Parents, Do the Work of an Evangelist

Reach Students – May 9, 2014 2 Comments

blog parents evangelist.001
Parenting is hard work. I have three children of my own and I can honestly say that parenting – although full of great joy – is often unpredictable, tiring and requires a great deal of intentionality. In the business of life it is easy for my parenting to turn into behavior modification. But what my two sons and my daughter need most is not to change their behavior. Often times their behavior or their attitude is merely a symptom of a greater need—the transformation of their heart.

So, how do we transform the heart of our child? Well, the first thing we should realize is that we can’t, for this is God’s work. But there are some things we can do to cooperate with God. In 2 Timothy 4:5, the Apostle Paul has a word for young Timothy that is a helpful reminder for parents, as well as how to view the spiritual formation in our children’s lives. Paul admonishes Timothy to “always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Continue Reading…

partner with parents this summer.001
Summer often creates a different pace in youth ministry. For many this means less formal programming. This opens some extra space for some great relational ministry. With the open space in your schedule, consider how you can use the summer to build relationship with parents. Here are five ideas for connecting with parents in the summer. Continue Reading…

dont waste your money.001

Obviously the title was suppose to be a bit provocative. I’m really looking forward to Challenge 2014 but there is a difference to attending Challenge and stewarding Challenge. Without some intentionality you’ll waste a lot of money and time on Challenge. The same is true of summer camp, a mission trip, or any other summer trip. There is the typical way to engage these sort of events and then there is an intentional way that will help you get past a mountaintop moment and move to disciplemaking momentum.

Here are 6 ways to make the most out of Challenge or any of your summer trips: Continue Reading…

transition resources.001During this time of year I get a lot of inquires from churches that are looking for a youth pastor and from youth pastors looking for possible ministry openings.

Because making these sort of transitions is not something that churches or leaders do very often, most do not have a helpful process. For the church, hiring the right staff is a critical decision that can help move a ministry into the future or set it back a few years. For the leader, choosing the right church has significant implications on his or her spiritual, emotional, economical, and family well-being. Continue Reading…

Raising the Evangelism Bar by Lowering It

Reach Students – April 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Evangelism Bar.001I realize that it may sound contradictory, but at times, the way you raise the evangelism bar in your ministry is actually by lowering it. What do I mean by this?

A common way of trying to raise the evangelism bar is with grandiose ideas and a bigger vision. In this model, students are challenged to “reach their school for Christ”. Or another outreach event is created and students are challenged to invite their friends. Or we create a teaching series on sharing your faith. We passionately share what to do and why to do it. By talking about evangelism, teaching on evangelism, and casting a bigger-than-life vision for reaching the lost we “raise the bar”.   Continue Reading…

One of the things I appreciate about our ministry partners at TIU and TEDS is that they are creating pathways for young emerging leaders designed to maximize their training AND minimize their costs. Dr. Bill Donahue leads an innovative pastoral leadership program at Trinity that will equip your students for a life of ministry! In just 5 years – instead of 7 – they can complete their college requirements and graduate with a Master of Divinity Degree from one of the finest seminaries in the world – TEDS!

It’s affordable, focused, developmental, and time-saving. Clearly costs for higher education continue to rise, putting stress on students and families alike. Thanks to some generous donors and TIU scholarship funds – and some very creative thinking – TIU and TEDS have crafted an approach that reduces costs by 60% and gets students started in their ministry career two years early.

I encourage you to go to the TIU website and get the details. As a key influencer in the EFCA and mentor in the lives of your students, Dr. Donahue and the TIU/TEDS leadership believe that you have a good grasp who may be interested in this unique pathway to ministry.

There are still a few slots open for this year’s cohort. Dr. Donahue would love to connect with any students who you believe would be good candidates. You can contact him at or the Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Jordan Bryant – at (847) 317-7000.

