Experiments In Youth Tolerance – Comics

P1040050A new set by our In House Comic, Chloe Perrin. Volunteer Youth Worker, Musical Theater Tutor and Youth Charity Trustee. Check out her work at chloescomics.wordpress.com

 

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6 Announcement Slide Mistakes & How To Fix Them – by Lindsey Moss

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 09.28.21Great post from  Lindsey Moss of ChurchMediaTech.com. Re-posted with her permission. Check out the original here and have a browse through their other great articles here.

 

There are many studies published online confirming that visual cues help us retain information which is what I love so much about announcement slides! When you add visual cues to your announcement segment, it helps the congregation commit the information to memory.  I’ve also found from experience that engagement is higher when there is viewable information involved.

That being said, it can be easy to go overboard! I want to give you a few tips on how you can get the most out of your announcement slides by examining some common mistakes.

Let me first preface this by saying these are all optional changes. This is just an article written by your friendly neighborhood Designer who understands the frustrations that come along with creating announcement slides that will impact your congregation. I want to make things easier for you. So let’s get started!

To help you see the difference it can make, I’m going to show you how I took the slide on the left and transformed it into the slide on the right by fixing these six announcement slide missteps.

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1. Wrong Image Size or Resolution

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As you can see in the first image, there are black bars on either side of the image. These typically happens when the slide isn’t the same size as your screen. You should reference your screen and projector manual to see what the best image size and pixel ratio is for your setup to avoid stretching, black bars, and pixelation. For reference, for a typical HD slide I set the image size to 1920 x 1080 px, resolution to 72, the color palette to RGB and I export as a jpg. This will usually give you the best color profile and size for your projector without the file size being out of control.

So, let’s fix the image size…

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2. Misuse of Photos

Okay, now that our black bars are gone we have another issue here; there’s a watermark on the photo. I understand that many church budgets for announcement slide elements is minimal or non existent so I’m going to replace it with a photo from pexels.com. This website provides a wide variety of photos you can use for anything! You want to avoid using photos from Google, Pinterest, or images that include watermarks.

Now, you don’t have to use a photo! You can easily use a graphic. Do whatever you like best. I personally find images easier to work with for those that don’t have much design experience but they still want their slides to look professional. Also, I want to change the photo to something that implies a sense of community and conversation. Let’s try something like this…

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3. Mismatched Fonts

Awesome! We’re definitely getting somewhere. Now, let’s address the use of font here. The text has a slight drop shadow, which is always a great way to enhance the legibility, but the words don’t seem to flow with the image. You definitely want your slide to have character, but using too many fonts can be overwhelming. Here’s an awesome article on pairing fonts by Brady Shearer. For this slide, we’re going to only use two fonts.

I’m going to use Bebas Neue for the Title and Information because it’s bold and easy to read, and I’m going to use RachelHand Medium for the Subtitle to give it the feeling of a hand written note that fits the feel of connection like the photo.

Here it is… 

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4. Misuse of Logos

Now, we have to address what I think is the most serious offense in this slide; the misuse of the church logo. Even if your church doesn’t have branding guidelines, it’s never a good idea to change the color, shape, proportions, or elements of the logo.

Your logo is a visual representation of your church and the last thing you want to do is give the impression that you don’t take the identity of your church seriously. I know that seems a bit harsh, but it’s true. It’s important to be consistent with your branding so you can be easily identified.

Now, let’s say that my church logo is neon pink. Neon pink isn’t going to fit so well on a slide about a chill session over some lattes. So what do you do? The best option in this case is to simply use a watermark. By using a white version of your logo and lowering the opacity to somewhere around 60% you’ll still get the visual of your logo without the overpowering look of neon pink.

Let’s see the slide with the watermark version of the logo in the correct size, and proportions… 

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5. Too Many Colors

Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s take a look at the colors. First of all, I don’t necessarily have a problem with mixing colors. Sometimes it can take a bland slide and make it much more intriguing! However, when you’re working with a background image as bold as this photo, it’s important that we aren’t distracting viewers from the overall feel of the image by our color choices.

