4 Ways to Support Parents as School Kicks Off

Article was written by Michael Bayne and found over on parentministry.net

It’s that time of the year…school is back in session all over the country. Maybe you have a few days of summer left but for most parents their minds are focused on one thing…school! Many parents are excited about getting back into a normal routine, some are pumped about a calmer house during the day, but some parents are stressed about the upcoming challenges. The new school year comes with many new challenges as kids step into new classes, connect with new friends and adjust to new challenges. Parents often take on that same stress!

There are some simple things that we can do for parents to support them as we kick off the new school yea. I am betting you are getting ready to kick off your new ministry goals for the fall so why not think about parents! Here are 4 ways you can support parents as you kick off the new school year.

  1. Intentional Encouragement // Recognize the challenge and send parents notes or emails that encourage them and give them some resources as they work toward the new school year. Encouragement goes a long way when it comes to connecting with parents. Be a voice of support and courage in their lives!
  2. Parent Meeting (Vision casting time!) // New school years open up your best time to host a great parents meeting. Cast vision for the ministry you lead but also lean into the parents with some great ways they can get better at parenting. Parents are used to attending meetings in the new year so leverage this time to gather them together and cast your vision for the year ahead.
  3. Clear Communication // Make sure that every parent you serve has easy access to what is going on in your ministry and to the ways you want to partner with them. Make sure you communicate as well as you can so when that busy parent needs info they can get the right info quickly!
  4. Prayer // Cover your parents with prayer as a pastor but also invite your volunteers to intentionally cover families with prayer. As ministry leaders, we can never forget that God’s strength and wisdom is what every family needs more than our programs and plans.

I am sure you can think of 10 more things you can do to support parents right now. Pick a few and make sure you think about the parents you serve as they kick off the new school year!

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Youth Evangelism Conference Registration Now Open!


Register now for the 2015 Youth Evangelism Conference featuring Jefferson Bethke and Paige Clingenpeel!

Join us for the 2015 Youth Evangelism Conference December 27th-30th in Louisville, KY. YEC was created to engage youth and adult leaders to learn about and to practice evangelism. Join with youth and adults across the denomination for an incredible three-day event to ignite your faith!

JeffAt YEC this year we will hear powerful messages from Jeff Bethke. Jeff, is a popular speaker, writer and New York Times bestselling author of the book “Jesus>Religion.” He has a compelling story of overcoming a painful childhood of poverty and a broken home, and this gives him a unique perspective on the grace of God and the work of Jesus in his life and the lives of others. It is this perspective that has catapulted him into the national conversation regarding religion and spirituality, allowing his message to connect at a heart level with an audience ranging from atheists to nationally recognized religious leaders.

paigeWe will also have workshops to deepen our understanding of sharing our faith led by Paige Clingenpeel. Paige, has combined her psychological training as a Licensed Counselor with her passion for youth ministry as a national speaker. She is the Director of Content at the parenting site Trends and Teens, and continues to provide therapeutic services to local teens and their parents. Paige lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana with her husband and four kids!

During YEC, participants will have an evangelism immersion experience where students and leaders will go out into the city of Louisville, KY to practice servant evangelism. Our hope is that YEC 2015 will ignite the faith of youth and adults leaders to go back to their towns and cities to share the love of Jesus Christ.

YEC is for 7th graders-college freshman & adult leaders

Click here to Register Online

The registration fee for YEC is $300.00 by October 31st and includes programming, a three-night stay at The Galt House, 4 meals and t-shirt.

After October 31st registration fee is $350.00

Click here for more information on YEC and promo material.


For more information contact Nathan Wheeler @ nwheeler@cumberland.org or T.J. Malinoski @ TMalinoski@cumberland.org


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The Pinch: Word Maps

Word Map - purity

By Dusty Luthy

New Hope (Paducah) Youth Director

One of my favorite things to do in a group setting is to dig into scripture in a deep, meaningful way where everyone, regardless of spirituality, can participate.

Word Maps are one of my favorite tools to do this – and one of the most low-maintenance activities I do. I start with a circled theme word in the middle of a chalkboard, dry erase board or large newsprint and hand out related scriptures to different groups of kids. Our youth group at New Hope is on the large side, so three groups could have 8-10 kids each with one fairly meaty scripture or two shorter scriptures per group.

Each group then looks up that scripture, then reads it out loud and discusses what stands out to them. Then, we come together as a larger group, where each group shares their scripture. After reading the scripture, we then add words to describe/strengthen/explain the core word on the board, creating a bubble map. Use colored chalk or markers to make it eye-appealing.

Everyone is able to contribute, and because they’ve already discussed the scripture in a more intimate setting, they feel more comfortable sharing with the larger group. Using different Bible translations is also helpful to get a fuller use of language. At the end, the numerous bubble words help root the theme word in the youth’s brains so it has a more lasting definition.

Time needed: 30 minutes

Some themes to get you started:


1 Samuel 15:22

Psalm 100

Isaiah 29:13



Philippians 4:8

2 Timothy 2:21

Titus 2:11-14


Other themes to try: prayer, love, patience, sacrifice, Jesus, truth.

