All posts tagged teen life

What Happens to Our Youth Group Grads?

It’s the time of year when many of your teenagers are graduating from high school and from the church youth group! What’s next for them? I mean—what’s next for them at your church? What’s next for them in ministry? Some go away to college. But many stay close to home. Is there ministry for them  now, like there was when they were “in the youth group?” In what ways will your church love, include, disciple, and invest into your post-high school students? Is there ANYTHING—any group, any class just for them? There should be! Right now! This is the people-group…

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Passionate Parenting is At Press!

UPDATE: Passionate Parenting is now available through Striving Together Publications. Find out more at this link! The past Spring, the Lord allowed me to complete a book entitled “Passionate Parenting—Enjoying the Journey of Parenting Teens.” This past week, this new 250 page hard-back book is finally at press and will be available sometime around early December. I think this is the scariest book I’ve ever worked on. Why? Because I’m still working very hard at this skill-set! And my kids will be the first to tell you, that their dad is very much a work in progress. I wrestled with…

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Surviving Your Child’s Teen Years

Your child’s teen years should be some of the most enjoyable of your parenting years! I know, that’s a bold statement, but hang with me! Practically speaking, there are a million reasons to enjoy the teen years. Your kids can finally feed themselves (unless you have boys.) They can finally clean their own room (of course, it sometimes takes death threats.) They can finally drive themselves some place (though teaching them to do so will put you into cardiac care for a few days.) They can converse about serious things with adult perspective (again, unless you have boys—they mostly just…

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15 Ways to Affirm Your Kids

Not long ago, my son asked my wife, “Was dad proud?” Then he said,”I work hard to make that man proud!” His statement reminded me of the power of parental affirmation, and of how often I fail to let him know how proud I am of him! Affirmation is HUGE! The most hopeless young person is the one who feels he or she “just can’t win.” And too often, we as parents, inadvertently lead our kids to that conclusion. We can too easily or too quickly focus on “what still needs improvement” and miss “what’s right” in our kids lives….

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United—Fighting for the Next Generation

The contemporary church is seeing a mass exodus of young adults walking away from their faith in their late teens and early twenties. Some studies say the percentage is around 80% while others estimate it to be much higher. The statistic highlights major failures in many contemporary church ministry on a number of levels, but not all churches are seeing this lack of fruit. While we are never content to see even one young life walk away from the faith, God has seen fit to bless biblical principles in the ministry of Lancaster Baptist Church. He has blessed the application…

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Response #2 to The Saddest Letter

A Response to Parents As promised, I’m writing three responses to the original post called “The Saddest Letter I’ve Ever Read.” I must confess, I’m in shock at the response to this letter—it obviously struck a nerve about which we all have strong feelings. So many comments have included helpful thoughts! You can read my first general response here. In this second response I want to write primarily to parents, and in the third I will address the young lady who wrote the letter. (Also, there is a lot on this blog already written to parents, if you click on…

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Response #1 to The Saddest Letter

Wow! The “Saddest Letter” post provoked a lot of interesting discussion! Since I received it a week ago, I too have been pondering my response, and in many ways, those who commented touched on many of the things that have been on my heart. For reasons of length and direction, I think my response will break down into three posts. The first will be a general response to the broader issues. The second, a response to parents and spiritual authorities. The third, a personal response to the young lady who wrote the letter, and to her generation.

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Saddest Letter I’ve Ever Read

Parents and Pastors—Please Read!! I received this letter from a young lady last week—a Bible college student who grew up in a Christian home and Christian school. I believe it’s the saddest letter I’ve ever read and right on the mark for so detailing the experiences of so many young Christians. I asked her permission to post it. Please read. Her words will greatly challenge you as a parent or pastor: Dear Pastor Schmidt, A few years ago, I read your books Hook, Line, and Sinker, Discover Your Destiny, and Life Quest. I found them to be extremely encouraging and…

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Ignite Vision in Your Students

If there’s one thing that modern culture, technology, and the evolutionary world view have killed in even our Christian teenagers, it’s a life vision. Today, we desperately need an army of student ministry leaders to awaken vision in the hearts of young people. While some teens have some small form of vision for their future, most do not, and those that do usually shoot way low! Most don’t see at all beyond their XBox, iPod, and Facebook page. The result? Lethargy. Apathy. Deadness. A “what’s the point?” perspective on life. The thought process is something like this, “If nobody else…

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Things I’d Like to Say to Every Young Adult

