Jul 28
Jenna DeWitt

On the Disney Magic cruise ship, there is an unusual waterslide. Not only does this enclosed-tube waterslide have a clear section that extends out over the ocean, but it starts with a sudden drop. Instead of sitting down to board, you stand in place, leaning against the vertical back of the slide. As soon as you’re ready, the waterslide operator punches a button and the ground drops out from underneath you. Suddenly, you’re shooting downward, water surges around you as the slide twists and turns out over the side of the ship and back in again. Instead of a large splash in a pool at the end...

Jul 21
Dudley Rutherford

If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would one day ride 60 to 70 miles on a road bicycle for fun, I don’t think I would have believed you. But years of playing basketball and golf had finally caught up to me, causing major damage to the meniscus cartilage in my knee. A good friend of mine recommended cycling as a way to stay in shape and maintain the competitiveness I love about sports, but with less strain on my knees. I’ve been hooked ever since. 

Now that I’m an avid cyclist, the Tour de...

Jul 14
Nathan Smith

Make sure your ministry isn’t using one of these tactics to get youth into church because they will ultimately stunt a student’s spiritual growth and relationship with Jesus.

1.     Guilt

The best way to lead anyone to Jesus, teenagers included, is to build a relationship with them. I have seen more and more Christian leaders adopting this effective practice, but they must beware the dangerous temptation to “guilt trip” their students.

You might...

Jul 07
Jenna DeWitt

Soundbyte theology, Twitter wisdom, catchy sermonettes… whatever you want to call them, quotes that sound like Truth are popular with this social media generation. We like our advice short and sweet. Preferably under 140 characters.

What happens when we take one of those quotes out of the context of memes, emoticons and gifs? What if we seriously think about what it says about us and, even more importantly, what it says about Jesus?

We might encounter the reality of our beliefs. We could end up discovering a deeper faith than the weak catchphrase cultural Christianity we...

Jun 30
Lynette Kittle

The summer months are a great time for parents to create lasting memories with their kids that include Christ-centered activities and adventures, ones that encourage spiritual growth and strengthen their developing faith for years to come.

 

1. Spend time at a Christian festival 

We often took our four daughters to Christian festivals around the country, where we combined a fun getaway with opportunities for spiritual enrichment and growth through inspirational music, speakers and fellowship. Families can usually stay for a reduced cost at a...

Jun 23
Amy Ford

Editor’s Note: Many years ago, Amy Ford found herself facing an unplanned pregnancy as a teen. Today, Amy leads a ministry called Embrace Grace, Inc., helping other young single mothers choose life as she did. If someone you know is facing a crisis pregnancy, share these words of encouragement to help her know she and her baby are loved and valued by their Heavenly Father. 

Speed bumps, potholes… they get in our way, slow us down and sometimes point us in a different direction – one we haven’t thought of yet. We take detours, think we’re getting off track, but...

Jun 16
Bryan Belknap

I attended a funeral with hundreds gathered to mourn the loss of a 19-year-old girl. Family, friends and her entire class of Naval ROTC cadets, resplendent in their pristine uniforms, surrounded the inconceivable coffin of a woman so young, so dedicated to the Lord and serving others, laid low by a car wreck. While we understand death is a part of life, it becomes especially cruel and tragic when it claims our young.

You could feel the tearful questions swirling unspoken around the room – Why? How? What’s the point? Where’s the plan? – but none dominated until we were all standing...

Jun 09
Kyle Erickson

It is important for us as parents and youth ministry leaders to be intentional about leaving nothing unsaid when it comes to sharing God’s Truth with our teens. This is more easily said than done because it requires intentionality and courage. But there are life circumstances (such as graduations or job transitions or relocations) that present excellent opportunities for these conversations to occur. After seven years serving as Pastor of Student Ministries at Bonhomme Presbyterian Church, I am transitioning into a new role leading our Urban and Global Mission and Church...

May 27
Bryan Belknap

On a recent visit to Las Vegas, I was struck by how much sleezier the town has become over the last decade. The days of Sin City posing as a family friendly destination are loooong gone. Today, even the classiest hotel or restaurant puts their employees in cleavage bursting, garter belt flashing attire.

While staring up at the sky – the only area in sight that wasn’t drenched in sex and booze and gambling – I realized that the town’s entire persona is built upon a brilliant lie.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

This 10-year-old marketing slogan has so infiltrated...

May 19
Chad Inman

“I wanna watch Sweeping Beauty!” the bellow of an adorable small voice broke the silence. My 2 ½ year old daughter, Sadie, loves all things princess. That means Disney movies, lots and lots of Disney movies. Normally I would open the case, pop in the DVD and not think twice, but this time was different. I looked at the cover. Read the title, “Sleeping Beauty,” thought about similar Disney movies (like “Beauty and the Beast”), and I suddenly had a profound realization. These movies are actually defining beauty.

Our teenage daughters have probably lost interest in Disney, but popular...