New Youth Ministry Resource Focuses on Relationship Education
Sewickley, PA - Nationally, Planned Parenthood is the largest sex education provider in public school systems. Let that sink in for a moment. The nation’s largest abortion-provider is going into schools and teaching students how to have “safe, healthy sex,” and what their options are if they encounter an unwanted pregnancy or STD. In essence, they meet the culture where it’s at. They support students in making decisions that developmentally they aren’t yet able to make, creating potential damage that will last for the rest of their lives. “Generation Z” already believes that Christianity is a religion that has too many rules, many about sex. In fact, they’ve disconnected sex and relationships so much so that the majority aren’t terribly interested in sex itself – porn is safer to them. To counter Planned Parenthood’s efforts and the cultural narrative, we are excited to announce the official release of a culturally-relevant, Gospel-centered youth ministry resource called Abundant Life: You Were Made for More!
Development of Abundant Life: You Were Made for More began after Anglicans for Life, and Sammie Franks*, AFL’s Coordinator of Ministry Outreach, recognized the need to equip youth leaders, engage teenagers, and partner with parents on the issue of relationship education. This new resource covers topics like healthy relationships, sexuality, dating, and decision-making, pornography addiction, identity, social media usage, loneliness, depression, and suicide - all resting on the ultimate redemption found only in Jesus. The author was inspired to create this resource for youth leaders after her own experience in youth ministry; Sammie believes wholeheartedly that when teenagers know what they are worth and whose they are, they will be more inclined to live for Jesus – following His commandments and walking in His ways. So, she worked to develop a comprehensive curriculum that helps to guide them in that commitment. The web-based series has 4 modules made up of 12 teachings, complete with large-group presentations, marketing graphics, supplemental resources, and small group questions.
This is not an easy, popular, or effortless battle - but it is a necessary one. Author of the curriculum, Sammie Franks, says this: “Statistically, the worst thing our culture does for young people is to water down sex education. We misunderstand teenagers when we assume that they are just immature, physically and emotionally, in how they think about relationships. Beneath the physiological realities, resides a deep, human desire for connection. We were made for relationship. But we have to recognize that ultimate intimacy comes in our relationship with God. When we fail to help young people navigate how sex and relationships fit into the broader category of life, we are failing the God who created relationship to be a deep, bountiful gift for us.”
Bishop John Guernsey commends this initiative to youth directors, parents, and anyone who is investing in the lives
teenagers, saying: “Abundant Life: You Were Made for More has a powerful message that God wants to communicate with the youth in our churches. The idea that we must discover who God created us to be and, more importantly, believe and trust in Him as our foundation before we dive into relationships with others is revolutionary in today’s culture. We live in a society that has foolishly redefined “love” to be selfish, temporary, and contingent on feelings. That isn’t love. When we get back to who God is, and who we are because of Him, that definition of love can be transformed.”
Taylor, a 21 year old, who has participated in the Abundant Life teaching said, "Not only did this open my eyes to the real definition of purity that the Lord calls us to, but for the first time I understood the very real, tangible impact of past relationships on my future marriage. After hearing the message in Abundant Life, it confirmed the love that the Lord has for me, and how I need Him if I'm ever going to have a relationship with someone else."
Founded 40 years ago, Anglicans for Life is the only Anglican organization dedicated to educating and equipping the Church to advocate for life - from conception until natural death. Anglicans for Life has backed this initiative after seeing the value in teaching students about who they are, emphasizing their identity, and weaving that into their relationships.
To find out more about Abundant Life: You Were Made for More, call 412-749-0455 or visit the web site www.YouWereMadeforMore.org.
*Sammie Franks is a volunteer youth leader at St. Phillips in Moon Township and First Presbyterian in Waynesburg.
How does it happen that we start out in ministry with passion and joy, and at some point down the road we find ourselves on automatic pilot, going through the motions, maybe feeling like we've lost that "first love"? Join youth pastors from around the city of Pittsburgh on February 1 as we welcome David “Duffy” Robbins to the PKN Meeting stage to share how we can nurture and enjoy the dance of ministry.
Duffy is currently the Professor of Christian Ministries at Grove City College. He’s a youth ministry veteran bringing over forty years of experience to the table. In addition to teaching at Grove City, Duffy speaks around the world to students and youth workers.
Monthly PKN Meetings exist to bring youth workers from all over the city together for a time of worship, encouragement, and a meal. PKN meets at the Smith Brothers building next to PNC Park - 116 Federal Street - on the 4th floor. We hope that you can join us!
