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

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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.

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.

Workcamps Bring Willing Workers

Photos by campers, not Rodney Stewart.

                         Group Mission Trips – Photos by campers, not Rodney Stewart.

One very old Blackfoot Indian on a reservation in Montana was invaded by six energetic, but somewhat nervous workcampers. The kids knew that the old gentleman had become depressed after his wife died three years earlier, and he had let the house fall into shambles.

The work crew was assigned a list of tough projects for a week: painting inside and out, repairing broken windows and doors, rebuilding the back steps, and putting a new roof on the house.

With no time to lose, some of the girls began to clean the walls inside the house in preparation for some fresh paint. But when they opened the door to a backroom, they discovered what must have been a three-year supply of clothes piled in huge stacks throughout the room. A slender pathway wound through the mountains of clothing. And the walls couldn’t be painted until all the clothes were moved.

The group members decided that they would wash the old man’s clothes in the kitchen sink. Then someone discovered an ancient washing machine under one of the mounds of clothes. Soon, clothes hung from every clothesline and fence in the yard.

By the end of the week, the crew members had a new friend they called “Gramps,” and he had a huge smile on his face to go along with his rejuvenated house. The resident beamed with happiness as he bounced across the room to see the closets full of freshly washed clothes. And he proudly said that his new friends had taught him how to use the washer.

Perhaps his deep three-year-old pain healed a bit as the crew cranked up the washer that only his wife had used before. His clothes wouldn’t create miniature mountains of smelly fabric again. Pride in his home returned with the invasion of the visitors who respectfully waded into the back rooms of his homes.

The kids were channels through which God’s love flowed into this old man’s life. Both he and his new friends would never again be the same.

Each of the crew members knew what it was like to find that “lost coin” in a house they had cleaned—and painted, and re-roofed, and repaired. Each of the workers felt a special glow inside, knowing that they had done something special for someone who clearly needed their help.

For more information on Group Mission Trips or potential Summer 2018 Mission Experiences for your church, visit www.groupmissiontrips.com

It’s Orange Bloggers Week!

This week is great in the world of Blogging.  You’re still reading this, right?  

IT’S ORANGE BLOGGERS WEEK!

What is Orange Bloggers Week?  It’s when a great team of Blogger friends from all over the country serving in different ministries share about their experiences with Orange. This week you’ll hear from me & my experience with Orange and I’ve linked you up (see below) to many other leaders who are making an impact around the nation who also LOVE them some Orange!

The 2018 Orange Conference is coming up soon and there is no better time to sign up than right now! In fact, if you sign up by December 14, you can save $70 per person AND get some extra content from the Orange Tour.  I just confirmed my attendance moments ago!  I look forward to being with you in Atlanta, in just a couple months!

Take a few moments and give each of these a follow\subscribe.  Check out their content and enjoy this week… when blogging picks up!  Talk soon!

Follow These Bloggers!

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How I Made $50 in 50 Minutes

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I have used Square’s Cash App for a couple years now, but just recently shared with a few friends about it and they love it!  Then I realized I should just invite people to join me on the app and earn $ while doing it. Cash actually gives you a bonus each time you refer a friend and now they give the new user a bonus too!  So I can earn $5.00 by signing you up and you can earn $5.00 too. There is no obligation to use their service and you can cash out whenever you like and it goes directly into your bank account (in mere seconds!). I decided to invite a few friends and literally earned $50 in just 50 minutes!*  

Want to try it?  Use my referral code and follow the steps below and I’ll help you earn some quick cash:

Follow these simple steps (which should only take you 5 MINUTES or less!):

1. Click this link.
2. Download the app (available on iPhone or Android)
3. Enter your phone number (you’ll soon get a confirmation code sent to you)
4. Enter the confirmation code (that was just sent to you)
5. Enter your Debit Card info (this is so Square Cash can deposit your $ into your bank account).
6. Enter your First name
7. Enter your Zip Code
8. Choose a UserName (aka “Cash Tag”)
9. Invite friends (skip this part for now …)
10. Enter $5 and Request this money from ME.  Yes, me.  ($TerraceCrawford).
I will send you the $5 you requested.
11. Once you receive the $5 from me please send it back. 
You’ll get your bonus after you do. So enter $5 and this time you will hit PAY and my cash tag ($TerraceCrawford).
12. Return to the dashboard (where your profile\profile pic is displayed) and scroll
down to the bottom and hit “Reward Code” and copy & paste this: JTWLRLN and submit.

Once you follow these simple steps you should receive a bonus for using the app!

Now you can also invite friends and earn cash too!   And “cash out” at any time you’d like for Square to deposit the funds into your bank account.

Oh, and thanks for sharing this post in advance!

How You Can Help Texas Youth Workers!

We thought nothing could ever touch the impact of Hurricane Katrina until now. Our friends in Texas are recovering from what is considered the worst disaster in our Nation’s history, Hurricane Harvey.

