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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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Navigating Challenges (Advance 2012)for: Podcast

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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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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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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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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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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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