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5 Things you can do from home

By Nehemiah, Local FP Communities

It is hard to believe that we have lived this way for over a month now. We have heard so many times that these are unprecedented times and we wonder when or if things will ever be the same again. There are so many questions that only time can answer.

As we patiently wait, we realize the obvious; we are not in control. This is the lesson that the entire world can learn. As sure as we are not in control, we realize that God is in control. He is still on the throne, He is still at work and He still cares.

There are a lot of things we can’t do during this time but instead let’s focus on what we CAN do…

Our faith CAN increase at a time like this.
We CAN grow: study the Word and pray more.
We CAN look for God in all of this.
We CAN share the Hope we have in Christ.
We CAN make the most of the opportunity. (Ephesians 5: 15 – 17)
I want to encourage you. God is faithful and His promises are new each day. Rely on Him and draw your strength and help from Him.

First Priority has been challenged to be creative and innovative during these times and we are excited to see the Gospel continue to go forth via virtual clubs – Praise God!

Chris Lane
FP Executive Director South Florida

Your Students are Ready to do Something

By Nehemiah, Virtual Clubs

If you are a youth pastor or work with students, we, first of all, want to say thank you for investing in and caring for teenagers. We know you sure as heck don’t do it for the money. If you are like most Youth Pastors during this shut down in America, you have been racing to find out how to still do ministry. You know as well as anyone that today there are more people looking for answers than ever before. You also understand that the way we do ministry has to change, but it is a good thing. My son serves as a youth pastor in North Carolina. He said his online church services have been more attended, more people giving their lives to Christ and more money in the offering than when they met publicly. Not that we don’t need to meet physically, we do and are even told to in Hebrews 10:26. With the creation of the internet, the word and the gospel can go forth. It is almost as if God pushed the church out of the building. Acts chapter 8:1, after the death of Stephen, the Bible says, “At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” We have an excellent opportunity for ministry since we got pushed out of our buildings.

Your students are ready to do something. Well, why not start a First Priority virtual club? A Clubwhere students can invite their friends to a zoom call and hear your students share their testimonies and give people an opportunity to give their life to Christ. I listened to a youth pastor the other day say he loved it when the salvation prayer was prayed, and the students who accepted Christ indicated it in the chat room. We have put together a free teaching platform where we walk you through a simple training on how to get these clubs going. To get started click here.

Naming Loss

By Nehemiah, Priority Parents No Comments

These unprecedented times we find ourselves living in right now have brought many mixed emotions. You hear stories of families connecting more, times of rest and relaxation, and less stress. People are reaching out more and helping their neighbors and even strangers in ways they have never done before. It has brought a thankfulness and gratitude towards nurses, doctors, teachers, grocery store workers, etc. that maybe we all took for granted.

On the other side, I know many people are struggling greatly. And the losses they are dealing with are heavy. And they don’t know how they are going to make it.

During this time of the unknown it is important that we can name those things we are grateful for but also those things we have lost. Many times we focus on only trying to be thankful and talk about the things that are good. Which is a great thing to do. But it is just as important to name and recognize our losses. Our students and kids especially need to recognize that naming their loss is ok. It’s not a bad thing to think about something we have lost and only name what we are grateful for. Naming it gives us a chance to mourn and move on.

We hung a paper on our refrigerator about a month ago and started this process of naming things we are grateful for and things that are losses. We haven’t been great about naming things every week but I think just having it up there reminds us that it’s okay to have these feelings of both loss and gratefulness side by side. It helps us recognize that there is both pain and joy in what we face not only during this time in our lives, but at any time. I used to shelter my kids from anything bad. I didn’t want them to know I was sad or angry or had a bad day. But kids need to see that part of us. They need to know that naming a loss is normal so that when it happens to them, they know how to mourn the loss and pick back up and move on.

So I would encourage you during this time, no matter where you find yourself, to be thankful and grateful for the things God is doing or has provided but that it is also okay and just as important to recognize those things that you have lost. And help those students around you to do the same.

God is Still using Students to Reach Students

By Virtual Clubs

God is still moving in the lives of students as they have transitioned from meeting in schools to meeting virtually through zoom, facebook live, instagram and more. Stories of thankfulness and life change are happening in virtual clubs across the nation. Students who normally would not attend a club on their school campus are logging in and listening to these virtual clubs. Here are a few stories of what’s happening across the nation.