Help Students Think Critically

Reach Students – April 21, 2014 Leave a comment

The Noah movie created quite a splash in the Christian blogosphere. I’ll admit I have not yet seen the movie and am not sure if or when I will.

I appreciated Dr. Brian Mattson’s very informative post entitled, “Sympathy for the Devil,” along with his follow up posts (they are linked to the bottom of his original post). If you’ve not yet read or seen Mattson’s critique of the move and admonition to Christian leaders, I would encourage you to do so. Continue Reading…

Bigger is not better, but it is often more complex. This is why we specifically designed Momentum for leaders in large youth ministries—regular attendance of 100+ in high school or middle school.

This 48 hour round-table gathering is built around three values that I think help to make it effective, helpful, and fun.

Connection – We want everyone to walk away with at least one person they can call anytime during the year and ask a question. There is lots of space for relationships.

Conversation – It’s structured around dialogue rather than presentations. In fact, it is the participants who create the agenda. This way we’re only spending time talking about issues that those in the room really want to discuss.

Collaboration – We always start our time by saying that “there is nothing to lose and nothing to prove.” No one in the room has it all figured out. We draw on one another’s experience, knowledge and strength. The parts are only as strong as the sum of the whole.

If you’re currently seeing 100+ students in either your high school or middle school ministry, we’d love to have you join us around the table this coming November. 

For more information contact Kelly at or register here!

Faith Strengthens When It’s Given Away

Reach Students – April 7, 2014 4 Comments

blog give it away.001None of us stepped into student ministry so we could run a program. We all long to see a genuine movement of disciples developed, empowered and released to make disciples. What gives us all incredible joy in student ministry is seeing a teenager walking closely with Jesus and sharing that relationship with others.

This current generation, the Millennials, is the largest generation in history (Check out this book on Millennials). Not only are they quickly becoming one of our largest mission fields, but they also have the capability to be an incredible sending force. But we can’t keep simply doing youth group. We have to have a clear disciplemaking vision coupled with a process that develops sent-ones rather than groupies. If we don’t shift from being primarily a teaching organization that delivers information to an equipping organism that excels in imitation, then we’ll never see the disciplemaking movement Jesus always intended.

Strengthen It by Giving it Away

We all want to see our students’ faith strengthened, right? What if the way to strengthen their faith is by helping them learn to give it away? Can you imagine teenagers, youth workers and parents partnering together to take responsibility for those that God has placed in their sphere of influence?

We’re losing students in upper high school because, as Greg Stier of Dare2Share ministries often says,“they’ve played it, sung it, and heard it—and they are bored.” Have we unintentionally trained them to be consumers rather than releasing them to be contributors? At times, we’ve all lost our missional focus by concentrating more on our seating capacity (attendance) than on our sending capacity (mission). Training students in solid biblical theology is a must. But if it is truly biblical theology, then that theology will bring them to encounter the missionary God, who, just as he sent his Son, is in like-manner sending his church (Jn. 20:21)—young and old.

Our Missional Milestone

This is what is burning in the hearts of our ReachStudents team. So we’ve put a stake in the ground together as team. In the next 15 months we are praying and working to see 300+ churches introduced to Evangelism is Relationships, resulting in 5000+ students being trained and coached to actively cooperate with God in their friends’ journey toward Jesus.

Evangelism is Relationships was designed by our ministry partners at Cadre Ministries. They gave me the opportunity to be a part of updating it with them. If you are familiar with our Disciplemaking is Relationships training (Jesus-like disciplemaking made simple), then you’ll love Evangelism is Relationships. It’s all the same values and priorities.

The Heart of God

We know it is God’s heart that His church – including teenagers – are ones who have their hearts set apart with Christ as Lord AND are prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks them to give the reason for the hope that they have (1 Peter 3:15). If we miss the “AND” then we have missed the very heart of God (Mark 12:28-34).

How are you intentionally equipping students to give away their faith?





Blog Quote 1 jn 2.002