my life as a student minister

Posts tagged ‘speaking to students’

Need to updated your ministry volunteers?

We use a free service called “MailChimp” to update our 40 or so active staff. We also use mailchimp for our mission teams, all ministry info email, parent communications, etc. If you’re email group will have 1,000 people or less and out of that, you’ll seen less than 6,000 emails then you qualify for their free account.



The top 5 reasons we like MailChimp:

1. Stupid easy!
2. Quickly and easily send custom email templates to fit your ministry design
3. Stats like crazy
4. Social postings (Twitter/Facebook)
5. Schedule emails

If you are looking for a quality email service and don’t want to waste precious ministry money, check out this service!

Preaching with stories

I’m really excited for 2010’s preaching schedule! We spent the most part of October/November thinking through how we would approach this year in student ministry. (In case you didn’t know, I preach almost every week.) This year we really wanted to focus on teaching our students how to tell their stories by giving them insight into biblical characters. It goes like this…

Instead of us preaching by book, chapter, verse, or even topic, we’re taking a different approach. We’re focusing on PEOPLE in the Bible. We’re specifically looking at how their testimony would look if we were to ask them today. What would Adam’s testimony be? Eve? Noah?

For example, tomorrow I’m preaching on Eve. Typically we only associate her with the fall and how that basically screwed everything up. BUT, if she were to tell it, I don’t think that would be the defining part of her testimony. I think, like many of us, it would be something in the past. A point in time where we sinned and realized we are apart from God. Granted, Eve’s was the first, but I don’t think that changes anything. Eve lived for a really long time. I’m sure she experienced God in other ways.

So, as you sit and plan out your messages, I encourage you to look at the individual you’re preaching on. Ask yourself what their story is and how they would tell it. I promise it’ll open up your eyes to new biblical truths about God!

Not to leave you hanging… I think Eve’s testimony went like this:

“I thought I was making a good choice, but I really wasn’t. Man, I really wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I could have remained innocent and been totally satisfied with God. Even though I reached up and grabbed that apple, looking back now, that wasn’t the turning point in my life. Sure, I walked with God, and I would give anything to have that back. However, in the process of making a stupid decision I saw a different side of God. I no longer took him for granted. Even though our actions set into effect a chain reaction of the need for restoration, God never left me. Sure my actions changed our relationship, but He proved faithful and never left my side. I remember the first murder. At that moment, I understood how God’s heart must have felt when we stepped away from Him. My heart hurt so bad for Abel. I asked myself why Cain felt he needed to kill his brother. Such horrible things happened and knowing it was all my fault (I did bring sin into the world) was more than I could bare. Yet, God was still with me. He was still faithful. He even let me know that though I messed things up, He would restore the world through my womb. I’m not for sure exactly what that meant, but I do know the serpent who lied to me with be destroyed. I know now, I don’t need to know everything. That’s the beauty of God. He’s waiting for us to trust him and let him lead. His love never fails. “

Text Message Ministry [Updated x2]

Our ministry made the decision to start using a text message solution for our students and parents. I’m curious to see what you guys use for your service. I’ve complied a list of a couple text messaging solutions to get the list started. Let me know if you find any other solutions.

What we use right now:
Tatango– Starts at $24.00 a month with 300 messages and 2 keywords. It comes with a free 30 day trial and you can cancel anytime. You can also send to multiple groups. iPhone friendly.

Other options:
SimplyTXT– This service is by Simply Youth Ministry. Starts at $10.00 a month with 50 contacts, 1 group, 30 group messages, no keywords. A free trial is offered.

EzTexting– Pay as you go option (2.5 cents for standard messages), Monthly plans start at $10.00 with 400 standard messages, $25 per keyword. A free trial is offered.

TextChurch– Plans start at $24.95 for 350 messages. No contract.

TextMarks– Free ad-supported option. Includes 3 keywords with unlimited messages. Non-ad versions provided starting at $9.95. (Thanks Keith! Twitter: Keith_Parker1)


Trumpia– Our ministry is now using this service instead of Tatango.

Rite of Passage

This past weekend we ended a series on purity with two retreats. We planned our series to discuss some major issues so that we the retreat started we weren’t at square one. I decided early on that I wanted to end this series with two retreats–one for the guys and one for the girls. From the beginning, I felt pretty strong that these retreats should look a lot different. I didn’t want to force our guys to attend a “typical” purity retreat filled with workshops and class time. Heck, I didn’t even want to attend something like that and I’m one of the ministers. So, Neil (the other student minister) and I set out to plan something totally different. We set our hearts on a “rite of passage” retreat. The number one thing we wanted to communicate was that they have what it takes to be a Godly man in a ungodly world. Our goal was to provide adventure, set up challenges, and engage them on a man to man level. Now that the retreats over, I can reflect a bit about what took place. Here are some major things that we set up for these guys.


