If you were at Challenge 2014 in the summer, then you will be familiar with the clip below where Jeff Vanderstelt, of SOMA, reminded us, “whatever God does TO us; He wants to do THROUGH us.”
Truth: God is truth and all truth is God’s truth. We believe God has revealed this truth in the Bible, the Word of God (Ps. 119:160; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). This is our foundational base for understanding, knowing and discerning truth. From this truth we understand a frame of the world or a worldview by which we seek to assess and evaluate all we do and experience.
Time: Truth is true everywhere and always is to be believed and lived by all. But truth must be applied in time at a specific place by a specific people. We are exhorted to use our time wisely since the days are evil (Eph. 5:18; cf. 1 Chron. 12:32; Acts 13:36).
Trend: A trend is something that is occurring in the present that has a certain mass following. It gives one a certain sense of being “in”, or in the right crowd or an elite. Here is one definition: “A general direction in which something is developing or changing; fashion.” The Urban Dictionary defines it in this way: “A trend is the latest style of popular culture, including, but not limited to: clothing, music, vernacular (common speech), and the latest TV shows. This form of culture is usually expressed by preps and other kids trying desperately to be accepted by peers despite obvious outcastment.” Therefore, someone who is trendy is “very fashionable or up to date in style or influence.” Social media tracks that which is trending.
Transformation: This refers to a change in one’s outlook, character, commitments and habits. This can be true for believers and unbelievers alike. The difference is that it becomes reflective of the believer, i.e., it will happen (2 Cor. 5:16-17). It is what regeneration means (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 3:18). The key here, however, is to remember that we become what we worship. Continue Reading…
Do you want your joy to increase in 2015?
Seeing teenagers come to trust and treasure Jesus Christ no doubt awakens joy. But, I believe there is something that stirs up even greater joy. It’s seeing those same students share the gospel – who Jesus is and what He’s done – and its implication with their peers. This is not merely a hunch about increasing our joy. It is the very thing the Scriptures tell us increased Jesus’ joy.
17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!”
18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”
21 At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, (emphasis mine) and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.
22 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
23 Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen. (Luke 10:17-23)
Being a disciple, one who is increasingly worshiping Jesus, changed by Jesus and obedient to Jesus in all of life, will cause joy to bubble up in your heart. Being a disciple who makes disciples will increase that joy. But, as we see here in this passage, what causes the joy of the Holy Spirit to erupt in our hearts is making disciples who make disciples.
Yet, although this is true, somehow our desire for joy is too weak, for all too quickly we move from mission to managing, from equipping to entertaining, and from empowering to enabling. As Kendra Creasy Dean states in her book, Practicing Passion, “young people are wired for passion. They are looking for something worth dying for, knowing that there in they’ll find something worth living for – and all too often we give them pizza.”
Or…another sermon or a game. Continue Reading…
Do you find it interesting that the Apostle Paul asks his friends in the church of Colossi to pray that he would speak the gospel clearly?
This is the Apostle Paul we’re talking about, author of the letter to the Romans. I can’t picture many others communicating the gospel more clearly. But look at his prayer in Colossians 4:4.
How are you doing at helping your students speak the gospel verbally and with clarity?
Here is a little assessment you can do in your small groups. Give students time to write out, in a short paragraph, what the gospel is and how they may share it with a friend. Encourage them to include what is really important, in order to be clear with the gospel.
Then, have students read what they wrote to the small group. I’d recommend primarily listening and probing with questions if something seems fuzzy or unclear. Don’t worry about correcting. Just listen. This will give you a sense for what your students think the gospel is. Continue Reading…
This generation wants to change the world and you can help them do it, one person at a time.
Evangelism is Relationships is a dialogical training resource that will help you, your leadership team and student leaders advance the gospel into the relationships God has already strategically put in your paths. The five sessions will help you identify people that God has already placed in your relational sphere of influence and to cooperate with God in their journey toward Jesus by interceding, investing, intersecting and inviting.
If you are interested in bringing Evangelism is Relationships to your church or want more information, contact email@example.com.
Here’s an idea for a short series you can use in your ministry:
Several of the students in our ministry went to Challenge Conference 2014, in Kansas City, and are still talking about the trip. That’s great! I want to leverage their excitement and the free resources available from ReachStudents and Challenge. So in the next few weeks, we are starting a teaching series we are calling, “Rewind Restored.”
Not all of our students went to Challenge, so I do not see this as repetition. Instead, I see it as a refresher for some and an introduction for others. Our ministry will use this for a three-week Sunday morning series. Our basic structure will look like this: Continue Reading…
Do you know what a leader is?
“Someone who leads!”
Great! You get the prize for the obvious.
But with all the effort that goes into developing leaders, would you join me in thinking through a definition?
While I was teaching one of the classes in the M.A. in Leadership program at Trinity Graduate School, we came across a text that said, “Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.”
That’s close to the definition we started to use:
“A leader is a person of character who develops relationships of influence to accomplish goals of significance.” Continue Reading…
It is one thing to prep and teach a single message, but it is an entirely different thing to prep and teach a whole series. I thought I would share with you a series that I just wrapped up with our students that you could perhaps use in your ministry context.
The series was simply called, True or False. Each week, we took a different issue of life with relevance to high school students and discussed it. Then, we looked at some of the messages we hear in our world on the subject and contrasted those messages with what God says about it. For each message, I followed the same outline structure that you will see below. While it isn’t exhaustive, it may give you a foundation to build from. Continue Reading…
Recently, I was with a group of youth pastors and the question came up, “How do you communicate with students, parents, leaders and the congregation?”
I’m not an expert on communication by any stretch of the imagination. But I have had the chance to spend the last couple years with a great communications team who have taught me a lot. I used to think about this topic a lot. Here are a few tips I’ve learned and try to keep in mind when thinking about communication.
For any “message” you need to get out, identify ahead of time which communication pathways the message needs to hit and by when. Then, create your messages, schedule them and start communicating. Continue Reading…
Student leadership is about leading on a student level. Students look up to their peers because they relate. They are a similar place in life.
Student leadership is about furthering the kingdom of God, whether that is from the front lines or behind the scenes.
In college, I decided that I wanted to continue to make a difference in the lives of high school students. At Trinity International University, I applied to Emerging Kingdom Leaders, EKL, to continue my journey as a student leader. EKL is a class of freshmen who desire to learn how to be a Christian leader where God is calling them. Over the course of the year, we learn about how to use spiritual influence as leaders, how to apply emotional intelligence when investing in others and how to sharpen our strengths to be the leaders God has called us to be. During the year, we also plan a conference for high school students called the 360 Conference. Continue Reading…