Sonlife’s Legacy

In the spring of 1997 my Youth Pastor took me to a conference at Kamloops Alliance Church. It was a weekend workshop for leadership students who wanted to learn how to share their faith with their friends. It was called “Eternal CPR” and was run my a rep from Sonlife Ministries. That weekend transformed my life and was the start of a journey that would lead to me being a Pastor. However more importantly that weekend empowered me to understand that I didn’t have to wait till I was an adult. That as a grade 10 student, I had a role to play in my own world.

One of the fundamental beliefs I have in ministry is that “students are the best equipped to reach students” that belief was planted by Sonlife in 1997. Twenty-one years laters later it is the driving force behind my ministry and I believe is fundamental to the future of Youth Ministry. For more on that check out Students are BEST equipped blog from a few weeks back.

Recently I discovered that Sonlife is giving away all those old resources including “Eternal CPR” now called Peer to Peer… FOR FREE. All you need to do is go to their store and download the files.

If you want the BEST resource for empowering students to take ownership and evangelize to their friends go download these files now before they change their minds. logo.png

NEW Bookstore

Today I am very excited to launch the Fresh Ministry Consulting BOOKSTORE. Several months ago I started a journey with Youth Specialties that lead to my very first e-book, “A Guide For Successful Youth Ministry Events”. With changes coming to Youth Specialties I have decided to distribute this book and two more (coming soon) here at Fresh Ministry.

So check it out the BOOKSTORE and consider picking up a copy. If you have any questions or need help with anything bookstore related please contact us.

Blessings JC

 

Resurrection Day

Over the last number of weeks God has placed a particular song on my mind. Resurrection Day by Rend Collective has been playing on repeat over and over again. It’s been a constant reminder that when I was 13 years old I had a RESURRECTION DAY.

In the summer of 1995 I said YES to Jesus. That day my RESURRECTION song started to play and all these years later it still does. It motivates meta be a better Pastor but also to be a better Dad. One that can emulate the love of the Father in the lives of my girls. My hope and prayer this Easter is that one day my girls will have their very own RESURRECTION DAY.

May God bless you this Easter Sunday

Students are BEST equipped

Written by Jesse Criss and Edited by Michelle Murray-Schlitt

For as long as I can remember I have had a single phrase in my head as a Youth Pastor, “Students are the BEST equipped to reach students.” I’m not 100% sure where it came from. It could have been something my Pastor told me over 23 years ago or just something that has formed over the last 18 years of Youth Ministry. Regardless of where it came from it is the core of what I believe about Youth Ministry.

I became a Christian when I was about 13 years old, around the time I entered Grade 9. Within the year I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to being a Pastor and doing for others what my Pastor/Leaders had done for me. By that time, I was 14 going on 15 and something happened that would change my life. I asked my Youth Pastor to teach me and he said, “Okay what do you want to know?”

He believed that I had something to offer, he believed that I had a voice, he believed that I could lead the people in my world to Jesus. Ultimately, he believed that the Great Commission wasn’t for ADULTS ONLY but rather it was for all believers, including teenagers.

Matthew 28:18-20 “18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

23 years later I still believe this to be true…. the question is do you?

I’ve been around Youth Ministry for a long time and I truly believe something is changing within Youth Culture. I’m not 100% sure I can put my finger on it yet, but I believe it has something to do with actually believing that students can reach students better than you and I ever can. This is a shift for lots of Youth Ministries especially when the Youth Pastor is the expert that gets paid to fix/reach the kids. However, when a student is empowered with the GOSPEL and they believe that the Great Commission is FOR THEM, then anything is possible.

The natural question is, how do I know this is true? Well I just have to go back to the text. Jesus himself says he is with them. Frankly we can stop the conversation there and this is all that needs to be said. Jesus in Mathew 28 says “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me… And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Jesus is declaring that all that He is, all His authority and power goes with him and HE IS WITH US. That implication for a student can literally change their world.

However, the second reason is just as good… they are students. They know students because they are one. They know the drama because they are living it. Our students know how to reach students because this is their world, twenty-four hours a week, seven days a week. They also know what’s at stake. The world is not getting any better and this generation more than any other I think is starting to realize that something needs to change.

On March 24, 2018…

  • 800,000 students marched on DC to advocate better gun regulation in the USA
  • 800,000 students rallied around a cause to save the lives of countless thousands to come.
  • 800,000 students stood up with a collective voice and said “it needs to be different”

What happening in DC was led, planned, organized, developed and was ultimately successful all because of students.  Everything that happened, happened because a group of students said “THIS IS ENOUGH” and we are going to do something about it.

On March 24, 2018 we saw a view of the potential of this generation when they grab hold of the “WHY”. Their message was loud and clear because their lives and the lives of countless more to come are on the line. This is a literal life and death struggle for some of these students. So, they rallied, they marched, they took to social media and now the world is talking. All because they grabbed how of the “WHY” and it’s now informing the “HOW”.

I BELIEVE THAT STUDENTS ARE THE BEST EQUIPPED TO REACH STUDENTS

Matthew 28:18-20 “18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

…the question is do you???

Weekly Wrap Mar 23

Over the last few weeks there has been a lot of new content added to Fresh Ministry and I though I would take a moment a highlight some of it and give our first ever Ministry Shout Out.

