The Only Inherent Power

Shane Stacey – January 28, 2015 1 Comment

ReachStudents blog

I spend a lot of time on disciplemaking.

I talk about it, and I encourage and equip people toward a disciplemaking way of life.

Through the years, I’ve learned that the vision for disciplemaking can unintentionally surpass my passion for Christ. I hate saying it, but it’s true. There is always a danger that our love for the mission can inadvertently surpass our love for the Master.

Therefore, we must consistently examine our motivation for mission so that the activity of mission does not inadvertently become our gospel; our good news. If we are not careful, the good news becomes our own actions, rather than what God has done.

Who God is, and what HE has done for us in Christ, is the source of our motivation for making disciples. In Christ, God has done everything necessary to restore people—and all things—into a right relationship with the Father. Therefore, our love for God and response to his work is the primary motivator for mission.  Continue Reading…

To Future Me

Brandon Early – January 26, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Here is a simple idea you can incorporate into a night of junior high ministry that will one day benefit your senior high ministry.

Set aside time to video-record each student from your current 7th and 8th grade class, giving advice to his or her 18-year-old future self. This is one of those “wait for it” moments, but it is almost always hilarious, and guarantees to draw out loving emotion when we show these videos at our youth service for graduating seniors.

That’s it, pretty simple.

The work goes into:

  • Making it happen
  • Archiving the videos and photos for safety and retrieval
  • Editing six years later

Continue Reading…

Youth Ministry: It’s Supposed to be Hard

Shane Stacey – January 23, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Feeling weak and alone in ministry? You’re not alone. In 2 Timothy, Paul encourages Timothy 25 times to “be strong.” You only tell someone to “be strong” 25 times, in a single letter, if you know they are feeling weak.

Youth Ministry is hard. Why? Because we are in a war! It’s easy to forget that reality. Paul reminds Timothy, a young pastor, that he is a soldier in the middle of a cosmic battle with an enemy that makes ISIS look like a kitty cat.

At Rebound 2014, pastor Chris Brown, of North Coast Church in California, encouraged youth workers and their spouses to be strong and courageous, keeping a wartime mentality in ministry.  Continue Reading…

A New Identity…To Manage

Reid Kapple – January 21, 2015 2 Comments

ReachStudents blog

One of my favorite comedians is Jim Gaffigan. Not only does he make me laugh uncontrollably, but he offers some spot on commentary of life and culture. His joke about having a fourth child is one of my favorites.

“You want to know what it’s like having a fourth kid?” Gaffigan asks. “Imagine you’re drowning, then someone hands you a baby.”

Those of you with no kids are confused. Those of you with kids are laughing. And those of you with more than three kids are crying.

Sometimes, I wonder if the way I talk about the gospel and invite students to seek their identity in Christ is like the feeling that Gaffigan described above. We believe and proclaim that in Jesus we not only find a new life (John 10:10), but we find freedom (John 8:31-32). But is that the message students are picking up? It may be the explicit message in our words, but what is the implicit message in our ministries?

Are we inviting students into a new identity with Christ, or are we simply giving them a new identity to manage?  Continue Reading…

ReachStudents blog

If you were at Challenge 2014 in the summer, then you will be familiar with the clip below where Jeff Vanderstelt, of SOMA, reminded us, “whatever God does TO us; He wants to do THROUGH us.”

SOMA Immerse

Continue Reading…

Truth, Time, Trend and Transformation

Greg Strand – January 16, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Truth: God is truth and all truth is God’s truth. We believe God has revealed this truth in the Bible, the Word of God (Ps. 119:160; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). This is our foundational base for understanding, knowing and discerning truth. From this truth we understand a frame of the world or a worldview by which we seek to assess and evaluate all we do and experience.

Time: Truth is true everywhere and always is to be believed and lived by all. But truth must be applied in time at a specific place by a specific people. We are exhorted to use our time wisely since the days are evil (Eph. 5:18; cf. 1 Chron. 12:32; Acts 13:36).

