For Students: AC Owns The Weekend!!!!

So I got a chance to own a weekend in our High School Ministry.  I’ve programed a lot of services but this time I actually got to teach.  I kicked off a three week series in the book of Ephesians called “Before and After”.  It was awesome because I got to preach the gospel to students.  My message was on the fact that before Christ we were indebted to sin, trapped by Satan, but most importantly we were loved by Christ.  I talked about the fact that Christ loved us while we were enslaved to sin, completely rejecting his love for us and how His love is like no other love anyone has ever experienced.  I also broke down some christian stereotypes such as…

  • My life has to be like my friends life if I want to accept Christ. – Jesus Christ wants an authentic relationship with you and it will be an original relationship unlike anyone else. Stop comparing.
  • I gotta clean my life up before I come to Christ. – You don’t have the power to clean your life up.  Receive Jesus Christ as you are and allow him to clean your life up. He’s the only one who can.
  • I’ve done so many bad things in my life that God has to be mad at me. – God is not mad at you but madly in love with you.  Don’t run away from him but run towards him.  It’s never to late.
  • I have to work to receive Christ into my heart or be saved.  You can’t be good enough even on your best day.  I can’t say it any clearer than the scripture verse I read.

    Ephesians 2:8-9  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Here is some of what I shared on video.  Love serving Christ!!!!

AC Speaking in HSM from Aaron Crumbey on Vimeo.

Receiving Christ means believing Christ to be who he says he is and accepting what he did on the cross for you and I, and if we truly believe that, then our lives will begin to reflect that belief, and even more so as you learn more about him. Christ doesn’t want your performance but he wants your heart.

hope it helps

ac

Parent Ministry: Are We Ministering Or Just Advertising To Parents?

We had one of our Summer Camp speakers speak recently in our youth group services.  It was awesome!!! He recited the whole sermon on the mount.  Our students heard three chapters of scripture in one service.  I’ve never heard that much scripture preached in one service before and it was GREAT!!  As I was listening to him speak, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that most of the students that were there would not understand most of the stuff he was saying.  I also thought about the fact that Jesus wasn’t concerned with sending the kids off to hearing an age appropriate message on the sermon on the mount.  He said the same exact thing to everyone who was under the sound of his voice.

It really got me thinking about youth ministry, but to be more specific parent ministry within the youth ministry.  Reading through scripture, it clearly points to the parents as the main force in spiritually impacting their children’s lives.  There are a lot of verses that we could look at but I want to focus on Deuteronomy 6:7-9 (NLT) “7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

In this passage God was instructing the Israelites how they should train their children concerning the things of God.  I love how detailed He was in His instructions to parents.  We must remember that the most influential people in a student’s life are their parents.  It is the way God ordained it and we should celebrate, because no matter how crazy culture gets parents will always have more influence.  In light of what I believe God has laid on my heart concerning parents being the primary spiritual leader in our student’s lives, we really should think about parent ministry.  I even believe how we decide to partner with parents could potentially make a difference in the statistics that suggest that a high percentage of students are leaving the faith.  Helping parents fulfill Deuteronomy 6:7-9 is a conversation worth having in youth ministry.  What if we devoted time and effort into actually promoting and helping and even dreaming with parents on ways to do Deuteronomy 6:7-9 better or at all?  We sometimes assume that because parents go to church that they are doing this or know how to do it.

Just to be clear I’m not talking about doing away with youth ministry.  Youth ministry is vital to the church more now than ever before, and my prayer for this post is that we don’t view parent ministry as just another task.  We need to view parent ministry as vital.  Having a strong parent ministry is the difference between doing good youth ministry and great youth ministry.

Parent ministry today consists of youth ministries informing parents on what they are doing. I think that’s a good thing but what if it was more than that?  What if we created a culture that said to parents that this is a partnership and we want to partner with you influencing/guiding your children in their spiritual walk?  Youth ministries are probably the major investors in the student’s life spiritually.  The idea would be for parents to be the majority and for us to reinforce the parents role as the students spiritual leader.

