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  Winter 2016
  Vol. 21 • No. 1
Please photocopy or email  
to all your youth workers  
  Faith That Sticks—The Importance of Intergenerational Relationships

Intergenerational Relationships—Don’t Overlook Them

This YMI we continue looking at the key ingredients studies are showing that help students stick with their faith after high school. Research shows a staggering percentage of students leaving the church (and many, their faith) after they graduate from high school. At the same time, studies that are researching the students who do stay strong in their faith are showing some key ingredients. Here is a recap of some key ingredients: the importance of mentoring, parental involvement, and intergenerational relationships. This YMI focuses on intergenerational relationships.

In the United States, it seems like young is in and old is out. Unlike many countries where elders are respected and elevated to a high status, we typically underutilize the wisdom of those who are older. Yet, the research shows that intergenerational relationship is a key ingredient in helping students stick with their faith.

When you think it through, this makes a lot of sense. Those who are older have great wisdom from life experiences that can help us avoid some pitfalls. Also, relationships with those who are older help soften our hearts to those who are maybe a little slower getting around and give us a sensitivity to those who may have some differences. Many of those who are 60-plus in our churches have a wealth of knowledge and maturity that can have an incredible impact on our students and on us.

There are numerous ways to engage those who are older. Hopefully you will get some ideas from this YMI that will help you incorporate these pivotal relationships into your ministry and into your personal life. Don’t underestimate the impact this key ingredient can have for kingdom impact.

Together raising up a new generation of Christ-centered disciples,

Andy StephensonAndy Stephenson, Ph. D, is the associate director of North American Ministries at Church of God Ministries. He can be reached at AStephenson@chog.org


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  Not Just for Teens  

Student ministry is one of the most important ministries of the church. Investing in the lives of teenagers is a great thing, not just for the future of the church, but for the present. However, student ministry should not be just for teenagers. It should be something that crosses the generational lines. In other words, getting people of all ages involved in student ministry should be a top priority for student ministry leaders.

There is something to be said about having adults of different age groups investing in students. They can provide encouragement and support to students in a way that differs from parents.

In my student ministry, we have a retired guy who teaches our junior high students. His biblical wisdom is a great asset, but the way that he speaks into the lives of our young men is worth so much more. He has gained their respect in so many ways. I also have a school counselor who makes it her goal to personally know the life stories of our girls. She uses her experiences to connect with theirs. It has provided her with some great opportunities to speak into their lives.

Find a way to get older generations involved in the life of the student ministry at your church, even if it is something as simple as serving as a prayer partner. Put the experiences, giftedness and servant hearts of adults to work for the good of the lives of your students. Get the generations involved because student ministry is not just for teens. It is one of the most important ministries of the CHURCH!

R. W. MoodyR.W. Moody Jr. is a Youth Ministry Team member and the pastor of student and family ministries at Parkgate Community Church in Pasadena, Texas. He can be reached at rwmoody@parkgate.org.

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  Tapping in to All that Older Folks Have to Offer!  

I’ll be fifty-three this year, which puts me firmly in the "older" category. Some of you are right there with me, still doing youth ministry after all these years. You are high on wisdom and experience, but maybe slowing down in the energy-level department, while struggling to stay relevant with culture.

But many adults working with young people today are younger, full of life and fresh ideas, ready to take on the world with a storm of energy and activity! If that’s you, then my words are for you; a bit of advice from an older guy about how to tap in to a great source of wisdom and inspiration.

A leader tends to attract others who are close to their own age. Maybe that is why I have youth volunteers who are like me, in their fifties. I became a grandpa three years ago and, since then, some kids in our youth group lovingly call me Gramps, and you know what? It’s not such a bad thing. I find that teenagers love to have relationships with a grandma- or grandpa-type, since in our mobile culture many kids don't have grandparents close by. When our leadership team comes together for prayer or planning, it’s often the older ones who offer incredibly useful insight and ideas. I don't know how our ministry could survive without their wisdom. It can be challenging and intimidating for a youth pastor or director in their thirties to include volunteers in their fifties, but I encourage you to go after those people in your church and partner with them. They will make the best youth workers.

