Returning to Faith

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An elderly couple’s home was literally falling down around them. The husband had built the house himself. But 50 years of buffeting by wind and rain had nearly turned the house into a fragile, unstable shack.


When our workcamp began, the couple’s new home was almost complete. Our crew applied fresh paint inside and out, put the finishing touches on the house, and then moved the old furniture from the crumbling shack to the new house.

The husband had a difficult time while the work crews labored during the summer. His wife confided that he had grown bitter toward God years ago when a car wreck killed their son. The husband rejected the church, where he had been an elder, and refused even to pray at the dinner table. His wife had remained faithful in the hope that he would return to his Christian way of life.

At first, he ignored the groups working diligently on his property. But as the summer progressed, he became more open to the young people. When our crew members finished moving all the furniture, they decided to have a dedication ceremony on the last day of the workcamp. While the participants were singing a hymn, the bitter, old mountaineer began to sing. His wife nearly collapsed with surprise!

Then, as prayers were being offered for God’s blessing on the new home, the old man offered a prayer that God would accept him once again into his family. Everyone was in tears, and his wife sang a special song of praise to God for the presence of the young Christian witnesses who had worked their way into her husband’s heart.

For more information on Group Mission Trips or potential Summer 2018 Mission Experiences for your church, visit www.groupmissiontrips.com

Workcamps Bring Willing Workers

Photos by campers, not Rodney Stewart.

                         Group Mission Trips – Photos by campers, not Rodney Stewart.

One very old Blackfoot Indian on a reservation in Montana was invaded by six energetic, but somewhat nervous workcampers. The kids knew that the old gentleman had become depressed after his wife died three years earlier, and he had let the house fall into shambles.

The work crew was assigned a list of tough projects for a week: painting inside and out, repairing broken windows and doors, rebuilding the back steps, and putting a new roof on the house.

With no time to lose, some of the girls began to clean the walls inside the house in preparation for some fresh paint. But when they opened the door to a backroom, they discovered what must have been a three-year supply of clothes piled in huge stacks throughout the room. A slender pathway wound through the mountains of clothing. And the walls couldn’t be painted until all the clothes were moved.

The group members decided that they would wash the old man’s clothes in the kitchen sink. Then someone discovered an ancient washing machine under one of the mounds of clothes. Soon, clothes hung from every clothesline and fence in the yard.

By the end of the week, the crew members had a new friend they called “Gramps,” and he had a huge smile on his face to go along with his rejuvenated house. The resident beamed with happiness as he bounced across the room to see the closets full of freshly washed clothes. And he proudly said that his new friends had taught him how to use the washer.

Perhaps his deep three-year-old pain healed a bit as the crew cranked up the washer that only his wife had used before. His clothes wouldn’t create miniature mountains of smelly fabric again. Pride in his home returned with the invasion of the visitors who respectfully waded into the back rooms of his homes.

The kids were channels through which God’s love flowed into this old man’s life. Both he and his new friends would never again be the same.

Each of the crew members knew what it was like to find that “lost coin” in a house they had cleaned—and painted, and re-roofed, and repaired. Each of the workers felt a special glow inside, knowing that they had done something special for someone who clearly needed their help.

For more information on Group Mission Trips or potential Summer 2018 Mission Experiences for your church, visit www.groupmissiontrips.com

FREE Online Family Ministry Event!

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D6 Days 2018 is ONE WEEK away, but you still have time to save your spot! Be sure to register and take advantage of this FREE opportunity.

D6 Days is an online experience that will help further the family ministry conversation all around the world. It happens in just a week and you do not want to miss out!

Join thousands of other family ministry leaders for this online event.

Preschool teachers, youth workers, pastors, volunteers, and parents are all invited to this two-day event. Register now and save your spot for FREE.

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Introducing MinistryDownloads ALL ACCESS

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I’m so stoked to be able to announce MinistryDownloads ALL ACCESS has officially launched today.   After several months of work, we’re excited to be able to offer Church Leaders the opportunity to become a member of our site and download as many resources as they like for their church or ministry.

