Middle School January Series: Momentum

Momentumblue copy

Momentum is the power for change. When an object is put in motion, momentum happens. The more momentum, the faster the object. The more momentum, the more change.  The more change, the more transformation and impact in our lives.

When it comes to momentum in our spiritual lives, we can be all over the place. One minute, we feel like God is right beside us and we are willing to go anywhere with Him, then the next minute we are in the middle of some sort of drama at school or at home that makes us question if God is even there.  Instead of momentum going full force, we sort of stop and start and stop and start and stop and start again… over and over and over, until we actually begin losing momentum and want to give up.

Leading up to Believe Weekend, January 29,30, & 31, we are going to talk about what it takes to have spiritual momentum in our lives during our Fusion Sundays and Fusion Wednesdays.

Session 1 – Status Update (Sunday, January 3)

Session 2 – The Truth (Wed, January 6)

Session 3 – The Big Boss (Sunday, January 10)

Session 4 – Connected (Wed, January 13)

Session 5 – Temptation Trap (Sunday, January 17)

Session 6 – Healthy Friendships (Wed, January 20)

Session 7 – Salt Life (Sunday, January 24)




Five Ways Gaming Is Changing Our World

Five Ways Gaming Is Changing Our World

Today we hear from Andrew McPeak again. Andrew is a writer, curriculum designer, and speaker who has served with a number of non-profit organizations (and has spoken to thousands of Millennials) over the last 5 years and now serves on our team at Growing Leaders. Today, Andrew offers his insights on how gaming has changed our world and how adults can respond. We think you will love his insight. You’ll be hearing from him on blogs and in our resources from time to time. Enjoy.

Every young person goes through a proving moment in life; it’s that opportunity when they make their first “adult” decision. I call them “adult decisions” because they come when you realize that you can make whatever choice you want, and you will be the only one ultimately responsible for the consequences of your decision. Sometimes it’s a defining moment. I remember my first decision of this kind clear as day. It wasn’t picking what college I was going to attend, breaking up with a girlfriend, or even some part of learning to live on my own. My moment was the day I decided to sell my Xbox 360 the summer after I graduated from high school, instead of taking it with me to college.

I had plenty of friends that took their gaming consules, but I knew that, with my slightly addictive personality, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. That summer, I noticed that I had played a new game (just ONE game) for over 70 hours in my free time. I poured hours upon hours into that game and at the end, when I realized how much I had given to this artificial world, I asked myself, “What was it all for?” I didn’t have a good answer to that question, and it’s left me fascinated with the gaming industry ever since. As a writer now, I spend more time watching the industry, looking at those who have been unable to (or even consciously decided not to) make the same decision that I did. Overtime, gaming culture has continued to grow, somehow under the radar of most thinkers, leaders, and authors over 30, and that’s why we’re talking about it here.

Five Ways Gaming is Changing our World


Somehow without us really noticing it, gaming has become HUGE. A couple years ago, for the League of Legends final (currently the world’s most popular video game) in South Korea, more people tuned in around the world to watch than did the NBA finals of the same year. In 2014, upon the release of the highly anticipated console game “Destiny”, developers sold a rumored 10-12 million copies of the game within the first 24 hours of it’s release, making the game’s creators more than $500 million literally overnight. This made “Destiny” the largest release of any form of media ever, more than doubling any releases from the music and movie industries the same year. But while musicians and movie stars often make the front covers of our magazines, the celebrities of the gaming industry continue to make their millions under the radar… at least in America.

So how is this hidden behemoth changing the world around us? Let me give you a few insights:

  • Everyone is Playing

97% of teens play video games every single week and 50% of teens 12-17 admit to playing games “yesterday”. Not only that, but 38% of all teen boys share their gaming handle when first meeting someone they want to be friends with, a Pew survey found. Gaming is on the periphery of culture now, but its influence will take center stage in the next decade.

  • Growing Female Participation in Games

Games are played mostly by males, but in the youngest demographics, females are gaming more and more often. There are also an increasing number of games that are made specifically for female consumers.

  • Your Kids Could Literally Make a Career out of Gaming

Apart from just the development of games, gaming has generated a number of lucrative ‘sub-industries,’ which include Conferences, Cosplay, Game-casting, Team Merchandizing, “YouTube-ing”, and more. The most culturally significant impact of all of this? You can literally make a career out of gaming, even if you don’t play! At Growing Leaders, we know recent graduates who have gotten a tech degree and immediately moved to Silicon Valley to create games. And they make great money too!

