Throughout this website is a multitude of hidden treasures. For those of you who don’t have time to peruse the site for resources and ideas, we decided to compile a list of helpful youth group tools and resources for your convenience. We will reference this site often. We encourage you to bookmark this page in your browser for convenient referencing.

Communication

  • SimplyTXT – This is free to try for 30 days with no obligation to buy. We used this personally for a long time to text kids in mass and maintain contacts in lists that we determined like “parents,” “jr. high,” “student leaders,” “adult leaders” and pretty much anything else you come up with. To do the trial, click the link and scroll to the bottom of the page and look for the RESOURCES box. Simply TXT is located in that box.
  • Zexer – Ever wish you could access your contacts from anywhere? Zexer allows you to imput your student’s information into a database that is password protected. You can even allow different users and administrators to view or change information. Best of all, its 100% free. Zexer will even email you birthday reminders.
  • Bluehost.com – Every, and I mean EVERY youth group needs a website now. No one under the age of 25 goes anywhere new anymore without looking up their website first. This website is hosted using Bluehost because it seems to have the simplest interface and has everything ready to go. You can secure your domain with them, get your hosting and download wordpress, joomla or drupal right from the bluehost site. The downloads are free with hosting. Trust me, if you have never built a website before, bluehost is the way to go with simply step by step instructions. You can have a youth group website up and running in a couple of hours flat.
  • Youth Assistant– This is the ultimate in youth group communication and management. Youth assistant automatically tracks letters, postcard and emails you send out to your Youth. It creates automatic emails, labels, letters and postcards. Youth Assistant also takes attendance using Bar Codes on keychains (talk about a step up from sign in sheets). The program will also aid in planning big events by creating ID badges, keeping up with accounting, rosters and by storing vendor information and notes for the next event. It’s a little pricey, but probably one of the most important purchases for transforming a youth group.

Fundraising

  • Fasttrack Fundraising Ideas – This is the place to go for fundraising. They have everything from cookie dough to discount cards and even the newest in online fundraising where you don’t have any products to handle. Fasttrack also has $1 quick sellers for low budget fundraisers. It’s too much to list here. Request one of their free info kits at their link.

Youth Group T-Shirt Designs

  • Custom Ink – Hate coming up with a design and shopping around for tshirt companies? Custom Ink fulfills thousands of orders and has a rockin free design tool. Pick your shirt, create your design, pick your colors and place the order. Shipping is free and shirts arrive at your door in a matter of days. Custom Ink gives customers of this website $10 off if you enter the code “AP10” at checkout.

Services

  • IceBreakers Right AheadThis is the ultimate book for busy youth leaders who don’t have time to search the web each week for icebreakers. There are 52 icebreakers and each one comes with a leader’s guide, instructions and a way to tie it into your service message.
  • Power Play Vol. 1These are fun little pre-service games and trivia that work on both mac and pc. These are good for the kids that come into service and sit down bored. It helps the ones that don’t know anyone to feel like they have something to do. I think there are like five volumes, but I like the first one. Power Play works on both a mac or pc.
  • Powerpoint SermonsWe used this service for years to create cool looking backgrounds for services. I like it, but I think it’s a little pricey for the product.I guess it jsut depends on how big your budget is though.
  • Bluefish.tv – This is a good place to go if you need a quick video illustration for service. Some of them are only $1.99 and I think some are free.

Reading

  • Purpose Driven Youth MinistryThis book is by Doug Fields and is patterned after The Purpose Driven Life. It will give you new vision for your ministry.

Leadership/Training Tools

  • Leading Small GroupsSmall group leaders train your kids and they need to be trained to. This is the rules for the road on leading small groups and dealing with teenagers in a more personal environment.
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I could think of no better way than to start this blog with one of my all time favorite fundraisers: Egg Cracking. And yes, it is as bad as it sounds. We used egg cracking every year to raise money for youth camp. The kids absolutely loved it. Basically, you have each participant bring a carton or two of eggs. Set aside approximately 3 hours to go “cracking.” These 3 hours are best early on Saturdays when people are still home, usually between the hours of 9 and 12 in the morning.

Students walk through neighborhoods with eggs and approach homes asking for donations in exchange for cracking an egg on their sweet little heads. Let me tell you, though you may ask for a minimum donation of $1.00 per egg, your youth ministry fundraiser will fly through the roof with cash. People love a good laugh. There were several instances where we were given $20 per egg. Now sure, you are going to have a few sour attitudes here and there. But if you are a veteran youth minister, you shouldn’t be a stranger to unusual glances and weird looks, right? But just in case you are new to the game, don’t be naive. Your teenagers WILL throw eggs at you. It is the way of youth ministry. Think of it like winning the Superbowl and getting a giant cooler of Gatorade over the head. Except you smell like you just stepped out of a chicken coop.

If you are looking for a more conventional method of fundraising that doesn’t require a shower afterwards, consider FastTrack Fundraising. Request some information from them (it’s free) and you’ll be overwhelmed by all the options they have. They were featured by Forbes and NBC and have anything and everything you could imagine to fundraise with.

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