7 Prayers You Can Pray for Your Mission Team

This summer your students and adults may be embarking on a mission trip (whether short term or long term) and it’s important to cover this experience in prayer.  Today I thought it would be helpful to share a number of things you can specifically pray for as you prepare:

7 Prayers You Can Pray for Your Mission Team:

1. Pray for the spiritual preparation of your team. Mission trips are not for the spiritually weak—they require recognition of the spiritual war we are facing. Pray that your teams will be spiritually prepared for the work and war they are sure to face. See Paul’s prayer for spiritual boldness in Ephesians 6:19.

2. Pray for the financial support of the mission team. When Jesus sent out his witnesses, he told them to trust the provision offered in the villages for their wages and sustenance (Matthew 10:9-10; Luke 10:4-8). Pray that God would meet the financial obligations of each team member and mission trip.

3. Pray for the health and safety of the mission team. Traveling to your mission destination can drastically affect the health and strength of mission team participants. Getting sick is just a normal part of travel (particularly if you are going international). However there is precedent for praying for the health and safety of mission teams in in travel. Pray that your teams will experience safe travel and health protection while on the mission trip.

4. Pray that the mission team will not let the platform take the place of the mission. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commissioned us to make disciples. That’s our mission. Sometimes need-based ministries (like construction projects, etc.) are the “platforms” that give opportunity for mission trips… and these projects can quickly become the measurement for success. Pray for your team— that the focus would be disciple-making, even while working through projects and platforms.

5. Pray for the flexibility of the mission team. Sometimes our mission plans require revision and flexibility. Acts 16:6-10 records Paul’s prevention by the Holy Spirit of going into Asia and the Macedonian call. Mission teams must learn to trust God’s plan, not their own, and be spiritually discerning. Pray that your teams will be flexible in their planning and discern what God wants to accomplish on the mission trip.

6.  Pray for the spiritual wisdom and loving service of the mission team. One of Paul’s prayers for the Ephesian church was that they would grow in spiritual wisdom and depth of love (Ephesians 3:14-20). Mission team members need an abundance of wisdom and love, and God desires to provide it. Pray that your team members will be abundantly wise and discerning as well as filled with love for those whom they will serve and share with.

7. Pray for the spiritual development, strength and growth of the churches and organizations that your teams will work with. Paul encouraged, commended, challenged and prayed for the churches, elders and leaders of the Ephesian church before he finally parted ways with them (Acts 20:17-38). Mission teams are only a part of God’s ongoing work in the world. Churches, organizations, pastors and believers across the globe will continue God’s work far longer than a mission team serves on a mission trip. Pray for the partner churches, pastors and organizations to have strength, growth and success in fulfilling God’s disciple-making mission in their own context.

Two Cents Tuesday: Camp

“Two Cents Tuesdays” is a blog series where you get to help other church leaders who are struggling where they are. I take one question (one scenario) each week from my mail bag (…er email inbox) and share it with you (protecting the innocent of course by keeping it anonymous). I want your TWO CENTS. 

((This week I have a theme running on the blog around camp\missions trips, so this is one of the most recent questions I have received in my inbox pertaining to camp)):  

How would you handle a student who brought drugs to camp?

 

Here’s my two cents:  First of all, this is a very (real) unfortunate situation.  Handling something like this, with care, is important.  Typically I have something mentioned on our camp form(s) about drugs\narcotics being prohibited from camp, so a student bringing along drugs would be in direct violation of breaking the rules. Aside from that, this is probably a direct violation to the rules of the camp too.

Initially I would have a meeting with key leader(s) and discuss how to approach this.  There would be an inevitable confrontation needed with the teen, and if the student has drugs on them, then leadership should determine if the student should be sent home or not.  If the camp is made aware of the situation (you have to determine if they should), they may demand the student be sent home.  Here’s the thing … you must deal with it.  Other students in your group will be made aware of it, and how you handle will set a precedent. Bottom line: The teen ultimately needs to be disciplined for breaking the rules.

I know it’s hard to send students home from a camp experience, but be encouraged by this … your tough love and grace-filled response to the student in this scenario could teach them immeasurably more than they’d ever learn at camp.

What are YOUR two cents?  Leave a comment on how you’d handle this situation.

#SelfieForTheSwag

Today is #NationalSelfieDay.  Not really sure why we have a “national” day for this… but hey, we’re game for fun here!   If you’ve been listening to the Podcast the last couple of weeks, we’ve been encouraging our listeners to upload a selfie of where they listen to the Podcast!  And we thought we’d make it interesting and award FREE SWAG at random to folks who upload those selfies!   Take a moment, today, upload your selfie … and we may be sending you some FREE SWAG soon!

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5 Disturbing Trends in Youth Ministry (and How to Fix Them)

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Today on the Podcast I interviewed my friend, David Olshine, author of What’s Gone Wrong with Youth Ministry about 5 disturbing trends he has identified in Youth Ministry. David is a youth worker with more than 40+ years experience and is the current Chairman of the Youth Ministry Department at Columbia International University.

You can listen [here] on iTunes or catch it here on the podcast site.

I’ll share the 5 Disturbing Trends with you here, but you’ll have to listen to the Podcast to know how we’ll fix them:

1. Lack of Student Leadership  
2. Lack of Empowering Parents  
3. Burned Out Leaders  
4. Lack of Creativity and Vulnerability
5. Pitiful Evangelism and Discipleship 

What are your thoughts?  Do you think these are spot on? Share in the comments.

