Raising the Bar in Student Ministry

In the eighteenth century, God shook the American colonies in a revival movement known as the First Great Awakening.   In his treatise entitled Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New England, written to describe and defend the movement,  Jonathan Edwards observed the role of youth in this revival, while indicting older believers for their indifference: Stern words …

Get Involved in Children's Ministry

For many years, I avoided anything to do with our children’s ministry.  I cringed when I would be asked to go to kids camp or to participate in VBS.  I always made it out to be the most inconvenient and worst weeks ever, so I simply turned down the offer. Students Pastors, please take time to get to know your …

Nostalgia and the Gospel

Nostalgia—the longing to relive something in the past—is all the rage right now.  Television, movies, and music have all gotten in on the throwback trend as executives seek to capitalize on the ubiquitous desire to recapture the “good ole days.”  Netflix has had great success in this venture, reviving the 1990s sitcom Full House and producing the critically acclaimed drama …

Accountability and Discipleship

I recently had a conversation with a teenager who chose to follow Jesus two years ago. He told me about the process of salvation for him. He went to a student camp during the summer and walked forward during a worship gathering. He said, “I prayed and asked God to forgive my sins and it was awesome. I felt Jesus …

Knowledge About God vs. Knowledge of God

I’ve heard it said that somewhere between 70-80% of churched students will not return to church post-graduation from the youth group.  I’ve heard some refute that number.  I’m not sure what is ultimately true, but I do know what has been my experience during my thirteen years in student ministry.  Too many students affiliated with my ministry throughout the years …

Wherever you are…Be All There.

Two events in the early 1980s changed our preferences for how we take in information, though no one fully knew how profound the changes were at the time. MTV launched in 1981, playing music videos that featured quick edits and short vignettes. No scene lasted on the screen longer than a few seconds. USA Today debuted a year later, presenting …

A Letter to Your Pastor

To all my youth worker friends. . . I know just how important it is for the senior/lead pastor at your church to connect with kids. I’ve penned this letter out of my deep belief that senior/lead pastors can and must play a powerful role in the lives of the kids in their church. I also know that many don’t …

Why We Need Information if We Want to See Transformation

Many a pastor—myself included—has offered this advice to new teachers of the Word. At first blush, it sounds really good. After all, we’ve all fallen victim to the lifeless teaching of a monotone lecturer-preacher whose discussion on Greek noun declensions did little to help us grow in our relationship with Christ. Such a preacher may give his listeners a lot …

The Death of ‘Nominal Christianity’

Yet another study has been published showing a sharp drop in Christian affiliation amidst a ‘changing U.S. religious landscape.’  This time such statistical findings have been published by the Pew Research Center.  I have been very pleased with the response of prominent evangelical leaders to these trends.  Several months ago Ed Stetzer published an article highlighting four trends in Christianity and …

Don't Waste The One

Youth ministry is a strange combination of competing expectations that others place upon you and that you place upon yourself. There’s the expectation to build a big youth group, but there’s also the desire to go deep in discipleship with those who are willing and hungry. There’s a strong need to reach lost students and do whatever it takes to …