Quick Tip: How to silence the chatter so you can have real conversation

One of the small groups I lead is a 7th grade girls group. Wonderful group of girls…but we can’t even get an ice breaker done without subconversation and chatter happening every second.  There are a majority of girls that have something they want to add. There is a minority of girls that sit back and allow the many conversations to wash over them and they get left behind in the chat tide. And then I find myself frustrated that I’m constantly having to corral the conversation. So, last week…we began an excercise in taming our tongues.

Meet our tongue depressors.  This is how they work.

I introduced this as an ice breaker. The girls received a tongue depressor and a label. They could decorate their depressor anyway they wanted as long as they incorporated their real name in the design.  Then I discussed James 3 and how we need to tame our tongue.  I shared that with our group over the weeks, we had become undisciplined in the way we valued other’s words, God’s word, and even the own words that we choose to use.  Instead of considering what we should say, we all were just spouting out words over each other and not having any boundaries.  As a result, we are now going to undergo some tongue taming.  During the bible study time each student will have 5 clips that are given to them on their tongue depressor.  Each student can say whatever they want, but it will cost them a clip.  Now when they toss a clip in, they have the floor until I call on another student or another student tosses in a clip. Reading the scripture out loud when asked does not cost a clip. This was a helpful exercise in instilling boundaries. We were able to actually go deeper in conversation and the girls visibly would shake their heads when they would normally blurt out the first thing that popped in their mouth. You could tell they were beginning to value what was worth saying and what could wait.  Girls that had not talked before were able to enter into the conversation. As they begin to value their words, God’s words, and their own words better…they will get more freedom with our conversations.  This was a difficult thing to implement, but at the end—I got a bunch of the same statements from the girls mouths.  It was the words: Thank You!  What about you? How have you created conversation boundaries?


5 ways your stress has led to burnout

I’m starting my 12th year in girls ministry at Brentwood Baptist this fall. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great leaders, great volunteers, and great families over the years. Some of those have stayed for a season, a reason and some seem to be in this for a lifetime.

As I continue serving, I recognize that some have moved on from ministry due to stress or burnout. I’ve recognized even in deeply loved friends who serve in other ministries that they have moved from stress to burnout. It’s so sad to me because it didn’t have to be their story. I have watched stress and burnout cause bright-eyed, passionate people forget a call on their lives and settle for something less than what they were created for just because they didn’t set boundaries…or know how to pace themselves.

I read the below quote from the Dr. Arch Hart, author of Stressed or Depressed (2005, with daughter Dr. Catherine Hart Weber)

Dr. Hart says that there’s a clear distinction between the emotions and feelings associated with stress and those linked to burnout. Here are a few of his insights:

Stress is over engagement; burnout is disengagement.
Stress results in over reacting; burnout results in lack of emotion.
Stress affects our physical energy; burnout affects our motivation and drive.
Stress makes a person tired; burnout makes a person feel hopeless.
Stress produces anxiety disorders like panic and phobias; burnout produces paranoia, isolation, and feelings of worthlessness.

What do you do to handle the stress so it doesn’t lead to burnout?  Don’t swallow it.  Have a plan to surrender it and to take care of your soul regularly.  My church requires we take a day a month for soul care and 5 weeks away every 5 years.  I’ve been able to have a soul care retreat with my discipleship team and last week came off of a ministerial retreat with our church.  I was so thankful for the interruption of my schedule to rest.  I came into the soul care retreat with a terrible cold.  Always a red flag that I’m pushing my body past it’s limits.  I needed time for my soul to catch up with my body.  I know I’m not the only one that needs regular soul care.  So…how bought you?

What’s your plan? Go ahead…get it on the calendar. You have my permission to stop running and rest.   So…Be still. Remember you are not God.  It’s important you remember that–regularly.


New Girls Biblestudy #FaithfulOne

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to post. That’s because I’ve been writing a new girls bible study with Lifeway called “Faithful one: a study on 1 and 2nd Thessalonians” that is coming out on May 1st. You can already pre-order it here and pre-order the Leader kit here .   Below are some sneak peeks of the contents of this bible study and some neat features of how to utilize this study.  I am so excited about what the editorial team did with this content.  We tried some different approaches to getting girls to “interact” with the letters of 1 and 2nd Thessalonians.  Not only will there be opportunities for group study, but if girls want to go deeper on their own—THEY CAN!  They can dig into some greek words…they can begin to learn how to interact with scripture by learning some creative techniques for taking notes in their margins. They did a great job of capturing the pictures I was thinking in my mind, to actual drawings in the bible study.  SO EXCITED to see this resource come out in May… Look for more info coming soon on girlsminister.com!

faithfulonecover copy   Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 9.30.45 PM

Snapchat security still not secure.

If you’ve been following Girlsminister.com for awhile, you know that Snapchat is one app that we are not a fan of. The rise in fame of this app has been because of it’s claim to send video or photo snaps to friends or strangers that self destruct and therefore are erased. In talking with students in particular, I have always been clear that no matter what an app or tech is stating regarding it’s ability to “delete” or “erase” something you digitally transfer…there is a way to retrieve it. Therefore, we have a lot of teens and young adults that are finding out the hard way that history cannot be erased.
appadvice.com just released an article that reinforces this fact for Snapchat. Just another reason to apply some filters when using technology like snapchat. If you want whatever you are sending to destruct after so many seconds…take caution that the only that that might destruct is your reputation online. If you don’t want something to be traced or remain after you post/transmit it…then you most likely should not be engaging in that activity. Read below for the update on the security breach on snapchat.