I do understand that we try to do stuff for the parents and they don’t want to be a part of it.  Some of you may say, “They barely show up at the easy stuff, if we start asking for more then we will really be wasting our time or we could become annoying”.  If our goal is to see the child’s faith strong and lasting post academia and we know that parents are vital in this process, we have no choice but to continue figuring things out.  We need to think of the quality of our parent ministry.  We have to ask ourselves a few questions:

  • Are we really doing parent ministry or are we just advertising our ministry to parents?
  • Have we communicated to parents how important they are in the spiritual development of their child or do we just assume they know?
  • If a parent reached out for help in this area would the ministry be ready to help them come up with strategies concerning Deuteronomy 6:7-9?
  • Does our youth ministry function with the mind set as primary or with the mindset of being reinforcement?(a critical look into your parent ministry should render the answer)

Here are a few ideas I came up with in terms of parent ministry just to get the ball rolling:

  • A parent focus group – layout your vision for a parent ministry that includes helping parents to be more intentional in practicing Deuteronomy 6:7-9 and how can the ministry come along side them in doing so.  Allow the parents to help you shape what it will look like.  Remember we should not assume parents are not doing it or even know how.
  • Small group leaders meeting with parents as partners.
  • Workshops for parents- few suggestions:
  • –“Help! My children want to know about sex”
  • –“Help! Porn is taking over”
  • –“Help! My child is out of control”
  • –“The Blended Family”
  • An invitation for your staff to meet with parents who’s kids are not in a small group.

I hope this encourages you to look different at how you do parent ministry.  Would love to hear how your ministry is doing parent ministry already.

hope it helps

ac

For Youth Workers: God Changes the Heart!!!

I think sometime this concept can easily be forgotten.  A lot of times we know the answers to a student’s problems before we know the whole story or the cause of the problems.  So we stop listening and we start focusing on our response.  We start trying to lay out our response so that it touches the very core of the issue.  Meaning we are trying to recall every sound bite that has had a high impact in our lives.  We want what we say to touch the students so much that they start to cry and scream out “ I’VE HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LORD AND I AM FINALLY ON THE RIGHT PATH”. Haha….

So what’s the issue with that?, you might ask.  Well, one point I made earlier is that you stopped listening.  The very thing that the student needed you to do, you stopped doing.  When we intentionally sit and listen to students, we say to them that they are more than just someone broken in and needing to be fixed. Listening intentionally to a student says to them:

  1. Someone cares about me.
  2. Someone thinks I’m important.
  3. Someone thinks I’m worth their time.
  4. Someone cares about my feelings.

Listening intentionally will earn you the right to speak the truth of God’s word into their life.  I advise when meeting a student for the first time that you are going to give guidance to, that you don’t even give any guidance on the first meeting.  Allow the first meeting to set the tone for the rest of the meetings.  Here is how you listen intentionally:

  1. Listen with great eye contact and body language. It makes a difference.
  2. Ask questions about the things they really care about in the situation. Even if you think it’s silly or  shouldn’t matter as much as it does.
  3. Affirm when you can. You never know how many people have already made them feel stupid, crazy or ashamed before they spoke to you.  Affirming them doesn’t mean you have to agree with them.  It just means you validate the fact that the issue they are going through is something that should be dealt with.
  4. Start and End with prayer. Let them know that you are working on behalf of the only one who can actually help them.  God changes the heart.Ezekiel 36:26-27

The bible talks about how we can do nothing without Christ.John 20:15:5  If you really think about it that should take a lot of pressure off of us, knowing that we have to rely on Christ to power and orchestrate the life changing work we get to be apart of.   We are just vessels being used by God to spread his love, mercy, kindness and grace to students.  I’ve learned that when I don’t remember this I screw things up.  Because my focus is not on doing my job as the vessel, it’s on being the power source.  The vessel’s job is to house the power and give it something to do.   So when we try and be the power that changes people lives we frustrate ourselves when things don’t work out the way we think it should.

There has been times when I have forgotten that God changes the heart, and I feel the burden to be perfect in that moment so that students are changing.  I must rest in the fact that God wants to use me to do one thing and that is to spread the gospel (God’s message of love) to students.  He did not call me to do his job (which I can’t even do in the first place).  So I would encourage anyone in ministry to be at peace knowing that changing the hearts of students is not your job.  God commissioned you with sharing his gospel (God’s message of love).

Any thought?

hope this helps!

ac

For Students: How Far Is too Far?!?

Well, I’ve been asked this question a few times and so I thought I’d post about it.  It’s really tough to talk about this question with out first examining what this question is really implying.  You are basically asking, “how much can you get away with before you’ve reached the line of no return?”.  So while I applaud anyone who asks this question with the intent of glorifying God in your relationship, I must say that you have asked the wrong question.  This is one of the areas where we, without consciously knowing it, follow culture blindly.  Now, I know there are some people who ask this question who feel like they are sincere.  I definitely understand that and hopefully by the end of this post you will understand my point.

From the music that’s played repeatedly to TV and movies there is a consistent message that says explore your sexuality and that in relationships you must make sure the two of you are compatible in every area.  So it says it’s OK if you explore and be intimate, that is what we are suppose to do.  We are fed from every avenue of media that sex outside of marriage is OK and if you haven’t done it yet you are the weird one.  Without even trying, you feel like you are suppose to be OK and free with exploring sexual acts in and out of relationships.

