About Terrace Crawford

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

LIVE from D6: Ron Hunter

I’m LIVE blogging from the D6 Conference in Greensboro (NC).  Today I’m sharing my notes with you from the General Session and keynote speaker, Ron Hunter.

Tweetable Quotes (and Highlights) from Ron Hunter:

  • “We all have an X … a place we are going to die. If you knew the spot, where and when it was, how would you live differently?” @RonHunter
  • “Today you should begin backwards discipleship planning as you anticipate your child’s X.”  @RonHunter
  • “As families we have taken our kids to church and have said to the leaders ‘You are the expert…you disciple my family.’ It cannot happen this way.”  @RonHunter
  • “We need to adopt the principles of healthy churches rather than the programs of healthy churches.” @RonHunter
  • “Healthy churches don’t say ‘What’s Next?’  They simply redefine discipleship.” @RonHunter
  • “Scripture defines discipleship not as an event but as a way of life.” @RonHunter Eph 4: Paul talking about bringing up families

    Ps 78:6 We teach next generations

    Matt 28: The Great Commission

  • “When we are followers of Christ we are always on a journey as a student.”  @RonHunter
  • “We need to prepare our kids to defend their faith.”  @RonHunter 
  • “If you wait until battle to prepare your kids you have already lost.” @RonHunter Timothy”s X  ((2 Timothy 3:15))

    Ephesians 6:4

  • “Great discipleship reaches across generational lines.”  @RonHunter 
  • “Most church staff meetings spend their time trying to figure out how to do church better when they should be helping parents how to figure out how to do home better.”  @RonHunter 

If you’re not at the D6 Conference, please follow along on social media using the hashtag #D62018 or my personal twitter, @TerraceCrawford.

How to Engage Social Media on Your Mission Trip

ExpMis-Blog4

Thousands of people embark on short-term mission trips around the world every year. And, along with mission trips, come the inevitable social media posts about the trips. You know the ones I’m talking about—dramatic before and after photos of construction projects, selfies with children in tattered clothes, and intimate glimpses into broken situations around the world. Unfortunately, these posts often send the wrong message about the heart behind the trip. Surely there was more depth to the experience than what these posts seem to convey!

As we seek to follow Jesus into a life of service to others, the life we’re called to is contrary to the self-promotional “default mode” of social media. To serve and dignify the people we engage with means humbling ourselves and going beyond the “hero” mindset. The first step is to be intentional in the stories we tell.

1. Tell The Whole Story

When posting on social media during a mission trip, it can be tempting to only share what we ourselves are doing. But, it’s important to be intentional about how we position ourselves in the story. Instead of just sharing about the food we distributed or the building we painted, let’s talk about the big picture, like the ongoing work our ministry partners accomplish day in and day out. This way, we remove the spotlight from ourselves and celebrate those who have dedicated their lives to serving in their community.

2. Connect With Local People

We often have a false picture that people in developing communities don’t have access to technology. In reality, most of the people we encounter have a Facebook page as well as other social media platforms. Let’s leverage this opportunity to build deeper connections with local people or stay in touch after the trip. Talk about local people in the way you would talk about a friend. Don’t exaggerate or diminish the work they are doing in life, but seek to frame them in the best possible light.

3. Be Fully Present

It’s tempting to hide behind a screen. We want to remember the connections we made and share our experiences with friends and family, especially those who supported our trip. But this mentality often holds us back from being fully present and could unintentionally send the wrong message to local people. It’s important to remember we are guests in someone else’s home. Let’s get to know local people, see what their community actually has to offer, and take photos only sparingly. We might miss out on a few photo opportunities, but we’ll experience a whole new depth to our encounters and might actually forge lasting, meaningful relationships.

4. Remember the Mission

With everything we do, we want to keep the mission of our trip at the center. We go to humbly serve, to learn from others, to dignify them, and to empower local ministries. It would be incredibly sad if we let social media hinder these goals. It can be tempting to exaggerate the work we do through photos, videos, and stories aimed at pleasing donors or seeming impressive to friends and church members, but ultimately we have the opportunity to engage in a really important conversation about the way we are called to serve others. Which involves caring first and foremost about the people right in front of us, their dignity, and the hope and love we’re striving to share.

Excited to serve in 2019? Join Experience Mission in one of 25 communities on a short-term mission trip! Fill out an interest form today to find the right fit for you and your youth group.

 

Who Needs Compassion?

