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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.

Exciting News about New Communities starting First Priority

By Nehemiah, Local FP Communities

When a new community starts First Priority, we walk though a 4 phase process. Just like good Baptists, all the beginning letters are the same, we might even throw a poem in at the end just to bring it home. Ha!

Phase 1 – Discovery: Building awareness in the community, casting vision, and building the different networks of support; youth pastors, students, teachers, and business leaders
Phase 2 – Deployment: A vision casting event happens where you recruit donors and leaders to work with the clubs. This is also the phase that you train your networks to launch clubs.
Phase 3 – Development: Start building an advisory team. This is the beginnings of a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Phase 4 – Direction: In this phase, First Priority of America is now helping expand First Priority by providing direction to new communities wanting to start First Priority in their area.

With all that said we at FPoA are excited about the future expansion of First Priority into other communities. We are currently helping 8 cities get started. Kansas City, Orlando, Fort Worth, Denver, Richmond VA, Fredrick, MD, Springfield, MO, and Jackson, MS. We currently have what we like to call a Nehemiah in 5 of these communities. (Nehemiah showed up and leveraged what was already in the city to rebuild the torn down walls of Jerusalem). Jonathan Pugsley in KC, Wilson Clark in Orlando, Joel Rowland in Denver, Beth Endeda in Richmond, VA, and Jeff Stanford in Springfield, MO. Please pray God gives favor to these new coordinators as they work to build networks and train to start clubs this fall. Also be in prayer that God raises up a Nehemiah in the rest of the cities. If you have not seen our 2 minute Nehemiah video you can click here and see it.

We also want to let you know that we pray God uses you in your community to see students come to Christ. We are in a time in our history where the message of the gospel is important to share with our country and especially students. If you would like to get First Priority started in your community, please visit www.firstpriority.club/startaclub. We would love for you to join our growing First Priority family.

 

FP Student Leaders keep leading after they graduate

By Nehemiah, Local FP Communities, Student Leaders

I have heard story after story about FP student leaders and even students who weren’t leaders going on after they graduate to serve in First Priority in some capacity. Some of them have become a campus coach, faculty sponsor, priority parent, or even a full-time Director of FP in their area. It is amazing to see the club that they once valued in middle or high school, becoming a big part of their life as an adult as well. Here is a story out of FP Blue Ridge about a recent graduate who plans to keep helping with First Priority beyond high school. This is from FP Director Haley Wherry:

A First Priority Student Leader who just graduated called me. In 7th grade, he launched First Priority in his middle school, and then was a leader who revitalized First Priority in his high school. His younger brother was a leader in the middle school and will be a leader in the high school, and his youngest brother will be a lead in the middle school this year. The reason he called me was to ask if First Priority was in any of the schools near the local college he will begin attending in the fall. He wants to be a Campus Coach in one of them. When I told him that no schools in that area had First Priority clubs, he said he would help to launch at least one club in one of the schools and coach it while he was in college. He then told me that he was going to college to be a teacher and that he would be a First Priority Faculty Sponsor wherever he served in the future.

First Priority is changing the lives of students. It works. And it’s long lasting. And our hope is that we can see First Priority in every school across the nation so that all students can hear the Gospel of Christ.

The Biggest Mission Field

By Nehemiah

Thank you for sticking with us along this 5 week journey of tips to help grow your student ministry. I pray it has been helpful and encouraging to you. Today’s tip looks at the biggest mission field of all. Watch the video below to hear what that is and how you can start reaching those who are lost.

To find out more about the plan of action of reaching lost students click here.

