Gearing up for our Fall Lanch

Gearing up for our Fall Lanch

Gearing up is not about planning (That should have been done already), but rather about filling the tank and preparing your heart, mind, and soul for ministry.

For our student ministry rhythm we intentionally take a couple of weeks off between the end of summer programming and our fall launch. I have found that this is a vital two weeks for our students and for me.  As we wrap up summer, and we have solidified our 16-17 calendar complete with curriculum, fun activities, service and mission trips, it is time to take the foot off the gas, get my own house in order and prepare for another full year of student ministry.  

For the next two weeks, here are my goals and my plan to achieve them.  

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Leaning into hope when tragedy strikes

Leaning into hope when tragedy strikes

This summer has been one of the most difficult and trying summers I have ever had in ministry and in life.  At the front end of summer I got word that Alex Robbins, one of my dear students, who just recently graduated from college, died in a freak boating accident, and then a little over a month later, two more students who had been deeply rooted in our church and ministry died in a freak car accident.  

Needless to say, it has been a summer of grief, pain, and sorrow.  It has proven to be more difficult than I realized to be be both pastor and friend to these young men and to their friends who I am still in close contact with.  I am gratefull for our church community and for the love and grace of our Savior.  And as I close up this awful summer and lean head long into another year of student ministry, please pray for me, for our church, and for these families.  

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How is the good news actually good news to this next generation? A Post Christian Gospel

How is the good news actually good news to this next generation? A Post Christian Gospel

With all of my heart, I think that the gospel of Jesus Christ is always good news. I also believe with all my heart that at different times and in different cultures what is seen as good news is much different than what the generation or people before them saw. And it just so happens that we are living right in the middle of this cultural change.

Thinking back to how my parents’ generation would answer this question, the good news of the gospel was that Jesus Christ died for their sin. Sin meant missing the mark, and they had done just that. Growing up in a firmly Judeo-Christian context, they pushed back and rebelled. There was an expectation of how to behave, and they failed. This failure resulted in consequences and someone had to pay. In a spiritual sense, Jesus died for their sin, and for those who recognized their own rebellion, turned to Jesus, and asked for forgiveness, Jesus would pay the price of their sin and make them right with God.

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Helping seniors develop a faith that is ready for college

Helping seniors develop a faith that is ready for college

Our Seniors Aren't Ready! It doesn't matter where you find yourself on the theological spectrum, there is huge concern regarding the complete abandonment of the Christian faith by our youth group students when they leave for college. There are movies like Divided, which see youth ministry as the main culprit for this loss of faith. And there are books like Sticky Faith, which want to reshape and redirect youth ministries to work more closely within the churches that fund them and alongside the parents of their community.

For as long as I can remember, there have always been an enormous exodus of students from the church the second they leave the comfort and confines of home and experience a world where there are no more boundaries, no more rules, and no more accountability to their former way of life. I find the statistics overwhelming and the actual students who choose to walk away heartbreaking. While I can not solve all the cultural or ecclesiological problems that contribute, I can be more proactive and intentional in the way I do student ministry so that my students have a fighting chance when they head off into the big, bad world.

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Free Weekly Devotionals for Students (Colossians 3:18-4:1)

Free Weekly Devotionals for Students (Colossians 3:18-4:1)

The lost art of a daily quiet time.

It is getting harder and harder to find ways to help our students grow in their walk with God outside of our student ministry context.  I have found that few students spend regular time in God's word.  Most of our kids don't have journals, devotional books, or any sort of structured way to engage in God's word throughout the week.

In an effort to help our kids connect with Jesus and because I am cheap, I have decided to write daily devotionals for my students each week.  A 5 day daily devotional to be done over the next 7 days.  

I long for my students to know Jesus and to be molded and shaped by him.

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Free Weekly Devotionals for Student Ministry (Colossians 3:12-17)

Free Weekly Devotionals for Student Ministry (Colossians 3:12-17)

The lost art of a daily quiet time.

It is getting harder and harder to find ways to help our students grow in their walk with God outside of our student ministry context.  I have found that few students spend regular time in God's word.  Most of our kids don't have journals, devotional books, or any sort of structured way to engage in God's word throughout the week.

In an effort to help our kids connect with Jesus and because I am cheap, I have decided to write daily devotionals for my students each week.  A 5 day daily devotional to be done over the next 7 days.  

I long for my students to know Jesus and to be molded and shaped by him.  

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Free Weekly Devotionals for Student Ministry (Colossians 3:1-11)

Free Weekly Devotionals for Student Ministry  (Colossians 3:1-11)

The lost art of a daily quiet time.

It is getting harder and harder to find ways to help our students grow in their walk with God outside of our student ministry context.  I have found that few students spend regular time in God's word.  Most of our kids don't have journals, devotional books, or any sort of structured way to engage in God's word throughout the week.