WHO DO YOU NEED TO SHOW COMPASSION TO? This week my world was rocked by the suicide of a young church leader. You just never know what someone is going through. God has poured in more compassion and asked me who I should show compassion to? So I thought I’d ask YOU the same question… WHO DO YOU KNOW THAT NEEDS COMPASSION RIGHT NOW? There is somebody who needs it.

• Who have you ridden off because of an offense?
• Who irritates you or drives you crazy?
• Who have you ignored?
• Who have you abandoned?

Give them your time, your understanding and your compassion today. You never know what might happen. 

5 Reasons to Start Planning Your 2019 Mission Today

rsz_em-twiym_julyblog

In the midst of a busy season of mission trips and youth camps for your students, it’s easy to get caught up in just keeping up with what’s going on. But taking a few minutes to think ahead could save your future self a ton of trouble. Getting a jumpstart on planning your mission trip for next summer will mean you might be breathing a little easier this time next year as the finals details fall into place more naturally. The team at Experience Mission have compiled a short list of the reasons why they recommend planning early for your 2019 Mission Trip.

1. More Time To Recruit for Your Team

When you have a longer window to let people know about your trip, you’re likely to get more students on board, as well as more adult chaperones. Adults will have ample time to plan their work schedule around the dates that you’ve selected, and parents can avoid scheduling vacations during mission trip week when they know in advance. Often times, word spreads slowly about the mission trips. It’s important to allow enough time for the excitement to build before deposits and registrations are due!

2.  More Time to Fundraise

Fundraising can be a daunting task for any group, especially when you have a tight deadline to stick to. By assembling your team and making plans early, you open up more opportunities throughout late summer and fall to do a few early fundraisers like car washes and fall festival activities that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in. More time turns what could be an overwhelming goal into easy bite-size chunks throughout the year.

3. More Time to Prepare Your Students

For many students (and adults!), going on a mission trip is a very spiritually impactful experience. How much more effective could you be at reaching your students and building meaningful connections in the community if you had ample time to prepare everyone beforehand? By planning early, you have more than enough time to host several pre-trip trainings where you can explore what it means to serve cross-culturally and maybe even read a book together! These types of pre-trip activities are crucial for helping your students feel equipped for what they will experience when they go.

4. More Options for Locations and Dates

Many mission sites fill up early. By planning for your summer trip in the fall, you will have a wide selection of dates and locations available to choose from. There’s no need to for last-minute scrambles and frantic calls in the Spring, hoping there’s still space for your group. Lock in your dates early and enjoy the assurance that you have plans you can count on for next summer.

5. A Better Mission Trip Experience for Everyone

By planning early, you can take it slow, make intentional choices, and involve your students in the process. You have time to pick options, present them to your group, pray, and make decisions collectively. No need to make a last-minute decision when you realize registration deadlines are closing! You have the ability to help everyone going on next year’s trip to feel informed, prepared, and committed to the mission when you give them the time they need to be ready.

Ready to start planning for 2019?

Registrations are already open for all 25 communities where Experience Mission leads teams on short-term mission trips! Fill out an interest form today to find the right fit for you or talk through your options with one of EM’s mission trip support staff.

 

How to Get Your Teens Out of Boredom (and On Mission)

rsz_teens_on_mission

Does this youth group rundown look familiar to you?

  1. Show up.
  2. Give students some time to socialize.
  3. Get the energy moving with a game.
  4. Reel them back in with worship songs.
  5. Encourage them with a message.
  6. Send them off and repeat the following week.

This familiar pattern sometimes seems like the only way to do ministry—either because of our own experiences from growing up in church or from what we see other leaders modeling in their youth groups.

The harsh reality, though, is that in many respects, we’re boring our teens and draining their passion for God. Sure, they may be engaged for a time. But because we’ve conditioned them to come to group thinking it’s all about them and what they can get out of youth group, we’re starting from the wrong premise. No wonder they’re soon spiritually apathetic.

Teens need an outlet to grow and go deeper in their relationship with Jesus. They need a mission that will put them in the driver’s seat of their faith, hand them the keys, and encourage them to drive out on the streets. A mission to exercise all the spiritual truths they are learning at youth group out in the real world.

The Great Commission is the very mission that gives meaning and purpose to our faith beyond just believing that Jesus exists. It gives your teens the incredible honor and privilege of participating in a 2,000-year-old mission of bringing the gospel to the lost, hurt, and broken of the world.

Honestly, is there anything more exciting than that?!

