Hungry Hungry Hippos – Youth Group Game

A couple weeks ago, I began seeing people share videos of this youth group game. What was it? A real-life version of Hungry Hungry Hippos. After checking it out and evaluating the cost, I thought this is something we have to do with our students. This past Wednesday at The Middle, our middle school program, we played it, and it was a blast! We are going to try it this Sunday with our high schoolers.

What you need:

  • One skateboard, rope, small bucket, and a large bag per team.
  • A large number of plastic balls (the kind from ball pits).

Directions:

  1. Have each team of 3-4 players pick a side.
  2. Each team gets a skateboard, rope, small bucket, and large bag.
  3. One player will tie a rope around his/her waist and lie down on the skateboard.
  4. The other teammates will push and pull their teammate.
  5. The “Hippos” will use the bucket to chomp down on the plastic balls, and bring them back to their team.
  6. When the Hippos bring the balls back, their teammates will collect them in their team’s large bag.
  7. When all plastic balls are gone, the team with the most wins.

Important Notes:

  • The ropes need to be long enough to let each Hippo reach the middle of the room, but no further.
  • Instruct the Hippos to only collect plastic balls. Do not let them push themselves around. That is when fingers become exposed and get squished.

I hope you enjoy this game as much as we did!

Five Things I Did Not Expect from The Orange Conference

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I have been to several conferences over the years. To be honest, some are better than others. The Orange Conference is one of those better ones. Sure, there are great speakers and things to learn, but it is often the unexpected things that make OC so good. Today, I wanted to share five things that I did not expect to experience at The Orange Conference. (Note: These are in no particular order.)

1. Meeting people from other countries.
Last year, I was fortunate enough to stay in a house with a guy from New Zealand. Throughout the conference, though, I began meeting more and more people from other countries. It was such a great opportunity to connect with them and hear what family ministry is like where they live. It really helped to broaden my horizons.

2. Parody songs.
Each year at The OC, the band performs at least one (usually multiple) parody songs. These are usually in honor of specific family ministry people, and they are always both hilarious and excellent. For instance, last year, they did a parody of “Call Me Maybe” as “Change this Baby” for nursery volunteers. A couple years ago, they did “Don’t Fade Away,” a parody of “Come Sail Away” as a tribute to all volunteers.

3. Great food.
Honestly, I should have known about this, but each time I go to the southern states, I am overwhelmed with the amazing food they have. I ate so much barbecue, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes that it wasn’t funny. It is a good thing that I had to walk around to all my workshops, because I could have easily gained weight at The OC.

4. Relaxation.
Ministry is often an incredibly tough time, and many conferences claim you can come and relax for a week, but The OC is one of the only ones I feel like it happens. There are a number of workshops and main sessions to attend, but I never felt like I was still working. It is always a great time to kick back, shift my worries to the back of my brain, and focus on my relationship with God.

5. Lots of fun.
As I have said before, I have been to several conferences. Most of them were designed for youth or family ministry. Unfortunately, though, many of them forget that we really like to have fun. It is one of the reasons we do these jobs. When I came to The OC, though, it was completely different. There are games, comedians, rock bands, contest, silly videos, and more going on all the time.

Those are just five things I did not expect to experience when I first started going to The Orange Conference. I hope they help you understand a bit more about what it is all about. If you have not registered for this year’s conference, do so right away! Just head to theorangeconference.com, where you will find all the important information.


It’s “Orange Blogger Week” again, which means that the Orange Bloggers are out in full force, sharing about their experiences using Orange curriculum, going to the Orange Conference, and partnering with families in their local churches. Be sure to check them out! There are some really talented bloggers on our team (much better than me!).

Blizzard 2015 – Having Fun in Slow-Mo

On the night of January 26, 2015 (and continuing all day on January 27), the majority of the northeastern United States was hit with “Winter Storm Juno,” which brought over two feet of snow to our yard. What does one do with all this snow? My wife and I decided to have some fun in slow motion!

Reflections from 2014 and Resolutions for 2015

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Happy New Year! The funny thing about a new year is that there is theoretically nothing different from December 31 to January 1. It is just another passing from one day to the next, but people often view it as a chance to start over with a clean slate. It’s that time when many people will make promises they intend to keep throughout the next year. On the other hand, they also try to forget something that happened in the year before.

