3 Reasons to Encourage Your Students to go to See You at The Pole this Year.

We are in the middle of September which means we are gearing up for See You at The Pole. I used to be surprised when I would meet resistance from youth pastors about encouraging their students to participate. I think it’s worth challenging your students to be at their flag pole on September 28th and I want to share  a few reasons why:

syatp-16

 

  1. It is a good measure of where your students are

See You at the Pole is a good measure of the commitment level of your students (and or parents). Think about it, you are asking them to get to school early just ONE DAY out of the entire school year. They can find a way to make it. Either their parents will prioritize it enough to go into work late, or they will go around begging for rides, or they will pray fervently for their bus to be early , but they can make it (obviously there will be a few exceptions). If they don’t make it, you have to ask yourself, why didn’t they?  There are a number of reasons that could keep a student from wanting to show up at their school flag pole to pray: They may not have a relationship with God, they may have a huge divide in their church life and school life, they may fear what others will say, they might be afraid to be called on to pray, they may hate waking up in the mornings, they may be judgmental and assume that everyone around the flagpole is there for show and thus assume an air of moral superiority for not being at their flag pole, etcWhatever the reason for the students who don’t show up, it’s the students who show up that give you a real measure of possible impact on a school campus. These are the ones who made it a priority. They want to see God do something in their school. They want to be used by God. So when a school has 100 of these students show up it says something (even if half to were come because of positive peer pressure) and when you struggle to see three at a flag pole it says something too. I like that See You at the Pole is at the beginning of the year because even the campus with 3 students willing to come out and pray for their school can see real change over the course of a year.

2. It’s Student Led

See You at the Pole is student Led. How often do we preach at our Students and tell them to go and make a difference at their school, with their friends, etc.? Here they have a simple and low commitment level opportunity to practice what you have been preaching. So often our preaching can be ineffective with students simply because we do too much for them and don’t ask them to step up. We don’t give them many structured real world opportunities to do what we have shared with them.  They need opportunities to lead! SYATP by nature allows them the opportunity to do just that! It can be as simple as holding hands and praying or as complex as organizing a worship band, sound system, etc while everyone is praying… but bottom line students lead and quite often adults are surprised at how much passion and gusto students can bring to the table  when they lead and organize an event like this.

3. It builds momentum

See You at the Pole isn’t an end, it’s a beginning. For many campuses it becomes a launch pad for students meeting before school each week to pray. For some it becomes a launching  pad or organizational center for evangelistic Christian clubs who will maintain that vision all year long. For some students it helps them realize that they have the right or ability to pray on their school campus, unfortunately in our society there are voices that would try and hinder the rights of students to exercise their faith in a PUBLIC school.

Scripture Memory App: Verses

	I have stored up your word in my heart,
		that I might not sin against you.
(Psalm 119:11 ESV)

I am a big fan of scripture memory. I usually end up memorizing the passages I teach from each week. Recently I have upped my game and have been leading a couple of bible studies where we challenge one another to memorize a new passage each week. Our children’s pastor turned me on to the verses app to help with the new memory verse challenge.

Before the app, I used to write the verse on a 3×5 card and try to say it over and over again until I had it memorized. I had taken up the challenge to memorize Philippians one year (don’t ask me to say it now) and had a little booklet that I would keep in my pocket so I could mutter over the verses. Of course when I teach on a passage I usually become so familiar with the text via word studies, etc that I’m able to give you at least a very good paraphrase and so end up memorizing a passage almost on accident.

This app has a lot of neat features. My favorite aspect of the app is the ability to pick and choose among different games. The game element keeps my attention and moves scripture memorization to a “fun” category rather than a “chore” category in my mind. I can engage with the app a lot longer than I used to engage with my 3×5 cards. It also has other neat features such as allowing you to add surrounding verses so you can memorize an entire passage starting with one verse and then adding another and another until the whole passage is added. There is also a social element (you can link to facebook) that I haven’t explored much but seems to hold promise.

The app itself is free and the KJV is the standard version that is offered. However, if you prefer another version you can purchase the right to use that version through and in app purchase. I bought the ESV for $5.99. There are other versions available for purchase for a similar price. In my estimation it’s well worth the price.

You can find out more about this scripture memory community and app at getverses.com

Do you use apps for spiritual disciplines such as scripture memory, prayer, bible reading, witnessing, etc? We’d love to hear about it why not comment below and share your thoughts.

This blog post was written by Jonathan Hill. Jonathan is an Associate Pastor over at Calvary Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. He is also the Interim First Priority Coordinator for the Greater Pensacola Area. He maintains a blog over at http://www.followjonathan.wordpress.com 

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Here Am I: Send Me to My School

My 4th grader and I were talking the other day about middle school. She is in a certain school district, but she’s a bright kid and could apply to some of the magnet schools in our area. She asked me about each one, pausing to say, “What is the first priority club like?” She knows that I work with lots of schools and teachers and would know about the clubs. I shared about each one and finally she stopped me and asked which school had the least amount of Christians, I gave her an educated guess and she said, “that is where I want to go, so I can tell more people about Jesus!

