True or False

Reid Kapple – January 2, 2015 1 Comment

ReachStudents blog

It is one thing to prep and teach a single message, but it is an entirely different thing to prep and teach a whole series. I thought I would share with you a series that I just wrapped up with our students that you could perhaps use in your ministry context.

The series was simply called, True or False. Each week, we took a different issue of life with relevance to high school students and discussed it. Then, we looked at some of the messages we hear in our world on the subject and contrasted those messages with what God says about it. For each message, I followed the same outline structure that you will see below. While it isn’t exhaustive, it may give you a foundation to build from.  Continue Reading…

Don’t Let Communication Eat Your Lunch

Shane Stacey – December 31, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Recently, I was with a group of youth pastors and the question came up, “How do you communicate with students, parents, leaders and the congregation?”

I’m not an expert on communication by any stretch of the imagination. But I have had the chance to spend the last couple years with a great communications team who have taught me a lot. I used to think about this topic a lot. Here are a few tips I’ve learned and try to keep in mind when thinking about communication.

  1. Editorial Calendar: You need a plan. No, really! You need a plan. Random messaging, last-minute information and merely relying on Facebook are not great ways to think about communication. Develop an editorial calendar. You can do this as an Excel document. Your editorial calendar should include:
  • Time: Build your calendar noting the month and day that your message needs to get out.
  • Message: Identify the specific message, such as an event promotion, leaders training, service opportunity, etc.
  • Pathways: Identify a list of all the various pathways that you use to spread your messages, such as the web, social media, video, mailing, bulletin, announcement slides, phone calls, etc.

For any “message” you need to get out, identify ahead of time which communication pathways the message needs to hit and by when. Then, create your messages, schedule them and start communicating.  Continue Reading…

Student Leadership Matters

Sarah Eckmann – December 29, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Student leadership is about leading on a student level. Students look up to their peers because they relate. They are a similar place in life.

Student leadership is about furthering the kingdom of God, whether that is from the front lines or behind the scenes.

Emerging Kingdom Leaders

In college, I decided that I wanted to continue to make a difference in the lives of high school students. At Trinity International University, I applied to Emerging Kingdom Leaders, EKL, to continue my journey as a student leader. EKL is a class of freshmen who desire to learn how to be a Christian leader where God is calling them. Over the course of the year, we learn about how to use spiritual influence as leaders, how to apply emotional intelligence when investing in others and how to sharpen our strengths to be the leaders God has called us to be. During the year, we also plan a conference for high school students called the 360 ConferenceContinue Reading…

4+1 Ministry

Reid Kapple – December 24, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Well, we are past the halfway mark of the school year and that means the educational virus known as “senioritis” is spreading like crazy. Not only are seniors more eager to be done with high school, but their levels of anxiety tend to increase as they prepare for the reality of life after high school. Whether our students go on to college, enter the military, join the workforce, or perhaps participate in a “gap year” of sorts, one thing is certain: The first year out of high school is pivotal in so many ways.

It is not uncommon to hear about students within our churches who, upon graduating high school, end up graduating from church. There is a myriad of reasons for why this happens, but research has shown that the growing trend of high school graduates abandoning their faith has to do with their identity. Knowing this information should alter the way we approach doing ministry with our students. It means adopting a 4+1 model of ministry.

The idea behind a 4+1 model of ministry is that we make serious effort to care for and minister to students during that first year out of high school. While there are no silver bullets that will fix this problem, we have taken some intentional steps to continue ministering to these students. Here are a few things that we have done to make this 4+1 ministry a reality.  Continue Reading…

Early Called; High Capacity

Dr. Greg Carlson – December 22, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

The five-year “Pathway to Ministry” (officially called the “Pre-Seminary Honors/Five-year MDiv program”) was designed for students who have sensed a call to vocational pastoral ministry early in their educational career. This creative option of going to college for two years, then right into the Master of Divinity (the standard pastoral ministry degree) was designed for those who have strong academic capacity and an early call to ministry vocation.

Jordan Furlan and Drew Litwiller are in their second year of this program. I caught up with them and asked:

  1. Why were you drawn to the Pre-Seminary Honors/MDiv program?
  2. Can you highlight some of the benefits and challenges of being in this program?
  3. What would you say to other students who are considering the Pre-Seminary Honors/MDiv pathway to ministry?

