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  Fall 2013
  Vol. 18 • No. 3
Please photocopy or email  
to all your youth workers  

Back in 2001, the youth ministry team was sitting around a table dreaming about the future of how teenagers could impact the world with Christ's love. After research, prayer, and much discussion, Spread the Word was born. Researchers say that teenagers spend close to two billion dollars a year. We dreamed that if we could challenge them to invest financially in eternity, they would do so.

Spread the WordAnd they did it! At IYC2002 in Denver, STW was launched with a $100,000 offering. To our knowledge, this was the largest one-time event offering in the history of the Church of God up until this year at Global Gathering. Currently teenagers and their leaders have given over $650,000, and that money has gone to thirty-four countries on six continents, helping thousands hear about the love of Jesus; many have experienced changed lives.

In 2005, the YNT and YMT teams started traveling to STW countries to see and experience STW funds in action. In 2008, the team piloted plans to hand off the 5 Principle Training System, during these trips, to national leaders, who would in turn hand off this training to their leaders. The team has now traveled to Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin and South America.

In 2010, STW internships were official launched to help students who have a heart for missions get on the field to experience life in another country. Find out more about these at www.chogy.org or www.emergingleaders101.com.

God is using STW in incredible ways and keeps expanding its impact. It has been astounding to see God birth STW and to see God continue to use STW to expand his kingdom and help people find the love of Jesus.

For more information on STW, visit www.chogy.org and click on the STW logo.

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


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  Leadership Summit 2013: God Did Amazing Things  

From July 9 to 13, 2013, the seventh national student Leadership Summit was hosted by Mid-America Christian University. Five of the student Leadership Summits have been hosted in Washington, DC; the last two have been held on Church of God college campuses: 2011 at AU and 2013 at MACU.

Incredible student leaders participated in this Leadership Summit (LS). The 125 high school and college leaders had to go through an application process and submit good references to be a part of this event. LS is designed to give emerging student leaders from student ministries around North America a hands-on learning experience to grow in servant leadership. There were thirty adult leaders also present, for a total of 155 in attendance at this pivotal launch pad event.

The summit is designed around family groups, typically with ten or so high school students, two college students, and two adults who learn, serve, and process together during the week. These groups become strong leadership-learning laboratories and safe places to share. College students are the main facilitators.

This year's theme was Leadership Redefined, taken from Ephesians 4:1–6, with five subthemes: Be Humble, Be Gentle, Be Love, Be One and Be Worthy.

On Tuesday night, students were asked to take off their shoes before they entered the service, indicating that for this week they were on holy ground. Steve Chiles spoke to us about being humble leaders, and experiential stations had been set up so that after he spoke, students could write to God, wash another's feet, take Communion, draw, and express themselves to God. Shartel Church of God sponsored a pizza party afterwards.

On Wednesday, Marsha Reeder spoke on being gentle leaders in the middle of life's disasters. Students went out to help with tornado relief in Moore, Oklahoma. They helped tear down a heavily damaged home and clear the lot with the nonprofit group ARC; temperatures that day neared one hundred degrees. That evening, family groups processed and shared God stories and MACU sponsored a dodge ball/capture the flag game and pizza party in the campus gym.

On Thursday, Mike Thigpen spoke to us about being love and what that really means. The students traveled to the Oklahoma City bombing memorial and then had some family group time at Skyline Church downtown. That evening they spent time downtown at Bricktown and enjoyed ice cream sponsored by Warner Pacific.

On Friday, Dr. Cliff Sanders spoke to us about our spiritual gifts, and then students broke up into sub groups to talk about a certain gift with a leader who had that gift. During lunch, forty students attended a gathering for students sensing a vocational call to ministry or missions. After lunch, students pulled up carpet to help MACU as they replace their old carpet. They pulled carpet up in numerous hallways in twelve minutes. Many hands make fast work! In the evening, Andy and Candace Stephenson spoke about being one in the body of Christ. Students had an incredible family group time of affirmation that evening that lasted until after midnight for some.

On Saturday, Eric Reeder (leader of LS2013) challenged us to live out servant leadership by being humble, gentle, love, one, and worthy. Students left excited to live leadership redefined.

