Category: student ministry


We went to Dare 2 Share a few weekends ago.  It was incredibly good.  The new format was really good.  I liked the fact that there wasn’t a “concert” this year.  There was in the sense that DJ Promote was there but it wasn’t like a concert.  This year Greg talked about THE CauseTHE Cause is simply The Great Commission renamed.  Why rename something holy and Biblical?  Because a few hundred years ago missionaries coined the term ‘the great commission’ to help mobilize people for evangelize their friends and those around them.   That’s right – those headings in your Bible weren’t inspired by God.  They were put there by men (along with the chapter numbers and verses) to make it easier to read and find things.  So the people at D2S re-labeled The Great Commission to THE Cause.  Today causes are all over Facebook.  You can now join a cause for anything – and people are.  I am constantly getting invites for a TON of worthless causes.  But what about THE Cause?  How are we doing with THE Cause – Jesus is the Christ…the saving One?

Last Friday I sent out a text to our students asking if someone wanted to go do some street evangelism with me.  I ended up taking two guys and we had a great time.  All in all we got to witness to 3 different people.  We found out one was a believer and the others were not.  While they didn’t except Christ on the spot they are actively searching out the truth of the Gospel.  That’s so great to see.

Last night one of our 7th grade guys came up to me and said,

“Hey see the new girl that came?  I want to go share the Gospel with her.  Come with me!”

So we went over and I got sidetracked by people pulling em aside to talk about some different things.  He came back over and let me know he thought she was wanting to accept Christ on the spot.  So I went over and started talking to her and she realized her need for a Savior.  So I lead her through the Gospel as a refresher and and lead her through the prayer.  What was really cool about it was seeing one of our students stepping out in faith to begin the conversation of the Gospel with someone.  It takes a lot of guts to throw the Gospel out there.  There’s always a risk of rejection.  Fortunately God had something else in store for him last night.

We devoted our night to THE Cause last night.  We are desperately trying to mobilize our teens to go the distance with the Gospel for THE Cause.  How are YOU doing at going the distance with the Gospel for THE Cause?

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Seriously.  I think Newell/ Fonda should do this with their buses.  We already have the Macs in the high school and now down through the 5th grade next year.  Why not take the leap and put wifi on the school buses too?  It seems like it works for this Arizona school;

Students endure hundreds of hours on yellow buses each year getting to and from school in this desert exurb of Tucson, and stir-crazy teenagers break the monotony by teasing, texting, flirting, shouting, climbing (over seats) and sometimes punching (seats or seatmates).

But on this chilly morning, as bus No. 92 rolls down a mountain highway just before dawn, high school students are quiet, typing on laptops.

Morning routines have been like this since the fall, when school officials mounted a mobile Internet router to bus No. 92’s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web. The students call it the Internet Bus, and what began as a high-technology experiment has had an old-fashioned — and unexpected — result. Wi-Fi access has transformed what was often a boisterous bus ride into a rolling study hall, and behavioral problems have virtually disappeared.

“It’s made a big difference,” said bus driver J.J. Johnson. “Boys aren’t hitting each other, girls are busy and there’s not so much jumping around.

Why not?

This was from halftime last night.  It always amazes me that students get so excited over this.

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i don’t have words…

Last week every time i ran into someone from Bethel they would say things like, “Hey that was a great article on you in the paper” or “You must be really proud” or “You’re doing such a great job.”  Every time I would politely say “Thank you” and wonder to myself, “What is going on?”  Back in November one of my students interviewed me for a paper he had to write at school.  What he didn’t realize was that they would be published in the local newspaper for all to see.  He was almost as shocked as I was.  I can’t find the article online so I thought I would post it here.  I’ve never had this happen before so I think it’s pretty cool and it’s a HUGE encouragement.


People With An Impact by Matt Baughman

A frantic student reaches for his cell phone hoping someone will care about the things he has just gone through. He flips through the contact list for someone who knows what really is going on. He anxiously goes through the list two or three times until a name catches his attention. He empties his heart into the message including the maximum amount of short hand possible and he still doesn’t have room for everything he needs to get out. He thinks about sending another message to get the rest out, but a message comes back almost instantly saying the other person will be right there. The student feels a sigh of relief go through his exhausted body. Finally somebody will listen to him.

