world teenager.  From moaning about a birthday card containing no cash to that moment of anguish when the ice cream is too hard to scoop, this tune has recorded an enormous number of hits since it was released.

Being less than two minutes long it is great to act as a discussion starter.  It reminds me a little of the wonderful Stop Teenage Affluenza, the video World Vision Australia made a few years ago that contrasted the problems of an Australian school student with some of those of kids of the developing world. Affluenza was a little more subtle than this video (at least to begin with) but certainly both have their place.

Here are the lyrics to First World Problems Rap.  Some of it makes more sense if you watch the video itself.

First world problems - these are first world problems...

My fridge is so full I have to reach way back
And my sports car doesn’t even have an audio jack
My laptop’s battery is low but my charger is over there
I can never find the right lid for my Tupperware
I woke up at noon, do I eat breakfast or lunch?
I don’t like organic milk and I don’t have fruit punch
My neighbour put a password on their wi-fi
And the freezer makes the ice cream hard to scoop, why try?

My hot water ran out in the shower, which sucks cause I was only in there for half an hour
The other side of my pillow is not much cooler
There’s no measure for inches or feet on this ruler (what’ the heck’s a decimeter!)
Something just beeped and I don’t know what it was:
Was it my Roomba, my Convection oven or just Google Buzz
There’s some cereal left but not enough to make a bowl
I hate replacing batteries on my Wi remote control
People keep texting me when I’m playing Tiny Wings
My cleaning lady is vacuuming I can’t hear a thing
I didn’t read ‘Shake Well’ now I feel like I missed out

When I opened my birthday card no money fell out
I meant to turn on the light but it was the disposal
My Vespa’s in the shop, now how can I be mobile
Net flicks is suggesting things I already seen
And my suit is too fancy for the washing machine
There’s a pebble in my shoe, I have to stop and shake it
I have to add water to this cup cake mix and then bake it?
My pillow is too soft and I have too many sheets
And what the heck do I do with all these Starbucks receipts
My walk-in closet door is kind of hard to close
And my private school teacher calls my rap songs prose
My fridge doesn’t have a touch screen it's a first world issue
Killed a Spider with a dollar cause I didn’t have a tissue.

First world problems - these are first world problems...

                                                                                          copyright MC Funnyz

Monday, 16 July 2012

Dark Side

Something a little different.  Have you heard Kelly Clarkson's new song "Dark Side"?

The song has great lyrics that cry out to be used in conjunction with scripture passages featuring acknowledgement of our less than perfect selves: Zaccheus, the woman at the well, Simon the Pharisee, Judas, Saul/Paul etc

To make the song even better, the video features images of hope which will be useful to the astute chaplain or religious educator.

You can find the video here.  And here are the lyrics to give you an idea of what the song is about...

"There's a place that I know
It's not pretty there and few have ever gone
If I show it to you now
Will it make you run away

Or will you stay
Even if it hurts
Even if I try to push you out
Will you return?
And remind me who I really am
Please remind me who I really am

Everybody's got a dark side
Do you love me?
Can you love mine?
Nobody's a picture perfect
But we're worth it
You know that we're worth it
Will you love me?
Even with my dark side?

Like a diamond
From black dust
It's hard to know
It can become
A few give up
So don't give up on me
Please remind me who I really am

Everybody's got a dark side
Do you love me?
Can you love mine?
Nobody's a picture perfect
But we're worth it
You know that we're worth it
Will you love me?
Even with my dark side?"

Copyright: K Clarkson

Monday, 9 July 2012

Rethinking Youth Ministry

Rethinking Youth Ministry is an interesting blog that I have looked at from time to time, and it often has thoughtful ideas about ministry with young people.

There was an interesting approach to prayer on it today that could be adapted for the primary classroom or camp or even as a fixture around the school. 

The Prayer Loom involves students writing their prayers on long strips of paper or cloth and then weaving them into the loom. The creative and tactile nature of this activity would be good for students who are more inclined to creating and doing, as opposed to stillness and silence.

It might even be possible to enable students to make a loom of their own in class to use through the term.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Spill the Beans

This website, Spill the Beans, is exactly what it says on the tin!

"A lectionary-based resource with a Scottish flavour, with stuff useful for chapel services and other young people-style ministries.

There are resources you can buy from the site like this... (and a FREE sample so you can see what its like).

This is a three month resource, for 12 pounds, which isn't much.  Come on!

As well there are free PowerPoint backgrounds to collect.  It's a clean looking site and everything is categorised.  What you want is always easy to find.

It's a treasure trove!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Came across this blog, while wandering around the internet looking for resources.

