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…

The Leader Meeting Solution

Gordy Williams – November 25, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

Crazy Busy, by Kevin DeYoung, sits on my nightstand. I received a free copy at Challenge Conference 2014 in Kansas City. That was more than a year ago and I have yet to read it. I’m not disinterested in the topic, actually I’m quite interested. Rather, I simply haven’t had time. I have good intentions to get through it, though.

I serve in a busy context. Not only is my life busy, the lives of my ministry team are busy. This leads to difficulty in setting up leader meetings. It means another night out for the meeting or, and this is much worse, a 6:30 a.m. breakfast. We search for a time that works for everyone, which is a challenge. Continue Reading…

Procrastinator or Incubator

Brandon Early – November 20, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

I know people who thrive on procrastination.

I am one of those people when it comes to writing: Waiting to write school papers and letters, or preparing for teaching. I spend a lot of time in last-minute preparation and I learned something about myself. Maybe it was obvious, but it was new to me.

I am not a procrastinator in my writing projects, I am an incubator.

I need to think and process. It is critical to my output. And because I overthink, process and let ideas simmer, I need to think farther into the future and, in some cases, create false deadlines and due dates to deliver content to those who need things from me. This forces me to think sooner.  Continue Reading…

Leadership and Grit

Katherine Jeffery – November 18, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

Over the summer, I started attending Boot Camp twice-a-week. For those of you unaware, Boot Camp is part of the CrossFit family and designed to work out every part of your body in the shortest amount of time. The one I attend lasts for an hour (beginning at 5:45 a.m.). During this hour, I choose to put my body through 16 different exercises, full effort, for a minute each. Then, I repeat the circuit two more times. I actually choose to do this three times in a row (and I don’t drink coffee).  Continue Reading…

My Favorite Question

Reid Kapple – November 13, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

In my years of ministry, I find myself asking this question many times, in many ways and with many people. It appears simple at face value, but when honestly considered and responded to, it is one of the most important questions ever asked. No other question is as efficient in getting to the heart of a person’s faith and spiritual formation. In addition, one of the beautiful things about this question is how it can be universally asked and applied to both Christians and non­-Christians.

Ok, I think I built up enough suspense. Here is the question: Continue Reading…

Faithful In The Little

Gordy Williams – November 11, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, our Lord stated in Luke 16:10. It’s a familiar verse and concept. However, I recently found myself stating the exact opposite idea in a small group discussion on faith. No one caught it (or at least they didn’t mention it). It wasn’t until I was drifting off to sleep later that night that I was struck by the absurdity of my statement.

Here is a paraphrased version of what I said, “I think I would be able to take a step of faith regarding a major life move. It’s small areas of regular obedience with which I struggle.”

It sounded quite mature and convincing in our conversation, maybe even super spiritual and transparent. Now, it looks rather stupid as I see it with Jesus’ words ringing in my ears. Faithfulness in small areas cultivates faithfulness in larger areas. Why would Jesus give me a large task when I regularly demonstrate a lack of trust in the small ones?  Continue Reading…

Growing Kingdom Character

Shane Stacey – November 4, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

When we talk about transformational leaders in the EFCA, we define a person who “knows who they are in Christ, what they have been called to do, the skills to do it and the character to sustain them through it all.”

I find that last phrase, “the character to sustain them through it all,” essential, but often assumed in Christian leadership. I am not aware of a lot of resources written specifically for leaders in the area of character.

Practical, intentional tools for developing leaders 

Continue Reading…

Watch Your Life AND Teaching

Shane Stacey – November 2, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers (1 Timothy 4:16NIV).

As a young leader in my early years of ministry, I often found myself watching and aspiring to be like other leaders around me. I watched how they preached, led, cast vision, built teams, prayed and cared for people. I observed them because I wanted to become like them. I wanted to be effective, competent, and build a platform for the greatest amount of kingdom impact. Therefore, I spent a lot of my time watching other leaders — to learn from them.

As I hit midlife, I found that it is far more important to watch myself. Don’t get me wrong, I still learn best from watching other leaders in action, but I must give a good deal of attention and a keen eye to my own character and theology. I must watch myself.

This is the admonition that Paul, in his latter years of ministry, gives to the young church planter and his co-laborer in the gospel, Timothy. Paul knew the outward pressures of leadership and the influences of a pagan culture. Also, he was acquainted with the power of sin bubbling up in unexpected places within the heart of every human — leader or otherwise.  Continue Reading…