Now, you are probably thinking I’m not talking about sex at all.  I’m talking about doing the “other stuff”.  You are probably thinking I just want to express myself in a way that is natural because we all have these feelings.  You are also probably thinking it’s human nature to want to act out this way so help me know where the line is.  My favorite is that God knows what we go through. He created us and he understands.  The big issue with this question is found in:

Romans 7:11 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. – This verse is saying that sin will use the commandment “no sex before marriage” to deceive us.  You might say “how AC”? Glad you asked.  Because it knows the body wants to go where it has been forbidden.  It also know that apart from Christ we are weak and can’t stand against sin; we lose 100% of the time.  So deception is the weapon of choice.  Sin deceives us into believing that it’s OK to do all the other stuff as long as we don’t have sex.  We are deceived into thinking that we can play with fire and not be burned.  We are deceived into thinking that we can overcome the temptation of going all the way even though we are playing at the edge.

Here is a scripture verse that I think pretty much sums up my point:

1 Corinthians 7:1-2(NLT) 1 Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations. 2 But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. – Paul is clarifying information they already know.  Paul did not hint to the fact that there is anything in-between.  Paul understands that there is only “too far”.  So he prescribes marriage because that’s where it is made right before God.  The question how far is too far suggests that there is an area where you can play around with no consequences.  That is not the case.  Sexual immorality is still destroying lives, families and churches.  As innocent as the question sounds, there are a lot of Christian’s who are reaping the consequences of thinking they could answer this question.

God was not trying to stop you from having fun when he set sex in the bounds of marriage between a man and a woman.  He’s was saving us from the harm it does outside of marriage between a man and a woman.  Just like the end of Romans 7:11 says and through deception of the commandment I was put to death, that is exactly what it wants to do to you.  So what’s a better question?

  1. The better question is always motivated by the fact that you don’t have any faith in the fleshes ability to do anything right.  So what steps can we take to make sure we don’t fall into temptation?
  2. The better question will be about a shared responsibility. How can we motivate each other into keeping our personal convictions to stay pure?
  3. The better question will be motivated by the fact that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.1 Corinthians 20:19-20  How do I gain and keep a high level of respect for my body?

These questions say that you want to follow God’s plan for sex and intimacy and not cultures plan.

hope it helps!! Repost

ac

For Students: Shipwrecked!!

1 Timothy 1:19 – “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.

Basically, this verse is encouraging anyone of faith to rely on, trust in their faith and listen to their conscience when it has prompted them to hold on to what is right.  It’s also warning us not to violate our conscience by clinging to what we believe is right and not clinging to what God says is right.  I violate my conscience when I think I know better than God.  I violate my conscience when I refuse to heed it’s calling to do what’s right.  A lot of times we think “oh I would never make the decision to do anything crazy”.  I reply with, not at first but over the course of time not clinging to your faith, violating your conscience becomes easier.  The things that you thought you would never do, you will find yourself doing.

I can recall many times in my life when I thought I knew better than God.  I thought that I had a better understanding of how I should live my life than he did. Proverbs 3:5  Of course I never said these words out loud, I just lived like it.  If my life could talk it would’ve said “God, I will do it your way in all the areas of my life except:

  1. In my relationships with the opposite sex.
  2. When I’m hanging out with my friends.
  3. How I treat my family (whoever has authority over me).
  4. How I make my decisions because you don’t know me the way I know myself.
  5. (You fill in the blank).

I had to learn this the hard way but God cares about all of the areas of my life and his plans for my life are holistically better. Hosea 14:9 The reason God’s plans are holistically better is because He’s seen my life from being to end and all the affects of every decision I will ever make from every angle.  He also can see what and who my plans affect.Proverbs 5:21

I screw all these areas up in my life when I don’t follow his plan because I can only see short term.  God’s plan deals with purpose and His best for me. My plan deals with selfish desires and short lived gratification.  God’s plan is always for my benefit even if it doesn’t feel like it.  I’ve learned I don’t have to know everything as long as I know the one who does and shares freely priceless wisdom. Proverbs 2:6

Practically, I would never make decisions based on partial information if I didn’t have to.  Well, God is saying when it comes to your life you don’t have to. Just follow my path because I have seen your life in its entirety.  Everyday we have to make the choice to cling to our faith and not violate our conscience.  I’m finding out the more I understand God’s word (the bible) the more easier it is for me to make the choice.

This weeks challenge: Ask God to reveal to you the areas in your life where you are not clinging to your faith and where you are violating your conscience, align yourself with God’s best for you(His plan) and avoid shipwreck.  Talk with someone if need be.

hope it helps

Feel free to leave a comment.

ac

For Students: I Struggle!!!