What about those seventy- or eighty-year-old church member? What do they have to offer? Plenty! First, they have time that younger people don’t. They are often the best prayer warriors, because they have time to pray, and their life experience has built incredible faith. They usually have amazing stories to share about walking with Jesus for a lifetime. Older folks are often amazing servants. We have older retired guys that have rewired our youth room, installed trendy, cool lighting, fixed broken Ping-Pong tables, and the list goes on.

Don't make the mistake of missing out on building relationships with the older folks in your church. Partnering with them can take your ministry to a whole new level of excellence and enjoyment!

Chris SpittersChris 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 chris.s@myfirstchurch.com.

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  Impact Squared  

I remember when I was a teenager, I was told that our youth ministry was "the church of tomorrow" by a well-meaning member of our congregation. The sentiment is nice, but it left me wondering, "If we're the church of tomorrow, does that mean we can't make a difference today?"

The answer from my own experience and from Scripture is a resounding "NO!" (remember, God used young people to change the world all the time!)

Students, regardless of their age, have the God-given ability to make a difference in the life of the church, and we as youth leaders need to recognize this truth and point our students toward opportunities that allow them to be "the church of today."

What is the result when students minister to the older generation? Of course, they have the opportunity to serve—but they also have the opportunity to learn from older adults, to hear their stories, and to soak up the wisdom and insight that senior adults have to share.

How can you maximize opportunities for your students to interact and learn from other age groups? Here are a few ideas to help you get the ball rolling:

  • Pair your students with senior adults as “prayer partners” and teach them to be intentional about looking for opportunities to pray for and with one another.
  • Gather a group of students together to provide a babysitting service on a Saturday morning for parents who need to go Christmas shopping.
  • Invite an older saint to come and share his/her testimony with your students.
  • Encourage your students to serve in congregational roles that are traditionally reserved for adults such as ushers, greeters, and the tech team.
  • Pick a night, and give your students the opportunity to attend your senior adult ministry gathering (but be sure they know you're coming first). Bonus points if you have your students serve a meal, lead a devotional, or present a program!

Whether you use one of these ideas or come up with your own, what you’ll find is that your congregation will come to recognize that your students are able to make a positive difference in the life of your church, and your students will ultimately benefit from being more connected to your congregation. The impact on your church will benefit your congregation for years to come!

Josh BoldmanJosh Boldman is a Youth Ministry Team member and the student ministries pastor at White Chapel Church of God, and campus pastor at Warner Christian Academy. He can be reached at josh@whitechapelchurch.com.

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  How to Find a Mentor  

As we look at Scripture, it is clear that we have been designed to do life in community. One aspect of living in healthy community is having a mentor, someone who will pour into your life and challenge and encourage you to grow.

One of the questions I hear most often from teenagers (adults, too) regarding mentoring is "How do I find a mentor?" The easiest answer to that question is, "ASK!" If you are searching for a spiritual mentor/coach for your discipleship journey, here are a few recommended steps:

  1. ASK that God might put someone in your path who could mentor/coach you. A good mentor is a person of the same gender, is often (but not always) older than you, and is at a deeper place spiritually than you currently may be.
  2. Look diligently for someone you admire and would like to be mentored/coached by.
  3. ASK someone whom you believe God may have guided your way to prayerfully consider being your mentor/coach. A healthy mentor/mentee relationship requires a commitment from both parties. It is important that both people enter the relationship with that in mind.
  4. Trust that God is working to stretch you as a leader and is working in your mentor’s life as well.
  5. Find someone who may have similarities that you can identify with, as well as differences that may stretch and help you.

Adam RentasAdam Rentas is a Youth Ministry Team member and the youth pastor at First Church of God in Vero Beach, Florida. He can be reached at adamr@fcog.com.

