Affordable Theological Training

Shane Stacey – November 14, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

I often hear youth workers, interns and college students talk about wanting further theological education. Seminary seems like the only option. But, for many the time, cost and access does not make it a viable reality.

EFCA GATEWAY was originally created to help bi-vocational ethnic leaders get further education.  But it has expanded over the last several years to be a helpful, affordable and accessible option for a much broader audience.

Continue Reading…

Creating Ownership

Brandon Early – November 12, 2014 1 Comment

ReachStudents blog

I have been at my current church for a little over two years. I was at my previous church for almost 15 years. I had systems, I knew everyone, I had key leaders (both adult and student), I was in a groove (not a rut) and things were moving forward.

I have been spinning my wheels at my new church for the past 24 months in learning mode. I have been swimming nose deep in DNA, new systems, people, student culture, etc. It has taken a huge measure of patience and hard work, but I have learned enough about where I am at to start making some effective moves and changes.

Side Note: I had the gift of time. The leadership of my church did not expect results overnight. I was not hired to “fix” this youth group; I was hired to take these teens on a four-year journey. There were many moments of discouragement and frustration, but I was my own worst critic. My lead pastor said, “Brandon, we often overestimate what can be done in one year and underestimate what can be done in three.”

A couple things I learned:  Continue Reading…

Reach the City (Part 2)

Dr. Greg Carlson – November 10, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

In my previous post, I quoted Timothy Keller’s book, Center Church; Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City.

This time, I want to point to another idea from Keller’s book as we look to reach the city.

In referring to some churches and ministries from around the world, many who have learned from Redeemer Presbyterian Church (Keller’s church), Keller said, “they haven’t done the hard work of contextualization, reflecting on their own cultural situation and perspective to seek to better communicate the gospel to their own context.” (Keller, pg. 97)

Now, let’s think about the city and our ministry: Continue Reading…

Reach the City (Part 1)

Dr. Greg Carlson – November 7, 2014 1 Comment

ReachStudents blog

“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Heb. 13:14, ESV).

I was raised on a farm. I enjoy my rural roots. I often find myself referring to lessons learned from this background as I train future and current servant-leaders at Trinity College and Trinity Graduate School at Trinity International University. I find great joy placing youth workers in town-and-country settings, sometimes placing people who were raised in the city. I’ve maintained and grown in my conviction to reach the people in the country.

However, I’ve lived and taught in cities: Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, Beijing, Kiev, Seoul, Kingston and Boake. (Betcha have to look that last one up.) I could present a pretty strong case, at least in my mind, about the “city” status of Omaha, Des Moines or Wichita. (Does it count that I was born in Sioux City?) I work with colleagues and students who have much intersection with the city and I’ve come to embrace Chicagoland as my home city.  Continue Reading…

Is Youth Ministry a Good Idea? (Part 2)

Reid Kapple – November 5, 2014 1 Comment

ReachStudents blog

In my last post, I began a brief series by asking the question, “Is youth ministry a good idea?”

Now, obviously, I am not trying to argue myself out of a job here. I am a youth pastor and I believe I am called to be a youth pastor. I believe that the church is called to uniquely and specifically care for and minister to young people (Psalm 78:1-8, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Titus 2:1-6). I am not bringing into question the WHY of youth ministry, but rather the HOW and the WHAT.

As I shared last time, it is quite possible that while the majority of youth ministry work may be succeeding in equipping students to be disciples during their teenage years, it may not be succeeding in doing so for a lifetime. While not altogether wrong or bad, it may be the case that conventional models of modern youth ministry are simply not best. We must ask ourselves: Are we discipling our students so they are equipped to follow Christ for their entire lives or simply giving them guidelines for the here and now? Are we doing ministry with our students in such a way that we think about who they will be at 60 just as much as we think about who they are at 16?  Continue Reading…

Is Youth Ministry a Good Idea? (Part 1)

Reid Kapple – November 1, 2014 7 Comments

ReachStudents blog

“Modern Youth Ministry, a 50-Year Failed Experiment”

This was the title of an article, written a few years ago, that both critiqued the effectiveness of youth ministry and questioned the biblical mandate for it. Much has been said in recent years of modern youth ministry and some have argued that it has created more harm than good. Now, while the subject is far beyond the scope of this blog, I do think that some things can be said to bring some balance to the conversation.

  • Have there been some poor practices in youth ministry over the years?
  • Is there a stigma of youth pastors being nothing more than glorified babysitters and trip advisers?
  • Are youth pastors known more for their high energy than their theological acumen?

In most cases, I would say, yes. But the solution is not to throw the baby out with the bath water.  Continue Reading…

What Makes B.U.M.P. Unique?

Shane Stacey – October 31, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

For the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population is urban.

Nearly 180,000 people, per day, are moving into cities around the globe.

Millennials are moving into the city in high numbers, driving gentrification forward in many urban areas. Often, this means the under-resourced in a community are dispersed and forced to relocate. Therefore, urbanization begins to affect communities around our cities, as well as the neighborhoods. Maybe you’ve experienced some of this in your own community.

We need to raise up more disciplemakers in and for the city. We need those who moved by the gospel are moved and skilled in ministering holistically in multicultural environments.

In the last few years, we’ve worked hard to retool BUMP (Bridging Urban Mission Partnerships) in an effort to connect three passions:

  1. The gospel motivating a disciplemaking way of life.
  2. Students.
  3. The urban context.

Here are the values that we believe make BUMP unique and shape the week-long experience:  Continue Reading…

God Tools App

Shane Stacey – October 29, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

Looking for an easy way to share the gospel with those around you?

God Tools puts four of Cru’s effective gospel-sharing booklets in one convenient app.

As noted in the app store description, “included in the app are four booklets created by Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), one of the largest Christian missions organizations in the world.”

  1. Would You Like to Know God Personally? (target audience: general/college student)
  2. Connecting With God (target audience: high schoolers/teenagers)
  3. The Four Spiritual Laws (target audience: general)
  4. Satisfied? (target audience: general)

Continue Reading…

Making Great Slide Shows

Brandon Early – October 27, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

We take tons of pictures at retreats and events. It’s great to create buzz about our events with these pics on social media, but don’t stop there. These photos make great slideshows that are a catalyst for energy and community as we re-live those moments on a ministry night. I made slideshows with PowerPoint for years before finding software that made creating a presentation easy and more visually pleasing. Here are four you should check out if you are looking to make better slideshows in less time. (see also

What software are you using to create slideshows for your ministry?

The Bible and Millennials

Greg Strand – October 24, 2014 Leave a comment

ReachStudents blog

Evangelicals affirm sola Scriptura and absoluta Scriptura, the Scriptures alone are the absolute authority, the norma normans, the norming norm, of everything we believe and profess/confess. We affirm this in our EFCA Statement of Faith, Article 2: “The Bible – We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.”

Ever since the fall, God and His Word have been questioned, undermined and denied. The serpent, the deceiver, the liar asks Eve a question: “Did God actually say?” (Gen. 3:1b). The serpent did not ask this question of Eve because he was unsure. Underneath the question was a denial of God and His Word. It was a subtle, but certain way of questioning and undermining both. Eventually, it ultimately led to outright denial: “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). Contrast this with what God said earlier, “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). This denial undergirded the initial question, but the deceiver made the ultimate denial incremental so it was not so abrupt and did not appear to be so blatant.  Continue Reading…