Parking: Park in the West General Robinson St. lot across from PNC Park, and tell the attendant that you're there for the PKN meeting. You'll get a discounted rate of $3.00 (cash only, must be in by 10:00 am)
LET US KNOW YOU ARE COMING!
Calling all youth leaders to bring all their teenagers to Winter Jam!
Reposted from www.GregStier.org
Posted by Greg Stier on Jan 4, 2019 9:28:38 AM
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In just a week the notorious Zane Black and yours truly will be hitting the road with Winter Jam. Crazy good artists like Newsboys United, Hollyn, Mandisa, Rend Collective, Ledger, Danny Gokey, Newsong and many others, will light up the stage with their amazing sets and God-glorifying, Jesus-honoring, Spirit-fueled music. Don't worry, Zane and I won't be singing (on stage anyway), but one of us will be in each city for two very specific purposes. And this gets to the heart of why I'm calling all youth leaders to bring all their teenagers to Winter Jam this year!
1. The Gospel will be given clearly!
One of the things I love about Winter Jam is that it is run by, what I love to call "Gospel Guys." In the Christian music industry I've often experienced the opposite. Too many tours, festivals and events are all about the money, money, money and not the ministry, ministry, ministry. But the men who lead Winter Jam are all about the Gospel being given to everyone who shows up at the arena. Sure they have to charge a little (a suggested donation of $15/person) but the reason these men are doing Winter Jam is because they want to see the Lord glorified, the lost justified and the devil horrified. Again, they are Gospel guys.
Zane and I are Gospel guys too. We have been traveling together for the last 14 years doing Dare 2 Share conferences, Lead THE Cause events and, most recently, Dare 2 Share Live. And at every event we do, we make it our goal to lay out the Gospel as clearly as possible (Colossians 4:4.) As George Whitfield once said, "Many can preach the Gospel better, but no one can preach a better Gospel." In each city of the Winter Jam Tour one of us will give the gospel to the thousands upon thousands in attendance and an opportunity for those who say "yes" to Jesus to respond publicly.
Again, we're both sticklers when it comes to making sure the Gospel is clear and that the invitation is compelling (and non-manipulative.) So bring all your teens. Bring the saved, unsaved, apathetic and pathetic :) Our prayer is that the unbelievers will believe and that the believers will be encouraged!
But there's another reason to bring all your teens to Winter Jam.
2. A 48 Hour Challenge will be given strategically.
Everyone attending Winter Jam this tour will be challenged to share their faith with someone God puts on their heart. They'll be challenged to do this in the next 48 hours after attending Winter Jam. Why 48 hours? Because studies show that if you don't do what you've been equipped to do within 48 hours you'll never do it! Why 48 hours? Because Christians are notorious for hearing the Word and not putting it into practice! When I met with the leaders of Winter Jam a year or so ago, I encouraged them to think of the "evangelist's segment" in the lineup as a time to give the Gospel and challenge every believer in the room to give the Gospel. And they fully agreed!
That's why we at Dare 2 Share are honored to work together with Winter Jam to mobilize hundreds of thousands of believers in 44 cities to, not only gather and "jam" to the music during the event but to scatter and share the Gospel afterward. We believe that those who attend Winter Jam this year will be energized and mobilized to gospelize this nation for Christ. Think of an army that numbers in the hundreds of thousands being unleashed to share the Gospel back in their spheres of influence! It could lead to revival!
Zane and I will won't just be challenging the audience to share the Gospel, we will be giving them a simple tool to do it!
That's why you need to bring ALL YOUR TEENAGERS to Winter Jam this year! For some of you that means a road trip. For others, that means a short trip. But don't wait for Winter Jam to share your faith. Go ahead and download our free faith-sharing app right now and mobilize your teenagers to share the Gospel right away. Then have them bring the friends they are telling about Jesus to Winter Jam...and we will all have a party with a purpose together!
Pray with us and for us as we travel to 44 cities starting next week. Winter Jam is an amazing tour with amazing artists (and two run-of-the-mill preachers who don't have much going for them except the power of the Gospel of Christ...which is more than enough!)
We can't wait to see you and all your teens at Winter Jam!
WINTER JAM IS FEBRUARY 15th AT PPG PAINTS ARENA IN PITTSBURGH!
