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FP Podcast Episode 39: Student Led Ministry

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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.

Are you ready to start club?

By Nehemiah, Local FP Communities

Exciting things are happening in FP Tri-county. They held a First Priority Training this week and expected about 50 people.

70 people showed up!!

 We explained First Priority and then trained them on our HOPE cycle.
 
At the end we split them up into schools and they filled out paperwork to turn into their schools. Out of the 8 potential schools, we had enough people to start 6 FP clubs!
 
The other 2 potential schools had students there, but were missing a faculty sponsor. They had commitments but the flu hit those 2 faculty. So we should be able to launch those 2 clubs in a couple of weeks.

Below is a picture of the students coming up and the rest of us praying for them to be sent out as missionaries. 

We gave each school 1 case of FP Bibles, 50 decision cards, and 3 copies of 8 weeks worth of curriculum to finish out the year.
 
Praise the Lord for the excitement and passion over there for the schools! Let’s keep praying especially now as their clubs launch.
 
Are you ready to start a club? 
 

You Are Invited

By FP Tools No Comments

The help tool we are focusing on this week comes from Month 6 of the Hope Guides which talks about the conversation with outcasts. There are plenty of people we may enjoy spending time with, while there are plenty of others that, if we are honest, we might feel somewhat uncomfortable. Maybe we are afraid it will give us a bad reputation, or maybe we aren’t comfortable with the sights and smells that come with putting ourselves in certain company.

While Jesus was doing ministry, He experienced those who were considered respectable and admired people, while others were considered unclean and unwanted. But Jesus didn’t avoid the outcasts. He offered himself to them and gave them the opportunity to become part of his family.

So how do we start the conversation with outcasts? It begins with an invite. Through prayer, building trust, and time, the door will be open for you to share the gospel.

In order to do that, our help tool is to create an invitation to First Priority, a safe place where people feel welcome, not judged, and no one sits alone. Students can ask God to give them the boldness to hand out their invitations to First Priority and be ready to greet them at the door when they come or even meet them in the hallway and walk with them.

All people matter to Jesus so all people should matter to us.

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

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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.

Students find belonging in their First Priority club

By Nehemiah, Local FP Communities No Comments

Students want to feel like they belong. They seek others who are like them or who like the same kinds of things they like. But often, it is easy to go to school everyday thinking that there is no one like you. No one else who likes the same things you do or believes in the same things you believe in. But they are out there just waiting to be found.

One student from Wake County in North Carolina realized this when she decided she wanted to help get a FP club going in her school. She thought there would be no one at her school who was a Christian. Once she got permission to start her club, she realized there were a lot of Christians excited about it. Even the janitor started talking about the Bible to her and her mom. It was like Christians were in hiding. FP gave them a safe place to stand together and invite others to join.

At another FP club on the Emerald coast, students went out into their campus inviting other students to come to the club that day, handing out invite cards and biscuits. Students came and heard the gospel and four of them raised their hands proclaiming they accepted Christ!

First Priority gives students a place to belong. And a place to invite others to belong and learn about the love they can receive from Jesus Christ.

FP Podcast Episode 37: Church Networking

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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.

Students are looking for the opportunity to be used by God

By Nehemiah, Local FP Communities

In November, I had the privilege of speaking at a booming country church in Milo, Oklahoma. It is in the middle of nowhere. When you drive up, you are shocked at all the cars that are in the parking lot. You have to think where in the world did everyone come from, and where do they live? Mike Johnson has been the pastor there for years. He works in the oil field full time and preaches on Sundays and Wednesdays. He is one of my favorite people in the world and one of the Godliest men I know.

That Sunday morning, after I spoke, a girl name Chy came up to me and said she was a senior and wanted to get a First Priority club going before she graduated. During Christmas break, we set up a time to do a training with her so she could start a club after the first of the year. I told her all the things she would need to get in place and about the leadership teams and their roles in the club. I thought that it would be a few weeks before they got started. I was wrong. She started it the first week back! I got a phone call from Mike, who was all excited and tells me he heard from Chy. The very first meeting ‘help week,’ she was walking through one of the gospel tools, and four students gave their lives to Christ. BOOM! I am convinced there are thousands of Chy’s out there just waiting for someone to provide them with the opportunity to be used by God. Let’s pray God raises an army of these bold teenagers, and as the book of Acts says about the disciples, “these men who have turned the world upside down are now in our city.” Acts 17:6

FP Podcast Episode 36: “How do we reach young men in a culture that promotes isolation every single day”

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Kore Bendix, Pastor of Outreach and Evangelism

Kore Bendix is the Pastor of Outreach and Evangelism at Grace Covenant Church in Chantilly, Virginia – a suburb of Washington, DC.  Kore has served in multiple positions within churches large and small in his 17 years of ministry, but his greatest passion is helping young people discover how extravagant and audacious the grace of Jesus is.
He met and married his beautiful wife Heather 18 years ago while studying at Liberty University and has four children ranging from 16 to 10.  He recently completed his Masters in Theological Studies at Regent University and fancies himself a wanna-be athlete even though he’s getting ancient, having completed several half ironman races along with two Marathon finishes.

One statement that changed my life, made it easier to say ‘no’, and brought me comfort.

By First Priority Of America

You know the statement I am talking about. It’s the comment that is made by someone that I cannot remember where or when, if I read it or heard it, or what I was putting off at the moment…but I remember the statement clearly. It is ingrained into my subconscious and rises at inopportune times of the day and night and subtly shifts the course of my entire life. But who said it? And why has it made such a lasting impact on my life? You know the statements I am talking about. You’ve had various statements like that change your life as well. Here is one of mine:

If I do not have time to get this done right now, what makes me think I will have time tomorrow?

I am sure that whatever I was putting off that day was going to be pretty boring, but I have no idea why it stuck. But it did. And it’s changed my life. For months after my subconscious burned this statement into my soul, I’d find myself at a moment in my day when I’d typically say, “Oh, I’ll do that later.” only to be followed up with “When later?” Stink!! #busted

Now I’ve gone back and forth with this internal battle. Like a typical teenager living in a 44-year-old body, I’d rebel and still not do what needed to be done. I’d lip off (yes to myself). I would finally walk away only to be drawn back by my 44-year-old self knowing that it wouldn’t be more fun tomorrow. 

What I have learned about myself in this process is interesting. What it comes down to for me is less about time management and more about personal priority. What do I want in life? What I want in life needs to happen today! So, I go through a series of questions now when I find myself in this moment of conflict asking myself if I want to do something right now: Does this NEED to be done? If yes, just do it now so it’s over. I found that having things pile up caused more stress and anxiety in me than I realized.  How did I realize that? I ended a few days without a pile of things I needed to do tomorrow. My second question is, ‘Do I want to do it?’ If yes, then why not have the joy of getting this done now? I found that so many things that I was putting off were actually things that I wanted to do and found joy in. So why not get some instant gratification?

One of the most profound things I came to realize is that I was putting a LOT of pressure on myself to do things that didn’t NEED to be done and that I did not WANT to do. So why do them? I don’t anymore. I didn’t do it then either. The difference now is that those items no longer make my to do list which is where the stress and anxiety came from. 

You might be saying, ‘Brad, you are way too complex and make life way too difficult.’  That may be true, but life is way easier now that I’ve learned that I have time to do what is a priority right now. I hope the same can be true for you.

Is God still in our schools?

By Nehemiah, Local FP Communities

Rachel Camarota, FP Director Johnston County

This blog was written by Rachel Camarota, Director of FP Johnston County, NC.

Before I stepped into this role with First Priority, I was a teacher and the sponsor for an FP club at a local high school. Every day I saw the need for Christ-centered clubs in our school and among our students. But do you know what else I saw? Students who love Jesus, who were unashamed to share their faith through First Priority.

For the past decade, we have been told that God is not present in our schools anymore or that young people aren’t interested in Jesus – but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you?”

While in recent years there has been a noticeable decline in Christian beliefs in our schools and among our young people, as long as we have students who walk the halls and believe in Jesus, God is still there.

This is where First Priority comes in. We train students to be disciples of Christ and to share the Gospel in their school – and it is working. Just in the last weeks of 2019, 2 students accepted Christ in a local high school!

But those students would’ve never been given that opportunity had it not been for student leaders being brave enough to share the Gospel at First Priority – and they can’t share the Gospel without your help. Click the button below to find out more info about how you can start a club in a school in your area.

Start a Club

Rachel Camarota
FP Director Johnston County