  • Mobile Gaming is the Wave of the Future

While console and computer games are huge, the largest and most profitable form of gaming is mobile, a type of gaming played by almost every demographic in the western world. Whether Tetris or Candy Crush, almost everyone (grandparents included) is helping give rise to the growth of the mobile gaming industry.

  • New Celebrities

Gaming has created a new group of celebrities that your kids probably already know. Some of them are players, others are YouTube creators, and still others are marketers, riding the wave of gaming popularity. It’s probable that, in the near future, these gamers will be on the covers of magazines that once only held professional athletes.

The Games We’re Playing

If you think that gaming in America has reached a troubling level then you may be starting to ask the question, where is this gaming shift taking us? There is an answer to this question for us in the robust gaming culture of South Korea. In South Korea, gaming celebrities are as popular as sports stars and young men and women are starting to show signs of gaming addiction. While the U.S. has yet to recognize gaming as a possible subject of clinical addiction, South Korea has gone so far as to create laws banning underage gamers from playing past midnight, and building health facilities specifically dedicated to helping to resolve internet addiction. If you have the chance to view about five minutes of this YouTube documentary it will give you some fascinating insights into the problems that could be in our future.

On top of that documentary, here are other suggestions on how to remain familiar with the changes coming to our world through the gaming industry:

  1. Talk to your kids or students about which games they are playing and review those online.
  2. Check out what’s happening on sites that show live gaming like twitch.com or gaming.youtube.com.
  3. Read this article from the Guardian about 16 gaming trends. Its’ fascinating!

When it comes to gaming, there is a lot to be fascinated about, if you’re into that sort of thing. Sadly, there is a lot to be worried about as well. Studies show that heavy gaming can slow the development of morality within young men. Gaming is also changing the norm of social interactions, especially among young men as most of their friendships are maintained by gaming together as opposed to physical interactions. And perhaps most concerningly, as the number of heavy gamers increases, there is a growing trend towards a cultural acceptance of wasting large amounts of time consuming media via gaming or binge-watching television. These changes are a part of a culture shift that we must be watching carefully. If we don’t we are, ironically, playing games with our future.


For King and Country – Baby Boy


Soaring melodies, driving rhythms, theatrical instrumentation and personal themes are the heartbeat of for KING & COUNTRY’s sophomore album, RUN WILD. LIVE FREE. LOVE STRONG.

The duo, comprised of Australian brothers Joel and Luke, has accomplished several notable feats on their new record. Perhaps the most remarkable is that the award-winning rock/pop duo has achieved the unexpected.
Not only have they ventured into new musical territories with some of the highlights being a collaboration with hip-hop artist Andy Mineo, their continued creative partnership with artist/producer Aqualung and their discovery of new soundscapes with producer Tedd T. (MuteMath) as well as Seth Mosely, but for KING & COUNTRY also managed to surpass the bar that the brothers had set for themselves with their debut album. They raised expectations tremendously with the release of 2012’s Crave and a win for New Artist of the Year at the 2013 GMA Dove Awards, where they received six nominations. Billboard also named them as one of the New Artists to Watch for 2012 and American Songwriter called them “Australia’s answer to Coldplay.”

Check Out More on the Interlinc Web Page

Generation Z… The Homelander Generation

Generation Z represents the batch of students born after 2001.  This means YOUR MIDDLE SCHOOLER!

Find out what research is saying about who they are… as well as how we can lead them.

  1. Instant Access – Google Reflex =look things up immediately and instantly
  2. New Normal – Growing Up in Post 911 age with terrorism as common place, along with the current racial unrest, economic low and uncertainty in their world.
  3. On Demand – Netflix, Hulu, Watch and entertain NOW, instead of waiting later
  4. Multicultural – 50% increase in mixed ethnic races

Check out More Tim Elmore Videos Here

Four Life Lessons Learned From Johnny Manziel



Check out Tim Elmore’s Blog

When Johnny Manziel played quarterback for Texas A&M, I became a fan. After his speech at the Heisman Trophy ceremony, I thought: A future NFL star is born.

Unfortunately, this just shows you how wrong a person can be.

Just one week after being named the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, Johnny Manziel was benched as a third-string quarterback. It had nothing to do with his on-field talent; it was all about his maturity. Call it a case study on an emerging generation of athletes, whose gifts may be bigger than their character.

