Day of Prayer Over Students – Resources

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Praying for the students in our area is not just a privilege…it’s a necessity. Students live in a tough world! Each day, students are subjected to literally thousands of offensive images and words. They also face an enormous amount of peer pressure to become part of what is considered normal by the world’s standards. Without prayer, these students will not be able to stand against the insurmountable odds they will face from childhood until they leave this world. Will you join us in praying for our students?

Commit now to join with other parents and concerned adults to pray over students, teachers, school administrators and support staff, and schools on Friday, March 27, for the Alabama state Day of Prayer Over Students. Make plans now for a First Priority staff member to come speak to your church group about Day of Prayer and the different ways your church can get involved. E-mail us today at info@gofirstpriority.com to set-up a date and time.

CLICK HERE for all Day of Prayer Resources

Networking, FREE Lunch and Encouragement at our next City-wide

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We would like to invite you to our next City-wide Campus Ministry Network Luncheon that will be held on Friday, March 13, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. at Valleydale Baptist Church in Hoover.

Our special guest speaker is Dr. Allen Jackson, Professor of Youth Education and Collegiate Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Jackson is also the founder of the Youth Ministry Institute. Dr. Jackson’s teaching specializations include: youth ministry, adolescent development, collegiate ministry, leadership and administration. Dr. Jackson has nearly 40 years of ministry experience and has been teaching for over 20 years. He is also an accomplished author and has written numerous articles and books. Dr. Jackson is married and has two children, and he loves coffee. Click here to learn more about Dr. Jackson. The first 15 people to register for this City-wide will receive a copy of Dr. Jackson’s book “Disciple.” Don’t miss out, register now!

We will have many great give-a-ways and free youth ministry resources. You don’t want to miss this City-wide! Please join us for a time of equipping, encouragement and fellowship. Save the date and make plans now to attend. RSVP today!

CLICK HERE to register

“God has a plan for your life”

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On Feb. 13, 2015, a young student at Springville Middle School led First Priority and shared an inspirational story about three trees. Once upon a time there stood three little trees on a mountaintop. These three little trees had big dreams. The first little tree wanted to hold treasure and be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. The second little tree wanted to be a ship that carried powerful kings. The third little tree didn’t want to leave the mountaintop at all. He wanted to be the tallest tree in the world so that when people stopped to look up at him, they would raise their eyes to Heaven and think of God.

After years passed, the three little trees grew tall, so tall that one day three wood cutters climbed the mountain to cut them down. With big dreams to hold treasure, the first tree was used as a feed box for animals to hold hay. With dreams of becoming a mighty ship and carry powerful kings, the second tree was turned into a small fishing boat. And finally, with big dreams to stay put and grow tall, the third tree was cut into strong beams and left in a lumberyard.

After many days and nights passed, the three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. Her husband whispered, “I wish I could make a cradle for him.” She replied with, “This manger is beautiful.” The first tree then knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the small fishing boat. While the traveler was sleeping, a vigorous storm arose and the second tree was afraid because he didn’t believe he was strong enough to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and rain. The tired traveler awoke and with his outstretched hand he calmed the sea. The second tree then knew he was carrying the King of Heaven and Earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree’s beams were yanked from the wood pile. It was carried through an angry, mocking crowd. Soldiers nailed a man’s hand to it. The tree felt ugly, harsh and cruel. But on Sunday, when the sun rose and the Earth trembled with joy, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was so much better than being the tallest tree in the world.

“God has a plan for you and you have a purpose in this world,” the First Priority student said. “Seek God’s will for your life. He has a plan for you in His time.”

God may not give us what we want and when we want it, but if we seek Him and His will for our lives, He will give us something better. Seek God’s will for your life. Begin praying today that God will show you His purpose for you in this world.

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Springville Middle School First Priority Club

 

Commit now to pray for students on March 27

dop 2015 file (2)Gov. Bentley proclaims Friday, March 27, Day of Prayer Over Students Across Alabama

Friday, March 27, will mark the 10th Annual Statewide Day of Prayer Over Students. At the request of First Priority, Governor Bob Riley proclaimed the First Statewide Day of Prayer Over Students in 2006. Since then, thousands of adults have been involved in both private and public prayer opportunities in spiritual support of students in Alabama. First Priority will once again coordinate this prayer emphasis encouraged by the recent proclamation of our current governor, Dr. Robert Bentley.