God is at work in CHOG students. Special thanks to Eric Reeder and the LS team for their leadership and to MACU and President John Fozard for their incredible support. Keep your eyes open for LS2015 coming in the summer of 2015.

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  God at Work through STW in Russia  

We are celebrating all that God is at doing in the life of the church in Russia. STW is honored to have been a small part of its journey.

Spread The Word has given funds toward the work in Chelyabinsk for the last several years, beginning with funds given toward audio and video equipment that have been used as tools for evangelism. Another STW project in Russia is the outfitting of a youth center café inside the new ministry center in Chelyabinsk. This is the largest STW project to date. STW has given $30,000 toward this project! The ministry center and café will be dedicated on Sunday, October 13, 2013!

It has taken three years to fully fund the youth café project, with the final offerings given at IYC 2012. The youth café will be used as a place for students of all ages to find a safe place of hope and worship while connecting with God and others.

Romans 10:13–15 (niv) is the theme verse for STW:

“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!”

We celebrate how God is working and expanding the kingdom in Chelyabinsk Russia!

For more information on STW, visit www.chogy.org.

 Eric ReederEric Reeder is a member of the Youth Ministry Team. He serves as the senior-high youth pastor at Madison Park Church of God in Anderson, Indiana. He can be reached at ereeder@madisonparkchurch.org.

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  Spread the Word: How It Works  

North American teenagers are one of the richest people groups in terms of untapped disposable income. The goal of Spread the Word is to create a North American missions program to enable teens to spread the kingdom around the globe through financial giving. Ideally, this will create a pattern of giving to missions in teenagers that will carry over into adulthood.

Spread the Word starts with teenagers and their leaders who raise funds through offerings at local, state, and national youth events, and through various projects and fund raisers. Those funds are then divided into several accounts:

• 15% to Leadership Development and Congregational Health for promotion, overhead expenses, etc.
• 75% to the field
• 10% back to the states that gave the funds, for local mission projects (States are encouraged but not required to use these funds to help their students travel on missions trips.)

Those in the field submit a request for evangelistic materials to their Global Missions regional coordinator(s). If approved, the regional coordinator sends the request to the STW Advisory Team. The STW Advisory Team reviews the request and determines whether it meets the criteria for evangelism. If approved, funds are released as they become available.

Those in the field purchase the materials, and submit pictures and testimonies to report how the tools are being used for evangelism. These pictures and stories are then shared on the STW web page to inspire further giving. Check it out at www.chogy.org and see what God is doing through Spread the Word and how you and your local ministry can get involved.

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 between STW and those on the field.

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  God at Work through Spread the Word in Africa  

Our Spread the Word dollars are supporting mission work in Africa! Six years ago our team traveled to Uganda and saw firsthand how God is moving there. The Jesus film, the development of schools, and ministry to AIDS clients are three amazing ministries we support with STW money.

The trip to Kome island took three and a half hours. We rode in a boat (purchased by STW) and watched the Jesus film on a portable projector (purchased by STW). Many came to know Christ, so we fell asleep that night to the sound of beating drums and joyful celebration! This experience is being repeated over and over as missionaries take the Jesus film to people scattered across these islands in Lake Victoria.

In Uganda, there is no free public school system; most families can't afford the school fees. Missionaries Tim and Colleen Stevenson have started well over one hundred schools to meet this need and to reach children with the good news of Jesus. Thousands of children are enrolled! When you think of the influence this ministry has on the future of Uganda, it is astounding!

TAPP stands for Tumaini AIDS Prevention Program. Tumaini is the Swahili world for hope. From one office, they work with nearly two hundred AIDS clients. There are more than twenty-five TAPP offices in Uganda, each one offering counseling and care for adults and programs for the children.

This fall we return to Africa, this time to Kenya, to Kima International School of Theology. We are excited to see how God is at work through STW!

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 spitters@myfirstchurch.com.

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  God Is at Work through STW in India  

India is a country of more than 1.2 billion people, the vast majority of which are not Christians. In January 2012, two teams from CHOGY traveled to various parts of India on a STW mission trip to train and equip some of the believers there.

