03.30.15

Duffy Robbins’ 7 Tools to Help Students Grow Spiritually by Tyson Howells

http://youthministryunleashed.com/help-students-grow/

I just finished reading a great youth ministry book by Duffy Robbins.

It is called “Building a Youth Ministry That Builds Disciples.”

I have to make a disclaimer right off the top, I am a fan of Duffy Robbins.  I like how he sees youth ministry and his focus on making disciples.

In the second section of the book he talks about building a faith that lasts in students. Here’s what he says…

He encourages us youth workers to give students tools and not just talks; to help them feed themselves spiritually and not be reliant on us, the youth worker.

In this section Duffy gives practical tools that we can give students, so let me pass on 7 of them to you.  Continue reading

03.30.15

8 Surefire Ways to Build Trust With Your Team Today by Matt Walker

http://catalystconference.com/read/8-surefire-ways-to-build-trust-with-your-team-today/

AS LEADERS, ONE OF OUR GREATEST ASSETS IS THE ABILITY TO BE TRUSTED BY OUR TEAM.

No one want to follow, serve or work for an untrustworthy person. Without trust, you can’t run successful events, raise funds for your ministry or special project, encourage others to increase their tithe, bring people into alignment with the vision of your church, ministry or business, and the list goes on.

Trust is hard to gain. Like my dad used to say, “Trust takes years to build and seconds to destroy.” Many business people, especially executives in the C-suite, are inherently distrustful. This has been helpful for them because it has been a safeguard against poor business decisions and less than favorable partnerships.

Yet, if you are a leader of any sort — business, ministry, non-profit — your first priority is to gain the trust of those on your team and maintain that atmosphere by continually setting the tone of one who can be trusted. Here are some things you can begin today that will build trust with those on your team, your congregation, and anyone else you come into contact with.  Continue reading

03.30.15

2015 State of Atheism in America by Barna Group

https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/713-2015-state-of-atheism-in-america#.VRHUzlzev43

March 24, 2015—This past year, Barna Group has spent a considerable amount of time studying the unchurched—those who have not attended church within the past six months.

Much of that research is collected in the new Barna project Churchless, edited by David Kinnaman and George Barna. One of the most remarkable findings is that unchurched people are not always unbelievers—in fact, most aren’t. The majority are non-practicing Christians: They claim Christianity as their faith, but they haven’t been to church in a long time.

But what about atheists and agnostics? Are their numbers on the rise? Are more and more of the unchurched becoming unbelievers, too?

Who Are the Atheists?
For reporting purposes at Barna, we often combine atheists and agnostics into one group, which we call skeptics. Skeptics either do not believe God exists (atheists) or are not sure God exists, but are open to the possibility (agnostics). Skeptics represent one-quarter of all unchurched adults (25%). Nearly one-third of skeptics have never attended a Christian church service in their lives (31%). That’s nearly double the proportion of “virgin unchurched” who are not skeptics (17%).

The profile of a typical skeptic is different today from a decade or two ago. Today’s skeptics, like their counterparts from two decades ago, are defined by their denial of or doubts about God’s existence. But that is about the only thing they have in common with the unchurched atheist or agnostic of yesteryear. Below are five demographic shifts among skeptics in the past two decades.

Five Demographic Shifts among Skeptics
They are younger. Skeptics today are, on average, younger than in the past. Twenty years ago, 18 percent of skeptics were under 30 years old. Today that proportion has nearly doubled to 34 percent—nearly one-quarter of the total U.S. population (23%, compared to 17% in 1991). By the same token, the proportion of skeptics who are 65 or older has been cut in half, down to just 7 percent of the segment.

They are more educated. Today’s skeptics tend to be better educated than in the past. Two decades ago, one-third of skeptics were college graduates, but today half of the group has a college degree.

More of them are women. Perhaps the biggest transition of all is the entry of millions of women into the skeptic ranks. In 1993 only 16 percent of atheists and agnostics were women. By 2013 that figure had nearly tripled to 43 percent. This enormous increase is not because the number of skeptic men has declined. In fact, men’s numbers have steadily increased over the last two decades—but not nearly as rapidly as among women.

They are more racially diverse. Religious skepticism has become more racially and ethnically inclusive. While whites represented 80 percent of all skeptics 20 years ago, that figure had dropped to 74 percent by 2013. This is largely a reflection of the increasing Hispanic and Asian adults among the skeptic cohort. Asian Americans, the least-Christian ethnic demographic in the United States, especially tend to embrace skepticism. While a growing number of skeptics are Hispanic, they still remain, along with Blacks, less likely than other ethnic groups to accept the idea of a world without God. White Americans, who constitute two-thirds of the country’s total population, are well above average in their embrace of atheism and agnosticism; they comprise three-quarters of the skeptic segment.

