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Have you ever heard a student say, “I don’t care about the lyrics, I just like it for the beat.”  I know I have.  It’s a problem this generation is so prone to.  We hear all about all the false teachers in the Bible, Peter warns against them, the book of Jude warns against them, Timothy warns against them.  Where is our warning?

One of the greatest of all false teachers these days is music. While our students like it for the beat, they aren’t immune to the lyrics.  With hardly anything in their minds fixed in stone, the influence of music is hard to deny.  According to Pediatrics, Official Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics, there is significant research showing negative effects of degrading lyrics in youth.  There is significant data that exposure to music promoting sexual exploits, drug use, or other harmful behaviors cause an increase in the related behavior.  With the data backing up the fact that lyrics affect behavior, how much behavior is being influence by the “popular” artists of the day?

I heard a Ke$ha song on the radio the other day and the lyrics went like this, “I hear your heart beat to the beat of the drums, Oh what a, shame that you came here with someone, So while you’re here in my arms, Let’s make the most of the night like we’re gonna die young.” In short, she’s saying it doesn’t matter that you have someone you’re committed to, what matters is you get to have some fun before you die.  I was in a restaurant one day and as I was walking into the bathroom a little girl and her mom were walking out of the adjacent restroom; I heard the little girl, who couldn’t have been older than 7, singing Rhianna’s song S&M, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me.” At what point do we need to step in and tell a mother she shouldn’t let he child sing that song?  It doesn’t matter if she doesn’t understand the song; it still has an impact on her.  I don’t have kids of my own, but I have ones at youth group who are old enough to realize what the lyrics mean and I pray so hard that they would realize the affect it has on them.

A challenge I have recently taken up was put out by K-Love.  It’s the 30-day Christian music only challenge ( What influence do we want to have on our students?  Is your music library a positive motivator for the Kingdom?  How can we convince our youth, that what they listen to affects how they act?

I’m asking that you take the 30-day challenge and watch it have an impact on your life.

Travis Lodes is the Student Ministries Intern at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, CO. Feel free to leave comments or email him at

If all goes well, by the time you read this I’ll be on my way to Rwanda with about 15 students and some incredible leaders. On the blog this week we’ll have all sorts of guest posts and guest editor-in-chief Geoff Stewart will be posting regularly as well. If you would, please take a second and pray for health, strength, and safe travel for our students. Excited!

Day ONE & TWO: Travel to Kigali, Rwanda
Pray for a smooth airport check-in. Pray for safe travel to Rwanda. Pray for rest and the preparation of our hearts for ministry. Pray that all goes smoothly with the logistics of travelling with a group our size.

Day THREE: Genocide Memorial and travel to our main ministry site
Pray that our students would be excited on their first full day of ministry, loving the people whom they are serving.  Pray that the team has a heart of compassion and understanding as we learn about Rwanda’s history today at the memorial.  Pray for safe travels to this rural city.

Day FOUR & FIVE: Church and meeting with pastors. PEACE activities
Pray for the people of Rwanda, that their hearts would be open to the Word of God as it is preached today in churches. Pray for great conversations as we meet with the pastors of local churches. Pray that we would be able to accomplish much with them in preparation for the week of ministry ahead. Pray for your student today.

Day SIX – NINE: PEACE activities with Churches
Pray for endurance for long days of ministry. Pray that our team connects with the Rwandan community, making them feel loved and cared for. Pray for friendships to be built among Rwandan and Saddleback students. Pray that the team continues to shine the light of Christ even if we are exhausted.

Day TEN: Travel back to Kigali
Pray for safe travels and rest as we return to Kigali. Pray for your students as they begin to process and debrief the trip. Pray that, as we conclude our time in Rwanda, we would be able to reflect on what God has taught us and encourage one another with stories of God’s work.

Day ELEVEN & TWELVE: Pray for safe travel back to America.
Pray that we adjust well spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Pray that God would continue to work in our hearts after we return. Pray that we would continue to remember and reflect on our journey in Rwanda. Pray for protection from sickness and fatigue.

Follow us on Twitter or Instagram for updates: @hsmrwanda


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Jeffrey, Mike, and Matty have teamed up to offer some sharp advice on transitioning from the teen years to adulthood. They’ll guide you through eight essential topics, including finances, dating & sex, spiritual growth & disciplines, and identity. You’ll hear about their victories and successes—plus their regrets and mistakes.

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Meet the Authors:

JEFFREY WALLACE has served in local youth ministry for over a decade and brings a fresh and relevant approach to effective and healthy Purpose-Driven urban youth ministry. He is the President & CEO of Front Line Urban Resources, Inc., which focuses on training and mentoring other urban youth pastors and leaders and providing life-changing youth ministry resources. He also serves pastor of youth development at Peace Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia.

