Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Discipleship Resource You Didn't Know You Have

3 Ways Public School are a Great Resource to Your Youth Ministry! 
by Travis Deans

A good bit, though not enough, has been written about youth pastors serving as a resource to public schools (here’s a recent article by Adam McLane). But I believe that public schools are a great resource to youth pastors.

Generally, a youth pastor’s top priority is to help the students in their churches learn to follow Jesus. But the fact is that your students spend five days a week, seven or more hours a day, 180 days a year at school – at least five times as many hours as they spend at church. School, not church, is the environment they spend the most time in. Becoming followers of Jesus must include following Him all that time they spend at school. But that’s not a bad thing. Here’s why:

1. If your students can live their faith at school, that’s great evidence that their faith is genuine.

Scripture speaks a lot about the testing of our faith. In fact, it’s been said that an untested faith is no faith at all. As we all know, anybody can be a Christian at church – that’s easy. But school forces students to decide every day to honor God, or not. School is second only to home as an indicator of how real a student’s faith is.

2. If your students can serve God in their schools, they’ll be able to do it anywhere.

We all know Jesus’ pattern for the growth of the church in Acts 1:8 – “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Your students’ schools are their Jerusalem! Whatever God has in store for the rest of their life, nothing will prepare them better than being a witness right now right where they are. In fact, if they can do ministry in that environment, they’ll be ready to go anywhere God sends them! According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 90% of American kids go to public school. This fact alone makes public schools a great mission field for your students.
3. If they face challenge of living and sharing their faith at school, they will feel the need of what you teach them at youth group.

As Greg Stier points out, evangelism fuels and creates a hunger for discipleship - “…challenging our teens to take the risk of evangelism can lead to the reward of our teens growing deeper in their faith faster than we could have ever imagined. Evangelism, especially among one’s friends, makes you desperately dependent on God’s Spirit. And it is this dependency which produces spiritual growth (John 15:1-8.).” I believe Jesus sent his disciples on short term mission trips for this very reason. They came back wanting to learn more!
Obviously, public school is not the right place for all students, but I believe that encouraging your students in school to live their faith there is one of the greatest ways to apply everything you teach them. Here are just a few practical ideas to help them live out their faith.

• Carry their Bible to school (a great conversation starter)
• Sit with the kid at lunch who is always alone
• Ask their friends, “How can I pray for you?”
• Pray over their food at lunch time
• Start a campus ministry (a great way to develop their leadership skills)
• Lead outreaches on campus

Do you want to make sure your students are following Jesus after they leave your youth ministry? Public schools give you a chance to help them follow Jesus when you aren’t around right now.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Thoughts About The Hero's Journey

I'm sure many others have written much better stuff on this topic than me, but after seeing Iron Man 3 tonight (it was awesome - even better than 1 and 2), I found myself thinking about the story arcs of hero trilogies - we have Sam Rami's Spider-Man, Christopher Nolan's Batman, Peter Jackson's Aragorn, George Lucas's Luke Skywalker, and now Jon Favreau and Shane Black's Iron Man (of course there's also Shrek, Neo, Will Turner, Sheriff Woody, Captain Kirk, and hopefully a Superman trilogy coming!)

The stories seem to follow a similar pattern - discovering a new/true identity, struggling through the tests of one's destiny, and finally leaving a noble legacy. It is frequently some life altering event that brings on the new identity (loss of parents, captivity & torture, a crisis of some kind). Then follows a series of tests which include fighting fears within, fighting the evil out there, fighting the evil inside, fighting the desire to quit, fighting the hype of one's own success, fighting to protect the ones you love, fighting for those who need you, fighting to keep your convictions intact, fighting to keep your soul, fighting for the greater good. The hero's journey is a complex maze of no simple choices. There is a time to fight on and a time to let go, a time to fight with all you've got and a time to sacrifice yourself totally. And finally, when the hero's story concludes can he (or she) finish well leaving the world a better place. Leave with their heart and soul intact. Leave having loved those who are closest to them well.

