Let’s say you’ve got it going on. You’ve just been promoted within your company, your home life is peaceful with a warming and loving family, you have great friends who you can count on, and your ministry is running smoothly. You are living the good life. Or are you? Too often, it is in this circumstance that we find ourselves forgetting about others and forgetting that we need God. It is also in this circumstance that we experience stunt in our growth.

There are people in this world who are hurting. There are people who have no one. These people get overlooked and forgotten everyday by many. It is time to look outside of your picture perfect world. Step up and be the difference this world aches for! You have been blessed so that you can bless others.

Get this! Even when everything is going well, we still need God. Psalm 36:9 “He is the giver of life.” Without Him, we would simply not be. He knows what is best for us and He wants to lead us and guide us through life. He is with you through darkness and in light. He IS our light. We find comfort in Him, peace and joy. There is nothing we can do without Him, He is our source of life. Let’s not forget that!

When everything on the surface is going well, it is easy to believe our spirit is well. We experience a stunt in growth and begin to coast as we give into that belief. Truth is, “God continues His work in you until the day of Christ.”   (Philippians 1:6)  There is no limit to how far we can grow! When God shows you an area He’d like you to grow in, don’t shake it off and believe everything is great how it is and become content. Take on His challenge because He wants to take you further than you’ve ever dreamed of going!

As we learn to remember others as well as God and continue to grow when everything is going well, we are learning to change the world. We are setting ourselves apart and allowing God to shine through us and into the world. Let’s light up this world!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

When you are faced with struggles in your ministry, are you motivated and encouraged to find a solution? Does the struggle you are facing renew your creativity and drive you to make a greater impact than before? Then you are engaging yourself in lifelong learning and opening yourself to growth; to being the best you, you can be!

Open to growth:

  • Eagerness to respond to God’s guidance- He is guiding each of us. Are you listening?
  • Network with others in the same line of ministry- We are all in this together. We are meant to learn from each other. Through the downfalls and victories, share them!
  • Accountability- Who are you accountable to? Share with someone you trust your deepest concerns, your weaknesses and strengths, and let them hold you accountable. Let them help you up when you fall down and celebrate with you when you are up.
  • Attend conferences/training courses- They enrich you and your ministry. You will leave refreshed, with new ideas, and creativity to bring into your ministry.
  • Reading- You can do this on blogs like morethandodgeball.com, in books, magazines, the Bible. Reading enriches the mind and helps you gain helpful insight.
  • Experiment- Step out! Don’t be afraid to try new things. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a way to growth.
  • Keep your focus on Jesus- If it is not in line with God’s word, it does not deserve your focus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

Apply these daily long after your ministry days begin and you will see growth not only in areas of your ministry but in your personal life, your career, your spiritual life and the list goes on. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6).

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

When life seems to be perfect; you are number one go-to in the ministry, you have many friends you can rely on, everyone always says how wonderful and vibrant you are, it’s easy to begin to think that you are, well, perfect. Or maybe you are the one that thinks that you are better than everyone, like people owe you and that you never do anything wrong and are, well, perfect. When you think you are perfect, you will not open yourself up to correction and become teachable and just remain, well, perfect. I don’t know if you’ve been told, but no one is perfect, no one except Jesus. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”  Like this scripture says, none of are perfect, not until the day of Christ but we should open ourselves to correction and become teachable.

Accepting correction defined
Accepting correction goes beyond listening.  To truly accept correction means to change your ways.

How to accept correction
So, to first hear correction without writing it off as someone else picking on you, you’ve got to make a conscience daily decision to be teachable. Second, you want to check it out! Is what they are saying Biblical or are they just disagreeing with what you have said or done? You check it out by going to God and honestly asking Him to show you what is inside of your heart and look up what He says about it. Dig in a little further and look up sermons or check out some Christian blogs on the situation. From there, you will know whether to go to step 3 or if you are just fine where you are regarding this particular situation. Lastly, to truly accept correction, you’ve got to change your ways.

