bible

Bible Study Tools I Use…

If you are just starting out in ministry, you have a few great advantages that those before you have not enjoyed. One of those advantages is the Bible study tools available to you. When I started in Youth Ministry 14 years ago, we were just starting to drift out of the age of dial-up internet access, so the tools were limited at best. Tablets and smartphones were not yet in the marketplace either.

Fast Forward to today and here are  a few tools that I use in ministry and personal study:

1) Logos.com – Logos has an extensive Bible study library that you can purchase, but they also give away the base engine and a few books for free. You also can get a free resource each month for joining their mailing list. They also have apps for mobile devices that you can sync notes and highlights with.

2) YouVersion.com – In the iOS store, this is called the Bible App. It is an excellent tool for free that has some great mobile apps with the Bible available in many languages and versions. If you have several students in your ministry with web connected devices, check into the Live Event backend for the app that allows you to put teaching notes, prayer requests, teaching videos and more at their fingertips.

3) BibleGateway.com – This was one of my first “go-to” tools, and still one that I use often. It is web-based with many languages and translations. They also have access to some great commentary resources as well.

4) Kindle App – Not specifically a Bible study resource, but the Amazon Kindle store often has great new and classic Bible studies and resources on sale or free during certain promotional periods. I have saved a lot of money just by watching for deals.

There you have it. It is a pretty simple list.

What Bible Study Tools are you using in your ministry? Share them in the comments area below!

10

10 Blogs to Watch If You’re a Youth Worker…

I have been blessed to be around some folks that are smarter and more experienced than I am in the 10last several years. That can cause you to learn and can keep you humble. Some of them regularly blog. Here are 10 blogs that you can glean some great things from, especially if you are new to Youth Ministry (in no particular order):

1). Greg Stier

2). YouthMinistry360

3). YouthMinistry.com (aka MoreThanDodgeball.com)

4). DownloadYouthMinistry

5). 100 Posts I hope You Write @ Studentministry.org

6). YouthSpecialties Blog

7). Adam McLane

8). Mark Oestericher (whyismarko)

9). Christian Web Trends

10). EdStetzer.com (Not specifically Youth Ministry, but some great research and trends information)

 

SYATP2014-copy

What does See You At the Pole Look Like if you Homeschool?

See you at the pole is a basic staple in youth ministry, with its roots dating back to 1990. I was involved at our school’s events as early as 1993 as a freshman in high school. I have seen some great things happen in unified prayer at the local school. The mission of SYATP can be summed up like this

From that very first year in 1990, See You at the Pole has been about one simple act—prayer. Today, SYATP is still about students humbling themselves, turning to God, and interceding for their generation. 

Last year, I had a parent who homeschools ask the question “how do I involve my children?”.SYATP2014-copy That hit me like a ton of bricks. That was one angle I had never considered, and I am a homeschool parent myself (whose children are fast approaching the teens years!). There are obviously two schools of thought that include either 1)just take the kids on public school “turf” and 2) have a place for the homeschool students to meet.

I have chosen to take the second approach to acclimate the students to the idea of SYATP, and it gathers them with other students who are homeschooled. We chose the county courthouse as a location. The county officials loved the idea. They saw it as a positive thing for teenagers in our community. Our courthouse flag area is also home to a National Day of Prayer gathering in May, so the idea is not foreign to them.

This also brings the homeschool students on board with being involved with SYATP, in the event you have any type of pre or post SYATP rallies/gatherings/talk sessions. This year our church is hosting a post-event rally that evening for the local youth ministries to gather and share what happened at the local campuses, and continue in praying for unsaved friends.

So, as you do your SYATP planning, I pray that you will take those doing homeschool and online public school into your planning thoughts, and help them be a part of whatever you do.

 

poll

Poll: The Biggest Issue in Rural Youth Ministry is…

We are constantly working on new ideas and resources here at MinistryPlace.Net. One of the upcoming ideas involves a lot of feedback from our readers. We are taking a poll looking into the biggest issues of the Rural youth worker.

