Jan 26
Jenna DeWitt

I have a friend who has discipled me, encouraged me and held me accountable for many years. We live far apart now, but she still asks me three questions when we have a chance to catch up. These questions have kept me on track and challenged me to examine my faith on a deeper level.


1.     Who is God to you?

If being more like Jesus is the goal, knowing the character of God can help us get there. This question...

Jan 20
Mark Schutzius

If you have been in ministry for any length of time, you have probably faced criticism. It naturally comes with working around people. I’ll never forget four words spoken to me about a decision I made in my first few years as a youth pastor. A woman looked me in the eye and said, “You lied to me.” I didn’t lie, nor did I ever intend to mislead her. Her emotion was founded in a misunderstanding, but her words still caused me to rethink being in that leadership role of ministry.

We will all face criticism. When it happens, we need to be prepared to handle it with the right attitude...

Jan 08
Bryan Belknap

A compelling chapter in the Civil Rights Movement – the 1965 march for equal voting rights from Selma, Alabama to the state capitol in Birmingham – comes to stunning life in the new film “Selma.” Electric performances (especially by David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr.), lovingly detailed historical recreations of this darkly powerful episode in our nation’s history and a triumphant message that showcases God’s people in a positive light provide enough reason to experience this film. There are five specific reasons, however, why you as a youth minister, possibly even with youth group...

Jan 05
Bryan Belknap

“The roller coasters won’t scare me because I know how they work." 

That’s all we needed to celebrate our son’s 10th birthday at Six Flags. Before becoming parents, my wife and I were roller coaster junkies. We loved the wild abandon, the adrenaline rush, the thrill… and had the season passes to prove it. 

But kids change everything, so we entered amusement park hibernation… until our son proclaimed his readiness, nay, desire to ride roller coasters. Thanks to his noggin packed with a nine-week unit on the physics,...

Dec 29
Mark Schutzius

A phrase I often hear thrown around in Christian circles is that “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I understand where people are coming from when they share this sentiment with someone who is hurting. However, what if it isn’t true? Furthermore, what if it isn’t biblically accurate? In fact, the mindset that comes from this way of thinking is causing an innumerable amount of people to turn their back on God.

The verse that most people draw from for this saying is 1 Corinthians 10:13. Paul wrote, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is...

Dec 22
Autumn Miles

Growing up in a small Indiana town, I watched my dad, a pastor, preach for many years. Even as a child, I was mesmerized by his speaking ability. I would listen intently to the inflection in his voice as he effortlessly expounded the principles of God’s Word, moving the audience with conviction. There was something about his influence and ability to communicate that I admired. I dreamt that one day I would be able to move people in the same way. 

But I lived in a small town. I had no money. I had no connections, and I had no earthly idea how God could use me because of my...

Dec 15
J. D. Greear

Continued from last week: 

“Over the years, I’ve heard my fair share of excuses for why people don’t proclaim the Word of God to others (and, to be honest, I’ve made my fair share of excuses as well). So let’s consider some of the more common ones. I promise that none of these will end with you spray-painting anything on your car.

 

4. “I don...

Dec 08
J. D. Greear

“There is not a better evangelist in the world than the Holy Spirit

-       D.L. Moody

I can sense the objections beginning to form. Maybe you feel like “evangelism” is just not your thing – it’s not your gift. You don’t know much Scripture, you are not an extrovert, you aren’t good with confrontation, and you don’t want to paint “Jesus Saves” down the side of your car.

Over the years, I’ve heard my fair share of excuses for why people don’t proclaim the Word...

Dec 01
Jenna DeWitt

Recently I’ve heard several people make comments to this effect:

“You can have spot-on theology and an off-putting personality. It’s not just what you say but how you say it.”

Overall, I agree with their premise that how you communicate Truth matters. Of course it does. Unguarded tongues that spout out information, however factual, with no empathy or maturity will end up bulldozing over others’ feelings. Or come off sounding like a preschooler in a crowded area: “MOMMY! Why does that lady _____?!”

I’m sure if you have or have been around kids, you can fill in that...

Nov 24
Jeremy Steele

My hands shook a bit as I approached the imposing facade of the big church in town. I was about to attend the first after-school Christian club worship meeting of my high school career. My nervousness did not subside when I entered the building. It was just like the lunchroom at school – full of people I didn’t know who gathered in their predetermined cliques. Over in the corner, closest to the pizza, was most of the football team (unofficially required to come by their coach); not too far off were their cheerleader girlfriends; and on the other side was half of the marching band. I...