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  Winter 2012
  Vol. 17 • No. 1
Please photocopy for  
all your youth workers  


Missing the Boat

Over the years, we in youth ministry have done a pretty good job at creating fun events, having a place for students to hang out, and even designing some creative teaching methods. Yet if we look at current research, we haven’t done a great job overall with discipleship or spiritual formation.

George Barna’s research has found that 61 percent of today’s young adults were churched at one point during their teen years, but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying).* I found this wasn’t uncommon for many of the students I have worked with, many of whom grew up in the church. Many had very little knowledge; others had some or a lot of head knowledge; but when it came to faith that oozed out of their everyday lives and their very being, it seemed to be a rarity rather than a norm.

The YMT and YNT teams recognize this and are devoting two years to focusing intensely on our strategy of discipleship in our overall three-fold strategy of REACH—DISCIPLE—EMPOWER. This year’s IYC is even designed with discipleship as a primary focus. This issue of YMI gives some ideas that we believe can benefit you as you seek to disciple your students and help them live out their faith for a lifetime.

Andy StephensonTogether raising up a new generation of Christ-centered leaders,

Andy Stephenson, PhD
Leader of Youth and Family Ministries
Andy can be reached at

* Most Twentysomethings Put Christianity on the Shelf Following Spiritually Active Teen Years, Barna Group, September 11, 2006

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  Emerging Leaders, Live Empowered  

Is God calling some of your students to do more? Now is the time to help them answer that call. All of us in youth ministry can see that God is calling students to ministry, missions, and leadership. We want to be intentional at coming alongside these students as they answer that call and begin the journey of leadership.

Emerging Leaders is an online community that will help us journey together with students as they discover their call and become a Christ-Centered leader. The Emerging Leaders website is a great tool and online opportunity for you and your students. The website, www.emergingleaders101.com, is the hub of all things Emerging Leaders. You’ll find information about leadership opportunities, a monthly leadership video blog, leadership training tools, and more.

This summer at IYC 2012, the emerging leaders gathering happens on Friday morning, July 6. The gathering is an opportunity for students who are hearing God’s call; it is designed for those called to vocational ministry and missions (this could even be as teachers in public schools as a mission field) to network and to be empowered. We believe all students are called to ministry in whatever they do, but some are called to fulltime vocational ministry and missions. The goal is for each student at the gathering to be matched up with a coach and given tools to help them along their journey of leadership.

The Emerging Leaders community is growing as students are answering the call of God on their lives. What is happening with emerging leaders is very exciting.

Be excited! be empowered!

For more information about Emerging Leaders go to www.emergingleaders101.com. For more information about IYC 2012, go to www.iyc2012.org.

 Eric ReederEric Reeder is a member of the Youth Ministry Team. He has served as the senior-high youth pastor at Madison Park Church of God in Anderson, Indiana since 2009. He came on the YMT while he was serving in West Virginia. Since he came on the YMT representing the Northeast region, this region will continue to be his primary focus. He can be reached at ereeder@madisonparkchurch.org.

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  The Intern Academy  

At the International Youth Convention in Orlando in 2010 an invitation was given to those feeling a call to ministry to join a gathering of other leaders sensing the same call. That more than six hundred teenagers responded to the invitation was overwhelming and encouraging. There is much to celebrate, as God is still calling young people into ministry.

A few years ago, a group of student ministry pastors dreamed about creating a network of internships nationwide. The dream led to the creation of a network of student ministry pastors who shared the same heartbeat for churches needing leaders, desired to train leaders, and were committed to partner together with kingdom-minded vision. This network of internships is called the Intern Academy (www.internacademy.net).

The Intern Academy is a holistic approach to training the next generation of Christ-centered leaders. It is designed to network student ministry pastors who train leaders, train young interns who have a call to ministry, and help equip churches with trained leaders.

Intern Academy locations are scattered all over the country, and a few dozen IA Coaches provide leadership that is second to none. First-year college students and older with a call to ministry can now apply online through February 28 at www.internacademy.net to be summer interns in 2012. If you know of someone that would benefit from the Intern Academy, please help connect them.

It is amazing to be involved in a huge dream that God began years ago in the hearts of a few leaders and then see how he has orchestrated the dream throughout the years to where it is today. God is still at work, using faithful leaders to impact the world and equipping called leaders to advance the gospel!

Chip TaylorChip Taylor is a Youth Ministry Team member and the youth pastor at Bayside Community Church in Safety Harbor, Florida. He can be reached at Chip@baysidechurch.net.

