Posts Tagged ‘life’

How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence

Post a Comment » Written on November 13th, 2013     
Filed under: Print Resource, Reflection, Resources
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Harvey_How_Long_cover_1I’m also cautious of the dudes who hang on the corner… But I can’t snap on them like that because I don’t know what they got. Plus I get kind of scared when I tell them no because I don’t want them to start looking for me.

This is just a small glimpse into an extraordinary and eye-opening book called How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence.

I loved this book. I don’t know if it helps you or anyone to delay that assessment, so I won’t.

In 2011 and 2012, while more than 900 people were being murdered on the streets of Chicago. Miles Harvey and his students from DePaul University collected oral narratives from people who have experienced the tragic consequences of violence on streets of Chicago. They fanned out all over the city interviewing people whose lives have been changed forever by the bloodshed. Their ability to report on the experiences of Chicago’s youth, offer us vivid portraits that are profoundly humane. That said, the people chosen in this book challenge the mainstream in such a dramatic way. In their own words, the stories inside are at turns harrowing, heartbreaking, and full of hope.

To learn more, click here!


Ed’s Story – A 7-Film Series about Hope

Post a Comment » Written on October 14th, 2013     
Filed under: Reflection, Resources
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This is Ed Dobson.

He has an amazing story of hope that has reached around the world. Please take two minutes out of your day to learn about his story.

Ed’s Story is our story. Diagnosed with ALS and given a short time to live, Ed wrestles with issues suffering raises: worry, identity, forgiveness, gratitude, and healing. Emerging from it all is his discovery that there is always hope.

Learn more about this seven-part film series about hope, featuring Ed Dobson. Watch the trailer to get a taste of the journey taken with Ed through these seven films.

The art of story telling

Post a Comment » Written on June 19th, 2013     
Filed under: CHIC, Reflection
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It was Wednesday afternoon during CHIC 2012 and I just got the call that every youth worker doesn’t want to hear while at CHIC. A mother of two of my students was calling to tell me that her husband was injured while serving the US government in Afghanistan. The injury was significant and there wasn’t a lot of information. I was left praying and wondering how God was going use this storyline for his glory.

In the process of the next 24 hours I watched as God not only worked in the life of the injured father but the lives of his two daughters. Both in their own ways met with the risen Lord through the worship, speakers, and community of CHIC in incredible ways and are different because of it to this very day! That’s the power of God working through CHIC. Its not always clean, straight, or in ways we as youth leaders would have dreamed up but that is the way of the Lord.

I am serving as the Liaison Coordinator for CHIC 2015. It is my privilege to work with thirteen leaders from across the country whose job is to tell the story of God working through CHIC over and over again to anyone who listens and to equip youth workers in every conference to get ready for CHIC 2015. This is not an easy task and we ask that you pray for us as we begin the work of telling this great story and inviting students to join in His story for their lives and for His kingdom!

by Brian Zahasky
CHIC 2015 Liaison Coordinator

Speak Their Language? Looking for Common Ground

Post a Comment » Written on June 17th, 2013     
Filed under: Connection, Reflection, YM Network
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Blog by Dave Sippel – Senior Consultant and Director of Connections

I visited an amazing church recently. I had the opportunity to lead 15 focus groups over the course of 3 days. I was there to help this church raise the value for ministries to children and youth. Each night as the focus group schedule ended the head custodian was pretty anxious to close up. He wasn’t rude, but he really wanted to get home. His body language was closed off and he had no desire to chitchat. Then he mentioned the church boiler. He’d been working on it earlier in the day. The church had some flooding and the boiler room was the biggest

I asked him, “Who works on your boiler?” He squinted at me and said, “TMI.” He didn’t feel like talking shop with a guy in a dress shirt and khakis. I said, “Hey, I am only asking because I am the son of a boiler man. I spent half of my teenage years in boiler rooms.” His eyes lit up. I had found some common ground. Next thing you know, I am on a tour of the old boiler room. We talked for a little while as he shared some old paperwork on the boiler. He even read me a story about some of his relatives that had worked for Kewanee Boiler years ago.