While 2014 contained some wonderful things, including our life-changing trip to Haiti, this year has definitely been a rough one for many people. This past couple months have been the hardest. This year, my wife and I each had a grandmother pass away. We also had a few deaths within our church, which does not happen very often, considering many of those who come to RCC are younger. It has been a year of struggle, sickness, loss, and pain for many of my family and friends. Much of these things, we would like to leave in 2014, but that is not as easy. The sickness does not go away as soon as it strikes midnight, and the pain of a lost loved one is not suddenly relieved when the ball drops in New York City.

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Connecting with People: Compassion in Haiti – Part 3

One of the coolest parts of our trip was seeing Compassion International at work in the country of Haiti. They have a ton of projects in Haiti, but we only had time to visit three of them. Days two through four were spent doing just that. Along the way, we learned that almost thirty years ago, Compassion moved from doing their own thing in the community to being based in the local church. So, each project we visited was attached to a church.

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Meeting our Child: Compassion in Haiti – Part 2

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It is hard to believe that a month ago, today, we were stepping off the airplane into a country that has been on my heart for many years. When I was a young boy, I remember meeting some missionaries from Haiti at church. I don’t remember much about their presentation or what exactly they were doing. All I remember is they were helping children and families, and God helped me to understand there was a huge need. Of course, I could not comprehend everything at a young age, but that was when God placed this country on my heart. My grandparents also began sponsoring children in Haiti, and I was always interested in how that worked. I would often ask my grandma about her child, and she often referred to him as her son, which I thought was great. So, as God began to prompt me to sponsor a child through Compassion International in January 2002, I immediately searched for a child from Haiti.

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One Amazing Week: Compassion in Haiti – Part 1

Just two weeks ago, my wife and I returned from a life-changing sponsor-tour trip to Haiti with Compassion International. Due to the nature of this trip, I’ll be sharing my thoughts over a series of blog posts, instead of putting it all in one gigantic post. In this first one, I wanted to share what we did and saw during the trip.

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Haiti, Here We Come!

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It is hard to believe that our trip to Haiti is almost here. It seems like it was just the other day when we were praying and deciding if we should do this, and now we are putting the final touches on our trip. This past weekend, we spent some shopping for gifts. We got our sponsored child a backpack, pencils, soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste, a jump rope, a stuffed animal, notebooks, towels, a jewelry-making kit, a Bible, and several other things. We may have went overboard, but it is hard to hold back.

As I’ve said before, this trip is sort of surreal for me. I have been sponsoring this little girl since 2002, which means it has almost been 13 years of communication through letters and photos. My wife became a co-sponsor with me once we were married in 2009, and she has fallen in love with her, too. However, this will be the first time we actually meet her in person. Up until now, she has merely been a name and a face in a photo, but very soon, she will be incredibly real to us.

To be honest, this makes me both excited and nervous at the same time. I am excited to meet her, see what she is like, and witness what Compassion does in the developing country of Haiti. In contrast, I am also nervous to meet her. I have a ton of experience working with teenagers, but for some reason, this is different. I hope I know what to say. I hope she likes us. Of course, we are praying that God will lead us, but I would be lying if I told you I was not anxious at all.

As we get ready to leave soon, I ask that you keep our trip in your prayers, too. Speaking of prayer, we thank God for all of you who are contributing to this trip – including finances, prayers, and other support. We really appreciate it! We do not know if we will be able to provide many updates while we are there (if any at all), but rest assured, I will be blogging about our experience when we get back.

I Really Like Our 8-Bit Mario and Peach Pumpkins

Each year, my wife and I try to have fun with our pumpkin designs. Last year, I cut a Super Mushroom design in my jack-o’-lantern. This past weekend, we went to a friend’s house, who is known for her painted pumpkins. After some serious thought, we went with an 8-bit style Raccoon Mario and Peach. Our friend graciously took our ideas, drew them, and instructed us how to paint them. Here is the final product, which make me very happy, especially since I am not an artist at all. But with her help, I actually pulled it off.

YM Resource – “Speaking to Teenagers” Book

speaking-to-teenagersA couple years ago, I went to a seminar/workshop with Doug Fields and Duffy Robbins. What they spoke about that day was based off their book, Speaking to Teenagers: How to Think About, Create, and Deliver Effective Messages. The tips and methods they use to teach teenagers will help you so much! In fact, each time I develop a lesson or message, I think back to what I learned from Doug and Duffy.

I do not plan on restating everything they mentioned. Instead, I just want to point you in their direction. These are two of my ministry mentors. I have learned so much by reading their books, listening to them speak, and watching them in ministry from afar. If you have a chance, you should get this book! In fact, at the time I’m writing this, Amazon has it on sale for only $2.99 (on Kindle)! Just to put that into perspective, it is usually $18.99.

BUY FROM AMAZON