Praying the Scriptures

Reid Kapple – March 20, 2015 2 Comments

ReachStudents blog

“Sometimes prayer feels like you are saying the same old things about the same old things.”

I vividly remember Dr. Don Whitney sharing this sentiment in my class on spiritual disciplines back in seminary. It stuck with me because I always felt this way about prayer, but never voiced it. In that lecture, he introduced our class to the discipline of praying through the Scriptures. To this day, no other discipline has formed and shaped my prayer life more. In fact, it is probably the discipline I have shared the most with my students because it is so practical and simple.

Rather than going into detail on how to pray through the Scriptures, I thought I would share with you an example that one of our students created for our church. She used 1 Peter 4:8-11 as her text and broke it up into smaller sections. Then, she wrote a brief prayer that was based on each text.  Continue Reading…

Gaming For Christ

Dr. Greg Carlson – March 16, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

“There’s a lot of spiritual content in video games, just not very Christian!” said Drew Thorwall, associate pastor at Faith Church in Grayslake, Ill., and co-founder/next gen specialist of Apolomedia.

Thorwall, in “Contextualization and Communication,” a MA in Leadership class at Trinity International University, was helping students investigate the virtual world, specifically gaming. He spoke about the intense spiritual content evident in video games. We looked at a broad spectrum of games, not merely those that are dungeon-like and explicitly dark, and Thorwall noted that nearly 60 percent of the population plays video games.

Thorwall and Carl Kerby, co-founder and retro gaming specialist, started Apolomedia to “teach parents and reach gamers.” To reach the gamers, they have various strategies, such as, where gamers watch other gamers play. They also have a strategy to, “find the false answers, meet them there, redirect…and build toward truth.” They believe that, “because we are all made in God’s image, we are all searching for things that can only ultimately be answered by God’s truth.”  Continue Reading…

Shifting from Education to Equipping

Shane Stacey – March 13, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

The car jerked forward and then lurched backward, again and again. My mom’s knuckles were white, with one hand clutching the door and the other bracing herself against the dashboard. She fought to keep a smile on her face as she sputtered out instructions and encouragements.

“More g-g-gas,” she said. “Oh, that was…good. Let’s try again, but a little slower with the clutch this time.”

I didn’t learn to drive a car in a classroom.

The way I learned to drive a car was not by merely reading the owners manual. It was not by sitting through drivers instruction course. All those things were helpful, but the way I learned to drive a car was by getting behind the wheel. The Department of Motor Vehicles knows this to be true. That is why they require a certain number of driving hours before a new driver can get their license.

One of the roadblocks to developing disciples and disciplemakers is that we focus more on education than on equipping. We emphasize the information and inspiration and minimize—or even neglect—the power of show-how learning that focuses on practice and mastery.  Continue Reading…

Ministry to the Millennials and the Church

Greg Strand – March 11, 2015 2 Comments

ReachStudents blog

Much has been written about the millennials. Among evangelicals, the concerns raised are about church and participation in the church.

An attempted solution to this potential and real problem is to make the young and millennial the focus of the ministry of the church.

In responding to contemporary questions, it is wise to take a longer view historically in seeking a response. History has a way of clearing the fog and bringing greater clarity to a present-day issue. C. S. Lewis insightfully noted that this is important to do not because the old is better or necessarily right, but rather because it provides some perspective.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer has influenced many. Reading, The Cost of Discipleship, as a college student shaped and formed me in profound ways. Bonhoeffer has important things to say about making young people the focus of the church and its ministry, as well.

Although Bonhoeffer was a brilliant theologian, he seems to have been drawn to ministry with youth. One argues that, “Bonhoeffer is primarily not a theologian doing youth ministry, but a youth minister doing theology.” Bonhoeffer ministered in the days when youth were glorified and people did whatever was necessary to enfold them into structure and institutions. The most successful way this was done was through the Nazis. But the church was also focused on capturing the spirit of youth.  Continue Reading…

Muscle Memory and Mission

Shane Stacey – March 9, 2015 Leave a comment

What if the leadership obstacle you are facing isn’t outside of you, but something inside you?