Here are the rules. Vote for the issue that is the largest issue in your ministry. If the answer is “Other”, please leave a comment sharing the issue. It’s that simple.

pollPlease share this poll with as many Rural youth workers as you know. The larger the sample size, the better we can make content and resources that will help Rural youth workers.

The Biggest Issue in Rural Youth Ministry Today is...

View Results

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kickoff

Guest Post: Are You Ready For Kick-Off?

Editors Note: This is a guest post by my friend Ryan Campos. Here is a little about him… 

I’m a student minister who lives in Hermitage, MO with my lovely wife and two beautiful children (one is probably pushing her luck as you read this). I am passionate about students, and enjoy seeing how many tacos I can eat. Above all, I love serving God and hope to help other youth ministers along the way.

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In just short few days our media pages, televisions, and youth ministries will be flooded with trash talk and football jerseys. Kick-off for pre-season football is in a matter of days! I’m not sure how it works in your family, but I know my family absolutely loves football season. My dad and I are Chiefs fans; my kickoffwife is a Chargers fan, my oldest brother roots for the Packers, and my other brother and my mom root for the forbidden team (Raiders). You can imagine how that goes…This got me thinking. There’s something else that will be starting up in a few weeks that our students won’t be looking forward to as much…school! The question is, “Are you ready for kick-off?” The beginning of the school year provides opportunity to really connect with new students, connect with your area schools, and make any changes in your ministry. Here are a few ideas to help.

1. Develop a Playbook ( Brainstorming)
Developing your playbook is your plan to reach unconnected students. One of the things our youth ministry does to connect is throw a Back2School Lock-in, and then do a massive follow up. Other ideas could be; having lunch with your students at school, getting involved with their FCA, friendship evangelism, your fall activities, etc.

2. Make the Right Play Call (Executing)
If you’re anything like me, thinking of exciting things to do that will likely land your students in an emergency room isn’t too difficult. Ideas are great, but we must be able to execute our “plays” well. Not only do we develop a plan, we must develop a plan for successful execution.

3. Coach Well (Communicate)
This is simply communicating with your leaders and students what your goals are for this school year. For example, I tell me students we are doing our B2S Lock-In as an evangelizing attempt. I explain we really want to connect with students who aren’t involved in a student ministry. This helps to get everyone on the same page.

4. 2 Point Conversion (All In)
With your plan in place go all in! Don’t hold back. We only have a short time with our students before they’re gone. The time you spend with unconnected students may determine if they come back or turn away the Gospel. Just love on them and leave the rest up to God.

5. Watch the Replay (Evaluate)
Lastly don’t forget to evaluate your game plan before, during, and after your “Back to School” outreach. We always want to improve our “game” and this is crucial in doing so.
Feel free to comment it up on this post or shoot me a tweet @ryancampos10. I’d love to hear your “Back2School” ideas! Keep serving!

Ryan.

My agent was obviously not a Ramsey ELP....

Getting the Whole Story OR the Meaning of MT on Twitter…

I was reminded of a very important fact the other day. The importance of taking the time to get the whole story before acting on a situation. I had a story happen in a meeting with my new agent from an insurance company that I have dealt with for many years. The previous agent in my small town retired, and the new agent was sent to contact all the existing customers.

My agent was obviously not a Ramsey ELP....

My agent was obviously not a Ramsey ELP….