For this slide, I’m going to make all the font the same color. There is already some visual diversity with the mixing of fonts so it won’t seem bland, and the consistency of color will help the entire slide come together.

Check it out…

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6. Too Much, or Too Little, Information

Okay ladies and gentlemen we’re almost home! Last, but certainly not least, is information! This is especially important if you’re planning to have a slideshow of your announcements playing pre-service. If there isn’t enough information on the slide, the viewer doesn’t have much to go on and will soon lose interest, if there’s too much information they may not have time to read all of it before it progresses to the next slide.

Let’s condense our information into a single line. Something that can be read quickly and retained easily.

You want to answer the following questions in as few words as possible:

What? When? Where? and SOMETIMES Why? (see what I did there?) You don’t always have to include the why because sometimes it’s obvious. Other times, like for a fundraiser, you may want to add why this event is important.

In the case of this slide the answers to these questions are: Connection Cafe, before and after the service, in the Welcome Area, to drink some coffee and create community.

We’re going to highlight this information by adding a dark brown rectangle behind it and lowering the opacity of that rectangle to 80%. If certain elements of a slide start to look too separate or overpowering, lowering the opacity is a great way to blend everything together.

Here it is folks! Our finished slide!

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You can download this background image for free here: https://www.pexels.com/photo/restaurant-hands-people-coffee-5362/

You can download Bebas Neue for free here: http://www.dafont.com/bebas-neue.font

You can download RachelHand Medium for free here: http://www.dafont.com/rachelhand.font

Check out this years’ Youth Work Awards

logo--youthscapeGuest post sent from Youthscape – a quality resource and research organisation dedicated to “working for the good of young people of all faiths and none.” Check them out at www.youthscape.co.uk

 

Youthscape launched the Christian Youth Work Awards in 2011 and recently opened nominations for the sixth year running.

The awards are intended to celebrate the very best of Christian youth work in churches and organisations across the UK, inviting nominations across six categories.

They also seek to encourage youth workers everywhere by sharing stories of the great things youth workers are doing and inspiring others to do the same. One of last year’s shortlisted nominees confirmed for us just how important it is to recognise and encourage our youth workers, saying,

“I have been involved in youth work for 15 years now, in many guises. I came back from the summer feeling pretty close to burnout and receiving the nomination and then hearing that I had been shortlisted, was an amazing boost and exactly what I needed.”

YWA15 YWOTY Lee Kirkby2015’s Youth Worker of the Year was Lee Kirkby from St Michael Le Belfry in York. Receiving the award, Lee thanked his wife and team, his church for their committed investment into youth work and said that he was “blown away by the honour shown to youth workers by the awards.”

Categories this year include Youth Worker of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Young Leader of the Year, Best Youth Work Resource, Best Youth Work Employer and Most Innovative Youth Work. All nominees receive a postcard to encourage them in their work and shortlisted candidates are invited to a prestigious award presentation event in November.

You can nominate someone for an award at youthworkawards.co.uk. Nominations close on 31st August 2016.ywa16 ywoty

 

‘Sola’ Powered Youth Work

Screen-Shot-2015-12-16-at-17.47.08Guest post by Todd Warden-Owen; musician, comic-book lover, volunteer youth worker and administrator for Llandudno Youth For Christ. Check out more at www.llandudnoyfc.com

 

Originally published here.

Now by the title, despite the picture above, I don’t really mean ‘solar powered’ like the pictured superhero; but rather ‘sola powered’, referring to the five solas of the Protestant Reformation.

‘What are the five solas?’ – I hear you say.

The 5 solas, or solae of the Protestant Reformation are a foundational set of Biblical principles held by theologians and churchmen to be central to the doctrine of salvation as taught by the Western Protestant church. “Sola” is Latin meaning “alone” or “only” and the corresponding 5 ‘solas’ are:

  • Sola Fide, by faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Although they were often used by Reformers in the 16th century in their writings and speech, such as when Philip Melanchthon wrote in 1554 “sola gratia justificamus et sola fide justificamur“(“only by grace do we justify and only by faith are we justified”), they were never formally compiled or grouped together until the 20th century. A great example of this compiling of the ‘solas’ is in The Cambridge Declaration of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (1996).

