Teenagers and Porn

stats and quotes that get you praying

Yesterday I wrapped up our annual series on love, sex, and dating with a focus on culture, temptation, and forgiveness. One of the central topics was pornography. Needless to say, I had every students attention.


In preparation for this message, I came across some pretty staggering statistics about teenagers and porn. I hope these help you process the state of the union as it pertains to your students online endeavors and leads you to more research and follow-through.

First from Covenant Eyes:

Did you know…

9 out of 10 boys are exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
The first exposure to pornography among men is 12 years old, on average.
71% of teens hide online behavior from their parents.
28% of 16-17 year olds have been unintentionally exposed to porn online.
20% of 16-year-olds and 30% of 17-year-oldshave received a sext.

On average…

6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
15% of boys and 9% of girls have seen child pornography.
69% of boys and 55% of girls have seen same-sex intercourse online.

“Never before in the history of telecommunications media in the United States has so much indecent (and obscene) material been so easily accessible by so many minors in so many American homes with so few restrictions.”   – U.S. Department of Justice

Research reveals many systemic effects of Internet pornography that are undermining an already vulnerable culture of marriage and family. Even more disturbing is the fact that the first Internet generations have not reached full maturity, so the upper limits of this impact have yet to be realized”   – Jill Manning, Sociologist

From Walt Mueller at CPYU:

The average age of first exposure to Internet pornography is 11
70% of boys have spent more than 30 consecutive minutes looking at online pornography on at least one occasion.
35% of boys have done this on more than ten occasions.

From the Barna Group:

When they talk about porn with friends, 89% of teens, and 95% of young adults say they do so in a neutral, accepting, or encouraging way. That is, only one in 20 young adults and one in 10 teens say their friends think viewing pornography is a bad thing.

32% say viewing porn is “usually or always wrong” compared to 56% who say not recycling is “usually or always wrong.”

And before we pass judgement as pastors and youth pastors, let’s look at this alarming statistic:

Most pastors (57%) and youth pastors (64%) admit they have struggled with porn, either currently or in the past.

Overall, 21% of youth pastors and 14% of pastors admit they currently struggle with using porn.

We have a problem folks. But we also have a great opportunity to talk with students about their identity in Christ. Condemning porn void of helping students be found in Christ is fruitless. May we help students run after Christ in such a way that “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.” Amen.

David Headshot

David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava, Ben & Madelyn, Student Pastor at The Fellowship in Round Rock, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


8 Ways to Communicate Youth Ministry Plans

[Freebie] Youth Ministry Communication Cheat Sheet

As a youth worker, communication is key. We must consistently put our plans, schedules, and programs in front of parents. The view of your ministry will largely be determined by how well you communicate with parents.

A failure to communicate will lead parents to two conclusions: 1) You don’t have a plan. 2) You don’t care.

While these might be furthest from the truth, what good can come from a failure to communicate?

Moment of Honesty: I haven’t always been the best at consistent communication. In some seasons my team has thrived at communication and had parents and leaders commend our efforts. In other seasons, we have failed miserably at communication and had parents unsure what to even think about our ministry!

Regardless of your past performance, what matters most is how you move forward. Resolve to communicate clearly and consistently. If you want to win with parents you will need clear, concise (don’t over communicate), and consistent communication.

With that said, here are 8 Ways to Communicate Youth Ministry Plans:

  1. Student Ministry Stage Announcements – don’t expect students to tell their parents!
  2. A Parent Email or Newsletter – build a list using MailChimp…you’re welcome.
  3. The Adult Service Bulletin – only use for major events & have a presence over the course of multiple weeks…it’ll take that long for them to see it!
  4. Text Messages – Make a student list & a parent list. Want it free? Use Remind…you’re welcome again.
  5. Want the entire list? Get the Cheat Sheet…print it off, put it on your desk…you’re welcome again!

 Get the Cheat Sheet

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David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava, Ben & Madelyn, Student Pastor at The Fellowship in Round Rock, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


Mission Trip Preparation & Transformation

[Freebie] Mission Trip Meeting & Deadlines Schedule

On a mission trip, transformation and preparation go hand-in-hand. If you want to see transformation, preparation matters.