Preparing for the Mission

It can feel a bit daunting to just jump in and start tweaking your weekly rundown, so here are some ideas to set you up for success:

  • Spend some time in prayer.
    • Seek wisdom on how to best introduce the Great Commission to your teens. Ask God to prepare your students’ hearts to receive His command—especially those with spiritual apathy. Ask Him where in your community or elsewhere He wants to use your ministry to further His Kingdom.
  • Explain Jesus’ mission.
    • Help your students understand that the command to share the gospel wasn’t just given to the original disciples 2,000 years ago. It’s a command and a privilege for all disciples, including your teens, to take part in as followers of Christ.
  • Invite your teens to obey Jesus’ mission.
    • When Jesus gave the Great Commission to His disciples, He didn’t mean it as a suggestion. He was giving all believers a command to follow. Challenge and encourage your teens with opportunities to exercise their faith and actually go out on mission together.
  • Equip your teens for this mission.
    • Before you commission your teens, train them in ways to share their faith. Show them how to navigate the unpredictable and sometimes terrifying terrain of gospel conversations—including how to bring the gospel up, listen to the other person, ask good questions, and give an invitation to salvation.
    • Quick tip: One easy way to help students gain confidence in sharing the gospel is to give them time during youth group to practice gospel conversations with each other.

As you brainstorm ways to get your students living out the Great Commission, don’t feel like every lesson or event you do needs to be an original idea. Utilize resources like the “4 Chair Discipling” book from Sonlife, or Dare 2 Share’s “Life in 6 Words” curriculum to teach your students how to share the gospel with their friends.

A great event idea to jumpstart the mission-oriented mindset in your students is Dare 2 Share LIVE, happening on October 13, 2018. All you and your teens have to do is show up at a LIVE satellite site near you to experience an incredible day of evangelism training and sharing the gospel in your own community!

A Mission to Last a Lifetime

The best thing about giving your teens a mission for their faith is that it isn’t just a one-time idea for youth group. It’s a continuous way of doing ministry that invites your teens out of spiritual apathy and self-absorption and into a deeper relationship with Christ for the rest of their lives.

Because at the end of the day, all we want in youth ministry is to see our students know Jesus, passionately follow Him, and share the news of His love and saving grace with others. Let’s not wait another minute to invite our teens out of boredom and into the greatest adventure of their lives!

How to Set Your Students Up for a Successful Mission Trip

Summer-Mission-TripAs you plan your summer mission trip, it’s easy to get stuck checking off logistical boxes. What will you be doing for the week? Have you secured lodging? Have you communicated details with all of the parents? These questions are big and important, but there are more important things you can do to prepare your students then just taking care of these details.

The team at Experience Mission has learned a few things along the way that can make or break it for youth pastors as you prepare students for a life-changing experience. The first key to success is to equip your students with flexible expectations.

Don’t get us wrong—we’re big on the details. We spend months making sure all of our mission trips are well-organized and the logistical details are in place when you show up to serve. But as you probably know from past experiences, even the best-laid plans can change on the mission field.

Over the years, we’ve learned to plan well, adjust when necessary, and hold our expectations a little more loosely. Because it’s often in the unplanned or unstructured moments of a mission trip when God shows up.

When we come on a mission trip with flexible expectations about how or where we’ll best be used, it sets an important tone for the week. It’s as if we’re saying, “It’s not about us, but rather how God wants to use us.” By letting go of our expectations, we can roll with the inevitable changes and jump in wherever we are needed most. And that’s a great place to start.

Interested in learning more tips for planning a successful mission trip? Download Experience Mission’s free PDF “5 Keys to a Successful Mission Trip.”

About EM: Experience Mission exists to spread the love of Jesus by mobilizing volunteers, developing leaders, and empowering communities. Every year, volunteers disperse around the country and across the world on Experience Mission trips, and you could join them! Fill out an interest form for a mission trip at experiencemission.org to begin planning your youth group’s next missions experience.

Help Give Their Summer a Purpose!

A relief mission trip is a great way to add purpose to the summer and build unity with your students this summer!

Last fall, the southern coast of the United States—as well as several areas in the Caribbean—were devastated by the winds and flood waters of Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. As images of the devastation splashed across the media, relief volunteers and resources rushed to aid these communities—gutting homes that had flooded, cleaning up debris, and helping to relocate families that lost it all. What seemed like a tragedy sparked hope in mankind and brought our country together.

Now, nearly a year after the devastation, resources have dried up, volunteers have dwindled, and families are still struggling to rebuild without the help that was promised to them. Thankfully, churches and mission groups are filling in the gaps. This summer Experience Mission will mobilize more than 1,000 volunteers (mostly youth groups) to serve in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas.

