A look inside the new Faith Out Loud

I’m so excited to share with you the new Faith Out Loud! FOL began in 2011 with the idea to develop a youth curriculum by Cumberland Presbyterians for Cumberland Presbyterians. Over the past 5 years, we’ve strived to create the best curriculum we can and that is still our goal. Over the past 6 months, I’ve personally reached out to many folks who use or have used FOL to get their feedback. Using that feedback and some new ideas I’m very excited to tell you about FOL Year 5!

This week we released to new FOL books:

Superheroes and Extraordinary

IMG_0873 IMG_0872

The previous Faith Out Loud lessons came in one book, each with 13 lessons. The new Faith Out Loud comes out in different books based on subject/topics.


FOL Superheroes contains 6 lessons and FOL Extraordinary Christians contains 6 lessons.

Lesson from FOL Superheroes on Batman and Punisher
Lesson from FOL: Extraordinary Christians on Corrie Ten Boom


Each lesson will begin with a title page that scripture and theme for that lesson.




Each lesson contains a leader portion that includes sections on Connecting to your Students, Explaining the Topic, Theological Underpinnings & Applying the Lesson to your Own Life.

A look inside the leader portion of FOL: Extraordinary Christians







Inside the lesson you will a Leader Prep section, including resources that will help you in preparing for the lesson.

A look inside FOL: Superheroes






The lesson itself includes Get Started section to help you kick off the lesson, Listen Up and Now What sections that help engage your students through scripture reading, discussion questions and relevant activities and Live It section that closes out the lesson.

A look inside a lesson in FOL: Extraordinary Christians
A look inside a lesson in FOL: Extraordinary Christians






Also, many of the lessons come with Just In Case and Digging Deeper section that helps you as the leader as you lead the lesson. We’ve also included a little area for you to add your own notes.


It's even a different size now!
It’s even a different size now!

Another big difference to FOL Year 5 will be the cost. We will be lowering the cost of individual books and our yearly subscriptions as well. We know budgets are tight and it’s hard to buy youth curriculum. So we are lowering the cost on our entire FOL curriculum. In the past, our yearly standing orders cost $215 for 52 lessons. Now, you can get all 8 books, 52 unique teaching lessons for your youth group for only $120! If you aren’t interested in FOL Year 5 subscription you will still be able to purchase all 8 books separately as well. All lessons are available for download as well.


Back cover of FOL: Extraordinary Christians
Back cover for FOL: Superheroes


We are so excited about the new Faith Out Loud and we hope that you will be too!




For more information about Faith Out Loud or to order the new lessons go to our online web store by clicking here.

Special thanks to Joanna Wilkinson for her beautiful design work and the writers of Faith Out Loud!

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What to do for Seniors?

Here we are just a few weeks away from high school graduations. For many youth ministers we are looking for a gift to give them at Senior recognition Sunday or perhaps thinking about a special service for our seniors. In the past I’ve hosted a cook-out for seniors only, I’ve purchased Bibles to give them or one or two books that made an impact on my relationship with Jesus. I’ve also done several Sunday evening programs that was a charge to those seniors to continue on in their faith as they transition out of youth ministry. I wanted to highlight something you might consider using or purchasing as you ponder what to do for the seniors in your ministry.

The Senior Super Pack

Created by Download Youth Ministry

“The resources in this bundle are all products of the result of 4 years of trench-tested and continuously refined work. It is a part of what we call our “Sticky Faith Initiative” (inspired by the fantastic book and research put out by Fuller Youth Institute: www.stickyfaith.org). Everything is yours to copy and adapt. By providing the Word documents and sample PDF’s… this is a resource that is ready for you to easily make it your own.

To build a better bridge between the High School and College Age years by walking with students for 18 months from January of their High School Senior year through their first year post-grad (college or career) to help ensure a faith that “sticks” beyond Student Ministries.

1. Senior Series (a 4 week sermon series for seniors)
2. What Happened/What’s Next? The Grad Edition (a journal to process HS and life in college)
3. The Great Co-Mission (big church service to honor graduates)
4. Grad Letters (don’t buy them a book, make them a personal one)
5. Adopt-a-Grad Program (a ready-to-go, easy-to-copy program where adults in the church adopt graduates for a year)
6. 52 Grad Texts (send 1 a week while they’re at college)
7. Gradstagrams (25 ready-to-go graphic Instagrams)
8. Senior Exam Game (fun trivia game)
9. Yearbook Quotes Game (another fun game)

Be sure to make them your own and have them work for you. In the end, the author’s desire and prayer is that they will help you find ways to see more students who walk out of your ministry at graduation without walking out on God in the years to follow.”

What types of things have you given or done for your seniors? What about this year? Share in the comment section below.

