New Yearsfor: Students

New Years

It’s a new year; a fresh start. Some people use the New Year to make resolutions and try and better themselves, some use it to set goals on things they want to accomplish for the year, and some use it to say they are going to do things that they said they would do last year. I believe that the New Year can be a really key holiday for Campus Missionaries. It gives us a chance to set up new goals for our schools and a chance to look back on what worked and what didn’t work in our evangelism from the previous year. That is what I would like to encourage you guys to do this year in 2015. Use this year to achieve things way above anything you have done in previous years. Set goals for yourself: personal goals, goals for your school, goals for your education, etc. Take a look at how many students you saw come to Christ this past year. Set a goal to double or even triple those numbers. You can set goals with your bible club! See how many new people you can get to each bible club meeting! Try and bring 1 or 2 new people each week. Try and plan more outreaches, maybe do 1 or 2 outreaches each month. Brainstorm with your bible club and ask God what He wants you to do this year. For some of you, it will be your last year in high school, so make it count! Maybe you can make it your goal to show God’s love to at least 1 person every single day. Maybe you make a new friend every week and share the Gospel with them.

Take a look back at this past year. What worked when it came to telling students about the Gospel? What was the most successful approach? What was the least successful approach? How can you improve? Discuss these questions with your bible club and come up with the most ideal ways. Get creative and think of new approaches. Have everyone in your bible club write down 2 or 3 goals they have for their school this year and help each other achieve those goals! Maybe you don’t have a bible club yet in your school; make it your goal to have a functioning bible club in your school so that others have an opportunity to attend it. Maybe your bible club is dying out or not enough people go; take charge of it and make necessary changes to see it thrive like never before. God has great plans for all of you people, so tune in and see what it is that He wants you to do.

New Years It’s a new year; a fresh start. Some people use the New Year to make resolutions and try and better themselves, some use it to set goals on things they want to accomplish for the year, and some use it to say they are going to do things that they said they would do last...

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Christmas and The Campus Missionaryfor: Students

Tis’ the season! The time of year that many of us look forward to! It’s a season of love, being with family, and giving to others! Yet for some it isn’t as jolly. Some people don’t have a family that loves them or a family to go home to on Christmas day. Some might not have enough money to provide their children or loved ones with gifts. Some have lost family members and have somber holidays. These are all reasons why Christmas should also be a season of sacrifice. A lot of us are excited to get new clothes, cash, or maybe the new iPhone! While others of us just want money to pay for school. But there are people out there who have nothing to look forward to but an empty Christmas tree, perhaps not able to provide any gifts for their loved ones. It happens every year, and it’s really sad, but I want to encourage you all as Campus Missionaries to do something sacrificial this year around the holidays! One thing my church does is a program known as “Christmas at Bethel”, where we invite any and all troubled families to a Christmas celebration! Every year families who may struggling attend and we just love on them. All of the kids get to pick a toy; there are games, inflatables, cotton candy machines, hot dogs, professional comedians, and much more!

I am not saying you have to organize your own “Christmas at Bethel” in your area, but it is a good thing to help give you some ideas! This year I feel that, as Campus Missionaries, we should be a living sacrifice in some way. Whether it be something you and your bible club does, or something you and your family does, or maybe something you do by yourself. Let’s give to those who aren’t as fortunate as us. Some ideas would be to give some of your brand new clothes away to people who never get new clothes, or donate your Christmas money to a shelter, or a charity, or even Speed the Light. Maybe you could hang out with some of the students in your school who don’t get to have the ideal Christmas—take them out to the movies or out to dinner. Instead of spending all of your Christmas money on things you really want, set a little bit of it aside and buy gifts for those who didn’t get any. Do everything out of love, and tell people of God’s love! Through all of this, glorify Him, not yourself. Pray about it; see what God wants you to do. Maybe He wants you to do something you never even imagined yourself being able to do. After you have done something, let us know what you did! Send us a report on how it went and if you got to share the Gospel with someone!

Merry Christmas, Campus Missionaries!

Tis’ the season! The time of year that many of us look forward to! It’s a season of love, being with family, and giving to others! Yet for some it isn’t as jolly. Some people don’t have a family that loves them or a family to go home to on Christmas day. Some might not have enough money...

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Lead to Eternityfor: Students

As Christians, it is not our job to save people. That is God’s job. However, he does use us as vessels in order to tell others about His love. It is our job to show Christ’s love in everything that we do.  It says in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. But, it is not our job to save them, we are simply to lead them to God, and He takes care of the rest. But, we need to get others to that point. We need them to reach out to God so He can save them. We need to lead them to eternity by leading them to the cross. For example, when I was in 4th grade, a new kid moved in. And I instantly wanted to know everything about him, he just seemed different. Nobody else in the school really took interest in him at all, so he was already kind of lonely. After getting to know him, I learned that he came from an extremely broken family and was living with his grandparents. I also learned that he was an atheist. Through the years, I constantly had conversations with him about God and religion, and I had invited him to church many times, but he never came. Finally, in 9th grade, I invited him to one of my church’s youth retreats. He never responded to any of the services that entire weekend until we got to the last service. The speaker was talking about how God can and will forgive us of anything we have done in our past, and that there is nothing we can do to separate us from His unconditional love for us. And that’s what this student needed to hear, and he gave his life to Christ and has been forever changed. He had been taking in the information from the services all weekend, and decided that he wanted what God had to offer. After 5 years of becoming best friends with this student and taking an interest in his life, he finally gave his life to God that year. 4 years later and he is graduating high school this year and going to college to get his degree in Pastoral Ministry.

All it takes is an interest in someone’s life, and showing them that there is someone who cares about them for them to become attentive to what you have to say.  It took 5 years of constantly reaching out to this kid, but once I was able to get him to a certain spot, God took over the rest. He was able to change this student’s life in seconds, and save his life.

As Christians, it is not our job to save people. That is God’s job. However, he does use us as vessels in order to tell others about His love. It is our job to show Christ’s love in everything that we do.  It says in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...

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Love Out Loudfor: Students

Living on purpose means to live for God, not for ourselves. And as a result of living for God, we also serve others with our life. A way to show this is by loving out loud. What does it mean to love out loud? Loving out loud means to live in such a way that others around you can see a difference in your life. It means to love on people as often as you can, always doing what you can to make others’ lives easier.  You may have heard people say “actions speak louder than words”, which is a completely accurate statement. For example, when I was in 10th grade, there was a new student who was in my gym class and his name is KayJay. KayJay had an awful life growing up. He moved from house to house, parent to parent, family member to family member, just trying to get a better life. Well, I decided to get to know KayJay better. I started to form a relationship with this student and as I did, so did my brother. We told him that if he ever needs a place to stay that he is always welcome in our house. And he did need a place to stay, many times. There were many times where he would stay at our house for multiple days at a time because he didn’t want to go home. Anytime he needed us we would do whatever we could to make sure he was okay. He started to notice all of the sacrifices we were gladly willing to make for him, he started to take an interest in our lives, and so he started coming to church with us and decided to give his life to Christ! All he needed was to see what real love actually looked like in order to make a decision to give his life to Christ.

Because we made sacrifices daily for this student after he grew up with so many let downs, he was able to see God’s love through it.  We need to be sacrificial in our everyday lives. But we need to make sure that while making these sacrifices that we are giving all of the glory to God, not ourselves. Otherwise we are just doing good things for people and trying to claim the glory, which isn’t right.  In everything we do, we need to make sure we are glorifying God through it all. Don’t just tell people you love them, show them. You could get someone a gift, or maybe mow somebody’s lawn, or even buy someone lunch. Do small things that let people know that there is someone who cares about them.

Living on purpose means to live for God, not for ourselves. And as a result of living for God, we also serve others with our life. A way to show this is by loving out loud. What does it mean to love out loud? Loving out loud means to live in such a way that others around...

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Live on Purposefor: Students

What does it mean to live on purpose? Living on purpose means to live for more than yourself. It means putting your own selfish ambitions aside and putting other peoples’ needs before yours. It means stepping outside of your comfort zone. It means to live dangerously. It’s so easy to live apathetically, but when you’re a Christian you’re called to become dangerous, and to do risky things, and put yourself out there. But you aren’t doing this for no reason, you’re doing it with the mindset of others first, which means something. Living with a mindset of selflessness. There are many times where I have been hesitant to talk to someone about God just because I don’t want them to think that I am weird. And I always regret not doing it. But there have been times where I have overcome that feeling of intimidation and talked to people, and it is always worth it. For example, when I had a class with a kid that was new, I talked to him and learned that he needed God. I made it my mission to get this kid to come to church. And every week he said he would, but never came. I would talk to him every time we had class. I was nervous to ask him most of the time because I didn’t want to bother him too much. Or I would be nervous because I didn’t want him to not be my friend just because I kept asking him. But at this point, we were close enough friends that he didn’t blow me off just because of my beliefs. And after months of asking, he finally came. And in service that night, he began to pray for God to forgive him of things he had done in his life, and something hit him so hard that he just fell to his knees in worship. He had an amazing encounter with God that night. And he gave his life to God. And that to me was worth all of the nervousness and uncomfortableness I felt along they way. In the end, God worked it all out. We just have to deny ourselves and put God and others before our own selves.  That’s what it mainly boils down to: not being selfish. Selfishness is a powerful tool used by the enemy to keep you from reaching others. Living for yourself and worldly things mean nothing. Riches are meaningless. It says in Ecclesiastes 5:10, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” When we learn to live for not only others, but for God as well, we learn to become less selfish. We start to live for others in this way, giving us a purpose in life.

What does it mean to live on purpose? Living on purpose means to live for more than yourself. It means putting your own selfish ambitions aside and putting other peoples’ needs before yours. It means stepping outside of your comfort zone. It means to live dangerously. It’s so easy to live apathetically, but when you’re a Christian...

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One Thing Every Healthy Youth Ministry Needsfor: Youth Leaders

I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus’ prayer for His disciples in John 17, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one…As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (vss. 15, 18 NIV). Jesus had many disciples while on the earth, but this prayer was specifically for His closest disciples; the eleven who remained faithful to Him until the end. These were arguably the most important disciples in the history of the Church. Even if we knew nothing else of Jesus’ time with His followers, we could still make two conclusions about His discipleship model from this prayer. First, that He “sent” His followers on a mission. Time with Jesus included mission and ultimately prepared and equipped the disciples for mission. Second, Jesus was not afraid to put His disciples at risk, for risk is inherent in mission. And so Jesus prayed, “God, protect them…for I am sending them.”

In the church and in the family our most important disciples are our children and youth. If we are leading like Jesus led and discipling like Jesus discipled, then we must also pray, “God protect them…for we are sending them.” And then we must send them. That’s why every healthy youth ministry includes mission and builds towards mission in its discipleship methods. For the majority of today’s students the field of mission is the public school, so our discipleship must include preparing and equipping students for this mission. Home, Cyber, and Christian-school students rarely make contact with this vast mission field. As a result, the church and the family must take extra care to find regular opportunities for these students to engage in mission, or their discipleship may become extraordinarily unbalanced and/or become too self-focused. Regardless of how it’s accomplished, every healthy Biblical model of discipleship in youth ministry includes and leads to mission.

The risk of excluding mission from discipleship in youth ministry is far greater than the inherent risk of engaging mission. When we exclude mission, we teach our students a version of Christianity that has little basis in the Cross. Mission leads to selflessness; no mission leads to self-centeredness. Mission leads to dependence on the Holy Spirit; no mission leads to dependence on self. Mission leads to the Cross; no mission leads to simple morality. This is unhealthy youth ministry. Discipleship that doesn’t include mission usually ends in what theologians and sociologists have termed Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD). A comprehensive study[1] in 2005 by researchers at the University of North Carolina concluded that most religious teenagers in America actually adhere to MTD rather than authentic, Cross-centered and Spirit driven Christianity.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is rampant in youth ministry. The end goal of MTD is to be happy and to feel good about yourself, which is accomplished through being moral in your own life and being nice to others. God exists, but isn’t really involved unless you need something fixed, and He lets good people go to heaven when they die. In MTD, there is little demand for holiness, sacrifice, or mission as defined by Luke 19:10, “The Son of Man came to seek and save that which is lost.” If we’re not careful, we’ll end up with a generation of students who know how to be good, but don’t know how to carry the cross.

The solution is simple—stop putting students in the spotlight, and start putting the spotlight on Jesus. Give them a cross to carry, a sacrifice to strive toward, and a mission (Luke 19:10) to be a part of. That’s healthy youth ministry! And what about the inherent risk? Jesus gave us a risk manager—the promised Holy Spirit. So let us pray with confidence, “God, protect them…for we are sending them.”

[1] Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus’ prayer for His disciples in John 17, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one…As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (vss. 15, 18 NIV). Jesus had many disciples while...