Her childlike faith challenged me. I had to repress my thoughts for her comfort and swallow the prayer I’ve prayed for her every day since birth, “God, she’s yours more than she is mine, I put her in your hands today and everyday, use her for your kingdom and your glory.” 

here am I send Me

In Isaiah 6, The prophet Isaiah sees God high and lifted up. He utters a curse on his own head because he recognizes his sinful speech before holy and righteous God.  An angel caries a coal from the altar and purifies his lips letting him know that his sin has been atoned for. At this moment Isaiah hears the LORD speak and say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah responds, “Here am I! Send me.” ( you can find this story in Isaiah 6:1-8).

Isaiah responded to God’s call. The book of Isaiah contains some of the strongest gospel language and imagery in the Old Testament and foreshadows the coming of the Messiah. Often, in modern America, we think of this passage in the context of foreign missions. Yet, Isaiah was a prophet to his own people. He didn’t board a ship, sell all of his possessions or learn a foreign language. He most likely never even left his city. His “going” was to his own people.

Today in modern missions work we ask God to raise up people like Isaiah. We call them indigenous missionaries. They answer God’s call to spread the gospel among their own people. They don’t learn a new language or customs because the people they are going to reach are just like them… they just don’t know Jesus, yet.

Today our high schools and middle schools are a bigger mission field than they have ever been. Only about 12% of public school students in these schools attend church. Every youth group in town could see a revival and double, triple, or even quadruple in size and we haven’t reached half the students in our area. Many of these students haven’t even heard some of the simple bible stories that you and I might take for granted. They need someone to reach them with the gospel on their turf. We hire youth pastors in our churches and many of them work on campus with schools as much as possible (that is where the un-churched kids are).  But what if we could also raise up an army of indigenous missionaries, students who would see their school as a mission field?

I’m praying that God would raise up a generation of students who will make an impact among their peers. Students who see school, not as a place of education or a place of social convenience (or inconvenience) but see their school as a mission field. I pray that they would see lunchtime as more than just a time to eat, but a time to share the Bread of Life. I pray that they would be intentional with the gospel, inviting their peers to meet Jesus. I pray that what they do on their campus would challenge the adults around them. I pray that God would call and they would answer, “Here am I! Send ME!”

Your Biggest Fan and Loudest Cheerleader,

Jonathan

This blog post was written by Jonathan Hill. Jonathan is an Associate Pastor over at Calvary Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. He is also the Interim First Priority Coordinator for the Greater Pensacola Area. He maintains a blog over at http://www.followjonathan.wordpress.com 

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2016 Student Pastor Retreat

Hey gang,

I was hanging out with Joel at Immanuel Baptist out in Pace the other day and he let me know about a Student Pastor/ Spouse Retreat at the end of August (22-24) put on by the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association. The cost is only $99 (which is a steal once you see everything that is included)! They do this as a ministry to Student Pastors and their spouses. I thought I would pass along the info and see if we might get a group to go up! You’ll have to hurry on the registration though, seating is limited to 200!

Just to Recap. That’s August 22-14 (Mon-Wed.) $99 – Price Includes: Two nights lodging Some meals (including a dinner at THE CLUB overlooking downtown Birmingham) Free time activities and the conference! Register at: http://www.scottdawson.org/2016spr.php

Your Biggest Fan and Loudest Cheerleader,

Jonathan

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Community Dodge Ball Tournament!

Hey Gang,

Summer is heating up, Students are out of School, and student ministry is kicking!  Olive is hosting a huge community dodge ball out reach event in June with Scott Dawson! I thought it was pretty cool and begged Chris to let me invite you and your group to piggy back on what they are doing and use this as an outreach event for your group as well! So check it out and if it’s something that you can do, e-mail Chris (creeser@olivebaptist.org) and let him know that you are in.

Dodge ball night on Saturday, June 25. It is a part of the Revive Weekend with Scott Dawson.

While there will be tons of fun and games the ultimate focus is on bringing lost friends to hear the gospel. Challenge your students to reach out to their friends who don’t go to church anywhere and form teams to compete.

Dodgeball

  • The deadline to register is 12:00pm, noon, on June 25
  • (online registration will end at 11:59pm Friday, June 24).
  • The tournament begins at 4:00pm on Saturday.
  • There will be other “fun” games in the foyer and parking lot.
    • Games such as 9 square in the air,
    • ping pong,
    • gaga ball,
    • and other things for people to do if they are not playing dodge ball.

