Archives For Greg Stier

Youth Group

Many youth leaders are struggling with “youth group drama.” A hypersensitive clique of girls is mad at an insensitive clique of sarcastic boys (or vice verse or mix-and-match). Sides are taken. Words are spoken. Words are hurled. Feelings are hurt.

I’ve seen this happen at my son and daughter’s Christian school and literally tear groups of friends apart. You can feel it in the air at times, and it really shuts down your ability to minister effectively to your teenagers. Where there is bitterness and unforgiveness, the Spirit of God is hampered in his impact — and so are you.

So what’s the solution?

First of all, the drama needs to be dealt with in a real and effective way. The youth leader needs to become shepherd/moderator and sit the factions down to work it out. It’s not worked out until forgiveness is sought and granted. This is not always an easy or pleasant process. And sometimes perpetually unforgiving or offending teenagers may need to leave the group until they’re able to resolve it in their souls.

I’ll never forget being invited to a camp to speak. It was a weird situation because their original camp speaker double-booked and I…

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Teen

We’ve all read the scary statistics of teenagers who evacuate their Christian faith after they graduate from high school. I’ve read statistics as high as 85 percent and others as low as 50 percent. But regardless of the actual number, all of us can agree that any is too many! We want our teenagers’ faith to thrive, not just survive, long after they leave high school!

So what can we do to help teens keep the faith after they graduate? Here are four practical ideas that may help you:

1. Pray, pray, and pray some more!

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousnessthat comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV).

When Paul planted a church he consistently supported it in prayer. In the same way we must support our teenagers in relentless prayer. We must pray for them and recruit others to pray for them (connect with groups like…

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Youth MinistryI believe that every youth leader worth his or her salt wants to make the biggest impact possible in the lives of their teenagers and in the communities where those teenagers live. But how can that be done effectively?

The seven keys I’m about to share with you were the result of a research project, first among hundreds of youth leaders across the nation, and then throughout the book of Acts. These specific values popped to the top of every high performing youth ministry as well as on every page of the book of Acts. There’s really no magic formula or shocking surprise here. What’s shocking is that somehow most of us have missed so many of them in how we view and do youth ministry.

Here are the seven keys:

1.  Make intercessory prayer your numero uno priority.

It should be no surprise that the most effective youth leaders are the ones who prioritize prayer in their personal lives, in their leadership meetings and with their teenagers. They pray for their Christian teenagers and get them to pray for their lost friends. This is exactly what Paul told Timothy to prioritize in his church planting/strengthening…

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“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52

This year at Dare 2 Share’s Live it up tour we are going to unpack what it means to live it up in the Quad. What is “the Quad”? It represents four key areas of what it means to be human: intellectual, physical, spiritual and relational.

When Jesus got back from what was his first trip to Jerusalem as a teenager he grew in each of these areas. He grew “in wisdom.” The Greek word for wisdom here is “sophia” and means “wisdom, insight, skill (human or divine), intelligence.” Jesus most likely went to school (like other Jewish boys of his time) and excelled. He listened, learned and studied hard.

Jesus wasn’t born with a built in omniscient chip that allowed him not to have to study. He studied like any other red-blooded Jewish boy. He just did it unencumbered by sin and solely focused on His Father’s glory.

Teenagers who follow Jesus need to follow him to study hall and do their homework with diligence, precision and focus. It matters more than you might think!

Jesus grew in…

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“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:41

Last April as I stood on the southern steps to the Temple in Jerusalem I wondered to myself if the ritualistic baths that had been chiseled into the stone were the same ones used on the Day of Pentecost to baptize 3,000 new believers. If so, the site of their baptism was a hustling, bustling place. After all Jews and God-fearing Gentiles came from all over to celebrate this ancient Jewish festival. These steps were most-likely full of spectators coming back and forth from offering sacrifices at the Temple as they witnessed thousands of new believers declaring “Jesus is Lord!” (the original baptism declaration) before or after they got plunged into the water.

Sure it could have been a river or stream where they were baptized but whatever or wherever it was baptism in the book of Acts tended to be a very public event. Think about the power of that for a moment. You just put your faith in Jesus and make that “public declaration of your inward transformation” in front of believers…

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Gospelize” is an old English word for evangelize. It’s a cool word with an old flair that engages our postmodern teenagers with the ancient quest of going into all the world to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19.) If you really want to get your teenagers engaged in telling “the greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told” (to quote my good friend Propaganda) then here are five simple action steps you can take right away in your youth ministry:

1. Spend more time in prayer.

For the last few years we’ve been programming into our Dare 2 Share weekend conferences an extended time in prayer. These mini concerts of prayer have been an exciting and somewhat surprising realization for me. I’ve realized that, given the right context, teenagers down deep inside really want to pray. What if you took 10 minutes of every meeting, maybe right in the middle of a worship set, and allowed teenagers to pray in small groups, silently and even had a few come up to an open mic? Or, like one youth leader in Chicago, get your teenagers in a big circle at the end of the…

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Old ChurchI’ve had the privilege of preaching at churches from coast to coast over the last 25 years of ministry. In the process I’ve talked to countless pastors, church leaders and youth pastors about how their churches are doing when it comes to growth and the reasons for it. On one side I’ve seen churches that thrive. They grow every year both deeper and wider.

