In 1727, a community of believers in Herrnhut, Saxony, in what is now the eastern edge of Germany, started praying.
They didn’t stop for 100 years.
Recently, I was driving from the Sacramento airport to a camp in the mountains of northern California to facilitate a Prayer Summit for some pastors and spiritual leaders of Modesto.
Because chains would likely be required before I reached my destination and rental cars don’t supply those
In my community, a student prayer movement began in January of 1998 at one suburban high school – but it didn’t stop there.
Two student leaders and about twenty other students at Maize High School began praying for a spiritual awakening on their campus, for the salvation of specific students, and opportunities to share Christ with them. In February
You have probably heard the story of Charlie Frank and his elephant Neeta. Frank raised her from birth, training her to be a circus performer. When he retired he gave her to the San Diego Zoo. After 15 years of being separated, Frank visited Neeta. He was 100 yards away from her and he called to her and immediately she came to him and performed her old routines on his command!
Over a million students gathered for See You at the Pole (SYATP) on Wednesday, September 26. Groups met in masses of hundreds, while many others prayed in smaller groups; some were alone as they interceded for their friends, community, and country.
In Dallas, Oregon the Network of Youth Pastors developed a concerted effort to empower students to pray on multiple campuses.
Simply caring. Simply sitting at a different place for lunch and listening to someone’s story. These are powerful opportunities for students to connect other students with God’s story of love. But many students need help jumpstarting their faith and through SYATP, networks have helped millions of students publicly stand up and pray on their campus.
Two weeks ago this message appeared on our Facebook page.
“Great to see you both on Facebook. It has been a long time. Thank you for ministering to me as a not all together teenager. You made a big impact on me whether you knew it or not. God has blessed me with a godly wife of 22 years and four God-loving children. Wow, where has time gone! Thanks again for being faithful.”–Todd
Ever feel alone in ministry? Boy, I sure have. I remember one time being so depressed that I could not even get off the floor to go to speak at my youth group. Isolation, abandonment and desperation can all combine to push us away from those who can help us most. Thankfully, I had friends in ministry who took the initiative and helped me work through my issues. But
Our society places a high value on rugged individuality. Many a hero sweeps in, saves the damsel, and defeats the enemy all on their own. Maybe there is a sidekick along for the ride. However, when it comes to transforming the lives of millions of teenagers, no one can do it alone.
What would happen if you get leaders from major youth ministry organizations to come together for a day of prayer?
Last week I was privileged to attend when NNYM gathered together 15 leaders in Costa Mesa, CA for a prayer consultation. Mike Higgs, founder of Sondance Inc. and Barry St. Clair, Director of Reach-Out co-led the event. Here is their summary of what happened.
Think of each rail as Relationship and Strategy.
The tracks are laid on the ties/foundation of Prayer. It is hard work to lay the ties and tracks; but once in place, we can really move to where God wants us to go. Prayer is the work! Prayer is the foundation. Prayer is what ties it all together and keeps it level and balanced. Relationship and strategy must flow from prayer. If you try to lay the tracks of relationship and strategy without the foundation of prayer or run your train into town with out tracks, you will have a train wreck.
In your networking with others, does your prayer time sometimes seem flat? it is easy to get into a rut in our prayer. Sometimes we think of prayer only as a "to-do" list for God.
However, there are ways to bring new dimensions to prayer in your network. During a break at a recent youth ministry conference, Mark Orr, our New England regional coordinator, shares simple principle
We are all familiar with the wonderful story of Jesus birth in Luke 2. We are gripped by the trip to Bethlehem and the fact that Jesus is born in a stable. We marvel at the announcement by angels to the lowly shepherds. We appreciate the initiative of the shepherds to come and see the baby and share his arrival with others.
I was down to my last two dollars. It was during my third year on the staff of Student Venture/Campus Crusade for Christ and I was the director of the ministry in Riverside, California. It was the mid-1970s (okay, do the math and guess how old I am), and the economic times were much like today.
This summer while visiting my favorite online devotional spot, www.pray-as-you-go.org, I heard a meditation that continues to stir my thinking.
The St. Thomas Music Group was singing a text by John Lane. The words are, “The meaning of life is the mystery of love. Just as the roots of trees hold firm in the soil, so it is the roots of love that hold the ground of our being together.”
God loves having relationship with me! But I miss God’s attempts to capture my attention. My life is so busy and noisy that I hardly notice God’s constant presence.
Henri Nouwen said, “There was a time when silence was normal and a lot of racket disturbed us. But today noise is the normal fare, and silence, strange as it may seem,silence has become the real disturbance.”
