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All Posts By

Kristina Zirschky

Finding a Time of Rest

By | First Priority Of America | No Comments

As I sit looking out the window on this dreary, rainy day in Tennessee, I am reflecting on life and how so many surrounding me are suffering physically. There are those with cancer, viruses, upcoming surgeries, or in the hospital ICU clinging to life. I don’t think I have ever heard of so many I know with this much suffering as I do right now.

We all suffer in one way or another, whether it’s physical or emotional. But we sometimes find ourselves wondering how God can allow things like our suffering or the suffering of others to happen. Or we wonder how God will use that suffering to mold us and shape us and bring others to Christ. Most of the time we are impatient and want to know the why or how right now so that the suffering can stop and we can move forward. Or sometimes we are just impatient because we are in hurry.

The world has become a hurried state of mind where we run from one thing to the next. Barely stopping to notice those around us. I’m reminded over and over again by the many books, podcasts, articles etc that talk about our society needing to rest. Encouraging us to take some time out of our busy schedules and find rest away from whatever is constantly consuming us. But do we do it. We talk about it, but we don’t always practice what we preach.

I would encourage you to take a step back and reflect on what your passion is. Hopefully part of that passion would be living a life for God in whatever manner that God has asked you to serve. But I also pray that you would find time to rest. And reflect on the life you have and the lives around you. And that you would find rest and trust in God, knowing that he is in control of everything whether it be those times of suffering or times of rejoicing.

Hebrews 4:10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

Two new clubs celebrate life change!

By | Local FP Communities | No Comments

Read these stories shared from two new clubs that started in different areas this year and how God is already moving on those school campuses.

Tyler Eanes, a newly trained FP campus coach in Gainesville, Georgia, trained student leaders who got a FP club going in a new school called Cherokee Bluff. On their 2nd official meeting it was Overcome Week. I told Tyler, just wait until Engage week when you get to see students give their lives to Christ, it will fire up everyone. Well, they did not have to wait until Engage week, Go God! Another new club that started this year in Kansas City saw one student give their life to Christ in their first FP Club meeting of the year! One of the student leaders invited her friend to the club who went to church but had never heard the gospel and she gave her life to Christ in that first FP club meeting. Praise God!

You can be a part of this movement too! Isn’t it exciting to hear about life change in our middle and high schools? Did you know we will train you to help students lead students in the Hope of Christ? Register today for the last Start a Club Webinar of the year. Read more about it by clicking the image below and sign up to join the movement of sharing the gospel of Christ.

 

 

A Principal is thankful for the FP Club at his school!

By | Local FP Communities, FP Success Story | No Comments

At a recent First Priority meeting in the biggest school in our region (FP Blue Ridge, TN), a sophomore girl visited the club for the first time. No one knew her. She saw students preparing to go out onto the campus with gospel surveys. She approached and asked what was going on. A freshman leader told her about First Priority and she said she is seeking Christian fellowship because her friends are bringing her down and driving her from God. She claimed to be a Christian and went evangelizing with the team.

When she returned to the room we were debriefing about the experience. She suddenly went into a violent seizure and fell face first into a table leg, busting her cheek and leaving a gash in her scalp. I jumped around the table, pulled her out and determined she wasn’t bleeding to death or choking on her tongue. She seized for at least 6 minutes, while the school officials came running in and EMTs arrived.

We prayed over her, cleaned up and stayed with her until she was taken away by the ambulance. She had mentioned where she went to church, so I was able to contact her youth pastor who knew her as a former attendee. The youth pastor visited her in the hospital and let me know she went home that night with stitches.

She was back at school with a black eye and stitches and showed up at the First Priority meeting. She went evangelizing again with the team. When the meeting was over, she remained behind and approached me and another Campus Coach and asked “How do I find friends?” We encouraged her and gave her advice on that question and several others, encouraging her to get involved at her church and hang with people that lift her up, not tear her down. It was an opportunity to speak into a student we would never have met outside of First Priority.