A student from FP Blue Ridge writes to her teacher who is the faculty sponsor for their FP club, “With the announcement from the governor I wanted to send you a message and say thank you for everything that you have done for me through my high school career. Being able to come into your room every day to talk made my day brighter each time. You were always there for us in our lowest points trying to help us get through these years. Without your help I don’t know where I would have ended up. I want to thank you for making homerooms amazing each time, and for hosting First Priority and always being there in my Christian walk. It is hard to believe that I will never be able to have you as my teacher again. Thank you for everything that you have done for me.”

There are more stories of students sharing the Gospel online. Many of their videos have 500 or more views reaching more students than they were on their school campus. Students are stepping up and leading and sharing the Gospel of Christ and reaching others from their own homes. Nothing can stop God from moving.

We have put together a 36 minute training broken up into 18 different segments on how to start and run one of these virtual clubs. God is using the internet right now to reach people! Don’t miss this opportunity. Click here to get started.

Our response to Covid-19 is to start Virtual Clubs

By Virtual Clubs

First of all we are all praying for all of you during this time of uncertainty and chaos in our world and trust that you are also praying for the world of First Priority.

It has been amazing to see how this has become a motivational time for all of our chapters and clubs to be intentional and aggressive about continuing to share the gospel.

FPoA has played a HUGE role in making this a successful and coordinated effort across the country.  Some state level organizations are sending out our virtual club link to every youth minister in their system encouraging them to start FP clubs if they have not already.

Here is the link to all of the resources and training that we have put out there and it is excellent stuff.  www.firstpriority.club/virtualclubs

Below you will find a couple of videos of students who are leading these virtual clubs as well as more social media pictures of what is happening online.

 

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.

See how students are stepping up to lead their clubs online

By Virtual Clubs

First Priority clubs all over the nation have decided that school closures won’t stop them from sharing the gospel of Christ to their peers and beyond. As schools began to close, students began to step up, get on social media, and share beyond the limits of their school buildings. Students like Alaina in FP St. Louis Metro East. Listen to her two minute video of encouragement. 
There are so many more videos and stories just like Alaina out there and they are reaching students for Christ! Like this one last week in Wake County, NC.

Carroll Middle had their First Priority club over zoom today and 1 student chose to pray to start a relationship with Jesus! There is no stopping our God!

Mark Roberts, FP Associate Director, shares in the video below how the local church can help students reach students for Christ. Listen to what he has to say and then click the button below his video for information how to get started.Find out more about starting a virtual club here

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.

There is no Fear in Love

By Nehemiah

The saying, March comes in like a Lion is an understatement. I know it usually refers to weather, but the entrance of the coronavirus this month has certainly affected our nation like never before. People are panicking, and some are very afraid. Some of the stuff I have seen on social media is nuts, people wearing trash bags, spraying each other down with Lysol. It is funny, but to people who do not know the Lord, I am sure very scary. Brad reminded me that Jesus referred to people as sheep. Well, there you go, if you don’t have a shepherd to protect and lead you, you get scared.

I was headed today to a board meeting and was shocked at all the people I saw at Walmart and Sams Club, it’s like a hurricane down here, and what is up with everyone stocking up on toilet paper? Is there something I missed about the symptoms?

While driving, I had this thought; God is a God who takes something bad and turns it into His good. It always fascinates me when there is a tragedy. People stop their busy lives and chasing their dreams and remember that they are mortal and will die one day. In America, I am always reminded of what Jesus said about the rich. Mark 10:25, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Most of you know this, but the eye of the needle was a small gate where people could walk through. A camel could go through it, but it had to get on its knees. The rich can know God, and there are millions that do. It is just harder because sometimes, with money, you don’t have to trust God as much.

Maybe the entrance of coronavirus into our world is something that might make people think about God, life, purpose, meaning, not just money or fame or what the world usually thinks about. Maybe they will think of bigger more important things. I have told you before we are due for a revival, and wouldn’t it be fun to see that happen? When your neighbors, friends, and family are frightened, you and I need to be the rock to them. Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” We can have peace because we know the Great Shepherd and we know His voice. To a world that is lost, we can’t act surprised and criticize. We have to give them hope. We need to love them in the midst of the chaos.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18.

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