$5 deal 7-18

Yes, yes, I know. This is way too good to be true… but it is! For today only you can get The Simple Truth Bible for just 5 presidential flash cards.

That’s a mere penny per devotional for the priceless result of helping your students grow closer to Jesus!

Doesn’t get better than that folks. Today is the only day for the $5 Simple Truth Bible deal so be sure to get ‘em while they’re hot! *Order now here*

We love you guys! Keep on keepin on.

- Amber Cassady aka The new girl aka AC

I love our youth nights, I love the buzz, the noise of the crowd, the Worship, the community, the teaching, well basically all of it. The experience of the gathered Church to me is rich, in tradition and off the charts in value. But as mush as I love the bigger stage, I have an equal passion for the relational one on one connection with students and have fought hard to maintain a level of relational connectedness to young people even in the midst of a demanding role in the wider church. When I am going to meet with a student for a coffee, a coke or just going for a walk there are a few questions that are guaranteed to be a part of the conversation.

1 What is something that you are excited about?

This is a great ice-breaker question, its disarming question and allows a student to talk about something they have an easy time talking about, themselves! This is also a strategic question because it gives me some event or opportunity that I can follow up with. If they are excited about their drivers test, a concert or a hot date, I now have intentional opening for a follow up conversation. Remembering these events and following up shows a student they are valued.

2 How are things going in your small group?

Our ministry has small groups on the same night as our youth gather, which means that 100% of our students are in small groups. As a leader there are certain areas of the culture that I can shape, but within the small groups exists its own community and culture and its important to know what is happening. Any chance you have to get a the straight goods on the pulse of ministry, you should take it because the growth and discipleship is happening in the small group more so than the large gather. Also finding out about a problem or challenge allows me I can’t help that leader navigate the scenario that I otherwise might not have known was a concern.

3- How is your heart?

I am so sold out to asking this question because it allows the transition into asking students how their relationship with God is, where they are experiencing Him or not. Asking a student about their heart allows the conversation to address where they feel encouraged and where they feel discourage and takes the conversation to a level of honestly faster than so how are you Really doing? Our leaders have been starting to latch onto the question and some of the students now have heard it enough that they jokingly ask me the same question. Its a great part of the changing culture of our ministry where we are trying to go deeper in our relationships with God and each other.

4 How can I pray for you?

This question is a must ask for obvious reasons, but any meaningful conversation with student that doesn’t include this question is a missed opportunity for me. Students need to know that we are here to journey beside them, to intercede on their behalf and intend to follow up with those things they are in need of prayer for. Praying for our students one on one, in the large group and privately is a core part of what we do.

These are just four of the many questions that we ask our students when we meet with them, are there questions that are on your must ask list?

-Geoff @geoffcstewart



“Nothing.”  It’s the answer we spoke of  when some students are asked what they want to be when they grow up.   Not,  “I don’t know,” or  “I’m figuring it out.”  ” Nothing.”

The other answer we often get from students who are stuck in this place of survival are,  “Professional athlete,  singer, model, actress.”  Recently one of the smartest young women in my ministry pulled me aside to tell me a secret.  “I have applied to colleges, however,  I don’t think I am going to go.  Instead I am going to pursue my dream of  being on American Idol.”    I never tell students these type of dreams are “unattainable,” instead I ask what steps they are going to take to make it happen.  She had no plan.  As a matter of fact when I pressed her it was fear of failing, of being the first generation to go to college in her family,  of financial aid not coming through that caused her to back out of her college aspirations.  I said,  “You know you can go to college and get to American Idol too. ”    This is a variation of something I have witnessed many times.  There are two extremes that equal the same answer: No dream.  This time you put something out there that is so big you know you won’t really attain it.  So whether you answer “nothing” or the “big thing” you never believe anything will really happen.

SAM_0119

When your hope has been deferred or “put on hold,” you forget what dreaming feels like.  Perhaps you are afraid to dream at all.   The exciting piece of Proverbs 13:12 is that “Dreams fulfilled are a tree of life.”   This is a picture of the cross and resurrection.  In other words Christ is how we overcome a sick heart.  He is the reason we can dream.  He is the hope.  The problem is how do we best help students who want “nothing” to understand it isn’t about “something,”  but the “one thing” that will renew and bring relationship.