This is one of those blogs that it is worth spending some time browsing through just to get some new ideas or inspiration for worship. Not everything will take your fancy and some things will need to be tweaked for your situation, but while looking through you are likely to find some gold.

One of those pieces of gold is the screen games section which provides ready made powerpoint quizzes which could be used to introduce a new topic or just for fun.

The thing I like about this blog is that it is made my a youth minister who is clearly thinking about creative ways to connect with the young people he is working with.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

McCrindle Research

Mark McCrindle produces some of the most interesting research on social trends, demographic shifts and  generations in Australia. This information can be very helpful in understanding what is going on around us in the community and with the young people we work with.

His website McCrindle Research has free resources on all sorts of things including youth slang, educating and engaging, and spirituality in Australia.

This recent research provides some interesting insights into what people think about religion, spirituality and Christianity in Australia.

McCrindle's blog also has plenty of things to help inform the practice of chaplaincy.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Turn off the lights!

Something different for you today.

Have you ever wanted to show a video to a class or chapel service straight from YouTube or another online video source, but decided against it because of all the extraneous distracting material that appears around the screen on sites like that? 

"Turn off the lights" is an add-on/extension for most browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari for the Macs as well.

Once this add-on is installed one flick of a switch  darkens the entire screen except for the video that you're playing.  It focuses all attention on the video and means you don't have students diverted by the other video suggestions down the right side of the page, for instance.  Comments below the playing video can be distracting as well!

There are various others features, including the option to add your own image as a background while the video plays.  I'm still playing with these but the basic darkening function makes this useful for ministry where online video is accessed.

Find the website for this with links to the versions for each different browser here.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


I am not an avid music fan. I like music but I can't confess that I spend much time exploring the musical landscape. As a chaplain, however, I needed to find some way to connect with  current Christian music.

The way I did this was through WOW DVD's. These are available from most Christian book-stores and while not really current (for instance the Hits 2012 DVD is actually hits from 2011) it did provide someone who knew nothing (me) with an idea of what is being produced today by Christian bands.

So my question to you is - since I am still pretty ignorant - how do you find out what is great in the Christian music scene? 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


The attractively titled Pumphouse is the blog of uber-experienced Uniting Church youth worker Rob Hanks, a man who has had his finger on the pulse of both youth ministry and pop culture for more years than anyone can remember.

The blog features whatever is on Rob's mind from time to time, including links to (or his own) film reviews , youth ministry resources, whatever's big on YouTube at the time, places in daily life where faith has intersected in the popular consciousness,  liturgy ideas, fresh expressions installations and resources and so on.

It makes sense to learn from someone who thinks so keenly about their ministry and is willing to pass it on.  This is the kind of website you bookmark and visit once a week, or set up on your RSS feed.

It might also inspire some of you experienced chaplains to do the same thing!

Thanks Rob!

Monday, 30 April 2012 is a fantastic site for those who have to preach on a regular basis. Although it is designed around the revised common lectionary it has many features that make it useful for those trying to engage young people in schools, with the Bible.

At its most basic level textweek has lots of resources that unpack that Bible passages assigned to any week of the year. This includes other people's notes, sermons and ideas, graphics and multimedia, children's sermons and activities - you name it has it.

The features I really like however are the art concordance and movie concordance. By looking up the index by theme or reference a list of art work linked to that topic is listed. Art includes ancient to modern and usually you can click through to see the artwork.

The movie concordance is ordered by theme and has a brief summary of what the film is about and how it links to the theme such as Abraham or baptism.

There is so much material linked to - the best thing to do is go there and explore.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Christ in Culture

Christ in Culture is the sister site to and goes the extra mile to provide resources for people in ministry with the young.

The site gives away 'visual reviews' of movies, formatted as PowerPoint presentations.  These are useful as teaching resources to talk about films with classes or groups of young people.  They also serve as examples for assessment items you might like to set with RaVE classes, having students review a movie from a faith perspective.

The theology of the reviewers is unabashedly from one particular spot on the theological spectrum, but even if that's not where you sit, the reviews are dynamite for getting discussion started.

The design of the site is basic but the amount of material they are giving away for free is inspiring.  Have a look!

Monday, 23 April 2012

If it were my home is a great resource for helping students to compare and contrast their life with the lives of those living in other countries.

With each selection a map of your home country is laid on top of the chosen country for size comparison. While this is a nice effect the real value comes from the information comparing the countries statistics in relation to mortality, employment, consumption of electricity and oil, as well as a comparisons on health and income.The way the countries are compared is clear and easy to understand.