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Nominate the Campus Missionary of the Yearfor: Youth Leaders

Campus-Missionary-enews-logo

Every year we honor one student who has been outstanding in their commitment as a missionary to their school campus. A Campus Missionary commits to live a life of faith in school, love their fellow students and school community, and lead their friends to Jesus and to the church. A Campus Missionary lives out loud, loves on purpose, and leads to eternity.

In the past, we have selected the Campus Missionary of the Year based upon the CM reports sent through the national Youth Alive reporting system. However, we recognize that many CMs do not use the national reporting system, and that local youth pastors and leaders are in a better position to identify the outstanding students who have been exemplary in mission on the school campus. As a result, this year we are asking for youth pastors and youth leaders to nominate a student (or students) from their group who have been outstanding Campus Missionaries. From those nominations, we will select the Campus Missionary of the Year.

To nominate a student for Campus Missionary of the Year, please read the following:

  • Nominations should be in the form of a recommendation letter.
  • Nominations should provide example of the student’s efforts in some or all of the following:
    • Sharing the Gospel at school
    • Leading friends to Jesus
    • Leading/Participating in an outreach at school
    • Leading a Bible Club/Helping to lead a Bible Club
    • Bringing friends from school to church/youth ministry/events
    • Living as an example for Christ on the Campus
    • Serving their school in the name of Jesus
  • The nomination must be sent by email to Lee@reachtheschool.com, either in the body of the email or as a scanned attachment on church letterhead.
  • Nominations must come from a Youth Pastor, Youth Leader in charge, or Lead Pastor of the church the student attends.

The Campus Missionary of the Year will be highlighted in the Fall issue of the Network Connexions magazine, will be honored at the Advance Back-to-School Retreat, and will receive free tuition to either Youth Advance, Winter Retreat, or Youth Convention. All nominations must be received no later than June 26, 2014 at 12pm.

Every year we honor one student who has been outstanding in their commitment as a missionary to their school campus. A Campus Missionary commits to live a life of faith in school, love their fellow students and school community, and lead their friends to Jesus and to the church. A Campus Missionary lives out loud, loves on...

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Livefor: Students

Live

We live in a generation fascinated with one of the silliest creatures known to man… Zombies. We are fascinated with the idea of the living dead, and it got me thinking about the LIVE DEAD program that has been started in countries like Egypt and other places halfway around the world where the word of God is never heard of and Christians are persecuted daily for their faith. Now some of you are thinking, how does this apply to me?”  My response to you is : it’s time to adopt the idea behind the Live Dead initiative. The missionaries in the Live Dead program have made the choice to lay their own lives down and to serve the Kingdom of God daily. They wake up each morning dead to themselves and know they might lose their lives preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s time that we adopt that lifestyle as we walk into our schools everyday and die to ourselves and have the great commission at the forefront of our minds and focused on allowing Jesus to work through us in order for him to save our school, so that they can might be able to embrace their loving God. We are always saying how we want to be like Jesus but, wasn’t he the first zombie? Now I don’t mean to suggest Jesus was a mindless dead body. But think about this: Not only did he actually rise from the grave, but he lived everyday as the son of God and dead to his flesh and let Gods power flow through his worldly body. It’s our responsibility to follow the example Jesus Christ has set before us and to do that on our campuses. We need to walk onto our campus knowing we are dead to ourselves and able to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ clearly and powerfully to our peers.

Live We live in a generation fascinated with one of the silliest creatures known to man… Zombies. We are fascinated with the idea of the living dead, and it got me thinking about the LIVE DEAD program that has been started in countries like Egypt and other places halfway around the world where the word of God...

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Prayerfor: Students

Hello Everyone,

It’s been awhile since we have last updated our blog, but after a very busy season we are so glad we are able to help you focus on being a missionary to your campus. It’s always nice to remember our fundamentals as campus missionaries and to remember to pray daily for our school and those that we hope to reach by living our lives for our lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 10:1 says “Brothers, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is that they may get salvation.”  Prayer is so essential to our own faith, not to mention how much of it can affect whether your friends at school get saved by the healing blood of Jesus Christ. We approach school as being very monotonous and boring, but what if we were to wake up each morning and pray to our beautiful God that He would allow us to take hold of every opportunity to share His Word and speak the love of God into our friends lives. School starts to look a lot more like a missions trip than it does as a boring place that teaches us Algebra, English, and Science. Prayer is so essential to your everyday life and has the power to do anything we could think of. James 4:3 says “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” this means that we have ask God  for the COURAGE, WISDOM, BOLDNESS, and PATIENCE to witness to your campus for a pure heart so that he can work through us when we ask for his blessing and help. Pray daily and allow God to work through you on your campus.

Hello Everyone, It’s been awhile since we have last updated our blog, but after a very busy season we are so glad we are able to help you focus on being a missionary to your campus. It’s always nice to remember our fundamentals as campus missionaries and to remember to pray daily for our school and those...

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Hitting the Wallfor: Students

When I youth pastored in Philadelphia, I rode my bicycle to the church most nice days. You would too if your other transportation was a 1985 Ford LTD Crown Vic with no air conditioning. We lived in the Lower Roxborough section of the city, on the border with Manayunk, and the church was in Upper Roxborough. The “lower” and “upper” descriptions are no joke. It was a 30-minute uphill ride to get to church, and about a 15 minute ride downhill to get home. As I pedaled day-by-day, my body adapted. I lost weight and grew muscle. I loved riding my bike to work!

We lived just a block away from where the famous Philadelphia International Cycling Championship entered and left our neighborhood. One of the centerpieces of the race was called “The Manayunk Wall,” a very steep hill in the middle of the neighborhood that separated the men from the boys. One of my personal goals, as I rode to work each and every day, was to eventually make it up the wall without stopping. The first time I tried, I had to get off my bike and walk up. When I tried it again, a few weeks later, I made it up easily. Training made all the difference.

Almost every Campus Missionary and Bible Club I know hits the wall, at least temporarily, about halfway through the year. The school year starts out strong, and we are loaded with vision and dreams of what God can do in our school. But as the year progresses, we may get tired out, or find that our efforts were not as successful as we hope they were. Sometimes we just get overloaded with the concerns of schoolwork, extracurricular activities, our jobs, and balancing life. The end of the school year is nowhere in sight. Almost everybody hits a wall.

But hitting the wall doesn’t mean your progress has to stop. The key is finding a way over, around, or through that wall. It means moving past the stalling point and progressing further towards the goal of praying, living, telling, serving, and giving on your campus for Jesus Christ. So…how do you get over the wall?

A great way to get over the wall is to do an outreach, serve your school, or hold an event. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. For example, Valentine’s Day is approaching. What if your Bible Club, or just a group of you and your fellow Campus Missionaries, created hearts with scripture on them that tell about God’s love? You could put the hearts on every locker, or just hand them out with some Valentine’s candy around school.

Whatever you do, don’t walk away from the race! Get over that wall!

When I youth pastored in Philadelphia, I rode my bicycle to the church most nice days. You would too if your other transportation was a 1985 Ford LTD Crown Vic with no air conditioning. We lived in the Lower Roxborough section of the city, on the border with Manayunk, and the church was in Upper Roxborough. The...

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I was held hostage…for: Youth Leaders

I was held hostage Over the Christmas break. I know this is shocking to some of you, and I’m sure you think you should of heard about this on the news. True enough, I was bound, gagged, unable to speak and say the things I really needed to say. I felt helpless. I felt powerless. I wasn’t held hostage by a terrorist or a robber. I was held hostage by someone I knew…and by the Gospel.

I’m sure you all remember the Duck Dynasty drama that broke in the week before Christmas. Phil Robertson’s “frank” comments were polarizing, to say the least. Let me say two things here, for the record: (1) I believe the Old and New Testaments give incontrovertible witness that homosexual behavior is a sin [Rom. 1:27, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:10, Lev. 18:22], and (2) I’ve been a pretty big fan of Duck Dynasty. However, I found myself unable to speak up in defense of the Duck Patriarch. Why? Because I was being held hostage; I was unable to speak. I was threatened by a friend and bound by the Gospel.

After the controversy broke, an openly gay Facebook friend of mine posted something like this to his Facebook, “Anyone who defends Phil Robertson will be de-friended immediately.” My initial reaction was as follows: “Wow! Really? That doesn’t seem fair. I have a right to my opinion, and it’s okay for us to disagree. How can anyone hold a friendship (Facebook or otherwise) hostage over a disagreement? I should definitely speak up for the Truth of the Gospel!”

I chose not to post anything on the subject. Upon further reflection I came to three conclusions: First, that if I chose to speak up on this issue, I would lose a friend along with the opportunity to talk about God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation in the future. I value having a continuing voice in his life, even if it’s marginalized, than to lose that voice altogether over one issue. There are thousands, perhaps millions of ways to offend God’s holiness, this is just one of them. I am guilty of many of the others. I have a deep obligation to proclaim the Message of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19), but I’m not in a hurry to lose this opportunity through an avoidable offense.

Second, my friend has been deeply hurt, and I’m not looking to pile onto that hurt. We disagree over some very deep issues of existence and being. I believe that homosexuality is a result of the brokenness of humanity’s relationship with God and the resultant sin that has been passed from generation to generation since Adam. This is where we disagree, for he may not see homosexuality in the same way. Regardless, for my homosexual friends, every derogatory word on this issue cuts to their very being. That is not to say that Truth should not be proclaimed, or that a Biblical position on this shouldn’t be made clear, just read my next point.

Thirdly, the Truth of scripture has already been declared to him. In fact, the Truth has been quite forcibly and crudely declared thanks to the Patriarch of the Robertsons. Consider this, it is our role to proclaim the Truth, but it is not our role to convince people of the Truth. That is the job of the Holy Spirit (John 16:6-7). I don’t need to continually repeat a specific Biblical Truth on a single sin issue, in this case homosexuality, when the church has clearly proclaimed it. The Truth has been told. Our understanding of the position of Scripture has been made clear. Now let Holy Spirit work. Those who have received the message will either accept it or they won’t. Jesus was sorrowful over those who didn’t receive His message (Luke 10:13), but He didn’t repeatedly dwell on this until everyone was convinced of the Truth. He humbly accepted the disagreement and continued His work of bringing healing and reconciliation to the world. Let’s not ruin the work of the Holy Spirit by trying to do the convincing ourselves.

Many of us who are in leadership are attempting to navigate this issue. What’s more, most of our students are having to cope with this tension far more regularly than we are, and they are looking to us for guidance as they try to reach their school for Christ. It’s crucial that we be thoughtful on this issue, as opposed to being reactionary and rhetorical. The Scriptures report just two times when Jesus shed tears. One of those occurrences was at the loss of his friend, Lazarus (John 11:35). The second was over Jerusalem, and it’s rejection of Jesus and his message (Luke 19:41). As a follower of Christ, I weep over the same things. I weep that the message of the Cross continues to be rejected, and that the Truth of Scripture has come to be ignored, augmented, misinterpreted, and replaced. I also weep at the loss of a friend, for I also lose the opportunity to share God’s grace with them and the richness of fellowship with one of God’s fearfully created beings. In this case, I chose not to lose a friend and to be held hostage instead. There’s a lot of room (and need) for discussion and debate on our methods, though not on our doctrine. So…what would you do if you were held hostage?

I was held hostage Over the Christmas break. I know this is shocking to some of you, and I’m sure you think you should of heard about this on the news. True enough, I was bound, gagged, unable to speak and say the things I really needed to say. I felt helpless. I felt powerless. I wasn’t...

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The Bridge Cardfor: Students

The BRIDGE Card

bridge card

Going through school can be challenging as a teenager, not to mention if you have a faith in Jesus Christ then it has more then it’s share of challenges. Although we know of the great reward in eternity we will receive for living our faith out to the example Christ set upon the Cross for us, life can get discouraging. But although we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death we are called to proclaim the love of our God. Now, telling others about your faith can seem like a daunting task and seems almost impossible without offending someone, here is a way to show God’s Love to others and help you start the conversation of salvation with a friend by using your own story of how god has changed your entire life with his amazing and faithful love he has graced us with regardless of our past. The power of the Bridge Card is YOUR story, it really is your testimony that gives it the power for you to relate to others and help them understand salvation. As you walk through your story, point out each verse with the corresponding block of the card. The goal of the card, is to tell others that Jesus bridged the gap between Him and us, and that they to walk on that bridge and take part in the everlasting life God has presented us with.

 

The DesireThe thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10 NLT)

 

The Problem

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23 NLT)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NLT)

 

The Answer

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NLT)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8 NLT)

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians2:8, 9 NLT)

 

The Response

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9 NLT)

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. (Romans 10:9, 10 NLT)

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NLT)

The BRIDGE Card Going through school can be challenging as a teenager, not to mention if you have a faith in Jesus Christ then it has more then it’s share of challenges. Although we know of the great reward in eternity we will receive for living our faith out to the example Christ set upon the Cross...