Later that day I went to the principal at the high school. When he saw me, he said, “I’m glad you are here…I need to talk to you about an email I received yesterday regarding First Priority.” He then told me that the mother had emailed him a lengthy message. He said her main point for the email was that her daughter’s favorite class was First Priority (she must not know it’s a club), that her daughter couldn’t stop taking about it, and the mother wanted to ask the principal if he could assure that she could attend that class next school year.

He said her email was a testimony to the value of First Priority on his campus. I assured him it was a testimony to the student leaders who are loving on this student and the whole student body. He then said, “Most people outside of these walls only hear about the bad things that go on here. But, there are good things happening here and First Priority is one of them.”

Check out what is happening in Bristol, TN

By | Local FP Communities | No Comments

Scott Emerine Bristol Area Director was invited to speak today at Vance Middle School. Students will be altering the HOPE cycle to have Engage weeks to finish out the year and they will be sharing the Gospel using their testimony worksheets and the First Priority Blue Ridge provided Bibles from First Priority of America. We are extremely proud of how innovative and creative students are and how churches are partnering with the student missionaries to empower them.

5 Ways to serve your school!

By | Church Leaders, FP Tools | No Comments

School Ministry needs to be a well-rounded strategy, not just a box to check off each week. Not only do we need to be ministering to the students, but we need to be ministering to teachers, staff, administrators, and parents. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus lays out the Great Commission in this way,

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We need to look at the Great Commission in a way that we normally do not. We need to find the different “nations” on our school campus and strategize ways to reach each one. Below are a few different ideas to reach local schools for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  1. Become a School Chaplin- Sports Teams, District Ceremonies, Praying over a Banquet.
  2. Principal Q&A- Bring the Principals to your church and interview them on
    stage to discover school needs. 
  3. Lunch Duty- Give the teachers a break during lunch, and cover cafeteria duty for them.
  4. Service Projects- Spend your free time serving at your local school, invest in areas that they are limited by time and resources to address.
  5. School Year Kickoff- Have a time where you do something special for the school to launch
    the school year. It can be as simple as walking the halls of the school, taking time to pray over each room. 

The big theme here is to serve the school. You can never go wrong by serving.

God Bless,

Cameron Crow
Area Coordinator
First Priority Premium Basin, TX

God is moving in North Alabama

By | Local FP Communities, Student Leaders | No Comments
The other day I went and visited a club @Elkmont HS. It was Prepare week for this club and instead of 2-3 students sharing their testimony, they decided to use the “Faith Story”guide in the HOPE manual. They split up into small groups; girls with girls and guys with guys. As I listened, I heard one of the Senior guys who helps lead the club, give an example by sharing his faith story. The majority of his group were underclassmen. When Jacob shared how God helped him in his struggles it moved one of the young men to pull Jacob aside and talk to him. He shared that he was in a similar situation and that he too wanted a faith story of his own. He wanted to know God the way Jacob does. Jacob did not preach to them or condemn them. He simply shared his story with them and then God drew this young man to Himself. In that moment, all of heaven rejoiced! We rejoice too!  Please pray for our students, teachers, parents, administrators and campus coaches across Colbert, Lauderdale, Limestone and Madison public schools. God is alive! He is doing a great work in our region. If you have questions about how to be a part of what God is doing message me.
Casey Jones
FP Director North Alabama
caseyfpnal@gmail.com

 

The Benefit of Being Faithful

By | Local FP Communities, Student Leaders, FP Success Story | No Comments

Do you often wonder if faithfulness really pays off? In a culture built on immediate satisfaction and the pursuit of comfort, it seems to be a value that has fallen by the wayside. But, among God’s people, it is a virtue worth guarding and worth displaying.

Many students come to mind when considering this, but one in particular stands out to me. She wanted to launch a First Priority group at her school last year, but had little support going in. In fact, there were many weeks (and months), when she and one other student were the only ones in the meetings. This did not shake her, though. She continued to pray, to attend the weekly meetings, and to invite friends. There was not a time that she faltered or questioned her calling. Her faith amazed my staff and me.

Then, the group began to grow and last week they had their biggest turnout. As she described it: “this is truly God’s group; a safe place for students to come into and grow in relationship with him.” Wow, what a wonderful example of faithfulness and God’s willingness to provide.

