Reading Theology!

Dr. Greg Carlson – September 12, 2014 4 Comments

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“Youth ministry is like the Platte River, about two miles wide and two inches deep! Do you guys ever read anything other than game books or webpages?” The critic was describing his perspective on the youth ministry at his church—and also at mine! He felt that youth pastors and workers rarely had depth, were more interested in games and gimmicks, but really weren’t committed to knowing the Bible or theology.

Well, I love a good technique as much as anyone, and certainly my students at Trinity International University would support new joke material—but not deep? The youth workers I know are anything but shallow! Most are concerned that the gospel is presented clearly and effectively in this generation. They wrestle with answers to problems both apologetic and psychological. They care deeply about their students, their church and the direction of ministry. And all the while they serve students and their families with prayer, teaching, care and investment of self. Who has time to read theology? Continue Reading…

Family + Mission Not Family or Mission

Shane Stacey – September 10, 2014 1 Comment

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When talking about disciplemaking, I like to ask people who they are intentionally investing in with disciplemaking priorities. I do this because I believe that if you can’t identify names, then it’s probably not actually happening. It doesn’t matter if I am with vocational or volunteer youth workers, it never fails that only a few will write down the names of their children.

While I don’t make them feel guilty for this, I do draw attention to it. I think it is less about it not happening and more about how we’ve pitted family and ministry against each other. Instead, if we see ministry, really, about helping people love God and love others, then family certainly fits within ministry, not above or in opposition to ministry. Continue Reading…

SENDING Your Students Back to School

Reid Kapple – September 8, 2014 1 Comment

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It’s that time of year again. The time when that single shelf of office supplies at the grocery store turns into two aisles, filled with Big Chief tablets and trapper keepers. (Kids still use trapper keepers, right?) That’s right, it is the start of a new school year! This season is undoubtedly filled with a mixture of emotions. Some students are more elated than others, while some are plagued with apprehension and distress. Regardless of where our students may fall in this emotional spectrum, the question I want us to ponder is: How are we preparing our students for the start of a new school year? I propose that we SEND our students back to school. What I mean is we should frame the conversation of returning to school in the context of mission. To do this, let’s look at Mark 3 where Jesus calls his first disciples. Continue Reading…

Get to the Heart in 3 Questions

Shane Stacey – September 5, 2014 6 Comments

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Our time with students is often very short—just quick little bursts. Therefore, the art of asking good questions is an important skill to develop. I have a friend who owns a whitewater rafting company in Colorado. He told me that he trains his more than 150 staff members to try to get to a person’s heart in three questions. Three questions can get you to the place where you begin to hear the joys, dreams, sorrows or fears of a person’s heart. In three questions, you should be able to tap into a person’s heart. Here’s an example: Continue Reading…

Meet the ReachStudents Blog Contributors

Shane Stacey – September 3, 2014 Leave a comment

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Welcome to the refreshed ReachStudents blog! Subscribe to the blog by September 10 and be entered into a drawing to win a one-year free subscription to Interlinc. You’ll see the option at the end of this blog post.

Not only has the design of the blog been refreshed, but there are also a lot of new faces. I’m very excited that in addition myself, we will have some great friends and practitioners contributing monthly.

Here are the names of the blog contributors you’ll be hearing from regularly and why I’ve chosen them. Continue Reading…

Haiti Summit 2014 – Andover, Minnesota

Reach Students – August 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Are you one of our many churches that wants to consider a short-term mission trip for your youth? As with any ministry, creating an ongoing partnership is extremely valuable. EFCA churches across the country have prayed for and partnered with our Haitian churches over the years – especially since the earthquake in 2010. Haiti is both an accessible and affordable option if you’re looking for an international experience.

At Challenge 2012 in New Orleans, our EFCA students got to experience a ‘Haitian village’ and sent two school buses filled with supplies to Haiti. Last year, church leaders across the U.S. had the unique opportunity to listen to strategic leaders in the Haitian church about the status of working together. Now, it’s time to ask our Haitian brothers and sisters once again to speak to us and assess our progress.

How can we and how should we work together as American and Haitian churches?

Does your voice need to be included in the conversation? Plan to attend the Haitian Summit September 24-26, 2014, in Andover, Minn. Continue Reading…

Small Group Leader or Disciplemaker?

Reach Students – August 6, 2014 Leave a comment

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Titles matter. I can call my child my son or I can call him my kid. Both are true, but the former stirs up greater responsibility, affection and connection than the latter.

I think the titles we give one another in ministry have the same effect. Are you a small group leader or a disciplemaker? I don’t mean to suggest that these are mutually exclusive. They are not. Both can be true. But you also can be a small group leader and not be a disciplemaker.

My friends from Cadre Ministries and I developed this helpful assessment tool together to help identify if our relationships with students (or our spouses, children, co-workers or friends) are reaching their disciplemaking potential. Continue Reading…

Connect2Challenge

Not coming to Challenge? Never have? Not a problem. I get it. Challenge is simply a tool. It needs to fit into your ministry strategy. I get that. But when 240 churches from your movement come together, it’s not a bad idea to be dialed in to what God is saying, what He’s doing, and what initiatives or direction He is mobilizing them around together.

With that in mind, here are five ways you can connect without attending Challenge: Continue Reading…

Parents, Do the Work of an Evangelist

Reach Students – May 9, 2014 2 Comments

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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…

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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…