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GIVEfor: Uncategorized

Giving… It’s not something we hear to often these days. Taking… that’s a word we are more familiar with as a culture. Jesus says in Matthew 10:8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; GIVE without pay.”. The verse in it’s entirety has so much power, Jesus calls us to perform miracles in the first part of this verse. Now also notice that Jesus didn’t stop there, but he also said to GIVE. Jesus puts, performing miracles on the same level as giving. Jesus said that we were given our lives with no price, so he tells us to do the same as our Holy Creator had done for us by giving us life.

God calls us to represent him on our campuses, in every way. And that includes the giving up of our time, and money in order to spread the hope of Jesus Christ and tell others about his beautiful sacrifice he made for us. SO… You are probably wondering how can I GIVE anything if…

1. I don’t have a job.

2. I don’t know what to give.

3. I don’t know what to give to.

Okay, so God wants us to GIVE our time, and money. As well we are supposed to GIVE what he asks of us, and to wherever he asks. Just listen for an answer. God wants to take your resources and to spread the gospel.

Giving… It’s not something we hear to often these days. Taking… that’s a word we are more familiar with as a culture. Jesus says in Matthew 10:8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; GIVE without pay.”. The verse in it’s entirety has so much power, Jesus calls us...

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Servefor: Students

SERVE

Jesus says in Matthew 6:24 “No one can SERVE two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be to the one and despise the other. You cannot SERVE God and money.” Jesus explains that it’s our mission as followers of our amazing Creator to SERVE God and His mission, but nothing else. We are not asked to serve ourselves or our selfish wants. In Matthew 10:45 Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to SERVE, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

As Campus Missionaries we are called to fulfill God’s will on our campus through SERVING others and their needs. We are also called to SERVE and start Campus Clubs for the purposes of evangelism. What does that look like? Evangelism can be as simple as showing God’s Love to those around you in little ways. There are tons of ways to SERVE your campus, and that includes walking in your faith everyday. In order to share your faith in God with others in every way possible, consider setting some goals and working towards them. So what are your goals to SERVE God and His Mission?

Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

-Start a Bible club

-Buy someone lunch

-Share your faith with an unsaved friend

-Invite a friend to youth group

-Carry your bible around school

-Do a school project based upon your faith

SERVE Jesus says in Matthew 6:24 “No one can SERVE two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be to the one and despise the other. You cannot SERVE God and money.” Jesus explains that it’s our mission as followers of our amazing Creator to SERVE God and His...

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TELLfor: Students

A normal human being will speak at least 10,000 words a day. Thats a lot of words!  But what do we say with these words? Matthew 12:36 states “I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak.” So every word counts! What are you saying to those around you with the thousands of words you speak every day.

We are challenged as Campus Missionaries to TELL our story, the story of how God radically changed our lives. In order for our friends to come to Jesus, we must show Him in every action we perform, every word we say, and every attitude we display in all situations. TELL your story and see what happens…see who is impacted…see what God truly has for you! In Revelation 12:11 it says “They overcame [the enemy] because of the Lamb’s blood, and because of the word of their testimony. They didn’t love their life, even to death.” Our Testimony is the culmination of our experiences, adventures, and situations we faced before and after we met our Lord God, and accepted His Son as our Savior… So by our testimony and the blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we have overcome the advesary. With See You At The Pole taking place yesterday, people may be asking questions. Get ready to TELL them about a God that is so caring and loving that He sent His Son to die upon a cross for us. Share the good news and your testimony!

A normal human being will speak at least 10,000 words a day. Thats a lot of words!  But what do we say with these words? Matthew 12:36 states “I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak.” So every word counts! What are you saying to those around...

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LIVEfor: Students

LIVE…what does it mean?  By definition, it means “to remain alive”. As campus missionaries, we are asked to Pray, Live, Tell, Serve, and Give! God has called us to live out our faith, and to live out His word. In order to live out our faith and represent Christ in our schools, we must be in His Word daily and personally worship Him.

 

When walking through our schools, God wants His presence to be evident in everything we do. This includes our speech, our decisions, and our actions. We should totally be engulfed in Gods word! We can’t ever leave the house without our phone our wallet, but what if we did the same with our Bibles and carried them everywhere? We at Youth Alive encourage you to carry your Bible this month!

 

As you live your life for God, it should be evident. Don’t be afraid to show it! Wear clothing letting others know that you love the Lord Most High, carry your Bible, and worship God all day, every day!

 

Matt. 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

LIVE…what does it mean?  By definition, it means “to remain alive”. As campus missionaries, we are asked to Pray, Live, Tell, Serve, and Give! God has called us to live out our faith, and to live out His word. In order to live out our faith and represent Christ in our schools, we must be in His...

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Pray! Pray! Pray!for: Students

Ok, so summer has come to an end, which means that schedules begin to pick back up with sports, school work, family functions, clubs (and everything else that we sign up for and complain about secretly behind our parents backs). But one thing to keep in mind this whole school year no matter what is in front of you is prayer. James 5:16 states “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” As we take our stand in our schools for our faith we must remember that we aren’t representing ourselves, but our Holy Creator God and His Son He sent to die upon a cross, Jesus Christ.

Stated in the verse of James, prayer is powerful and an effective tool at our disposal. Prayer is what separates us from other religions in that we are having an actual conversation with our Creator…and He listens! In order for your ministry to be strong you must rely on God to help you every day in order to witness to your school effectively, be an example of Christ, and to season your words with graciousness. You don’t get want to get caught saying something stupid and looking like the kid who passed gas in the middle of class and everyone staring at you. 🙂

Be practical in your prayer life; develop a list that you pray for everyday and continually pray for those situations and people. Also, come together with a group of people every morning before school starts and pray for your Bible Club to reach out to others, and that your walk with God is evident.

Ok, so summer has come to an end, which means that schedules begin to pick back up with sports, school work, family functions, clubs (and everything else that we sign up for and complain about secretly behind our parents backs). But one thing to keep in mind this whole school year no matter what is in front...

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Learning to Follow Your Guidefor: Youth Leaders

Why you should let students lead you onto their campus

Have you ever watched the discovery channel when an explorer is visiting a far-off land? Perhaps they were delving into the ominous covering of the Amazon jungle, or maybe they were spelunking an intricate cave system. Every time you watch these thrill-seekers take the plunge into an unknown world, they’re never alone. There’s always a guide showing them the way, usually somewhere off camera.

These guides aren’t really experts on travel or exploration. They simply live in the area. They know the shortcuts, the native inhabitants, and they know how to survive in this foreign land that they call home.

The local high school is far from being the Amazon jungle, but every school is different. I’ve coached over two hundred students on six campuses, and every time I step into a new school, I instinctively know that this school is special. It may have similarities to other schools, but it’s a unique melting pot of its community.

When we decide to establish a presence at one of our local high schools, the first thing I do is choose a guide. I choose a student who knows God and who knows the school, the rest of the journey we can figure out as we go, it’s honestly a lot of fun “figuring it out.” I’ve met so many youth leaders, who are paralyzed in ministry trying to figure out every single detail of the process before they take the first step. I’ve learned to enjoy the journey and to trust my guide. It’s an adventure!

When we launch a campus ministry, I sponsor the club as a coach, but my students lead the way. They find a teacher who will host the club. They meet with the principal to get the green light. They rally their peers. And THEN, they invite me to join them as a coach to them and their leadership team. I attend the club and then coach them outside of school on how they can be more effective in ministry.

There’s an interesting dynamic that develops between you and your students when you decide to follow them onto their campus. You trust them, and they’re partnering with you. You’re in a foreign land, and they’re the only one that knows the way. They need your coaching, and you need their connections. Together, God will use you both to do some amazing things. The mentoring relationships that I have with my “guides” runs deep. They’ve proven themselves as difference-makers.

I sometimes wonder, does the greatest impact takes place in their school or in their heart? All of my former guides are now doing amazing things for Christ! Why not? The greatest challenge at their age is to evangelize their school. They’ve done their part. If they can live out their faith there, they can live it out anywhere.

For more information about following your students onto their campus, read another article on ReachTheSchool.com titled, Why I Go With Them.

Why you should let students lead you onto their campus Have you ever watched the discovery channel when an explorer is visiting a far-off land? Perhaps they were delving into the ominous covering of the Amazon jungle, or maybe they were spelunking an intricate cave system. Every time you watch these thrill-seekers take the plunge into an...

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Bridging the Gap Between Churches and Schoolsfor: Youth Leaders

There is no greater place in your community to impact more people for God than your local schools. For every child that attends a school, there is a family. For every teacher, staff and administrator there is a family. Many area businesses provide goods and services for the schools. There are very few people in your community that are not connected in some way to a school campus. When a church ministers to a school, it ministers to an entire community.

Now, I know what you are thinking. “God’s not allowed in schools, so our church can’t minister there.” To say God isn’t allowed anywhere is an indictment on your view of God and on your faith in Him . God is God. He can go anywhere and do anything He wants. In fact, the Bible says God is omnipresent, so that means He is already at school. The Bible also says wherever two or more are gathered in His name, there He is also. If we are at the schools in His name, then He will be there with us.

So, the question isn’t “Is God allowed in schools?”. It’s, “Are we going to take God to schools?”

Here are 5 steps and 3 principles you and your church can use to begin ministering to a school and take God to the campus:

5 STEPS

  1. Begin praying for the campus. Ask students and staff for prayer requests. Pray for each student and staff member by name (Use a yearbook). Do prayer walks on your campus. Build a Prayer Zone around your school.
  2. Begin serving and meeting the needs of teachers, administrators and students that are members of your church. Ask them what they need for their classrooms or areas of responsibility and provide. Word will spread quickly that you are ready and willing to serve and others will request assistance. This will help build trust to open the door for step #3.
  3. Set up a meeting with the administration to ask them what needs they have as a school. Meet with the Guidance Counselors to learn about needs the students have. Begin by meeting one need. Once you have met one need, begin meeting others. NOTE: You will not be able to meet every need but you may be able recruit other churches and other businesses who can meet needs your church is unable to.
  4. Start asking “What do you wish for?” Teachers and administrators have a long list of needs…the things they must have in order to educate students. What really get’s interesting and creative is when you ask them what they wish they could do for their students. Most teachers and administrators have a “wish list” of things they have always wanted to do for their students but do not have the time, money or energy. Meeting a needs is a blessing, but meeting a wish is something much more powerful!
  5. Get involved! Join the Parent/Teacher Organization, the Band/Athletic Boosters, chaperone school dances, proctor standardized tests, mentor and assist students serving in campus ministries at the school…get involved wherever you see an opportunity.

3 PRINCIPLES

  1. Do not expect or ask for anything in return. One of the first things you will encounter is that the school will suspect you of having ulterior motives and wonder if they can trust you and your church. Most of the time these concerns are legitimate because they have been burned and mislead in the past by people claiming to have the school’s best interests at heart when in reality they had other plans. The school, although desperate for help, will not share their major needs and wishes with you until they know they can trust you. For example, when you provide notebooks for students, don’t slip in a gospel tract or flyer for your youth ministry. When they ask you to volunteer at the school, don’t show up with your Christian t-shirts on.
  2. Trust that God will use your servant’s heart to open doors for deeper ministry. If you approach every opportunity to serve as an opportunity to “preach”, your ministry at the school will not last long. While school officials are concerned about any ulterior motives you may have, they also understand that there is a greater purpose involved in your service. When serving students or adults at the school, simply meet their need…don’t force any spiritual discussion or direction. Trust that God will use your service to work in the hearts of those you are serving and that He will provide opportunities outside of your service to minister to them spiritually. (BTW, Jesus was a master at meeting physical needs first, them addressing spiritual needs.) So when you are chaperoning a dance, be polite and respectful of the students. If you catch two of them making out, politely ask them to stop and don’t give them a lecture on “True Love Waits”. Then, when you run into the students in the hallway of school the next week, or in Wal-mart the next day, they may approach you and ask you why you are always at their school or why you didn’t lower the boom on them like they expected. That’s when God opens the door for ministry to the soul.
  3. Earn the trust of the school and keep it. Be overly protective of any favor that you gain with the school administration. All it takes is for one person to cross a line or cause someone to complain, and the administration may limit or cut off your ability to serve. This would include blatant “proselytizing”, disruption of class time, or causing a burden to be placed on someone at the school. For example, if you serve the football team bottled water for practice and the school custodian has to put in extra work to pick up all the empty water bottles scattered across the practice field, that person may complain to the administration. Remember that your goal is to relieve stress on the school, not to create it….to be a blessing, not a burden.

The opportunity to minister to schools is wide open! We must simply do so in a way that honors and respects the school and it’s rules, while at the same time honors God with our servants hearts.

The schools need our help and want our help. So, what are you waiting for?

Getting Practical

Here is a list of things our church has done to serve the high school that sits across the street from our church. Please leave a comment and share any ministry ideas you have for schools.