The ROC café and Kona Ice will be here for those that would like to purchase snacks. There will be FREE pizza later that evening for everyone. The dodge ball games will primarily be in the Gym and Racquetball rooms.

There are 6 divisions: Middle School, High School, and Adult (a male and female within each division). After the first wave of games occur, we plan to pause, serve pizza, and Scott Dawson will share the Gospel.

It is a Maximum 10 person team. If you have 10 people, please bring at least 4 guests (those that are not active in a church). And yes, the teams can be co-ed. Co-ed teams will play in the male division.

Your Biggest Fan and Loudest Cheerleader,

Jonathan

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Tim Keller Scheduled to Preach in Mobile

tim keller
Hey Gang,
Several of you are Tim Keller fans and are interested in hearing him preach live. Sam over at Pinewoods church was generous enough to share the following schedule with you so you would know that Tim Keller will be over in Mobile on Wednesday, June 22. Keith and Kristyn Getty will also be live in Concert that night as well! The whole schedule is included below or you can find it on the PCA.org General Assembly Worship Service web page. I hope you can make it!
All Worship Services are held at the Mobile Convention Center and are open to the public.
Coordinated by Gulf Coast Presbytery Host Committee
Your Biggest Fan and Loudest Cheerleader,
Jonathan
PS – Worship Service Schedule
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Worship Service Musical Prelude
7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Worship Service and Communion, Speaker – Jim Wert
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Concert by Keith & Kristyn Getty
7:30 – 9 p.m. Worship Service, Speaker – Tim Keller
Thursday, June 23, 2016
7 – 7:30 p.m. Worship Service Musical Prelude
7:30 – 9 p.m. Worship Service, Speaker – Thurman Williams

Can You Believe What Jesus Did When The Disciples Offered Him Lunch?

In John 4 there is this amazing story about how Jesus meets this woman at the well. The story is quoted and referenced for a lot of things. We marvel at how Jesus addressed her spiritual need (John 4:14). We talk about worshiping in spirit and truth (John 4:23). We even catch the bit at the end where Jesus says the fields are white unto harvest (John 4:35). But I want to reexamine that last bit. I think most of us miss something when we see that.

 

eye chart

Go back and read John 4. Don’t worry, I’ve got time. Pay attention to John 4:8 and John 4:27 and following.

Did you see it? The disciples had gone into the city to buy food. They had just dealt with some of these people. They had passed by their houses. They had engaged in business. They had social interaction with these folks. They may have been cautious because they were Samaritans. They may have had their guard up and unwilling to dialogue beyond the normal conversation of economic trade, but in all likely-hood they had talked with some of these very people.

Then at the end when they are urging Jesus to eat, He is telling them to “look.” Look at all those people they had just passed by, from the town they were just in… See them now as thirsty souls coming to him to hear! Just like grain is ready for the harvest when it turns white, these kind folks are ready to respond to the gospel message, if they could just SEE it.

“Look”

“I tell you, lift up your eyes”

“see” (John 4:35)

How many times does He have to say it before we hear and obey? 

I think our modern day public High Schools and Middle Schools are in a similar place. Approximately 12% of students attend church. That means that for every 12 students that go to your church there are 88 that don’t go to ANY church. That means that every youth group in town could double or even quadruple in size and there would still be plenty of people to tell about Jesus.

If you are aiming or planning on grabbing students from other churches for your ministry, you are fishing from the wrong pond. There are way more that don’t go to church anywhere! It’s a different kind of fishing, one that is often messy and uncomfortable, but incredibly fun and biblical because at the end of the day it’s discipleship.

Many simply haven’t heard the gospel. Many don’t know simple bible stories you take for granted. I know in our insulated church worlds it is hard to fathom, but it’s true. I remember the first time I encountered an seventeen-year-old student who drove by our church every day who had literally never heard about Jesus other than to use his name as a curse word… that’s not rhetoric, it happened while I was serving a church on the North side of Mobile and it has since happened many times over in my 8 years in Pensacola. 

We preach and teach messages about how our students should be an influence on their campus, but the truth is that many are like the disciples. They get their lunch and never even notice that the lunchroom is filled with thirsty souls. Before they can enter into the labor, they first have to LOOK and SEE the harvest field and maybe we do too.

This year I am praying for our students to have eyes that see. I want them to be more aware of the harvest field around them than ever. I want them to be like this woman who ran back to tell her whole village about Jesus because she was that excited that the Messiah had spoken to her. I want them to be hungry for more than lunch. I want them to join Jesus at work in our schools, our communities, and our city. God is up to something big, we might have to look past lunch to see it though.

This blog post was written by Jonathan Hill. Jonathan is an Associate Pastor over at Calvary Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. He is also the Interim First Priority Coordinator for the Greater Pensacola Area. He maintains a blog over at http://www.followjonathan.wordpress.com