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  Fall 2011
  Vol. 16 • No. 3
Please photocopy for  
all your youth workers  

  YMI—REACH/ 360  

What Is Top Priority?

Some of the last words of Jesus to his followers in the book of Matthew were, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19 nlt).

Last words are usually the most important, these are the things that someone wants to make sure really stick. It is interesting that he didn’t say spend more time in the office designing cool programs, or build greater and slicker youth centers. He didn’t even say to increase your student ministry budget. He said go and make disciples. Of course, some of the ways to help do that could be those things I mentioned. But if we have to be honest, sharing Jesus with those who don’t know Christ often doesn’t get top priority in our ministries in actual time and how we live it out. It usually gets mentioned as a priority when we talk about our ministries, but not so much in the reality of how we live in our ministries. If it did, there would be thousands of students coming to Christ around North America in Church of God student ministries yearly. This issue of YMI is to designed to help us remember, recalibrate, and adjust, if needed, in our student ministries and even in our personal lives to take heed of the last words of Jesus to go and make disciples. Let’s go and make disciples together!

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

Andy Stephenson, PhD
Leader of Youth and Family Ministries

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  How God Moves in Local Youth Ministry  

God is always at work around us, and God is always working in the local youth ministry. We, as youth workers, as people who love students, are constantly looking for chances to come alongside a student to help them realize how much God loves them and help them understand that their main purpose in life is really all about loving God and others. This is exciting and difficult work, but it’s always worth it. There are moments in life and ministry in which God moves and a life is changed. We celebrate those moments! We celebrate those stories.

There is power in the story. We all have a story. One of the most amazing moments in our lives is when we realize that our story is really a part of God’s story. I want to share with you a 360 strategy story about one of our students. I hope that this story encourages you. This is Laura’s story:

“The summer of 2010 at IYC Orlando, I finally let God have full control. He was trying to use me and had been knocking for a long time, and I finally answered. I was ready to share this with everyone, but I wasn’t exactly sure how. The night of IYC, there was a 360 challenge. Look 360 degrees around you and see what God is doing and pick 3 friends, pray 6 days a week, and miss 0 opportunities. This was perfect! I prayed hard, and God put three girl’s names on my heart, one being my best friend. When I got home, within my student leadership team, we also filled out a 360 list. And the Lord put three additional girls on my heart, including two girls that I hardly ever spoke to.”

“I prayed for these girls daily, and one night after small groups, my best friend decided it was time to answer God’s knocking and she accepted Jesus into her life! This really had me fired up and I knew that God was going to do huge things and he already had started. I prayed for these other girls every day, specifically for some kind of bridge. One Sunday, I walked into church and two of these girls were standing there. Wow, God, right? My friend and I invited them to our youth gathering and they came! After one night of youth and hanging out on the weekend, one of the girls decided what God had planned for her and she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior! Bottom line, God wants his people to come to him. He wants them to spend eternity with him and us to bring him glory! God wants us to make a difference for the kingdom! He said, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation’ (Mark 16:15 niv).”

Laura is an example of a student who is stepping out in faith, in obedience to God’s call to reach the lost, to love her friends, to reach out in 360 degrees as God leads her. As God moved in Laura’s life, she could not help but seek God, pray, and step in faith. She is making an eternal difference for God.

God is always moving in ministry. Sometimes, we get discouraged because we don’t feel like God is moving or maybe we have been working hard with little fruit. Don’t be discouraged! God is working. Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Verse 31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” These scriptures are true. Be encouraged. God moves in local youth ministry. It’s in the local youth ministry, in the trenches, in the schools, in the community, that God will empower us to reach students for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and those students will be empowered to reach people. It’s all a part of God’s story.

 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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  Reaching Lost People Isn't Just for Students  

Some of the greatest advice I have ever received was “to not ask people to do things that I am not willing to do myself.” For leaders, this leadership principle makes a lot of sense in multiple ways. It wouldn’t be fair to expect things from others we don’t expect in ourselves. We wouldn’t be good role models if we led without example. And students aren’t going to see us as credible and be willing to follow our lead if we don’t live out what we say we believe.