They are more dispersed regionally. In decades past, the Northeast and West were seen as isolated hotbeds of atheism and agnosticism. They still remain the areas where skeptics are more likely to live, but the skeptic population is now broadly dispersed across all regions.

In many ways, skeptics resemble the rest of America more than they once did. And their numbers are growing more quickly than anyone expected 20 years ago.

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Three Components of Disbelief

Just as believers arrive at their belief in God by amassing a variety of information and experiences, skeptics piece together different inputs to draw their conclusions. According to our research, however, it seems the three primary components that lead to disbelief in God’s existence are 1) rejection of the Bible, 2) a lack of trust in the local church and 3) cultural reinforcement of a secular worldview.

Skeptics dismiss the idea that the Bible is holy or supernatural in any way. Two-thirds contend that it is simply a book of well-known stories and advice, written by humans and containing the same degree of authority and wisdom as any other self-help book. The remaining one-third are divided between those who believe the Bible is a historical document that contains the unique but not God-inspired accounts of events that happened in the past, and those who do not know what to make of the Bible but have decided it deserves no special treatment or consideration.

Given their antipathy or indifference toward the Bible, it is remarkable that six out of 10 skeptics own at least one copy. Most have read from it in the past, and a handful (almost exclusively agnostics) still read it at least once a month. The fact is, most skeptics have some firsthand experience with the Bible, and most had some regular exposure to it during their youth.

Churches have done little to convince skeptics to reevaluate. In fact, because more than two-thirds of skeptics have attended Christian churches in the past—most for an extended period of time—their dismissal of God, the Bible and churches is not theoretical in nature. Most skeptics think of Christian churches as:

  • Groups of people who share a common physical space and have some common religious views, but are not personally connected to each other in meaningful or life-changing ways
  • Organizations that add little, if any, value to their communities; their greatest value stems from the limited times they serve the needy in the community
  • Organizations that stand for the wrong things—wars, preventing gay marriage and a woman’s freedom to control her body, sexual and physical violence perpetrated on people by religious authority figures, mixing religious beliefs with political policy and action
  • Led by people who have not earned their positions of influence by proving their love of humankind, and are thus not deserving of trust

Many of these ideas are initiated, promoted and reinforced by celebrity personalities and media exposure. There has arisen a new stratum of anti-religion celebrity apologists that includes Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Peter Singer, Woody Allen, Phillip Roth, Julia Sweeney and the late Christopher Hitchens. It’s a chicken-or-egg conundrum to identify which came first: the atheist celebrity or an uptick in the number of atheists. Whatever the case, atheism has shifted in the past 50 years from cultural anathema to something the “cooler” kids are doing.

Understanding Today’s “Post-Christian” Trends
While what’s happening among self-identified atheists and agnostics is an important measure of belief trends, which corresponds with the much-examined “rise of the ‘nones,’”it is also important to look at actual faith practices and attitudes. This is why, at Barna Group, we have developed a “post-Christian” metric that helps us look at multi-dimensional factors to describe the rich and variegated experience of spirituality and faith.

This metric is based on 15 different measures of identity, belief and behavior. To qualify as post-Christian, individuals meet 60 percent or more of the factors (nine or more out of 15 criteria). Highly post-Christian individuals meet 80 percent or more of the factors (12 or more of 15 criteria).

These factors include a variety of practices (prayer, donating to a church, volunteering at a church, reading the Bible, etc.) and beliefs (belief in God, prioritizing faith, beliefs about the Bible, commitment to Jesus, etc.). You can see all 15 factors in this infographic.

Based on Barna’s aggregate metric, nearly two-fifths of the nation’s adult population qualifies as post-Christian (38%). This includes one in 10 Americans who are highly post-Christian—lacking engagement in 80 percent or more of the measures of belief, practice and commitment. Another one-quarter is moderately post-Christian (28%), refraining from at least 60 percent of the factors.

Analyzing the nation’s post-Christian profile gives an important viewpoint on the population’s spiritual, moral and social future. While self-described atheism and agnosticism may be on the rise in America, the post-Christian metric reminds observers that most Americans remain connected in some way with Christianity.

