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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Why are kids so APATHETIC these days? It's because they have NO SKILLS!

Why are kids so APATHETIC these days?  It's because they have NO SKILLS!

A couple of weeks ago I lead a parenting seminar on apathy.  I mostly signed up to lead this seminar because our own students' apathy is just killing me!  Especially in spring, it seems like kids fall off some sort of emotional cliff and check out completely.  I started out asking some questions . . .

Does apathy have to define our students?  What is the cause? Are there some practical solutions?

Through a little bit of research and some further conversation, I had a breakthrough on what one of the main causes of Apathy is, along with a possible way forward.  (For the record, I am a simple youth worker trying to understand my students and care for their hearts.  If you have other insights or resources, please share.)

According to Google, Apathy is simply defined as: Lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.  Wikipedia says that Apathy is a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, and concern.  It is a state of indifference.  

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What can Graduation teach us about our calling?

What can Graduation teach us about our calling?

Guess What? It's Not About You!

A call to student ministry is a special and unique thing. We have been called by God to participate in the spiritual development of students. For a very specific and often chaotic season, we get the privilege and honor of being adults who coach, mentor, disciple and journey with adolescents who are exploring their faith and making it their own. What could be greater? As we attempt to live this out in the real world with real students in a real context, this simple and yet profound calling gets blurry.

The students we work with have joys and concerns, victories and losses, growth and set backs. We attempt to be there for every student for every part of the roller coaster ride; and while we work our guts out, pouring our lives into these students, our vision becomes impaired. Because very slowly, without us knowing, the joy that comes from getting to be there for students and walk with them turns and starts to become about us. Instead of being an adult who journeys with students for a season of their lives, we see ourselves as the adult who journeys with them, who advocates for them, who loves them, who will get them through adolescence, who will solve their problems, etc...

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I am at my best when I live out a heart that is full!

I am at my best when I live out a heart that is full!

ENCOUNTER: Read Romans 8:14-16

Whenever I think about living out of a heart that is full, I imagine myself participating in some sort of extreme sport.  My sport of choice is base jumping in a wing suit.  I mean, that would be incredible.

While extreme sports are incredible and adrenaline makes us seem like our hearts are full, the truth is that what is happening is simply adrenaline, a chemical that has been introduced into our blood stream.  What we are talking about when we say live out a heart that is full, is living in a way where you are fully connected to your inner self. 

There is a deep well of love, pain, joys, and sorrows, hopes and dashed dreams that we all keep locked away deep inside.  But the longer we live one way on the outside and keep hidden our true self on the inside, we become more and more detached.  

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The politics of Student Ministry

The politics of Student Ministry

Politics: the art/science concerned with guiding or influencing policy. Add the additional concept of “guiding or influencing people” and we’ve got a good working definition.

In any organization, government or church, there are people and policies that need to be led. Politics is the art through which this is done. Politics is a reality of life, one we can’t overlook.

What makes politics so inherently tricky is the presence of power.

Politics is all about influence and influence is all about power. Power is the lever that makes influence happen. But power within the church is a paradox. On one hand we’re called to be servant leaders, to give up our rights, and lay down our lives for others. On the other hand, we’re called to lead people. You can’t lead without influence, and you can’t influence without power.

In most churches, there are three groups of people who have significant power in shaping the politics of that church. And, in the majority of cases, these people have more power and influence than us youth pastors do. For us to thrive in our ministry context, we must recognize this and work hard to work alongside these individuals.

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Who do you recruit to be volunteers?

Who do you recruit to be volunteers?

One of the worst feelings I've ever had in youth ministry is the feeling of going at it alone, feeling like I was the only one who cared for students at my church. Most of this feeling came because I really was the only adult from our church who was at youth group helping connect and pull off our program.

It doesn't take many nights like that, or trips where you find yourself scrambling at the last possible minute to find an adult to drive for you, that you are willing to do whatever it takes to recruit volunteers. At this point in the ministry it doesn't even matter if they like kids--just give me a warm body!

Getting Volunteers Now:

Ok, if you are in a situation like the one I described above, you simply need to just get a warm body in the room. I know it doesn't sound like much, but you cannot be doing this alone. First for spiritual and emotional reasons, but also for legal reasons as well. If you are holding out for some adult who will attract kids, interact with them appropriately, and help nurture a healthy version of Christianity, you will die holding your breath.

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