Don’t Let #2017 Get Away With This …

I have a resolution for YOU and ME.
 
This year, 2017, let’s work to make our relationships better.
 
Seriously people.
 
We are SO lame sometimes when it comes to relationships.
 
It’s not that hard, people.
 
How many times has a friend or family member said “Hey, let’s talk soon?” Or “Let’s do lunch soon, k?”
 
And it never happens.
 
Good intentions, yes. But it doesn’t happen as much as it should.
 
It’s 2017 people.
 
We have phones (connected to our heads at all times!), the internet, vehicles, and SO many other means of getting us face to face with someone or ear to ear in mere seconds.
 
There is no excuse.
 
You are NOT that busy.
 
I’ve reached out to people on numerous occasions (sometimes for an ENTIRE YEAR) about talking with me. Did I say a YEAR? Yes.
 
And just today someone vented to me that they are weary of reaching out to someone who has told them several times over a 3 year period that “they’d like to get to know her.”
 
Did I say 3 years? Yes.
 
The busiest person I know (I’m talking the leader of a Company…family man… wears about 15 more hats than I do kinda guy…) gets back to me within 24 hours when I reach out to him. Every single time!
 
“Relationships are the most important thing to us,” we say.
 
Let that sink in for a moment.
 
What means the most to people on their death bed? Their relationships.
 
And we let dumb stuff and silly stuff come between us.
 
We grow apart.
 
We isolate ourselves from each other.
 
And yes, make lots of lame excuses.
 
If someone means something to you, let them know.
 
If it’s important to you, make time for it. Make time for them.
 
You are not that busy.
 
It can be done.
 
Don’t let 2017 divide us like 2016 (and so many years before) did.
 

What God Told Me About Donald Trump

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Less than 48 hours ago God spoke to me about Donald Trump.

Before I share this, let me just say, I know some people reading this don’t believe in God, some don’t understand how God speaks, and others will doubt that God said this [to me] at all … but it’s my experience, my testimony.  Just please honor this, if you would, and hear me out.

I’ve actually always had a hard time describing what it’s like when God speaks to you.

Even as pastor and Bible college graduate, I’ve had a hard time explaining the voice of God. But, I’ve always explained [the voice of God] this way to people: when you hear it, it’s undeniable.  It’s like hearing your mom or dad speak to you.  You KNOW their voice.

So, less than 48 hours ago I believe God said this to me:

Rally as many Christians world-wide, as possible, to pray for America. Pray for healing.  Pray for unity. Pray for Donald Trump and all newly elected leaders for 21 days.

Immediately I was humbled.

Anytime God speaks to you it should humble you.

Then I realized something remarkable.

Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on the 20th day of January.  His first full day of his Presidency will be on the 21st day of the year.  There’s your 21 days.

So immediately I sprang into action.

I shared the word with a few close friends.

And then recruited them to help me get as many people to commit to prayer for the first 21 days of the year as possible.

If you want to join me for 21 days of consecutive prayer, to God, for America, and for our newly elected leaders please visit www.TwentyOneDays.org.

MinistryDownloads – BOGO Offer!

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BIG NEWS from MinistryDownloads.com.   We’re offering a BOGO Deal for the next 3 days!  You can BUY a Resource Bundle for yourself and then GIFT one to another friend\youth worker\church leader!  It’s been exciting today to see leaders gifting other pastors. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Hurry, this offer ends Wednesday, December 7th, at 11:59PM EST.
Go [here] to MinistryDownloads.com

New Site: MinistryDownloads.com

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I’m stoked to be able to announce that I have launched a brand-new resource site, MinistryDownloads.com!   I’ve always wanted to create a hub where I could share resources that I’ve created and curated for ministry and ministry leaders, and just a couple of days ago it became a reality!

The site debuts on #BlackFriday – just mere hours away – with an Epic Resource Bundle of resources (over $500 worth of resources actually!) available for ONLY $49!!!

