Bible Study Plans and Methods

aaron-burden-113284-unsplashRecently we began a new series in our middle school ministry called “Talking with God.” The whole purpose of this series is to help students understand how they can communicate with God and grow in their relationship with Him. For the first week of the series we talked about how God communicates to us through the Bible. We wanted to help students understand not only what the Bible is but also how they can go about reading and studying it consistently. You can watch that entire talk here.

To help them get started in this we created a short handout with various Bible reading plans and methods. It’s not exhaustive but includes a few ideas to get them going in the right direction. We wanted to make this handout available to others so feel free to click the link below and use the handout yourself or in your own ministry context as you help others get into God’s Word.

Bible Study Plans and Methods

Visit Ministry Downloads


Ministry can be very time consuming. Between things like planning, meetings, sermon prep, and training volunteers it can be hard to keep all the plates spinning. One of the benefits of doing ministry in our day is that we have access to a ton of resources online to help us when we lack the time and creativity. There are a host of places online to get ministry resources (some better than others) for almost any area of ministry.

Recently Terrace Crawford launched a new site called Ministry Downloads. The resources on this site are tested, ready-to-go, affordable, and totally downloadable.  There’s something for every church\ministry leader, including (but not limited to): senior pastors, youth leaders, children’s leaders, small group leaders, and more! I’m excited to even have a few of my very own recourse on this site – series on Acts, series on dating, marriage, and sex and a sermon on worry. I’d encourage you to visit this site and grab a few resources for you and your ministry.

Click Here to Visit Ministry Downloads

Ways to Use Social Media In Your Ministry

d_kow7ihnnw-saulo-mohanaSocial media is a vital part of doing ministry in our world. A ministry that isn’t leveraging social media is missing, in my opinion, one of the most effective ways of communicating with people in our culture. Everyone seems to be using at least one social media network and most people are using multiple ones. So how can we in ministry take advantage of this?

I want to suggest a few simple ways you can use social media in your ministry. Some of these suggestions are things we are currently doing in our ministry while some of them are things we are not doing but other ministries are.

Event Promotion. This is by far the easiest and most popular way ministries are using social media. However, this can be overdone. People want to see more than event promos on your social media accounts. More than likely if all they see is promos for your next event they may stop looking at your account all together or glance over it in the future. So promote your events but do so wisely.

Event Pictures. It’s easy to post promo stuff about your event but it’s another thing to intentionally get good photos from your events to post. People both at the event and not at the event will enjoy seeing pictures. This is also a great way to show people on the outside what your ministry looks like. Be sure to capture good photos. Have someone who is gifted in this area take photos at your events and post them on your social media accounts.

Sermon Quotes. This is a creative way many churches are using social media. It’s also a great way to get the sermon out of the pulpit and into the minds of people throughout the week. Take quotes from the sermon and post them throughout the week. This allows people to be reminded of what they heard but also share God’s Word with other people via social media.

Worship Set. This is another creative thing many churches are doing. Simply post the songs your worship band did on social media. This is a great way to communicate the songs you sang with your people since many of them may love the songs you sing but not know the title. I’d encourage you to search #worshipset and #sundaysetlist on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to see some examples of churches doing this kind of thing.

Highlight Volunteers. Volunteers are vital to any ministry. We should always be looking for creative ways to brag on them and a way to say “thank you.” Social media is a great place to do just that. It allows us to publicly thank them and brag on them for a bit. Some churches do a “Volunteer of the Week” type thing. They pick a volunteer every week that serves in their ministry and they post a picture and some thoughts about them. They usually highlight where they serve in their ministry and then give them a public “thank you” for all to see. One of the churches that is doing this very well on a weekly basis is Collide Church. Jump over to their Instagram page to see their “Volunteer of the Week” posts.

These are just a few simple ways you can use social media in your ministry. Be creative and be looking for ways to leverage the power of social media for your ministry.

Suggested Books: Going Social by Terrace Crawford and Social Media Guide for Ministry by Nils Smith (both of these books are a few years old so they may be outdated in some areas in regards to social media).

Guest Post: 15 Things to Consider When Joining the Staff at a Large Church

Realize you’re on a team. Upgrade your interpersonal skills. You will need to learn how to deal with disagreements and conflict in a healthy manner. Read up on this stuff and don’t assume that you’re great at it.

Learn your place. Be quiet in staff meetings. Spend the first 6 months – 1 year listening. Do not go into ministry thinking that previous programs or successes will transfer to a larger church. Each church has their own personality. Keep quiet about past successes. No one wants to hear about what awesome thing you did last year. They want you to lead in your current condition. This transfers over to staff meetings too. Spend time listening.

Develop a thicker skin. Get ready for input from your team leaders. Be ready for performance reviews. If you do not have thick skin, then get ready for your feelings to be hurt. In larger situations, you’ll have more people who evaluate your ministry and give constructive criticism. Just because a leader sees an area that needs improvement doesn’t mean that they don’t like you. They aren’t out to get you either.

Know you’re place. Communicate directly with your supervisor. If he/she says no, don’t go above his head. Respect the chain of command. Be ready to explain your ideas. Know how what you want to do fits into your current system. Larger churches do not like to do something just for the sake of doing it. Your leader WILL tell you no at some point. When that happens about an idea that you’re passionate about, do not go over their head. This will destroy trust and make you look like a brat.