Summer Events on a ShoeString!

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 2.19.32 PMToday on the Podcast I interviewed my friend, Lars Rood, author of Youth Ministry on a ShoeString about how you can do lots of great summer events on the smallest of budgets! You can listen [here] on iTunes or catch it here on the podcast site. For my blog readers I thought I’d share a few of the ideas shared on the podcast here, and add a few others as well:

Meet Me at the Movies:  Teens love movies.  Actually, we ALL love movies!  It would be super easy to promote to your students that you’ll be meeting at a certain movie, at a certain theatre, at a certain time… virtually any planning and a great event!  OR you can set-up a projector and screen in the church parking lot or at someone’s house and host an outdoor movie event.  Both work great! (*Note* Listen to the podcast episode for this one as I share a marketing idea you can couple with it!)

Park Day:  Nothing says cheap and easy quite like a park day.  Just literally promote to your students that you’ll be hanging out at the park (be specific) on a certain date at a certain time and show up!  Tell everyone to bring frisbees, a football (etc), and snacks for some fun!

Fast Food Fridays:  Several consecutive summers in a row I hosted a “Fast Food Friday” for my students.  I literally just sent out a mass text (and posted online) that we would be meeting up at Chick-Fil-a (provided the location information) at a certain time. Easy peasy!

Bigger or Better:  I love this scavenger-hunt-type game.  You split students into teams and send them out with a small item (just like a paper clip or a pencil) and ask them to stop by homes in friendly neighborhoods (church members or not — at your own discretion) and ask if the homeowner\friend has something they can give them that is bigger or better than the current item in their possession.  It’s so much fun to see what teams return with at the end of the night.  Of course, the biggest or best prize wins! So much fun!

Mall Madness:  Students love the local mall.  You can set aside a time to meet at the mall and just disperse into teams to shop and enjoy the mall!  You can also set aside a specific time to meet up in the food court to eat together (fun!)… and if you want to make it even more interesting you can add a scavenger hunt of some sort while you’re on-site.

What cheap\easy ideas are you planning for this summer or have you beta-tested? Share in the comments.

★ Perry Noble: The Most Excellent Way to Lead ★

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I just hosted Perry Noble on the latest episode of This Week in Youth Ministry Podcast.

Perry Noble is the Senior Pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC and author of the new book “The Most Excellent Way to Lead.”  During my exclusive interview with Perry, we discuss his days as a youth pastor, his battle with depression, and his advice to leaders everywhere on the subject of Leadership.

As you listen to interview, share your thoughts on the Podcast on social media using the #ThisWeekinYM. Thanks for sharing with friends!

Click here to listen to the Podcast on iTunes.
Click here to listen to the Podcast on Podbean, our Podcast site.

My Interview with Rob Bell

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I just hosted Rob Bell on the latest episode of This Week in Youth Ministry Podcast.  You may know Rob from his days as the former-Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan. Quite arguably, Rob Bell is one of the most controversial pastors of our time, but since leaving leadership at Mars Hill he’s gotten the world talking.  He has written numerous best-selling books (Love Wins, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, among others…) and has been profiled by Time Magazine as one of 100 of the Most Influential People of our Generation.

Regardless of your opinions of Bell, I’d urge you to listen to what he has to say in this episode of the Podcast. We talk about his days since stepping away from the pastorate, how he encourages people to care for their soul, the backlash over Love Wins, and even Donald Trump.  He also has a number of interesting things to say to Youth Workers (that’s where most of you come in…).  Don’t miss my exclusive interview with Rob Bell.

Click here to listen to the Podcast on iTunes.
Click here to listen to the Podcast on Podbean, our Podcast site.

How to Grow Your Ministry with Online Video

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This week on the Podcast I interviewed my friend Sean Cannell, founder of Video Influencers. We talked about how YOUR ministry can grow exponentially through online video!

But that’s not all … check out these other topics we covered:

  • Is Snapchat dangerous?
  • How you can shoot professional video with your smartphone for $100 or less!
  • Why you should be taking Instagram video seriously in 2016!
  • How to level up your social media content!
  • Examples of churches who are using online video well.

Here’s a link to the Podcast on Podbean.
Here’s a link to the Podcast on iTunes.

Have You Checked Your HIDDEN Facebook Inbox?

Facebook

Hold the phone.   You may have zeroed out your Facebook messages but there’s a hidden inbox that may currently be stacked!

Yes, there’s ANOTHER message inbox needing your attention!

This secret folder was brought to my attention via this post online. If it’s news to you, too, get ready for a whole lot of spam, and some important missed messages too!

Upon checking this inbox I literally discovered dozens (yes, dozens!) of missed messages on my phone that have gone unanswered simply because I did not realize they existed! Let me quickly walk you through the steps here and let’s see what you’ve missed, okay?

STEP ONE:  Go into your Facebook Messenger App

STEP TWO: Click Settings

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STEP THREE: Click People

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STEP FOUR:  Click Message Requests

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STEP FIVE:  Click See Filtered Requests

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STEP SIX:  View, Read, and Respond to your Messages (as you like)!

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One additional note: Since you won’t get notifications about these messages, it might still be worth it to make the habit of checking it every now and then. Or, to be even happier, just ditch Facebook and stick to Twitter.  😀 (Follow me while you’re there– @terracecrawford)

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