I believe that all of our lives are part of a great hero story - there is a Great Hero that we can emulate and follow. And yet, each of our lives is a story in and of itself. Have you discovered who you are? What tests have you faced? Are you facing? Will you finish the race well? One of my greatest fears is that I will fail to finish well especially now that I have little ones whose lives are so dependent upon mine. I'm thankful for the hero stories that remind me of what kind of man I need to be. I'm thankful for my family - they inspire me to be heroic. And I'm thankful for the Great Hero who guides my life each day.

What are your thoughts on the hero's journey?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Can we really change the course of things?

I got to spend some time today with my four year old nephew Leland. I found myself wondering what can I do to keep Leland busy? (He's got a lot of energy!) So, knowing a stream was nearby, we headed that way and I remembered something I loved to do as a kid - building dams in streams. We came to a spot where the water could go one of two ways. Immediately I felt the challenge. If we build a dam on the one side, we can make the water go down the other side! My nephew, being too young to question my enthusiasm for a ridiculous project jumped right in with me. We started grabbing rocks and tossing them into a long pile across the stream.

All of this got me thinking - many of us see our culture heading in a bad direction and we wonder is it really possible to change the course of things? Can the church make any difference at all? Well, the process of building this dam gave me a few ideas about that...

1) Changing the course of the stream was going to take a LOT of rocks. In fact, we needed as many rocks as we could get. We needed mega-rocks, small rocks, even seemingly insignificant pebbles were going to be important.

2) No one rock, not even a bunch of large rocks, could stem the flow of water alone. The large rocks needed the small rocks (even if they didn't think they did).

3) Rocks of all shapes, colors, and sizes were needed. If we only used small rocks, it would take forever to get the job done. But with large and small rocks, the dam came together quickly.

4) Even dead things could be recycled to serve the purpose (dead leaves, sticks, unidentifiable things)

If we are going to change the course of culture in America, we are going to need EVERYBODY! Large churches, small churches, in between churches, even dead churches! No one is insignificant. No one is unnecessary. Every believer, every church has a role and a part to play.

My nephew and I took great satisfaction in seeing the water rise behind our dam and flow into the other side of the creek bed. We had made a difference. And the church can make a difference. If we all realize our world needs Jesus and we need each other to take Jesus to our world!

Monday, October 03, 2011

"Courageous" Movie Had A Great Opening Weekend

I have been pretty passionate about this film for several reasons - 1) I love youth ministry and nothing will help kids grow in Christ more than if their fathers become spiritual leaders in their homes. 2) The movie is very well done - it's funny, it's got action, and it's entertaining. 3) I want to see more good movies made with Christ-centered messages!

So here's what Box Office Mojo said about Courageous' opening weekend...

"Sherwood Pictures' Courageous was the only one of the new releases to improve from estimates to actuals, and it passed 50/50 in the process to take fourth place. The movie debuted to $9.1 million from just 1,161 theaters for a strong per-theater average of $7,806. That's up from the studio's last movie Fireproof ($6.8 million), though the average was off just a bit. The opening ranks fifth all-time for a Christian movie, and only trails The Passion of the Christ and the three Narnia movies. Courageous scored a rare "A+" CinemaScore, and the audience was 53 percent female and 77 percent over the age of 25."

Courageous was the #4 movie of weekend! Making the Top 10 at the box office is a big deal, so making the top 5 is awesome! Finally, here are some comments from people in our area who saw the movie...

