Making Room For Parents (Part 1)

Reid Kapple – April 15, 2015 1 Comment

ReachStudents blog

I have always considered the role of the youth worker to be somewhat of a priestly role. Now, before you start getting your theological undies in a bunch, let me explain. The Levitical priests served as intermediaries between God and his people.

In a similar fashion, youth workers tend to function (and I would say ought to function) in this way between students and their parents. To be clear, I am not espousing that we as youth workers should create an unhealthy dynamic of relational triangulation; whereby, we talk to students about their parents, and vice versa, without seeking to bring them together for the sake of reconciliation. I have witnessed this and I have been guilty of this. It is not pretty. What I do mean is that we should seek to mediate and bring peace between the two parties by journeying with them together.

It took me a while to realize this, but I have recently come to find that the majority of my contact work with students should, in some way, involve their parents. This ministerial conviction is rooted in both biblical mandates (Deuteronomy 6, Titus 2, Psalm 78) and sociological research (National Study of Youth and Religion).  Continue Reading…

ReachStudents blog

When we talk about student leadership, it is important we define what we are talking about. Do we simply mean leadership of a program? Or is “student leadership” mean disciples who are making disciples?

It’s an important distinction. There are lots of ways to engage students and make them contributors to your student ministry: worship bands, tech teams, greeters, hosts, prayer team, café, event planning, etc.

All these are great ways to help students build ownership in the ministry. Ownership, especially as students get unto the upper high school years, is critically important. They don’t want ministry to be done TO or FOR them; they want to be a part of delivering it.

But—and this is the caution—we must not fool ourselves into thinking that involvement on a worship team or running the sound booth is equipping students to reach their peers. Too often in the church, we call people to volunteerism rather than to disciplemaking.  Continue Reading…

ReachStudents blog

Being a youth worker gives me access to the church:

I love that I have full access to our facilities. In the winter, when my kids are going crazy after being stuck indoors for months, I can drive to our church and give them free reign to our gym, to the youth room, where there are drums, Foosball, loud music, etc., or I can just let them run wild in the church building. There is something about special access that helps my boys love the church more and more every year.

Being a youth worker gives me access to resources:

My boys think it is awesome that I have access to youth ministry games. We are a family of five, but we still love plugging my laptop into our living room TV and playing youth ministry games like “1 Arm, 2 Arm, None,” or Road Race. We also have access to leftover pizza and donuts, and this is a big deal to three boys.  Continue Reading…

Confession Hurts and Heals

Reid Kapple – April 1, 2015 1 Comment

ReachStudents blog

There is a story attributed to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in which he anonymously sent a telegram to a handful of wealthy and influential men in London. The telegram simply read, “Flee at once! All has been discovered!”

According to the story, each of the men left town and were never heard from again. The point of the story, regardless of its veracity, is that you can count on the fact that everyone has some kind of dark secret that they are painstakingly attempting to keep under lock and key.

We all suffer from this peculiar problem, which Dallas Willard calls sin management. Instead of confessing and repenting of our sin, we seek to either cover it up, at best, or ignore it, at worst. In a world of Photoshop and Instagram filters, the pressure to maintain an image of perfection is overwhelming. We do everything we can to convince others that our lives are great, our relationships are void of pain and we wake up looking like we are heading to a magazine photo shoot. As a result, the idea of confessing sin is antithetical to our students because it jeopardizes their reputation and self image. This pattern of hiding and managing sin is carried into adulthood where the stakes tend to be higher.  Continue Reading…

10 Instagrams Accounts You Should Follow

Brandon Early – March 30, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

I am an idea junkie. One of the best places to troll for great ideas has been Instagram.

Here are 10 accounts you might want to check out:

  1. youthgroupcollective
  2. Youth Ministry Ideas
  3. Catalyst
  4. High School Ministry: Saddleback Church
  5. Mariners Church Junior High Ministry
  6. Elevate Youth – Pomona
  7. pocketfuel
  8. Impulse: Pathway Middle School Ministries
  9. Southeast Christian Church
  10. The Student Ministry of Southeast Christian Church

Or check out these hashtags: Continue Reading…

Beyond Mentoring – Part 2

Dr. G. David Boyd – March 27, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Last month, I shared how the church needs to think beyond mentoring to engage emerging adults. Mentoring often gives the impression of an unidirectional relationship, where one person gives and one receives. Our economic mindset has also set the image of a mentor as one who stands in authority over another, and who serves as a gatekeeper for wealth, knowledge or fame.

The church needs to go beyond mentoring. Rather than succumbing to our Western society, which values independence, the Church needs to rediscover its roots of interdependence. God created the church to do more than gather together, but to need each other. One picture to illustrate the interdependence of the church is the body of Christ (e.g., 1 Cor 12; Rom 12).

Marks of a Symbiotic Relationship

Christians should be seeking symbiotic relationships, where each partner benefits from the relationship without assumptions of power, rank or importance. A symbiotic relationship is a connection for the mutual benefit of each individual. Here are some marks of symbiotic relationships:  Continue Reading…

TIU 360 Conference

Shane Stacey – March 25, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Trinity International University is serious about developing emerging leaders. If you are in the Midwest, I highly encourage you to get your student leaders to the 360 Student Leadership Conference. For an incredibly affordable price, your students will get quite a lot:

  1. Teaching: Top-notch teaching from a TEDS alum (Manny Scott, former Freedom Writer) and excellent workshop speakers.
  1. Vision: Space for students to be challenged deeply on what the Bible teaches about leadership.
  1. Empowerment: Student-led workshops where proven emerging leaders are training emerging leaders.
  1. Catalyst: Opportunity for youth leaders to supplement training for their student leaders.
  1. Community: A true look behind the scenes at the TIU college community and opportunity to experience it firsthand.
  1. Fun: Time to connect with other emerging leaders from both high school and college.
  1. Bling: Overnight stay with TIU students, four meals, a conference t-shirt and a CAUSEGEAR bag!

Continue Reading…

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 Twitch.tv/apolomedia, 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…