“As ministry leaders, we often see the changing culture as our biggest obstacle. Or, that people are slow to grab onto vision. While these things are true, one of our biggest enemies is often our muscle memory; our unconscious leadership keeps us stuck. Leadership muscle memory relates to any behavior or mindset that is our default posture. It’s what we do without even thinking about it. This can be a positive thing, but when there is an area of our leadership needing change, muscle memory can be one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome.”

You can find the rest of the article on the EFCA NOW blog by clicking HERE.

Even Though Young

Dr. Greg Carlson – March 6, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Youth workers can error in their expectations of youth.

That is especially true when it comes to reproducing leaders and disciplemaking. Let’s look at that a bit more carefully. Who should be doing disciplemaking?

Here are a few misconceptions:

  • Adults need to do the disciplemaking, at least to guide it! Let’s go on record that we do not discourage adults, in any way, from getting involved in the spiritual maturation of students. Our point is that the Holy Spirit is the guide for conforming people in Christ-likeness (Romans 8:16, 26-29).
  • Youth aren’t mature enough to disciple others. “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:12, NASB). I’ve been pleasantly surprised in youth ministry by the capabilities of students, not to mention their zeal.
  • Disciplemaking is too important to let students do it. I’m reminded that some of the disciples who heard the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) might have been young people in their teens and 20s.

Continue Reading…

EFCA Today Survey

Chris Harrell – March 4, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog


In an effort to improve the reach and impact of EFCA Today, we created a short survey to learn how we can best do that. We’d love your input.

The survey should take 5-8 minutes to complete. It will close on Wednesday, March 11, so be sure to share your thoughts by then.

We are grateful for your time and input.

Beyond Mentoring

Dr. G. David Boyd – February 25, 2015 1 Comment

ReachStudents blog

Mentoring is a hot topic these days within the church. Everyone says they want to find a mentor, however, few actually do the work (or find the courage) to acquire one.

In Big Questions, Worthy Dreams, Sharon Parks writes, “Restoring mentoring as a cultural force could significantly revitalize our institutions and provide the intergenerational glue to address some of our deepest and most pervasive concerns.” This quote acknowledges that our deepest concerns about our society and the church cannot be solved by one sector of society, but will require a unified vision of all generations.

Many adults seek mentors within their vocational fields in order to build their knowledge, contacts and other resources. Emerging adults are taught to seek mentors in order to advance their career goals. This vocational perspective of mentoring further defines mentoring as a relationship where one gives to another. One partner of the relationship is a gatekeeper to money, fame, experience or advancement. Continue Reading…

The Gap Year Less Traveled

Katie Manning – February 20, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

In mid-January, my husband Mark and I had the pleasure of welcoming Ryan to our ReachGlobal Crisis Response team. Ryan will serve for one year with our ministry, starting out as an intern.  Ryan decided that after graduating high school, he wanted to take a year off to pursue missions. He recognized that he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to study, so instead of going to college, he wanted to spend his time in service to God to see where God would lead him.

Ryan is from State College, Pa., which is home to Penn State University. He is very familiar with the college atmosphere and for years saw his friends go straight from high school to college, but he said that didn’t feel quite right for him. We talked about the idea of a gap year between high school and college. It isn’t very popular in the United States, though my time in England told me that Europeans embrace the concept quite well. Even though it can be easy to feel the pressure, either internally or from external sources, Ryan knew God was calling him to wait on college and pursue missions. A gap year will give him the time he needs to seek the Lord about college, to gain experience in ways that college itself could not provide and to prepare him for living for Christ no matter where God takes him.

Continue Reading…

ReachStudents blog

While most of my students rarely check their Facebook and email, they’re constantly with their cell phones. I’m not a big fan of being constantly tethered to our devices, but I will leverage that fact and regularly send out text messages like these. It’s my way of staying connected to students throughout the week. Please tweak the messages listed below, or copy and paste directly to your students from you. Continue Reading…