This situation is not an uncommon occurrence for a youth pastor. Most youth pastors will meet with a student at any time of the day if there is a situation that needs to be dealt with. Very few can relate to a student’s problems like Chris Day. Growing up as a kid who didn’t fit in with any particular group of kids, Chris was picked on for most of his student life. This background and other events in his life have lead Chris into being an easy person to dump problems onto. There isn’t much that students go through that Chris hasn’t worked with in his ten plus years of being a youth pastor.

Spilling your heart to Chris can be a very uplifting experience. He can hold a lot on his huge shoulders. Having a background in powerlifting has made him physically strong, but things in his past and his strong faith have made him very emotionally strong. Looking at Chris, anybody would think he was a person they do not want to mess with, be he truly dislikes preconceptions about him. While he understands the reasons for people’s feelings, he does not like to hear people have negative feelings about him. When asked if he agrees with the preconception that his feelings are different than someone smaller than him he said, “It is really not true at all. I think judging people on appearances is one of the weaknesses that we fall to within our culture. We always seems to judge every book by its cover, and we do the same with people in general. i think the preconception that because I am a big strong guy and that I don’t have the same feelings as any other person is really too bad for those who choose to not get to know me. Once you get to know me, you find out that I am really sensitive, maybe even more sensitive than most.”

Getting to know Chris this past year, by spending a lot of time with him, this statement is completely true. There have been times where I have seen his softer side come out in heavy doeses. Everytime this happens, the level of respect I have for him increases. He has been the strongest influence on my life since he moved to Newell. Chris has one of the biggest hearts that a person will ever see. When a member of our church is sick or in the hospital, Chris is one of the first people to go visit them and offer encouragement. This is not because he feels obliged because of his job in the church, but he genuinely wants to visit congregation members. “I have always had a deep compassion for people in general. I realized my love/ passion for students when I was a junior in high school. My love for students was finally cemented when I was a sophomore in college and felt the call to go into full-time ministry to students,” said Chris.

After a few hours of getting thing off his chest the student finally feels that someone cares about his problems. He knows that when he has a problem, Chris is just a few seconds away.

I was blown away to read it.  I am humbled and baffled that I could have such an impact.  This is the legacy I want to leave.

I got our promo packs done and ready to be dropped off at the post office to be mailed out today. The exciting thing for me is that there will be 70 area churches who will be getting a promo pack full of good stuff. For me the most exciting thing about the pack is the FREE Michael Fugitt CD that is in each one of them. Youth Pastor’s love FREE stuff and this is our way of blessing them with something cool and free BEFORE Christmas. The picks of the packs are below.

I haven’t really done any graphics design since I’ve been in Newell.  I am really limited in what I can do as well.  Today I spent a LOT of time creating posters, bulletin inserts, invite cards, postcards and fliers for our Super Bowl Bash.  I am really pleased with how it turned out.  Let me know your thoughts.

It’s a tradition every year at Bethel to host a HUGE Super Bowl party.  Last year we had 200+ students show up.  It was a blast.  At half-time I exploded some cans of pop with my bare hands, rolled 3 frying pans and broke a baseball bat.  Then I gave the Gospel – you could hear a pin drop off of the carpet.  It was amazing.  I was actually asked by my leaders to do the frying pans and stuff.  They had heard a rumor or something that I could do it and thought it would be a great half-time show.  So I did it.

This year we talked a little bit about some ideas that we could do for half-time.  Nothing was really striking an interest with them until someone said,

“Hey can you do something like last year but different?  The kids loved it so we need to do something bigger.”

I now have my work cut out for me.  I can’t say yet exactly what I will be working on.  I do know this – I have about 3.5 months to get ready for it this time.  I’ll be a little over 100lbs lighter and a whole lot stronger by February 2010.  I’m now praying about it to see if I can get some confirmation from God about what we should do this year.

