Feature Article Published in Group Magazine

I am very excited to share the news with you all.  Group Magazine, one of the leading Youth Ministry publications has published a feature article written by me on constructing and delivering effective messages to teens in the May/June 2011 issue.  Though I have had several reviews and ideas published in Group, this is my first feature.  The title of the article is, "Top Ten Bonehead Mistakes We Make With Our Messages."  Though I think everyone should of course run out to their local Family Bookstore or Lifeway and pick up a copy (or better yet subscribe on their website), I am glad to share one of the mistakes here:

04 The Blatant Act of Plagiarism

I can't tell you how many times I have heard Louis Giglio's talk, "How Great is Our God," the one with the planets and the cross-shaped molecule, and only once has a person actually given him credit.  Besides the obvious moral problem, you will almost never be as effective giving someone else’s talk as you will giving an original.

There’s nothing wrong with using source material and even those prefab talks you get in a lot of youth ministry products, but make them your own.  Change the order, illustrations, and wording so that it makes sense to you, and if you didn’t write the majority of it, mention let your audience know that.

{the following is not in the article... WEB EXCLUSIVE :-) } I think the motivation to not quote sources is either that the pastor wants to appear smarter than they really are, or they feel like people wouldn't respect them if they are not using original material.  But the truth is, it doesn't matter!  Several weeks ago, I used images of Jesus taken out of a book by Alan and Debra Hirsch in my sermon.  I mentioned them by name before I went into the images and even referenced them on all the slides.  Throughout the week, I got comment after comment of people talking about them as if I had come up with them.  No one faulted me for quoting someone else, and many didn't even remember it was someone else's.  There is absolutely NOTHING to loose by referencing your source material.