I was not exactly thrilled with what I heard, in the agent trying to sell me things I did not feel I needed. I mentioned that Dave Ramsey suggested that whole life insurance was a bad investment. Then the agent said this…

I tweeted the story out to @daveramsey. I thought nothing more of it. Dave did an MT or modified tweet. I did not know what an MT was( like many people on twitter), so I looked it up. Here is what the Twitter Glossary says :

MT

Similar to RT, an abbreviation for “Modified Tweet.” Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message with modifications, for example shortening a Tweet.

https://support.twitter.com/articles/166337-the-twitter-glossary

Here is what Dave’s tweet looked like:

Wow. Part of my everyday life shared with almost 600,000 people. Very neat. However, in the short few minutes to come, I realized that how the Modified Tweet was worded, It wasn’t clear WHO Dave was calling a liar, whether I was in support or attacking Dave. I got a few nasty tweets hurled in my direction. One of the nicer things I was called was “an internet vulture”. It died down when someone shared the concept “hey, check out the original tweet”, which tells the whole story.

Moral of the story. Twitter is 140 characters. It is very hard to get someone’s meaning and heart in that little slice of information.  When shared by others, it is even harder. Take a breath, and try to see the whole story. Reach out to the person before you assume things. You may find your assumption is opposite of reality.

family

The Importance of Families in Youth Ministry…

The longer I serve in Rural Ministry, there are a few things that I have seen that catch my attention and scream their importance. One of these important factors is the role of Family in youth ministry. If you asked 100 youth pastors if they believed that it was vital that the whole family is involved in the local church, at least 98 of them would say yes. However, many of their churches are not aligned to make that happen.family

In what I am about to say, do not take in the least that I am bashing van/bus ministry (my dad once helped start and run a van ministry…). Nor am I advocating the “Family Integrated Church” concept (you are smart enough to Google that…). What I am saying is this – As churches we need to seriously live out  the rhetoric that we are sharing about the importance of the whole family being involved in church.

There are some churches where I live that do some great ministry picking up bus and van loads of children and youth to attend their programs. Many of them come from unchurched homes that need the redeeming power of Christ in those homes. There are many ladies singing songs, baking cookies and praying. All that is awesome. It is needed. The follow-up question I have that no one seems to be asking is this – OK, you have reached the kids, how are you going to reach mom and dad? Most of us know the tired old stats about reaching dad first = 85% of family involved in church, mom =30ish%, kids = single digits. This is too important to miss.

I was in a meeting this week where the instructor described a childrens or youth program that is not supported by the church wholeheartedly as a part of the overall mission of the church as a “one-eared-Mickey”. It kind of looks like that mouse, but its not quite the same effect.

So here is my challenge to you… How can your church align or adjust its vision/mission/”buzzword of the week” to reach the whole family and bring them all into your fellowship of believers? I would love to see you ideas in the comments section below.

principal

10 Things a Youthworker Should Do When You Have a New Principal…

It’s that time of year again. School is coming soon, Districts are replacing staff as we speak. The county where I live has three High Schools and all three of them have new principals this year. Here are ten things to do as a youthworker to establish the partnership between the ministry and the school. (in no particular order…)principal

10. Treat them as a “real person”, not just a title.

9. Call/Meet with them and welcome them to the area.

8. Realize that they will not do things the same way as their predecessor, and be ok with that,

7. Offer to be a “guest presenter” to teachers in a department where you have professional expertise.

6. Offer to be a resource for tutoring or mentoring programs in the district

5. Assure them that your goal of being on campus is to invest positive attention into the lives of their students.

4. Offer to be a chaplain to one of the sports programs.

3. Make yourself available for “post-crisis” situations.

2. Stand by any guidelines they give you for your time on campus.

1.  Pray for them. Often.

 

That is my list. What would yours look like?
Share your additions in the comments area below!

 

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Rochester Mission Team Update 1…

I am on Mission this week with a team from FBC Rockville, Indiana. Throughout the week I will be posting a few updates that you can pray with us about.

Our Team in Rochester needs your prayers. In the two days before the trip, the ethnic tension between no-image-smallthe African Americans and the Bhutanese refugees has escalated to the point that we have had to cancel the neighborhood block party that was a big part of our trip. There have been assaults, knife fights, home invasions, etc.. The Jones Park area is the “flash point of all the violence” . As I write this, I am looking across the street to the park from the Bhutanese home I am staying in.