Here’s a quick list of things I wish I could say to every young adult! 1. You are of eternal value and significance because God doesn’t make junk. Regardless of who mistreated you, what lies you’ve been told, or how bad your past has been—you have a future and God has good plans for you. Life can be bad, but God’s heart is always good! And only He can turn the bad into good. (Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an…

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Announcing the SM127 Podcast for Students

We are excited to announce a new podcast flowing from the ministry of Lancaster Baptist Church—SM127 Podcast, which simply stands for Student Ministry! This podcast will be a part of the free Ministry127.com family of resources and will be for teens. It will feature messages from our ministry events for teenagers—West Coast Baptist Teen Camps, Youth Conferences, Winter Retreats, Chapels, and regular Student Bible Studies. It’s a place where teens can subscribe to regularly keep in touch with sound biblical preaching. To subscribe to the SM127 Podcast, simply click here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sm127/id388432069 Be sure to share this information with young adults…

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What Teens Ask About Their Parents

A couple times a year we host an anonymous question and answer time for teenagers. They respond well. You can read about these in past posts: Getting Teens to Air Their Questions and The Top 15 Questions Christian Teens Ask. We did this Q&A time again recently, and I was surprised how many questions were submitted about parents. Bear in mind, these were anonymous. My heart was stirred and challenged, both as a parent and a pastor, as I read these questions:

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Strengthening Spiritual Decisions

As promised, here are a few short thoughts about how to respond to your teenager after teen camp, especially in regards to their spiritual decisions. Begin with the long-term perspective—Our view of spiritual decisions is often just too short. Every good decision of life begins with short-term challenges, but also bears long-term results at a “core-values” level. Even if a teen struggles with a decision in the few weeks after camp, that doesn’t negate the fact that a long-term value was established. The key is, encourage your teen to take the long-term view that they might not get discouraged with…

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Teen Camp 2010 Recap

Today we completed a wonderful week of teen camp. Here’s a short recap. First, we were able to return to Pine Summit Camp in Big Bear, California. Operationally, this was the best week of camp we’ve ever had. The good team at Pine Summit served our group well with great food, tremendous facilities, and a wide array of activities and free-time options for the teens. After several bad experiences with camp facilities, we were thankful for big improvement! In addition to this, our LBC camp staff provided great games and a fun-filled week for every teen!

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Student Ministry Idea-Gift Planners

Note regarding this post: Part of the purpose of this blog is to share helpful news of resources from Striving Together, and part of the purpose is to share ideas and thoughts on student ministry. This post falls under both of these purposes. Bear with me as this is more than a commercial for a Striving Together resource. For the past two years, our student ministry has done something that’s been a blessing to the students and their families of our local church. We’ve purchased a quantity of the Striving Together Student Planners, gift wrapped them, attached a nice note,…

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New Data on Church Drop-Outs

USAToday featured an article today that stated 72% of 18-29 year olds say they are more “spiritual” than religious. You can read the original article here, and it’s filled with plenty of discouraging data. But I wanted to draw out two positives that jumped off the page at me. These two things greatly encouraged my heart in youth ministry!

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Why Young People Stay Faithful

Have you ever wondered what contributes to young people staying faithful to the things of God, while others wander away? What contributes to two kids in the same local church, hearing the same preaching, ultimately going dramatically different directions? Ultimately, it’s free will—everybody makes their own decisions. But what influences those decisions? One of our youth group graduates, Josh Tanner, just began serving the Lord in youth ministry. Josh recently emailed me, asking what I would place on a list of “things that help young people stay faithful.” My quick reply was simply “a good relationship with godly parents,” but…

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Do Big Events Really Count?

We just completed two huge events in our ministry—Easter weekend and West Coast Baptist Youth Conference. After many months of diligent prayer and preparation by a large team, God gave us a great week of decisions for Christ and personal life-change. Over the course of both events we had at least 200 people trust Christ as their personal Saviour, and another 200+ teenagers surrendered their lives to serve Jesus Christ. The Devil’s advocate might wonder, “Are these decisions real?” “Do they last, or are they just made in the emotion of a moment?” Are they truly the work of God…

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Re-Igniting Apathetic Teens

Recently, a youth pastor asked about some thoughts on how to respond if the youth group is apathetic. My first thought was, we live in a spiritually apathetic world—apathy toward spiritual things is rampant, even among Christians. It’s nothing new, and as long as we serve in ministry, we will be fighting apathy. It’s what we are called to do. With that in mind, here’s a few ways to actively engage against an apathetic spirit in your youth group:

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