Right now there are over 300,000 Protestant churches in America. Think about it this way: there are just over 10,000 Starbucks and well over 300,000 churches! So Starbucks can saturate the United States with caffeinated drinks but almost 30x's more churches can't saturate the United States with the Living Water. Seriously?
As I travel the nation I meet a lot of young people (high school/college age) who are thinking about going into youth ministry as a vocation. I also meet a lot of youth leaders who wonder if they should have chosen a different ministry career path because of hassles and heartbreaks they have endured in their current season of ministering to teenagers.
I don't pay much attention to Christian theories of social justice that minimize the Gospel message in the whole process of ministering to the poor. I would guess that many experts who've been perpetuating these theories have never been poor themselves.
When you seek to build a youth ministry that advances the Gospel deeply into the heart of your community (and in the process, deeply into the heart of your teenagers) you will face roadblocks.
In light of Tuesday's school shooting in New Mexico, last month's school shooting in Colorado and the long string of school shootings which have buffeted this nation since April 20th, 1999 (the Columbine massacre) it's time for the church to act decisively, strategically and effectively.
She's sweet, frank, oh yeah and did I mention sweet? Margaret, with full support of her husband Larry, is like a super hero for the kingdom. At times she is the Hospitality Manager for Betenbough Homes. But at other times she she is doing stakeouts, finding sex trafficking spots and rescuing victims who are trapped in "the trade."
On January 1st my home state of Colorado will allow recreational marijuana sales and usage by anyone 21 years of age or older. Although this technically doesn't include sales to teenagers many in our state (including me) are bracing themselves for the inevitable normalization more and more teenagers smoking weed.
This short video is part of a podcast series we did at Dare 2 Share called "Live THE Cause." Put simply living THE Cause is taking the mission of Jesus to "go and make disciples of all nations" in Matthew 28:19 personally and seriously. The goal of this series is to help you and your teenagers share the gospel with impact so that disciples can be made and multiplied.
Humor is a great tool to use when communicating God's Word to teeenagers (or anyone for that matter.) It breaks down barriers, captures attention and gets the audience's adrenalin kicked into high gear. As a result, teenagers are more ready to receive what you are seeking to teach them from God's Word.
Over the last 25 years or so of ministry I've had the privilege of being a youth leader, church planter and preaching pastor. So I've been in the shoes of a youth leader working under a pastor and a pastor having a youth leader work under me. In other words I attack this challenge with a history on both sides of the ministry fence.
What do you think of when you hear the word "worship"? K-Love? Your church's Sunday morning praise team? Classic hymns? What may surprise you is that evangelism is a form or worship as well. Worship directed upwardly is praise (proclaiming to God how holy, just and loving he is.) Worship directed outwardly is evangelism (proclaiming to unbelievers how holy, just and loving God is.)
Brent Lacy, a blogger, author and Lead THE Cause University alumni youth leader, shared with me a strategy he is piloting with his teenagers to reach their community for Christ…9 blocks at a time. What I love about this plan is that it's not a "hit and run" service project.
10 Things I Do to Stay Spiritually Strong, Somewhat Sane, Happily Married and Kind of Fit While on the Road
Right now I'm right in the middle of a 16 city Dare 2 Share youth leader training tour. But I'm taking a short break to go and do some training at Youth Specialties. In between (and on the road) I'm writing, fundraising and creating stuff, stuff and more stuff that helps energize a generation to evangelize their world. Did I mention I'm a husband to one very patient wife and a father to two very high strung children? Here are ten things I do to stay spiritually strong, somewhat sane, happily married and kind of fit while on the road:
Evangelism Discipleship = Evange-cipleship. Okay, the word is kind of corny but it communicates my point. And what is that exactly? Simply this: When teenagers are equipped and unleashed to share their faith it is the ultimate discipleship accelerator.
This Wednesday "See You at the Pole" will kick off the school year for two million Christian teenagers from across the United States. See You at the Pole was inspired by the initiative of one youth leader in one youth group in Burleson, Texas, early in 1990. Since then it has exploded into a prayer movement, not just across the nation, but in twenty other nations across the globe!
Now that I have four "Maximum Velocity" youth leader training events under my belt I can say with full conviction that you should be there! We have 12 more cities to go before we hit the finish line. The remaining cities are…
Whether or not you're a youth leader, small group leader or Sunday school teacher I challenge you to get good at making salvation segues and giving the gospel weekly in your talks. Master the art of making the transition from the subject of your talk to the good news of Jesus.
1. Your job is to "set forth the truth plainly" not to razzel or dazzle the audience. 2 Corinthians 4:2 2. Preaching is the easy part. Living our your own sermon is the ultimate goal. James 1:22
On our trip from Germany to England we all got assigned middle seats on the plane. I happened to be sitting in front of my 12 year old boy Jeremy. He was situated between a well dressed man and a young woman. After hearing my son talk for ten minutes or so with the man Jeremy shared that I was a preacher and that I was going to do some preaching in England.
Sharing the gospel with an entire gang called "The Condors" when I was in middle school and being shocked by their positive response to the gospel.
Teenagers can be a tough audience and sharing the gospel a tough subject. So how do you inspire a tough audience to engage in the tough stuff of evangelism? Here are the 5 essentials I have discovered about motivating teenagers to share the gospel:
When you preach for a living, mistakes are bound to be made. Sometimes it's a sermon idea. It looks good on paper but when it passes from paper to preaching something get's twisted. Or perhaps it's an illustration that you think is going to work really well but it crashes at takeoff. Or maybe it's a gaffe you made that you wish you could retract.
You may be thinking about giving up. You may be wondering if it's worth the small paychecks and big headaches. You may be considering hanging up your paintball gun and canceling your subscription to Group Magazine. Don't. It is worth it.
For ten years of my life I was a preaching pastor at a church I helped plant with my good buddy Rick Long (Grace Church of Arvada.) This weekend I've been preaching all three services at my old stomping grounds and it's got me reminiscing. With this in mind here are 10 things I miss about being a pastor: