ReachStudents Blog

Every year, ReachStudents has the pleasure of hosting a conference called Rebound. In the EFCA, we believe that healthy leaders and families create healthy ministries. It’s why Rebound is specifically designed to invest into the heart health of youth pastors and their spouses, if applicable, as well as the health of their marriages.

In November 2015, we gathered together in Melbourne, Florida, and our guest speaker was Alan Kraft. He is lead pastor of Christ Community Church (EFCA) in Greeley, Colorado, a church he’s pastored for 25 years. Also, Kraft wrote two books: More: When a Little Bit of the Spirit Is Not Enough and Good News for Those Trying HarderContinue Reading…

Jesus, Reset My Vision of God.

Shane Stacey – January 5, 2016 1 Comment

ReachStudents Blog

Eternal Father, you never had a beginning and you will never have an end (Rev. 1:8). Your glory—the sum total of your character and your works—is incomparable (Ps. 89:6) and unrivaled. Your creation belts out your wonders in living color day after day (Ps. 19:1). Out of your undeserved kindness, you fashioned me before the world was created to see and savor your greatness and graciousness (Rom. 9:23). You gave me five senses through which to feel, taste, see, hear and smell your glory with my whole being (Isa 43:7). And what is more, my Savior, Jesus Christ, willingly died and rose again so that I may be with Him and see Him as He truly is (Jn. 17:24). He has made a way for me to make much of you with all that I am.

Continue Reading…

Top 10 Posts of 2015

Reach Students – December 31, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

We are grateful for the contributors to this blog and its readers. Before we step into a new year here is a look back at the top ten most viewed posts of 2015:

  1. What Else Would I Teach From?: When teaching, do I use the Bible as the source for knowing God or am I just focused on the relevance of my talk? Reid Kapple helped us evaluate how we are using God’s word when teaching students.
  2. RESET: A National Call To Prayer: In this post, Shane Stacey looked back at how God used prayer to awaken hearts for spiritual renewal, and looks forward to Reset: A Unified Call to Prayer in Our Generation.
  3. 5 Reasons Why The Church Needs Youth: At our annual EFCA Rebound Conference, Shane Stacey shared with us why the church benefits from teenagers.
  4. The Power of an Annual Planning Retreat: Shane Stacey encouraged us to take the time for a rooftop view of our ministry. Look up, look within, look back, and look ahead.
  5. Is God Anti-Gay?: The implications of same sex-attraction and gay marriage were on the minds and hearts of many pastors and church leaders this past year. This post points you to a few helpful resources and questions for us to ask in approaching these issues.
  6. The Gap Year Less Traveled: Katie Manning introduced us to the EFCA ReachGlobal Crisis Response team, and the benefits of a gap year for students in your youth group.
  7. As Students Leave for College: Dr. G. David Boyd gave us three keys to making high school to college a great transition. He also reminded us of the importance of the first two weeks.
  8. Shifting from Education to Equipping: Speaking, preaching and teaching often receive a lot of attention in the church. Shane Stacey encouraged us to increase the “show-how learning” that comes with equipping and training.
  9. Why Bring Students to Challenge 2016: With our Challenge Conference just around the corner, Shane Stacey reminded us of the value and uniqueness offered by this momentum-building experience.
  10. 5 Books Every Leader Should Read: Ben Phillips introduced us to five great resources that will help you grow and develop as a leader.

Thanks for joining us and reading in 2015 and we wish you a Happy New Year!

RESET and the 21 Day Fast

Shane Stacey – December 29, 2015 2 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

Earlier this year, I posted about RESET: A national call to prayer. If you attend either of the student conferences in the Central or Forest Lake Districts of the EFCA in January, you’ll hear more about RESET as we continue to mobilize people to a concentrated season of prayer and fasting.

Not only is RESET growing within the EFCA, it is also building steam throughout the nation. Next month, national leaders, ministries and churches are joining together for 21 days of prayer and fasting as we seek God for revival and spiritual awakening in our nation.

Participate in the 21 Day Fast

The Praying with Jesus: Reset My Prayer Life  fast (link below) is centered on the idea that Jesus is the reset that we all need. He is the rest for our lives, our churches, our communities and the nations. He can make all things new; He can restore us to our original design.

The Reset prayer emphasis will also be a strong emphasis at the Challenge Conference July 3-7, 2016, in Louisville, Kentucky. Just 10 days later, July 16, 2016, hundreds of thousands will gather in Washington, D.C. for Together 2016. Why? Because Jesus is the reset.