  • The band & ROTC use our gym for band camp and drill team practice.
  • Provide the guidance staff male & female toiletry kits.
  • Serve at the prom each year as bathroom attendants and parking lot attendants and have provided hair and make-up artists to fix “wardrobe malfunctions”.
  • Provided breakfast for students and parents at orientation.
  • Provide water, cookies and chips to staff during teacher work days.
  • Provide coffee to assist the PTA serving breakfast to teachers and staff.
  • Serve in crisis response coordinating teens at the hospital and helping with communication between students, the hospital, parents and the schools. Coordinate with the guidance staff to connect local youth pastors to be available for counseling students after the death of a student.
  • Provide umbrellas for teachers on bus duty.
  • The school’s preschool program used our nursery for 2 years when their school had mold problems.
  • Youth group participates in prayer events for the campus throughout the year.
  • Provide volunteers for Field Days and proctors for standardized tests.
  • Administration has used the sanctuary for teacher training when school was undergoing renovations.

There is no greater place in your community to impact more people for God than your local schools. For every child that attends a school, there is a family. For every teacher, staff and administrator there is a family. Many area businesses provide goods and services for the schools. There are very few people in your community that...

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Resources We Recommend: The Leadership Challengefor: Youth Leaders

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve talked about being intentional in youth ministry to influence local campuses with the Gospel. Ultimately, learning to be intentional means learning to be a good leader. That’s one of the secrets about campus ministry. Effective campus ministry has much more to do with who you are as a leader than it does with knowing the ins-and-outs of the campus. One great resource about becoming an effective leader is The Leadership Challenge. This is not a Christian book full of scriptural admonitions regarding godly leadership. On the contrary, the authors conducted studies and surveys of successful leaders and identified five key behaviors effective leaders practice. Coincidentally, every good student of the Bible will find similarities between scriptural principles, patterns of Biblical leadership, and the five key practices identified in The Leadership Challenge.

If you want to be the kind of leader who can impact the campus, start with who you are and what you do. What about you needs to change so that you can become an effective leader? Maybe that exploration starts with a good book like The Leadership Challenge. It’s filled with principles and stories to help each reader envision what effective leadership looks like. It’s a popular book, so you can likely find it in any digital format you want, at the local bookstore, or for loan at your local library.

Leadership Challenge

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve talked about being intentional in youth ministry to influence local campuses with the Gospel. Ultimately, learning to be intentional means learning to be a good leader. That’s one of the secrets about campus ministry. Effective campus ministry has much more to do with who you are as a leader than...

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Breaking the Threshold: 3 Simple Ways to be Present on Campusfor: Youth Leaders

My wife and I were watching a TV series on near-death experiences one night, and we heard the story of a hiker who got lost in the woods. He wasn’t that deep in the wilderness, he was only about three miles from the nearest road. The problem? He was hiking in circles. Unwilling to break away from his current track, he hiked the same circle over and over again. Soon, the sun began to set, and with no phone, no shelter, and no survival training, this young man died of hypothermia. He was alone in the woods, just a short distance from civilization.

In youth ministry today, this same story is being lived out in the lives of youth pastors and their students. We believe that if we just keep pressing forward, we’re going to eventually get the results that we’re looking for, but that’s not promised to us if we’re not being intentional about the direction in which we take our ministries.

One crucial way of being intentional is being present on the high school campus. I once heard Preston Centuolo say, “Students are in two places; their schools and social media. If we’re avoiding those venues – we’re not doing youth ministry.”

Ryan Sharp from www.everyschool.com writes “Don’t retreat back to the safety of the church and convince yourself that campus ministry isn’t for every youth pastor. It simply isn’t true.” I would echo his words with the call for youth pastors to make themselves personally present! Youth pastors belong on the high school campus.

Schools are communities within themselves. Once you’re in – you’re golden. But as an outsider, it can be uncomfortable at first. Here are 3 simple ways to be present on your campus:

1) Sponsor a Campus Ministry – Some schools already have strong clubs going. If that’s the case, see if your students are part of the club and have them invite you out to be a sponsor. If your students aren’t present, connect with the club and ask if you can be of assistance. Find out who’s currently sponsoring the club and invite them out for coffee (even if it’s a teacher – teacher’s like coffee too!)

One of the biggest excuses I hear from leaders is that their students aren’t interested in doing campus ministry so they can’t get on the campus. This just isn’t true. A friend of mine in ministry just ran into similar circumstances. His students weren’t attending the club because it wasn’t “hip”. So he took the initiative himself and started serving in the club without his students. Within a few weeks, his students started attending the club as well (this is called leadership). By the way, you’re “hipper” than you think!

2) Seek Opportunities to Serve – The needs on a high school campus are innumerable! Use your imagination. Young Life, a parachurch ministry,  compiled a list of 33 different ways their leaders are serving their schools in Indiana. Some may not apply to your context, but I bet at least five of them do.

3) Attend School Events– There is no substitute for longevity and relationship, but you can accelerate the process of earning trust with your school by being present on a consistent basis at events open to the community (sporting events, art shows, musicals and concerts, etc.). I try to find events where I can support multiple students.

If you see them, be sure to say hello to the principal, the assistant principal, or anyone in leadership. Politely and appropriately make your presence known. They’re probably not going to remember you at first because they meet thousands of people. That’s okay.  Once you approach them several times, they’ll put two and two together, that you’re someone important from the community and that you care.

——————————————————————————————————————

Being intentional takes time and effort, but honestly, is there any other path to take except the path that leads us to our destination, and to results?

The story of that hiker still grips my heart. It’s doubly important that we take the right path, because you’re not the only hiker on this trail. You’re students are following you. Lead the way, leader!

My wife and I were watching a TV series on near-death experiences one night, and we heard the story of a hiker who got lost in the woods. He wasn’t that deep in the wilderness, he was only about three miles from the nearest road. The problem? He was hiking in circles. Unwilling to break away from...

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Before You React…6 Tips to Reach the Schoolfor: Youth Leaders

Last week we began a series on being intentional in youth ministry. The underlying principle is that you’ve got to be intentional if you want to get specific outcomes in discipleship. This is also known as being “proactive” in your approach to youth ministry. The opposite of being proactive is being reactive. A lot youth leaders conduct their youth ministries in a reactive manner. They see issues, problems, or drama amongst their students and then address those issues in a sermon or activity as a reaction to what they see. For example, if the students in your youth ministry are very selfish, you may be tempted to preach on the evils of selfishness. But if you really want to correct selfish behavior, you should talk about sacrifice and teach students what it means to give, because giving is the cure for selfishness. This is being proactive (instead of reactive) in youth ministry. It’s another form of intentionality wherein you schedule and gear your youth ministry culture towards producing discipleship outcomes, as opposed to simply reacting to sin issues. As you produce meaningful discipleship outcomes, you’ll find that those major sin issues become non-factors. So before you react, pro-act.

Imagine if Jesus had been a reactive leader. Peter could not walk on water until the whole betrayal thing had been worked out of his system. The Sons of Thunder would have been put on some type of medication to calm them down before they could be challenged with deep principles of discipleship. Thomas couldn’t participate in Jesus’ ministry until his doubt had been addressed. Instead of reacting to the sins and issues Jesus knew his disciples would engage in, He proactively challenged them follow Him and engage in missional activity along the way. He does the same thing with us today.

So…how can you be proactively intentional in order to produce the outcome of missional living in the lives of your students? Start with what you’re doing in your youth group. What you’re preaching, planning, and spending money on should all point to reaching the school if that’s the outcome you desire. Here are six practical things I recommend you do if you want to reach the school and create a culture of missional living:

  1. Schedule your preaching calendar, small group sessions, discussion times, etc. to include a 4-8 week series on living missionally on the Campus. Preach about the reaching the school, discuss the reaching the school, gear your small group curriculums towards reaching the school. Talk about it, talk about it, talk about it…and then talk about it some more!
  2. Schedule and plan to participate in 3-4 events that geared towards reaching the school with the Gospel in August and September. Here’s some suggestions:
    • Advance. This back-to-school retreat takes place Labor Day weekend of each year and focuses on the individual values of missional living. Stay tuned to this blog for more info.
    • Unleashed: Campus Ministry Training Conference. These regional 1/2 day events focus on student group efforts to reach the school (Bible Club planning, outreach events, etc.).
    • Pre-Pole Rally. Get together with some other youth pastors in your area and plan a rally the weekend before See You At The Pole.
    • See You At the Pole. Promote it, help your students plan for it, go to it, follow up with testimonies in your youth service after it.
  3. Schedule at least half a day each week to be on the school campus. What you do with your time speaks volumes about what you value. If campus missions is important to you, and having students who live missionally is important to you, make time to be in their mission field!
  4. Use some of your youth ministry budget for Campus Ministry. Consider giving a grant to each local Bible Club for use in missional activity. Don’t have a budget? Have a fundraiser and create a budget from the profits.
  5. Challenge your students to a special personal initiative they can do in their school. The 1-Month Challenge, 30 Second Kneel Down, and wearing visual displays such as buttons are all good examples of this.
  6. Recruit and equip some leaders to be involved in reaching the school. Our adult leaders are some of our best resources, so give them a meaningful task by asking them to be a Bible Club coach.

Last week we began a series on being intentional in youth ministry. The underlying principle is that you’ve got to be intentional if you want to get specific outcomes in discipleship. This is also known as being “proactive” in your approach to youth ministry. The opposite of being proactive is being reactive. A lot youth leaders conduct...

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Are you Macro or Micro? Being Intentional in Discipleshipfor: Youth Leaders

A few weeks ago the Exponential leadership cohort had a Skype session with the National Youth Alive Director, Steve Pulis. I asked Steve to talk with us about “Becoming the Kind of Leader who can Impact the Campus.” One of the first things he said was something like this, “If you want to be the kind of leader who impacts the campus, you have to be intentional with what you do. Students reaching students on the campus doesn’t happen by accident.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s easy to believe that if we are making disciples of Christ, they will naturally want to share their faith with those around them. However, it will not happen unless we are intentional in teaching our students to share their faith, and in modeling it for them.

Almost every youth worker has some measure of intentionality in their ministry. We intend to help teenagers and to mold them into disciples of Christ. We get the big picture; that’s why we got into youth ministry. Let’s call this being “macro-intentional.” However, if you want to produce specific discipleship outcomes in students (such as Bible reading, prayer, giving, serving, missional living, etc.), you’ve got to be far more intentional than simply working broadly at the big picture. For example, if you want the students in your ministry to be passionate about missions, then you need to talk about missions, invite missionaries to share their stories, take missions trips, and do missions-based events. Let’s call this being “micro-intentional.” Being micro-intentional means that you drill down on a particular area of discipleship or Christlike expression to produce specific outcomes. If all you’re doing is holding all-nighters, dodgeball tournaments, and preaching random messages each week, it’s unlikely your students will gravitate towards any specific discipleship outcomes. They probably like you and you probably have a lot of fun together, but you may unintentionally be missing the point of youth ministry.

So what does being micro-intentional look like for campus ministry? How do we intentionally move students towards missional living in their schools? This is a question we will be exploring in detail over the next few weeks. Essentially, being intentional towards the campus means your youth ministry’s calendar, financial resources, and discussions all point to missional living in school. It means that your time usage, as a leader, exemplifies that the campus is an important mission field. The apostle Paul gives a good view of what it means to be intentional in discipleship in Philippians 4:9 where he writes, “Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.” Paul’s intentionality is revealed in that he showed his followers what he wanted them to learn, he talked about what he wanted them to learn, and he modeled the things he wanted his followers to do. The results are clearly visible through the witness of history, resulting in the size and scope of the church today. It’s hard to argue with that kind of success!

If your youth ministry were to be examined, what specific areas would we find you exercising micro-intention? What are some ways you could be more intentional for campus ministry? Next week I’ll be writing about being intentional with your ministry calendar, budget, and resources.

A few weeks ago the Exponential leadership cohort had a Skype session with the National Youth Alive Director, Steve Pulis. I asked Steve to talk with us about “Becoming the Kind of Leader who can Impact the Campus.” One of the first things he said was something like this, “If you want to be the kind of...

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Taking Initiative – Part 3for: Students

The 1-Month Callenge

Editor’s Note: We’ve been doing a series called “Taking Initiative.” The commitment of a Campus Missionary, and the desire to impact a school for Jesus Christ, requires that we think and act creatively to accomplish this goal. Taking initiative means that we actively try to share and demonstrate our faith in school. For the next few weeks we will look at some different initiatives that you can take on in your school as you Pray, Live, Tell, Serve and Give.

When I was in high school and had fully committed my life to Christ, I made a conscious commitment to live my life with the mission of God in mind: to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10). I also took a great interest in my own growth as a Christian. I started doing something that helped me fulfill both of these objectives at the same time; I started carrying my Bible with me at school. Even better, I started reading it at every opportunity that came along – downtimes, study halls, extra time after I had completed a test, etc. What started as an attempt to read my Bible more with the time available to me turned into an opportunity to share my faith.

People started to notice when I was carrying my Bible around. Why? Because nobody does that. I even had a teacher jokingly ridicule me in front of the class because I was reading my Bible when I had completed a test. That may seem like a bit of a challenge, but I was thankful that attention was drawn to the living Word of God, how valuable it was to me, and how it was changing my life. There wasn’t a fancy name or organized initiative for it back then. I was just a guy trying to be devout in my faith. But now we do have a name for it: The 1-Month Challenge.