Recently at ‘Redefine’, our Sunday evening youth Bible Study, we had a look at the 5 ‘Solas’ as part of an evening themed around the idea of survival and what do we need as essential for survival; a question often posed and answered in demonstration by people such as Bear Grylls.

It was a fun night, and we really wanted to see the young people grapple with what the essentials of the Christian faith are, hence a look at the ‘solas’.

They are a great way of summing up essentials in the Christian faith.

Faith alone (Sola Fide): Justification: being put right with God is received by faith alone, without any need for good works. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura): The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behaviour must be measured. The Bible can and is to be interpreted through itself, with one area of Scripture being useful for interpreting others. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Christ alone (Solus Christus): Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man, and there is salvation through no other. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father. (Hebrew 10:12-14)

Grace alone (Sola Gratia): Salvation comes to us by divine grace alone, not as the results of anything we have earned or merit.  It is given by “unmerited favour”. This means that salvation is an unearned gift from God for Jesus’ sake.

Glory to God alone (Soli Deo Gloria):  All glory is to be due to God alone, since salvation is God’s gift and work. Our lives as a response of God’s great gift of making us right with himself through the death of His Son Jesus, is to live lives that bring glory to Him (1 Cor 10:31).

That is the 5 solas very briefly summed up, I must say.

The reason I tilted this post ‘sola powered’ and put the picture of ‘Superman’ at the top was because it was catchy, but also to get us thinking of the parallels the metaphor presents.

‘Superman’ gets his great strength and abilities from how his Kryptonian physiology metabolises solar energy – he is quite literally ‘solar powered’.  As Christians, we get our strength, encouragement, gifts, in fact, all we need for life and godliness from or because of Jesus (Phil 4:13, 2 Thess 2:16, Eph 4:7, 2 Pet 1:3). Jesus is God’s great gift to all mankind. Jesus is our source. He is our sole provider; to quote the Parachute Band’s song ‘Amazing‘. We are ‘sola powered’, referring to the 5 ‘solas’ as explained briefly above. Our strength and provision comes from God, and God alone.

We are not like Superman empowered by the sun, but are rather empowered by the Son.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” Heb 1:3.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor 3:18.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Col 1:15-20

Let us thank God for sending His Son Jesus.

Let us thank God for giving us His precious Word.

Let us trust in and rely on Christ’s strength in and through our lives.

Let us live lives that bring glory to God alone, responding in faith to His great grace towards and for us.

Youthwork Around The Globe: South Africa – with Ryan Rudolph

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 08.00.27Another great guest Post By Ryan Rudolph. Youth Worker in South Africa, graduate of Oak Hill College and blogger at ryangrudolph.wordpress.com

1. Where are you based?

A medium sized Baptist Church in the CBD of East London, South Africa. It is a small, coastal city on the east coast, and is affectionately called “Slummies”, as in a slum-town. We are in an area called Southernwood, historically one of the oldest parts of the city.

2. What unique challenges do you face?

Some of our biggest challenges as a church are based around the area we find ourselves in.

  • Being in the city centre means we are more pre-disposed to issues arising from poverty. Prostitution is large and there are many homeless and hungry on our doorstep.
  • Drugs are readily available. At the end of a Friday night, I can get offered an assortment of drugs at the various places I drop some of my kids off. You would think that after 3 years the drug-pushers would know me by now (at least in the very recognisable church bus)!
  • South Africa still has a race struggle, I believe. Being where we are has helped me to address this in my personal life as well as in the lives of our kids.
  • Most of my youth are young black boys from the Xhosa culture, and generally poorer backgrounds (though not exclusively). This provides the most unique set of challenges:
    • Culture: How do we present the gospel effectively as I’m not talking to white-middle class kids as my theological training taught me? This opens up another unique struggle we face: Our boys enter a rites-of-passage ritual whereby they enter the bush for around 4 weeks (after having their foreskin sliced off). These practices are flooded with satanic/witchdoctor (known as Sangoma’s – “Sun-gor-ma” rituals from sacrificial offerings to ancestors, to scarification on the body and wearing beads and bottles of blood for protection. I’ll speak later how we’ve begun to address this.
    • Language: Often I feel like the odd one out at the youth group I run. I don’t understand their language, their jokes or when they are upset with me. They can talk English – they just chose not too! This is a challenge for me to learn Xhosa, but also what happens when we have a non-Xhosa speaking person coming? Youth groups often attract those on the fringes, those who are shy, and those who struggle to make friends as it is. Further alienation because of language can sometimes be a real issue.
    • Boy-dominant: We have very few girls. And a large portion of the boys we have don’t know how to treat girls with respect. This could be because of culture, but also because of a lack of godly-men in their lives (or any men, for that matter).

