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!

Get your FREE #LifeBooks!

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Check this out.  Our friends at TheLifeBook.com want to give you FREE Life Books for your ministry! This is an amazing resource that you can use for outreach in your ministry — particularly with See You at the Pole, coming up at the end of September!

  • What is The Life Book? The Life Book contains the Gospel of John (ESV) and includes interactive student comments and scripture helps for issues students face. Over 1.3 Million students have handed out nearly 20 Million Life Books since 2010.
  • How Many LifeBooks can you request? Yes. Feel free to request up to 2,000 FREE Life Books and have your students hand them out all throughout the school year. This is a great way to foster an evangelistic mindset in students. (Our experience recommends you request 25 Life Books per student in your youth group to hand out.)
  • Is it really free? Absolutely. No strings attached. They are completely funded by The Gideons International, an organization who has been responsible for dispersing over 90 Million Bibles in its existence!
  • When is the deadline to order? You can get them at any time; however, if you want LifeBooks in time for See You at the Pole activities, you’ll need to request them by tomorrow, Friday, September 9th at TheLifeBook.com.
  • More info?  Visit www.TheLifeBook.com to find out more information or to request as many Life Books as you’d like.

 

5 Ways to Reach Students with #PokemonGO

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Whether you care personally about the latest phenomenon in the #PokemonGO app or not, this is a pretty big deal.  Churches are beginning to see random passersby show up on their doorsteps because of this app!   The popular video game app mixes augmented reality with a form of geocaching and has literally swept the nation.  In fact, nearly 35 million people are using the app now… surpassing popular platforms like Twitter.

In our latest podcast, This Week in Youth Ministry, I interviewed Nils Smith, VP of Social Media and Innovation for the Dunham Company (TX) about how to leverage this game to reach students for Christ. [Click here] to launch and listen in iTunes now.

During the show I shared 8 ways churches can capitalize on PokemonGO. I referenced an article [here], which includes all 8, but I’ll share a few here with you.

5 Ways Churches Can Reach Students with PokemonGO:

1. Check Your Church on the Game – The first thing you want to do is download PokemonGo to your smartphone. Begin to familiarize yourself with the app and check to see if your church is a “Pokestop” or “gym!”  If you are in a larger city you might have more foot traffic, but knowing if your church is a stop or gym will give you a better idea of how to engage people who come by your church!

2. Create a Welcome Area for Players – Churches who are intentional about reaching people will take this opportunity to interact with the public.  Check out what Kyle’s church did.  Kyle shared [this] with our Facebook group. It’s a welcome area for players where they offer free snacks and prizes too – brilliant.

3. Post About it on Social Media – There’s already a buzz about #PokemonGo online, so why not join the conversation? If your church is doing something unique (or really anything at all!) share it on your social media.  This will create more interests in your ministry.

4. Bring Pokemon to Your Church – You can actually lure people to your church or ministry by creating a “Lure Module” that will draw in Pokemon to Pokestops for 30+ minutes! Check out this article in Forbes that I just read about how to lure more people your way!

5. Let Your Students Shine! –  One thing Nils & I talked about on the podcast is this is a great opportunity to let your students lead. Your students will know more about this app\game than you.  Why not host a night soon where you allow a couple of students to teach everyone how to play and equip them to reach their friends!  Giving your teens a chance to share will create a buzz in itself and create interests in your ministry.

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Win FREE REGISTRATION to #SYMC16

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Friends, I’m STOKED to be able to announce to you that I am giving away a FREE REGISTRATION to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference that will be held in Chicago, October 7-9, 2016!!!  ((Enter Here!!!))

This conference line-up is amazing… and includes Doug Fields, Gungor, The Skit Guys, Rick Lawrence, Makota Fujumora, Shane & Shane and many more!  Full list [here].

This FREE REGISTRATION (valued at $379.00!) gets you into the conference at no-charge and you’ll get to experience an amazing atmosphere of fun & growth among hundreds and hundreds of youth ministry workers in Chicago!

Hurry!  Enter NOW to win this!  And once you enter, share your unique link. It gets you additional entries so you better your chances come the drawing, Friday, August 5th!
Go [here] to enter now to win this amazing prize!

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.

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.

★ 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.