Almost every leader I know would agree with these conclusions. Yet it is shocking to see how many of us ask our students to engage in missional living with a passion for the lost around us but are unwilling to engage the lost world ourselves. I hear from leader after leader who want people to reach others for Christ, bring them to church, and connect them to the body of Christ, and yet they themselves haven’t been intentional in their own neighborhood and community to reach people for Christ. We all too often don’t hang out with lost people, remember their names, or know their stories.

But this isn’t God’s best for us. We need our own 360! By having our own list of people we are hoping will find a relationship with Christ, praying for them on a daily basis, and investing in their lives intentionally and regularly, we will benefit in so many ways:

  1. We will be living out what we say we believe.

  2. We will be more like Christ and share his love for the lost.

  3. Our students will follow our example.

  4. We will have credibility when we speak on other issues.

  5. We will be able to identify more effectively with the challenges that students feel when we ask them to invest in their lost friends.

  6. We will grow as a leader.

  7. We will grow as a person.

  8. People will come to know Christ who may have never done so without our investment.

Are we the kind of leaders worth following? Do we ask people to do things we don’t do? Do the lost people in my community—the mailman, the grocery store clerk, the waitress, the next door neighbor—get my intentional investment and my prayers? Do my students see me live missionally?

The truth is, reaching lost people isn’t just for students; it’s for all of us!

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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  Free Resources  

360 Revolution: A Spiritual Revolution for This Generation

I recently met two brothers who came to Christ because of 360 Revolution. Their friend prayed consistently for them and invited them to church, and now they are serving the Lord and are actively involved in their local youth ministry. Their lives have been changed because of a simple concept. 360 is based on looking 360 degrees around you where God is at work. Part of the strategy is choosing 3 friends, praying for them 6 days a week, and missing 0 opportunities to share God’s love with them. Help your students to be intentional about reaching their friends for Jesus Christ!

On the CHOGY website you will find many resources to help you promote 360 in your local youth ministry. There are two teaching series available, including the newest release which is a thirty-day challenge teaching series. There are also stories and videos that can be used to challenge and inspire your students. These resources can be found at www.chogy.org and are FREE for you to use!

Be creative in helping your students make 360 a part of their daily lives. Consider putting visual reminders in your student ministry area. Create magnets, bookmarks, posters, and so on to help them remember to pray for their 360 list at home. Send out reminders via text, e-mail, or Facebook. Most importantly, celebrate victories. Does someone in your youth ministry have a story to share about how God has worked through 360? Share these stories, not only in your local congregation, but with us; let us know how lives are being transformed through the power of Christ. Send your 360 testimonies to tami@smdcog.org.

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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  If David Can Do It, Anyone Can Do It (360 Story)  

David was a typical middle-schooler. He liked hanging out with his friends, playing soccer (even though he wasn’t very good at it), and being a part of the student ministry. When he first heard about 360 at church he decided to take the challenge. He simply thought he was being challenged to care about his friends like Jesus did.

David’s friends were on his soccer team, so he put down the names of some of the guys on his team on the list and invited them to the student ministry. They really enjoyed coming to church, and several months later a few of them accepted Christ and were baptized. Then the friends he had brought invited some of their friends, and before long they had a carpool of soccer kids from the neighborhood going to church each week.

A few years later his family had to move out of state. That night he was prayed for by his youth group; after the prayer, the leader asked the people whom David had invited to the student ministry to stand up. A few of his friends from his soccer team stood up. Then they asked anyone else to stand who had been invited by the ones that David had invited. Several more students stood. Then they asked people to stand who had been invited by that group of students. Amazingly, more than sixty students were standing. More than sixty students were coming to church because one middle-schooler decided to care about his friends like Jesus did. If David can do it, anyone can do it.

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  Intern Academy Is Impacting Lives  

In the spring, more than forty youth pastors and young emerging leaders met in Colorado for the inaugural meeting of the Intern Academy of the Church of God. The retreat featured twenty-three youth ministry interns and twenty-one Intern Academy coaches, all of whom had gathered at Quaker Ridge Camp in Woodland Park, Colorado, for a weekend of fellowship, networking, and worship between established youth leaders and young leaders looking to lead youth in the near future.