3. What shape and format do your youth work projects most often take?

As with most youth groups in our city, we run our youth group on Friday for very practical reasons. There is no other night that our young people would rather come. This means that traditional cell-groups don’t work for us. Our young people don’t walk around at night as the area is not safe. So unless I drop them off, we can’t meet.

Friday nights are not hugely programmed events, but are designed for a relaxed atmosphere. Most of our young people enjoy soccer and so we provide space for that. Others are happy to sit at the sides, though there are a few who enjoy a programmed event once in a while, so we do that on occasion, as well as meet with other youth groups on the odd-occasion.13059624_10156955650030533_323546162_n

I’ve always been very clear with my young people that an important part of our time together is to hear from God and allow Him to move in our lives. So each Friday we spend a significant amount of time in the word. I have a ministry philosophy that says young people aren’t stupid. If they can learn complicated scientific, mathematical and philosophical concepts and ideas at school, then they can manage the deeper truths of God, we don’t need to dumb down and we don’t need to entertain.

We have two other methods that we use to reach young people, a soccer ministry and an open gym.
Over the past year we’ve spent more time approaching other churches for soccer matches. This is a growing area for evangelism and we find that there is an openness to hear the gospel over really good, well-played and tough games. A difficulty of this, however, is that Christians are notoriously bad sportsmen when it comes to playing a game and so we have to watch our walk in a very real way when we are on and off the field. We promote clean and fair games and ask the players to be honest. We also try and let the referee be the referee! We’re not doing this well enough, I think, but each time we play I believe we’re getting better (both as a team, and as an act of direct evangelism after the games).

“I have a ministry philosophy that says young people aren’t stupid. If they can learn complicated scientific, mathematical and philosophical concepts and ideas at school, then they can manage the deeper truths of God, we don’t need to dumb down and we don’t need to entertain.”

I also run an open gym filled with rusty equipment (though I’ve put some of my own money into making it better equipped). The idea is pretty simple: young people love to work out. So I give them a space to do this. I have found this to be the most helpful area for beginning one-to-one relationships with young men, and these very quickly turn into a vehicle for discipleship and mentoring. What’s funny is that I’m a pretty slender person, the young people often laugh at me when I try give them advice. However, their opinions quickly change when I show them that I can actually lift a weight or two!

Ultimately, I believe that ministry to young people cannot be a one-size-fits all model, but has to continually change and evolve to work within the contexts we find ourselves in.

4. What do you enjoy most and what are you most proud of?

Two things. Firstly, on the ground level I really enjoy one-on-one ministry and going away with a small group of guys, having fellowship and really getting deeper into God’s word. These are profoundly enriching times for all involved and happen far less than I would like them to! Secondly, helping to train and equip other youth leaders. I guess this was a product of my own training, but I really enjoy helping other youth leaders employ workable strategies within their own ministries. Related to this, if I can be proud of anything, then it would be our local youth workers get together called “City Youthworks” whereby we get together every couple of months to talk around youth work issues and to equip and encourage one another.

5. What is your most valuable local resource?

Other Youth workers. There are youth workers who have been doing this a lot longer than I have, and youth workers who are more specialised in certain areas (for example understanding race and culture), so we tend to use each other. It’s a great relationship and an invaluable resource! Youth workers rock!