While most affected families in the area had their homes gutted (flooring and drywall included), many people are still struggling to find the resources (or time) to put their homes back together. Volunteer groups will be bringing hope to this situation by installing drywall and flooring, painting, and fixing up minor landscaping issues alongside local families and partner organizations around the area.

Groups from around the country are helping to bring hope to this region through construction projects and there’s still time for your youth group to join them!

Experience Mission trips are launching every week from May 20 through August 12, and many weeks still have room for additional volunteers. To get started, fill out an interest form for an upcoming mission trip! You don’t need to be highly skilled in these areas to contribute! EM will have staff and supplies on hand to ensure that your group will provide a meaningful service to community members. You might be surprised just how much you can learn from working together, meeting families in need, and being the hands and feet of Jesus for a week.

Win Tickets to the D6 Conference!

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 3.57.51 PM
I’m excited to partner with my friends at D6\Randall House to giveaway 2 Tickets to the D6 Conference this September!!!  D6 has quickly become one of my favorite training conferences over the last few years and this year is shaping up to be amazing!

Based on Deuteronomy 6, this Family Ministry Conference will train your leaders on how to connect Church and Home, bringing over 50+ speakers together to pour into your entire team!  You can register your team [here] and enter the giveaway [here]!

We’ll be announcing the winner, via my twitter (@terracecrawford), on Friday, May 4th.

My Weightloss Revolution

((Left: Front pic of me at 277 pounds; Center: Headshot of me at 296 pounds; Right: Profile pic of me at 277 pounds))                                 

I’M ON A MISSION: I’m on a mission to revolutionize my life! Over the last few months I’ve made significant changes in my world — physically, spiritually, financially — and I’m shaking things up! Today I wanted to share with you about my mission to change my health.

I could probably name off a few motivating factors here for taking these steps towards better health (ie: the fact that they don’t make legit fat guy clothes, amusement park rides aren’t fat guy-friendly, etc) but the bottom line is that I want to a long life and want to be a better leader. In order to do that I simply MUST get my physical health under control.

So here’s how it all started: 

I stepped on the scales recently and was literally floored by the number that appeared. I could NOT believe my eyes. I knew something had to change… and quick!

My weight-loss revolution started in August 2012. The same thing happened then (stepping on scales sending me into shock…) but unfortunately after making tremendous progress and celebrating a feat of losing a whopping 50 pounds I ended up falling off the wagon and gained that back. I’ve got a long way to go but I’ve seen tremendous progress. It wasn’t easy getting started, but the reality that my health was in danger was present in my mind after seeing the big number on the scale. So in my pursuit of a healthier lifestyle I’ve developed a short strategy…

Here’s what steps I took immediately: 

 I hired a personal trainer and began to discuss my diet.
 I set a couple of goals: 1) Work out 3-5 times weekly. 2) Lose 100 pounds.
 I cut out sodas. I was drinking no less than a 2-liter per day!
 Immediately started drinking LOTS of water.
 Joined the Beach Body team.

My Strategy — 5 Things I’m Doing Moving Forward
▶ Goal Setting – Developing goals is important with any strategy. My strategy for weight-loss calls for goals so I set some! I have set an ultimate goal of losing 100 pounds by December, but I’m hoping to reach that goal much sooner!
 Getting necessary help – I just hired a personal trainer to help me get started and consult with me throughout this process. I just joined the Beach Body team and I’m training to become a coach myself (http://www.WorkoutWithTC.com).
 Exercise – This is a given. I hate exercise but I am committing to 5 days per week. My trainer suggested the 80 Day Obsession program for me, which you can check out or purchase at: http://www.WorkOutWithTC.com.
 Eating better – I’ve cut out sodas. There’s other things that will soon go too. The key is making wise choices. I don’t think depriving myself of foods I enjoy is the answer… but discipline and making wise choices is! Nutrition is key to weight-loss.
 Accountability – I decided when I started my own personal weight-loss revolution that I would make it public! I think accountability is important. Here’s how I’ve made it public: I have announced it to my friends and on social media now. When I started my journey back in 2012 I launched a separate twitter account (@shreddedtc) so that my friends could monitor my progress more closely. I will be updating that social account simultaneously with my personal account (@terracecrawford). A part from the public accountability and encouragement, I’ve got the private accountability too.

This will be one of the best years of my life.

Returning to Faith

blogpost3
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