Have you ever felt spritually thirsty, where your soul feels dried like a sun-baked desert? You are not alone. I am a great fan of Henri Nouwen. His depth and simplicity brings me back to what is truly important. I just reordered his book "Out of Solitude" that I loaned to a friend. In this book Nouwen shares the story of Mark 1 where Jesus spends a busy day of ministering, healing and preaching. Then He goes into the wilderness for time with His Father. Even Jesus needed time to reconnect and take care of His Soul.
The Newsboys are being intentional about evangelism on their "God's Not Dead" tour for 2012. They have asked gifted evangelist and my boss, Bob Lenz, to partner with them by giving a clear Gospel message at each city they vist. In order to keep this from being a tour that simply passes through an area entertaining folks, I will be working with friend and coleaugue Kris Wood to network in each city on the tour.
I've been involved with in Youth Ministry for just about 20 years now. Though there have been many tweaks and occasional shifts away from the norm, the typical youth ministry program has included some form of hang time, game time, worship time and teaching (“talk”) time. These four elements are about a predictable as my desire for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert!
You can’t always predict what will happen when you plan a simple youth group retreat. Sometimes, God messes with your plans.
Looking back, that’s the testimony of Rick Eubanks.
Who’s Rick, you ask? He was the Minister of Music and Youth at Crestmont Baptist Church in Burleson Texas from 1975-1995.
This was a “pregnancy” that was full of humble beginnings and wonderful surprises. And like radio newsman Paul Harvey used to say, “And now, the rest of the story.
Last year, on the first Bless Our Schools Sunday, two high school sophomores and one freshman stood in front of more than a hundred peers during Sunday School to pray specifically for their schools, the staff and the students.
They were part of approximately 700 congregations in 20 different countries crying out to the Lord in one voice for students and schools on the third Sunday of September. This year’s prayer event will be September 18.
Bless Our Schools Sunday, hosted by Moms In Touch International, is a time for churches to pray blessing over the educators and students in their congregations and community. Imagine the impact this time of prayer will have on that worn-out teacher, the weary principal, the school board member that’s standing up for biblical values, as well as every school in your community.
The website store went live on August 8. Free and affordable promotional resources are available at www.syatp.com, including tee-shirts, promo videos, artwork, posters, wristbands and more.
The most efficient way to order is using the online ordering system. But orders can also be phoned in to the Ft. Worth, Texas office by calling 817-HIS PLAN between 9:00a.m. and 5:00p.m., Central time, Monday-Friday.
Ever come to the point where you don’t know how to do anymore than you’re already doing? The frustration of ministry gets the best of you. So you stop. Sit down. Pray. Even plead with God.
In over 20 years of working with students, I must confess more of those moments than I care to admit. We all find ourselves in those situations because we care. Deeply. Passionately. For youth. For more. We want more for young people than they want for themselves. Or so we like to think.
“CONVERGE” (from Matthew 18:20) is the theme for See You at the Pole 2011, the Annual Global Day of Student Prayer. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, September 28, at schools across the United States and in many other countries.
In 2010, teenagers met for See You at the Pole in every U.S. state and many countries around the world. Other nations have launched SYATP movements with their own promotional efforts, including Australia (where it was observed in 2011 on May 26; see stories at www.syatpaustralia.com) and Canada (on the same date as U.S.; www.syatpcanada.com).
But the lesser-known part of the story of SYATP has been how, both locally and nationally, students and youth leaders have taken the event beyond one day to continue prayer, evangelism, and other student-led campus ministry.
Over the course of 15 years, the tug of war on my heart and mind in student ministry became predictable.
Every year I felt torn between the desire to do more/be more in the lives of students VERSUS the desire to do less/be less, hoping that might translate into being healthier.
For the first five years in student ministry I worked on average 70 hours weekly. It was a season when I had more margin to spend my time that way. Is that an excuse though?
What would it look like? Honestly, probably a bit messy! Even the nicest, gentlest most godly Bulgarian turns into a monster behind the wheel of a car. But putting that to one side, I think it could be a better place....
Here's what those of us in EEA21, the European sister movement to NNYM, think we can all learn from Bulgaria:
A recent USA Today article suggests that only 15% of nearly 80 million millennials are Christian. Legislation has all but banned the teachings of Jesus Christ from the nation’s schools, but the power of prayer will soon be returning to a campus near you.
National Network of Youth Ministries (NNYM) has teamed up with a national prayer ministry, Intercessors for America (IFA) to create wePray, a Facebook application that allows Christians to mobilize prayer groups for schools in their communities. The web application is a communication channel where members can make prayer requests, host discussions, post photos and videos, and support others by indicating that they are also praying.