Empowering Students to share their story

By Nehemiah

You’ve reached the 4th week of tips. I hope these tips have been helpful for you.  I know that if you take the time, process through these tips, and begin to implement them in your ministry that you will deepen the lives of your core students that will change the culture of the entire group. Try it. Your student ministry will not be the same! AND, we are not done. Check out the video today from Wilson: 

 

All ministries lead somewhere. Have you ever asked yourself or people in your church the question: What is the goal of our student ministry for students who graduate high school? What is it that you want students to graduate with from being a part of the church? We think it is pretty simple:

  1. The number one thing you can do in the life of a student is to help him/her _______________ the Gospel.
  1. Equip them to share their __________________ Story.
  2. As they identify the God moments in their life, help students to __________ it out.

*** Our students are ___________________________ for Christ.

When you work and equip them to know the Gospel, their story of faith, and write it out, you will see them take ownership of their faith before they graduate high school.

Once you watch the video, download the homework sheet (it has the fill in words for these blanks).

See you tomorrow!  Get ready for the last day. it is a good one, no a GREAT one!

Wilson

Homework

One simple way to grow your student ministry: Have a Plan

By Nehemiah

Welcome to tip #3 of our journey to help prepare your student ministry to grow after the shelter at home order is lifted. We started with your call from God. Last week, we gave you a prayer tool to help get your church behind the student ministry. And now, we are going to empower those students to begin growing your ministry. It is a very simple concept that doesn’t get enough street cred: Talk to God about your friends before talking to your friends about God. And measure it. Check it out:

In all of life, you have to have something to measure. If you don’t, how can you get anyone to join you?  Everyone wants to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves!  The best way to help people see that this something is your student ministry is to show results. In todays tip I challenge you to set goals and build your ministry though prayer. After all, if we don’t have the air cover we will never win the ground war.

  1. If I do not measure it, I do not ________ about it.
  2. Know __________ how many resources are needed.
  3. Develop your __________ for student led prayer.

*** Give your students the _________ friend challenge.

Once you watch the video, download the homework sheet (it has the fill in words for these blanks). Be ready for Day 4!! Tomorrow we give you a tool that will help the words of Jesus come out of the mouths of your student leaders!

See you tomorrow!

Mark

Homework

The best way to get your Church involved in Student Ministry

By Nehemiah

Welcome to Tip #2. I hope Tip #1 last week was a fresh reminder of God’s love for you and HIS desire to use you to redeem His creation! If you haven’t seen Tip 1, go back in the blog and check that one out first. Today we continue our quest to help prepare your student ministry for after the shelter at home order is lifted.

In today’s tip, we look at the best thing you have going for you: students! What if you and your church started seeing your students in a slightly different way? Don Miller (StoryBrand.com) says there are 4 kinds of people in every story: Villains, Victims, Heroes and Guides.  So what does this have to do with student ministry? Watch the video to find out:

  1. See students as __________________ to school.
  2. Identify students who are already ___________ their faith (the heroes! aka Luke Skywalker).
  3. Equip the church to _____________ for the missionaries (the guides – but you are their master Yoda!).

*** People have a __________ for what they pray for.

Once you watch the video, download the homework sheet (it has the fill in words for these blanks) and take some time to list the hero’s in your student ministry (the students). Be ready for Tip 3 where we will give you a tool for your students to use to share their faith story.

Homework

How your call strengthens your student ministry

By Nehemiah

This is day 1 of a 5 part email series that we will be sending you entitled, “How to double the size of your student ministry once we are meeting again.” We want to help prepare your student ministry after the shelter at home order is lifted. Each week on Thursday you will get this email that links to the blog. Check out the 5 minute video and follow along with the blanks below. The answers to the blanks are on the homework sheet that is attached. So, let’s get started. We feel like a good foundation for that is to start with your call. It might seem fundamental, but all great athletes, writers, business leaders, or successful people in general, work on their fundamentals. Here we go!

  1. The call of God on your heart is not about __________________.
  2. The call of God on your heart is not about a _________________.
  3. The call of God is not always _________ before you begin.

*** The call of God is about what __________ your heart.

Be ready for next week, because part of the process God uses to fulfill your call is always about the people you are in relationship with.

Homework