Enjoying the Journey

Youth Ministry

Thank God For Christian Education

The last two days I have been speaking in Michigan at a wonderful Christian Educator’s Convention. It has been a privilege to spend time with men and women who are giving their lives to help families as they seek to provide their children with a true Christian education. Tammy and I both had the joy of being a part of Christian schools and are grateful for the outstanding Christian academy the Lord has allowed our children to attend. I thank God for Christian education. Christian education is undoubtedly more than Christian schools. It is done in the context of home and through the ministry of local churches. In the words of one of my mentors, Dr. Clarence Sexton, “Christian education…

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GUEST POST: “Finish Strong”

1801-16 Enjoying the Journey Guest Articles Slide

Kurt Copeland has been a faithful youth pastor at the Franklin Road Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee for many years. God has used he and his wife to make a difference in the lives of countless young people. His faithfulness is an example to me and his friendship an encouragement. You will enjoy these thoughts from his heart. It has been my goal since the day I started preaching to reach teenagers for Christ. Now, nearly twenty-seven years later, that goal has only gotten stronger. How can we effectively reach teenagers for Christ in today’s society? I have heard it said, “It’s not how you start the race, but how you finish that really makes the difference.” I do agree…

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10 Ways To Help A High School Senior

Over the last few weeks I have been privileged to spend time with a number of high school seniors. One of them is living in my own home! Just yesterday I was on the campus of the school I graduated from twenty-four years ago. My heart was filled with both memories from my past and thoughts of the future of the seniors who now walk those halls. Parents, pastors, teachers, coaches and youth workers have a big job every day, but the spring months are especially crucial. Remember your senior year! The senior year is one of the most exciting times in life. Big days and decisions lie ahead. The senior year is one of the most anxious times in…

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Advice To A Teenage Preacher

Recently a teenage boy wrote to tell me that God had called him to be a preacher. What a joy to see another generation of young people yielding their lives to serve Christ! He asked if I would give him some advice. Below are the simple things I wrote to my young friend. It is my prayer that other young people will be helped by them. 1. Work on your devotional life. Everything else grows out of your own walk with the Lord. 2. Spend time with your pastor and youth director. Ask them questions and learn all you can. 3. Begin now to witness and serve. If you don’t start now you won’t later. 4. Plan to attend a…

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The Most Important Lessons I Learned in My College Years

A few days ago I had the joy of addressing a group of college students in a local church. There were freshmen and upperclassmen, full of hope and excitement as they approached the beginning of a new year. Life is divided into seasons and every season has a purpose (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11). The college years are a time of preparation. In these days God is at work in so many ways to prepare young people for all He has for them. All of college was good for me. Dorm life. Student Events. Even History of Civilization. As I reflected on my college years I began to see that it was in this season of life that I began to understand that some…

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How To Keep the Next Generation

A fellow preacher and personal friend asked me recently how I believed we could do a better job of retaining young people in our churches. It is a problem of epidemic proportions. The vast majority of young people are exiting the local church by the time they are eighteen. For many years I said to prospective youth workers that we must get young people connected to more than the youth group. It is my conviction that, as early in life as possible, young people must find their place in the church. It must be their church. The pastor must be their pastor. And some work for the Lord must be their ministry. This cannot begin when they graduate from high…

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A Post By My 17 Year Old Daughter

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Tammy and I thank the Lord for our children. Like every parent we pray that they will desire to follow Christ. More and more I understand the words of John, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). Recently our oldest daughter Morgan posted some thoughts through social media on the subject of teen suicide. The Lord used them to speak to some young people and I asked her for permission to share her thoughts here. It is our prayer that they will encourage others. The following are Morgan’s own words… As I look on my generation I see a group of teenagers filled with questions, filled with pain, and filled…

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10 Suggestions for Those Who Work With Youth

Thank God for faithful youth workers. As a parent of two teenagers I realize more than ever that no one raises their children alone. My wife and I praise God for every youth pastor, youth pastor’s wife, teacher, coach, administrator, and choir leader who influence our children…and we pray for them. We need them. Our kids need them. The role of youth leaders is more indispensable than ever. They cannot take the place of parents or the pastor, but they can extend the influence of both. Youth workers are key in strengthening two God ordained institutions – the home and the local church. Much of our ministry has been with young people and helping to train those who work with…

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This Is Our Generation

Last night I finished preaching in another youth conference. These are special meetings and more needed than ever. It was a privilege to have our daughter Morgan with me on this trip. Having teenagers of your own changes your whole perspective! As I looked at a sea of faces last night, hundreds of young men and young women, I was reminded of something very important – This is our generation to reach and teach for Christ. Fifteen years ago I had a sermon that I preached to young people entitled “This Is My Generation.” At the time, I was part of the same generation as those I was preaching to. I am a little older now and the young generation is now…

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What I Learned from a Child About Singing Hymns

You can learn a lot from a child.  Sometimes those we are teaching become our teachers.  This happened to me again recently.  As I walked through a certain place I heard the voice of a young man singing a great hymn.  Not just singing it…singing every word…with abandon! Suddenly so many things were clear.  This young boy has parents who love the Lord.  He is being raised in a church where the great hymns of the faith are being sung.  Now he loves them too. Young people love old hymns.  Many churches today have followed the assumption that kids only want “new music.”  In fact, they want something that is real.  They want truth.  It doesn’t have to be new…

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