The FIRST 10 people to purchase the bundle when it releases will receive an additional bonus (we’re giving away gift cards, additional downloads, and other prizes too!). Sign-up here, to be notified when the bundle releases… as it will be released at a super secret, undisclosed time on Friday, November 25, 2016!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Voting Isn’t All That Matters Tomorrow

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On this final night before the Election (thank God!), I am so sad at
what shape our country is in after this election. I think the candidates
we have chosen reflect where we are at as a nation. It’s rather
pathetic. In fact, tonight on CBS News, Bob Schieffer said “It’s like
our country is under a curse, based on the candidates we have.”

Honestly, I hate the way elections go for us. We’ve been enduring this
cycle now for 2 years…and when you think about it, we are picking
a president at this point based on who smears their opponent better.

People have bought into this negative speak. I’ve tried to be careful
of what I’ve said, when I’ve said it, but I’ll admit it’s been difficult.
Some people have been down right cruel and I’ve had several people
say nasty things to me (personally). Which is quite ironic, considering
most of these same people are quick to call out Trump (for example)
on the nasty things that he has said. Hypocritical much?

So today I’ve thought about our election process. Weird, I know.

What would it have been like if we had nominees who shared their
policies a year out (2 years is too long, right?) and then spent the year
on a “Do Good” campaign … and after that year we compare what each
candidate did with their time & resources for one year (coupled with
their policies) and cast our vote then? Think of all the $$$ the candidates
raise & pour into negative ads alone? These dollars would be spent doing
good! Wow. What that year could do for our country would be AMAZING.

We really need to rethink our democracy.

With this said, VOTE. Get out tomorrow and VOTE.

I’m not voting for a candidate. I’m voting strictly on policy. Both
candidates are flawed (some people are still in denial about that),
so either way this election goes, as I see it, we still need to depend
on God’s guidance for our president-elect and the direction of our
country.

Voting tomorrow isn’t all that matters though.

As one of my friends put it today: “It matters more how I treat people
tomorrow than it does how I vote. It matters whether I love the unlovely,
respect those who disagree with me, help the helpless, honor my wife
and my kids, and act toward the person who cuts me off in traffic. That’s
how the world is changed. One loving act at a time.”

And tomorrow, regardless of how the election goes… let’s just agree to
move forward and be better (especially better to each other!) We need
each other and we need God.

May God have mercy on us. May he guide our country. May he keep
people from acting fool after tomorrow’s decision is made. And may
God bless America again.

4 Tips for Empowering Students to Serve

Every youth pastor has felt the pressure to have a high energy youth ministry program in their church, but if you really want the next generation to be actively involved you have to get them serving.

I appeared today on the Nick Blevins Family Ministry Podcast, and discussed my advocacy for empowering students to serve in ministry. You can listen to the entire interview [here] or on iTunes [here].

On the show I discussed a number of things, but I mention some keys to empowering teens to serving.  I’ll share 4 of these with you here, but you’ll have to listen to the podcast for the rest.

4 TIPS FOR EMPOWERING STUDENTS TO SERVE:

  1. Identify clear roles and needs and then provide clear paths for students to serve.
  2. Connect with other ministries and advocate for students serving.
  3. Consider setting up time parameters and seasons for serving positions.
  4. Partner with organizations to help students serve in the community.

I explain each of these in greater detail in my conversation with Nick Blevins. Listen to this episode, then comment here or Tweet me (@terracecrawford) with your feedback!

#DeepDishGiveaway at #SYMC16

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I’m stoked about the Simply Youth Ministry Conference coming up in just a couple of weeks!  So much so that I decided to create a fun giveaway for people that are planning to attend. If you’re planning to join us in Chicago, enter my #DeepDishGiveaway for a chance to have FREE Deep Dish Pizza with me and several of the #SYMC presenters. It’s going to be fun!  And hey, we’re talking about Chicago’s Deep Dish!  This is no joke!

Get registered for the conference now, if you haven’t already!  And use my EXCLUSIVE discount code ((TERRACE)) which will save you $36 when you register.  And then ENTER the giveaway to join me for some deep dish!

Get your FREE #LifeBooks!

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Check this out.  Our friends at TheLifeBook.com want to give you FREE Life Books for your ministry! This is an amazing resource that you can use for outreach in your ministry — particularly with See You at the Pole, coming up at the end of September!