Be ready to plan ahead. Larger churches like stability. That means you need to start planning out programs and events 6 months – 1 year in advance. Long gone are the days where you can plan a month or two out. You’ll need to know what you’re preaching on, what your small groups are learning, and any events that you’re planning (as well as prices of those events) well in advance. The further you plan out the better you’ll look and less parents will complain.

Get ready for detailed budget planning. Save your receipts and be ready to deal with a financial team. The financial team will have certain requirements of you. You’ll need to keep receipts, put them into budget categories, and prepare statements. Spend wisely and record with a passion.

Get to know the entire staff. Make time to make friends. Staff interaction is VERY important. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, but you need to be social with the rest of the team. Those friendships will be important. If you keep to yourself, you’ll look arrogant.

Build a strong volunteer base. Your job is now about building and equipping leaders to do ministry. Delegate. Train. Let go. If you make yourself essential in any area other than leadership, you’ve failed.

Learn the DNA of the church. Don’t create your own mission/vision statements. Adapt the church’s mission and vision for students. This is my personal opinion, but the last thing you want is to segregate yourself from the larger church. Show your leaders and your team that you walk in step with the vision and mission of the leadership.

Familiarize yourself with other ministries. Be ready to answer general questions about ministries you don’t lead. It never fails, someone someplace will ask you about another ministry. Be prepared to give an answer and then direct the person appropriately. If you do not take the time to know what everyone else on your team is doing, you’ll appear as if you don’t care.

Get ready for Executive Pastors. These men and women oversee the administrative duties of the Senior Pastor. They are important people to know and have good relationships with.

Learn to create systems for handling issues instead of dealing them as they come up. Be ready for hotel situations, volunteer expectations, payment plans, benevolence requests, etc. You need to think through this stuff. You need to project and be consistent.

Look at yourself as a “senior pastor” of the youth group instead of a youth pastor. Doing ministry in a larger group context means you won’t have your hands on everything. You’ll also need to learn how to counsel students and parents.

Become an expert at communication. Send bi-monthly volunteer emails (, get a professional texting service (, and publish 3 month calendar (with events, prices, and info).

Be careful what and how you post. Do not post ANYTHING on Facebook/Twitter about politics, arguments, the church, ministry staff, or anything that should stay in your head. Do not respond on Facebook/Twitter to anything students say or do that is questionable. That’s something you should handle in private.

This guest post was written by Nick Farr. Nick is a co-manger of and website that connects everyday youth pastors. He’s also an Associate Pastor at East Ridge Church. He has been doing freelance graphic/web design for 17 years and provides services at a reasonable price for churches at . I asked Nick to write this post because I just came on staff at Christ Community Chapel, a large, multi-site church in Northeast Ohio. I hope this post helps others coming on staff at large churches.

Guest Post: How to Build a Speaking Ministry

This guest post is written by my friend Blake Appleby. Blake is a student pastor, but also has a successful speaking ministry at other churches, camps, and youth events. I asked him to write this guest post as a way to help other ministry leaders build a successful speaking ministry for themselves.

I am no expert in the field of itinerate speaking. However, God has provided multiple ways to publically communicate His truth. The following are some beneficial principles to review before launching. These principles cover the basics, and should allow you to start off on the right foot.

 1. The Call: If you’re interested in launching a speaking ministry, understand that it is a calling. Make sure you know God is calling you to this area of service. If you’re in it for the money, fame, or your namesake, you’re traveling a dangerous road. Ask God to purify your motives, and don’t just do it because you like to preach.

2. The Communication: Communicate with the Father privately, before communicating with others publicly. If God has called you to this, He will see you through it. He will provide opportunities for you to speak and minister in powerful ways. You won’t have to ask people for opportunities; God will lead you to them. Trust Him!

3. The Connections: Let people know you’re available. However, resist the urge to be pushy about it. Take every opportunity to meet church leaders. Seek to establish a friendship, before establishing a speaking engagement. More than likely, people aren’t going to Google your name, and book you on the spot. If you build a friendship, you’re better off.

4. The Conflict: Most itinerate speakers, don’t hit the road once they’ve built a website and posted a video of themselves preaching. They are typically found serving in a local church. But, this is where conflict arises.

It’s difficult to travel and maintain a ministry in a church. Your pastor might not understand your motives, and your church might not understand the reasoning behind your absence. Therefore, communicate your heart, and submit to the leadership in your church. God will bless you for your submissive spirit and obedience.

5. The Courage: If you’re confident God has called you, be courageous enough to move forward. Contact someone with experience in this area of service. Allow people to find you and connect with you easily (i.e.: website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Take a risk. Be bold. Share your heart.

6. The Conduct: I was speaking with an itinerate speaker last week, and he encouraged me to do two things. First, be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. You don’t have to have the trendiest clothes or the slickest website to make it. Second, preach the hard stuff. Preach what nobody else is preaching. Stand out from the crowd.

I pray this information was a blessing to you. If you have any other questions, or would like to discuss this topic more in depth, contact me at