What Happened…

  1. Johnny’s coaches spoke to him, before a bye week, making their expectations clear on his behavior during his time off. They expected him to handle himself “the right way.” Coach Mike Pettine said it was sad that they even had to talk like this to a grown man—but alas, they did.
  1. Even after this clear communication, Johnny just couldn’t control himself. He got “crunk” (crazy drunk) at a Texas party and, well… you know, a guy will do anything when intoxicated. With so much time on his hands, you can’t expect him to stay sober the entire time, right? Let’s just say Manziel didn’t represent his team well.
  1. Not only did he lack the intelligence to follow his supervisor’s orders as a professional, he then felt obligated to post pictures and video of his wild and crazy time. Yep, he did. In our day, we now do stupid things and then feel the need to broadcast it for all to see. It’s part of the new currency: a large platform to flaunt.

“We all know what happened and what got put out there, and it led to much disappointment and frustration,” Coach Mike Pettine said later on the Cleveland Browns Radio Network. “It was something we felt had violated the trust that we had put in him…”

Days later, the sobering news was broadcast about Johnny’s party. Pat McManamon for ESPN writes that Johnny Manziel’s decisions off the field this season cost him the chance to establish himself on the field, as his latest incidents demoted him from starter to third string.

May I suggest a handful of lessons young athletes can learn from this?

  1. If you want to go “pro,” start acting like a professional now.

Coach Pettine said he felt let down by his quarterback’s behavior given his on-field growth. “I’m especially disappointed in his actions because he’s been working very hard.” But alas, Johnny’s conduct didn’t match the role. Note to self: You move forward when your leaders see your capacity for a new level now. Don’t wait to act like a pro until you’re a pro. Promotion is only the recognition of current preparation.

  1. You can’t have it both ways: discipline can’t be a category.

People can’t live two lives and expect to be trusted. Trust evaporates when coaches see discipline in one area, but a total lack of discipline in others. Johnny Manziel says he wants to quarterback the Browns, but his life doesn’t show it. Leadership always begins with self-leadership. Dr. Aaron Stern writes, “To attain emotional maturity, one must be able to delay gratification in favor of long-range goals.” His progress on the field was eclipsed by his lack of discipline off the field.

  1. When given direction from a coach, see it as a “test” to pass.

Johnny’s coaches said they “didn’t use the word ‘test’ but that’s essentially what the bye week ended up being.” How we carry ourselves when on our own is always a pop quiz. Social media usually offers our grade. Professionals must either align with team boundaries or get out. Unfortunately, Johnny all but screamed: I don’t want to start anymore.

  1. To be treated as a mature adult, you must earn it with habits.

Adolescence is a period during which young people strain to maintain the privileges of childhood while demanding the rights of adulthood. Unfortunately, you can’t have both. Rights always come with responsibilities. Johnny—if you want to be a man, you can’t keep acting like a boy. Healthy adults build habits that serve as guardrails for their progress. Coaches watch for patterns in your life. What are yours?

Perhaps Coach Pettine said it best: “Success goes well beyond the field… It’s a little easier to handle [antics like Manziel’s] when it’s just a one-time occurrence, but when behavior repeats, not just him but with anybody, it’s certainly a cause for concern,”

He added: “You have a vision of what you want the team to look like, how you want them to handle themselves when they’re out of the building. We talk a lot about it … so when you have incidents like that [where] a guy knows that he represents more than himself and has issues off the field, it is frustrating.”

A word to the wise—learn from the lessons Johnny Manziel teaches us.

– See more at: http://growingleaders.com/blog/life-lessons-learned-from-johnny-manziel/?utm_source=Master+List+%28Monthly%2C+Weekly%2C+Daily%2C+Events+%26+Offers%29&utm_campaign=9cdeb10dc7-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b8af65516c-9cdeb10dc7-304459745#sthash.WFDYidDX.dpuf

the 62 Worst and Weirdest Nativities (the 2015 revised list!) | whyismarko


MARKO is a Youth Ministry GURU and also specialist in finding the WORST or WEIRDEST NATIVITIES!

Yup, I’ve seen the Coke can nativity. And I’ve seen the one with the pack of Camel cigs. And the live dogs posed as a nativity. And, yeah, the many glorious combinations of Barbies and Godzillas and just about everything else. But they’re not on my list of the XX Worst and Weirdest Nativities. That’s…

Source: the 62 Worst and Weirdest Nativities (the 2015 revised list!) | whyismarko