What the Research Means
David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, says, “The data show that some cities—and younger generations—are more gospel-resistant than others. It is increasingly common among Millennials to dismiss religion, God, churches, authority and tradition. For years, some observers have claimed colleges and universities are a breeding ground for anti-God sentiment. The data does lend support to the notion that college campuses are comfortable places for young people to abandon God and assume control of their own lives.

“Yet in spite of clear trends and obvious needs, our research suggests that most of the efforts of Christian ministries fail to reach much beyond the core of ‘Christianized’ America. It’s much easier to work with this already-sympathetic audience than to focus on the so-called ‘nones.’ And it’s no mystery why: Figuring out how to effectively engage skeptics is difficult. One of the unexpected results we uncovered is the limited influence of personal relationships on skeptics. They are considerably less relational and less engaged in social activities than the average American. Christians for whom ‘ministry is about relationships’ may be disappointed when they find that many skeptics are not as enamored of relational bonds as are those who are already a part of church life.

“But in giving his followers the Great Commission, Jesus didn’t mention anything about doing what is easy. New levels of courage and clarity will be required to connect beyond the Christianized majority.”

03.30.15

Millennials: What is hooking up? by Jim Denison

http://www.denisonforum.org/morality/1451-millenials-what-is-hooking-up

Its that time of year once again.  When day becomes longer than night.  When brown becomes green.  When what’s dead becomes alive.  When we open long-shuttered windows.  When there is love in the air.  It is spring!  For the younger among us that means Spring Break; the end of a school year; the hope for an endless summer; and perhaps finding true love.  But in their search for that love, traditional courtship has started to look much different.   What was once a quest for someone special to spend your life with has turned for many into settling to “hookup” with someone sexually for a single night.  Why, and what is this growing trend doing to the psyche of this generation born between 1980 and 2000? Continue reading

03.23.15

9 Ways to Handle Conflict Biblically by Chris Adams

http://www.lifeway.com/womensministry/2015/03/04/9-ways-to-handle-conflict-biblically/?intcmp=LWMain-Article5-handle-conflict-20150316

Conflict can cause anger, hurt, confusion, fear, and damaged relationships with those on our women’s leadership team and other women in the women’s ministry. At the same time, if approached in a God-honoring way, conflict can bring stimulation, healing, resolution to problems, and building of relationships. It can prevent stagnation and bring needed change in ministry and women’s lives. Conflict can’t be completely avoided, but it can be managed and resolved. It can help us grow in our skills and relationships. If the problem causing it is not confronted, the conflict can escalate.

So how does God want us resolve conflict in our personal relationships and within our women’s ministry leadership team?

1. First, do nothing.

Take a break, think it through, and pray about your response. Ask God to help you love and value the other person as His unique creation. If we pray and think before responding, right off the bat we may prevent crucial mistakes in relationship building.

2. Exhibit self-control.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Angry responses do not honor Christ. We are encouraged to respond slowly to conflict rather than acting on impulse, resulting in regret. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man holds it in check.”

3. Stop, think—and pray.

How does God look at this situation? How does He view the other person? He is a God of wisdom and compassion. Seek to exemplify those traits. What does He want to happen in your relationship as you deal with this issue? Could this be a growing experience for all parties involved?

4. Ask, Is the issue worth pressing?

Is it worth your time and effort, or is it of no real consequence? Count the cost. If resolution does not count in the long run, perhaps you should overlook it and go to more important issues.

5. Evaluate your own attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses.

Matthew 7:5 admonishes, “First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Is the problem more yours than the other person’s? Prayerfully seek God’s perspective about your role and why you feel as you do about the situation.

6. Follow scriptural principles.

Once you’ve considered the previous elements, seek God’s direction for handling the resolution process. Matthew 18:15-20 provides direction for approaching someone we feel has instigated the problem. Face-to-face confrontation is not easy. Share feelings and viewpoints honestly and in love. Listen carefully and acknowledge each other’s feelings and opinions. Remember: attack the problem, not the person. Rather than addressing old issues, focus on the current issue and ways to resolve the problem. Praying together is a positive way to initiate resolution.

7. Ask questions for clarification.

State the problem, assimilate facts, and clearly define issues. Is it miscommunication or incorrect information? Who else or what other factors are involved? Complete research before meeting.

8. Discover together things on which you do agree.

Compile a list. Then evaluate the big picture—how does this situation affect the ministry? The church? Brainstorm possible solutions that will result in mutual benefits.