Just days ago this came home to me (and many of us) as my dear friend, Stephanie Caro, and her husband, Steve had to be rescued in the flood waters of Katy, Texas (pictured below: Caro’s Rescue).  You can read more about the rescue [here].  There has been a GoFundMe Campaign set up to help Stephanie and her husband recover. Please go [here] to make a donation and read the full story of why their need is so great.

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This week I’ve been hearing stories from youth workers who have been affected by this storm, in addition to Stephanie, and I want to help further.  At MinistryDownloads.com we’ve decided to offer 50% of the profits from our Fall Starter Bundle to benefit youth workers in Texas.

This bundle features over $750 in downloadable resources, and we’ve reduced it to ONLY $49 — but only till September 30. The entire month of September you can purchase the bundle, 50% of the profit from your purchase will instantly go to youth workers affected by the Hurricane, and you can enjoy & use all the downloads in your ministry!  Go [here] to purchase the bundle & make an instant impact in the lives of church leaders in Texas!

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This really goes without saying, but most importantly during this time those affected by the storm need our prayers!  Join with me in praying for the victims of this disaster, and if you can help, please give.  Thank you!

 

Dare 2 Share LIVE: A Rally Point for Teen-Led, Gospel Growth

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On September 23rd, 2017, 50,000 teens will boldly take their faith one step further. Rallying together for THE Cause of Christ — a.k.a The Great Commission — students and their youth leaders will gather for the first ever Dare 2 Share LIVE simulcast!

But what is Dare 2 Share LIVE? Simply put, Dare 2 Share LIVE is a teen-led movement of gospel-conversations from coast to coast for the purpose of reaching the next generation.

In greater detail, Dare 2 Share LIVE is all about One Day. One Message. One Hope — with the desire to spark revival within the Church.

ONE DAY

Driven from a live event in Denver, Colorado and broadcast out to 50+ locations nationwide, Saturday, September 23, 2017, Dare 2 Share LIVE is the start of a movement where thousands of teenagers and adult leaders will be released…at the EXACT SAME TIME…into their communities to serve and share the gospel.

See specific time zone schedules here.

This one day will also equip students to have gospel conversations wherever they go, including conversations they may have a week later at See You at the Pole (a worldwide event where millions of teens gather at their own campuses to pray over their schools).

ONE MESSAGE

We know that the gospel changes everything. And as Christians we have a Cause – Christ’s Cause – to share this good news with our world.

When students are captured by Jesus and His mission, their heartbeat changes and so does the trajectory of their lives…and the lives of those they reach with the gospel. This message is where true change and impact is going to start, not only for this generation, but for our communities and this country.

ONE HOPE

Nothing transforms a student like seeing someone respond to the clearly articulated gospel. Once they experience this, it’s a game changer. Their excitement is uncontainable and their energy makes them an unstoppable force.

Now imagine 50,000 teenagers all going out equipped with the gospel, and as they step out into their communities to serve through local food drives, they are bringing help to those in need. Paired with the gospel, teenagers will show the world the hope that the followers of Christ bring. This is the true hope, not only for this generation, but for our communities and this country.

In One Day, with One Message, with teens rallying together for One Hope, lives will forever be changed by the power of the gospel. And if this is what we can do in just one day, imagine what these same teens can do with the rest of their lives. Imagine the eternal impact.

Want to learn more or sign your youth group up for this teen-led movement of gospel conversations? Click here.

Blog Buzz About MinistryDownloads.com

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This week there’s been a bit of a blog tour going on about the launch of MinistryDownloads.com – a new resource site for Ministry Leaders that I launched just 2 weeks ago.

Check out the following blogs of some great leaders:

Rob Shepherd – [Click here] to view his blog
Rob is the Senior Pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in VA and has been a great friend to me! He is one of my favorite speakers too.  
Austin McCann – [Click here] to view his blog
Austin is leading a fierce effort to reach the next generation. Love this guy’s creativity! He’s got several resources on the site
Tom Pounder– [Click here] to visit his blog
Tom is a fellow Orange blogger, podcaster, and is doing some great work in Student Ministry!  Be sure to follow him.
Ben Marshall – [Click here] to visit Ben’s blog
I recently met Ben, a Campus pastor from Michigan (super nice guy!). This dude definitely has a gift of encouragement. He’s got some resources on MD too. Check them out!
Brad Huss – [Click here] to view his blog
I connected with Brad years ago online.  He and I have been friends ever since. He’s in the Charlotte area, but his reach goes incredibly far beyond that!  Really appreciate this guy.
Bobby Howell – [Click here] to visit his blog
I recently got connected to Robert. He started blowing up my Twitter encouraging the heck out of me after reading my book, Going Social. Then he started sharing about MinistryDownloads.com.  This guy is awesome.
Randy Brown – [Click here] to visit Randy’s blog
Randy has a huge heart for the next generation.  I recently ran across this blogger who is doing some great work in Student Ministry. 

I so appreciate anyone sharing the news about the launch of the site. If you tweet about it, tag me (@terracecrawford) and I’ll retweet you! If you blog about it, shoot me a link & I’ll add your link to this post!  Thanks, friends!