Mission Trip Preparation & Transformation

These were the words of Greg, my youth ministry elder, this past Sunday at our first meeting for our July trip to the Dominican Republic. Greg is right. Short-term mission trips are transformational for those who faithfully prepare.

As a youth pastor, I want to make every effort to prepare students for what they will experience and what they should expect on a mission trip. Furthermore, I want to make sure that my students are thinking intentionally about the purpose and function of short-term missions.

It’s my firm belief that short-term missions should be tied to a long-term mission. In other words, churches or groups looking to take a week-long trip should look to partner with someone who has boots on the ground for the long haul. A short-term mission team should seek to join and bless the mission of those who are seeking long-term transformation.

Furthermore, a mission team should spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually prepare for the trip. As a mission trip leader, I have no problem asking a lot from those who want to be a part of our mission team.

Mission Trip Requirements:

Want to see our Deadlines and Meetings Schedule? Download it here.

Where are you going on mission this summer?
What do you do to prepare?
Comment below!

 Mission Trip Meetings & Deadlines

David Headshot

David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava, Ben & Madelyn, Student Pastor at The Fellowship in Round Rock, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


Give Youth Ministry BACK to Youth

do you struggle with control?

I wrestle with control. I like to control things…specifically in youth ministry. I would rather do something myself and know it will be done right than let someone else do it and it not turn out the way I planned.

One of my students leading our transition to worship.

One of my students leading our transition to worship.

However, when we open Scripture, we Jesus entrusting ministry to the disciples. Jesus came to be the perfect propitiation for our sin, but also to hand off ministry to a mixed bag of nuts. Every time the disciples seem to have it together, they have a concentration lapse and start arguing about who will be the greatest in the kingdom. Sound familiar?

If you are a youth pastor you have seen this. You have seen students demonstrate an amazing ability to faithfully do ministry. But then days later, those same students do something that makes you question their salvation…sigh.

But we can’t give up. We can’t completely take back the reins. We must continue to hand off ministry to students…it’s what Jesus did…it’s what He had to do so that the ministry of reconciliation would move forward.

I am always looking for ways to hand ministry of to students. Whether it be a Bible Study they are doing at their school, leading worship, or most recently for me…leading Wednesday programming. For the last two months, I have handed a large part of our Wednesday night programming to students. I have put the planning, preparation, and execution of our welcome, game/activity, and transition into worship into their hands.

I can’t even begin to describe how hard this has been for me. There have been times where I have wanted to barge onto the stage and grab the mic…but I let go…and God moved! Students thrive off of the energy and presence of other students on the stage.

Robert Coleman, is his classic text The Master Plan of Evangelism, describes the method Jesus used to hand off ministry to the disciples. Steps 5-7 of 8 give us the verbiage of demonstration, delegation, and supervision. These work perfect in describing how we should be handing off ministry to students.

Demonstration – Let students watch you do what you will ask them to do. The disciples watched the way Jesus taught, prayed, healed, and loved others.

Delegation – Give your students meaningful ministry that will help them develop leadership skills. Jesus in Mark 6:7 sent the disciples out 2-by-2 to do ministry. He entrusted them to do the things they had seen Him doing.

Supervision – Give your students feedback on the work they are doing. Help them continue to grow and develop their ministerial skills. In Mark 6:30, after going out 2-by-2, they return to Jesus for a debrief. Imagine what those conversations where like!

What does this look like in your ministry? Are you being too controlling? Are you demonstrating, delegating, and supervising? Are you giving youth ministry back to youth?

David Headshot

David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava, Ben & Madelyn, Student Pastor at The Fellowship in Round Rock, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


4 Disciple Now Musts

plus the document I use to organize it all

We just finished our annual Disciple Now Retreat Weekend. It was an absolute blast and God did some big things! These weekends are always special.