Where can we start?

Truth: Students are hungering for the truth.  They want to wrestle with the hard stuff.  They want to know beyond our opinions of life,  but also who Christ is,  really. What does this mean to their everyday?

Time:  They want our time.  They want time to ask questions.  They spell love T.I.M.E.  In a hurried world,  where everything is pushed aside our students are looking for us to slow down,  and take “time” with them.   It is also our responsibility to understand that “TIME” means something different to the Lord than to us.  (Remember the whole day is like a thousand years and visa versa to God?)  We must  believe always He is at work in a heart whether we SEE it with our eyes or not.  Jesus is working his concept of  “time,” to move past hopelessness.

Trust:  We live in a society where it is hard to know who we can rely on.  Teaching a student why they can trust Jesus is huge.  This means letting them know sometimes we can make mistakes,  but HE is always trustworthy.  The Lord isn’t one person on Facebook,  another on Twitter and then there is the “real” God.  He is always the same,  and there is freedom in that.  Yet, they need to learn WHY?

Teach:   Bring the WORD before students and help them learn how the Lord is talking to them there.  It may mean starting with “what” the Bible even is.  That is fine. Take it word by word if necessary.  However,  never be afraid to teach students exactly who Christ is and where they can come to learn about Him.

“Nothing” is not an option when it comes to Jesus.  He has an amazing plan and purpose with dreams fulfilled.  However,  it can’t be done on our own.  That is why it is important our students know a “dream fulfilled”  is only ever truly in Christ.

What do you feel helps students to understand hope deferred can be moved to Jesus?

 

 

 

 

 

As my high school group of guys have grown older I’ve noticed the amount or responsibilities and conflicts in schedule have grown.  Because our groups meet every Thursday night it’s easy for them to miss a week here and there.  However, as the obstacles and alternate opportunities grow their attendance starts to falter.  They tell me they love being their; however, they are just so bogged down with:

  • School Work
  • Sports Practice
  • Responsibilities At Home

I’m sure this list could continuously go on for many of you and that your groups face similar challenges.  The key to keeping the group strong is to enable it to grow outside of your allotted time.  That means connecting with teens multiple times during the week in a variety of ways.

That might seem fine to you; however, overwhelming to your volunteers. If you introduce that idea to them there might be push back or reluctance, and that’s okay.  You just need to help and show them how to grow outside the designated time.  To do that:

  • Give Leaders An Out – From time to time give your small group leaders permission to do something outside of the usual time or agenda.  Because time is so valuable allow them to sacrifice a night of the “usual youth ministry” to do something different.  Challenge them to embark in a service project instead of discussing service.  Encourage them to do something social that will build camaraderie.  Give them permission “to play”.
  • Extend An Invitation - Many leaders might not know where to start when it comes to investing in their group outside the weekend.  Invite them to join you when you are heading out to a game (Where their teens might be present) or on an outing your group might be planning.  By extending an invitation you are leading by example. 
  • Set Them Up For Success - On top of extending an invitation to join you equip them with resources that will help them connect with teens outside the group.  That might mean training them on social media etiquette, or giving them the tools for planning a night of laser tag.  As the youth minister of your church you have a wealth of resources and knowledge that your volunteers need access.  

The more a group can grow outside of the weekend or it’s usual time the stronger it will become.  It will teach the teens how to build relationships outside of a youth ministry setting.  It will also build confidence in your leaders because they’ll feel like they have ownership.  When your leaders are motivated to lead outside the group it extends your capacity to be present in the community.

How do you help your volunteers connect with teens outside the designated time?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)



http://vimeo.com/32275339

A buddy told me about some success he was having in his spiritual life using a new service called goTandem. It isn’t simple to explain, so I put the video above in this post to show you more. Seems like should be some good uses for this in youth ministry. Just throwing it out there – looks interesting!