It’s pretty simple: for one month carry your Bible with you everywhere you go. Don’t tuck it away in your backpack or purse, but carry it in your hand is a visual display your commitment to Christ and your desire to pray, live, tell, serve, and give as a missionary for the Gospel. Make it a physical version of the Bible rather than a digital version on your iPod. Everybody does stuff on their iPod in their spare time, so no one will really think anything of it if you’re reading your Bible on it. But an actual physical edition of God’s Word will make people notice what you’re doing. Then they’ll start to ask questions. Carry it everywhere: school, work, home, church, the mall, the movie theater, football games, hanging out with your friends, everywhere!

Start by committing to do this for one month, just 30 days. See where that takes you and the conversations it opens up. Then consider making it a part of your lifestyle. Here’s some great resources to help you:

National 1-Month Page

1-Month Video[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/28532190[/vimeo]

The 1-Month Callenge Editor’s Note: We’ve been doing a series called “Taking Initiative.” The commitment of a Campus Missionary, and the desire to impact a school for Jesus Christ, requires that we think and act creatively to accomplish this goal. Taking initiative means that we actively try to share and demonstrate our faith in school. For the...

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Taking Initiative – Part 2for: Students

Editor’s Note: Last week we had the first of a series called “Taking Initiative.” The commitment of a Campus Missionary, and the desire to impact a school for Jesus Christ, requires that we think and act creatively to accomplish this goal. Taking initiative means that we actively try to share and demonstrate our faith in school. For the next few weeks we will look at some different initiatives that you can take on in your school as you Pray, Live, Tell, Serve and Give.

30 Second Kneel Down

Long before Tim Tebow made taking a knee in prayer popular, students were bowing for prayer in their schools. The 30 Second Kneel Down began over 15 years ago from the vision of a guy named Tom Sipling. The initiative is simply to take 30 seconds at the start of each school day to bow your knee and pray, perhaps at your locker, and ask God to help you through the day. You can also take time to pray for your friends, your school, your family, or anything else that may be on your mind.

You can actually pray for quite a lot in 30 seconds. And when you’re kneeling in your school for prayer while everyone else is getting books out of their locker or hurrying to get to class before the bell rings, 30 seconds will seem like an eternity! But I challenge you to take initiative and pray for 30 seconds on bended knee to start your school day. The 30 Second Kneel Down is an open, visual display of your commitment to God and your commitment to pray for your school.

Originally, the following pattern was recommended for the 30 Second Kneel Down:

  1. Give thanks for 10 seconds. “Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!” (1 Chronicles 16:8 ESV).
  2. Pray for your School for 10 seconds (students, teachers, administration). “And when He (the Holy Spirit) comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…” (John 16:8 ESV).
  3. Pray that God will use you to spread the Gospel to those in need for 10 seconds. “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV)

You can follow that pattern, or you can spend the 30 seconds praying however you wish. The 30 Second Kneel Down organization cited the following stats about what could happen if Christian students everywhere prayed for 30 seconds to start the school day:

  • 10 students x 30 seconds x 180 school days = 15 hours of prayer each school year
  • 30 students x 30 seconds x 180 school days = 45 hours of prayer each school year
  • 100 students x 30 seconds x 180 school days = 150 hours of prayer each school year

How about if every Campus Missionary in Pennsylvania and Delaware started this? Last year we had 589 Campus missionaries. That’s over 883 hours of prayer each school year!

Editor’s Note: Last week we had the first of a series called “Taking Initiative.” The commitment of a Campus Missionary, and the desire to impact a school for Jesus Christ, requires that we think and act creatively to accomplish this goal. Taking initiative means that we actively try to share and demonstrate our faith in school. For...

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Raising Up Students Who Want To Do Campus Ministryfor: Youth Leaders

Getting students excited about doing ministry on their campus can be tough. But once it becomes the “new normal” in your youth ministry, there’s nothing your students won’t be able to accomplish. We’ve been serving on the campus now for nearly five years and we’ve discovered three big ways to raise up students who want to do campus ministry:

(1)   Campus Missions Curriculum – The campus is a big deal to us and our students know it! We take on ten different message series’ every year. The most important series we do will run through August and September.  We prepare students for the upcoming school year by doing two things: (1) We empower them to join/launch a campus ministry, and (2) we equip them with resources and training to impact their peers.  By the time school starts our students are chomping at the bit!

Big Idea: We challenge students to have a “five-friend focus” (www.yausa.com). A Five Friend Focus is a list of five friends they know who demonstrate a need for Christ.

(2)   Campus Missions Core – Like most youth ministries, we have several teams our students can join. Those who join our student leadership team share opportunities and responsibilities that other students do not have access to. There is a base requirement though – you must be actively involved in campus ministry. We believe that worship and fellowship take place in our youth facility, but leadership takes place on the campus.

Big Idea: Around the start of the school year our student leaders are challenged to invite at least two of their peers to their school’s campus club. These challenges are a requirement and our student leaders support each other and hold each other accountable to fulfill their goals.

(3)   Campus Missions Crew Chances are a student visiting our youth ministry has already attended one of our Campus Clubs. So when a student like James surrenders his life to Christ in our youth service, he already knows exactly where to go to start making an impact on his campus. Because their salvation journey started with a connection to a Campus Club, it’s natural that they want to do Campus Ministry and see the importance of it.

Big Idea: We purchase two six foot banners for each club and we post matching graphics on framed posters in our youth room.  We strategically do this to “sync” our youth ministry with our clubs.

Campus Ministry is part of our DNA now. But if the high school hasn’t been a strategic mission field for your youth ministry, do not be discouraged. Every great journey starts with a single step.  You’ll never regret making the campus a priority in your ministry.

Getting students excited about doing ministry on their campus can be tough. But once it becomes the “new normal” in your youth ministry, there’s nothing your students won’t be able to accomplish. We’ve been serving on the campus now for nearly five years and we’ve discovered three big ways to raise up students who want to do...

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Tell Us How Your See You At The Pole Wentfor: Students, Youth Leaders

Hey Campus Missionaries!! Use the comment section below to tell us how your See You At The Pole went!

I was at New Castle High School in New Castle, PA and about 45 students came out. It was awesome! Tonight they are doing an event at their school to share the gospel, and a few of the students at the flag pole were passing out invitations to the event afterwards.

How was your See You At The Pole?

Hey Campus Missionaries!! Use the comment section below to tell us how your See You At The Pole went! I was at New Castle High School in New Castle, PA and about 45 students came out. It was awesome! Tonight they are doing an event at their school to share the gospel, and a few of the...

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Taking Initiative – Part 1for: Students

Editor’s Note: Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring a series called “Taking Initiative.” The commitment of a Campus Missionary, and the desire to impact a school for Jesus Christ, requires that we think and act creatively to accomplish this goal. Taking initiative means that we actively try to share and demonstrate our faith in school. For the next few weeks we will look at some different initiatives that you can take on in your school as you Pray, Live, Tell, Serve and Give.

See You At The Pole

The national day of student led, student initiated prayer will take place Wednesday, September 26. Every Campus Missionary should be a part of this event. Prayer is the first commitment of a Campus Missionary, and the opportunity to join with other students from your school who are gathered for prayer is something you won’t want to miss. Here are some ways that you can take initiative:

Arrange. Talk with your parents or some friends to make sure you have a ride, or to see if they need a ride to See You At The Pole. You don’t want the day to arrive and realize you can’t get there because you haven’t made arrangements. Arrange your schedule and your life to get there.

Advertise. Print off posters to hang up around your school (be sure to get permission first). Ask the person in charge of your school announcements if an announcement can be made about See You At The Pole.

Lead. Who is coordinating See You At The Pole at your school? Can you help that person or group? If no one is taking that initiative, then you should lead it. Check out this video. It gives helpful hints for planning and leading your See You At The Pole.

Catalyze. Dictionary.com defines the word catalyst as “a person or thing that precipitates an event or change.” See You At The Pole will energize and encourage Christian students in your school. How can you harness that energy for a greater impact that lasts beyond one day? Consider asking the students in attendance if they would meet once each month (or week) for prayer. Maybe your fellow students gathered around the flagpole are the founding members of a Bible Club that doesn’t yet exist in your school. Catalyze a movement for Christ in your school by harnessing the energy of See You At The Pole.

Editor’s Note: Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring a series called “Taking Initiative.” The commitment of a Campus Missionary, and the desire to impact a school for Jesus Christ, requires that we think and act creatively to accomplish this goal. Taking initiative means that we actively try to share and demonstrate our faith in...

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Anyone Can Be A Campus Missionaryfor: Students

Sierra is a great Campus Missionary and co-leader of her Bible Club near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She first came to church after being invited to See You At The Pole and a Bible Club meeting at her school. Because of the impact of other Campus Missionaries, Sierra was able to know Christ and become a great Campus Missionary herself. Here’s what she says about being a Campus Missionary:

Anyone can be a Campus Missionary. John 14:1 says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…”

The message of this verse is phenomenal. Jesus turned water into wine, healed the blind, and raised the dead to life. But this verse tells us we can do more than that. We can use this same power to glorify God.

I encourage any student reading this article to become a Campus Missionary. It’s a decision that will change your life forever. Don’t over think it. Everyone on Earth isn’t called to be a youth pastor, senior pastor, or even the president of his or her Campus Club. But, everyone is called to lead people to Christ.

I love what Sierra ends with, “everyone is called to lead people to Christ.” Paul said, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” What are some of the ways you can make an appeal for God in your school?

Sierra is a great Campus Missionary and co-leader of her Bible Club near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She first came to church after being invited to See You At The Pole and a Bible Club meeting at her school. Because of the impact of other Campus Missionaries, Sierra was able to know Christ and become a great Campus Missionary...

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The Solution:for: Youth Leaders

Five Ways of Addressing the Challenges of Campus Ministry

A few weeks ago my friend, Rob Gillen, wrote a great entry entitled “The Problem: Five Reasons Youth Pastors Don’t Do Campus Ministry.” He identified some of the core fears and hindrances that keep youth pastors from engaging the Campus as a mission field and as a relevant component of student spiritual development. Interestingly, none of the identifiable problems were material. They are all philosophical, ethereal, missiological problems. Here’s some suggestions, along those lines, to tackle these problems:

(1) Problem: Campus Ministry is intimidating. Solution: Step outside your comfort zone. Was it intimidating for Moses to confront Pharaoh? Was it intimidating for Jonah to preach to Nineveh? Did Peter find it easy to step outside the boat? Anything worth doing will carry a level of intimidation. Your real fears are rejection by campus officials and failure to succeed in an uncomfortable environment. Recognize three things: You can do this even though it’s uncomfortable (Phil. 4:13), there is a power inside you to overcome these obstacles (Acts 1:8), facing intimidation is a blessing from God and a path to growth (James 1:2-3).

(2) Problem: Campus Ministry requires time, effort & commitment. Solution: Make time for what’s important to you. I’m assuming you’re in youth ministry because you care about teenagers and want to make disciples of Christ. This is important to you. However, no one can become a disciple of Christ without adopting His missional ethos; to seek and save that which is lost (Matt. 18:11, Luke 19:10). If you’re not adopting this ethos personally, and you’re not building this into your students, you’re not making time for what’s important to you. Your youth ministry may be a safe and fun “club” that students belong to, but you can’t make disciples without mission.

(3) Problem: Campus Ministry requires growth on the part of the leader. Solution: Find a mentor and do some reading. Everything that grows changes. It’s one of the fundamental rules of life. The inverse is also true, everything that refuses to grow doesn’t change. To help you through this growth, find a coach-mentor (Phil. 3:17), and read some books on leadership and the missional church. Contact me by emailing Lee@reachtheschool.com for suggestions.

(4) Problem: Campus Ministry yields very few accolades. Solution: Figure out what a win looks like and highlight it. The current mission of the church is a little off kilter from missio Dei (the mission of God). You may need to start defining what a win looks like in campus ministry and identify scriptural principles to go with it. For example: student’s sharing their faith, campus ministries being planted, new visitors as a result of campus ministry, etc.. Once you define what a win is, start highlighting the win and the scriptural principle to your leader and church. Soon the accolades will be rolling in.

(5) Problem: Campus Ministry beckons a youth leader to acknowledge the real “war” taking place. Solution: Put yourself into secular teenage contexts. If you think your youth ministry is changing the larger context of students in your community, try spending some time in their world: athletic events, the local mall on a Friday night, and, best of all, High School Dances. This will give you a broader look at how wide ranging your impact is and spark a passion in you to change things.

Five Ways of Addressing the Challenges of Campus Ministry A few weeks ago my friend, Rob Gillen, wrote a great entry entitled “The Problem: Five Reasons Youth Pastors Don’t Do Campus Ministry.” He identified some of the core fears and hindrances that keep youth pastors from engaging the Campus as a mission field and as a relevant...