It is not easy hearing that you are not perfect and that you have impurities within yourself, but truth is, we all do. Impurities are, without a doubt, easier to ignore than to confront but I guarantee you that God has a plan for you and He wants to clean your heart from any impurities that may be holding you back. Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept correction and in the end you will be wise.” So right now, ask God to search you, search your motives and your ways and accept any correction that is being given to you.

Next week: Giving Correction

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

Enjoyed reading AC’s blog yesterday about Ministering to Students in Crisis - I get to work with him everyday here at the church and am so thankful for someone who cares so deeply for students! Here’s an excerpt from his post, check out yoacblog.com for the rest:

  • PRAY CONTINUALLY -1Thessalonians 5:17     

Prayer should always be your first response. God has incredible plans for your students, and He wants you to be apart of it.  We must stay in communication with Him.  Connect with Him for the words to say and the steps to take, as you support students.


Students that are going through crisis need you to do these two things more than anything else. I know it’s so tempting to give them advice because you’ve been where they are or you know the solution to the problem.  Taking the time to intently listen and ask questions says a lot.  You never know, you could be the only adult in their life who listens to them intentionally.


You are here because you like students and want God to do something awesome in their lives. God is going to use you.  We must remember that even though God uses us, He is the only one that can change hearts. So don’t carry the burden of this situation, thinking that you are the one that will change your students’ heart. God is faithful, He will fulfill His promise and complete the work that He has used you to begin.



Josh Griffin —  February 10, 2012 — Leave a comment

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Ok. Stop and go look before reading. Really look at yourself.

(humming Jeopardy tune)

Ok. Good. You’re back and ready to continue. So, what did you see? Are you being truthful to yourself? I can speak personally that I see a guy who is about to have another birthday, who feels much younger inside than his outward appearance shows, needs to lose some weight, could use a haircut, one eyes seems slightly closed more than the other, looks tired and worn down from chasing a toddler around and investing in the lives of students…you get the drift. What do you see?

Let me ask another question. What do you want to see? I used to want to see a pretty good looking guy with 0-2% body fat who wore the latest fashion and everyone wanted to know. Not anymore! As a side note my flesh still wants that, but I really want to see with my spiritual eyes.

2 Corinthians 3:18 says, So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Would that not be the coolest thing in the world? To have the veil removed that blocks our vision and spiritually see and reflect the glory of the Lord? How would we live then? I guarantee that we would live with the utmost confident in Christ and I pray that we would remember it’s Him we see, not ourselves.

To do that I believe there are a few things we must adjust in our thinking.

1. Does Jesus know you?
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15)

If you do not know Jesus, this would be your first step. How can any of us reflect Christ if we have no relationship with Him? You’re right! We can’t. So our first step is to realize we are a sinner, we need help, that you believe Jesus literally died on a cross for your sins and rose again 3 days later to conquer the sting of death, and make the decision to follow Him from this moment forward. (see John 3:16 also)

2. We need to stop believing we are worthless.
Galatians 2:20 says, My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We are here for a specific purpose. Yes, there is a reason YOU are living right this very second at this very year. God wants to use your for something amazing and it’s only when you are willing that you can move into your true calling. Notice I didn’t say when you are ready. Willing. Willing to climb mountains, jump rivers, swim oceans, walk through fire, jump on crushed glass…make sense? In other words when you are willing to do whatever He tells you to do. It’s not you who live, but Christ who lives in you. So you are NOT worthless since He now lives in you!

3. We need to be ready to do anything, even die.
This life is short compared to eternity and there is only one decision you’ll ever make that effects your eternity. Would you die to tell others about Jesus? In other words, would you be willing to literally sacrifice everything you have for someone else to come to a relationship with Him?

On the flip side, if you don’t know Jesus, would you die to your old self to start a new life with Christ?

For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. (Philippians 1:21)

The simple solution is that we do anything God ask of us and let Him determine the outcome.

4. Mistaken for Jesus
Can you see God reflecting in your life? Is the fruit of the Spirit evident in your life as Galatians 5 talks of?

I can say that I’m failing miserably at reflecting Christ, but I want to desperately be mistaken for Jesus. Yes, mistaken for Jesus. I want Him to radiate through everything I do, everything I touch, and everyone I meet.