Trend: A trend is something that is occurring in the present that has a certain mass following. It gives one a certain sense of being “in”, or in the right crowd or an elite. Here is one definition: “A general direction in which something is developing or changing; fashion.” The Urban Dictionary defines it in this way: “A trend is the latest style of popular culture, including, but not limited to: clothing, music, vernacular (common speech), and the latest TV shows. This form of culture is usually expressed by preps and other kids trying desperately to be accepted by peers despite obvious outcastment.” Therefore, someone who is trendy is “very fashionable or up to date in style or influence.” Social media tracks that which is trending.

Transformation: This refers to a change in one’s outlook, character, commitments and habits. This can be true for believers and unbelievers alike. The difference is that it becomes reflective of the believer, i.e., it will happen (2 Cor. 5:16-17). It is what regeneration means (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 3:18). The key here, however, is to remember that we become what we worship.  Continue Reading…

ReachStudents’ 2015 Missional Milestone

Shane Stacey – January 14, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Do you want your joy to increase in 2015?

Seeing teenagers come to trust and treasure Jesus Christ no doubt awakens joy. But, I believe there is something that stirs up even greater joy. It’s seeing those same students share the gospel – who Jesus is and what He’s done – and its implication with their peers. This is not merely a hunch about increasing our joy. It is the very thing the Scriptures tell us increased Jesus’ joy.

17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!”

18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

21 At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, (emphasis mine) and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.

22 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

23 Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen.  (Luke 10:17-23)

Being a disciple, one who is increasingly worshiping Jesus, changed by Jesus and obedient to Jesus in all of life, will cause joy to bubble up in your heart. Being a disciple who makes disciples will increase that joy. But, as we see here in this passage, what causes the joy of the Holy Spirit to erupt in our hearts is making disciples who make disciples.

Yet, although this is true, somehow our desire for joy is too weak, for all too quickly we move from mission to managing, from equipping to entertaining, and from empowering to enabling. As Kendra Creasy Dean states in her book, Practicing Passion, “young people are wired for passion. They are looking for something worth dying for, knowing that there in they’ll find something worth living for – and all too often we give them pizza.”

Or…another sermon or a game.  Continue Reading…

Make the Gospel Clear

Shane Stacey – January 12, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

Do you find it interesting that the Apostle Paul asks his friends in the church of Colossi to pray that he would speak the gospel clearly?

This is the Apostle Paul we’re talking about, author of the letter to the Romans. I can’t picture many others communicating the gospel more clearly. But look at his prayer in Colossians 4:4.

A Small Group Pop Quiz

How are you doing at helping your students speak the gospel verbally and with clarity?

Here is a little assessment you can do in your small groups. Give students time to write out, in a short paragraph, what the gospel is and how they may share it with a friend.   Encourage them to include what is really important, in order to be clear with the gospel.

Then, have students read what they wrote to the small group. I’d recommend primarily listening and probing with questions if something seems fuzzy or unclear. Don’t worry about correcting. Just listen. This will give you a sense for what your students think the gospel is.  Continue Reading…

They Want to Change the World

Shane Stacey – January 9, 2015 2 Comments

ReachStudents blog

This generation wants to change the world and you can help them do it, one person at a time.

Earlier this year, ReachStudents, in cooperation with Cadre Ministries, certified 20 trainers to bring Evangelism is Relationships into our districts and local churches.

Evangelism is Relationships is a dialogical training resource that will help you, your leadership team and student leaders advance the gospel into the relationships God has already strategically put in your paths. The five sessions will help you identify people that God has already placed in your relational sphere of influence and to cooperate with God in their journey toward Jesus by interceding, investing, intersecting and inviting.

ReachStudents blogIf you are interested in bringing Evangelism is Relationships to your church or want more information, contact reachstudents@efca.org.

Sermon Series Idea: Rewind Restored

Brandon Early – January 7, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

Here’s an idea for a short series you can use in your ministry:

Several of the students in our ministry went to Challenge Conference 2014, in Kansas City, and are still talking about the trip. That’s great! I want to leverage their excitement and the free resources available from ReachStudents and Challenge. So in the next few weeks, we are starting a teaching series we are calling, “Rewind Restored.”

Not all of our students went to Challenge, so I do not see this as repetition. Instead, I see it as a refresher for some and an introduction for others. Our ministry will use this for a three-week Sunday morning series. Our basic structure will look like this:  Continue Reading…