9. Take some time apart.

Think through the possible solutions and pray separately. Come back together to determine actions to take. Be willing to admit individual mistakes and failures that might have contributed to the problem. Ask for and give forgiveness where necessary. What if this approach doesn’t work? If anger erupts, language is inappropriate, the person is unreasonable, or she won’t listen, you may need to take a different approach. Matthew 18:16 provides direction. Invite mediators to hear the issue and help to make decisions.

At times you may have to agree to disagree. You can change only yourself. You are not responsible for another’s response—only yours. Honor God and uphold truth when you respond. For those who choose to be consistently disagreeable, you may be forced to say you are truly sorry they feel that way—then waste no more time trying to fix what they do not want to fix. Humor is also a good divergent in dealing with disagreeable people. It has a way of cutting the tension!

03.23.15

5 Things Volunteers Need From You by Ron Powell

http://youthministryunleashed.com/what-volunteers-need/

Here’s a list of 5 things I learned that my leaders need from me.

 Training

It’s not fair to ask volunteers to do something that they haven’t been trained for. If you want them to contact a group of 5 students every week, do a role-play, or leaders’ session teaching on exactly what that looks like. If you want leaders to pray with students, walk them through a process of listening to needs and praying with the student. Even if it’s just taking attendance, managing student behavior, or leading a small group, it’s unfair to put a volunteer in this situation without:

  • teaching them,
  • letting them observe it,
  • letting them assist you or another leader,
  • then you watching them do it.

 Clear Expectations Repeated Regularly.

I had a lead pastor who would tell me “check up on the kids, Check up! Check up!” Granted, English was not his first language but I couldn’t get him to specify what “check up” looked like. (Frankly I’m still not sure!) I never knew if I was living up to his expectations. If you are expecting leaders to “hang out with kids” be specific about what that looks like.

It could be,

  • stay with your students from start to finish of the youth program.
  • Have a conversation with each student each week.
  • Arrange to meet each of your students face to face outside of youth once a month.
  • Arrange one group activity for your students each term.

These standards need to be repeated regularly. You can share the standard in a leaders meeting, have leaders share what is going on with their students  in a leaders meeting, or call each of your leaders each week to get praise and prayer reports with what is going on with them.

 Consistent Communication and Feedback

I have mentioned this in another blogVolunteers often feel that they are not performing very well. They feel that they could be doing more. Sometimes they wonder if the work they do is appreciated. Some youth ministries have a debriefing meeting after the students have gone home. Some have a meeting an hour before the students arrive. Whenever you meet (and I think it should be each week) it is important to provide group feed back. Here is a chance to talk about how well the leaders are relating to students at the program.

Mention specifics that you want to be repeated like “I saw many of you go out of your way to include fringe kids and newcomers! Way to go!”

Meeting each week and encouraging your leaders is crucial. At the same time don’t neglect speaking to your leaders individually about the work that they are doing. Point out what you have observed and affirm every effort that they make. Never underestimate just how insecure they are!

Most of all, please communicate with them about what is going on and what is expected at your meeting. It’s terrible when the volunteers know less than the students. They will be very angry if they don’t get advance notice. This is going to require good planning and communicating information in written and verbal form. As Tyson Howells has shared you can never communicate enough.

 Opportunity to Be Heard

I love Steven Covey’s Principle –Seek first to Understand then to be Understood. It applies to youth ministry. Have you ever felt that your leaders “don’t get you?” It could be that you need to get them first. Asking your volunteers or sponsors for input even an evaluation of how the ministry is going, will provide you with necessary insights. Often they will see things that you miss. Value their input and wherever possible, act upon it.

In the same way that the volunteers serve the youth, I always felt it was my role to serve the leaders. This meant following up with them to find out how things are going; not just in their ministry to the students but other areas of their lives. I found that they would do the same thing for the students as I did for them.

 Shared Vision

I find that volunteers are inspired when they can see the big picture. Every volunteer should feel like an important part of the overall direction of the ministry. Too often the vision is fuzzy. Adult and student leaders aren’t able to see the connection between programs, activities and the overall goal of the ministry.

I heard a local youth pastor communicate his vision this way before their prayer time.

“I know that this may seem like just another youth night but I want you to know that there will be new community kids here who are going to hear the gospel. They will be assigned to one of you leaders. You will have the chance to build a relationship with them and help them to be part of a small group. Eventually this student, like many of you, will grow in the faith and be part of this team. You may not realize it when that new student steps on to the property but we are changing this community, one student at a time!