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  STW at Work  

Since Spread the Word started in 2002, more than $550,000 has been given for tools for evangelism in thirty countries around the world. As this article is being written, the process has begun to impact country number thirty-one.

In the Latin American country of Colombia, the Maranatha radio station was created for extending the Word of God. According to one local pastor, the district where he serves is in a “red zone,” occupied by insurgent armies, drug traffickers, and criminal gangs, and access for Christian leaders to take the Word to some areas is impeded. With Christian radio, they are able to reach rural areas where there are people who do not know the love of Jesus and at the same time encourage Christians who are living there.

On October 27, 2011, lightening struck the station, and their work had to cease. But now, thanks to Spread the Word, vital repairs will be made so that this ministry can continue.

This radio station is key to the growth of the church in southern Colombia—not just in the Church of God but the evangelical Christian church in general. According to David Miller, Global Missions regional coordinator for Latin America, “The local pastor’s long tenure in the region (twenty-three years), along with the compassionate ministry among street kids and war orphans that his wife directs, gives this ministry family credibility and respect among the many illegal armed groups operating in the red zone, confirmed by the conversion and baptism of members of these groups over the years.”

God continues to change lives through Spread the Word. For more stories and testimonies about the impact of STW across the globe, visit www.chogy.org and check out the Spread the Word webpage.

Tami ByrdTami Byrd is a member of the Youth Ministry Team and the youth pastor at South Memorial Drive Church of God in New Castle, Indiana. She can be reached at tami@smdcog.org. She helps facilitate communication with STW and those on the field.

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  Big or Small?  

Twenty years ago we started JAM, a fun, high energy weekly outreach to students. The ingredients were loud music, crazy games, and a relevant message. Many students came to Christ! Okay, but now what? I guess we better help them grow.

So we started D-Groups (discipleship groups), hoping a few kids would come. We were shocked to watch D-Group attendance shoot up while Jam declined. A few years later Jam totally fizzled out, but our small group discipleship ministry is still thriving!

Surprise! I guess students want to understand the Bible, discuss deep issues, build better friendships, and connect with caring adults. Twenty years later I am convinced that spiritual growth happens best in the context of a small group. So I talk less, listen more, and ask good questions.

Do you need some help? On CHOGY.org you’ll discover resources like the Ultimate Adventure Remix series and many other tools to support you in your mission to disciple students!

Large group settings are important, but don’t leave out one of the most effective places to help students in their spiritual formation—small groups. The health of your ministry could depend on it.

Chris Spitters is a Youth Ministry Team member and the youth pastor at First Church of God in St. Joseph, Michigan. He can be reached at spitters@myfirstchurch.com.

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  STW Internships:  

Students Can Be a Part of a Life-Changing International Internship

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”—Romans 10:13–15 NIV1984

Spread the Word (STW) is an opportunity for teenagers to help spread the love and hope of Jesus around the world. God birthed a dream in the Youth Ministry Team (YMT) to give Church of God teenagers an opportunity to change the world by giving financially to provide tools for evangelism around the globe. In 2002, this dream became a reality when STW was launched at IYC in Denver. Through STW, teenagers have helped supply tools for evangelism in thirty-one different countries on six continents around the world. We estimate that about ninety missionaries and national ministry leaders have been supported in their ministry by STW funds. As a result, many people have come to know Jesus Christ.

In 2008, the Youth Network and Youth Ministry Teams began dreaming about how to empower students with a passion towards mission work to be equipped and coached by those who are currently in the field. In 2010, in collaboration with Global Missions of the Church of God, Spread the Word made this dream a reality by providing students the opportunity to participate in internships around the globe.

The mission of Spread the Word internships is to help raise up a new generation of Christ-centered leaders around the world. Since the start of the program, STW has sent five students abroad to Paraguay, Ecuador, and Kenya. From teaching classes at the Kima International School of Theology to assisting in program development for Children of Promise, interns experience firsthand what life is like on the mission field. Students are exposed to all areas of the mission field: children’s ministry, church planting, teaching, programming, and much more. As part of the STW internship, students are mentored by field missionaries and truly begin to understand the commitment of a missionary. In the summer of 2012, five more students will join the STW program, serving in Paraguay, Kenya and Uganda.