We’re also allowing leaders to sign up at a SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER of just $17 per month\12 mos.  This is unprecedented.  You will want to sign up NOW before the price jumps.  Click [here] to check out ALL ACCESS and to sign-up now, friends!

Thanks so much for your support of MinistryDownloads.com.

Developing Relationships with Navajo Partners

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“Yá’át’ééh.” “Hello” in Navajo.

Recently, I traveled to Southern Utah to meet with local Workcamps partners and community members in preparation for our Summer 2018 Montezuma Creek Challenge Workcamp.

My week was filled with newness. New languages spoken. New meals shared. New sites seen. And while the experiences of eating fry bread with every supper and adventuring through the desert canyons were top-notch, my favorite part was actually the familiarity of building relationships with people who care about their community.

I am constantly blown away that no matter what city or area I am visiting, I experience genuine hospitality and the expression of love from a community and the people who call it home.

As we drove down unmarked red dirt roads, our partners were able to identify homes that we’ve previously worked on not by a site number or even by the home repair work completed, but by the resident’s name and story.

They shared stories of residents who were impacted by the youth who came to serve, residents whose homes would have otherwise crumbled without new roofs that were installed by participants, and residents whose stories forever changed the lives of our staff and youth.

In every meeting with schools and Navajo chapter leaders, I so valued that the importance was never to just talk business. We got to know each other, checked in on our lives, and kept the conversation focused on the people we cared for. I heard new names and new stories, but the heart behind it all was the same.

It’s this type of community development—the kind where relationships and stories come alive—that I am so proud to be a part of.

“Ahéhee”, my Navajo “thank” you for an incredible week.

For more information on Group Mission Trips or potential Summer 2018 Mission Experiences for your church, visit www.groupmissiontrips.com

 

The Top 10 Most Downloaded Episodes of 2017

We just released our 121st Podcast Episode highlighting our Most Downloaded Podcast Episodes of the Year!  It was so much fun looking back and seeing what episodes got the most traction by you, our listeners.  Thanks for making this year so great. I look forward to an incredible 2018 with you.

Here are the Top 10 Most Downloaded Episodes of 2017 (beginning with most downloaded) highlighted in this Podcast Episode:

1. EP 114: The Growth Engine for Ministry – with Chris Wesley (download on iTunes)
2. EP 119: How to Help Students with Special Needs  – with David Olshine (download on iTunes)
3. EP 115: Alone Sucks! – with Tim Eldred (download on iTunes)
4. EP 89: Teaching Generation Z – with Terry Linhart (download on iTunes)
5. EP 117: The Myth of Balance – with Frank Bealer (download on iTunes)
6. EP 92: Preparing For Your Next Role – with Brian Aaby (download on iTunes)
7. EP 96: How to Team Up With Parents – with Phil Bell (download on iTunes)
8. EP 91: Best Practices for Healthy Small Groups  – with Terrace Crawford and Leneita Fix (download on iTunes)
9. EP 102: The Self Aware Leader – with Terry Linhart (download on iTunes)
10. EP 98: Leading Without Power – with Mark Oestreicher (download on iTunes)

Join thousands of other youth workers and listen to episodes weekly [here] on the podcast site, or click [here] to access iTunes!

Final Hours Left to Save

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ONE DAY LEFT TO SAVE

It is getting close!
Register your team now and save.

The price increases SUNDAY at Midnight!

Why wait? After tomorrow our discount price will be gone! Use the code BRINGMYBOSS and your senior pastor can join you for FREE. Register by TOMORROW and you get $100 off per person. We do not want you and your team to miss out on such a great deal.

Join us and hear from more than 30 speakers, network with trending churches, and develop your family ministry strategy. It is the one conference for your entire ministry team.

Register by TOMORROW and receive the discount! 