Praying for the students in our area is not just a privilege…it’s a necessity. Students live in a tough world! Each day, students are subjected to literally thousands of offensive images and words. They also face an enormous amount of peer pressure to become part of what is considered normal by the world’s standards. Without prayer, these students will not be able to stand against the insurmountable odds they will face from childhood until they leave this world. Will you join us in praying for our students?

Commit now to join with other parents and concerned adults to pray over students, teachers, school administrators and support staff, and schools on Friday, March 27. Make plans now for a First Priority staff member to come speak to your church group about Day of Prayer and the different ways your church can get involved. Send an e-mail to info@gofirstpriority.com today to set-up a date and time. Over the next month, we will provide you with numerous resources to help you, your church and community get involved. Visit www.firstpriorityal.com for more information.

Outreach changing lives at Oak Grove High School

Oak Grove High Club MeetingThe vision of First Priority is to see the Hope of Christ in every student before they graduate high school. We celebrate as four Oak Grove High School students recently accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior through First Priority. “As we approach another year of outreach and evangelism at Oak Grove High School, we rejoice with the four students that just accepted Christ,” said First Priority Campus Coach Logan LeGrande. “Every week, we have the privilege of going into the school and sharing God’s Word. Outreach is very important to reach students for Christ. You can do anything from handing out biscuits or drinks to students as they come in the door to placing Bible verses in lockers to encourage students. Our leadership team works to come up with unique ideas to get people to come in that auditorium door so that students can share what God has done in their lives. First Priority reaches from 20-50 students every week at Oak Grove and that is not including what God is doing outside of the auditorium.”

We hear stories just like this every week. Students are equipped to reach their campus for Christ. The public school is the largest mission field in America, and students know they are on a nine month mission trip when school is in session. This phrase reminds them that these clubs are not God groups, holy huddles or Christian cliques. They are inclusive Great Commission clubs, fulfilling the call in Mark 16:15 to, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”

Students are reaching students for Christ. Will you commit to pray for them? Will you get involved with a club in your area? With your help, we can reach this generation for Christ. It’s simple, call 205.871.8886 today. We look forward to hearing from you!

Leader’s Summit Recap and Pictures

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Students were “Sent” to reach their school for Christ at this year’s Leader’s Summit

On Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, First Priority held its 10th Annual Leader’s Summit at Southeastern Bible College. Over 700 students, teachers, youth leaders and parents from over 60 intermediate, middle, junior high and high schools across Central Alabama attended this year’s event. “Leadership begins at the feet of Jesus,” was this year’s theme and students were “Sent” to reach their campus for Christ.

Praise and Worship Band The Multis Project kicked-off the morning with upbeat and interactive music that led students into the presence of God. Students enjoyed a day of intense training that began with a representative from the Billy Graham Association Chad Miller. Chad challenged students not to make what they do on their campus a performance. He focused on Matthew 6:5 and Acts 4:31 and through these scriptures Chad expressed that God is not impressed with what we do on stage but what we do in our closets. “God will give us the boldness and ability to share the Hope we have in Christ if we learn to pray not to be seen but pray that we grow closer to God Himself,” said Chad. Students then heard from Rabbi Eric Walker who challenged them to be true followers of Jesus and rest at his feet. He emphasized that the benefits of following Christ are much greater than the costs. First Priority of America’s Mark Roberts concluded the day by reminding students about the mission Christ has “Sent” us on and that we must step out and share our story. “God will use you if you let Him; He will give you opportunities if you will step out on faith,” said Mark. Students left the Leader’s Summit feeling challenged and inspired as they were “Sent” to reach their campus for Christ.

Special Thanks To:

Southeastern Bible College, Chick-fil-A, Bud’s Best Cookies, Servant Life, Trek-X and Compassion International

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Click here to view pictures from Leader’s Summit

“Our students loved the band and speakers at the First Priority leadership conference. They were encouraged by the messages they heard and have already begun planning ways to reach even more students for Christ.” – Pastor Chuck Lackey, Calvary Baptist Church

“I thought the Leader’s Summit was awesome, a great encouragement and knowledge for student leaders! I thought each speaker was very knowledgeable and insightful. The band rocked and was very spirit filled.” – Jake, Student

“I really enjoyed the Leader’s Summit! It made me realize that we as students really need to push hard to find ways to get our attendance up as well as work harder to spread Jesus in the classrooms. I really enjoyed the speakers; I thought all three had great messages! I enjoyed the band as well! I believe that it was well worth the trip and that our school should be a regular attendant every year!” – Caleb, Student