Anytime students get away from the normal routine of life to seek and lift high the name of Jesus, big things happen. Students hear from Jesus in new and fresh ways as they seek Him in Gospel Community. Here is the recap video of Disciple Now 2016:

As youth workers, we should always be seeking to improve our “product.” When I say product, please don’t hear, “event void of Jesus.” Yes, our primary objective is to point people toward Jesus. Period. But this doesn’t mean we should get comfortable in how we engage students. Retreat weekends should call students into worship, Bible study, contemplation, community, and fun. How we execute these each year is our “product” and we should always be refining how we are engaging students. Being intentional and creative in this process both removes barriers and creates environments where student can encounter Jesus. With this in mind, here are my Disciple Now Musts:

  1. You MUST put together a strategic team.

Administrative Team –> Team Leads –> Volunteers

Strategic Teams work smarter not harder. They do this by splitting the work load as much as possible. Our retreats are planned and organized by an Administrative Team that leads and coordinates Team Leads, who in turn coordinate and lead volunteers. Team Leads are in charge of college leaders, communication, drivers, food, host homes, sponsors, check-in, fun, service projects, stage design, etc.

Want to see how we organize it all? Download our Master Disciple Now File!

  1. You MUST communicate early and often.

This is really just a good rule for ministry and life, but it’s particularly helpful during events. Not only do you need to be communicating with students how awesome the weekend will be, but parents need to know dates and details as early as possible. Our communication and planning process begins about four months out.

Furthermore, communication just before and during a retreat weekend can be tricky. We have found REMIND to be a huge help. This is a FREE texting service that schools use to communicate with students and parents. You choose a code, parents text the code to a number to join, and boom, your line of communication is now open. We use four different text streams for parents, college leaders, drivers, and all volunteers. The unique thing about REMIND is that you can’t see any numbers, so do not technically own their information. While not needed for weekend events, there are probably better solutions for your primary/longterm texting service.

  1. You MUST dream big.

What should be the theme or focus of your retreat? What would help solidify the message in the hearts of students? How many volunteers do you want? How many students do you expect to show up? What would encourage students to invite their friends? What will be what students talk about for years to come?

These are just a few of the questions you should ask when planning an event. Ask God not only for a big outcome, but for big dreams in the planning process. When you set your sights high you will work/pray your tail off to get there. When you set your sights low (intentionally or through lack of planning) you will get sub-par results/response.

  1. You MUST pay attention to the details.

If you want your student ministry to seem faithful (or “professional” for that matter) you must pay attention to details. The earlier you jump into the planning process and actually begin to execute the plan, the better you will be able to pay attention to the details during crunch time. You should NEVER have to “wing it” during an event or retreat weekend.

When you have to pull off a game or service project at the last second students will know it. Worse, parents and volunteers will know it and form opinions about you and the ministry you run. These may be unfair and unwarranted opinions, but your church should expect the same level of professionalism they find in the business world. Yes, you might be part-time or volunteer, and yes, your budget is probably tiny, but don’t make excuses. Rather, set a high standard for yourself and the ministry and then watch what God will do with a faithful servant!

Want some help paying attention to the details? Like I already told you…go grab our FREE Retreat Planner! This Master DNOW Excel File has multiple tabs that will help you organize and plan your next retreat. It was created by one of my amazing leaders and will walk you step-by-step through event preparation and how we coordinated 301 students, 51 college leaders, 91 Host Home/Driver/Sponsors, and 58 general volunteers.

 Give It To Me!

David Headshot

David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava, Ben & Madelyn, Student Pastor at The Fellowship in Round Rock, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


Why Students Avoid Living Missionally

or at least why they struggle to...

Here’s what I know. I know that many students are engaged in sinful behavior that is crippling their joy and ministry. This lack of joy and effective ministry is a direct result of living a life void of self-control. In a society where truth is relative and parents aren’t parenting, students are drowning in self-gratification.

Why Students Avoid Living Missionally

Their cell phones (Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, texting), Xbox, Netflix; more than ever, students have personal entertainment at their fingertips. Where many of us had parents regulating our use of media and what we could view/do, students today have parents who are either clueless as to what their teens are consuming or apathetic as a result of being addicted themselves.