 Staying On Top of All This

It’s hard to stay on top of these five essential leadership functions. I don’t think that I ever did, at least not all five at the same time. I do know however that when I made conscious effort to recommit my time to making these a priority ever area of the youth ministry went better. The volunteers were happier and more effective in their ministry. Students were growing and each week we knew that our vision was becoming a reality.

03.23.15

What Educators Can Learn From Major Brands by Tim Elmore

http://growingleaders.com/blog/what-educators-can-learn-from-major-brands/#sthash.Nh8b4p5I.dpuf

For years, I have advocated something taught by futurist Dr. Leonard Sweet. In his book, The Gospel According to Starbucks, he suggests that youth today make up an EPIC Generation: they are Experiential, Participatory, Image-rich and Connected.

I regularly ask faculty members this question: How EPIC is your classroom? I believe the more EPIC we are, the better chances we’ll have of getting through.

Just look at some of the EPIC moves made by major brands recently.

E – Experiential

Last month, Starbucks opened something even more experiential than their typical stores. You could call it: Starbucks on steroids. It’s the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, a mega-store with specially carved teak doors in Seattle’s Capital Hill. Part-store, part-theatre part made-for-social-media-buzz tourist attraction, this special location stands at 15,000 square feet and could house a dozen typical sister-stores. It’s a factory and a store, mixing glitz with culture: the coffee is actually roasted right on the spot, bagged and shipped all over the world. There are 30 different coffees to be sold there; 45 people can sit at its “coffee experience” (100 can stand); and 250 jobs were created by this new location. In short, coffee drinking takes on a whole new experience.

Question: How can you create an environment that is more experiential as you teach students? How can you develop items that help clarify your message that students can see, touch, taste, smell or hear?

P – Participatory 

McDonald’s just announced a new addition as well. Responding to their falling stock prices and shrinking population of young adult customers, the world’s largest fast-food chain will expand its “Create Your Taste” test platform. This allows customers to skip the counter and visit a kiosk where they can customize everything about their hamburger or chicken sandwich—sauces, buns, cheeses, extras, you name it. This is the biggest menu change McDonald’s has made since they introduced breakfast items four decades ago. This year, the platform expands to 2,000 locations across the U.S. Why? Because it gives the customer a chance to customize and personalize their order… just the way we like things today. (It wasn’t long ago that Nike introduced a way for everyone to customize their shoe orders). It makes us feel unique and gives us a greater sense of “ownership” of what we both eat and wear, in a world where we often feel like just a number.

Question: How can you offer a greater sense of “ownership” among your students by allowing them to personalize the subject or the pedagogy of your classroom? Is there any way they can put their fingerprints on the course so that it feels tailored.

I – Image-rich

More and more organizations are getting this one right. Students are part of a visual generation. That doesn’t make them anti-intellectual or simplistic, just iconic. They consume so much information day to day, they are drawn to metaphors in speeches and pictures on screens. And for those of us who communicate important messages, they prefer images. Just a few years ago, we began to see NCAA football programs switching to the use of images to call plays, snap counts and formations. The University of Oregon began doing this under Coach Chip Kelly and continues even to this day. As a result, dozens of other college football teams have switched to this strategy. Pictures communicate more quickly and more memorably than words. In short, images are quick and they stick. Do you suppose what works on a field may just work in a class?

Question: How could you incorporate a metaphor or word picture in your teaching that could anchor the “big idea” you’re trying to relay? Even though you might be sharing lots of complex ideas, could you enter the topic with an image?

C – Connected 

Last fall, the new College Football Hall of Fame opened in Atlanta, GA. It’s just spectacular. CEO John Stephenson was kind enough to host a group of us from various NCAA schools, and immediately we recognized how the HOF and museum enabled guests to “connect” with the school, team and people they cared most about. When you enter, you see the helmet of every Division One program in the nation. You then identify the school you favor, and from that point on, wherever you tour in the building, people, plays and games in the exhibits will light up from your school. There are places for visitors to kick a football through the goal posts, do a personal touchdown dance and record it, watch video, sing a fight song… you name it. I guess you could say…the Hall of Fame is EPIC. Most of all, it enables people to connect.

Question: How could you enable students to connect with peers they care about as you teach? Is there a way you could create smaller communities for them to upload their own thoughts and “own” the topic they are learning?

03.23.15

Want To Reach Millennials? with Infographic

http://www.youthministrymedia.ca/infographics/want-to-reach-millennials-infographic/

Millennials spend an alarming 18 hours a day consuming media. They are engaged online in a whole new way. What does it mean for your youth ministry? Young adults ministry?