Ministry Shout Out

This week I want to highlight Sonlife Ministries. They an an amazing organization with a huge heart to empower and equip students to reach their friends. I would check out there Peer to Peer Evangelism (it’s free) and the new 2×2 Devo’s. I use all their stuff for my Student Leadership program.

DNA Series Title

HOW TO WRITE A SERMON: It’s exciting to see young men and women step up and preach in their youth groups, but preaching can be a daunting task. There is an art form and method to it, on-top of the fact you want to make sure you are interpreting God’s word correctly.

Great Games

GREAT GAMES: Samatha is one of the BEST games people I have ever met and someone I turn to for advice on how to lead Great Youth Games take a few minuets and check out her video.

Hard Ministry Moments Title

LETTING A LEADER GO: One of the hardest moments for any Pastor/Director is the moment you need to let go of a volunteer leader, but when God is at the centre of it all the possibilities for everyone are endless.

Social Media and Youth Ministry

I get asked all the time about my thoughts around Social Media and how to use it best within Youth Ministry. I think I’m good with it but I know my friend Carla Thisssen is significantly better. Below are some of her thoughts on Social Media, and if you have more questions your welcome to contact Fresh Ministry or better yet contact Carla


INTRO

This is a tough topic to hit, probably by the time you read this, all that I am sharing will be irrelevant.  I will share some of my go to items I use to create content, what I post and where.

CONTENT HELP

  1. First and foremost a friend shared with me this awesome tool called Canva! It’s an amazing way to create content and have templates you don’t have to make up in the right sizing based on what social media platform you want to use. So check out Canva, it takes a bit to learn, but once you do, you never go back to anything else. You can use it for Brochures, Facebook, Instagram, Website , etc..
  1. You most likely have a few photographers in your youth ministries, whether it is a youth or leader. Grab them! Set up a time to meet up, and allow anyone in your ministry to join the shoot! This was a great way to create content that your youth want to see, be a part of and its very eye catching when your photographer has great editing skills. (you can also easily download all your photos onto Canva so you can use it instead of the templates they have to create unique content)
  1. If you are stuck for a photo and you want something Hi-Res and free. Go to Unsplash, this has helped me with my Christmas banquet tickets, just a nice easy background that is nice but not noticeably taken from google
  1. I typically post once a week, curated content that is eye catching but informative. People want to look at you as someone who knows what they are doing, easy for kids to find what they need to know without having to filter through a ton of photos AND this helps with social media issues and parents. If you don’t have the waiver signed by each parent that it is difficult to share well. So if you get nice photos of the students who were approved for the photoshoots than you have beautiful photos of your youth and leaders that they would be excited to see on your platforms

WHAT I DO

  1. I noticed my youth go on Snapchat, Vscos, Twitter, Facebook (kind of), Instagram and now Vero. So I decided, instead of making my life horrible and constantly going on everything, I tried to choose the places I felt had good company policies and were user friendly for myself. So I picked two. I have a facebook profile that is strictly for my church, so mine is Carla At Bakerview (because youth don’t look at pages anymore apparently), and an instagram account that is closed and only for my Youth Group (media waiver issues! Make sure you cover yourself). And I use all my photoshoot items for my website that instantly updates my facebook profile when I blog post.
  1. If I want to be goofy, I share on Instastories, maybe a couple clips about what is happening at youth with a filter. But typically I share about what needs to be shared.
  1. I try to spend 30 minutes on Monday mornings liking and commenting on my youth’s Instagrams, Facebook Birthday notifications so they see and feel heard on the online realms. But I truly feel that my time is better spent making sure I create good content that is informative and well thought out (a bit professional).
  1. I cannot keep up with latest trends on social media, and I don’t want to. Its too much work and not my job. My job is to disciple, lead well, and create a safe environment for youth to attend and call home. We want them to see that on your platforms (as well as the parents see that).

These are some of my tips, if you have any questions I would love to field them! I truly enjoy working online and have a few side businesses that is strictly content creations and website design.  So let me know how I can help you!

By Carla Thiessen

99 Years of Faith

Today we morn and celebrate the passing of Rev. Billy Graham. Rev. Graham died at the age of 99 and lived a life on mission for God. Though I have not always followed Rev. Graham I have always admired his passion, calling and dedication to a life of ministry.

This last weekend I found myself thinking about how many more Sunday I had to get up at 6:00am and get ready go to Church. I was tired, a bit sick and the week coming seemed crazy. I was dreaming about being a regular Christian, not  Pastor/Teach, not someone with responsibility, but just a Christian in a pew. Someone who could just go to church when they wanted and leave WHEN IT WAS OVER, and for a moment it was a nice idea. But that’s not really what God has called me to and that morning He saw fit to reminded me of that. As students responded to my call to follow Jesus and the message He has placed on my lips that Sunday, I was reminded that I have a calling… not just a job.

Rev. Graham lived his calling to the very end of his life at 99. Some might say he did his best work after he hit “retirement age” and his legacy has had a generational impact. Today I find myself praying for a similar heart. To serve God faithfully not for another 29 years (I’m 36 right now) until I hit retirement, but for all the years of my life, right to the very end.

As a tribute to Rev. Graham I’ve reposted his one and only TED talk. I have always loved it and it continues to inspire me every time I watch it… ENJOY