Now go look in the mirror again and pray to God to make Him evident in your life. Pray that people see Him in your life and His Spirit reflecting back when others see you. Let’s be mistaken for Jesus and not just when we are alone and looking in the mirror.

Nick Fry blogs at http://morethanscars.comand serves as the youth pastor at Crosspoint Community Church in Huntington, WV.

Read Part 1 of this 2-part series right here

Anyone who ministers in a city with more than five non-Christians needs to be able to do apologetics and they need to do it well.

The truth is that everyone is an apologist at some point– some are good ones and some are rather poor at it. Many of us in youth ministry are great at loving students, leading leaders, planning events and preaching but we make lousy apologists. I was never offered one apologetics, logic or biology class in Bible School. Despite a lack of training and value in it, I believe that everyone (pastors included) is an apologist because everyone will eventually ask themselves the difficult questions of faith and life such as, “How can I be sure there is a God who created the Earth?”, “How could God allow so much suffering in the world?”, “How do we know the Bible can be trusted?”, “Is it good if my vacuum sucks?” et al. How will we answer these questions when we either ask them or they are asked of us?

Our ignorance in such matters is very costly to your students and the many who struggle with the tough questions being raised today.

In his book, The Weight Of Glory [1], C.S. Lewis gives a prophetic call to all of us, in this case those of us who are interested in reaching and keeping our students in the faith. Lewis calls us to answer the call to engage in the intellectual battle going on in our world,

To be ignorant and simple now — not to be able to meet the enemies on their ground — would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.

The role of apologetics can change someone’s life. Jesus tells us, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Truth has a very freeing and empowering element to it. When the disciple Thomas understood the truth of the resurrected Jesus, he believed fully that Jesus was the Messiah (John 20:28) and, according to early Christian tradition, was killed in India for proclaiming Jesus as Lord.

Apologetics can be intimidating, especially for those in ministry who “just love people.” “Save apologetics for the stuffy intellectuals,” they may say. “We just specialize in loving kids.” That’s great, we must love people but doing good apologetics as a form of what love necessitates. In Jude 22, Paul exhorts, “Have mercy on some, who are doubting.” Apologetics, then, is a form of showing compassion to people. This can be an expression of the loving priestly role of a ministry leader.

Ephesians 4:12 calls the work of pastor to love his people and “equip the saints for works of service.” To Pastor Tim Keller, equipping people in a secular world must not just include training them in the traditional spiritual disciplines. These days, to engage the post-Christian world for the purpose of making disciples, we must teach them apologetics as well. Keller writes,

In ‘Christendom’ you can afford to train people just in prayer, Bible study, evangelism– private world skills–because they are not facing radically non-Christian values in their public life–where they work, in their neighborhood, etc… the laity needs theological education to ‘think Christianly’ about everything and work with Christian distinctiveness. [2]

Ways we train our people to “think Christian” in a secular world is:

1. By not assuming that they already think “Christianly”.

2. Taking opportunities to show how biblical truth applies to various modern day events and circumstances in their world.

3. Helping our people think critically about the media they consume.

4. Learning from and providing online resources to quality apologists like William Lane Craig (reasonablefaith.org), Tim Keller, Ravi Zacharias (rzim.com), Greg Koukl (str.org), C.S. Lewis, etc. This act of pointing to others is a very helpful way for any leader to draw from the abundant resources that are available to us today.

It is important to note that not every pastor has to understand how the elements of mitochondria point to intelligent design and be able to teach it to a third year university class. They should, however, be able to point their people to someone who can do that. Apologetics does not have to be intimidating in today’s information age. The rational defense is out there somewhere, you just have to learn how and who to point your people to.

That is our job as Ephesians 4:12 youth pastors.

[1] Lewis, C.S. The Weight Of Glory. (Harper Collins, New York, 1949). Page 50.

[2] Tim Keller. “The Missional Church” June 2001. http://www.redeemer2.com/resources/papers/missional.pdf

For the past four years, Jon has served at Coquitlam Alliance Church just outside of beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. Jon is the young adults pastor in a ministry called Ethos. Check out his blog at http://jonmorrison.ca

I want to make a case for why you need to make Christian apologetics a priority in your ministry. It will cost you something but I believe the pay off is worth it. You might have to give up that self-depreciating story that takes up twenty minutes but makes everyone like you afterwards. You might have to cut your games time in half to beef up your teaching time. You might have to pick up a book instead of a slurpee.

