All Posts By

Brad Schelling

Free Resource!

By Nehemiah, FP Tools

As promised in our email last week, attached is our free Story Training Certification Guide. What is that? It is a simple outline to help your students learn to share their story in a very clear and concise way. Our prayer is that your students would grow in their relationship with God by writing down what He has done in their life. We also pray that by going through this training that they would feel empowered to share their stories with each other for encouragement and for those who do not know Jesus to come to Him. Questions, please let us know. We would like to walk through this with you if you need it.

Faith Story Certification Guide

First Priority is multi-church, not para-church

By Nehemiah

As someone who has done ministry, you have a passion to reach students. You also probably have tried working with other groups to reach students in school before. But, those opportunities did not return the results you desired. Some of them may have even caused hardship for your student ministry at church, pulling students away rather than helping you to grow.

Well, First Priority is different. We are not better, faster, or any other “er” than para-church ministries. We are different; we are multi-church. See, we believe the Holy Spirit is alive and well in every community in America. He is working in and through the local Church. What if we could help bring the local Church together around a school and give students from those churches a simple platform and plan to share Hope with their peers? We do not just believe that lives will change, we know because we have seen over 18,000 students come to follow Jesus in the past 18 months.

Will you do something different this fall? Will you allow us to join you and guide you as you reach students in your community? And yes, we do have a plan for COVID. Even if your school isn’t meeting in person, the students still have influence over each other and can influence their peers with hope and bring them into your community.

To get you started, be on the watch for next week’s email because we are going to be sending you a FREE resource to empower your students to share faith with their friends – Story Training.

Until next week,
Brad and Mark

 

2 Opportunities to Bring Jesus to your City

By Nehemiah, Events

People like to do things. We are seeing that with Covid more than ever. Many times it just takes someone stepping out and making plans for that to happen. Take little league baseball for example. Without the league office and parent volunteers, no 5 year old would have the opportunity to swing a bat. The same is true with getting believers together to pray.

There are 2 opportunities for community prayer that we encourage here at First Priority.

The first is gathering adults from area churches before school begins to pray together at the school. In Tennessee, the state government has taken the first step for us and declared the weekend before school starts each year to be the ‘Weekend of Prayer over Students’ (see graphic below). It is our excuse to promote this to church leaders in our cities, gather the Christian students, their parents, and all other prayer warriors to pray together for the school. Whatever your situation is in your community, make a declaration, call it something, create a graphic, and use that as an excuse to get people to pray for the students at school. This event is crucial every year, but there is so much more to pray about together this year than any recent years!

To give you the start of a plan for this, let me tell you that in Spring Hill we set different times throughout the weekend for each school so people can participate in more than one gathering. So for example, Spring Station Middle School is Saturday morning at 9, Summit High school is Saturday morning at 10, Heritage Middle is Sunday night at 6, and Independence High School is Sunday night at 7. I lead Spring Station and Summit’s prayer gathering. I simply invite everyone to gather at the front door (outside) and we pray what is on our hearts. That typically takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes with under 12 people praying. I then ask everyone to walk around the outside of the building one time in prayer. I usually have a mix of personalities; by this I mean that some walk in silence while others walk in groups and make prayer declarations out loud.   

The second prayer opportunity is See You At the Pole. People usually fall into 2 camps with SYATP. You either have never heard of it, or remember it as something students did in the 90’s.  it is a movement that began in Texas in the 90’s and spread around the world in a short period of time. For us at FP, we consider it another excuse to petition God on behalf of the students and school leadership. For 2020, the universal date is Wednesday, September 23. Prayer happens at the flag pole starting 30 minutes before school begins. This time typically allows for students who ride the bus, or get a parent’s ride, to at the very least catch the end of it. It is always cool to watch the crowd grow as the busses arrive and the prayer is happening. Of course the crowd size is usually dependent on how well you did in getting the student pastors and parents involved in getting the word out. You can check out more information at www.syatp.com. They typically have the current year resources up by mid July. Again, it is an excuse to give your students leadership of their faith at the public school.

Don’t miss the opportunity for 2020! Our students, parents, teachers, and school administration need us to pray for them this year more than ever.