MIKE HAMMER is passionate about leadership, ministry, and people growing in who God has called them to be. With over a decade in ministry, he is currently a youth pastor for middle and high school ministries, as well as a writer and occasional speaker. He lives with his wife, Megan, and their sons, Logan and Parker—both named after superheroes. (Seriously, how awesome is that?)

MATTY MCCAGE convinced Joyce to marry him and a church to hire him. Matty has spent nearly 20 years in youth ministry, teaching the proper wedgie technique and regularly pontificating on He and Joyce are living happily ever after with their three offspring: Aeden, Warren, and Emmalicious.


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Ministry is such a rewarding experience, but why does it create so much strain on marriages?
Jake and Melissa Kircher have learned some valuable lessons (often the hard way!) about building a healthy marriage amid the demands of ministry. They aren’t perfect, but they’ve matured individually and as a couple because of each mess, problem, heartache, and obstacle they’ve encountered. They understand your struggles and frustrations, because they’re their struggles and frustrations, too.
99 Thoughts on Marriage & Ministry will help you discover advice, wisdom, and insight in five core areas:

  • Marriage Basics
  • Balancing Marriage and Ministry
  • Finances
  • The Church vs. Your Family
  • The Darker Side of the Church

Marriage can be messy, and marriage while serving in ministry is extra messy. Whether your marriage needs just a little tuneup or a major overhaul, 99 Thoughts on Marriage & Ministry will encourage both you and your spouse, and will empower you to pursue a strong, healthy marriage.

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Meet the Authors: Jake & Melissa have been married for seven years. Their blog ( explores real-life issues that most marriages and relationships face. Through honesty and humor, they provide encouragement and wisdom to couples, both married and dating. Jake has been a youth pastor for 11 years and also works with We Love Our Youth Worker and REACH Youth New England. Melissa has served as a volunteer youth worker and a mentor for high school girls. She is a freelance artist and writer. They have one foster son who loves to bang on the drums.


- Stephanie

Leadership in Flux

Jeff Thompson —  February 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

A couple months ago I came across this article – “The Secrets of Generation Flux.”

I found it fascinating and very applicable to ministry life today. These younger leaders and the description of how to lead a new generation speak directly to who we serve and lead with.

I would love to know what you think? Did you find parallels to your ministry? Did the article ring true for you? Or did it seem too far fetched for you – off base?

generation flux

A Plug For My Friends

Kurt Johnston —  February 7, 2013 — 3 Comments


Warning: Shameless Plug. But at least it’s for somebody else!

If you’ve never heard of the amazing people at CIY (Christ In Youth), it’s time to get acquainted with this amazing ministry located in Joplin, MO.

CIY has been around for more than 40 years with a single purpose in mind: “To amplify the call on student’s lives to become kingdom workers.” To that end they create some incredible trips, events and resources. And I’ve become one of their biggest fans.

Here are three reasons I think CIY has something to offer your ministry:

1) They love Jesus And His Kingdom. Plainly put; I’ve not been around too many organizations with such a passion for Jesus and a desire to nudge teenagers toward making a Kingdom impact. This stuff bleeds out of them….from the President to the guys setting up sound equipment at an event (and we all know the guys setting up sound equipment hardly ever love Jesus).

2) They Love The Local Church. So often when a church uses an outside organization, things seem to be all about the outside organization…they become the heroes. Not so with CIY. At every CIY event I’ve been to (which is a lot), they consistently position the local church as the hero….as whom they are there to serve. To often, the church and the para-church world feel at odds, in some sort of unhealthy competition. CIY is a faithful partner and cheerleader of the church.

3) They Create Incredibly High Quality Events. We use CIY primarily for three things: We take our junior highers to Believe. We take our high schoolers to Move. And we take a JH/HS combo trip to Engage. I’m going to share a secret with you: Mega-churches can be fairly arrogant, and it’s tough for us to admit that anybody would be able to create anything as awesome as what we can create ourselves. And this posture kept us from attending CIY for far too long (at one point, I even traveled to a Believe event, studied it for a weekend and went home to create my own version for churches in our area: The result? We started attending Believe shortly thereafter!). The level of quality at a CIY event is shockingly high. The music, the “lights, camera, action”, the content, the way they love on church leaders, and the list could go on and on.

Here is a partial list of CIY’s offerings:
- Believe: A two day Junior High event (think weekend retreat but in a hotel setting with tons of awesome)
- MIX: A four-day Junior High summer camp.
- MOVE: A week-long High School summer camp.
- Engage: A four-day (I think) urban work camp.

Here is a promo video for Believe that will give you a peek into a CIY event: