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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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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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.

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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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Serve (Advance Student Workshop)for: Podcast

As as Campus Missionary, or a Christian for that matter, serving should be an integral part of our lifestyle.  In Matthew 20:26-28, we see that Christ himself came not to be served, but to be a servant to all. Serving is the process of moving words to actions, putting faith into motion, and reveals our love for someone in a tangible way.  During this session we explore the necessity of serving the campus and community, practical tips to serving effectively, and some easy ways you can start serving today.

In the session, I use a video I got from BluefishTV, which you can view by clicking here.

Play

As as Campus Missionary, or a Christian for that matter, serving should be an integral part of our lifestyle.  In Matthew 20:26-28, we see that Christ himself came not to be served, but to be a servant to all. Serving is the process of moving words to actions, putting faith into motion, and reveals our love for...

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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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