Wired to Make a Difference

Katie Dudgeon – February 11, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Last summer, more than 5,000 students and leaders from churches around the U.S. gathered for the Challenge Conference in Kansas City. Inspiring speakers, moving worship, local community service, an international focus on Berlin and countless conversations left a lasting impact on the students who attended.

But those students also left an impact on us.

We were blown away by their interest in Berlin, and passion for the gospel, as they were led through an interactive exhibit. We were overwhelmed by their response: How the need to fight injustice resonated with them, how the spiritual climate of Berlin moved them, how the statistics and stories pushed them to pray.

As they heard about God’s heart for people in cities, they began to see how their story intersected with the story of Berlin. Some students near Fargo, North Dakota even started an organization to fight human trafficking in their hometown after learning about the realities of injustice in Berlin!  Continue Reading…

A Baker’s Dozen of Sex Resources

Reid Kapple – February 9, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

In my last post, I talked about the importance of making intentional time and space in our youth ministries to discuss the issues of sex and sexuality. In this post, I wanted to share a list of resources that I have read and utilized that I think would be useful for you, your students and their parents.

Books for Parents

Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children by Joe McIlhaney Jr., and Freda McKissic Bush.

This is the best book I have read, thus far, on the subject of sexuality and adolescence. It is a well-researched book that is very accessible for both teens and adults. I found it very insightful and would strongly recommend you read this book.

So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can do to Protect Their Kids by Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne

A fabulous commentary on the over-sexualized culture that our children are growing up in and how it is impacting their sexual development. While it is a great book on how to talk to your children about sex, there is a great deal on practical information for parents on how to guide and protect their children in a sex-saturated culture.

Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity by Lauren Winner

This is a phenomenal book for both parents and older teenagers. It approaches the subject of sex in a much more holistic sense, as well as in a communal sense.

Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain by William Struthers

While this may not be all that helpful for teenagers, it is a great resource on understanding how pornography hijacks our brain and distorts the way we think about sex.

Teaching Your Child Healthy Sexuality: A Biblical Approach to Prepare Them for Life by Jim Burns

This book is similar to The Purity Code, but addresses you, as the parent, giving valuable ideas on how to address some of the biggest sexual issues our teenagers are facing today.  Continue Reading…

Sex is Everybody’s Business

Reid Kapple – February 6, 2015 1 Comment

ReachStudents blog

I am not a betting man.

However, I would wager a large amount that more than half of the youth workers that are reading this blog have some kind of series or curriculum planned for the month of February that will address the issue of sex. You know it and I know it.

When it comes to the Western evangelical liturgical youth calendar, it is almost guaranteed that sex will be talked about this time of year. And let the record show that I am in favor of that.

The subject of sex and sexuality is a touchy topic of conversation (no pun intended) and one that is avoided in Christian circles. This strikes me as odd for a number of reasons, but particularly due to the fact that sex is so pervasive in our culture. However, the peculiar thing about sex is that, while the acts and images of it are quite public, as a topic of conversation it is quite private. This creates confusion, at best, and corruption, at worst. Wendell Berry once said, “Sex, like any other necessary, precious, and volatile power that is commonly held, is everybody’s business.” I could not agree more. Sex has profound impacts and consequences on us as individuals and as a society, which I believe necessitates a move for the church to become more talkative on the subject. Continue Reading…

Good News, You’re Ordinary!

Reid Kapple – February 4, 2015 1 Comment

ReachStudents blog

Pressure is constant for students. They are expected to be top of the class, first chair, starting quarterback, varsity cheerleader, scholarship award winner, and the list goes on. This pressure for performance is felt at school, in the home and even in the church. They are expected to be extraordinary in so many ways.

Now, I am, by no means, advocating a lifestyle of mediocrity and laziness. However, I wonder if, in all the talk about being extraordinary, we lose sight of the fact that God does indeed love the ordinary.

Obviously, we know a lot about the three years of Jesus’ ministry. It was full of miracles, healing and teachings that culminated with his death and resurrection. But do we ever stop and think about the fact that Jesus worked as a humble and faithful carpenter for 18 years? As my pastor once said, we move from the cradle to the cross very quickly, but we miss the carpenter’s shop. Jesus’ work as a carpenter wasn’t about waiting around until the “real work” of his ministry began. It wasn’t about killing time until God was ready to use him for his “true purposes.” I believe that the seemingly insignificant and shockingly normal years of Jesus’ carpentry work teach us something. Namely, that God values, appreciates and is involved in the ordinary moments of our lives. This is good news, because so much of our life is, in fact, overwhelmingly ordinary.  Continue Reading…

ReachStudents blog

I’m a proud native of the coffee-crazed town of Seattle. I feel as though I’ve heard it all when it comes to drink orders: “I’ll have a tall, half-skinny, half-one percent extra hot, split quad shot hazelnut latte, with whip.”

Partnering with churches during the last several years, I see a lot of similarities between the coffee culture and the church culture. I’ve operated on both sides of the youth ministry search aisle: I’ve been a youth pastor searching for the right job and I’ve served on pastoral search teams. Much like the customer at the coffee shop, churches and job applicants are looking for a “made to order” match. In the spirit of my hometown, I’d like to offer three coffee-crazed grounds of wisdom for churches searching for a new youth pastor.

Don’t Settle For Instant!

Most people don’t like instant-crystallized coffee. Likewise, the instant answer (promote the intern) isn’t always the best answer.

You may have someone within your body who has been mentored and is ready to take on the lead role, but too often, churches go for an instant, easy answer rather than taking the time to pray, assess and consider all the options.  Continue Reading…

What is your E-VAC Plan?

Dr. G. David Boyd – January 30, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Last winter, nearly everywhere in the United States was cold and snowy. One city that made the news was Atlanta. When a snow storm entered their city, the city officials did not adequately prepare for an evacuation. City officials knew the storm was coming, but failed to plan. This lack of planning caused widespread confusion and chaos.

As parents and youth workers, do you have an evacuation plan for your emerging adults? The day is coming when they will need to leave the safety of “home,” in order to embrace adulthood. Do you know how to prepare them to leave the nest in a healthy manner?

Becoming an adult is more than moving out of their parents’ home. I define adulthood using three developmental tasks: Vocation, Autonomy, Community. In order to achieve a successful evacuation, your E-VAC plan needs to address each area.  Continue Reading…

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…