This site would be of great value for helping students to think about the countries they might like to support when fundraising for various charities but would also be of use in religious education classes for helping them to think compassionately about the lives of others.

I don't know how up to date the information on the site is but it is well worth a look.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Hollywood Jesus

Mark McCrindle once noted, “school students are always aged between 5-18 but we are getting older, so we must work harder to understand them and remain relevant.”

With that in mind, Hollywood Jesus is an excellent resource.  Beginning a number of years ago as a website that reviewed movies from a faith perspective, David Bruce has since grown this towards a wider brief.  Now, you can find material here about film, TV, comics, and music.  

Whilst there are other websites that provide cultural critique from a Christian point of view, many of them do so in a judgmental, moralistic way (eg "this film has two swear words" etc).  Bruce's Hollywood Jesus takes a different tack, instead identifying faith themes and concepts that enable engaging discussion.

You can use this for your own personal purposes, to read about a movie you've just seen, but from a ministry perspective there is so much on offer.  At the very least, you can read up about whatever the latest film phenomenon might be ('Hunger Games', anyone?)  It makes it easy to drop references into sermons or conversation, or to check out what films might be worth seeing yourself.

This site has been around for a while but should be on the browser bookmark list for every chaplain.

We'll look at sister site next time...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Christian Values in Schools

The National Society which is responsible for resourcing and supporting Church of England and Church of Wales schools identified 15 values they see as important in Christian education. Their Christian Values for Schools website outlines these values and provides a range of resources for exploring them in schools.

Each value is outlined and has a theological background with Biblical references to support its meaning. Their are accompanying questions, cameos and videos to further assist those wishing to instil the value in the areas of ethos, worship, curriculum and leadership.''

In the resources section there are training units to help school introduce the values and implement them in their context.These includes notes and well made powerpoint presentations.

Although this material all comes from a British perspective much of it could very easily be adapted and used for not only Anglican schools but Christian schools in Australia.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Ads of the World

Ads of the World is not a Christian website but is a great resources if your are looking for some crazy inspiration or some interesting images for use in worship or religious education.

In essence,  Ads of the World is an "advertising archive and community showcasing fresh creative campaigns daily from around the world". In other words this site contains a tonne of print and video ads from all over the place.

Ads from this site could be used as the focus of a discussion or input in worship or religious education about a whole range of topics from world values to consumerism to popular culture.

Throughout the archive from time to time ads appear with religious themes, such as this one, on the main page of today's posting. Not all of these may be immediately useful however. 

I always find this site gets my creative ideas flowing.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Work of the People

The Work of the People is a terrific site, full of cutting edge worship resources. 

It's aimed more at secondary students but never talks down to them.  The style of the material on the site is cutting edge as well; the videos are so beautiful to look at!

As the blurb says...
  • Films with Top Theologians & Practitioners
  • Visual Liturgy - Video resources created to the church calendar!
  • Worship Backdrops
  • Films Added Weekly!
  • Films with Stanley Hauerwas, Walter Brueggemann, Lisa Sharon Harper, Christine Sine, Michael Frost, Gary Dorrien, Christian Smith, Joerg Rieger, Brenda S. McNeil, Miroslav Volf, John Perkins and many, many more coming soon.

For stuff that looks this good, it's not surprising you need to pay for it.  There are occasional free videos and resources but even when you pay, costs are pretty low considering what's on offer.

More blurb...
First, you have to create an account to purchase and download our files. Creating an account is free.
  • INDIVIDUALLY - You can purchase any videos individually for $15. Not the best deal.
  • CREDITS - Purchase credit options to get videos for $3-$5 each. A better deal. HERE.
  • MEMBERSHIP - Our memberships give you unlimited download access to our entire library for one to two years. 900 plus films divided by $250. Currently on sale for $175! Do the math. The best deal.

Note that there's a special on at the moment.  This is great stuff.  Have a look at you'll see this is unlike most worship resources out there.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Mustard Seeds

Ann Scull is a Uniting Church Minister with a passion for involving all ages in worship.

Her site, Mustard Seeds includes a range of resources which  enable you to do just that.

Every week she offers prayers, photos, movie clip ideas, activities,  and story ideas which are relevant, thoughtful and to the point.

It's worth a glance whenever you are preparing chapel services; even  ideas from previous weeks can often be rejigged for the present, or can inspire you tin other directions.

You can find it here.

Godly Play

Looking for a way to authentically engage young children with the Bible. Why not explore Godly Play?

Godly Play is a way of telling Bible stories using a method based on the Montessori approach. Developed by Jerome Berryman, Godly Play is ideal for children under eight. It uses parables, sacred stories and liturgical lessons about religious traditions to deeply engage students.