We need Jesus.  Continue Reading…

2016 Decision.001

One of the best decisions I made back in 2012 to help my walk with God was saying “yes” to a friend, Bill Allison,  who invited me to read through the Bible with him and a few others. I enjoyed it so much I did it again in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Reading through the Bible was great. Reading through the Bible with friends was rich on so many levels. I dare you to try it BUT with this approach… Continue Reading…

God With Us

Mark O'Brien – December 24, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

God with us.

From beginning to end, it’s always been about that. God created mankind so we could enjoy His presence.

God created humanity on the sixth day of creation, and the seventh was mankind’s first full day. Our first act was to enjoy the rest and presence of God—true Sabbath.

Sin drove us from God’s presence, but once again God showed us His determination to bring us back into His presence. Right away, God promised to crush the head of the very thing that drove us from away from Him, even at a great price to Himself. Continue Reading…

5 Reasons the Church Needs Youth

Shane Stacey – December 9, 2015 3 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

Ministry to youth is an essential part of the missional focus of the church.

I’ve spent enough time in youth and pastoral ministry to experience the regular questions that surface in the mind of a leader: Am I making a difference? Is this—ministry to youth—worth it?

Often, we don’t see the full fruit of our investment until five or 10 years down the road. As I talk to youth workers, I find many wondering if they hitched their wagon to the wrong horse. They wonder if ministry to youth is the best place to invest their lives.

The questions are valid, but they usually show up in moments of weariness, criticism and discouragement.

First, let’s get perspective about both who we are ministering to and the time in history we are ministering to them. Generation Z—the bottom half of the Millennials—is the largest generation in history and the first generation in America to grow up in a completely post-Christian culture. During the last couple decades, tsunami-sized waves of cultural change crashed on the shores of our nation unlike anything we experienced. In a few short decades, these waves washed away some of the foundational moorings that existed since the inception of this country. The church finds itself in a new context. Therefore, ministry to Generation Z is different and more difficult than when I started in youth ministry more than 20 years ago.

Think about it. Today, children and youth face questions with which no generation before wrestled (e.g., Am I male or female?). I believe one of the most foolish and short-sighted things we can do in the church today is to view ministry to youth as a sub-ministry ministry or of secondary importance. I believe ministry to youth (and children) is not only important, but essential.  Continue Reading…

So, What Are You Reading?

Brandon Early – December 7, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

“So, what are you reading?” seems to work its way into many of my conversations with youth workers, ministry leaders and my mentors. It is a great question to ask when you meet someone you admire. You like something about that person and you want to know what is shaping him or her.

Reading is not a natural inflow for me. Don’t get me wrong, I can read. I own many books. I just don’t like reading. I prefer to go to a conference, or watch a leadership DVD, or ask a key influencer (in my life or in my reach) if I can buy him or her coffee to talk and take notes.

Though reading isn’t fun for me, it seems like a missed opportunity if I don’t spend time doing it. Continue Reading…

Trello: An App That Could Save Your Ministry

Dr. G. David Boyd – December 2, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

I need to make a confession. As a man driven by productivity, I am addicted to my “to-do” lists. I get an extra burst of energy each time an item gets crossed from my list. A friend saw I needed help when Post-It notes covered my computer screen. He introduced me to an app that cleared my computer screen, and saved my sanity,

Whether you are prone to under-organization or over-organization, I found a user-friendly app that can help bring even the most chaotic workload into order. Continue Reading…

Take Heart With Stories of Hope

Shane Stacey – November 27, 2015 1 Comment

ReachStudents Blog

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Jesus does not mince words. He does not shrink back from the reality of hardship. It’s not something to escape, but rather an expectation. Life—even with Christ—will not always be a bowl of cherries. At times, it will be a soup of suffering.

Injustice. Suffering. War. Terrorism. Racial divisions. Persecution. We can expect it all in the “now but not yet” kingdom of God. And Jesus is well aware that suffering and trials can stir up fear, anger, discouragement, despair and grief.

Jesus is not content with these things. He is not settling. He is not saying “it is what it is.” No, Jesus encourages us by directing our attention to both a current and future reality. He says take heart or more accurately “be of good courage/cheer.”

Why do we take courage? We find courage, comfort and hope in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world. The troubles that surround us and the all-too-often “eye for an eye” solutions are not the main problem (Matt. 5:38). The core problem is in the very heart of man. We have a sin issue not a skin color issue.

Jesus has conquered sin and death. While God’s kingdom has not come in full, He is making a renewed people (1 Peter 2:9-10) consisting of every language, tribe and nation (Rev. 7:9) for Himself and through which to display His justice, mercy, love, selflessness and beauty. We take heart and rise up in courage with our confidence in the power of the gospel to transform, heal and cleanse the human heart and bring wisdom and a better way to complex, volatile issues. Continue Reading…