Share with friends, you never know who might need to hear this!

We all struggle with things. Some are huge and complicated while others are minor in comparison.  When I was younger I used to stutter. I remember times when I would have to say my Easter speech in front of people or even just talk to friends and it would take such a toll on me.  I would pray that I would never have to say anything that would cause me to stutter just because of the  pure embarrassment it brought me.  Sometimes I would want to jump into conversations so badly but I didn’t because I was afraid I would stutter.

I remember a time when I was in a fundraising wedding and I played the part of  the groom.  I was super excited until I was handed what I had to say.  It felt like I had swallowed a dumbbell and it hit the bottom of my stomach.  There was no more excitement and for the next 3 or so months I obsessed over this one word “PLEDGE”.  It hurts to even write it…haha.   I started brainstorming ideas on what to do about this word.  I figured maybe I could change the word to something that I could say without stuttering, but  no other words fit that I felt comfortable saying.  Also, I knew I would have been asked why I wanted to change the word and that would’ve been too embarrassing.  I even thought about not doing the part, but I liked the girl who was playing the bride so I couldn’t do that.  So I went on a quest to conquer saying this word.

Just to give you an idea how bad my stuttering was, I would be in tears if I had to get up and say anything in front of people.  My heart would pound so loud I could hear it and see it coming through my shirt. That’s how crazy it was.  So on to my quest to say this word. I would say the word to myself all day long and then find ways to bring it up in conversations with friends.  I don’t know how, but I could feel the stutter coming on before I would say the word.  For some crazy reason I would be in a great conversation and go to use the word and I would feel the stutter coming up. So I would immediately stop myself from saying it.  This thing was a huge struggle for me.

Finally, I was exhausted at trying so many things and failing miserably that I decided to pray and leave it in God’s hands.  I did and he came through.  When I got to the pledge part I said it!

The first thing that came to my mind was “why didn’t I do that in the first place?”. Life would’ve been so much easier had I made the choice to give it to God first.  Although my struggle wasn’t something I was causing upon myself, the same formula applies.  This is because whether you are causing the struggles or not,  just as much damage  can be done if it’s not handled right.  Maybe you’ve been struggling with something personal and it has consumed you.  It makes you do the very opposite of what you want to do.  You’ve been on a quest to stop and have failed many times.  In your mind you’re thinking “I should be able to stop this”, but you can’t and it’s causing you guilt and shame.  Here are a few things I’ve learned looking back at my struggles and how I overcame them.

  1. I had to admit that I was struggling.  I released the power of the struggle by confessing it to God and someone else (parent, church leader, accountability partner, trusted friend).
  2. I CANNOT fix myself. I have to understand that I am broken and so all of my solutions are flawed. That’s why Proverbs 3:5 talks about us not trusting in our own wisdom but trusting in God.
  3. Give it to God.-Don’t Wait!!! Make God your first option. 1Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
  4. I had to seek Godly Counsel.  I needed to go to someone who trusted in God with their own life.  I needed someone who understood that they needed to give me the advice God wanted me to hear. Proverbs 11:14
  5. Be a doer and not just a hearer. Follow God’s plan of freedom for your life in the areas that you struggle.

I can’t tell you how many times during the course of my life that I’ve had to follow these steps.  I can honestly tell you that it works.  One of my favorite verses John 10:10  talks about how Christ came that we would have an abundant life.  I believe that the fact God wants to help us with our struggles and worries is the abundant life!

hope it helps

ac

There’s Help!!!

The reason for this post is to kind-of educate those of you who know someone that is causing themselves harm.  A self-injurer is someone who afflicts pain on themselves in hopes of releasing some emotional pain that has been caused by an extreme case of abuse, neglect, abandonment, deadness, betrayal. The most common type of self-injury is cutting, burning, and head-banging. Other forms are:

  • carving
  • branding
  • scratching
  • hair pulling
  • biting
  • hitting

It is not an attempt to merely get attention, it’s deeper than that and needs the appropriate attention. If you have a friend that is doing this, I would encourage you to talk with them about getting help.  This does not have to be and there is help available.  I’m definitely praying for those of you who are going to take the challenge of having a conversation that may not be easy to have.  Although this is a super short post, the subject is huge! My prayer is that students would reach out and get the help they need.  The first step is for them to reach out and tell someone either a parent, small group leader, teacher, pastor, coach or even a friend’s parent. If need be you can email me at acrumbey@gmail.com.

You may not need this and you may not even know someone who does, but self-injure is affecting all types of people.  The people you do know might be self-injuring themselves and you are not aware of it.  I would love for you to re-post this for those who may need to see it.

More info: Students Who Self-Injure

ac