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Colombia Youth Mission Team Day 10 & 11

We’ve been in Colombia for nearly two weeks and words can hardly describe the experience that I have had so far.  It was difficult to know what to expect but I am certain that the expectations have been exceeded in significant ways.  Having been to Colombia at the end of 2013 I was looking forward to seeing some old friends while also getting to meet new ones.  When I left Colombia on my first trip in 2014 I felt like I had become part of the family and was welcomed with open arms.  As a year and a half has passed I wondered what it would be like to see the people I had met and to reconnect in some way.  Would I still feel so welcomed?  Would I feel like I was part of the family again?

Well I don’t know why I even questioned it because the same thing happened.  We were all welcomed with open arms and loved like we were part of the family.  It was a reunion for some of us and an opportunity to become a larger family for all of us.  That love that was felt at the camp continued as we visited churches, worked at the school in Pereira, and as we made our way to the General Assembly in Cali.  This has continued in Cali at General Assembly as we reunited with many people we had met over the previous two weeks who had travelled from all over the world to be at the General Assembly. The love of this country continues to be shown as we eat together, worship together, and simply talk with one another.  All whom we have encountered has welcomed our entire team, youth and adults, in a special way.

I have been very impressed with the young people on our team, as they have made a strong effort to be connected with the people in Colombia and have worked so hard through the long days of our trip.  These trips are often exhausting and emotionally draining as we rush around to experience everything that we can but our entire group has powered through.  The youth on this trip have been excited about each new day and another opportunity to be with their new Colombian friends and with each other.  The love that we have felt has been reciprocated by our own group of youth as they have tried to welcome their new Colombian friends into our family.  We have all worked together as one body of people to become a special family.  There have been some challenging moments but their have been even greater moments that have made this new family of Colombians, Americans, Japanese and many more what it is.

Noah Quinton

We woke up very early. We went to General Assembly at Colegio Americano in Cali. We got to see many of our friends we’ve made along the way from the camp and Colegio Americano in Pereira. We have a room on the campus where we can gather with other youth advisory delegates to hangout. At the end of the day we all gathered together for a celebration of 90 years of ministry of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Colombia.
Caleb Rhodes

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Colombia Youth Mission Team Day 9

This trip has been way above my expectations! As we go to different places in Colombia, I’m amazed by all the people who are full of a welcoming spirit and kind hearts. The Colombian people are very genuine. What has surprised me the most so far was how much everyone is interested in language, even though we are not able to understand everything, it’s nice to know we are connected as one body in Christ.

Teaching English as an ESL teacher at Colegio Americano in Pereira was nice because I was able to experience what it was like to be on the other side of the fence since I was the one being taught English 5 years ago.

I love learning about how much Colombians care for one another. One night we had too much food, so instead of throwing it away, a local church packaged it up and was able to share it with someone who was hungry.

As I’m writing this it is my birthday, I really appreciate our awesome youth team for making my birthday one of the best ones I’ve ever had! The last two days, I have awakened to the happy birthday song and today, folks have been singing it to me throughout the day. I’ve never felt this much at home in such a short amount of time. I’ve made so many new friends who have shared with me notes, candy, songs and big hugs! Tonight, they even surprised me with a birthday cake. It almost made me cry. Thank you so much for letting me be part of this trip!


Fumika Satoh

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Colombia Youth Mission Team Day 7 & 8

Sorry for the delay but you get two blogs for the price of one! The first is from Eleanor Forester and the second was written by Kelsey Hayes.

In Pereira, the Colegio Americano School is a special place. Every morning, our mission team leads the students in energizers. Before we started, I was worried that we wouldn’t get much of a reaction out of the students. I was pretty sure that the nine of us leaders would end up dancing by ourselves while the others just sat and watched. However, that was not the case. When the dancing started, we were met with a great bundle of energy. Just about everyone participated in the jumping and the twisting and turning. It was amazing that they were so quick to have fun with us.

Despite a few bumps in the road, the time in Colombia has been a wonderful experience. The camp was a huge blessing, the school has gone great, the team is doing well and the food is muy bien. Today was the last day with the elementary students at Colegio Americano. We taught about feelings and emotions. It was amazing to see how fast they opened up and caught on! In the afternoon, we traveled to a nearby town called Manizales. We visited with folks from the CP church there and they gave us a tour of their beautiful city. At one point, we got into groups of about 8 people and rode the metro cable through the skyline of the city. It was absolutely breathtaking. After that, we walked to the highest point and learned some of the town’s history. This is also the spot that a Chilean poet named the “sunset factory”. It was a wonderful day! Our next stop is Cali! God is truly working! Chao!

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Colombia Youth Mission Team Day 5

Today was our first day at Colegio Americano in Pereira. I think everyone was a bit nervous and not knowing what to expect. It took a minute for the students to warm up to us but when we split into different grade group’s things changed. We did a worship service and it was nice and a lot of the kids participated and enjoyed the artwork. Then we went to the classrooms of the younger children helping to teach them English. Then we went back to our home away from home and swam the rest of the afternoon. That evening we practiced for the next day. One of the things we practiced was singing, “We are marching in the light of God.” We sang this in English, Spanish and Japanese. We were practicing for the next day when the sun was going down behind the mountains outlying the city. That experience felt peaceful and unifying to the group.

Wendy Keiser


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