These are not always the “mega-churches” but, in my book, they are the “mighty churches” because whether they number at 200 or 2,000 they are truly Gospel Advancing on every level. These churches have that “new believer smell” in that there’s always a little edginess in the foyer because it’s usually peppered with people who don’t necessarily look like they should be there.

After having co-planted and co-pastored a church for ten years in the Denver area and having preached in churches across the nation, quietly evaluating what makes them work (or not), here is my list of non-scientific reasons why some churches don’t grow.

1. They’re not friendly enough.

There have been far too many times I’ve walked through the foyer of a church and NOT been…

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“He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.” The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’ Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.’” John 4:4-10

Though most of our personal evangelism probably happens in the context of some kind of relationship (friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, classmate, teammate, etc) there are countless opportunities we have throughout our lives to engage complete strangers with the good news, just like…

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CoffeeCurrently there are about 12,000 Starbucks stores across the United States.* These 12,000 stores are strategically located in high end strip malls, busy corners and Target Store entrances. They are designed to draw us in and give us the coffee (and snacks and atmosphere and, did I say coffee?) we love.

Starbucks has done the best job of any coffee company in existence of penetrating the market and saturating the nation. Their green and white circle sign of deliciousness draws us weary travelers in like a bee to a honey flavored Frappuccino (is there such a drink? Just wait and I’m sure there will be!)

So how can Starbucks saturate the physical cravings of decaffeinated Americans and the church cannot satisfy the spiritual thirst of Americans with the living water? After all, there are only 12,000 Starbucks coffee shops in the United States and there are over 300,000 Protestant churches! That’s right! We outnumber Starbucks by 25 to 1!

So, with this as a backdrop, here’s what Starbucks can teach the Church when it comes to evangelism:

1. Train more “Baristas” to serve excellent drinks consistently.

Too many times the pastor is the only Barista…

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I am so excited to announce the release of our brand new evangelistic app called “Life in 6 Words.” Based on the Gospel video produced by Dare 2 Share and delivered with astonishing excellence by Propaganda, this app is simple, clear and very easy to use.How it works is simple. You ask someone how they would describe their life in 6 words and then show them the app. There’s a list of 20 words for them to choose from that range from “adventure” to “broken” to “money” to “fun.” Once they choose their six words they push “Next” on the screen and their words appear in the order they pushed them.Then you can ask them why they chose those particular words. This is a great opportunity to listen to them deeply and get to know them more.Finally you ask them if they’d be interested in how the best selling book of all time might describe their lives in six words? If they say yes you swipe through six beautifully illustrated screens with six words and six sentences (based on Dare 2 Share’s GOSPEL acrostic as well as…

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Heat“I contend for this, that to gospelize a man is the greatest miracle in the world. All the other miracles are wrapped up in this one. To gospelize a man, or, in other words, to convert him, is a greater work than to open the eyes of the blind.” Charles Spurgeon

Gospelize” is an old English word for “evangelize” (but just sounds way cooler!)

So how can you gospelize your 2015? Here are 5 quick ideas:

1. Pray for an opportunity everyday to share your faith! You’ll be shocked how many opportunities God brings your way!

2. Learn how to ask, admire and admit. Ask great questions (moving from everyday topics to spiritual ones), admire what you can about what they believe and admit the reason you’re a Christian is that you needed someone to rescue you spiritually.

3. Carry Gospel tracts with you or Life in 6 Words cards and use them when you leave a tip at a restaurant (and tip really big!) Here’s another blog I wrote called “10 tips on tipping if you’re a Christian.”

4. Ask the server at the restaurant you often go to or barista at the coffee…

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Mountain MenAs I type these words I’m at a mountain retreat with 10 other youth ministry leaders from around the nation. We are collaborating around a vision that we pray will result in every teenager in America engaged in a Gospel conversation with a Christian peer. To accomplish this we need to inspire, equip and deploy at least 30,000 churches/youth ministries to join us in this quest.

That’s right 30,000!

Humanly speaking this big vision seems well beyond our capacity to achieve. But we are convinced that, through God’s strength and the power of collaboration, it can be done.

As we brainstorm and work together to synergize our efforts toward this exciting vision there are certain realities I’m discovering anew about the power of collaborating for the Gospel.

So, whether you’re on a church staff that is collaborating to reach your community for Christ or a youth ministry network that is brainstorming how to reach the teens of your city for Jesus here are four principles of Gospel advancing collaboration that may help:

1. It is best when bold.

Bold vision fosters strong collaboration. As a matter of fact the bigger and bolder the vision the more…

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