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The Problem:for: Youth Leaders

Five Reasons Youth Pastors Don’t Do Campus Ministry

Most youth pastors do not engage in campus ministry of any kind. This is a mistake. Although a spiritual battle takes place in our youth services once a week, the war is taking place on the campus. There are five simple reasons why youth pastors don’t do campus ministry:

(1) Campus Ministry is intimidating. Within a church, a youth pastor naturally belongs. They have a title and they have a purpose that’s understood by most. In a high school however, there isn’t the natural acceptance of a youth pastor joining the campus community. You’re not a teacher or a student and you’re entering a brand new culture. It can be very uncomfortable at first.

(2) Campus Ministry requires time, effort & commitment. As Mark Batterson once put it, “In ministry today, we do not lack creativity. Let’s call it what it is. We’re lazy.” This may sound harsh at first, but if we’re honest with ourselves – we tend to choose the path of least resistance, even when it’s sometimes not the most effective choice. Just like any ministry, campus ministry takes work and investment.

(3) Campus Ministry requires growth on the part of the leader. Communicating with teachers and administrators, ministering to students with no religious background, and coaching students in a radically different environment may require significant personal growth from the youth pastor.

(4) Campus Ministry yields very few accolades. Ministry is typically an affirming atmosphere for pastors at least in some shape or form -ever heard of “Pastor’s Appreciation Day?” You will receive very little affirmation for committing yourself to the high school. Some leadership contexts may not view the campus as the strategic mission field that it is.

(5) Campus Ministry beckons a youth leader to acknowledge the real “war” taking place. Ignorance is bliss. The youth room is a safe place for a youth pastor. The school is a lot more dangerous. Whether in class or participating in sports and extracurricular clubs, our students spend the great majority of their time on the campus.

Five Reasons Youth Pastors Don’t Do Campus Ministry Most youth pastors do not engage in campus ministry of any kind. This is a mistake. Although a spiritual battle takes place in our youth services once a week, the war is taking place on the campus. There are five simple reasons why youth pastors don’t do campus ministry: (1) Campus...

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From One Campus Missionary to Anotherfor: Students

OK, so who’s having tons of fun spreading God’s word?  I know I am!  And I guess I should ask who’s having some trouble spreading God’s word?  Is it fear—you don’t think people will accept you and your beliefs—or do you just not know what to say, etc.? I know exactly what this feels like so I’m gonna give ya a little advice on how I coped with this!

First of all, there is no need to fear because:

  1. Jesus is with you every step of the way.
  2. It’s a good way to make friends with someone you don’t know.
  3. Being rejected is not your fault, you did everything right they just don’t feel it’s right for them.
  4. Your friends won’t think anything less of you just because you are expressing what your beliefs are. They’re your friends and they were before you expressed your beliefs!

Not knowing what to say…I’ll start with first approaching someone because that is sometimes difficult.  Well with any person just start out with an everyday conversation. Sometimes it can lead to a spot where a friend is having a tough time, and you can say something like, “Well, Jesus has always helped me when I’m down, He’ll help you too.” That was how my very first campus missionary conversation started out!  Maybe that doesn’t happen so you have to bring up God in a different way, such as asking that person what they think about Christianity or telling them a story about what God did for you this week. Just have fun with it!

Now if you don’t know an answer to a question or how to answer to a remark, don’t worry. Lots of people don’t know every answer to every question.  Just tell that person you’ll have to find out–they won’t mind.  Don’t forget that you can always ask your pastor if you need any answers or help!  Remember, God won’t give you anything he knows you can’t handle!  Well, I hope that this advice will help you guys and that you will have great stories to tell!  I’ll be praying for you fellow Campus Missionaries!!

OK, so who’s having tons of fun spreading God’s word?  I know I am!  And I guess I should ask who’s having some trouble spreading God’s word?  Is it fear—you don’t think people will accept you and your beliefs—or do you just not know what to say, etc.? I know exactly what this feels like so I’m...

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Keeping it in Frontfor: Youth Leaders

At our our back-to-school retreat in September (Advance), we took time to honor a few of the most committed campus missionaries in the PennDel District. These students not only committed to be campus missionaries during the past school year, but they also consistently reported on their activities through our online campus missionary reporting system. It’s very easy to inspire students to commit to be campus missionaries. However, it’s an entire different matter to see them follow that commitment through on a consistent basis throughout the school year. Furthermore, it can be a challenge to get them to consistently report on their activities through the online system. There were two churches that consistently had several students reporting, one of them was Assembly of God of North East. Kris Lewis is the youth pastor there, and I asked him how he was able to procure such consistent results from his students. He thought about it for a few weeks and then sent me this reply:

“I know there have been a couple times when you have asked me what I have done to “prompt” or encourage my students to be CM’s and fill out their reports.  And really the funny thing is I really haven’t done much.  We come to Advance every year, and that really has been the driving force behind it.  From Advance and the focus on CM’s, our students started a prayer meeting at their school (we represent only one school for the most part), took ownership of SYATP and really lead the other church youth groups it seems in our area.  Again I really don’t know where it comes from… LOL.

From the Ministers Enrichment this year when Dick Foth was talking about keeping it Simple, and then also in our break out session if I had to put my finger on it. I guess I can say the big reason is that we TALK and fuel our students to do all the work at their school.  Kind of fueling their fire from Advance by talking about and giving opportunities for them to invite a peer.  LOL, really just teaching and releasing for ministry.”

Kris has identified one of the key principles to success in youth ministry. I call it the “Keeping it in Front of Them” principle. Someone else much smarter than me has probably already identify this and given it a more proper name. Regarding his success, Kris writes, “the big reason is that we TALK and fuel our students to do all the work at their school.” He consistently fuels their fire. He keeps it in front of them. If you want students to retain and stay committed to the things you’ve taught them, you’ve got to keep it in front of them. Not just once, not just twice. You got to keep it in front of them on a consistent basis throughout the year. What are you doing to keep Campus Missions, or any of your core youth ministry values, in front of your students?

At our our back-to-school retreat in September (Advance), we took time to honor a few of the most committed campus missionaries in the PennDel District. These students not only committed to be campus missionaries during the past school year, but they also consistently reported on their activities through our online campus missionary reporting system. It’s very easy...

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Alone On Your Campus?for: Students

Have you ever felt alone as a Campus Missionary in your school? Would it surprise you to find out the Apostle Paul felt lonely from time to time, as well? Paul was a social person, even though he wasn’t married. He always stayed with people when he went from town to town, and he always took others with him on the journey of spreading the gospel. In fact, it seems as though he had difficulties being alone. He talks about this in 2 Timothy 4:9-18. In fact, he struggled with the fact that his earthly companions abandoned him in a time of need. He writes, “The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear” (vss. 16–17 NLT-SE).

Notice that Paul did not allow his loneliness to become an excuse for why he couldn’t share the gospel. On the contrary, Paul writes that he relied on the Lord, who stood with him and gave him strength. Why? So that Paul could continue to preach the gospel. Today you may be feeling all alone. You may even feel like you’ve been abandoned in a trial or difficulty. But God is with you! Rely on Him, and continue to share the gospel with those who haven’t heard it. Keep in mind that those who sit near you in class are probably even more lonely than you are. They are just waiting for someone to be their friend. That friend is you.

Have you ever felt alone as a Campus Missionary in your school? Would it surprise you to find out the Apostle Paul felt lonely from time to time, as well? Paul was a social person, even though he wasn’t married. He always stayed with people when he went from town to town, and he always took others...

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Are You Blind, or Do You See?for: Youth Leaders

Last week I had the honor of recruiting Campus Missionaries at a great youth group in Central Pennsylvania. When I am challenging students to become CM’s, I like to explain the fivefold commitment of pray, live, tell, serve, and give. That can be quite a task when you only have 30-45 minutes to explain, inspire, and have a response time. I usually try to incorporate the five commitments into the inspirational portion of my message so it naturally intertwines. While speaking about the “give” element of a Campus Missionary, I referenced Proverbs 29:7, “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern”(NIV).

I recognize that words justice, injustice and the phrase social justice have become large buzz words over the past decade. That is not a bad thing. The prophets of the Old Testament were huge advocates of social justice. Isaiah was especially sickened by the ornate nature of Israel’s religious class when compared to the poor in Hebrew society. In a sound rejection of Israel’s showy fasting habits, he wrote, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6 NIV).

There is great injustice happening in our own neighborhoods that we frequently do not recognize. Perhaps the focus on global justice has taken our eyes off of being locally focused on mission, as well. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in good social justice. Providing clean water, medical care, and education to impoverished people groups are things the church should be leading in. We definitely recognize the injustice of children born into areas of the world where they will not have access to the basic needs of humanity. But do we recognize the injustice that is happening in our own neighborhood? I am speaking of Spiritual Injustice. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19 ESV). He was talking about the great Spiritual Injustice that existed then and still exists today.

Are you blind to this injustice? If you were to look at the composition of your youth ministry, what would that look like? Do the students in your youth ministry primarily come from Christian homes? My guess is that, for most youth ministries, the answer is yes. That is because most of our students grew up with the privilege of a Christian witness in the home. However, there are thousands of students in each of our neighborhoods who have not had the same privilege. This is Spiritual Injustice. This is what Jesus came to correct. When the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus, the Father spoke, “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles” (Matthew 12:18 ESV). We only add to the injustice if we are unwilling to be missional in our context.

So what can we as youth leaders do? We are called, as pastors, to eqiup the Saints for the work of the ministry. Addressing Spiritual Injustice begins with teaching our students to be missional in their schools. Begin by casting vision in your ministry for missional living. Consider Recruiting Campus Missionaries as a starting point. Begin to pray for a burden for your schools. Do something! Injustice will never be corrected while we only talk about the problem. You are the primary line of discipleship to the students in your youth ministry. Therefore, the impetus is on you to missionally shape them.

Last week I had the honor of recruiting Campus Missionaries at a great youth group in Central Pennsylvania. When I am challenging students to become CM’s, I like to explain the fivefold commitment of pray, live, tell, serve, and give. That can be quite a task when you only have 30-45 minutes to explain, inspire, and have...

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Sticks and Stones…for: Students

Do you know the power of your words? There is an old rhyme that says, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” The truth is words are powerful and have the capacity to build up or tear down. The words you say have the power to make you an effective Campus Missionary, or they can make you a person people don’t want to be around. This truth is not limited to those whom you want to reach as a Campus Missionary, either. If you speak negatively to teachers, parents, or others around you, it can also affect your success as a Campus Missionary.

James, the brother of Jesus wrote, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26 ESV). As a Campus Missionary you have made a commitment to live for Christ (you’ve also made a commitment to pray, tell, serve, and give). How you choose to control your tongue directly affects the effectiveness of your commitment. James says if you don’t control your tongue, you aren’t living for Christ very well. To put it another way, if you are living for Christ but refuse to control your tongue, you have fooled yourself into believing you are more committed than you actually are.

Make a commitment to honor God with your mouth. You will be a very effective Campus Missionary if you honor God with your words by building up the people around you. As David wrote, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalms 19:14 NIV).

Do you know the power of your words? There is an old rhyme that says, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” The truth is words are powerful and have the capacity to build up or tear down. The words you say have the power to make you an effective Campus...

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What if we…for: Youth Leaders

EDITORS NOTE: Zac McDonald is the Youth Pastor at State College Assembly of God. Last year, his students met at school every Tuesday and Thursday for prayer. Zac wrote this post the day before SYATP 2011. He offers some challenging thoughts on SYATP and it’s implications beyond the pole. -Lee

 

Yes, I will be at the pole to support our students tomorrow.  I live in a community where I am unable to participate but will stand on the sidelines, joining them in prayer.  Each September I wrestle with See You At The Pole, and I’ve had many conversations with friends in youth ministry that struggle as well.
Here are some of my questions and struggles….

What if we as leaders were to teach a generation that prayer is more than an event? It is a lifestyle.  Prayer is not what we do but rather how we should live.  Do we spend as much time hyping the lifestyle as we do the event?  One is much easier than the other because it is short-term.

What if we were to teach a generation that motive is key in Matthew 6:5 & 6?  Matthew 6:5 & 6 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

What if we were to teach a generation that praying at the pole is not a public declaration of our faith?  That public declaration should be water baptism.

What if we were to teach a generation boldness, to lay hands on the sick, to ask the Lord to daily perform signs and wonders in the hallways, to pray for friends one on one as they get off of the bus, in the classroom and as they eat lunch together?

What is this generation of lost students thinking?  One day a year they get off of the bus, and a group of students are standing in a circle around the flagpole.  Why the flagpole?  Why a closed circle?  Why one day a year?

What if we were to teach a generation that there is more to prayer than 20 minutes of worship, announcements, small group discussions, wrapped up by 15 minutes of prayer around the pole?

What if we were to remind a generation of 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

As we gather around the pole tomorrow across this nation, I will be praying… “Lord, teach us how to pray”.

