Got a note from Greg over at Dare2Share about their new website for Gospel Journey. Loved their new video trailer and website – check it out!
Got a note from Greg over at Dare2Share about their new website for Gospel Journey. Loved their new video trailer and website – check it out!
This is such an exciting time of the year and if you have a lot of Youth Pastor friends on Facebook or Twitter, its so encouraging to read all the status updates and tweets leading up to the fall launch.
For our team, it’s been a fall of thorough and over the top intentionality with our students and potential students. Each week last year we collected information on every new student / guest and kept a record of it, and last week we called every student on our roster, every guest, every camp follow up we were given. It took a total of 12 man-hours to do, but the benefit was a 70% increase in attendance at our fall launch compared to last year. As much of a challenge as it is to call all those students I cannot say I am surprised at the outcome, since I know so many students just want to know that they are valued and wanted. A phone call is many times more powerful and meaningful than a text or FB, so if you have the resources to do it, I would encourage you to.
The other half of our strategy for this fall was to try and make it easier for our students to invite a friend out. I was trying to avoid an action packed promo video full of our best-of highlights, to me that would equate to a bait and switch leaving new comers disappointed that it wasn’t always crazy fun. We thought instead to do something that our high school students could post on Facebook, twitter etc, that was an invitation to our group. Its not a promo, not a best of, nor is it funny, but a sincere appeal to non-Christian students in our area to come be a part of what is happening. I am stoked about how it turned out, and I cannot wait to see what God is going to do with it.
Geoff Stewart is the Pastor of Jr & Sr High School for Journey Student Ministries at Peace Portal Alliance Church and regularly contributes GUEST POSTS to MTDB. Be sure to check out his Twitter stream for awesome ministry goodness. Want to get in on the fun and write up a guest post yourself? See how right here.
Evangelism is a scary word because so many of us believe we have to have a memorized plan or speech, we must preach to the crowds of people, or we must have a flashy and trendy way of presenting the Gospel message. We have taken the word evangelism and associated it with something difficult to do. In reality, evangelism is a lifestyle. It is simply how we live our lives. The truth is we evangelize daily. We point people towards Christ or away from Christ on a daily basis simply from how we live our lives.
I once heard someone say, “You will never talk to your friends about Jesus until you have talked to Jesus about your friends”. This statement has stuck with me over the years and has helped me remind myself and my students that the best evangelism is friendship evangelism. Our best witnessing efforts will happen with those whom we share real life with on a daily basis. Friendship Evangelism simply means “caring” for people. Someone once said, “The best evangelism takes place in a context of mutual trust and respect. It takes place between friends.”
In the context of student ministry I see students struggle with how to do evangelism. We strive to help shape their everyday choices to simply following Christ’s example. Christ lived and breathed evangelism. He took every day situations and taught truth from them. We want our students to realize that every bus ride, every lunch break, every classroom discussion, every practice or rehearsal are all opportunities to point their friends to Jesus.
We also believe that God calls us to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Because of that calling our student ministry goes on international missions as well as domestic missions. However, over the years I have noticed students willing to fly to other countries to share Christ but struggling to share Christ locally and domestically. Because of this mindset, we are now in our second year of the following strategic plan to help students create a healthy and biblical mindset of missions:
First we offer what we call Outreach Saturday Projects (OSP). These projects rang from yard work to nursing homes, to cleaning local school campuses, and everything in between. We leave our church campus and serve in our local community. Students who desire to go on our domestic or international trips are required to attend a percentage of these OSP’s.
Secondly we offer our Spring Break Mission Trip. This is usually a three to five day trip during their spring break where we go and serve domestically. Right now we are in our second year of partnering with the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes where we go and serve on location with them for our trip. This trip serves two purposes: first it forces students to make a sacrifice. They must sacrifice the beach and hanging out with friends in order to serve those less fortunate. Secondly, it allows me the chance to see them in action on the mission field dealing with changes, team work, etc. Any students who desire to travel internationally with us are required to first attend a spring break trip. They are only required to attend once but many students are already signing up for another trip simply because they understand the biblical purpose for the trip.
