2016 Decision.001

One of the best decisions I made back in 2012 to help my walk with God was saying “yes” to a friend, Bill Allison,  who invited me to read through the Bible with him and a few others. I enjoyed it so much I did it again in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Reading through the Bible was great. Reading through the Bible with friends was rich on so many levels. I dare you to try it BUT with this approach… Continue Reading…

God With Us

Mark O'Brien – December 24, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

God with us.

From beginning to end, it’s always been about that. God created mankind so we could enjoy His presence.

God created humanity on the sixth day of creation, and the seventh was mankind’s first full day. Our first act was to enjoy the rest and presence of God—true Sabbath.

Sin drove us from God’s presence, but once again God showed us His determination to bring us back into His presence. Right away, God promised to crush the head of the very thing that drove us from away from Him, even at a great price to Himself. Continue Reading…

5 Reasons the Church Needs Youth

Shane Stacey – December 9, 2015 3 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

Ministry to youth is an essential part of the missional focus of the church.

I’ve spent enough time in youth and pastoral ministry to experience the regular questions that surface in the mind of a leader: Am I making a difference? Is this—ministry to youth—worth it?

Often, we don’t see the full fruit of our investment until five or 10 years down the road. As I talk to youth workers, I find many wondering if they hitched their wagon to the wrong horse. They wonder if ministry to youth is the best place to invest their lives.

The questions are valid, but they usually show up in moments of weariness, criticism and discouragement.

First, let’s get perspective about both who we are ministering to and the time in history we are ministering to them. Generation Z—the bottom half of the Millennials—is the largest generation in history and the first generation in America to grow up in a completely post-Christian culture. During the last couple decades, tsunami-sized waves of cultural change crashed on the shores of our nation unlike anything we experienced. In a few short decades, these waves washed away some of the foundational moorings that existed since the inception of this country. The church finds itself in a new context. Therefore, ministry to Generation Z is different and more difficult than when I started in youth ministry more than 20 years ago.

Think about it. Today, children and youth face questions with which no generation before wrestled (e.g., Am I male or female?). I believe one of the most foolish and short-sighted things we can do in the church today is to view ministry to youth as a sub-ministry ministry or of secondary importance. I believe ministry to youth (and children) is not only important, but essential.  Continue Reading…

So, What Are You Reading?

Brandon Early – December 7, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

“So, what are you reading?” seems to work its way into many of my conversations with youth workers, ministry leaders and my mentors. It is a great question to ask when you meet someone you admire. You like something about that person and you want to know what is shaping him or her.

Reading is not a natural inflow for me. Don’t get me wrong, I can read. I own many books. I just don’t like reading. I prefer to go to a conference, or watch a leadership DVD, or ask a key influencer (in my life or in my reach) if I can buy him or her coffee to talk and take notes.

Though reading isn’t fun for me, it seems like a missed opportunity if I don’t spend time doing it. Continue Reading…

Trello: An App That Could Save Your Ministry

Dr. G. David Boyd – December 2, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

I need to make a confession. As a man driven by productivity, I am addicted to my “to-do” lists. I get an extra burst of energy each time an item gets crossed from my list. A friend saw I needed help when Post-It notes covered my computer screen. He introduced me to an app that cleared my computer screen, and saved my sanity,

Whether you are prone to under-organization or over-organization, I found a user-friendly app that can help bring even the most chaotic workload into order. Continue Reading…

Take Heart With Stories of Hope

Shane Stacey – November 27, 2015 1 Comment

ReachStudents Blog

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Jesus does not mince words. He does not shrink back from the reality of hardship. It’s not something to escape, but rather an expectation. Life—even with Christ—will not always be a bowl of cherries. At times, it will be a soup of suffering.

Injustice. Suffering. War. Terrorism. Racial divisions. Persecution. We can expect it all in the “now but not yet” kingdom of God. And Jesus is well aware that suffering and trials can stir up fear, anger, discouragement, despair and grief.

Jesus is not content with these things. He is not settling. He is not saying “it is what it is.” No, Jesus encourages us by directing our attention to both a current and future reality. He says take heart or more accurately “be of good courage/cheer.”

Why do we take courage? We find courage, comfort and hope in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world. The troubles that surround us and the all-too-often “eye for an eye” solutions are not the main problem (Matt. 5:38). The core problem is in the very heart of man. We have a sin issue not a skin color issue.

Jesus has conquered sin and death. While God’s kingdom has not come in full, He is making a renewed people (1 Peter 2:9-10) consisting of every language, tribe and nation (Rev. 7:9) for Himself and through which to display His justice, mercy, love, selflessness and beauty. We take heart and rise up in courage with our confidence in the power of the gospel to transform, heal and cleanse the human heart and bring wisdom and a better way to complex, volatile issues. Continue Reading…

The Leader Meeting Solution

Gordy Williams – November 25, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

Crazy Busy, by Kevin DeYoung, sits on my nightstand. I received a free copy at Challenge Conference 2014 in Kansas City. That was more than a year ago and I have yet to read it. I’m not disinterested in the topic, actually I’m quite interested. Rather, I simply haven’t had time. I have good intentions to get through it, though.

I serve in a busy context. Not only is my life busy, the lives of my ministry team are busy. This leads to difficulty in setting up leader meetings. It means another night out for the meeting or, and this is much worse, a 6:30 a.m. breakfast. We search for a time that works for everyone, which is a challenge. Continue Reading…

Procrastinator or Incubator

Brandon Early – November 20, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

I know people who thrive on procrastination.

I am one of those people when it comes to writing: Waiting to write school papers and letters, or preparing for teaching. I spend a lot of time in last-minute preparation and I learned something about myself. Maybe it was obvious, but it was new to me.

I am not a procrastinator in my writing projects, I am an incubator.

I need to think and process. It is critical to my output. And because I overthink, process and let ideas simmer, I need to think farther into the future and, in some cases, create false deadlines and due dates to deliver content to those who need things from me. This forces me to think sooner.  Continue Reading…

Leadership and Grit

Katherine Jeffery – November 18, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

Over the summer, I started attending Boot Camp twice-a-week. For those of you unaware, Boot Camp is part of the CrossFit family and designed to work out every part of your body in the shortest amount of time. The one I attend lasts for an hour (beginning at 5:45 a.m.). During this hour, I choose to put my body through 16 different exercises, full effort, for a minute each. Then, I repeat the circuit two more times. I actually choose to do this three times in a row (and I don’t drink coffee).  Continue Reading…

My Favorite Question

Reid Kapple – November 13, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

In my years of ministry, I find myself asking this question many times, in many ways and with many people. It appears simple at face value, but when honestly considered and responded to, it is one of the most important questions ever asked. No other question is as efficient in getting to the heart of a person’s faith and spiritual formation. In addition, one of the beautiful things about this question is how it can be universally asked and applied to both Christians and non­-Christians.

Ok, I think I built up enough suspense. Here is the question: Continue Reading…