Snapchat has had an interesting year, purportedly receiving acquisition offers from the likes of Facebook and Google while fighting off controversies surrounding the service’s security. Now, in a new report research firm Gibson Security explains that Snapchat still isn’t secure; in fact, users’ phone numbers can even be exposed using one particular exploit, the report notes.

The full disclosure is included in a document which reached us from Boy Genius Report, and in a subsequent interview with Business Insider the folks at Gibson Security provide more information on the state of Snapchat. The research firm actually revealed Snapchat’s phone number hack, which allows a hacker to obtain another user’s phone number, four months ago; despite receiving a handful of updates since then, Snapchat is still vulnerable to many of the exploits outlined in Gibson Security’s first disclosure, the firm notes.

Gibson Security told Business Insider:

Given that it’s been around four months since our last Snapchat release, we figured we’d do a refresher on the latest version, and see which of the released exploits had been fixed (full disclosure: none of them). We [hope] that Snapchat audits their code and improves how security and bugs are handled in the company.
Back in March, we heard that teens in New Jersey had shared images using Snapchat only to find that the photographs subsequently appeared on Instagram; in iOS 7, it was possible to “snap” screenshots of Snapchat-sent images without the sender knowing, however this was fixed in a subsequent update.

Snapchat went on to reveal that it manually retrieves Snapchat-sent media at the request of law enforcement agencies, and an app called SnapHack Pro also made it possible for users to easily save images sent using Snapchat to their iDevice.

Click the below link for the source of the article posted on appadvice.com

A How to Script for Tough Talks with Students and Leaders

This post was originally published in January 2011. I dug up this post for a friend and thought it may be helpful to others.

Today I was reading Read Ephesians 4:12.

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

“Equipping” is the translation of a Greek word used in New Testament times for mending nets, setting a bone, and realizing a purpose. It means to “put right”.

As girls ministers, we have all sorts of conversations with girls and leaders. Sometimes you walk away from a conversation encouraging a girl to pursue God or to be all that God is calling her to be. Sometimes you get to help her with some faith questions. (It’s always fun when they ask about “the nephilim” in Genesis 6.) Then there are the times when you may have to confront an area of immaturity. These are not easy conversations to have. I had to have a couple of those conversations this week. And I was reminded today that I am called to those conversations too. I’m called to equip as if I were a doctor and I saw a broken bone. I would not ignore it. I would not just give pain medicine. I would need to align the bones and set it in a cast so that it mends and grows stronger. Do not be afraid of those conversations where a student may need you to speak into their life regarding various immaturities. And just like a doctor would be careful with the broken bone, we too must take special care with these students we are entering into equipping conversations with.

One tip for all the single ladies


Proverbs 20:25
The Message (MSG) 25 An impulsive vow is a trap; later you’ll wish you could get out of it.

Marriage is an amazing gift! But all these pinterests and instagrams of weddings make people think they want that and need that right now! Ushy Gushy feelings, friends getting engaged, and glittery diamonds are not good reasons to say , “I do”.
Guard your heart! Don’t microwave the relationship and say/do things before they need to be done. Allow your Christ-centered relationship to blossom under His timing and purposes.

Tips for Mentoring Young Adults

I absolutely love this scene with young John Cusack in Say Anything. Unfortunately, Lloyd didn’t have a mentor to help him sort out his pretty shaky plan. “Hanging with Diane”, isn’t exactly what he needs to do with his life. What I would’ve done to have taken Diane and Lloyd by the hand and journey with them during this time in their life. There might not have been a really cool BOOMBOX scene in the movie if I had, but they would’ve realized their purpose wasn’t in finding each other.

I am in the precious point in ministry where I get to see students who were in middle school, all grown to their twenties and thinking about that person they want to spend the rest of their life with or what career path they should be on. The problem is, that sometimes they sound a little bit like Lloyd.  It’s in these moments that I wish I was in a comic book so I could “THWACK” them back to reality. Over the last year, I realized that as much as I would like to spare them the pain of inexperience, I can’t. God “THWACKED” me last week, as I talked with Him about some of the young and the restless that I’ve been journeying with of recent. My role in their life, as they’ve invited me in to mentor or “sister” them, is to first PRAY for them. My role is not to share my experiences first and foremost. My role is not to mock them as they take wrong steps. (Although believe me, this is very hard sometimes to not say, “ARE YOU STINKING KIDDING ME?!)

I want to talk to Jesus about them more than I talk about me to them.

So that is what I am committing to do specifically this week. PRAY first and pray with. I also want to call their attention to where I am seeing God at work in their lives, and direct them to cling to Him first and foremost. The frustrating part is when I see them derail and take things into their own hands at such a crucial time in their lives. However, that’s where it leads me back to PRAY. So just some reminders as you mentor those who come into your life. And if this doesn’t work…go get your boombox and stand outside their window. Just kidding. Didn’t know if you stayed to read the whole thing. Thanks 🙂