It was a powerful reminder to me about ministry in general. None of us is the same as any other. We’re not the same but we can still be in relationship with people who are very different from us. We may have different jobs or come from different family types, but we all feel overwhelmed sometimes. Sad things happen to all of us. As believers we all tend to feel pretty unworthy of God’s love, too. God loves us anyway…all of us. What is our best response? Well, to love God’s people of course.

So, can we speak to skaters? How about jocks, the loners, and choral geeks like me? I think we can. We just need to look for common ground. We may not be able to speak from experience about doing a fakey crooked grind from a goofy stance down the handrail of a six set. But, we can talk about choosing a career, dating, school pressures, family stuff and the search for meaning in our lives. Get out there and find the “boiler room” in your ministry. I am sure it’ll lead to some great conversations.


It Starts with 100 Million

Post a Comment » Written on June 10th, 2013     
Filed under: Resources, Web Resource
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Since launching the YouVersion Bible App on July 10, 2008 with one simple mission: to help people make the Bible a daily part of their life. God has brought about some pretty amazing growd9f442ec8654c767aa5be047_150x150th in those five years, and now a very exciting milestone is on the horizon. would love to get your help.

It looks like the Bible App could hit its 100-million install milestone on or near the 5-year anniversary of the App Store on July 10. It’s going to be a stretch, and it will take extraordinary measures from the capital “C” Church to make it happen.

Would you be willing to promote the Bible App at your church?
Here are some ideas as a starting point:

  • Mention the Bible App during your weekend teaching
  • Show a Bible App promo at your church
  • Encourage your church to share the app with friends
  • Share the Bible App on social media
  • Include a YouVersion blurb or insert in your bulletin

Download Promotional Resources

What happens at 100 million?

As big as it sounds, 100 million is only the beginning when you compare it to a global population of 7 billion people. But we know that God uses milestones like this to fuel exponential growth. We believe this could be a catalyst to reach 1 billion people.  Let’s make history together!

How Do We Get Teenagers To Read The Bible More?

Have you ever asked yourself this question?

Well I sure have, constantly! I am a mother of a teenager, a very sweet one at that. But will he sit down and read the bible on a daily basis? No, not really.

So, I need help here… what to do, what to do?

I found a very interesting article that might shed some light to this “not-so-simple” question:

How do we get teenagers to read the Bible more?

By Andy Blanks, co-founder of youthministry360. Andy loves Jesus, his amazing wife and daughters, and the Boston Red Sox. In that order.

I have thought a great deal about this, and I’m convinced there isn’t a sure-fire, “try-this-five-step-method” that works. But I do think there are some important things to consider.

Here are a few of them . . .

Knowing God, Part 1: We’re Framing The Question All Wrong.

“What can we do to get teenagers reading the Bible more?” I think this might be the wrong question. I think the right question may be, “What can we do to help teenagers value God more?” God must be important to our teenagers, specifically the idea of knowing God. When knowing God is important, when being close to Him matters to teenagers, the act of reading the Bible simply becomes the means by which they come to know Him. If they value God, they’ll value reading the Bible. Which leads me to the next point . . .

Knowing God, Part 2: It Doesn’t Start With Doing. It Starts With Feeling. 

I read hundreds of blog articles a week. (Or, I skim hundreds. I read a few dozen.) A few times a month I will run across an article that is titled something like this: “5 Steps To Better Bible Reading,” or “Tips To Help Your Students Read The Bible More.” The problem with these articles is that they are practice oriented. They focus on technique (“Bible study methods”) and behavior (“when to study the Bible”). Many of them are solid articles. But they assume a faulty starting point, as I alluded to earlier.

We have to change the way we teach teenagers to think about the Bible. If we teach them to see the Bible primarily as a “discipline,” or a “habit,” or even as “Bible study,” we’re missing it. We’ve forgotten that reading the Bible is relational. (We don’t talk about any other relationship in this way. You don’t develop the discipline of taking your children to see a baseball game. You do it because you love your kids. We should approach the Bible the same way.) We should strive to teach teenagers that the Bible is first-and-foremost a heart-driven, deeply personal, experiential encounter with God. We go to the Bible to engage with God, to meet God. We have to stop putting technique and behavior first, and make Bible reading about feeding our relationship with God.