One of the main components of the STW trips is the 5 Principle Training Conference. During this conference, youth leaders and student leaders gather together from around the region where we are located for a one- to two-day conference. In India, we were privileged to conduct the 5 Principle Training Conference in New Delhi and Kolkata. Between these two gatherings, we had more than two hundred students and youth leaders in attendance.

What stood out to me the most from these two conferences was that the leaders in India who organized the gatherings and invited the participants issued a specific challenge to all the attendees. It was simply this: by attending this conference, you are committing to share the information you receive with a minimum of ten people.

Think for a moment about the possible fruit from our STW mission trip to India. If two hundred people each share with ten people, that is two thousand additional people who will hear the good news of Jesus Christ and receive specific training and discipleship. If those two thousand share with ten people each, that is twenty thousand, and then two hundred thousand. And soon hundreds of millions of people who do not yet know Jesus personally may have the opportunity to do so—all because of local Christians who are committed to reaching their country for Christ!

The name of one of the young men who attended the conference in Kolkata is Richard. He is going to school to become a doctor, and he is a passionate follower of Christ. Before our team left Kolkata, we asked Richard if he was going to share the information that he had received with a minimum of ten people in the weeks to come. His answer was “No. Ten is not enough. I plan to share this information and the love of Christ with hundreds of people!” As you can see, the Lord is definitely at work in India!

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 pastoradam12@hotmail.com.

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STW Internship Applications:
Due November 1, 2013.
See www.emergingleaders101.com.

December, 2013 in Chicago

July 5–8, 2014
Nashville, TN
Gaylord Opryland Hotel


   YMT Members
Tami Byrd Eric Reeder Chris Spitters Andy Stephenson Adam Rentas






Youth Network Team 

  Youth Network Team

            Harold Bradshaw (WY)
            Josh Deeter (AL)
            Brian Seidel (ID)
            Josh Boldman (FL)

      R. W. Moody (TX)
      Adam Rentas (CA)
      Rob Ringwald (WV)
      Kim Schuessler (IN)



Click here for more information about Emerging Leaders 101
Spread the Word
Intern Academy

Internships for 2014: Check out www.emergingleaders101.com,
for information on U.S. and international internships

Applications are due by November 1, 2013, for STW internships in the summer of 2014.

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Click here to register

Don't miss IYC2014!
Our new website is up. Register today at www.iyc2014.org. Hotel rooms are limited; get yours early!

Lower Prices—NEW improved schedule—Same powerful experience!

Creating a moment for life change—IYC2014—July 5–8, 2014—Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville skyline

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Check out the
Ultimate Adventure Remix series for helping
your students grow. Visit www.chogy.org/ultimate-adventure

Click here for ordering information

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Click here for more information about Emerging Leaders 101

Help your emerging leaders in their development?

Check out
for free monthly training.

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Exclusive Offer for friends of Church of God!

On behalf of Church of God and Catalyst, you are invited to attend the Catalyst Conference on October 2–4, 2013 in Atlanta. A one-of-a-kind gathering for leaders like you!

Catalyst is more than a conference - its a movement founded in the hearts of Next Generation Leaders who are impacting their world. Join us for a three-day leadership encounter filled with powerful teaching, dynamic voices, awe-inspiring worship, unmatched creativity, and impactful stories of the Gospel story being lived out.

REGISTER BY THURSDAY, SEPT 14 to receive a special rate! Only $219 per person (regularly $329). Register online using rate code COG or by phone at 888.334.6569.

Visit the Catalyst site for more details and information. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Featured Resource

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Jeffrey, Mike Hammer (CHOG), and Matty have teamed up to offer some sharp advice on transitioning from the teen years to adulthood. They'll guide you through eight essential topics, including finances, dating and sex, spiritual growth and disciplines, and identity. You'll hear about their victories and successes—plus their regrets and mistakes.

These three guys are all dads who want their sons to experience a meaningful life by following and honoring God—and they want that for you too.

99 Things Every Guy Should Know will help you become a man whose life is filled with honesty, strength, and courage.

Great for your youth ministry guys, and only $5.99 a book: www.everyguyshouldknow.com.


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