About Terrace Crawford

nationally recognized youth SPEAKER; a MENTOR to youth & youth workers; social media CONSULTANT; writer & EDITOR @ churchleaders.com; AUTHOR of @goingsocialbook

Win $1000 in Resources for Your Church

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So excited to officially announce this.

I really wanted to do something to help Small(er) Churches, so I’ve asked YouthMinistryPartners.com to team up with me to offer $1000 in Resources for Small(er) Churches!

One lucky church will get $1000 in Resources (including Downloadable Resources from MinistryDownloads.com + GROOVE Curriculum from YouthMinistryPartners.com and the brand-new release from Brad Fiscus & Stephanie Caro, Small(er) Church Youth Ministry: No Money, No Staff, No Problem!)

Enter the [giveaway here] for a chance to win some amazing resources for your ministry!

The Launch of MinistryDownloads.com!

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So excited to announce that over the weekend I launched MinistryDownloads.com! This new Ministry Resource site is for every ministry leader in the Church.  You’ll find resources for Children’s leaders, Youth Leaders, Group Leaders, and even Senior Pastors!  New products will be released EVERY Tuesday!

Check it out [here] and let me know what you think in the comments!

This week, in celebration of the Orange Conference, I am offering 20% OFF ALL products over on the site!  Just use code: ORANGE20 at checkout!  Happy Shopping!

I sincerely hope this site is a blessing to you.

7 Reasons I Attend The Orange Conference

I cannot believe the Orange Conference Week is here!  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! 

11 Mini-Missions Trip Ideas

Every mission trip is built on a deep truth wrapped in a sticky lie. Although we don’t intend for it to happen, that lie can bury the truth in what we say and hear. For example, try to spot the lie in each of these statements:

  • “You need to come be part of this experience, and Jesus will change your life there.”
  • “Jesus has lots of important things for us to do this week. Let’s give our best and follow him when we arrive.”
  • “Wasn’t that trip incredible? Now that our missions experience is over, let’s discuss doing it again next year.”

Here’s the lie clearly spelled out: “Missions is all about what happens when you go somewhere else.” Obviously that’s not true.

Missions is about responding to Jesus and joining him in what he’s doing wherever we are.

Yet as we plan trips and experiences for teenagers to go serve “somewhere else,” we tend to nurture a destination mentality. It says, “When we get there, then Jesus will work in us. And if we return there every year, he’ll continue to work in us.”

What if you could deflate that concept along your journey? A solution I created involves fun tie-ins called mini-missions. I believe Jesus does amazing things in and through us when we enter situations that involve being stretched and stretching others. I’ve also discovered we need a way to emphasize that this happens not just when we “get there” but while we’re getting there. (After all, isn’t that how life happens?)

So whether I’m planning a trip on my own or using a well-planned and executed program such as Group Mission Trips, here’s the plan:

  • Every morning on the trip from day one, our leaders review possible options. It’s a process of prayer and discernment based on where this particular group seems to be and what they’re capable of pulling off that day.
  • Each day we ask a different student to pick from three different envelopes with no writing on the outside. Whatever they open and read becomes the group’s mini-mission task for that day.
  • The group’s success or failure earns them perks such as extra group grocery money, free time to go shopping, a late-night snack run on us, and so on.

This approach has several advantages. First, it adds a fun relational component that helps the group bond from the ground up. It also opens teenagers to the idea that the missions experience is about more than just going somewhere else to “do good deeds.” Instead, we’re letting Jesus shape something deeper inside us. Through mini-missions, I’ve watched teenagers transform from strangers or mere acquaintances into young people who challenge one another into some really great places.

Here are 11 Mini-Missions Trip Ideas You Could Use:

  • Silence Day—For a certain number of hours, no one is allowed to talk or make any vocal noises. Teenagers and adults can write things down, use hand signals, or create their own Morse Code type of communication system. Another option is to allow only one person to talk during each hour. Several great lessons can be drawn from this; for example, how challenging it can be to express ourselves and how relationships require intentional investments besides communication.
  • Attachment Day—Kids buddy-up with someone of the same gender, and the pair is tied together with a thin string. Let participants determine how long the string is, and have them stay attached except for bathroom time. This will spark some great dialogue about who we attach ourselves to in life, and how they influence us.
  • Compliment Day—Every interaction with team members or complete strangers must include at least one compliment. This emphasizes that we’re called to encourage one another.
  • Salutation Day—Have team members use Mr., Mrs., or Miss to address each person they interact with throughout the day.
  • Trash Day—Wherever you go, look for trash to pick up. We always have opportunities to make a difference by caring for God’s creation.
  • No-Shower Day—For 24 hours, no showers are allowed (which is a greater challenge for some people than others). This ties into how we’re sometimes comfortable living with sin rather than letting Jesus cleanse us.
  • Carry Someone’s Burdens Day—You can’t carry your own stuff (Bible, backpack, etc.), only someone else’s. This is a great illustration about the body of Christ.
  • Letter Home Day—Students must write something meaningful to someone back home, either to be mailed or hand-delivered upon arrival. Set a 200-word minimum and use the honor system.
  • Yuck Day—Every meal must include a food that teenagers normally wouldn’t eat, without complaining.
  • Gum Day—Team members must chew gum all day long, including during meals. (Provide an alternative for teenagers wearing braces.) This is a great lesson about the “little things” in our lives that affect everything else.
  • Dollar Lunch Day—If team members are buying their own food, challenge them to spend only a dollar per meal one day. Compare that to what the average person lives on.

