Continuous Calendars – 2022 and 2022-2023 (Academic)

Jon Acuff has a “Finish” calendar where the week starts on Monday and the months connect – like they do in real life.

Since so much of ministry points towards the weekend, and since it’s a mind game to see calendars separately when they actually run right into each other, I created a version of this calendar in Numbers.

It’s an academic calendar that runs from June-May, like the school year.

Now, each year I start with a fresh one and plan out my year in ministry with this little tool.

I thought a few others might find it useful too, so I’m sharing it here as a little Christmas present to anyone who wants it.

After sharing this file on social media, I had requests for it for non-Apple users and for people who wanted a January-December version.

So, I created one document with three tabs.

There is one tab for each version of the calendar – annual year and academic year. And there is a third tab that has been filled in with sample details to give you an idea of how I have used it.

And I exported it from Numbers as an Excel file to make it as usable to as many people as possible.

Download whichever you want or both and customize it to make it your own.

This is the calendar I pull out for staff meetings, planning family events, and just about anything else.

I still use a calendar app.

But this – visually – has been extremely helpful and practical over the last few years.

Merry Christmas!

iOS App that is both MindMap and Draw/Sketch/Doodle

Looking for an iPad app…

I want to be able to create mind maps where I can use my stylus to draw images or write words.

But then I want them to be movable while staying attached. I have a great mind mapping app but it is lacking in the drawing ability.

I have a great notebook app for hand-drawn I ages and words but it lacks in mind-mapping.

I would think by now there is an app that can combine these into one…but I can’t find one. And I have viewed and tried a ton of apps.

I’ll post my favorites below so you can see what I’m talking about.

But I’m looking to you – social media, internet, and developers – to be my heroes and find or create this app!

My favorite notebook, hand-drawn notes and sketches and doodles app: Noteshelf 2 by Fluid Touch Pte. Ltd.

My favorite mind mapping app: MindNode 5 by IdeasOnCanvas GmbH

Article Links for Technology and Trends in Preteen Ministry

I recently wrote an article for K! Magazine about Technology and Trends related to Preteen Ministry. Because of the subject matter, there were a ton of links to online resources. So, here is the list of links. As soon as the magazine issue is published, I’ll link to it here so you can read the article that goes with these links.

Video Resources

Worship Videos

Bible Apps

Mirror Content to Projector



Learn from the Schools


Virtual Assistants


Autumn Rain

Photo is Rain Water Drops on Car Glass Windscreen Grass by Iwan Gabovitch • Use under Creative Commons License •

NERF Wars: Tips and Resources for parties at home to big youth events

One of the most popular events we have for our 5th-6th graders is our NERF WARS nights.  We hold them once in the fall and once in the late winter/early spring.  I’ve seen a ton of other churches doing these nights for their students, as well as families doing this in a smaller scale for a birthday party or just fun time for their kids with friends.

Since I have benefitted so much from others, I’d like to pull back the curtain and reveal some of my favorite resources as well as a few tips if you are interested in having a NERF War event.

4EY97_AS01Tip #1: Safety Glasses

Whenever you are playing NERF, require students to wear safety glasses.  You are shooting darts.  At least one person will get shot in the face – even if it’s by accident.  Safety glasses are a must.  But you don’t have to spend a fortune.  We found these for about $2 each and bought a bulk amount.  We have been reusing them for years.


Tip #2: Learn from others

Kenny Campbell has a great NERF Wars event kit that he has used in his own ministry.  As well as a NERF cup shootout game that you could use anytime, not just at a big event.  Check out his resources and then do an online search or ask around.  You might be surprised who locally has done one of these events and may have some wisdom for you.  For example, I found this NERF wiki with a ton of great tips and suggestions for variations on NERF Wars.


Tip #3: Go to the Source

NERF wants kids to have fun with their products and buy more.  So they have put a fun, digital playbook online.  You can click through here and choose which type of blaster and whether you want to play with one person or a group.  Then it gives you a quick explanation video followed by a bulleted list of instructions.  Use these as-is or modify them, whether you are using these at your house or a big event in tournament or station form.


Tip #4: Promotion

I found this great FREE logo online that you can download and customize for your event.


Tip #5: Perfect Videos

If you haven’t heard of Dude Perfect yet, you should check them out.  When it comes to NERF Wars, whether you simply build up some excitement with their NERF Blaster video, NERF Blasters Battle video or challenge students to recreate their own Dude Perfect NERF moment, you can’t beat the hype they bring.


Tip #6: Tournament Refs on the Same Page

We learned the hard way what happens when you have a NERF War tournament going on in multiple zones and the referees have different “house rules.”  So, learn from my mistake and save yourself some upset preteens!  Make sure that the rules are simple and that everyone operating as a referee understands them.  It’s best to send them a copy of the rules and their responsibilities ahead of time.  Then, meet with them before the event to talk through the rules and be clear about any hypothetical situations.


Tip #7: Provide All the Ammo

Nothing ruins a great NERF War more than all the whining and complaining when everyone can’t find exactly each and every dart they came with to the event.  So, do yourself a favor and provide all the ammo.  You can buy regular darts from NERF in packs of 75 for about $13.  The Mega darts come in packs of 10 for $5.  This is why we charge students $5 for our NERF Wars.  It covers two slices of pizza and restocking of ammo.  I also suggest picking up a few blasters for the kids who have one that breaks, don’t bring one, or bring one that doesn’t work with your ammo.

I hope this helps you whether you are planning a birthday party at your house or a big event at your church.  Make sure you take notes after you have your event so you’ll know what to adapt, change and improve for your next one.  This is definitely one event you can repeat and the excitement will still be there!