“God is so amazing. He took me on the journey of a lifetime this summer in Ecuador. I went into this journey with an open mind and came out of it filled with a new hope for not only my future but the people of Ecuador...I learned that no matter where you are in the world, WE are God’s ambassadors and that as ambassadors for God our ultimate goal is sharing God’s love to ALL people.”—Heather Grogg, STW Intern 2011

Check out www.chogy.org or www.internacademy.net for more information

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Disciple—Missing the Boat
Emerging Leaders, Live Empowered
The Intern Academy
STW at Work
Big or Small?
STW Internships
Be With Conference
Featured Resources:
Ultimate Adventure Remix
Spiritual Gifts Curriculum—Free!


May 14–15, 2012
Be With Conference
Dallas, TX


Logo: Be With Conference

July 4–7, 2012
Denver, CO


Logo: IYC2012


   YMT Members
Tami Byrd Eric Reeder Chris Spitters Andy Stephenson Chip Taylor







Youth Network Team

   Youth Network Team

            Kyle Cooper (VA)
            Mike Fackler (OK)
            Adam Rentas (CA)
            Harold Bradshaw (WY)
            Rob Ringwald (WV)
            Ryan Chaisson (AZ)

      R. W. Moody (TX)
      Michael Thigpen (IN)
      Mark Shaner (IN)
      Kim Schuessler (IN)
      Josh Deeter (AL)
      Austin Abney (FL)



    Logo: IYC2012

Don't miss the early bird bonus: register by
January 20, 2012,
for IYC.
Creating a moment
for life change:
IYC 2012
—July 4–7, 2012—
in Denver, Colorado

Photo: Denver Skyline. Photo by Ron Ruho
Photo by Ron Ruho


Ultimate Adventure Remix

Click here for ordering information

Click here for ordering information

Click here for ordering information

Click here for ordering information

If you really want to help your students grow in their faith, check out the revised and updated Ultimate Adventure Remix series. This four-part series was written to help students grow experientially in their faith in the context of small groups and empower them to eventually teach it themselves. Check it out.



Youth Ministers and Leaders: How would it look for us to take our ministry and relationships to another level?


Incredible Youth Leaders Conference in
Anderson, Indiana
February 20–21, 2012

Join us February 20 and 21 for GRIT 2012 as we delve deeply into what it means to coach and mentor our youth and leaders. Bo Boshers, president of Lead 222 and former executive director of student ministries for the Willow Creek Association, will help us to go beyond small groups and large-group teaching into exploring the impact of one-on-one relationships in our ministry that make an eternal difference. He’ll be helping us with such questions as, How will we develop the next generation of Christ followers? How will we help those who serve along side of us? How will each of us become more effective in life and ministry? Visit http://grit.anderson.edu for more information.



    Logo: IYC2012

July 4–7, 2012
Denver, Colorado


Logo: Lead 222

a service experience for students
with hands-on leadership training

Looking for a student ministry summer trip before IYC? Visit http://iyc2012.org
for information about an incredible opportunity for your students with Servant Leadership in Colorado.



Spiritual Gifts Curriculum
now offered free!

Our Spiritual Gifts curriculum that previously cost $5.95 per book is now offered to you for a free download as our gift to help you empower your students to discover their spiritual gifts. This is a three-week series that has a free spiritual gifts test included. We encourage you to use this tool to help students find how God has specifically gifted them.




Logo: Spread The Word

STW Internships




Intern in the United States
with Intern Academy

Click here for more information
Click here for more information



You are invited to join with other like-minded leaders to the Be With Conference coming up May 14–15, 2012. Presented by LEAD222, the Be With Conference is an interactive training event for youth pastors and will focus on building and leading mentoring communities in student ministries that will transform a generation for Christ.

                Speakers Sessions

Bo Boshers

Changing the Culture
of Student Ministry

Bubba Thurman
Student Pastor
Lake Pointe Baptist

Building and Leading a
Mentoring Community

Mark Matlock

Leading and Involving Parents
in Spiritual Transformation
of Their Teens

Chap Clark
Foothill Community

Why Mentoring Matters

After each session, participants will be able to discuss and problem solve with other youth workers about practical ways to move forward and change youth ministry culture. Pricing for this event is $59 per person through March 13 and $69 after. The Be With Conference will be held at Lake Pointe Baptist Church in Rockwall, Texas.

$59 Early Bird pricing is available through March 13!
Space is limited so register today!



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Questions and comments regarding this publication can be addressed to Andy Stephenson, Ph.D., Church of God Ministries, by e-mail at AStephenson@jesusisthesubject.org or by calling 1-800-848-2464, ext 2153.

Copyright 2012 Church of God Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

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