Lastly, we offer an international mission trip in the summer. This trip is usually seven to ten days in length and will be in a third world country. We are in a partnership with Guatemala for the next two years and thus we will travel to this country together. This trip is the climax for a student’s mission experience. They will be exposed to things they have never seen, they will see God work in mighty ways, and they will be used by Him in ways they could never imagine. They leave this trip understanding what it means to share Christ with the poor, hungry, and orphans. They will return home with a new outlook on life and because we have a strategic plan to take students from serving locally to serving internationally we have seen students truly understanding the biblical mindset behind the reason we go and serve. This in turn also helps in students living for Jesus and accomplishing the friendship evangelism in their everyday lives.
Jeff Dye is the Minister of Students at Northcliffe Baptist Church. Follow him on Twitter here!
Don’t know you’ve heard about Dare 2 Share’s interactive webinar training this Tuesday (May 17th) with Greg Stier. It is designed for youth leaders who are nervous about evangelism and looks super. Check out Evangephobia for more details and to sign up!
Evangelism. For many, this word conjures up images of a street-corner preacher or a madman using a bullhorn and thumping people on the head with a Bible. But are those the only options? Join Greg Stier, President of Dare 2 Share Ministries for a lively, interactive webcast about sharing our faith and its role in youth ministry. You and other youth leaders will explore some of the most common fears surrounding evangelism, learn how it can help accelerate spiritual growth in your teenagers, and discover simple steps you can take to make it fit within your current youth ministry.
For those of you who have never heard of the Tim Tam Slam- I’m sorry. I’m sorry you haven’t experienced this cultural, communal phenomenon. I’m sorry you haven’t tasted this creamy, chocolate bonanza. I’m sorry. The reason you don’t know about it is because no one has told you- and that’s against the rules. Wait, rules? How can a no-holds-barred-chocolate-bonanza have rules!? Calm down. There are only two:
- Rule 1) You must tell people about Tim Tam Slam
- Rule 2) Never slam alone
It’s not an exaggeration to call the Slam a communal experience. It’s an experience that’s meant to be shared, both in participation and awareness.
By most accounts Tim Tam Slam has Australian origins, but also has a strong tradition in the UK. To begin the Slam, bite a small corner off the chocolate cream cookie (said Tim Tam), turn to the other end and bite the other corner. You now essentially have a cookie straw to drink your hot chocolate (or tea in the UK). Dunk the Tim Tam into the hot chocolate and begin to suck. When the hot chocolate gets to your tongue you pop (or slam) the entire cookie in your mouth and let it dissolve without much chewing, if any at all. What ensues is a rush of chocolate intensity you’ve yet to experience. Clearly, this degree of chocolate consumption is not an exercise for the weak of heart!
I introduced the Slam to my high school students at our winter retreat a few weeks back. It was a strategic decision that went beyond just having some giggles with the students. There were 4 main reasons I wanted to do the Slam at camp:
1. Tradition- The students in my high school ministry love being a part of something bigger than themselves. Of course, this is not unique only to our group, but their level of commitment to tradition is one I haven’t seen before. I’ve commonly heard, “but we’ve always done ________” from adults, but here students love saying they’ve been a part of/dressed up for/planned/attended something for years. I knew by unveiling the Slam at camp we would be creating a new tradition for them to enjoy.
2. Buzz- Our winter camp was at a program camp that usually packs out with 400-500. Our weekend was particularly low in attendance and I worried some of the buzz or energy students get when they’re around hundreds of peers might be lost. My hope was that the mystery surrounding the Slam (“Tim Tam Slam? What is this madness? Tell me!”) could help create some anticipation that we could use as fuel for other camp activities.
3. Momentum- After what would have surely been a successful maiden of voyage of the Slam, our students would have bought into the tradition aspect and we’d have higher buy-in and more buzz for the next occurrence of the Slam (or more specifically the camp or event where it took place) therefore perpetuating reasons 1, 2, 3, and…
4. Teachable moment- Remember those rules? Well, those rules in the hands of a wily youth pastor could turn the Slam into an illustration describing following Jesus, evangelism, things we’re passionate about, etc and how we’re supposed to share those things that change our lives and make us do goofy things.
Just to clarify, I’m not claiming ownership of the Slam, nor do I think its some sort of ministry miracle. It is, however, something that when used thoughtfully, can be used for the good of ministry. And anything that reminds us to be intentional, strategic, or thoughtful in ministry is a great thing.