Godly play is about the way young children experience God while learning about God.

It uses a sensorimotor style of storytelling as a primary means of encountering God, so God is experienced, not just learned about. It provides opportunities for students to continue to work and play with the story using art and figurines. It enables young children to bring their lived experiences into dialogue with God in the biblical stories and enables them to tell the stories to one another.

The website of Godly Play in Australia is good place to begin exploring or by reading the book Young Children and Worship by Sonya Stewart and Jerome Berryman.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

What's in the Bible?

Another great resource suggestion by Andrew L! 

What's in the Bible a DVD series comes from the creator of  VeggieTales®, Phil Vischer. It is designed to walk kids and families through the entire Bible. At this stage DVDs 1-6 go from Genesis through to 2 Chronicles with more to come. There is also a curriculum attached to the videos.

This material is clearly geared for young students, but just like Veggie Tales, older students may also find it amusing if presented in the right way. The videos are certainly well made, engaging and fun.

There is a blog attached to the website with lots of interesting content. Of particular note (for next year)  are the posts about doing Lent with children. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Yes He Is

A shout out to Andrew L who told me about It has lots of great videos that could be used in a variety of settings, including worships, assemblies or in the RE classroom.

Some of the videos are good for thought provoking reflection, some will stir up conversation and debate, and some are just wonderful entertainment.

Like any of these sites where videos are contributed by a community, there is a big mix of content. There is some stuff you will love and some stuff you will probably choose not to use, but there is certainly something for everyone.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Source for Youth Ministry

Looking for a website with “tons of free resources, try The source for youth ministry

This website is jam packed full of all sorts of helpful resources for youth ministry including: games, team builders, activity ideas, movie reviews, youth culture windows and much much more.

One of the things I love about this website is the selection that goes into much of the material. Many websites are full of stuff you can’t use. This site has a lot of good material.

Although this site emerges from an American context it still contains a lot of useful resources but like anything there is stuff here you will probably hate and disagree with. 

One part of the website of particular value is the youth culture window that explores issues  dealing with young people, youth culture and faith.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Big Little Easter Story

Here's a great idea leading up to Easter, to get the artistic juices flowing  with your students.  

St Paul's Arts in NZ, a kids club attached to an Anglican Church, posted this video with instructions for an art installation designed to get people reflecting on the meaning of Easter.

They challenged people to make dioramas that depicted the results of their reflections, and displayed these at the Church over Easter.

The 86 second video shows how easy it is to inspire people of all skill levels to be a part of this task.  

By the way, St Paul's Arts 'n Kids (SPAnK) was the group that made that wonderful "Christmas Story" video last year that has been viewed by more than a million people around the planet.  Here's the link to that if you've never seen it, because you will want to use it once you have!

24/7 Prayer

The 24/7 pray movement taps into some interesting currents in youth spirituality, including a focus on experience and participation, new monasticism and a desire to engage in issues of mission and justice.

The UK and international sites  have some interesting ideas and resources that might be used for inspiration within the school setting. The UK site has a section on schools and information can be found throughout on setting up prayer spaces.

The whole site is worth digging through to see how this movement is engaging young people with prayer and mission around the world.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Biblical Videos

Students these days are so visually oriented, mere words don't cut the mustard.

Bibledex features short and quirky videos on every book of the Bible presented by theology experts (so they claim).  There are varying styles and lengths but a treasure trove of possibilities, growing all the time, is on offer.

There are even videos for themes and particular bible verses.

It's well worth a browse.  It's highly likely you'll find yourself  bookmarking the site for further use

You can find it here

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Resources for Worship

For cutting edge ministry and worship resources, the UK site Proost is a wonderful option.

The site features cheap and so-up-to-date-it-hurts material for immediate use by people in ministry situations.

For chaplains, it's a must.

There's heaps of music, videos for liturgy, experience packages for emerging church type stuff and even labyrinth kits.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Story Book Resource

Children's story books can be a great way to help children (and adults) explore spiritual themes and ideas emerging from the Bible. There is something very subversive about a really great story book. It is hard to stop listening or to take your eyes off the art. Jesus knew the power of stories and frequently used them to engage his audience.

An excellent resource in this area is a site called Storypath, that can be found at

Storypath is a very useful resource. Each week a children’s story book is reviewed which includes a summary, key literary elements explored, a link to scripture and theological ideas and a list of faith talk questions. The book is also categorised according to age, themes and biblical links. This means you have the ability to find books reviewed or suggested for particular books of the Bible. The site also provides story books that link with weekly lectionary readings.

A useful resource for worship or religious education.