Local youth pastors had the opportunity to see an advanced screening of the movie in mid-August. Here's what some of them said about it -
"As someone who has been in ministry for 11 years, I've never watched a movie so relevant and captivating. This movie shows what life is really like in a day of a Christian teenager who is trying to figure out their faith. I'm Not Ashamed is a movie that will reach this generation to love those who are different and to not be ashamed of the Gospel. The life depicted of Rachel Scott challenged me as a youth leader to chase after the students who haven't been to youth group for awhile and to encourage those who are in the trenches of public school daily. I highly recommend this movie for students because I know their walk will be challenged. I want to encourage parents to watch the movie with their students so a discussion can happen." - Sheena M. Abraham, Student Administrator, Word of Life Church
"This is a Christian movie that has the excellence that is expected in our culture today. I liked the honest depiction of Rachel's life. It is important to be authentic to unbelievers." - Michael Cooper, youth pastor, Concord United Methodist Church
"It's amazing to see what one life can do! The story was real." - Michael Kane, Teen World Ministries
"The movie was a great depiction of the ups and downs of our walk with God. I hope students can see through this how one person can make a difference." - Matt Coyne, youth pastor, New Stanton Church
"It is a great story about how one person can be a light through pain and darkness. It shows how God's unbelievable grace, love, and light shine through everything!" - Jamie Knopf, youth pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
"Amazing!" - Dave Helmstadter, youth pastor, Christian Life Assembly of God, Trafford
The week of June 20-25, 2016 was something special - youth pastors from Washington, PA planned a mission trip together to their home town! MISSION WASHINGTON was five days of serving, worshiping, playing, eating and sharing the Message of God’s love. Several youth groups from the city came together and then divided into our teams and went out into the community where they built, planted, cleaned, raked, ministered, related, and prayed. They also helped with a community VBS. After working they also ate dinner together, had a time for fun and worship along with awesome speaking, and time to debrief. Watch this instagram video to get a small feel for what it was all about. If you'd like to see the youth ministries in your town do something like this, please contact Don Nixon, Aaron Miller, or Brian Greenleaf and ask them about what they did.
I recently came across this quote that I read 16 years ago, but I think it still is true today...
"Nothing has contributed as greatly to the pursuit of the Great Commission over the past 300 than youth ministry. The reason is simple: youth ministry is effective. An overwhelming majority of those who enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ do so before they leave their teen years. Couple this well-established fact with this trend: the youthfulness of the world’s population is ever increasing. These factors alone should cause every church and youth group to prioritize and expand their efforts to reach youth with the Good News of Jesus Christ." -- Mike King, Millenial Leap: Launching a Strategic Citywide Youth Ministry Model for the 21st Century
In the past, when I've gotten discouraged about working this students, this quote has encouraged me and I'm thankful I came across it again. For all of us in youth ministry, what we do matters in the plan of God for reaching the world! I'm also grateful that Mark Matlock and Greg Stier have also recently reaffirmed that value of youth ministry to the church and the kingdom of God (see here and here). YOUTH WORKERS, keep going, keep serving, keep teaching, keep loving teenagers and helping them love God!
Ed Glover, president and founder of Urban Impact Foundation, is a former youth pastor who has spent the last 30 years reaching kids and families on the north side of Pittsburgh. Ed wants to invite youth pastors in the Pittsburgh region to join him in tackling a huge issue - fatherlessness. Please watch this video...
On January 25th there was an advanced screening of "God's Not Dead 2" in Pittsburgh. Several local youth pastors and pastors were there and here's what they said.
"Just finished a screening of God's Not Dead 2, highly recommend you see it and bring a friend."
- Floyd Hughes, Crossroads Community Church, Jefferson Hills
"Got to see a pre-screening of "God's Not Dead 2" tonight. Great movie... You need to go see it on April 1st." - Tom Shrun, Latrobe United Methodist Church
"This was one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time. It is being released in theaters on April 1st, and I highly recommend it!!" - Rob Smith, New Stanton United Methodist Church
"God's not dead!! He's surely alive! Such an amazing movie! Even better than the first! Everyone needs to go see it!!!" - Jamie Knopf, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh
"While God's Not Dead tackled the existence of God, God's Not Dead 2 takes on the existence and historicity of Jesus once again giving students confidence in what we believe." - Travis Deans, Cherry Tree Alliance Church
God's Not Dead 2 comes to theaters April 1st, 2016. You can learn more about the movie and watch the trailer at www.godsnotdeadthemovie.com.