1. We rented a cabin on a lake.
(We actually rented a cabin at the local Christian service camp which sits on a lake)

2. We took off our shirts and “came clean.”
Each person gave their testimony without a shirt on to symbolize transparency. We then gave them a shirt to write their struggles on. Everyone wore that shirt the whole weekend until we burned them.

3. We decided that we wanted to have a “renaming” ceremony at a campfire.
We spent a lot of time choosing a specific Hebrew name for each of our guys. Even our sponsors got the name treatment. Our first night at the campfire, we lined them up from oldest to youngest and had them stand in silence while we gave each person their new name. To make it cool, we wrote their new name on their face with paint. It rocked!

4. We recreated the walk of Jesus to the cross.
We woke the guys up at 4:30 AM to walk the walk. Neil and I found on the internet that they estimated that Jesus carried 120 pounds 670 yards. We bought tube bags of sand had each guy carry 60lbs for a mile on their shoulders.  Before we left we had a devotion that talked about being a team and how Christ makes us strong. During the walk we encouraged the guys to recite Scripture to encourage those struggling. Everyone completed the walk. It was amazing! After the walk we came back and burned our “struggle shirts” on the fire.
5. We had a wicked airsoft fight!
This is a given for our guys…I lost my temper and unloaded a magazine on Neil. One made his face ooze. He’s a good sport!

6. We answered THE question.
These guys have what it takes. It’s that simple. They have what it takes to be a man. A man that can put God at the center of their lives. A man that can take control of dating relationships and set boundaries and lead spiritually. A man that isn’t controlled by their flesh. A man empowered by the work of the cross. Every guy needs that question answered. We did our best to answer it.

We had loads of fun. I encourage you to consider doing something out of the ordinary for your guys.

Family Feud

I found this article from another blog that I read. It’s a re-blog of a blog. I didn’t write it, but it’s great. You can find the original article here.

Here are some ways I’m partnering with the family to work through their issues:
1. Write a contract with your parents. Often we think of asking parents to write a contract to keep their kids in line. However, a student who is serious about repairing a relationship would do well to write a contract outlining specific benchmarks they can reach. This will show he is making a genuine effort to improve.
2. Stop pushing their buttons. This is a big issue in many relationships. I’ve helped families through conflict where they intentionally hurt each using hot-button issues as a weapon of choice. This may seem like a no-brainer to tell them to stop pushing each others’ buttons. However, unless somebody points out the pattern, they may not realize it’s happening. This is not an easy habit to break. I frequently challenge students to be the one to break this cycle of eye-for-an-eye relational combat. Relationships won’t have peace until they stop destructive patterns.
3. Accept your parents’ authority. I’ve told several students over the years that even when your parents are wrong, they’re right. They could be legitimately wrong or they could know something the student doesn’t. If they’re wrong and you fight against them, prideful defense mechanisms go up so they have more trouble making things right when the truth is revealed. If parents know something students don’t, they’ll be protected from what parents are trying to prevent.

Accepting parental authority goes even deeper than that, though. The Bible commands that children obey their parents and allows parents to kill their children if they don’t. I don’t bring that last part up because that’s one seed I don’t want to plant.

As students learn to submit to authority in the family relationships will be restored, disagreements will be less frequent, and understanding will happen more easily. I explain to students that when there’s not a struggle to get their way, they’ll get more of what they’re looking for or realize the wisdom behind why they don’t.

How I’ve helped his parents:
1. Brag on the student. Even parents with the most strained relationships with their kids well up with healthy pride when they hear me bragging on their child. I get the privilege of seeing students at their best. They won’t throw the tantrums around me like they do at home. Their parents need somebody to remind them that their out-of-control monster actually has a good side and a heart open to serving others, participating in discussions and learning about God….

Series Run down Volume 6

Date: February 22, 2009
Teaching Series: Xposed
Key Passages: 1 John 2:15-17, 2 Corinthians 4:18, Romans 12:2
Service Length: 60 minutes
Attendance: up 31% over the same time last year, up 7% over previous service

Worship Set: Undignified, Take, Take, Take it All, Mighty to Save, Revelation Song

Message Summary: This week we talked about everything XXX. We allowed God’s Word to speak into our lives in regards to pornography and sexting. As we read Scripture, we tried to put it into practice.

Student Involvement: Students made up the worship band, ran lights, sound, and media. Students also served at our guest check-in, and served all over the church.
Fun Stuff/Special Elements: We began our service by using an interactive “text-to-screen” application. We surveyed our students on 4 questions. 1. How many people have a facebook acccount (warm-up)? 2. How many people have looked at porn in the past week (separate guys/girls response)? 3. How many people have sent a sexually explicit text message? 4. How many people have taken a picture of themselves in a sexually explicit way? We didn’t expect some of the results. For example, about 30% of our girls had looked at pornography in the past week.

Being Jesus in the World

This video was passed to me from a fellow pastor on staff here at Greenwood Christian Church. It’s a short video that details one way we can tell others about our faith and mandate to be Jesus in this world. Here is a link to the original blog post. Let me know what you think…

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