  • What is The Life Book? The Life Book contains the Gospel of John (ESV) and includes interactive student comments and scripture helps for issues students face. Over 1.3 Million students have handed out nearly 20 Million Life Books since 2010.
  • How Many LifeBooks can you request? Yes. Feel free to request up to 2,000 FREE Life Books and have your students hand them out all throughout the school year. This is a great way to foster an evangelistic mindset in students. (Our experience recommends you request 25 Life Books per student in your youth group to hand out.)
  • Is it really free? Absolutely. No strings attached. They are completely funded by The Gideons International, an organization who has been responsible for dispersing over 90 Million Bibles in its existence!
  • When is the deadline to order? You can get them at any time; however, if you want LifeBooks in time for See You at the Pole activities, you’ll need to request them by tomorrow, Friday, September 9th at TheLifeBook.com.
  • More info?  Visit www.TheLifeBook.com to find out more information or to request as many Life Books as you’d like.

 

ReVamp Your #YouthMin Outreach!

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Just 5 years ago I signed on to help Water Mission International raise awareness about the need for clean water globally. It was incredible to work with this organization to raise support and also help meet the needs of those who suffer daily due to lack of clean water.

Water Mission, a Christian nonprofit that builds safe water solutions in developing countries and disaster areas, now invites your Youth Group to participate in an exciting new learning experience this Fall – Project Disaster!

Think about this … If a natural disaster struck your hometown what would your students need to do in order to survive? Water Mission wants you to take a look at your Fall or Spring calendar and consider an event or series of events to help your students get a taste of what it’s like to survive should disasters strike and what refugees worldwide experience every day.   You can choose among 9 different activities, depending on length of your event (day, evening, or even overnight events) — much like a 30-hour famine experience — where students experience firsthand what a refugee or survivor might go through to meet their daily needs like food, water and shelter. And Water Mission wants to help you with the planning too!

Check this out ... You can get a FREE PLANNING KIT from Water Mission (includes T-Shirt, Wristbands, & Materials!), and you’ll also be entered to WIN A FREE International Trip to see the impact of safe water firsthand! Go [here] and sign up now!  Amazing!

5 Ways to Reach Students with #PokemonGO

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Whether you care personally about the latest phenomenon in the #PokemonGO app or not, this is a pretty big deal.  Churches are beginning to see random passersby show up on their doorsteps because of this app!   The popular video game app mixes augmented reality with a form of geocaching and has literally swept the nation.  In fact, nearly 35 million people are using the app now… surpassing popular platforms like Twitter.

In our latest podcast, This Week in Youth Ministry, I interviewed Nils Smith, VP of Social Media and Innovation for the Dunham Company (TX) about how to leverage this game to reach students for Christ. [Click here] to launch and listen in iTunes now.

During the show I shared 8 ways churches can capitalize on PokemonGO. I referenced an article [here], which includes all 8, but I’ll share a few here with you.

5 Ways Churches Can Reach Students with PokemonGO:

1. Check Your Church on the Game – The first thing you want to do is download PokemonGo to your smartphone. Begin to familiarize yourself with the app and check to see if your church is a “Pokestop” or “gym!”  If you are in a larger city you might have more foot traffic, but knowing if your church is a stop or gym will give you a better idea of how to engage people who come by your church!

2. Create a Welcome Area for Players – Churches who are intentional about reaching people will take this opportunity to interact with the public.  Check out what Kyle’s church did.  Kyle shared [this] with our Facebook group. It’s a welcome area for players where they offer free snacks and prizes too – brilliant.

3. Post About it on Social Media – There’s already a buzz about #PokemonGo online, so why not join the conversation? If your church is doing something unique (or really anything at all!) share it on your social media.  This will create more interests in your ministry.

4. Bring Pokemon to Your Church – You can actually lure people to your church or ministry by creating a “Lure Module” that will draw in Pokemon to Pokestops for 30+ minutes! Check out this article in Forbes that I just read about how to lure more people your way!

5. Let Your Students Shine! –  One thing Nils & I talked about on the podcast is this is a great opportunity to let your students lead. Your students will know more about this app\game than you.  Why not host a night soon where you allow a couple of students to teach everyone how to play and equip them to reach their friends!  Giving your teens a chance to share will create a buzz in itself and create interests in your ministry.

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