I haven’t cashed in on that teachable moment yet, but the Sunday morning message moment is coming. It won’t be an earth shattering illustration, but hopefully one that students can immediately relate to, personalize, laugh about, and share…. or at least give us another excuse to do the Tim Tam Slam!
Matt Johnston is the High School Pastor at Journey of Faith in Manhattan Beach, CA. He’s been alive for 26 years, in youth ministry for 8, and married for 3. The married part has improved the first two parts greatly- coincidence? He also enjoys slamming Tim Tams on occasion. You can follow Matt on Twitter, if you’re into that sort of thing.
One of the powerful new trends I’m loving is how our students are using Facebook in friendship evangelism. They are sharing their faith and love for Christ with their circle of friends online. For the You Own the Weekend series, students took the series graphic they made for their school’s week and proudly displayed it as their profile picture. Pretty incredible way to get the word out about your student ministry. Maybe something in there is transferable to your church, too?
As you all know, it takes a lot of effort to deliver a stellar outreach meeting, and opinions differ on which of the following are most likely to draw teens in and transform lives:
- A worthy, engaging service project
- Great pizza
- Crazy, fun games
- Your skill at juggling flaming poodles
While the argument could be made that any and all of the above have played a role in bringing teens to Christ (maybe not the poodles…), I believe the very best outreach meeting looks entirely different.
That’s because your teens themselves are the very best outreach meeting ever. When you train and equip them to share the gospel with their friends, you unleash them to become a walking, talking outreach meeting everywhere they go!
Check out the Apostle Paul’s effectiveness in multiplying his ministry by pouring into the lives of those in his spiritual care:
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
Your teens are a letter from Christ, known and read by everybody.
But do you have a strategy for training and equipping your students to become a powerful and compelling letter from Christ? Do they know how to share the gospel? Have you unleashed them to impact their friends for Jesus? If you have an evangelism training strategy that’s working, GREAT! If you don’t, it’s time to get one!
After all, the average teen has 102 friends. And friends have 100 times more influence on their own friends than a stranger does. By training and equipping your teens to be that outreach meeting every day, you leverage their influence and unleash them for relational evangelism. And friends who would never set foot in a youth group meeting will have the chance to hear the Good News.
When you motivate and mobilize your teens to share their faith, everywhere they go they’ll be unleashed to be the best outreach meeting you’ve ever delivered.
If you want some help with evangelism training we have a conference that has helped thousands of teens become more comfortable sharing their faith. In fact, that is what our evangelism training conferences are all about! Click here for more information on Dare 2 Share or to find if the un. Tour conference is coming to an area near you.
Stumbled on to an older post from Len Evans that had some great insight into the etheral concept of “fit”. Here’s an excerpt of his thoughts on how to fit on a team, in a youth ministry or at a church. Good stuff!
1. Theological Fit: This should be obvious but too many youth workers who grew up Baptist wonder why they have a difficult time in a mainline church, or the other way around. Unless you plant your own church there will rarely be a 100% theological match so know your theological non-negotiables.
I had a perfect fit theologically at my first church because the entire pastoral staff went to the same seminary. The differences do make a difference. Just because you are able to get along with someone that holds different theological views doesn’t mean that you can serve in the same church with them. I have a lot of friends from the entire spectrum of Christianity, we can pray together and I know they loved Jesus but I would never be able to work in some of their churches. It’s a matter of conviction and integrity.
2. Philosophical Fit: You and the church may value evangelism but if you don’t agree on how to do evangelism eventually you will have conflict. If one person in your church wants to hand out Chick tracts to anyone and everyone and another person wants to have a holistic approach to reaching their friends, there will be a conflict when they discuss evangelism. If the church defines youth worker as events coordinator and you think of yourself as a pastor who is about equipping others for ministry, there will be problems eventually.
3. Personal Fit: This applies primarily to the working and personal relationship with the senior pastor, although it also impacts other church leadership and personal interactions. A friend of mine spoke to almost 400 senior pastors at the ’96 National Clergy Conference in Atlanta. He asked “Who’s really close to their youth pastor”? Only one pastor slowly raised his hand. Everyone in a church setting should do what they can to ensure that more hands are raised at the next Pastor’s Conference when that question is asked.