In an effort to help our kids connect with Jesus and because I am cheap, I have decided to write daily devotionals for my students each week.  A 5 day daily devotional to be done over the next 7 days.  

I long for my students to know Jesus and to be molded and shaped by him.  

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The 4 key tasks of student ministry

The 4 key tasks of student ministry

As we gear up for a new year and new semester of ministry, it is easy to get caught up in urgent tasks and miss the mark on what we are actually called to do as youth workers.  Now, don't get me wrong, tasks like the details that go into a successful and engaging youth group, planning events, buying supplies and setting up fun games, the study and preparation for your talks, receipts, and contact work, are all important, but these tasks are only the action steps that must be informed by the four key tasks of student ministry.  If you do these four tasks well then you will be a rock star for the kingdom of God and for your church!

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Free Weekly Devotionals for Youth Ministry (Colossians 2:16-23)

Free Weekly Devotionals for Youth Ministry (Colossians 2:16-23)

The lost art of a daily quiet time.

It is getting harder and harder to find ways to help our students grow in their walk with God outside of our student ministry context.  I have found that few students spend regular time in God's word.  Most of our kids don't have journals, devotional books, or any sort of structured way to engage in God's word throughout the week.

In an effort to help our kids connect with Jesus and because I am cheap, I have decided to write daily devotionals for my students each week.  A 5 day daily devotional to be done over the next 7 days.  

I long for my students to know Jesus and to be molded and shaped by him.  

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Retelling a lost story

Retelling a lost story

Remember This Movie: Lions and tigers and bears, ___________! If you could immediately fill in the blank, then, whether you realize it or not, you have been impacted by culture. If upon further thought, you could fill in the blank and your mind went to Dorothy and her companions walking along a yellow brick road towards Oz, then you have some context for that cultural expression. And if the conclusion of that statement causes you begin to think about your favorite scenes, smile at the munchkins, hum a song, and even have fond memories of seasons of life when you enjoyed watching the film, then you are part of the generation that has been impacted by the movie, The Wizard of Oz.

Many of us have grown up with this movie. We know the songs, we know the stories, and we know the characters. We have seen poor high school versions of this movie, and even a brave interpretation of the story by Micahel Jackson. And because this story is so ingrained in our current pop culture, there was a place for someone to come along and use that story to tell a fuller story. And that is exactly what happened in the production of Wicked.

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Free Weekly Devotionals for Student Ministry (Colossians 2:6-15)

Free Weekly Devotionals for Student Ministry (Colossians 2:6-15)

The lost art of a daily quiet time.

It is getting harder and harder to find ways to help our students grow in their walk with God outside of our student ministry context.  I have found that few students spend regular time in God's word.  Most of our kids don't have journals, devotional books, or any sort of structured way to engage in God's word throughout the week.

In an effort to help our kids connect with Jesus and because I am cheap, I have decided to write daily devotionals for my students each week.  A 5 day daily devotional to be done over the next 7 days.  

I long for my students to know Jesus and to be molded and shaped by him.  

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Who is holding up your hands?

Who is holding up your hands?

I love, love, love student ministry.  But if I am honest, it has got to be the hardest and most difficult thing I have ever done.  Not the tasks, not the actual job that I get evaluated for, but that subjective, spiritual, unspoken work of pouring your entire being into the life of students.  

Most people love to "invest" in the lives of students.  

But to be honest, most of this investment seems like the Farmer who is not only scattering seeds, but wasting good seed on miles of path.

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Free Weekly Devotionals for Youth Ministry (Colossians 1:15-23)

Free Weekly Devotionals for Youth Ministry (Colossians 1:15-23)

The lost art of a daily quiet time.

It is getting harder and harder to find ways to help our students grow in their walk with God outside of our student ministry context.  I have found that few students spend regular time in God's word.  Most of our kids don't have journals, devotional books, or any sort of structured way to engage in God's word throughout the week.

In an effort to help our kids connect with Jesus and because I am cheap, I have decided to write daily devotionals for my students each week.  A 5 day daily devotional to be done over the next 7 days.  

I long for my students to know Jesus and to be molded and shaped by him.  

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Human Connections vs. Social Media

Human Connections vs. Social Media

A few weeks ago I was talking with a former youth group student who is now in his late 20s.  He was sharing with me how it is really difficult trying to find a quality woman who loves God now that he is out of college, and in a community with few peers.  For the New Year he has decided to take the plunge and take his chances with a dating website. As culture continues to change and as media becomes more and more personal, it seems that the trend is for people to hunker down and live out their lives online.  Gone are the days where people actually go outside, meet up with friends, and do something together.  Everything has become centered on the individual.

Individualism is king!

This trend is great when I think of the shows, movies, music, blogs, and news that I like to consume.  I don’t have to bother people around me who would be annoyed with my passion for old skool Amy Grant.  But for building community, for making new friends, and for finding a potential spouse (for my friend) this trend is making these things increasingly difficult.

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Free Weekly Devotionals for Student Ministry (Colossians 1:1-14)

Free Weekly Devotionals for Student Ministry (Colossians 1:1-14)

The lost art of a daily quiet time.

It is getting harder and harder to find ways to help our students grow in their walk with God outside of our student ministry context.  I have found that few students spend regular time in God's word.  Most of our kids don't have journals, devotional books, or any sort of structured way to engage in God's word throughout the week.

In an effort to help our kids connect with Jesus and because I am cheap, I have decided to write daily devotionals for my students each week.  A 5 day daily devotional to be done over the next 7 days.  

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How do you protect your kids from porn? Circle by Disney

How do you protect your kids from porn?  Circle by Disney

As a youth pastor, I get asked all the time, "How do I protect my kids from porn?"  "How do I manage my kids' online consumption, especially because every device has become so personalized?"  To be honest, until these last few months I have had little help to offer.

A month ago, I bought Circle, by Disney, and it has revolutionized the way I protect my home, my kids, and myself from the many pitfalls that the online world has.  

Circle, by Disney, is a device that syncs up to your wireless router.  It is simple to set up and simple to use.  I am one of the least technological people I know.  My tech ability peaked with setting the VCR.  Even for someone like me, the set up was easy as pie.  Simply follow the directions that are explained by pictures and before you know it, every device that connects to the internet from your router now goes through the Circle.  

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A mission statement that may not inspire, but points us towards the job we are called to do

A mission statement that may not inspire, but points us towards the job we are called to do

Remember life before Mission Statements?

I remember back to the good 'ol days, before mission statements, vision statements, measurable goals, strategic plans, and purpose driven everything. In those days life was simple, Chubby Bunny, DC Talk, the 4 Laws, and Pizza ruled the day. And somehow by God's grace, churches grew, people came to know and love Jesus, and some of those people even felt called by God to go into ministry.

As corporate language has invaded the church there has been a sharpening of focus for churches and for ministry. This corporate language is not the point of this blog, and I apologize if you went into anaphylactic shock because of it. Yes, I agree the church isn't corporate and we hate all things corporate (except Apple). But every church I have been to and every youth worker I talk to says that they want their church and their ministry to grow. And while they assure me that growth means spiritual growth, we all know what we mean, numerical growth. And the people who have been leading the charge are those who have taken the best of the corporate world and used them in the church.

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10 ways to maximize your ministry this summer

10 ways to maximize your ministry this summer

As we wrap up another year of student ministry, it is nice to take a little breather and celebrate a job well done! Seriously, YOU KILLED IT! Week in and week out you provided excellent ministry and care for the wide variety of students that God has put in your path. You have loved them well, been the hands and feet of Jesus, and done good, solid ministry!

Now, with summer quickly approaching it is time to reboot, recharge, and regroup, for in a matter of 10 short weeks it will be time to gear up and do it all over again!

So, for these 10 weeks of summer, I thought I would give you 10 ways you can maximize your ministry. Summer provides for a very unique rhythm in life and ministry, so lets capitalize on that so that we can come into our falls ready to ROCK!

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How do you view status on a high school campus?

How do you view status on a high school campus?

It is not 1985 anymore:

Back in the 80's Young Life was the premiere organization reaching students for Christ.  They were a corrective force for the church and were the key organization to completely transition how churches do student ministry. Because of the influence of Young Life, the church has been able to expand their demographic from a closed group of church kids, into youth groups that are just as missional and inviting as many Young Life Clubs.It seems that the institutional church is always slow to change and slow to change their methodologies.  Since this is true, I am wondering if we are still holding on to a key ministry philosophy of Young Life had back in the 80's.

This philosophy was simple, if you win the popular kids, the leader kids, you will win the campus.  (I have no idea if this is still Young Life's main strategy, but it used to be and was incredibly effective)

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Can't Stop The Feeling! Let the dance party help shape your student ministry!

Can't Stop The Feeling!  Let the dance party help shape your student ministry!

Have you ever noticed that high school students that joking and laughing seem to come pretty easy? In fact, if you really look, most of their interaction is light hearted joking with one another. When my friends and I get together, this just isn’t the case. Our conversations are really deep and important. I wonder why that is? But why it is, is not the topic of this post. The fact that it is, is what I would like to explore.

As youth workers, we are called to connect with students, and to be cross cultural missionaries. We are to enter their world and find places where we can share the love of Christ, to bring the abundant life to them, in their context, on their level. What if one of those thing places was actually good ‘ol fashioned fun. Fun in the form of music and dancing might actually be a powerful tool to accomplish this challenging task.

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