EDITORS NOTE: Zac McDonald is the Youth Pastor at State College Assembly of God. Last year, his students met at school every Tuesday and Thursday for prayer. Zac wrote this post the day before SYATP 2011. He offers some challenging thoughts on SYATP and it’s implications beyond the pole. -Lee   Yes, I will be at the...

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Beyond the Polefor: Students

Wednesday, September 28 is the global day of student prayer around the flag pole. At 7am local time, students will pray for their schools, lift up the name of Jesus, and worship His name. Whether there is a crowd of 100+, or just one person, it will be a momentous event.

The theme for this year’s SYATP is “Converge,” based upon Matthew 18:20. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (ESV). The idea is that Jesus is there with you every time you join together with someone in prayer. Of course, the Holy Spirit is always in you, from the moment you became a Christian. So when you come together in prayer, it’s a very special convergence (meeting together for a common reason) of each person involved—you and your friends, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus. This will happen when you are gather around your flag pole on Wednesday morning. You will bring the Holy Spirit and Jesus into your school when you pray together.

As much as I celebrate your dedication and courage in prayer at your school, I have to ask, “Why aren’t you doing this every week?” Why are you only gathering for prayer like this every fourth Wednesday in September? Doesn’t your school need the presence of the Holy Spirit (through you), and the presence of Jesus (through your prayer together with other Christians), every day? Think about it. Then think about what you can do to make this convergence happen more often.

Wednesday, September 28 is the global day of student prayer around the flag pole. At 7am local time, students will pray for their schools, lift up the name of Jesus, and worship His name. Whether there is a crowd of 100+, or just one person, it will be a momentous event. The theme for this year’s SYATP...

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Bringing It Homefor: Youth Leaders

Most of us have had the experience of a weekend youth retreat. In addition to coming back tired and worn out, we come back excited about the work God did in our lives and in the lives of our students. We are exhilarated by the enthusiasm for Christ our students are exhibiting. We are convinced that change has occurred, and that this change will reverberate through our youth ministry. And that’s really where we want to be. We don’t just want to bring our students home, we want to bring the change home.

On Labor Day weekend, many of us were together for an awesome weekend retreat called ADVANCE. This back-to-school retreat saw many students making commitments to become Campus Missionaries and recording a goal for this school year. I was very pleased with the outcome of the retreat, and most youth leaders I’ve spoken with were equally enthused. Now we have to bring it home.

Let’s talk about bringing it home. First, a few realities:

  • You can bring students home. You can even bring changed students home. But you can’t bring the retreat home. The band, video, lighting, and general retreat-environment will stay behind.
  • Students will expect to maintain the spiritual-emotional high they experienced at the altar. Can we blame them? But in reality, we weren’t designed to maintain such a euphoric state. Our body, mind, emotions, and spirit are affected by the ebb and flow of our environment.
  • Not everyone in our youth ministries experienced the retreat. Some groups just had a few of their students in attendance, others had a majority. Regardless, there will be some who missed out on what the others experienced.

Now, let’s work on bringing it home:

  1. Explain the difference between emotional impulse and spiritual commitment. If students calculate what happened at the altar as an emotional high, the results will only last as long as their emotional state. Recognize that emotion is a part of the decision making process, but that a spiritual commitment is not dependent on an emotional state. We may no longer “feel it,” but our commitment is still important. A good example of an emotional roller coaster in scripture is Elijah, whose manic-depressive journey 1 Kings 18-19 speaks to us all about the fragility of human emotion and the steadfastness of God.
  2. Take ownership of the results. Move forward from the retreat by allowing students to testify to what God did in their lives, set up a support system to help them achieve their goals and dreams, and provide accountability and encouragement as time goes on. If students perceive you are not interested in what God did in their lives, they will quickly lose interest as well. You are their shepherd, and the value you place on God’s work in them validates it from their perspective.
  3. Replicate the process in rest of your group. It’s unlikely that all your group was a part of ADVANCE, or any retreat you’re doing. So encourage them to make the same commitments the rest of the group made. Include them in what God did, and make use of the students who did go to the retreat in the process. Get your whole group on the same page. In the case of ADVANCE it would look like this: (a) highlight students who made a commitment to be a Campus Missionary, (b) explain what it means to Pray, Live, Tell, Serve, and Give, and (c) offer the remaining students an opportunity to commit to be a CM.

Need help recruiting Campus Missionaries? Read this post on Getting Started in Campus Missions, then check out our related posts.

Most of us have had the experience of a weekend youth retreat. In addition to coming back tired and worn out, we come back excited about the work God did in our lives and in the lives of our students. We are exhilarated by the enthusiasm for Christ our students are exhibiting. We are convinced that change...

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Enters the Missionaryfor: Students

It was an incredible weekend, one that our group would never forget. The students were saying their goodbyes and the leaders were shaking hands and swapping stories.  ADVANCE was over. But before we left the conference center, I felt a tap on my shoulder. “I feel like God wants me to start a Campus Club at my high school” Kristen said, “How do I do it?”

Kristen was going into 8th grade and was a fairly new Christian. This was her first year at Youth Advance.

We began to pray and strategize how she could reach her campus. One step at a time Kristen began the process of launching a brand new Campus Ministry at her middle school.

She met with her principal. She found a teacher who would be willing to sponsor the club, and then she gathered together a few of her Christian friends who wanted to make a difference on their campus.

Within a month, twenty-five students were gathering in the cafeteria to worship, share their testimonies and pray together after school. A movement had begun in her middle school and students were coming to Christ. Kristen made a decision, and in that moment she became a missionary. She still is one today.

Kristen is now a junior, and leads a campus ministry at our local high school. Last year, more than sixty students gathered to pray around her flag at See-You-At-The-Pole. This year, she’s already met with a team of students over the summer and they’re fired up to re-launch their club and share the life-changing message of Jesus Christ on their Campus.

What is God asking you to do on your campus? Connect with your youth leader and start planning today.

It was an incredible weekend, one that our group would never forget. The students were saying their goodbyes and the leaders were shaking hands and swapping stories.  ADVANCE was over. But before we left the conference center, I felt a tap on my shoulder. “I feel like God wants me to start a Campus Club at my...

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Have You Heard of the 1 Month Challenge?for: Students

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/28532190[/vimeo]

Have you heard of the One Month Challenge? This is a challenge to all students and leaders to carry their Bibles with them everywhere they go. I challenge you to do it!
Don’t just carry your Bible at church, or to youth group, but make it a part of everything you are doing. Take it to school, work, the movies, home, to a friends house…you’ll be amazed at the places your Bible goes with you…maybe you should even take a picture of the great places it ends up.

Seriously, are you prepared for the courage and tenacity it will require to carry God’s Word with you everywhere? I don’t mean to carry a Bible app on your iPhone or iPod Touch. I don’t mean carrying a Bible around in your backpack or purse, hidden where it can’t be seen. I challenge you to carry your Bible with you for all to see—not as a sign of personal pride—but as a sign of humble devotion to Jesus Christ.

Here’s three good reasons to carry your Bible everywhere:

  1. Stronger Commitment. Carrying your Bible everywhere will strengthen your commitment to God’s Word and to God himself. You will be opened to questioning, and perhaps ridicule, but your resolve and dedication will exponentially increase. When I began carrying my Bible with me in 11th grade, I was treated differently—but in a that made me a stronger Christian and got me into the Word.
  2. Conversation Opener. Yes, people are going to wonder why you are carrying your Bible everywhere. So why not tell them? Carrying your Bible is a perfect conversation starter that can help you explain your devotion to Christ and share Christ with others.
  3. It’s God’s Word! Listen, do you really need a good reason to carry around your Bible? I say no! It’s God’s Word, and we should want it with us wherever we go. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Take that light with you and read it wherever you go!

So…are you ready to take the challenge?

For more information on the 1 Month Challenge, check the national Youth Alive Website.

http://www.vimeo.com/28532190 Have you heard of the One Month Challenge? This is a challenge to all students and leaders to carry their Bibles with them everywhere they go. I challenge you to do it! Don’t just carry your Bible at church, or to youth group, but make it a part of everything you are doing. Take it to...

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Let’s Have a Cup of Coffee…Leader to Leaderfor: Youth Leaders

For the next few minutes let’s act like we are sitting together at the local Starbucks;  you drinking your favorite drink, and me mine—a Grande Carmel Frappe light with two pumps of coffee!

Now that we are relaxed, let’s delve into our leader-to-leader discussion: Why leaders should get involved in campus missions.

A prevailing cause would be there are students in your youth ministries that God wants to raise up to be a witness in their schools.  They need you and I to stand with them as campus coaches to resource them.

Ps 71:17-18 “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.  Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”

Friends, we find ourselves called to lead students while living in a post-Christian nation.

Christianity is no longer providing the consensus for our society. (consensus  is an agreement in the judgment or opinion reached by a group as a whole)  And Christianity is no longer providing the consensus upon which our law is based. That is not to say that the United States ever was a “Christian nation” in the sense that all or most of our citizens were Christians, nor in the sense that the nation, its laws, and social life were ever a full and complete expression of Christian truth. There is no golden age in the past which we can idealize – whether it is early America, the Reformation, or the early church. But until recent decades something did exist which can rightly be called a Christian consensus or ethos which gave a distinctive shape to Western society and to the United States in a definite way. Now that consensus is all but gone, and the freedoms that it brought are being destroyed before our eyes. We are at a time when humanism is coming to its natural conclusion in morals, in values, and in law. All that society has today are relativistic values based upon statistical averages, or the arbitrary decisions of those who hold legal and political power. (p. 47).

Written by Dr. Francis Schaeffer, a widely recognized Christian author, speaker, and thinker. Dr. Schaeffer wrote this in the same year in which he died – 1984.

I find this interesting because almost 25 years ago Schaeffer declared America a “post-Christian” nation, yet so many have yet to hear it. I believe that when American Christians realize that we are missionaries in a dark land our expansion efforts will improve greatly. Too many believers are interested in changing laws instead of hearts. Too many believers are focused on the White House instead of God’s House. Too many believers want to protest instead of pray. Too many believers want to complain about taxes instead of tithe. Too many believers want to legislate morality instead of demonstrate morality. Too many believers want to ignore schools instead of getting involved.

But we are missionaries here. Think about it. Missionaries don’t go into foreign lands to change the government. They change nations by demonstrating the love of Christ one person at a time. So it is that that we must be on the campus to support our school administrators, teachers, coaches and students with the love of Christ as Campus Coaches.

We will see cultural change when Christians get out of the pews and into the streets. We will see laws change when Christian love prevails. We will see Christ change lives when the world around us sees Christ in us.

We as the church must take off our “sender of missionaries” t-shirt and put on the “we are missionaries” t-shirt.

So, what do you think?  After all, we are at Starbucks where ideas can be launched if only acted on…

For the next few minutes let’s act like we are sitting together at the local Starbucks;  you drinking your favorite drink, and me mine—a Grande Carmel Frappe light with two pumps of coffee! Now that we are relaxed, let’s delve into our leader-to-leader discussion: Why leaders should get involved in campus missions. A prevailing cause would be...

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Why I Go With Themfor: Youth Leaders

“Why do you go to the campus ministry meetings?” This is what a youth pastor friend of mine asked me recently. Our youth ministry has led several campus bible clubs for the last few years – all of which I’ve had the privilege to sponsor as a Campus Coach. My friend asked me a great question, one that has several answers:

(1) Ministry Coaching – Many of our students are actively involved in campus ministries all across Harrisburg. They’re taking what they’ve learned in our youth ministry and they’re applying it in real-life scenarios on their campus. My role on the campus is hands-off. I do not lead our campus ministries, our students do. As a matter of fact, during the actual meetings I do nothing but attend and build relationships with students. But before and after our meetings I have the unique opportunity of speaking into the lives of our students and coaching them in ministry.

(2) Validating their Cause – There are a lot of items on a youth pastor’s calendar. But if I had to prioritize something, it would have to be investing in students who are doing campus ministry. There’s something pretty amazing that happens in the heart of a teenager when they see their youth pastor sitting at a desk, watching them preach, lead worship, or share their testimony in their geometry classroom.

(3) Instilling Confidence – I’ve challenged my students to take their school for Christ. I want them to know something very important. I’m not afraid of their school. Every week I’m in their hallways, I’m in their classrooms, and I’m in their cafeteria. I know their principals, their teachers and their classmates. When I stand at the pulpit and I ask our students to share the gospel at their schools, they know that I’m not referencing a far-off place that I know nothing about, or the high school that I once attended “back in the day” when I was teenager. They know that I’m talking about the school that we’ve gone to together. In every form possible on my end of the spectrum, I’m in the trenches with my students, and they know it.

There are many ways to do campus ministry. This is just one of them. But I can personally attest, as a youth pastor who is currently serving in several of our local high schools, I’ve found no more effective way of “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” than by following them into their high schools.