“The worship from 2015 Leader’s Summit was absolutely incredible! God was so present that day and I haven’t felt the same since then. I feel rejuvenated and eager to share God’s gracious love after a wonderful day at the Leader’s Summit.” – Alexandria, Student

“I really liked the lesson of Rabbi Walker on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. I also enjoyed the emphasis that we are not a private, member’s only club to benefit ourselves, but we are called in Mark 16:15 to ‘Go into the world and preach the Gospel.’ We are to bring in more disciples of Jesus and train them to serve him. The students really liked the band, and enjoyed the entire conference. They were on fire when we left and were still talking about it on Monday morning!” – Teacher Sponsor, Ashville Middle School

FPKids is a hit at Gardendale Elementary School

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Written By First Priority Area Director James Cato

Great things are happening in North Jefferson County as local churches and parents are making investments at the local schools like never before. Gardendale Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church hosted an FPKids training event for all local parents back in September. Parents were so excited that they helped start a new FPKids club at Gardendale Elementary School this January. Amy Sizemore, children’s director for Gardendale Mt. Vernon, rallied parents and teachers to be a part of the new Club. First Priority Area Director James Cato kicked off the year educating students about what FPKids is and how they can be a part of it.

The FPKids strategy focuses on teaching students to know and do what “Jesus Said.” The curriculum consists of four parts that are repeated every month: Read It, See It, Live It, Tell It. Each month, students Read and learn what Jesus Said; they See how His teaching changes them and the marks it leaves on them; they experience real ways to Live out the truth with love; and they encourage each other to Tell others about Jesus. FPKids is taking God’s Word and putting it into action on campus. Christ in our lives leaves marks on us that others can see. It’s fun knowing what truth is because truth also marks and guides us for life. It is incredible to see kids get excited about learning God’s Word and knowing it is our real source of truth. This new club averages 60 students in attendance each week.

“First Priority Kids has been the talk of the campus since our first meeting on January 14, 2015. We look forward to seeing what God will do with our students and their families,” said Teacher Sponsor Ashley King.

We hear stories just like this every week from our different FPKids clubs. Would you like to help start an FPKids club in your area? It’s simple, just call 205.871.8886. With your help, we can reach even more elementary and intermediate schools across the Greater-Birmingham area with the hope of Christ. Call us today!

We’re on a great race of mercy

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First Priority held its first City-Wide Campus Ministry Network Luncheon of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, at Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham. Nearly 100 youth leaders and children’s ministers across the Greater-Birmingham area attended for a time of equipping, encouragement and fellowship. Everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch from Full Moon Bar-B-Que.

Our special guest speaker Director of Student Ministry at LifeWay Christian Resources Ben Trueblood brought an inspirational message about the essentials of a healthy student ministry. “We’re on a great race of mercy,” said Ben. “We need to rescue this generation with the Gospel.”

Three Essentials of a Healthy Student Ministry

1) Kingdom Expanding

– Must be modeled by a leader

– More than church expanding – break away from just trying to grow your group. This is a good thing but it’s important to focus on growing the Kingdom, not your numbers.

– Move toward the nations – make sure students know God’s heart is for the nations. Students need to see beyond themselves. They need an international mission experience before they graduate high school.

2) Character Transforming

– It’s not character forming; it’s students being transformed into the image of Jesus

– It’s not about telling students, “No, no, no; you’re not supposed to do that.” Show them Jesus and they will know they shouldn’t do certain things.

– Connect students to Jesus – get them in God’s Word and teach them how to walk through it.

– Understanding of grace

3) Culture Shaping

– Students shaping the culture instead of being shaped by it

– Do they believe they can shape the culture? Do we believe they can? Our answer should be, “Yes.”

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“We’re on a great race of mercy,” said Ben. “We have the serum for this generation. It’s the Gospel. Let’s run feverishly to this generation with the Gospel. Make sure students know they can shape their culture with Jesus.”

We would like to thank Ben again for his encouragement and knowledge he shared that will help youth pastors strengthen their student ministries. We would also like to give a special thanks to our sponsors who helped make this event a huge success: Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes, YM360, and Interlinc. Representatives from these organizations provided youth leaders with educational material about their programs and upcoming events. These groups also gave away several nice gifts and youth ministry resources. Please take time to visit their Web sites. We would like to thank all those again who attended and joined us for a great time of growth and fellowship.

See You At the Pole Media Coverage

Check out these media links from last week’s See You At the Pole.