Connecting and communication with parents in Student Ministry can, at times be challenging; and at other times might be the worst part of Student Ministry. Communicating with parents can be so difficult but we also know it is so crucial for the effectiveness of any Student Ministry. In our ministry context we truly believe that we will only be as effective at ministering and disciplining students as we are efficient at connecting with parents. Parent communication is directly linked to student spiritual growth. We have attempted many different modes of communication with parents; snail mail, email, phone calls (from an actual hardline), newsletters, text messages, even smoke signals (not really, but it’d be worth a shot)! Some of these work, most don’t. However, over the last year we have begun to focus on two major modes of communication and we are beginning to see some actual results; Text messaging and a monthly newsletter both mailed and emailed.
The text service we use is Simply Text. It is cheap and effective, the challenge has been getting parents to sign up to receive the text. The email service we use is Constant Contact. We have also been experimenting with some of the new TOOLS that Simply Youth Ministry has recently released.
Though none of these communication strategies is all encompassing for a variety of reasons, text messaging is working better than we hoped. How do you communicate with parents? Have you found there to be some modes that are more efficient at communication than others? Please comment and share; we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Each and every Student Ministry goes through seasons. Back to school is a common time to ramp up Student Ministry and for others summer is the big season. With camps and mission trips, and fun in the sun days its hard not to have big summers. There’s even a summer camp called ‘Big Stuff.’ But for us here at Epic Student Ministry Christmas time is the biggest, most exciting time of our year. This year we have decided to call our series Operation Silent Night;
The Red and Green festivities kick off December 4th with the anti-traditional Ugly Sweater Christmas Bash, then on the next week its Story night where we encourage students to wear their (appropriate) PJs and come hear the Christmas story – yes, we’ll have cookies and a life size nativity scene! And we cap off the season and our Student Ministry year with our annual Epic Snow Ball fight complete with a few hundred gallons of icing. I cant wait… I feel like a child waiting for Santa to come except I’m an adult and instead of presents I just want to throw icing, and share the story of the incarnation of our Lord of course!
(September 4, 18, 25)
We are created by God for God. We try so many things to fill the void in our lives that can only be filled by God’s love – and when we respond to this love it’s like a homecoming – being where God designed us to be all along
Biblical Story : The Prodigal Son
Key Quote: The Christian life is not first dependent on what’s in our heart for God but what’s in God’s heart for us. – Tullian Tchividjian
How To Turn Heads
(October 2, 9)
Standing out in the crowd by being completely sold out to Jesus. The focus is discipleship. Equipping our students to be a light for Christ on their campuses and in their communities. This series covers three areas of life which, if adopted, will make them both unusual and attractive, a real head-turner.
Biblical Story: TBD
Key Quote: Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. – Luke 9:23
Dead Man Walking
(October 16, 23, 30)
Incredible. Unbelievable. Extraordinary. Inconceivable. None of these words describe the work of Jesus quite like the word “miraculous”. We will be looking closely at Jesus miracles and their timeless lessons and most importantly we will look at the person of Jesus – making much of who he was and is
Bible Stories: John 5 – the Healing at the pool
Mark 5 – healing a sick woman
John 9 Healing a man born blind
Key Quote: Is the life you’re living worth Christ dying for? – Ravenhill
(November 13, 20, 27)
This series is all about putting our faith into action. What can we do to impact social injustice? How can we make a difference? This series will challenge us both spiritually and practically to help us live out our faith in everyday life.
Biblical Story: Luke 10: The Good Samaritan
Key Quote: If U didn’t know em would ya life look the same Can they tell you value Jesus by the way you rep his name?
Man what’s the point of living if I’m living for myself Lord empty out my life before I put you on the shelf So for God I got Hard I don’t’ wanna die Tonight It’s too many people living who ain’t heard about my Christ
Go Hard or Go Home – Lecrae
Operation Silent Night
(December 4, 11, 18)
The Christmas Story shared each week from a different perspective. Challenging our students to stop giving lip service to the gospel of Jesus and begin to live like Jesus matters.
Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you…(1 Corinthians 15:1-2a NLT)
Camp is officially over. It’s hard to believe really. Last week at this time we were just about to arrive and embark on this life changing week. The week was everything that we hoped and prayed for; 12 students age their lives to Christ for the first time, nearly 25 students rededicated their lives to the cause of Christ, a few students even talked with me about missions. There were tears shed, personal faiths renewed; for many students this message of the gospel ‘clicked’ for the first time. The week truly could not have been better.
As I have been reflecting on camp the last few days, thinking back to the decisions made and the experiences shared; I have been trying to process mentally what it was that God used so significantly in the lives of our students this week. What did God use to ignite our students so strongly?? Was it the daily recreation? The awesome worship? The engaging teaching? Perhaps it was getting away from the norms? It couldn’t have been the food! What was it that God used to so affect our students?!?!!?????
Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you…
(1 Corinthians 15:1-2a NLT)
It wasn’t any of the external things this week!! It wasn’t white water rafting or the zip line. It wasn’t the captivating worship songs, or the skits. It wasn’t even the polished teaching. It was that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was clearly and frequently proclaimed. It was the gospel! So often we get caught up in the do’s and don’t's of Christianity- focusing on behavior and the outward affects but this week we focused on the heart changing Gospel! We weren’t focused on results; we were focused on the truth of the Gospel of Christ and it produced results we could never have dreamed!! It was so unbelievably simple- the gospel. It’s sad how quickly we can move away from the truth and love and grace in the gospel. But this week we simply focused on the Good News and students responded- wanting to embrace God more, serve him harder, know him deeper. I think many of our students realized this ‘God Stuff’ is so much more than a list of rules and regulations but that it is a love relationship with the Creator- and this Creator has created them for a purpose! INCREDIBLE.
Now we are all back home, back down from the mountain top experiences but this is the reality we all live in- this is the day to day. I encouraged our students by sharing that camp isn’t just a bump on you life road but that it changes the ultimate direction of the road itself. Parents, I encourage you to ask an many questions about camp as possible. Get all the details you can about camp and encourage your students to write down as much as possible about what God did in their lives this week! Here are some good starter questions:
1. What was your favorite part of camp?
2. How did camp measure up to your expectations?
3. What did God teach you this week?
4. What songs did you sing? What was the teaching about
5. What was your favorite skit?
6. Who did you get to know better this week?
7. What did you share with the SWO staff leaders during share times?
These should get you off to a good start! I will also be mailing a letter to each parent with some helpful tips at the end of the week. Please, if any of you would like to speak to me directly about your son/daughter’s experiences at camp, I would be more than happy to make that happen! Just email email@example.com
Camp was incredible, and it was so much more than an experience! God has his hand on this ministry- I can hardly wait to see whats next!!!
I CANT WAIT!!! This Sunday we launch our combined Middle School and High School service at South Tampa Fellowship and it is going to be a BLAST!
What we’ll have:
THE Danny Blaze
Epic Worship Team
Shea Volser – our Game MC
Todd Roberts laying it DOWN!
NEW Epic T-shirts
Giant EPIC letters
Pretty much- its gonna be the best Student Ministry kick-off Ever – Be there and bring your friends with the bracelets. Davis Island Campus – 7pm