Into this space, youth workers must preach and teach self-control. In Paul’s letter to Titus, who was dealing with the evil, lying, gluttons of Crete, Paul writes to help the believers see the connection between belief and action. Specifically, Paul is writing to raise the leadership bar and exhort the leaders of the church in Crete. A simple word study of the book of Titus reveals a unique connection between two words.


Paul uses the word “self-controlled” five times in his letter to Titus (1:8, 2:2, 2:5, 2:6, 2:12). Like our students, the Cretan Christians also wrestled with impulse and self-gratification. This is usually the case when followers of Jesus fail to allow their faith in Him to affect the way they live, act, and interact with culture.

As youth workers, we must help students understand the correlation between mission and self-control. Paul says in Titus 2:6, “Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.” If our students want to experience the fullness of Gods mission and purpose for their life, they will need to recognize that there will be some desires of the flesh that must be denied.

Denial of self, however, is pointless unless it is connected to joy in Christ. We don’t avoid sin to feel better about ourselves…that’s selfish. We deny self that we might better know Christ and be found in Him.

Good Works

Self-control, when done for the glorification of God, equips men and women of God to be ready and devoted to good works. While self-control is mentioned five times in Titus, “good works” is referenced six times throughout the book (1:16, 2:7, 2:14, 3:1, 3:8, 3:14). We would be wise to see the correlation between self-control and good works.

I believe that many students struggle to find joy in Christ, because they are ensnared in sin. This hold of sin produces guilt and shame that prevent students from finding joy and purpose in the works of Christ.

First Corinthians 9:27 states, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” This disqualification happens not only after you have proven to be a sinful hypocrite, but also before. The pull of sin is so strong that for many it has crippled the joy found in living for Christ. Rather than seeing oneself as a tool in the hand God, many students, and adults for that matter, have a disqualified view of themselves despite knowing that in Christ there is no guilt or shame.


If we want students to walk in freedom, we must teach them that freedom comes from submission to Christ and living a self-controlled life. Romans 6:11 states, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” When students fully embrace their life in Christ and continue in Him through self-control, they more readily carry out the missional works God prepared for them.

David Headshot

David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava, Ben & Madelyn, Student Pastor at The Fellowship in Round Rock, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


An Insane Season of Youth Ministry & Life

Disclaimer: This is a rant post. Don’t read this as me being unhappy or ungrateful, but rather as me being in a place where I am completely dependent upon the grace of God!

This last season of life has been one of the craziest seasons of life and ministry for my family. Not only has it been crazy but it has also been incredibly challenging and life-giving. While that seems like an oxy-moron it’s actually when you push yourself to rely fully on the presence of God that you find a strange sense of peace amidst the crazy. Let me just bullet point what the last season of life has looked like for me:

  • Got pregnant with our third child
  • Prayed through a new opportunity in Austin
  • Decided it was God’s will to join the mission at The Fellowship Round Rock
  • Faithfully transition the youth ministry I’d spent four years shepherding
  • Sold our Plano home
  • Moved into a friends place while house-hunting
  • Started new youth ministry role (building relationships & programming)
  • Bought a house and moved in…boxes, boxes, boxes
  • Started Summer in Youth Ministry
    • Summer Camp planning & execution
    • Summer College Interns
    • Mission Trip to Dominican Republic
    • Lot’s of awesome weekly relational ministry & programming
  • Still learning the people, programs, and processes of a new church
  • Found out our unborn baby will have clubbed feet or joint disorder
  • Started learning how to run multi-site youth ministry
  • Started recruiting new Small Group leaders & slightly altered SG model
  • Launched Small Groups
  • Wife went into pre-term labor…doctors got it stopped.
  • Transitioned youth pastors at our multi-site
  • STILL meeting new people and building relationships at a church of around 2k
  • Planned and executed Fall Retreat
  • Wife went back to hospital with pre-term labor during Fall Retreat…stopped again
  • Attended Middle School Ministry Campference…AWESOME!
  • Keying in on leader development and care
    • New College worship leader
    • New multi-site youth minister
    • Small Group Leaders
  • All of this plus the weekly Wednesday & Sunday routine

Needless to say, it’s been quite a ride! Despite the busyness, the Lord has been so gracious and kind. He has been my strength and the fact that things are going really well is testimony to His provision and plan. There have been low times, but He has seen me through. I’m tired, but He is my source of strength. Today, I hold onto the following passage. I hope it comforts you if the mountain ahead seems impassable.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

– Psalm 40:28-31

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David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava & Ben, Student Pastor at The Fellowship in Round Rock, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


Why you NEED a Youth Ministry Team

Stop running alone.