It is my prayer that First Priority will always be a place where students find their purpose, remain steadfast in their faith, and faithfully share the hope of Christ with others.

Blessings Abundant,

Amber Johansen
Executive Director, FP Tampa

 

The Best Day Ever

By | Local FP Communities, Student Leaders, FP Success Story | No Comments

Last week we talked about letting students lead. Sometimes, leading can be something simple. It doesn’t always have to be someone standing up in front speaking. Students can lead by being a good example to those around them or simply sharing something with someone just like this middle school student did in Birmingham, AL. Read this testimony of a middle school student who had the best day ever!

Testimony – “It was 7th period and my science teacher had asked us to take out our books and read for the rest of class. My fellow table partner could be a helpful type but was the kind of person that would slip up from time to time as any human, but I was recognizing a pattern. Homework, incomplete. Words, unkind. Character, unhappy. So as you would have guessed, he didn’t have a book. So he asked me to borrow one from my, “library”. I browsed through and carelessly handed him the book, “The Biggest Story”. I thought he might enjoy it because of all the art in it. He yanked it from my hands and ran his fingers through the pages. By the end of the class he had finished the book and was overjoyed during 8th. He was full of happiness and wouldn’t stop telling me about the book. It made him smile and it made me happy. The next morning, we had a guest speaker in our First Priority club and there was a special person that I had never seen in any Christian club, and he was from my 7th period. Can you guess who it was? Yes! The boy from 7th period! He came up to me later during class and told me that he had become a Christian that morning. It was the best day ever!”- Student, Berry Middle School

Letting Students Lead

By | Nehemiah, Student Leaders | No Comments

I’m sitting at home on a sunny but very cold January day with my kids who are home from school due to the NO snow we got here. Life in Tennessee for you. I told my kids I had to work still even though they were home for the day and I am battling a bad head cold. My 11 year old daughter was bored before school should have even started. I told her there was a bag of chocolate chips in the cupboard and she could bake some cookies. She immediately got up went and grabbed the chocolate chips and went to work. She has done this before pretty much by herself but I was there to help guide her. Today I couldn’t since I was working and sick. I said a few things from my computer as she was going along. She said, “mom, I know what I’m doing, I don’t need help.”

So often we want to jump in and help our students lead. We think they can’t make it on their own. That they won’t do it quite right or say just the right thing. But we need to learn to let students lead. They are capable and really, more effective in reaching their peers than we would be. They don’t have to be perfect or say just the right thing. They just need to be willing to lead.

First Priority is all about letting students lead. Students reaching students. Students sharing the hope of Christ on their middle and high school campuses. Students can influence their school campuses for Christ if we simply let them. You can train them and equip them with the tools they need to lead, but then you need to give them the reigns to do what they were taught to do.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 NIV

What Does a New Year Mean to You?

By | First Priority Of America | No Comments

It’s a new year! Another year has gone and a new year has come. Some say, well it’s just a day, one day it was 2018 and the next day it’s 2019. Nothing has changed. For some that’s true. They just continue in their same daily life without a change in the world. But for some it’s a 2nd chance, or a start of something new and different. Or even maybe to give something up for a while. Of course the gyms are flooded with people trying to get back in shape. More people set goals of things they want to accomplish or try to accomplish anyway. All those things are good things. Goals that we set out to accomplish that make us better people in one way or another. But we also want to focus on the ‘why’ of what we do.

What does a new year mean to you_ (1)

My church started a 21 day fast on the first day of the New Year. A way in which to focus on God and unite together to bring about revival in a place that so needs it. Whatever it is that you set out to do or not do in this new year, I pray that God will be in it. I pray that you are doing it for the right reason and that through it you will come closer to walk along side the One who gave you life. I pray that your passions will align with His and that He will lead you to be more like Him in how you live your life.

As we begin a new year at First Priority of America, we want to make sure we are intentional about what we do and how we do it. We want God in it all. Our desire is for us all to grow in Him so that we can continue our journey to see the Hope of Christ in every student.