“It was exciting to see all of the youth leaders and see the dream of the Intern Academy come to life,” said Andy Stephenson, the director of youth ministries at Church of God Ministries. “It’s going to be amazing to see what God does with this in the future, especially for church leadership.” The weekend marked the first time Intern Academy coaches and interns were able to come together for an extended period of time in order to talk about their experiences in youth ministry and about working with youth across the country.

“This event is really a dream event,” said Chip Taylor, Intern Academy leader and student ministries pastor at Bayside Church in Safety Harbor, Florida. “To have seen this program come together the way it has excites me because I can see the work that God is doing in the lives of everyone here”.

The idea for the Intern Academy began in 2003 when the national youth ministry teams began thinking of a way to create an organized network of youth ministry internships nationwide. After much dreaming, a pilot program was launched in 2009, and in 2010 the Intern Academy was fully launched. Through the network, each intern would be under the supervision of a coach who would have a curriculum available that would keep each pair accountable to teaching the same principles of leadership and ministry. Churches who hired intern academy graduates would know they had been taught certain core principles and would have had strong leadership in their lives.

The goal is to connect and resource coaches, churches, and young leaders in preparation for student ministries.

The Intern Academy plans to meet every other year for a weekend gathering as well as meeting during the International Youth Convention of the Church of God in the off year.

For more information on the Intern Academy or to become a part of this network, check out www.internacademy.net or www.chogy.org.

Photo: Intern Academy 2011

Written by Charlie Holcomb, an IYC intern.

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  Climbing Higher, Reaching Farther
—Leadership Summit 2011

Click here for more information

In July, nearly one hundred young emerging leaders and adults leaders from nineteen states and two countries converged on the campus of Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, for Leadership Summit 2011.

Leadership Summit began in 2001, and every other year since, it has provided a time of intensive, experiential, hands-on leadership development. This year marks the first time the event has taken place outside of Washington, DC.

“These young leaders will learn and experience what community truly is,” said Michael Snyder, former Summit attendee, now youth pastor at South Meridian Church of God in Anderson. “We value transparency and openness and hope that our adults can help guide our students toward these essential principles so that they may grow to become more Christ-centered leaders.”

Throughout the week, students heard from key national leaders, participated in family group conversations, and engaged the homeless, lonely, and lost in meaningful conversations and acts of Christian kindness both in Anderson and the city of Indianapolis.

The theme for this year’s Summit was “Called.” Emphasis was placed on learning what it means to truly be called to serve, to love, to lead, and to change the world. This small setting provides students with a unique setting to grow as individual leaders in Christ through a family group focus and practical leadership development.

In addition to worship and teaching, students were challenged through various service projects around the city of Anderson, as well as an evangelistic experience on the streets of Indianapolis. Students also helped to host a neighborhood block party in one of the most impoverished areas in Anderson on Friday.

“We want more than just to talk about these forms of leadership,” said youth ministries director Andy Stephenson. “We want our students to actually experience them.”

Leadership Summit is effective because not only do students hear how they can be a better leader, but they also have the opportunity to put what they’ve learned into practice. Students learned that they are called to lead, called to love, called to serve, and called to change the world.

Students and leaders alike have now journeyed back to their homes across the nation filled up and empowered by the Holy Spirit to lead for him.

For more information about Leadership Summit, visit www.chogy.org and click on “Leadership Summit.”

Leadership Summit participants at the block party they helped to host for one of the communities.

Written by Charlie Holcomb, an IYC intern.

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Spread the Word and Leader Training in Russia  

Click here for more information

Since Spread the Word was launched in 2002, over $550,000 has been given by students and their leaders for tools for evangelism around the world. Those funds have been sent to six continents and thirty countries. In addition, STW trips have been made to various countries to witness how these funds have been used to reach the world for Jesus Christ. Most recently, forty students and adults traveled to Chelyabinsk, Russia to see Spread the Word in action.