6. How often do you meet up with other youth workers? How easy or difficult is that and how?

Other than the aforementioned group, I have a few close relationships with a small number of youth workers. Some friendships are based on similar ministry contexts, whilst one or two have similar theological backgrounds which I find useful for encouragement and help in my own thinking. I try to meet up with at least one other youth worker each month. Sometimes I’m blessed with more!

7. Tell us a story about something significant that has happened.

As mentioned above, the cultural challenges we face can be daunting. Sometimes we really aren’t sure what to do, but we know we have to do something!

Recently a couple of our young people who are walking with the Lord and serve in our church were required to go to the bush. They really have no choice. At first, our understanding as a leadership was that they should just chose not to go as Christians. However, we’ve soon realised that this is almost impossible. The rejection from family and tribes is met out in very practical ways. Forever seen as a child and treated as one. It’s a personal embarrassment that is treated with severe familial 13105980_10156955650110533_1508408080_oconsequences, and our young people are left with little other options.

I’m reminded how Paul instructs Timothy to be circumcised even though he berates anyone getting circumcised for the sake of the law. So, instead of rejection, we’ve taken the move to embracing the young person and helping them through this often difficult and challenging time. In particular with my two boys (now men), we spoke openly and honestly about what was going to happen and why, and how they could continue their Christian faith during those trials. This involved bible studies, a weekend away, frank conversations about pornography, sex and how to treat woman as a man of God and we ended it all off with a celebration into manhood surrounded by other Christian men in the church who have spoken and will continue to speak into their lives. It truly was a wonderful occasion. Being so close to them during this, I was able to also visit them over their period in the bush, sitting with them and praying with them and their friends. I found walking this candid and open journey with our young people helps them to adjust better than their peers, and in the long run they are better off in their faith and their maturity.

We need much more wisdom as we continue these discussions. I’ll most likely be doing my research paper on this in the coming year, so would appreciate prayers and God’s wisdom in this regard.

8. What gets you through difficult or stressful times in your ministry?

Thankfully, God has blessed me with a beautiful and intelligent wife who is filled with wisdom and knows how to encourage me. She’s only been with me, however, for the past 6 months. Before that, I had some pretty bad habits. Computer games took my attention and frustrations away from the stress, but in the long run was not a helpful solution.

“I believe that ministry to young people cannot be a one-size-fits all model, but has to continually change and evolve to work within the contexts we find ourselves in.”

Taking proper breaks is a definite must. Christians are notoriously bad for having a serious work ethic. This is not good or clever but detrimental to long-term ministry. We know this, we just don’t follow through! Take breaks. Take your holidays. Take your weekends off. And make time to spend with friends and family and most importantly, make time for God outside of work. We are bad at this. Best piece of advice I was ever given is this: God cares more about who you are to Him, than what you do for Him.

9. Any final thoughts that you would like to share?

Youth ministry is amazing. The older I get the tougher it gets (you really begin to feel those late nights and creaky knees), but the joys are so much richer and deeper. When I was younger I focused on the entertainment value – because quite frankly I was catering to myself. But I’ve learned over the past 10 years that young people want deep relationships, deep answers, and a deep God – because they know life isn’t shallow. So give it to them. Don’t be embarrassed. Also, there are fewer and fewer of us up here. If you are a youth worker, my biggest encouragement for you is to stay right where you are. God loves you. God loves your young people. And God loves His church.

About Ryan:

IMG-20150717-WA0005Ryan Rudolph is a Youth Pastor in a small city church in East London, South Africa where he enjoys the challenges of multi-cultural, urban youth ministry.

He is married to a beautiful Texan lass, is a Sharks Rugby fan, and enjoys indie-board games and even more so loves introducing these games to some of his Youth!

He holds a BA(Hons) in Youth and Children’s Ministry from Oak Hill Theological College in London, and is currently studying towards a BTH.

Ryan loves young people, loves Jesus and deeply desires to see the two connect in powerful and authentic ways.

He blogs over at ryangrudolph.wordpress.com