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God Calls Everyone

"Here I Am Lord"

Article written by Milton Ortiz

Who? Me? Why would God call me? Why would the God of the universe be aware of me and want me to be a minister?  Perhaps the following common experience will help you to understand how this happens:  There is an urgent sense that God is calling us.  It never lets up.  It is a drawing, a wooing, and a tugging. There may be resistance, reluctance and excuse, and sometimes, refusal.  Finally, it becomes a conviction that we are chosen, called and commissioned by God to the ministry.

First, God Calls People to Salvation

The call of God needs to be discussed in the light of our assumption that God calls everyone.  It is the Cumberland Presbyterian belief that God calls all persons into a covenant relationship.  It is a call to salvation and an offer of a redemptive relationship with God, a call to a life dedicated to following Jesus Christ.

God acted redemptively in Jesus Christ because of the sins of the world and continues with the same intent in the Holy Spirit to call every person to repentance and faith.

Children of believers are, through the covenant, entitled to the sacrament of baptism and thereby become members of the household of faith. Such children are to receive pastoral oversight, instruction, and the care of the church, with a view that they repent of sin, personally confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and assume the full responsibilities of church membership.

Once we have entered into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we can expect that there may be other calls to various kinds of service; or to say the least, we have made ourselves open to them.

Then, God Calls People to Ministry

It is the biblical understanding that we are not only called to salvation, but to service.  Any work we do can be considered as a vocation of God through which we can minister.

We believe that God calls lay persons to serve in the church. They serve as elders, deacons, task force members, board members, teachers, administrators, officers in CPWM and similar organizations, leaders of youth and other age groups, presbyteries, and in many other ways.

But we also believe that God calls some to be ordained ministers. They will be moved toward ministry in the company of others who are charged with overseeing their growth and supporting their work.  Just as God acts to call them personally, God acts through the corporate body of the church to confirm their call.  Some will be pastors, missionaries, chaplains, teachers at a seminary, pastoral counselors and in many other ministries.

Who Will Answer God’s Call?

Saving faith is response to God, prompted by the Holy Spirit, wherein persons rely solely upon God’s grace in Jesus Christ for salvation.  Such faith includes trust in the truthfulness of God’s promises in the scriptures, sorrow for sin, and determination to serve God and neighbor.(1)  You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer.  He knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart.

What do you do if you sense a call from God to the ordained ministry? First, talk with your pastor.  If your church does not have a pastor, you should speak with the moderator of the session appointed by the presbytery.  This person will help you navigate the initial steps in the process.  He or she also will be a great resource for you, someone who can relate to the various questions you have and the emotions you undergo.  If and when the time comes for you to share your call with the local session, your conversations with the pastor or appointed moderator will allow her or him to support you confidently before the body.  The session, when appropriate, will be asked to endorse your coming under care of the presbytery as a candidate for the ministry.

(1) Confession of Faith, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Section 4.08, page 8

Extracts taken from the book An Introduction to Christian Ministry For Lay and Clergy Persons in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church by Morris Pepper.

Image provided by Art4TheGlryofGod by Sharon  on Flickr 

CC License 

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The Case for Student Leadership

By Aaron Ferry

Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

I have been a part of numerous retreats, camps, and conferences where we have heard and used this particular passage as a means to encourage our young people to take ownership in their faith and be leaders in their churches, schools, and communities.  But then we leave those experiences, come back home and unfortunately too often we allow that excitement, encouragement, motivation, and momentum to slip through the cracks after a couple of months and we are back to the way things were.

I have also heard in the church setting that these young people are the future leaders of our church.  True.  But why can’t they be leaders in the church today?  The church is theirs today, not just in the future.  So student leadership and developing student leaders is a good thing.  Well actually, it’s a great thing, not only for your church, school, or organization, but most importantly it’s a great thing for the young person too.

Developing student leaders is not only positive for the young person but also for your particular organization.  Developing young people as leaders enables and provides them with opportunities to put on display their gifts, talents, skills, and interests while also learning to develop a new set of skills and learn from the peers and mentors.  Placing and nurturing young people in leadership roles gives them a more hands-on experience and opens up opportunities for them to communicate, work, plan, organize, and make decisions as part of a team.  Developing and encouraging young people to voice and share their ideas will give them more ownership in the events and programs that they attend.

Student leadership can definitely strengthen and improve the programs in your organization.  Young people will offer and add new ideas, life, energy, and excitement to the programs.  As a part of the leadership teams in your organization, the young people will have an opportunity to be more involved, grow, and learn new life skills that will transfer over into their college and adults careers.

So as ministry leaders, why don’t we develop and establish planning teams and ministry teams that involve our young people.  Get your young people involved on the current ministry teams and committees in your church.  May we begin to ask questions of the young people such as, “What are your interests?  What would you like to see happen in our program?  What do you see as your role as a member of the body of Christ?”  May we be a people who hear the voices and cultivate the gifts of our young people.  May we encourage them to share their talents, gifts, and skills as to strengthen the body of Christ today and nurture that voice so it continues on into the future as to be advocates for the young people of tomorrow.

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