JG

The Basics

 —  February 25, 2013 — Leave a comment

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The best coaches, the most effective teachers, and the strongest leaders all know this truth: If you want to build something that endures, you have to start with the basics.
That idea applies to our spiritual journey, too. The Basics will help students explore, discuss, and apply some of the core truths of the Christian faith. The truths in this series aren’t called “basic” because they’re childish or simplistic; they’re “basic” because they’re foundational and essential to leading a life that honors God.
Each week, your teenagers will explore key Scriptures that relate to these topics, discuss the significance of each biblical truth, and consider how it relates to their lives today.
The Basics is ideal for students who have recently become Christ-followers or for teenagers who are exploring the claims and truths of the Christian faith—but students who’ve been followers of Jesus for years will benefit, too.
This DVD-based curriculum covers four topics:

  • Start Here: Salvation [08:13]
  • The First Step: Baptism [05:29]
  • Remembering the Past and Looking Forward: Communion [06:50]
  • Keep Moving Forward: Next Steps [07:14]

You’ll get tons of helpful materials to help you use the curriculum, including discussion guides, promotional materials, and more. All of the resources are editable and reproducible, so you can tweak away and infuse them with your ministry’s unique personality!

 

Order The Basics here!

 

About the Author:

Joshua Griffin is the high school pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. While he’s given up on his dreams of winning American Idol and running seven marathons in seven days, he remains committed to the dream of seeing teenagers passionately live out their faith.

-Stephanie



One of the books that I have been recommending a lot to students recently is “Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods” by… Rick Warren. In the book, Rick gives 12 different ways for us to dig into scripture. It is the perfect book for a student who wants to switch things up with their time in the Bible. The methods are:

1. Devotional- Meditate on a short piece of scripture and then find a personal life application for it.

2. Chapter Summary- Read a chapter of the Bible at least five times and then write down your thoughts about it.

3. Character Quality- Pick a character trait that you would like to have/grow in, then look at and study what the Bible says about it. Find out how you can apply that to your life!

4. Thematic- This is one of my favorites! Start by picking some theme of the Bible and write down a few questions you have about them and try to answer them by looking up the theme in various areas of the Bible.

5. Biographical- Choose a character from the Bible and read all that you can about them. Take notes about their traits and character and see how you can apply them to your own life.

6. Topical- Organize a list of scripture about a certain topic. Put it into an outline from that you’d be able to share with another person.

7. Word Study- Choose an important word from the Bible and see how it is used and how many times it comes up. Go and find out what the original meaning of the word is!

8. Book Background- With the use of Bible reference books, study the historical context of a book of the Bible to understand how the history affected the meaning.

9. Book Survey- Read an entire book of the Bible several times to get a good idea on what the book is about and then study the background of the book and take notes.

10. Chapter Analysis- Take a careful look at one particular chapter of the Bible. Take it apart word-by-word, verse-by-verse.

11. Book Synthesis- After you’ve used the Book Survey Method and the Chapter Analysis Method on every chapter of the book, summarize the contents and the main themes of a book.

12. Verse Analysis- Select a passage of Scripture and examine it in detail by asking questions, finding cross-references, and paraphrasing each verse. Record a possible application of each verse you study

I love this book because there is really something in here for everyone, no matter if they are in high school or seminary! Each method is unique in its approach and in its complexity. The methods are organized from simple to complex, so I usually advise that students start in the front and work their way back. So far, students have loved this book! It has helped many of them get out of their quiet time “slumps” because it shakes up the way that they have gotten used to looking at scripture. It is perfect for a student that is looking at taking their time in the Bible to the next level!

Some people that often hit “slumps” are college freshmen. This could be a really great gift for some of your recent graduates!

What is a resource that you have been giving your students recently?

Colton Harker is the Student Leadership Director at Saddleback HSM.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact him at coltonharker@gmail.com or on twitter at @ColtonHarker.

 

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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.

Order your copy now!

 

Meet the Authors: Jake & Melissa have been married for seven years. Their blog (holymessofmarriage.com) 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