FP Podcast Episode 44: Round Table on Fundraising with Larry Franks

By Podcast

Larry Franks Executive Director FP Decatur

After 25 years of serving on staff in the local church, Larry Franks became the Executive Director of First Priority of Greater Decatur in November 2014. He served as the City Director for Greater Decatur for a number of years before coming on board as the Executive Director. His heart’s passion is to see students come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, and for them to realize that there is HOPE. Larry has enjoyed watching God grow First Priority in Morgan and Lawrence counties from its beginning in 2009 on 18 campuses to currently being on 54 campuses. There have been over 4,800 students say YES to the HOPE of Christ on the public school campus over the last 9 years. Larry was recently awarded the Lynn C Fowler Non-Profit Professional of the Year by the Decatur-Morgan Chamber of Commerce. First Priority of Greater Decatur was also awarded the Non-Profit of the Year by the Decatur City School System. Clothe Our Kids received the Non-Profit of the Year by the Decatur City School System in 2019. Larry is married to Jessica (33 years) and has two daughters, Chelsea (27) and Hannah (21). He enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, and is an avid Georgia Bulldog fan.

FP Podcast Episode 43: Virtual Clubs

By Podcast

Greg Davis FP Birmingham President

Greg is a lifetime Birmingham area resident and ministry leader. He has been on staff with First Priority since 1996 after volunteering with the ministry for several years.  He has led First Priority movements both locally and nationally. Greg first served as a campus guide, and area director before serving as  Executive Director and continues today as President overseeing fiduciary and ministry operations. He hosted Priority Talk, a daily Christian based radio show from 2010-2018, and has written for Birmingham Christian Family Magazine and frequently represents First Priority in the community in the media.

Greg received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in secondary education and a Master’s of Divinity from New Orleans Theological Seminary. Greg has been a popular speaker for many churches, camps and conferences for nearly three decades; in fact chances are that Greg has been to your church or campus!

Greg resides in Gardendale, Ala. with his wife Sandi, and two children, Trent and Meagan.

FP Podcast Episode 42: Dave Gibson

By Podcast

Dave Gibson, Executive Director Go2020 USA

Dave Gibson has over 40 years of local, national, and international ministry leadership experience. He currently serves as Executive Director of Go2020 USA and Go2020 Global Leadership Team.  Dave is the Senior Director of Missions & Evangelism at Grace Church of Eden Prairie, MN for over 30 years. Dave has also served as the Executive VP of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Executive Director of Mission America, and began in occupational ministry with Midwest Challenge. 

Dave and his wife Wendy have 5 children and 7 grandchildren

FP Podcast Episode 41: Hayden Roberts

By Podcast

Hayden Roberts, Student Pastor at Lifepoint Church

Hayden has been around the world of ministry his whole life with an itinerant speaker and church leader for a father. Hayden felt a divine appointment to ministry his senior year of High School and has been involved on staff for multiple churches and ministries ever since. He has a beautiful wife named Shannon and has a lab mix named Zion. He loves Students and desires to see them use their gifts and talents to further the kingdom of God. His hobbies include trying new hobbies and doing basically anything but board games.

FP Podcast Episode 40: Gospel Conversations

By Podcast

First Priority Director of Ministry

Brad serves as our Director of Expansion. He spends most of his day working with the new FP coordinators, alongside Mark Roberts. Brad’s goal is to help local communities take the appropriate steps to create a spiritual movement around their middle and high schools. He has been in student ministry since 1997, served as a First Priority campus coach starting in 2001, and joined staff with FPOA in 2008. He helped get FP of the Great Plains (SD/IA) off the ground before moving his family to Nashville, TN to be strategic in his work with First Priority. Brad, with his wife Erika and four children attend Church of the City in Spring Hill.

FP Podcast Episode 39: Student Led Ministry

By Podcast

Steve Cherrico Executive Director FP Greater Nashville

Steve Cherrico is the Executive Director of First Priority Greater Nashville. Each day he works to equip, cross-train and serve the local Church throughout 9 counties in Greater Nashville. His goal is to help the local church unite around a plan of action so that every student in every school in this region experiences the Hope of Christ from a peer on their school campus.

Steve has been married to his wife Jessi since 1998. They have 3 children ages 15 (Justus), 12 (Nathan) and  8 (Corina). In his free time, Steve enjoys coaching his kids youth sport teams, supporting international missions teams, reading and participating in recreational sports.

FP Podcast Episode 38: Is it legal for students to gather at school to share the Gospel?

By Podcast

Brad Schelling Director of Ministry

Brad serves as our Director of Expansion. He spends most of his day working with the new FP coordinators, alongside Mark Roberts. Brad’s goal is to help local communities take the appropriate steps to create a spiritual movement around their middle and high schools. He has been in student ministry since 1997, served as a First Priority campus coach starting in 2001, and joined staff with FPOA in 2008. He helped get FP of the Great Plains (SD/IA) off the ground before moving his family to Nashville, TN to be strategic in his work with First Priority. Brad, with his wife Erika and four children attend Church of the City in Spring Hill.