Is God Anti-Gay?

Shane Stacey – June 19, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

Every year our national team at the EFCA tries to call as many of our senior or lead pastors as possible. One of the questions I ask during my calls is: What are some of the cultural issues your leadership team is wrestling with and wishing you had more resources or help on?

Nearly half the leaders I spoke with identified the same-sex attraction and gay-marriage issue as one they are working to clarify their position on, and its implications for everyday ministry. This includes, but is not limited to, the implications for weddings, youth retreats, volunteerism, membership, etc.

After sending the following two resources to several pastors, I realized that many others would benefit from these resources as well and may not know they exist.  Continue Reading…

Don’t Play Devil Dodgeball

Ben Phillips – June 12, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

When I was a student, our youth ministry had a dodgeball tournament. At the end of death-defying dodges, dips and ducks, the champion was crowned. After, the student pastor said, “Just like you dodged those balls, you have to dodge the fiery darts of the devil.”

That was the moment I checked out. In my mind, what was a great time with other students and leaders turned into a moral object lesson. I wondered why we couldn’t just have fun, and why there always had to be a point? This question is still a very important one in ministry today. As leaders, we often get caught up trying to connect everything to something spiritual and we miss what is already happening.  Continue Reading…

5 Books Every Leader Should Read

Ben Phillips – June 8, 2015 4 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

Apart from the favor of God, everything rises and falls on leadership.There is nothing that impacts what we do, besides God, more than leadership. However, leadership isn’t only an innate trait. It takes development, cultivation and growth.

As an avid student of leaders and leadership, these five books should be read by every aspiring leader:  Continue Reading…

The Power of an Annual Planning Retreat

Shane Stacey – June 5, 2015 2 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

It’s easy to run straight from the school year into summer and then right into the fall again. The problem is that when you are constantly at ground level it is hard to see where you are going. There is great benefit in taking time to intentionally step from street to the rooftop.

In the EFCA, we call this “roof-top time” an Annual Planning Retreat (APR). An APR is an intentional three day retreat for the purpose of looking up, within, back and ahead.

An APR allows you to:

  • celebrate what God has done over the last year.
  • access the condition of your heart, family and ministry.
  • listen to the Spirit’s direction.
  • clarify key priorities for your life and ministry.
  • dream beyond the next couple months.

Below are a few ideas to help you make the most of an Annual Planning Retreat. These three days could be some of your most important of the summer. Continue Reading…

Millennials Leaving the Church

Dr. G. David Boyd – June 3, 2015 2 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

Last week, the Pew Research Center released new research that confirmed what we thought about a current trend.

The article states, “While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages.”

In the last seven years, the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians dropped by almost eight percent. Some people respond to the statistics with a shrug of shoulders, while others feel the sky is falling.

These statistics should cause Christians to act as the men of Issachar who, “understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).

Articles continue to circulate the web about why Millennials are leaving the church. I am not a Millennial, but my study and work alongside this age group for the past 12 years provides a few thoughts to add on this growing conversation.  Continue Reading…

Learn, Unlearn, Relearn

Reid Kapple – June 1, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

In my last post, I shared a few questions that we should ask ourselves to determine if we are properly handling God’s word as we study, prepare and teach our students. In this post, I would like to offer a simple three-word paradigm that you may find helpful in framing messages for your students. Now, when I say paradigm, I don’t mean a rigid formula that you apply in clear and emphatic ways through your teaching. Rather, we should see this as a filter that we run the biblical text through once we have done our personal reflection, study and prayer. You can think of the filter in terms of three questions:

  1. What do we need to learn in this passage?
  2. What do we need to unlearn in this passage?
  3. What do we need to relearn in this passage?

Continue Reading…

ReachStudents Blog

Robert P. Jones and Daniel Cox wrote an article summarizing the survey done by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI): “How Race and Religion Shape Millennial Attitudes on Sexuality and Reproductive Health“. As the title of the article indicates, the survey focused on millennial views of sexuality and reproductive health, and correlated those views with race and religion.

The authors note in the survey that, “Millennials seem reluctant to make blanket black-and-white moral pronouncements about issues they see as complex.” This statement has led some to conclude that millennials are the “Live and Let Live” generation that refuses to make pronouncements on these sorts of moral matters. Others conclude that although they don’t judge the way the older generation does, they are nonetheless still judgmental. Their moral judgment is just directed at those who make moral pronouncements.  Continue Reading…

What Else Would I Teach From?

Reid Kapple – May 27, 2015 7 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

Recently, I spoke at a weekend gathering of middle school and high school students. After my last message, I spent some time talking with students and youth workers. One conversation, that I will not forget, really floored me. A youth worker thanked me enthusiastically for actually teaching the Bible that weekend. I paused for a moment and waited for him to say that he was kidding. When that didn’t happen, I bluntly said to him, “What else would I teach from?”

Then, he told me how he’s attended way too many youth retreats and conferences where the focus of the message is on the messenger and the stories they had to tell. He explained how far too many youth speakers would use the scriptures as a concluding thought or as a supplemental reference. They would throw in a couple Bible verses to ensure that it was a Christian message, but the majority of the content was anecdotal and experiential.

Now, I am guessing that the majority of people reading this post would probably self-identify as Bible-believing Christians who have a high view of God’s word. However, that does not necessarily mean our teaching styles and study habits functionally reflect these scriptural convictions. Here are a four quick diagnostic questions to ask yourself to discern if you are properly handling God’s word when teaching your students: Continue Reading…

ReachStudents Blog

Disciplemaking requires that you adjust your life to share in the everyday rhythms of life with those whom God is giving you favor.

13 He [Jesus] went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. (Matthew 4:13, NLT)

For Jesus, adjusting his life meant leaving the little “one horse” town of Nazareth, where he had spent more than 30 years of his life, and moving to the bustling city of Capernaum. Why? Because in Capernaum lived a few young men with whom the Spirit of God was giving Him favor—namely Peter, Andrew, James, John and Nathaniel. Continue Reading…

Start A Movement. Invest In A Few.

Shane Stacey – May 18, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

Do you want to start a movement?

Stop focusing the majority of your time and energy on the crowd.

Movements begin with deliberate investment in a few.

Jesus ministered to the masses (Matthew 14:13-21). He had hundreds of disciples (1 Corinthians 15:6). But, He spent the majority of His time deliberately investing in a few and releasing them to do exactly the same thing with others (Mark 3:14-17).

If you want to see a disciplemaking movement…  Continue Reading…