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!

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! 

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!

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.

[Video] Andy Stanley Calls Out The Church About Politics

I’ll be honest … I’ve gotten very sucked into politics in this particular election far more than any other. It’s hard not to get sucked in, actually. I’ve worked hard since the beginning of this year to keep my political commentary to a minimum. I want to focus my attention as much on Jesus as possible… and interject my thoughts periodically as needed. I don’t know about you but people have become unhinged in this election… Christians touting their candidate while slandering others. It’s bad. Really bad.

Andy Stanley, Pastor of North Point Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, apparently shares some of the same sentiment. In his latest Sermon Series “Tough as Nails”, Stanley calls out Christians who are fixing their faith on a political system and NOT on Jesus Christ.

“All of you who are 45 and older, look up here,” Stanley says, “Many of you have grown weary and lost heart and the reason is–you have fixed your eyes on a political system… and you are growing weary and you need to knock it off and I’ll tell you why… because you are scaring the children!”

Stanley continued, “You need to model for the next generation that God is in control, God can be trusted.” He also said it’s good to get involved in politics, culture and society, but never fix your eyes there, instead, “Fix your eyes on Jesus.”



What are your thoughts about how Christians have handled themselves in this Election?

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#1 Topic Youth Pastors Need Help With

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In the month of December I surveyed youth pastors nationwide with one question.
What one subject do you need to know more about?

Do you know what their top answer was?

The Top answer was “Parent Ministry“.   The runner-up topic was “Volunteers“.
Since then I’ve been working on producing content to help youth workers everywhere.

Here’s a few things you need to know:

1) TODAY on the Podcast and we’re hosting a PARENT MINISTRY PARTY!  Jeremy Lee, the founder of MinistrytoParents.com will join me on the show to share his BEST strategy in reaching & ministering to parents.  Don’t miss this show!  The episode will go LIVE by 5:00PM EDT at ThisWeekinYM.com and on iTunes.

2) You should immediately sign-up to receive my Email Newsletter.  I am announcing
TODAY that I will be producing content on the subjects of Parent Ministry AND Volunteers
EXCLUSIVELY (not kidding!) for my newsletter subscribers.  If you are not a part of this community you will not receive the content. Sign-up NOW to get this content!

3) The price of the Ministry Bundle (Sermon Series, Games, Graphics & More!) we’ve been telling you about recently increased from $49 to $89… but TODAY & TOMORROW ONLY (for the Party!)  we’re sharing with you a HUGE 60% OFF Discount on the Bundle!  This will supercede ANY discount you’ve seen on the bundle yet.  Again, it’s only available TODAY & TOMORROW (through Saturday, January 16th).   Go to MinistryBundles.com and use code “PARTY” when you purchase this AMAZING resource  at an unbeatable price!

Thanks for all your hard work in reaching students.

Hope to see you at the Party!

5 Ways to Invest in Your Ministry (And Yourself) This Year

You may have developed a list of resolutions for the New Year, or set goals for your ministry, but have you planned for a little personal development?

Your ministry, your work, will only be as solid as YOU are.  So why not invest in your ministry AND yourself?   I’m here to help you.

I’d like to offer 5 ways you can invest in your ministry (and YOU) this year:

5. Network with Others  – One of the most rewarding things that I’ve ever done is connect with other leaders who are in the trenches like me.  Learning from others who are in your field and doing life with others who have been in your shoes will help you grow. You might try finding someone in your local Youth Pastor Network or perhaps just reach out to leaders from neighboring churches. You’d be surprised at how investing in these relationships will move you forward.

4. Read More, Listen More – One of the main reasons I launched my own Blog and Podcast was to learn from others.  I always have a handful of blogs that I read each week and there are a few podcasts that I frequent as well.   There are SO many to choose from, but I’d like to mention a few of my favorites here:

Blogs:
Christopher Wesley’s Blog  (click to read)
Mark Oestreicher’s Blog (click to read)
Download Youth Ministry’s Blog (click to read)
Rachel Blom’s Blog  (click to read)
Michael Hyatt’s Blog  (click to read)

Podcasts:
Michael Hyatt – This is Your Life (iTunes)
YM Answers Podcast (iTunes)
Andy Stanley’s Podcast (iTunes)
Download Youth Ministry Podcast (iTunes)
… and a quick plug for my Podcast (iTunes)

3. Go to a Conference – I absolutely LOVE conferences. And you’ll typically see me at a few each year — learning, networking, and just hanging out too!  If you don’t allow yourself the opportunity to attend at least ONE conference a year, what are you waiting for?   Between the Keynote sessions, breakout sessions, and networking too … there’s so much to gain from participation in an experience like this.