Teach Teenagers To Embrace Multiple Methods Of Engaging With God’s Word

WAY too often we communicate to students that there is one way to engage with the Bible: sit down with a passage and study it as they would any other text. Inductive, exegetical Bible study. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching this method. The only problem comes when this is the ONLY way we teach teenagers to engage with the Bible. It communicates to students that the Bible is meant for primarily comprehension-based information gathering. It neglects the many experiential, heart-driven approaches to meeting God in Scripture.

    • What about praying through the Psalms as personal worship?
    • What about choosing a specific attribute of God’s and meditating on it over the course of a few days?
    • What about learning some of the different names used for God and choosing to pray to Him using a name that speaks to them personally?
    • What about creating something, ANYTHING using Scripture?
    • What about prayer journaling?

These are just a few of the many different ways to lead teenagers to engage with Scripture. They represent a varied approach to encountering God in His Word, and helps students to break free from one specific way of looking at the Bible.

Modeling A Right Attitude Toward The Bible Is Key

This almost seems like a cop-out to include this on the list. After all, you can say this about every aspect of spiritual growth. But, I think this is especially true for this discussion. Your students will pick up on whether or not you value the Bible. If you model a passion for meeting God in His Word, your students will pick up on it. This is “caught” WAY more than it is “taught.”

These are just a few of my thoughts on the subject. I want my teenagers reading the Bible more. But I know that it starts with their attitude and values toward God and His Word.

So, what are your thoughts? 




CKC Children’s Video

A new video from Covenant Kids Congo is now available for children. The video details how community development works through Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision. Demonstrating how God works through us to build a community as local leaders come together. Check out the video and give them your feedback. Feel free to use this in your church along with the CKC children’s curriculum.

Click here to learn more about Covenant Kids Congo!

Growing youth ministry

Post a Comment » Written on January 30th, 2013     
Filed under: Web Resource
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I have said it before and will say it again, We LOVE our Youth Pastors!!

So lets welcome Jim Murphy, Pastor of Student Life Covenant Church, Bemidji

to the blogging world:

Check out his blog – he will share experiences on the growing edge of ministry with students, their families, and the larger church. It includes posts about his ministry priorities and attitudes, systems and strategies, epic fails and lessons learned. It’ll also be about the internal struggles with change and self doubt, the external pressures of expectations, the realities of long working days, the exponentially difficult learning curve of managing a growing ministry, the relentless cry of crisis and need, and many more issues that I’ve experienced as our ministry has grown and changed.

Jim would like to share this blog with other youth pastors and ministry leaders for the sake of common support and even conversation. Please share and enjoy!

A Journey of Discovery

A Journey of Discovery by Addition, Subtraction and Introspection

Lent is the time in the Christian year that leads us to Easter and our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.

This isn’t just another devotional book. This is a guide to a 40-day journey to resurrection.

Lent? What is Lent? Is it that stuff you dig out of the depths of your pants pocket or your belly button? (No. That’s lint by the way). Maybe you think Lent is something only other churches do.

Even if you’re not familiar with Lent, you can probably agree that Easter is essential to the life of the followers of Jesus. It’s the time of year when we are intentional about retelling and rehearing the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Because Christ invites His followers to not just hear about the resurrection, but to participate in it, Christians have historically taken the 40 days leading up to Easter to prepare their hearts and minds to enter the story of Jesus.

This little book is a guide…a help…a companion on the 40-day journey of prayer and Christian practice known as Lent. On this journey, you’ll practice the disciplines of addition, subtraction, and introspection so that you may more fully participate in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This is Lent. And we take this journey because we all need resurrection.

Pre-order this book Today! Expected to ship by February 8th, 2013

Scholarship for Undocumented Students

Undocumented students planning to attend (or continue attending) a 2 or 4 year college in the fall of 2013 may apply for an Illinois Dream Fund Scholarship. The Fund offers scholarships of $2,000 towards an Associate’s degree and $6,000 towards a Bachelor’s degree. $100,000 of scholarships have been reserved for JROTC cadets — with roughly $200,000 worth of funds open to non-JROTC students.

Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 2.5, be planning to attend or continue attending college in fall 2013, and submit and application (including essay, high school transcript, parent(s) income tax return, and two letters of recommendation) by mail before March 1st, 2013.

Applications can be downloaded at