During the fourteen days of ministry, the team helped direct a youth camp in the Ural Mountains, where nine Russian students responded to the invitation to follow Christ. In addition, the forty group members participated in the Sunday worship service at the church in Chelyabinsk using speakers and video equipment provided by Spread the Word. They also visited the new ministry center that is under construction. The third floor has been designated as a youth café, and Spread the Word has pledged $30,000 to help complete the project. The team had an incredible time of worship and anointing in the youth café with the Russians, and held a concert of prayer in the facility.

Twenty years ago, Mark Shaner (Youth Network Team member) took some students from his youth ministry to Russia and the church in Russia was started. Twenty years later, that church is growing and expanding and Mark was able to take his students and two of his own sons back. God is pretty awesome!

Some of the Youth Ministry Team and Youth Network Team members also taught the 5 Principle Training materials to the students and adults at the camp; they also presented the curriculum translated into Russian to the pastors who were present so they can take and teach it to their leaders.

The 5 Principle Training materials cover five key principles that we believe leaders around the world can benefit from knowing. The YMT/YNT teams have handed it off in Africa, South America (translated into Spanish), and now in Russia (translated into Russian). The team will take it to India in January 2012. The team is just the carrier handing the translated material off to the leaders to use throughout their county.

More information about Spread the Word and the 5 Principle Training material is available at www.chogy.org.

Photo: STW Leader Training in Russia

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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How God Moves in Local
   Youth Ministry
Reaching Lost People Isn't
   Just for Students
Free Resources: 360 Revolution
If David Can Do It, Anyone
   Can Do It (360 Story)
Intern Academy Is Impacting Lives
Climbing Higher, Reaching Farther
   —Leadership Summit 2011
Spread The Word and Leader
   Training in Russia
Upcoming Dates and Events


November 9, 2011
One Meal, One Day

 Logo: One Meal One Day

December 27–30, 2011
NIYC 2011
Indianapolis, IN


Logo: NIYC

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)

      R. W. Moody (TX)
      Michael Thigpen (IN)
      Mark Shaner (IN)
      Kim Schuessler (IN)



Click here for more information

STW Internships:
Students Can Be a Part
of a Life-Changing
International Internship

“God took me on the journey of a lifetime this summer in Ecuador,” said 2011 STW intern Heather Grogg. Spread the Word internships give students the opportunity to experience the mission field firsthand. As a STW intern, students will work alongside missionaries in their daily lives. In 2011, Spread the Word sent four interns to Ecuador and Kenya. Interns in Ecuador worked with Children of Promise in area youth ministries, while interns in Kenya built community with the students at Kima International School of Theology.

The STW internship program is another part of our continuing commitment to raise up a generation of Christ-centered leaders. STW is excited to send a new set of interns in 2012.

Students can apply for their journey of a lifetime with a STW internship online at www.chogy.org. All applications are due by November 1, 2011. For more information, visit www.chogy.org.




    Logo: IYC2012

Start to Plan
Now For
IYC 2012
—a moment of life change—
July 4–7, 2012
Denver, Colorado



Logo: Lead 222

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.




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 by understanding the basics of the faith in book one; helping them grow, understand, and practice spiritual disciplines in book two; helping them understand the Holy Spirit and their spiritual gifts in book three; and helping them understand their life mission and live it out all around them in book four. It is designed so that students who go through book four can go back and teach book one. If you have never used the Ultimate Adventure series with your students, we encourage you to give it a try. If you have used it in the past, we think you will be pleased with the updates and revisions. Let’s journey together as we raise up Christ-centered leaders. Click here or on the images above for ordering information.




Click for Free 360 Resources

Click here for 360 Resources




Logo: Spread The Word

STW Internships




Intern in the United States
with Intern Academy

Click here for more information
Click here for more information


   Upcoming Dates and Events    


November 9, 2011:

Logo: One Meal One Day

One Meal, One Day

December 27–30, 2011:

Logo: NIYC

NIYC 2011
Indianapolis, IN


July 4–7, 2012:

Logo: IYC2012

Denver, Colorado


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