Here are a few conferences I really like: The Orange Conference, National Youth Workers Convention, Catalyst Conference, Simply Youth Ministry Conference, and the D6 Conference.

2. Coaching – Some of the best things I’ve learned in my ministry experience has come from what I’ve learned from doing life with a mentor or coach. This is why a few years ago I felt it necessary to begin a coaching program.  I’ve coached and mentored dozens of youth workers and love being able to help set them up for success.  Check out this article I wrote on “5 Steps to Finding Your Next Mentor” and if I can help you, [click here] to check out my Coaching Program.

1. Prayer – It may sound like a total cliche, but prayer is without a doubt the absolute KEY to your ministry and personal growth this year.  Don’t deny the power of prayer.  I want to challenge you (as I challenge myself) to find pockets of time to spend time in prayer for yourself and your ministry.  Whether it be spending 5 minutes in prayer as you commute to your next appointment (Tip: Drive with your eyes open), or 10 more minutes before you go to bed, make sure you spend more focused time this year in communication with God.

What Steps Are You Planning to Take this Year?  Comment and let me know.  And thanks for sharing this post with others.


[ps] For subscribing I’ll immediately send you a FREE eBooklet I put together for leaders to help them assess and master their leadership right now!

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Master Class with Will Ferrell & Taylor Swift

I love a good Master Class.

Probably because I love learning from others.

I ran across this series of screen tests from the New York Times.  They are like mini-Master Classes with your favorite celebrities. I’ll include 2 of my favorite, featuring Will Ferrell and Taylor Swift.  You can go [here] to binge watch the others like I did.


I believe we all need to learn. We especially need to learn from those who have
gone before us, and have more experience than us.

I love pouring into rookie youth workers. Leaders who have been in the field for 5 years or less. If you want to learn, let’s talk. Here’s more about the Coaching Program I offer [here].


[ps] For subscribing I’ll immediately send you a FREE eBooklet I put together for leaders to help them assess and master their leadership!

Never Give Up on Your Yes

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There is always a YES, you just have to find it.

It may come from a different person in the same organization.
It may come from a different value proposition.
It may come from a different approach.
It may come from sheer relentlessness.
It may come next month, next year.

I just made a BIG ask. I asked someone notable to come on my podcast. He hasn’t
said YES or NO. Actually, his assistant just asked me to send a list of people who have said YES to me. (I thought that was a bad look for him, to be honest).

If his assistant took 2 seconds and checked out my podcast site or iTunes he
would see the list of everyone who has said YES to me.

After that statement he might say NO now. And that’s fine. There’s always
someone else to say YES.

I just asked a large Christian organization to sponsor my Podcast. They said
NO. But came back minutes later and said YES. (There’s still room for your organization too, by the way. Click [here] to join our amazing team).

Never give up on your YES.  There’s always YES. You just have to find it.



FREE Resources & Prizes from #ThisWeekinYM

If you have checked out our latest podcast, you missed some details on FREE resources and prizes you can win from This Week in Youth Ministry.

I’m giving away a GoPro Camera.  You can win one for your youth group. Enter [here]. I’m stoked to give this to one lucky youth worker soon.  Go enter!

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I also handpicked some of my favorite Dare2Share resources and I’m giving them away! Over $179 in resources, to be exact! These resources will help you equip your teens to reach their friends for Christ! Enter to win this for your youth group [here].

 

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And I announced that I’m sharing a FREE eBooklet I created for my Coaching Network with our listeners. If you want help assessing your personal Ministry leadership just quickly sign-up here for our newsletter and I’ll send it to you personally!   [Click here] to sign-up and you’ll receive a personal email from me with this resource.

Check out the latest episode of the podcast: EP 35 – “What’s Trending in Youth Ministry?”