This year, as I start a new school year of ministry at my current church, I have realized that I am now the longest tenured church youth worker in my town and the third longest in the county that I live. For some, this may seem like an amazing accomplishment but in reality it really is more of a concern. It would be one thing if I could say that I was in my tenth year of ministry at my current church but this year only marks the beginning of my fourth. At four years, I shouldn't be the church Youth Ministry elder in my community.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of meeting Phil Cunningham and hear more about his dream of Steps of Justice and their October Justice Awareness Month.
NNYM: “Phil, how did this project get started?”
Phil: “In 2004 I was asked to write a prayer focus on areas of injustice. I researched and wrote on things like human trafficking, poverty, the sex industry, hunger, gender injustice, etc. The more I looked around the more I saw just how screwed up the world was and how far off from completing the work of Jesus I was.”
NNYM: “How did that perspective change you?”
Phil: “My next step after the prayer focus was to tell as many people as I could about how messed up the world is. I started talking about it to my friends, in church, at Bible studies and prayer meetings. Everywhere I went and everyone I met knew that I cared about these issues. After a while this step wasn’t enough, it was time to take another step.”
NNYM: “What was the next step you took?”
Phil: “How could I just go around talking about this stuff if I was not doing anything about it personally outside of making awareness of the issues? My thought, make a calendar/prayer action guide that will help connect people to other ministries and ways of fighting injustice. So, a year ago I started thinking of creative ways and ideas to present these issues to people over a period of 30 days in ways that brought awareness coupled with prayer and action. So we created the Steps of Justice 30 day action guide and web site.”
NNYM: “Now that you have this created what is next for you?”
Phil: “Starting on October 4 and going through the end of the month we will be walking through what it looks like to take up the call as the Church of Jesus to “do Justice.” Through stories of people who have bravely answered Gods call, the October Justice Month points to practical and biblical ways that you can be involved in bringing God’s justice into an unjust world.”
NNYM: “How can people get involved with October Justice Awareness Month?”
Phil: “Challenge yourself to walk out the action days we post on our blog, engage with the media and pray for the hurting, the broken, the poor and the oppressed. Don’t feel overwhelmed, you can’t engage with everything. Pray and ask God what things he is most burdening your heart for throughout the month and dive into that. Finally, please take time to respond on our Facebook group. Post your comments, your thoughts, your actions and any stories that have happened as a result of “doing justice.” Your stories will inspire others to engage and create their own cool stories.”
NNYM: "What do you hope comes from this month?"
Phil: "I hope that justice issues can be brought to light and that youth groups can find ways to enagge their kids to be part of the solutions in real pratical ways."
I encourage you to explore Steps of Justice and see how your group could put this resource into action and be on the lookout for them at the NYWC this year.
Tired? Burned out? Too many problems and too little time? As youth workers we have all experienced all those emotions and have wondered how to stay intimately connected with Jesus in a disconnected world.
Recently, I chose to do something about it for my own soul. I attended a one-day retreat that our Christian Formation Director, Kristi De Vito, put together. It was incredible to take a day away and work through exercises designed to help the youth worker find time with God and overcome burn-out.
Kristi De Vito has served in ministry for over 30 years and is on the leadership team for the National Network of Youth Ministries, where she currently serves in the area of Christian Formation. Her focus is on the soul-care of individuals by providing venues for small groups, one-on-one connection, reflective retreats and other formational opportunities. Kristi's passion is to help youth workers take time to be with God and deepen thier relationship with Him.
Here is a video that shares her heart. On her website www.quietreflection.org, she lists resources to help you (and your students) find ways to be still and know that He is God.
Angel was a teenager in Carson City, Nevada when she prayed for her school. She recalls See You at the Pole during her teen years as a significant milestone in her spiritual life. Now, she’s taking her excitement overseas.
Angel married a Norwegian man and now serves in a Foursquare church as a volunteer youth leader in the southern Norway city ofKristiansand. Angel is mentoring a student in her youth group who is a junior at one of several public high schools in the city (see some of them in the photo, right). God has given them a burden to see SYATP spread across the entire nation of Norway.
Although the protégé is also an American, they are relating closely with Norwegian nationals at the school to promote school-wide participation in See You at the Pole on September 22.
The cool thing is that Norwegian public schools have a mandatory “club” in every school that...
What if See You at The Pole happened every day of the school year in your community?
Students do not just need an event to pray on their campuses. They need purpose and direction to keep on praying.
What if your Network made a concerted effort to have students praying for their student body every school day of the year?