You get the idea. What do you think? What mini-missions would you recommend?

I also recommend Group Mission Trips’ 4-day Weekend Workcamps! These are great “mini-missions” to introduce your teenagers to the concept of meaningful service. You’ll be amazed at the spiritual growth that can happen in one weekend.




Need Some Help Planning Easter?

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Just announced a HUGE offer over at MinistryDownloads.com.  I’ve put together dozens of downloadable resources I’ve created over the last few years, including some great resources to help you plan your Easter and beyond!

There are over $750 worth of resources including Sermon Series, Ready-to-Go graphics, Media Loops, Social Media helps, Games, and more… and you can get them ALL for ONLY $49 right now!   This is a limited time offer, so head over to MinistryDownloads.com now and check it out!

8 Tips to Planning a Life-Changing Mission Trip

Real life transformation occurs when Jesus disrupts our routine and gets us outside of our comfort zones…Amen?! When teenagers get outside their daily routines and away from their phones, powerful growth occurs…especially when they serve others. They are able to take the focus off of themselves.

They’ll get away from peer pressures and embrace their identity in Christ. Millions of teenagers over the years have been transformed by mission experiences. Planning a mission trip can be intimidating, so here are eight “sanity tips” to plan a life-changing mission trip without losing your mind…

1. Don’t do it all yourself.
You might be great at planning events but mission trips require different expertise. Maybe you’re looking for a community service mission trip, but unless you have relationships with local non-profits or ministries in the area you want to serve, it may be very challenging to find meaningful service partnerships. Perhaps you want to try international missions, but don’t know the first thing about customs or packing light for a youth group. A youth mission trip organization like Group Mission Trips can share their experience to make this process more seamless.

2. Determine How Long The Trip Will Be. If you are just starting out, try a shorter trip. Get comfortable with the process of doing a mission trip before you jump off the deep end. It’s similar to running a marathon, if you strap on your running shoes and try to run 26.2 miles on your first run you will end up dead. A good place to start may be Group’s four-day Weekend Workcamps.

3. Choose: Domestic or International trip? The choice is going to be driven by what everyone is comfortable with and where you feel God is leading you. The right mission trip provider can help you find the right destination. If you are going international, find a mission trip partner who embraces the concept of sustainable local ministry…where you come to serve and not be served.

4. Engage key teens and parents early and often. Talk to them about the benefits of going on a mission trip and how this experience will help teenagers with leadership and life perspective. Parents can be your best ally. They want their kid to embrace their faith and a mission trip can do just that. OVER COMMUNICATE! Once is never enough, so keep the conversation going.

5. Shocking truth…the type of mission trip is not as important as you think. Getting into the habit of serving takes a lot of pressure off of finding the perfect trip. Start with the date that works best for everyone and then work back into the type of service. Going the other direction can cause a concussion from constantly beating your head against the wall.

6. Don’t wrestle against other activities. You are trying to work with these other activities not against them. Early in January, most schedules for summer events will be posted. Find the most amendable date and go with that.

7. Use this as a strategic way to get more committed volunteers for your youth ministry. Identify key parents who you want to be more involved in your youth ministry. Approach them with this opportunity to not only have their son or daughter to on a life-changing mission trip, but that they can be a part of that experience.

8. Emphasize friendship. Deepening friendships with others and Jesus is the secret to growing and sustaining a vibrant youth ministry. Start with friendship first then move to Bible knowledge. Want more time-saving wisdom to plan your next youth mission trip?

Get your FREE “90 Days to Summer Mission Trip” Planner from Group Mission Trips!   [Click Here to Download Now!]

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How to Get Students Reading Scripture

I have had a huge burden for a few years now to get students to read the scriptures.  I’ve come up with a way that many of them have been receptive too.  Simply by sending scriptures to their mobile phones!  Now hundreds of students and adults have signed up to receive these.  If you’d like to share with your youth group, simply tell your students to text FOLLOW MYSCRIPTURES to 40404. Each day they will receive a verse from the Holy Bible that I select personally. It’s that easy!  

If you’d like to announce or share this in your services or youth group this weekend, I’ve created a FREE DOWNLOADABLE PPT SLIDE that you can insert into your announcement loop. Simply [Click here] to download the zip file of the PPT and Keynote slides.

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Win a FREE TICKET to Orange!

Just recently we announced on This Week in Youth Ministry that we are giving away a FREE TICKET to the Orange Conference in Atlanta, GA! This conference ticket, valued at $349, will be given to one lucky leader on February 17, 2017! Go [here] to enter this giveaway.

This conference is designed for the entire family ministry team – for children’s pastors, youth pastors, college pastors, and more!  There is something for everyone.
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Click [here] to explore The Orange Conference – Check out the breakout sessions, see the lineup of Keynote speakers, plan your trip to Atlanta, and more!

Podcast Names Co-Host, Leneita Fix

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I’m stoked to announce that Leneita Fix, veteran youth worker and author, will be joining me on This Week in Youth Ministry Podcast for shows scheduled to be released in 2017. Leneita is a great friend and offers a solid voice in Youth Ministry and I felt she would be a perfect fit to join our conversations on the podcast.

Fix has appeared on This Week in Youth Ministry several times as a guest, and debuts as co-host Thursday, January, 26th. Be sure to check out this fresh, new episode with Terrace and Leneita as they interview Natasha McGill, from New Zealand, on the subject of Problem Solving in Youth Ministry.

Click [here] to listen to This Week online, or [here] to launch in iTunes.