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February 14, 2016—Freedom Sunday
April 26–28, 2016—CHOG Regional Event/Table in Vancouver, WA
June 21–23, 2016—CHOG Regional Event/Table in Anderson, IN
July 2–5, 2016—International Youth Convention, San Antonio, TX


   YMT Members
Tami Byrd RW Moody Chris Spitters Andy Stephenson Adam Rentas


R. W.




Youth Network Team 

  Youth Network Team

            Harold Bradshaw (WY)
            John Maloa-Taulealo (CA)
            Tyler Williams (OH)
            Jessica Sellers (VA)

      Nathanael Lyon (OH)
      Rob Ringwald (WV)
      Kyle Cooper (VA)



Eric ReederEric Reeder is transitioning off the Youth Network Team as he believes God has called him to focus intently on his local ministry during this season. Eric has served on the YNT/YMT teams for over a decade and has done an incredible job helping us take Emerging Leaders and Leadership Summit to the next level. We can’t thank Eric enough for his investment over the years and the impact he has made and will continue to make. We are so grateful for his leadership! Thank you, Eric. You are a difference-maker!


Welcome New Youth Network Team Members

Jessica SellersWe are excited to welcome Jessica Sellers (Fairfax Community Church, Fairfax, Virginia) and Nathanael Lyon (Salem Church of God, Clayton, OH) Nathanael Lyonto the Youth Network Team. These leaders bring unique gifts and passions to the team, and we are glad to have them on board!

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Freedom Sunday is coming February 14, 2016, and will conclude our one million dollar campaign to help in the fight against human trafficking. The TraffickLight initiative has been blown away by the participation of our youth! Thank you for your partnership! Please let us know how we can continue to partner, assist you in this effort, and how your students are making a difference. Go to www.chogtrafficklight.org for more information.

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Check out www.beboldacademy.org for incredible resources, coaching, and discounts on top conferences as a member. Have your church sign up today!



IYC2016 logo

Are you registered to attend the 50th IYC, to be held July 2–6, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas? If not, keep in mind that the early registration price of $140 is in effect through March 24. After that date, the cost jumps to $155 per-person. Watch your mailbox for information coming soon. The IYC website, www.iyc2016.org, contains a lot of valuable information, as well as instructions about our new online option for submitting waivers. Check it out, and make plans to bring your students to this life-changing event!

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LEAD222 logo
LEAD222 banner

I'm excited to invite you to join the coaching and mentoring community of LEAD222 that I am a thrilled to be a part of.

LEAD222 is led by Bo Boshers and youth practitioners from around the country. LEAD222 is founded on the biblical mandate of 2 Timothy 2:2, which is to disciple reliable leaders who will teach others. We are dedicated to building a community of student ministry leaders that sharpen one another in personal character (inside game) and professional skills (outside game) to reach a generation to become followers of Christ

I've personally benefited from this coaching and am excited that this coaching is now being made available for FREE to youth pastors who are eager to be coached and then also become coaches of others.

NOW is a great time to enroll.

Contact LEAD222 staff member, Brian Schwammlein (brian@LEAD222.com) for any questions you have.

Head over to LEAD222 to learn more about this coaching and mentoring ministry.

Next Steps:

  1. Complete the "Coach in Training" application to inform us that you would like to join our LeadCoaching Network.
  2. Expect one of our LEAD222 coaches to contact you within forty-eight hours.
  3. If you have any questions, e-mail us at brian@LEAD222.com.

Andy Stephenson



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If you prefer not to receive general e-mail communications from Church of God Ministries, please e-mail webmanager@chog.org. Church of God Ministries (CGM) has determined email to be a vital, timely and cost effective means for communication. Because of their special relationship within the Church of God, it is imperative CGM maintains the ability to communicate with ministers, congregations and other selected individuals/organizations using the most effective and efficient means. Therefore, those in the above mentioned categories are ineligible to “opt out” of email correspondence.

Please do not reply to this message. Send changes of address or contact information to DataServices@chog.org.

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

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