Pray for healing in the relations between the Bhutanese and the African Americans. Pray for the safety of our team, and pray that God reveals how he is going to use the team this week to glorify Him.

 

learn-graphic

The Future of Rural Students…

 

 

A friend of mine who is a local HS Spanish teacher recently put together a video application for a local learn-graphicteachers award in the Terra Haute, Indiana called the Golden Apple. He was from one of the smaller districts in the area, but was still one of the five chosen for the award. From what I have been told, it is mainly because of not only what he believed about his students, but how he lived out that belief on a day to day basis. He is pushing the boundaries of traditional education structures, with an administration that is fully behind his innovations and creativity.

Here is the video:

You can read more about Matt’s endeavors at Ditchthattextbook.com

What can we learn about our students from this video?

What have we adopted in student ministry that is part of the “old educational structure”?

How can we use today’s technology to point a generation to the Gospel, so they, and everyone around them are transformed by its power (Romans 1:16)?

Share your thoughts in the comments below…

 

fence

4 Lessons from the Bible Found on the Farm…

We live in a world where context is vital to our understanding. One of the reasons our society struggles with parts of the Bible is that it is set in an agrarian context. Jesus and Paul  used that backdrop and crafted wonderful illustrations. Let’s look at a few and “recast them” from a rural ministry perspective today.

1) Galatians 6:7-8 : A man reaps what he sows.. If you plant corn, don’t expect to harvest wheat. If you infuse things like hatred and jealousy in a relationship, don’t expect anything different out of it.

2) Matthew 13:24-30: You cannot at first tell what a person is going to be like. Wheat and Tares (a kind of weed) look very similar until the plants are mature. The farmer  instructed the worker to wait until harvest to get the maximum amount of wheat, so that none would be accidently destroyed. If you don’t know about a person, just wait. They will eventually show their true character.

3) Matthew 13:1-23: To get a good harvest, good soil is a requirement. In that process, some seed may go where it was not originally intended. That is fine. There may even be some really good looking things happen in the bad soil early on, but it will fade. But the importance is in the good soil.

Identify where to share the Gospel. Focus on receptive people, hungry for God’s word. Sometimes you will give the Gospel to someone less than receptive. That’s ok. Let the Holy Spirit do what only He can do.

4) Mark 11:12-21: The fig tree in this passage is indicative of the spiritual condition of God’s chosen people. Just as Jesus was looking for some early fruit from the fig tree, His trip to Jerusalem that day was to find some fruit of a spiritual relationship with God amongst the Jewish leaders of the time. He found neither. He found the temple of God being used as a platform for power and monetary gain.

 

There are so many more passages like the four above all over the Old and New Testament. I encourage you to look deep into God’s word and pull out His truth so that lives may be transformed!

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A Hand for the Mission Field….

The church where I serve has been a long time supporter of a ministry called Seedline International.20140603_200133_Android-sm They are a ministry that prints, produces, and ships Bibles all over the world in many languages. Our church is near enough to one of the production centers that we bring a team of folks to help on an “assembly night”. On one of these nights, people from our church actually get to help assemble Bibles that are going to the mission field. It is a great way for church members to learn about what God is doing to spread His word in the US and abroad.

We brought a team of 17 people this week to an assembly night at Seedline. We had a great time of learning about missions projects, and were able to help assemble a little over 900 Bibles in a period of just over 2 hours. The team ranged in age from a 7 year old, to a grandmother in her 70′s, everyone had a role. . Some of these Bibles were going to a church in Indianapolis that were purchasing enough that they could give one to every household in their township. The rest were going to be printed with a special cover to be distributed to US Border patrol Agents alone the Canadian and Mexican borders.

It was a great time of fellowship for the church as well. The team is praying that God uses these Bibles to reach many people and transform hearts and lives.

#RuralMinistry and More.

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