Here’s how they responded:  Continue Reading…

The Graduate Catapult

Steve Clements – December 19, 2014 3 Comments

ReachStudents blog

It’s no news flash that a deep, personal commitment to Christ, coupled with Christ-honoring parents, are the trump-card factors of a student maintaining a long-term faith of their own. However, the sending church can also make real contributions in helping graduating students stay the course of their faith.

Of all the ways a student ministry can help high school seniors maintain their commitment to Jesus after graduation, research seems to consistently reveal three major factors:

  • The level of preparedness training received prior to graduation
  • An ongoing (post-graduation) connection to the faith community he/she came from, especially with the youth pastor and/or small group leader
  • How quickly and consistently he/she integrates into a new faith community (ex. campus ministry, local church, etc.)

Since one-size-fits-all program machines rarely spit out the same product, each ministry must determine which programs will work best in their own setting and for the individuals they are serving.  Below are several ways we have been involved in an ongoing investment into our recent graduates. While it’s worked well for us, these ideas are simply offered with an open invitation to be ripped off, altered or ignored. Each of these strategies falls into at least one of the three major factors listed above:  Continue Reading…

‘Twas The Night Before Finals

Reid Kapple – December 17, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

I can honestly say that I found myself more stressed out by my high school finals than I did by finals in college. Maybe that means I didn’t try hard enough in college, but regardless I know that this time of year is remarkably stressful for students. So I wrote a poem and prayer for all of our students out there who are prepping for finals. Feel free to post it and share it as you see fit. Enjoy!

‘Twas the Night Before Finals

Twas the night before finals and all around the city

Every student was hoping to keep their A, B or D.

All the work of a semester will culminate at dawn,

As students enter rooms to fill in Scantrons.

Some prefer multiple choice, but can’t stand “all of the above,”

Maybe pray that God will send the answers by carrier dove.  Continue Reading…

3 Year-Ending Questions

Shane Stacey – December 15, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Over the next few weeks you’ll see a lot of articles, blogs and posts about ending another year and starting a new one.

However, if you are in student ministry, your yearly calendar probably runs more June to May than it does from January to December.

Instead of suggesting some year-end questions to consider, let me give you three mid-ministry-year questions to ponder:

UPWARD:  What am I treasuring about who Jesus is or what He has done or is doing? (Make it specific) 

Continue Reading…

3 Time-Saving Tech Tools

Shane Stacey – December 12, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

I like to collect tools that make the administrative aspects of ministry more efficient. That allows me to focus more energy on the work of ministry that really matters.

In a round table discussion with youth workers, there were three tools that surfaced that I started using and found very helpful:

  • Doodle Have you ever tried to set up a meeting with multiple people and found yourself lost in a long thread of emails back and forth? Doodle solves this problem by allowing you to identify multiple possible meeting times and then invite people to identify which they are available for.
  • Yammer: I have found that Yammer can cut down both on emails and meetings. Yammer is a social-enterprise tool that works great for team projects and functions like Facebook. For instance, your retreat planning team could create a group on Yammer and share ideas, progress, photos, documents and a host of other things. It’s an online platform that also syncs to a free app. You can have everything in your feed sent to your email inbox if you don’t want another platform to check. This tool has cut down hundreds of emails for our Challenge Conference team.
  • Sign-Up Genius – Want to move away from physical sign up sheets? This tool allows you to create online sign ups for just about anything: Retreats, mission trips, pot-lucks, events, etc. This one is a no-brainer for any ministry.

ReachStudents blog

How are you using technology effectively to save time so you can focus more on disciplemaking rather than administration?

Welcoming College Students Home for Christmas Break

Dr. G. David Boyd – December 10, 2014 1 Comment

ReachStudents blog

While emerging adults will be home for Christmas, don’t expect them to come pounding on your door to talk. Aside from endless family gatherings and catching up with high school friends, many of them will work to make spending money, or to stay relevant in their old job.

So, how do we make the most of the holiday season when it comes to ministering to college students? (Other than asking those who are musically skillful to fill into our holiday rotations, which often speaks louder to emerging adults about what and who we value than we would care to admit.) Here are a few thoughts to get you started. Continue Reading…