We need to engage millennials online, and in real relationships.  Don Tapscott said, ” “These kids are different, and they’re about to change the world.”, “This is the first generation of people that work, play, think and learn differently than their parents, … They are the first generation to not be afraid of technology. It’s like the air to them.”  Technology will be the air we breathe for the indefinite future.  It’s going to change the way we do youth ministry, and church.

Here are few things that stand out to me from this infographic on the millennials:

1. 5.4 hours per day on social media.  Where are you spending time?  One of the best ways to spend time trying to reach students, and communicate to students is through social media accounts. You might think this is obvious, but what is your strategy while you are there?

Last year, my youth ministry decided to run a photo booth on a certain night and we posted the photos on our Facebook page so that students could download them.  We also printed them off for them to take home.  Our Facebook page blew up(We actually called the blog post, How To Blow Up Your Facebook Page).  One of the things the photo booth did that I wasn’t expecting was to promo our youth ministry to other teenagers in town virally.

A week later we had a student message us from a town away asking if he could come to our youth group.  He said in the message that he saw his friends at our youth group and it looked awesome.  He showed up the next week.

You have to be intentional how you post on your social media accounts.  Whats your youth ministry look?  Whats your logo?

2. Check smart phones on average 43 times per day.   What is your strategy for texting out messages to leaders, parents, students?   There are tons of programs that will do this.  Trust me, you don’t want to be using your iPhone with a group message.  Nothing is worse than a group message.

You can find some awesome text message options for your youth ministry here.

I feel like a broken record when I say that buying a texting program was the best thing I have done in the past 5 years.

3. They multitask.  To be honest, sometimes I feel like the students aren’t listening.  When I am preaching, or someone else is, everyone is on their devices.  Are they listening?

A few weeks ago I had a leader ask me why the students today are so disrespectful.  I shared a story with this leader on how I watch shows at home.  I usually am watching a phone with my iPad around, or working on something for this website or for work.  A lot of times my wife will ask me if I am paying attention or not.  I am.  I am just multitasking.  I am doing multiple things at once.  So, I asked the leader what the difference was between me and the students on their phones on a youth night?

I don’t think it’s great for our students to be on their phones all night.  One thing we try to value is face to face conversations and relationships.  My small group has decided to put their phones away each night when we come together, and now that the grade 8 boys have committed to it, they police it themselves.

This culture is ever changing, and the students we are working with are more digitally connected than ever before.  This is going to require us to help each other to reach more students, and to preach the word faithfully to this and the next generations of students.

1412870636-want-reach-millennials-this-how-they-spend-their-time-infographic

03.16.15

The 4 Needs of New Christ-Followers by Andy Blanks

https://youthministry360.com/blog/4-needs-new-christ-followers

If things are going as they should, be should all have new Christ-followers in our midst. Some of us will have more than others. But by the very nature of our role, we should be seeing teenagers come to faith in Christ, or getting serious about their faith for the first time. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years thinking about these new Christ-followers (I wrote a book specifically for new believers you can sample at the end of this post.) and the spiritual needs they have.

I think these new Christ-followers have at least four basic needs. I want to pass these along to you in hopes that they help you think how your ministry might adapt to meet these needs.

To define these needs, we can look to the first picture of the 1st century church we get in Acts 2:36-47. (After all, there were a ton of new believers after Peter’s Pentecost sermon!) Continue reading

03.16.15

Less Message Writing and More Relationship Building by Phil Bell

https://www.leadertreks.org/less-message-writing-relationship-building/

Recently, I was reading back through Generation iY by Tim Elmore. He convicted me that I spend too much time writing my messages. Here’s why:

They [students] want a guide on the side before they want a sage on the stage. … Keep in mind that young people today are not necessarily looking for experts, especially if they are plastic and untouchable. They would rather have someone authentic come alongside them. When students were recently asked about their heroes, for the first time in twenty years they did not list an athlete at the top of their list. Their number one response was “mom and dad.” They hunger more for relationship than information—even relevant information. They are accustomed to learning on a need to know basis—but their need to know will increase if a person they trust and know well is the one sharing the information.

For anyone working with students today, this is a challenging statement that requires us to pause, reflect, and consider how we can best reach students with the life-changing message of the gospel. Tim Elmore is making a case for less message preparation time and more relational investment in students. But what would that look like?  Continue reading