Claim Your Campus is a movement of students across the US to bring student-initiated prayer to every middle school and high school campus in America by 2013, 50 years after the Supreme Court banned "state sponsored" prayer in public schools in 1963.
Check out this video and go to www.claimyourcampus.com for more information.
Twenty years ago, one youth group decided to make a difference by praying for their school. Now over 2 million students will come together to pray on Wednesday, September 22 for a global day of student prayer. See You at the Pole™ is a student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led event.
The theme this year is "Reveal" from Matthew 6:9-13. We are praying that God reveals Himself to us in our hearts, churches, schools and nations.
Why would youth workers want to continue encouraging their youth to pray at SYATP? Paul Fleischmann, NNYM president, commented: “For 20 years, we have seen this day serve as a springboard for unity for teenagers on their school campuses. See You at the Pole unites students in prayer at the beginning of the school year. Challenging youth to take leadership on their campus is always a good idea. Every year, it offers a fresh challenge for them to minister to their friends.”
Check out the new website at www.syatp.com for ways to resources students to pray for thier schools. Also you can follow SYATP on Facebook and Twitter.
A couple of years ago, I decided to read the Bible all the way through, chronologically. I found a great guide online and I’ve been working through it for a while now. The problem is that I keep getting distracted!
I keep on reading a lot of Proverbs. I often just want to page through the gospels and epistles. Some days I want to read chapter after chapter, while other days the Lord speaks to me through just a couple of verses.
One theme that has struck me from throughout Scripture is the work of God in relation to the work of man. In fact, it’s really starting to rock my paradigm of ministry.
One theme that has struck me from throughout Scripture is the work of God in relation to the work of man. In fact, it’s really starting to rock my paradigm of ministry.
Jeremy Story of Campus Renewal Ministries asked us to pass along information about an April 9 solemn prayer assembly for college students. One Cry is a nationwide event which links groups of college students praying together on campuses across America live via satellite television. The focus is praying for an uprising of organic mission, prayer, unity, revival and awakening. It is a solemn assembly with a focus also on repentance. This "One Cry" will be broadcast live from Times Square, where a city-wide gathering of college students will lead the event.
Visit campusrenewal.org for more information.
When my wife and I look at the journey of our dating years and marriage, we like to refer to the “holymess” of our relationship. Our marriage is a holy, great, awesome thing that has taught us a lot, but that is in part due to the messy times we have faced…and are still facing in some regards. The holy parts of a relationship go hand-in-hand with the messy parts. In fact, to have a truly deep and godly relationship, you can’t have one without the other.
Almost 40% of NNYM members list “college” as part of their ministry involvement. Although most of our focus is on middle school and high school-age youth, an important national event for collegians is scheduled for February 25: The Collegiate Day of Prayer. Please keep reading for more information from the organizers...
Prayer is a vital part of cultivating unity in our nation, and so, “How can we be praying for Las Vegas?”
I recently met with the Las Vegas Network and took part in a discussion for a campus strategy in their city. We were overwhelmed and excited at the possibilities of connecting with campuses throughout the area. Here is how we can be praying for what God is up to in Vegas.
This was the 20th anniversary of See You at the Pole. We sometimes wonder if it is still dynamic and having the impact it did when it was a “new idea.” So I went on Twitter to tap into the talk. (Yes, I do have an account!) I was amazed! In less than two days there were over 100 pages of "tweets" (check it out by clicking here). Here's a sample:
Tell us your See You At The Pole story by filling out the form at http://report.syatp.com/syatp/.
You can also monitor the SYATP buzz on Twitter, or tweet your own thoughts using #syatp.
If you had something noteworthy happen at your SYATP on campus or rally, please write it up and submit it for the “feed” at www.youthworkers.net. If you have a picture to post, please describe the location and a little about what happened there too!
We've heard the mantra of "separation of church and state" for so long that we often think there's nothing we can do to make a difference. In fact, there's a lot we can and should do!
Several years ago I had one of those life changing phone calls. I was talking with a friend who lived in Denver who was a volunteer youth leader in a small church, while I was a full time high school pastor at a large church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
We began to dream about what would happen if our students were to catch a vision of claiming responsibility to display Christ’s love through prayer and action on their campus throughout the year...
You might consider sending this information on to any mothers that you know...praying moms might be one of your best allies to reach the schools in your community.
Moms In Touch International is hosting a historic prayer event, “Arise! Cry Out!” on November 14, 2009, inviting Christian mothers from around the world to “Arise! Cry Out!” for the generations. Click here to watch a 90 second video about Arising and Crying Out!