But your kids will hopefully thank you later. They will know what they believe and they will know how to defend it.

The prophet Isaiah laments about his culture in a verse that speaks to us today, “Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey” (Is. 59:15). Christianity has always had its critics; Jesus promised it would be that way (John 20:21). As our culture increasingly secularizes, we as pastors must prepare our students for the imminent attack to the Christian faith. We believers must be able to give a rational defense for the validity of the truth of Christianity. This defense has commonly been given the word “apologetics,” as it is taken from the Greek word apologia, meaning “the act of making a defense.” This word is used several times in the New Testament, but its usage in two passages is particularly relevant. In Philippians 1:7 &16, apologia refers to a defense of the gospel, and in 1 Peter 3:15 it refers to a defense of the Christian hope.[1]

Apologetics therefore can mean a student’s ability to defend a truth when confronted with an attack in scenarios such as a university classroom or while watching Discovery Channel or an antagonistic YouTube video like the popular documentary, Zeitgeist. Thankfully, the bold yet false assertions can be argued against rationally and such is the call of the Christian apologist. Apologetics need not only be about defending against attack but it can also be about giving a reason for Christian belief in a more proactive, persuasive explanation of the faith.[2]

When I tell people that we work hard and prioritize both elements of Christian apologetics in youth ministry today, I will sometimes encounter critics who assert, wrongly, that apologetics has no place in the postmodern worldview. They argue that it is outdated, rooted in modernity and unnecessary “because apologetics never changed anyone.” (I think they mean anyone other than C.S. Lewis, Francis Collins, Anthony Flew, the author of this article and many more).

When students come with their doubts and questions (and they do) it would be a great leadership failure to tell them, “I’m sorry, you don’t really need to know the answer to that because you are postmodern. What you really need is a hug, a piece of pizza and some good community.” Instead we are to know the truth, teach the truth and help them, “give a defense for the hope that is within them” (1 Peter 3:15).

Contrary to what we might have read, the modern mindset is still valuable in our world today. I am thankful to the airplane pilot who still believes in the rigid, modernistic laws of aviation. I am thankful for the doctor who works hard to learn the proper brain and heart surgery to help those who are sick. I am also thankful for the Christian who labour to refute our culture’s bias towards relativism, pluralism and can refute Christianity’s many opponents with the truth.

Jesus told a lawyer that part of the greatest commandment was to love God with all your mind (Matt. 22:36). Let’s love God with our minds by valuing truth enough to pursue it and wrestle to find it.

[1] Justin Holcomb. “Apologetics On Mission.” http://theresurgence.com/2011/06/02/apologetics-on-mission Accessed June 5, 2011.

[2] Examples such as explaining the circumstantial evidence affirming the validity of the resurrection. Great research has been done by N.T. Wright and Gary Habermas.

For the past four years, Jon has served at Coquitlam Alliance Church just outside of beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. Jon is the young adults pastor in a ministry called Ethos. Check out his blog at http://jonmorrison.ca

Weekend Teaching Series: liveSTRONG (series premiere, week 1 of 4)
Sermon in a Sentence: This first week of the series focused on Paul’s mission to live Christ above everything else.

Understandable Message: I was gone this weekend! So I’m writing this based on what was planned to happen since I didn’t make it to any of the services. Phil Chenery stepped in to speak this weekend, and taught Philippians 1 expositionally. You can read the series arc right here as well. The big idea was that Paul wanted to honor Jesus and did that by putting his interests above his own desires.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we were stripped down to a pretty classic format – music, fun announcements and message. Really straightforward, but totally solid.

Music Playlist: We Shine, Cannons, Savior of the World, The Stand

Favorite Moment: My favorite moment was being able to trust our team to be gone for the weekend. Nothing is better than hearing amazing things that happened without you there. Means you’ve got some incredibly capable people on board, and we sure do.

Up Next: liveSTRONG (week 2 of 4)