The movie courageous a must see – Tom Snyir, Sutersville

You've GOT to see the movie "Courageous"!!!!!!.....bring your tissues, don't say I didn't warn you! ;) - Shelby Young, Irwin

Just got back from Courageous! What a great movie! And I got to see it with my favorite people- my family – Kristy McCoy Clements, Uniontown

Two thumbs up! :) – Amy O’Brien Craig, Greensburg

Courageous is such a good movie! I recommend it to everyone. – Patrick Benjamin Slagle, Uniontown

Just saw COURAGEOUS...I ran out of good!!! – Kerri Pellicione, Greensburg

"Courageous" was so very life changing!...Please see! It is an awsome movie! – Jodi Lee Barnes Cottom, McKeesport

I saw it today! Don't miss it! – Charles King, Dawson

“If you are a dad, I challenge you to go see the movie,"Courageous". I just did. My impression: Life Changing! Go on, go see it! I dare you! – Guy LeVeille, Irwin

It was an awesome movie!! the 7:30 showing at Lowes Theater in the waterfront was sold out too!!! Changing lifes!! – Jonathan Edwards

Really enjoyed "Courageous" eventhough I had trouble hearing it over my wife's crying. It will get those tears flowing... – Drew Patrick, Harrison City

COURAGEOUS is an awesome movie - if you haven't seen it - GO and experience it!! - Bo Pratt, Irwin

Just got home from seeing the movie, what an amazing film! I highly recommend it. – Sharon Ross, Greensburg

We saw the movie "Courageous" with some of our church friends and I encourage everyone to see it....what a fantastic movie! Nancy Pinon Smith, Melcroft

What an awesome movie!!!! Super i give it 10 stars!! As the wife of a police officer its finally great to c a movie tht shows not only thr daily struggles of being a dad but also men who really love the lord and risk there lives to protect us and be right for there families!!!!! Love this!! – Kristy Bell, Uniontown

Courageous gets an A, GO SEE IT., Mat Slagle, Uniontown

LOVED the COURAGEOUS movie!!! I plan on seeing it again soon with my kids and some other families! – Jennifer O’Brien, Elizabeth

Courageous" is a great movie! It was really nice to see a movie that is true to life, very funny and deeply moving, while at the same time also clearly communicating the greatest message of all, the good news of Jesus Christ. Very glad our church took the risk of buying out a whole showing in the local theater to help bring the movie to our town. We filled the whole theater and had a great time watching the film. If you haven't seen it, be sure to get to it when you can. It's definitely worth the time and effort.s a great movie! - Pastor Jack Herman, Uniontown

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

There's no one like Jesus!

Check out this AMAZING video about Jesus! I don't know who made this, but illustrating and scoring old sermons is genius. This reminds me of why I'm a Christian. Please watch it!

Friday, September 02, 2011

A Prayer Letter from Travis & Judy Deans

Check out our latest quarterly prayer letter! And thank you for your prayers!

Would your church consider supporting Teens For Christ?

Would you church consider adopting Teens For Christ as a local mission?

Dear friends,
Teens For Christ exists to assist local churches in reaching and discipling teenagers for Jesus Christ. We've been around for over 50 years and are doing more now than we've ever done. Here's what we do...

YOUTH MINISTRY BULLETIN BOARD - a website that provides 1500 churches in western Pennsylvania with information about upcoming youth events and activities in western Pennsylvania.

YOUTH MINISTRY CONSULTATIONS and TRAINING - we meet with youth leaders in churches to help them examine their youth ministries and help them strategize for more effective ministry. We also sponsor and help promote youth ministry training events.

YOUTH MINISTRY NETWORKS - we facilitate youth ministry networks in Fayette and Westmoreland Counties and we promote youth ministry network in Somerset, Allegheny, Beaver, Washington, and other counties.

9 MONTH MISSION TRIP COACHING - we equp students to share their faith and reach out to their friends at school

ADOPT-A-SCHOOL - we do presentations for churches encouraging them to 'adopt' the schools in their communities

All of these things are made possible by friends, churches, and businesses who support us financially. Please check out to see a list of churches that already support us. If you want more information, please give me a call at 724.322.1130. Thank you so much!

Until Every Student Hears, Travis Deans