There are 250,000 teenagers in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. Imagine what it would be like if all of those students were being prayed for! Teens For Christ is asking youth ministries all over the region to invite their students to pray for 3 friends from school who need to know Jesus. We have 5000 prayer cards (pictured above) and we'll send you however many you need for your group. Just shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's the thing - we have our students for an hour or two a week, but they spend 40 or so hours surrounded by people who need Jesus at their schools. If we are going to do student ministry, we have to take their schools into account. Here's why -
1) If your students can live out their faith at school, they can probably live it anywhere!
It's really easy to live our faith at church when surrounded by other believers. Anyone can do that. They real test of a genuine faith is, are we are able to live it surrounded by people uninterested in our faith or even hostile to it? If your students are living their faith at school, you can bet it's real.
2) If your students can share their faith at school, they'll be able to share it anywhere
Similarly, if your students can share their faith at school (a mostly non-friendly environment), they can probably share it anywhere! Seeing school as a daily mission will prepare them for whatever situation they may find themselves in - mission trip, college, business, human services, government, entertainment, etc. Once they begin approaching daily life missionally, chances are good that they will likely continue to do so throughout their lives.
3) Your students need to know they are not alone!
We all know the saying - there's strength in numbers. If your students can know that they don't have to do all of this alone, so much the better. Having a church family to retreat and regroup with is life giving. But having godly friends that they can go out into battle with - that's life saving! Being involved in a campus ministry helps your students know they are not alone in the most difficult arena for living a life of faith.
4) You need to reach students where they are - almost 90% of Americans go to public schools
If you have any desire to reach lost students, you have to go where they are - the problem is, youth pastors can't go there. The only way to reach lost students where they spend the majority of their time is to equip our students to love and serve their friends in the name of Jesus. Your youth ministry is not just what happens within the four walls of your church - an effective youth ministry must include a mission field and that is exactly what public schools are.
5) If you impact the school, you impact the community.
When reaching schools is part of your ministry strategy you don't just reach students - you begin to touch the community. Go to a high school football game any Friday night in the fall or go to a spring musical - schools have become the centers of community life. You want to impact the community? Make a point to have an impact on local schools.
All of that to say, we hope that you'll challenge your students to pray for their friends at school. And we hope that'll lead to a great impact on their whole school, your church, and the community!
This fall, I took students to the Silver Ring Thing for the second year in a row. It's a relatively new event for my students so their excitement to go and their excitement afterwards was encouraging to me. Here are the top reasons I will take students to SRT again:
1) The topics of sex and dating never go away - youth workers and parents will ALWAYS have to address these topics - why not get some help from a ministry that focuses on this 24/7.
2) It was funny - so many moments for laughter were built into the program. That's important for this topic and my students found lots of humor in the videos, the speaker, and the drama.
3) It was fast-paced multi-media - for 2 hours the SRT program kept the students attention with videos (lots of funny commerical spoofs), dramas, personal testimonies, music clips, audience participation, and a great speaker.
4) The people on stage were young - let's face it, teenagers are going to hear the message of purity better from people closer to their age who are still waiting than from older married people who are having that desire fulfilled already. The presenters on stage were all around 20 and that seemed strategically planned - and it was powerful to hear them share their hearts.
5) They presented the Gospel - sure they were talking about sex, but there was also a clear presentation of the Gospel and how to begin a relationship with Christ. And many responded to the invitation. That was awesome!
6) Clever use of technology - several times students were encouraged to use their cell phones during the program including signing up for ongoing follow up from Silver Ring Thing. Love that!
7) The rings can be bought at the event - as the name implies, silver rings to symbolize their commitment to wait were available for students to buy right after the show. Immediate application of what they were learning through the event - this was powerful.
8) Road trip! It was an hour and a half for us to get there but who doesn't love a road trip? My students do, so that worked out well (plus we ate at Five Guys which ratchets up the level of awesome pretty quickly).
9) The price was right - for only $6 online or $8 at the door, you get a great experience. This is a blessing to budget strapped youth ministries.
10) This decision affects their whole lives! Their future spouse, their future kids, their future grandkids, and their very own souls are impacted by deciding to wait for sex until marriage. Next to deciding to follow up Jesus, this is the biggest life impacting decision that our kids our going to make so we need to do EVERYTHING we can to help them make the right decision now.
11) BONUS: The Silver Ring Thing is a nation-wide ministry conference that was born in Pittsburgh and is headquartered here! How cool is that? They've been doing this 20 years and we need to support our local ministry entrepreneurs!
Check out www.silverringthing.com to learn more