We definitely want to make this year bigger and better than anything that has ever been done.  We have talked about having Michael Fugitt come back and do an after show concert for the students that come.  Last night I talked with one of my leaders, Geoff, about doing something huge with Michael.  Pray for God’s leading in this.  If we can swing it it’ll be huge and we could draw in more kids than we ever have to hear of God’s redeeming love.  That’s what excites me more than anything.

We’re not sure what we’re doing this year but we do know this.  We want God to be honored and we want to see lives changed.

b90x: week 1

God is DEFINITELY up to something right now in our student ministry at Bethel here in Newell.  There is no doubt about it.  Last Wednesday night I talked about the importance of theology.  That they only way to know theology is to read your Bible.  I then gave the application – B90X.  I know what you’re thinking, “What is B90X?”  B90X is an AGRESSIVE Bible reading program that came from Steven Furtick at Elevation Church.

We had 8 students take up the challenge. All 8 are on track with me as of today.  Our pastor (Jay) is doing it along with us too.  Today we are getting into Numbers. It has been incredible and I would challenge and encourage anyone to take this on.  It’s great.  I just talked with the yp of a local church today who is taking it up as well.  It’s great to see God moving like he is right now.

I have been giving this post some thought over the past couple of days.  Then a friend of mine on Twitter, Brian Ford, made this comment:

“Are you using the gospel to reach students or money and big events to draw them in? #THECause

His thought gave me something to think about as it relates to this post.  It is a great question.  For years I have subscribed to the mindset that you HAVE to have video games and technology to draw students in.  I live by this motto and did student ministry by this motto.  Largely because I was in a ministry where I had inherited all of the latest gaming systems and a ton of other stuff along with a healthy ministry budget of $20-$25k for the student ministry.  I was indeed blessed to have been a part of that ministry for 6 years.

I’m now in a different church where we don’t have the latest video game systems to draw kids in.  We don’t have a large budget (it is decent) to spend lots of money on events and programming to draw students in either.  So it has made me re-think how I go about doing student ministry.  The question I have struggled with over this past year is, “How can we draw students in without spending a ton of money and without the latest gaming systems?”

Here’s what I have learned.

  • games/ technology: Don’t get me wrong.  I love video games and technology.  Over the past year I have stepped away from using games as a primary focus to student ministry.  We still use videos and motion backgrounds to our songs.  I found I was putting too much focus on games in the past and not enough energy and focus on using God’s Word.  That’s a hard statement to make.  If games are your main way of bringing students in your ministry may became stagnant and stale over time ultimately losing kids – maybe not through numbers but losing them through not grounding them in God’s Word.  Honestly I am praying for Bethel to build a ministry center someday – and I do envision a pool table or two and maybe a video game system.  Not as the hook to keep kids.  We will always use the Gospel to keep them coming.  I do think games/ technology can be a help at CREATING an atmosphere but they CANNOT replace God’s Word.  In fact they MUST not.
  • atmosphere is key: Creating a contagious atmosphere is a must – but it CAN be done without video games and pool tables. My advice to anyone who may be a new youth pastor is this: Build you ministry strong upon the foundation of God’s Word – make that the focus.  Maybe then slowly work some games in or a pool table or two.  If your ministry ever gets to focusing on games and technology more than God’s Word then remove them fast!  Nothing can replace the transforming power of God’s Word.
  • deep and wide: I can’t say enough about the deep and wide strategy from dare 2 share.  We are using the deep and wide philosophy and we’ve seen huge changes.  Instead of games/ gimmicks we are using the Gospel to attract students.  Sure we have live worship and a decent youth room – but we don’t have any gaming systems.  Just good old fashioned proclaiming God’s Word through going deep with doctrine and challenging our students to go wide by sharing the Gospel and inviting their friends – and their friends are coming!
  • be different: Be the ministry in town that focuses on transformation of lives rather than the high score on Halo: ODST.  Be different – be the ministry God has called you to be.  While technology can be helpful it is not the catalyst for life change – God’s Word is.  So many times we try to “enhance” the Gospel with other things (video games. cool lights.  pool tables.  etc.) The thing is that when we do that we often change the Gospel to fit our mold and think it is somehow better with the coolest trend.  The Gospel is never cooler with the latest trend or gimmick.  The Gospel is always the Gospel in it’s purest form – God’s Word.