“Why do you go to the campus ministry meetings?” This is what a youth pastor friend of mine asked me recently. Our youth ministry has led several campus bible clubs for the last few years – all of which I’ve had the privilege to sponsor as a Campus Coach. My friend asked me a great question, one...

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The First Steps in Starting a Campus Clubfor: Students

So… you’ve decided you want to start a Campus Club… what’s the next step? Getting your Campus Club off the ground depends on a number of factors, but there are generally three things that every student needs to get the club going. Let’s talk about each of those necessities.

  1. You Need Club Members. Talk with the Christians you know in your school and see if they’d be interested in joining the club. If interested, have them sign the Student Interest Sheet (PDF), which you can present to your principal and teacher-sponsor when you meet with them. This will also give you the information you need to be in contact with those who are interested.
  2. You Gotta Have a Teacher-Sponsor. How do you find a teacher-sponsor? Try asking. Start with a teacher you know, or that you know to be a Christian. If you don’t know any Christian teachers, why not a teacher if they are a Christian, or if they know if any of the teachers are Christian? A teacher-sponsor simply has to be available to be in the room when a Bible Club meeting is taking place. It’s that simple.
  3. You Can’t Have a Club Without School Approval. As a student, it’s easy to view the principal as the disciplinarian who makes and enforces rules. After all, when someone gets into big trouble, they go to the principle’s office. You should keep in mind, however, the primary job of a principal is to guide students through their education so they graduate successfully. In other words, the principal exists to help you. Youth Alive has a great guide for meeting with the principle, which you can download here (PDF). One important thing to remember is that you aren’t really asking you principal for permission to have a club, because The Supreme Court of the United States has already given you permission. Instead, you should be asking your principal how clubs are formed, what policies need to be followed to get your club started, etc.

You can do this! And if you do, you are well on the way to getting a Campus Club going in your school.

So… you’ve decided you want to start a Campus Club… what’s the next step? Getting your Campus Club off the ground depends on a number of factors, but there are generally three things that every student needs to get the club going. Let’s talk about each of those necessities. You Need Club Members. Talk with the Christians you know...

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I recently had a conversation…for: Youth Leaders

I recently had a conversation with a youth pastor regarding Campus Missions. His youth ministry was not active in their local school systems, and he was apologetically trying to explain why. “We’ve been told that we are not welcome in the school system, so unfortunately we can’t be involved in Campus Missions.”  He went on to explain, “Evidently a youth pastor really messed things up years ago by overstepping the legal boundaries, and now the schools won’t have anything to do with youth pastors.” This is a familiar story that I’ve heard many times over. I’ve also personally experienced the rejection of an administrator who felt the presence of a youth pastor on campus would violate the United States Constitution. Sounds pretty serious. While I don’t agree with this decision by many school administrations, I also believe the youth pastor was wrong. He allowed a decision by an administrator to become an excuse that dictated the direction and scope of his youth ministry. More specifically, the rejection of the school system became a rule for what his youth ministry couldn’t do.

It’s easy to be intimidated by the campus. It’s also easy to be affected by rejection. But our God is bigger than one campus and one decision. Additionally, rejection does not change our mission, nor that of our students. And students are the key to dealing with rejection from a school administrator. This is because at it’s heart, campus missions is not about a youth pastor or youth leader. It’s about students rising up to become leaders in their own right. You can be successful in Campus Missions and be prohibited from being on campus at the same time. Just like youth ministry, Campus Missions is not about youth pastors—it’s about students. Does your view of Campus Missions mean that you have to personally be present, making an impact on the campus? Or does it mean that your youth ministry, through your students, has an impact on the campus?

You see, an administration can prohibit a Christian youth pastor from coming to school. But they can’t prohibit Christian students from coming to school. Even if they tried to prohibit a Bible Club from officially forming, they couldn’t prevent students from exercising grassroots Christianity. They can’t stop students from gathering for prayer, reading their Bibles, or sharing their faith. As leaders, we cannot use personal rejection or perceived legal decisions as an excuse for ineffective Campus Missions. No, you may not personally be allowed on the campus, but your students are allowed.  Not only are they allowed, but they are required to be there. So instead of making excuses, let’s start building missional students. Through the discipleship process of building missional students, our spiritual presence on the campus will be more powerful than our personal physical presence could ever be. It’s not about us—it’s about students.

I recently had a conversation with a youth pastor regarding Campus Missions. His youth ministry was not active in their local school systems, and he was apologetically trying to explain why. “We’ve been told that we are not welcome in the school system, so unfortunately we can’t be involved in Campus Missions.”  He went on to explain,...

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5 Reasons to Start a Bible Clubfor: Students

Starting a Bible Club is a great and important consideration in the life of a Campus Missionary. Here’s five good reasons to start a Bible Club:

  1. You are not alone. There may be times you feel you’re all alone as a Christian in your school. The truth is there are many Christians in your school, but they are mostly afraid to stand out alone. Starting a Bible Club provides a way for Christians to easily identify one another and join together for encouragement, accountability, and outreach.
  2. You are a leader. Christians are not alone in most schools, but they won’t realize it until a leader steps up to unite them. Additionally, when you start a Bible Club, you show yourself to be a leader to those who do not yet know Christ. Many students are just waiting for someone who will lead towards Christ.
  3. You are planting a church. Every Bible Club that’s planted is actually a church plant in that school. It is an organized fellowship of believers that exists to worship God, disciple believers, and reach the surrounding culture. Just as a church functions as a light in a neighborhood, so your Bible Club will be a light in your school.
  4. The gospel is bigger than your youth group. You will be amazed at the number of Christians from different churches that will want to join with you. By reaching across church lines and joining together for the gospel, you can have a powerful impact on your school.
  5. You can reach your school—but not without help. One way or another, you need help to reach your school. A large part of that help will come from the Holy Spirit, but you will also need the help of other Christians in your school. That’s the way God has designed us.

 

Starting a Bible Club is a great and important consideration in the life of a Campus Missionary. Here’s five good reasons to start a Bible Club: You are not alone. There may be times you feel you’re all alone as a Christian in your school. The truth is there are many Christians in your school, but they...

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Promoting Your See You At The Polefor: Students

See You At The Pole is just a few weeks away, and by now I pray that you have begun to formulate a plan for putting your See You At The Pole together. Just as important as planning the actual event is promoting the event. See You At The Pole is not just an event for you and your friends, it’s an event that can and should attract Christians from all over your school, including many you may not even know. Here’s a few ideas to think about in promoting your See You At The Pole (SYATP):

  1. School Announcements. Talk to the person in charge of your school’s audio or video announcements and have SYATP announced with the date and time. This is a great way of promoting during the week of SYATP on Monday and Tuesday. Many schools allow this, some will not.
  2. Posters. Find out from the principle if you can hang up posters. Some schools will allow this, others will not.
  3. T-Shirts. If you cannot advertise over the announcements or by hanging up posters, consider yourself a walking advertisement. But some shirts from syatp.com, or make some yourself, and distribute them amongst your friends to advertise SYATP.
  4. Pole-Pass Lanyards or Wristbands. You could buy either of these items from syatp.com, or create them yourself. You can buy the lanyard rope and hook from any office supply store, and create the advertisement that will hang from the lanyard.

It’s also possible that you are able to plan your See You At The Pole because someone else is already in charge of it. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of what’s happening. Remember, one of the five commitments of a Campus Missionary is to “Serve.” What better way to serve then to approach the leadership and see how you can be a part, or to make some suggestions to how you could help the process.

See You At The Pole is just a few weeks away, and by now I pray that you have begun to formulate a plan for putting your See You At The Pole together. Just as important as planning the actual event is promoting the event. See You At The Pole is not just an event for you...

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Making a Decisionfor: Students

Making a decision can be one of the most trying ordeals any person can go through. Should I or shouldn’t I? What if I do? What if I don’t? Hopefully making a decision to be a Campus Missionary was not that difficult for you. Scripture is clear about our calling to represent Christ in our everyday lives. The Apostle Paul felt it was a high calling and stated, “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24 ESV). Paul had made the decision to devote his life to Christ, and that directed the course of his life.

The decision to be a Campus Missionary makes a lot of other decisions easier. When faced with pressure to do something you know to be wrong—like cheating on a test, gossiping about someone, or telling a lie—the decision has already been made. You’ve already decided not to do any of those things because you are a Campus Missionary. Just as the Apostle Paul’s choice to devote his life to Christ drove him “to testify to the gospel” and to finish his race strong, so your decision to become a Campus Missionary helps set the direction of your future decisions. Remember, we “do not account” our lives of value, except that we may Pray, Live, Tell, Serve, and Give for Jesus Christ on our campus.

Making a decision can be one of the most trying ordeals any person can go through. Should I or shouldn’t I? What if I do? What if I don’t? Hopefully making a decision to be a Campus Missionary was not that difficult for you. Scripture is clear about our calling to represent Christ in our everyday lives....

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Getting Started in Campus Missionsfor: Youth Leaders

One of the key questions most Youth Pastors will ask when approaching the campus is, “Where do I start?” Should I personally go to the campus? Should we start a Bible Club? Should we bring in an assembly program like The Seven Project? The answer is actually much closer to home. Before launching all out into the campus, every youth pastor would be wise to recruit students from within their own youth ministry as Campus Missionaries. A Campus Missionary is simply “a student who follows Jesus at school.” A Campus Missionary commits to Pray, Live, Tell, Serve, and Give for Jesus Christ at their school. Here’s a few brief reasons to recruit students as Campus Missionaries:

  1. Recruiting Campus Missionaries puts the burden where it should be—on the students. Many pastors believe it is their responsibility to single-handedly reach a school or a city. This may be a noble approach, but it may also be an ego-centric approach. The truth is that we are called “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). In our context of youth ministry, that means helping students view their school as the mission field it is and equipping them to reach it.
  2. Using a term like Campus Missionary defines purpose and seriousness, and creates an impetus for the task. Those of us in ministry recognize the serious task missionaries have before them—go into a foreign and strange land and make disciples. Using the word “missionary” helps define the role of the student and delineates the difference between them and the rest of the school. Their presence as a follower of Jesus is powerful, and being a Campus Missionary will help them to realize that.
  3. The Campus Missions structure provides great accountability and encouragement. As a registered Campus Missionary, students are expected to give a report each month on how they did in representing Christ on their campus. Those reports are shared with the National Campus Missionary director, myself as the district Youth Alive Missionary, and the youth pastor. I respond to each report that comes in personally, and so does our national director. Students, and you as a leader, are not alone in the goal of reaching the campus.

For more information on Campus Missionaries and the commitment involved, I recommend checking out yausa.com/campusmissionary

One of the key questions most Youth Pastors will ask when approaching the campus is, “Where do I start?” Should I personally go to the campus? Should we start a Bible Club? Should we bring in an assembly program like The Seven Project? The answer is actually much closer to home. Before launching all out into the...

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The Value of Timefor: Youth Leaders

Time is a valued commodity that, like many things, becomes more valuable when we have less of it. As a boy with plenty of it on my hands, time seemed to pass so slowly. As an adult with little time to spare, time moves much too quickly. Whether you have a little or a lot, time always moves forward. It never goes in reverse. Time is also the great equalizer—we all receive the same amount every week—168 hours.

In 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a study on the average hours per weekday high school students spend on various activities. The average working student spends 8.4 hours sleeping, 5.7 hours on educational activities, and almost 3 hours on socializing, relaxing, and leisure. They spend an average of 1.5 hours working and .6 hours on sports, exercise, and recreation. Also showing up on the study was “religious, spiritual, and volunteer” time, which accounted for just .4 hours each day. In other words, students are spending almost 30 hours each week in school, and less than 3 hours each week in church. Sound like any students you know? What is evident from the study is this: the school system dominates the waking hours of the average students’ life. In the life of a student, time is always relative to school.

The apostle Paul talks about the value of time in his epistles. In Ephesians 5:15-16, he says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” He also says in Colossians, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time” (4:5).

In relation to the campus, time speaks two things to us:

  1. Because the school system retains a monopoly on students’ time, we must engage the campus directly in our students lives. We would be naive, and perhaps a little arrogant, if we believed we could ignore the school system and it’s impact on our students’ walk with God. The time students spend with us is only 10% of the time they spend in school.
  2. Students must view time spent in school as relevant to their walk with God. Because their time is dominated by school, school must be relevant to God. If not, God will only become a compartmentalized part of their life and have nothing to do with their conduct at school or the use of their time in school.

I often hear the same statement from graduating seniors—“I wish I had done more to reach my school for Jesus Christ.” They have come to the sad realization that time is moving forward, not backward. Now that the threshold of graduation has been crossed, they cannot go back. Will your students look back after graduation with regret in relation to how they used their time? Or will they look back with satisfaction, knowing they followed Paul’s admonition to the fullest?

Time is a valued commodity that, like many things, becomes more valuable when we have less of it. As a boy with plenty of it on my hands, time seemed to pass so slowly. As an adult with little time to spare, time moves much too quickly. Whether you have a little or a lot, time always...

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