A multi-model family ministry event for your whole team, the D6 Conference is a place to learn about God’s original plan for discipleship and how that applies in our ministries and homes.

registerhere

7 Reasons I Attend the Orange Conference

I cannot believe the Orange Conference will soon be here again!  For my money, it is as good a three days as Christian leaders can get but I’m stoked to be a part of the Social Media team again this year.  Click HERE to find out more about the Orange Conference.

The following are 7 Reasons I Personally Attend The Orange Conference and you should too:

  1. It Gives Me A Chance To Meet You – One of the highlights of this conference, without question, is getting the opportunity to meet my friends and followers!  It is a wonderful opportunity to connect. Make sure to stop me and say “Hello!” if you see me.
  2. Reggie Joiner – Reggie is the Founder and CEO of Orange. Reggie does a great job helping equip leaders to reach the next generation.  I will never forget his talk on “Tension” a couple of years ago. Still one of the best talks for ministry leaders I’ve ever heard (seek out the audio on it… and listen closely)!
  3. Keynote Sessions – Orange features some of the best speakers on the planet. It doesn’t get much better than speakers like Andy Stanley, Doug Fields, Reggie Joiner and others.
  4. The Most Practical Content – I absolutely LOVE practical stuff. For me, this is one of the benefits of attending Orange. Aside from the Keynote sessions, attending breakouts & workshops give you the chance to go a little deeper. I love it!
  5. The Tribal Gathering – When is the last time you were with 7,000 people who do what you do? That’s what it’s like attending this conference.  You’re with your tribe for 3 days. People who have been there. People who get you. Hanging out with like-minded people for 3 days – there is nothing like it!
  6. FUN – While you feel like you are drinking from a fire house during the conference, it is SO much fun. You’ll laugh a LOT!  Orange is one of the most fun, creative conferences I have ever attended!
  7. The Best Tools And Resources – Orange simply provides you with a great opportunity to pick up resources!  You’ll walk away with some freebies from organizations on-site, but you’ll want to make sure you budget some funds to pick up quality resources while there!

If you have not decided yet, I can’t do any better!  Click HERE for more information.  I really hope to see you there!

If you can’t make it, just follow my social media channels (particularly my Twitter) for updates, the inside scoop, and great content!  I’d also like to encourage you to follow these bloggers during the conference.

Full Disclosure: Orange is a sponsor of my Podcast. I am absolutely HONORED they think enough of my voice and my resources for Youth Workers, particularly, that they sponsor my content. Having said that, I would write every word of this post regardless of whether or not they exchanged any money with me.  Truth!

It’s Orange Bloggers Week!

This week is great in the world of Blogging.  You’re still reading this, right?  

IT’S ORANGE BLOGGERS WEEK!

What is Orange Bloggers Week?  It’s when a great team of Blogger friends from all over the country serving in different ministries share about their experiences with Orange. This week you’ll hear from me & my experience with Orange and I’ve linked you up (see below) to many other leaders who are making an impact around the nation who also LOVE them some Orange!

The 2018 Orange Conference is coming up soon and there is no better time to sign up than right now! In fact, if you sign up by December 14, you can save $70 per person AND get some extra content from the Orange Tour.  I just confirmed my attendance moments ago!  I look forward to being with you in Atlanta, in just a couple months!

Take a few moments and give each of these a follow\subscribe.  Check out their content and enjoy this week… when blogging picks up!  Talk soon!

Follow These Bloggers!

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The $7 Christmas Bundle

It doesn’t get better than this.

Ah-mazing deal over at MinistryDownloads.com going on right now (for a super-limited time only!). 

Get this Christmas bundle for ONLY $7.00. 

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This bundle includes:

  • Done-For-You Christmas Instagram\Social Media Graphics
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  • Event Planner
  • Templates & More!
  • PLUS+ Bonus Downloads

[Click here] to get this bundle before it’s gone.  And check out the other great resources from all our site contributors too!  Many great resources for Christmas.