Reality Check: You cannot do youth ministry by yourself. You will never be able to do youth ministry by yourself. Your church, students, and community need more than you alone will ever be able to provide. You NEED a team.

Let’s break this down:

  1. You simply can’t do it all.

If you have a large student ministry, it is impossible for you to disciple the masses. The more leaders you recruit and train up, the deeper the impact that your ministry will have. If you are a part-time youth pastor with only a handful of students, you still need to execute a professional full-time youth ministry through the strategic efforts of a passionate team.

  1. You can’t be everywhere.

You might be able to make every game, small group, Sunday, lunch, coffee, etc., but it’ll cost you your sanity and family. As your ministry continues to grow, you will need leaders dedicated to being present in your student’s lives.

  1. You’re just not good at everything.

If you are a visionary that tends to ignore the details (like permission slips, event registrations, weekly communication) then perhaps you would benefit from an administrative team who can help you carry out that grandiose vision. Or maybe you need a Small Groups team to help you recruit, train, and send out leaders. Strong leaders know themselves. This means they know their weaknesses and fill their gaps with qualified and passionate leaders. Where are you weak? Who can you recruit to take your ministry to the next level?

Want help building an All-Star Team?

If you are doing youth ministry alone, or if recruiting leaders feels like pulling teeth, then you need to check out Jody Livingston’s new online course, Building the All-Star Youth Ministry Team. I know you can relate to the following:

Have you ever…

felt guilty for just plugging warm bodies into spots in your Youth Ministry?

felt like a used car salesman when recruiting new volunteers?

found yourself on promotion Sunday still needing a ton of volunteers?

Have you ever had any of these thoughts?

“I feel like I’m begging people to serve in our Youth Ministry.”

“I wish I could have volunteers that are passionate about our Youth Ministry.”

“I’m tired of having to do it all alone, and am not sure how much longer I can do this.”

So…what would your ministry look like if you had a team of loving adults around you who are pouring into the teens in your ministry?

I’m so excited for this course and the way it will help youth workers, like you and I, be intentional. In Building an All-Star Youth Ministry Team, Jody will teach you:

✔ Why you need a team around you

✔ Where to find the volunteers you want and need

✔ How to approach and ask potential volunteers without begging

✔ How to keep the team you build

✔ What to do when you have to ask a volunteer to step out

Get after it! Leaders are learners and we all have a lot to learn about how to build an all-star team. I’ll see you inside the course!

Build an All-Star Youth Ministry Team

David Headshot

David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava & Ben, Student Pastor at The Fellowship in Round Rock, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


Youth Ministry TV 007: Middle School Ministry

Why it's unique & important

In episode 007 of Youth Ministry TV, David, Ben, and Kevin Libick discuss why Middle School Ministry is so unique and important. If you are a youth pastor overseeing 6-8 graders, this is a must watch!

Resources Mentioned:

Middle School Ministry by Mark Oestreicher & Scott Rubin

Middle School Ministry Campference

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Youth Ministry TV! If you got something out of it, would you do us a favor and share this on your social media platform of choice? We desire to train, equip, and encourage youth workers just like you and this would further help us achieve that goal!

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Youth Ministry TV 006: Having Hard Conversations

How-to correct students, parents, & leaders?

In Episode 006 of Youth Ministry TV, David and Ben discuss how to have hard conversations with students, parents, and leaders. Those conversations are coming! Are you ready?

Thanks for watching! I hope you enjoyed and I would love to get your thoughts! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and leave us a comment or comment below. I’ll share some of your thoughts on Twitter!

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