This school year, we have seen exciting things happen in Thompson Sixth Grade Center’s First Priority club. This is a club that has struggled with student leadership in the past. At First Priority’s Leader’s Summit that was held in September, we focused on the “how to’s” of effective campus ministry and trained students on how to implement the First Priority HOPE Strategy. This strategy equips students with a plan of action to reach their school with the hope of Christ. There are now nine girls that serve on the leadership team at Thompson. The “P” week of the HOPE strategy is Prepare, which is designated for students to give their personal testimony of how Christ has impacted their life. Recently during Prepare Week, MaKayla, a 12-years-old student leader, got up and shared her story about how she was involved
in a tragic accident when she was in 2nd
grade. To summarize, she has a passion for horses and had been playing with a foal that she snuck up behind and it kicked her in the left side of her chest. She continued to share how she turned blue from lack of oxygen and then white as paramedics were called to the scene. Her mother began praying as she struggled to know what she could do for her daughter. CPR was dangerous because if the ribs were broken they could puncture the heart. The moment when all seems lost, Jesus is the answer… MaKayla’s only injury was a mark of the horse’s hoof imprinted on her chest. Her only reason for what happened is that God had a plan for sparing her life and she is now impacting her classmates by telling the story of how Christ has delivered her. Wow, to God be the glory! Speaking in front of a large group of students can be very scary, especially in middle school. We’re so proud of MaKayla for overcoming her fears, listening to God’s call and reaching her campus for Christ by sharing what God has done in her life.
This is just one testimony of what occurs every week on nearly 200 campuses across the Greater-Birmingham Area. God is using the lives of students to reach their peers for Christ. Equipping the next generation of leaders to share what Christ has done in their life is vitally important and has become our First Priority. Do you want to get involved? We need your prayer and support to continue equipping students with a platform, strategy and provision for ongoing effective campus ministry outreach. Call us today at 205.871.8886 or visit firstpriorityal.com to learn about the different ways you can help us continue to reach students with the hope of Christ.
Help give your students direction
First Priority held its first City-Wide Campus Ministry Network Luncheon of the year yesterday at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in the Youth Barn Facility. More than 50 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 Chick-fil-A.
Our special guest speaker Jena Forehand, founder of Stained Glass and Living Deeper Ministries, poured out her heart and shared her testimony about the death, burial and resurrection of her own marriage, and what God taught her and her husband during that two-year journey. After Jena and her husband Dale got married and had children, everything seemed to be going really well. Dale became a deacon in the church, and Jena was leading Bible studies. “We were doing church,” Jena said. “We were being religious, but we didn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ.” After eight-and-a-half years of marriage, they found themselves in a 15-month custody battle that culminated in a divorce. Several months later they decided to attend Christian counseling together and changed by God’s grace, they remarried. After God put their family back together, their son professed Christ as his savior. God saved their marriage and their son.
“Direction – God has a path for your life,” Jena said. “For so long we were being religious, but we didn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ. During this time, God showed us our purpose. You have the incredible opportunity to help students find their path. Spend time with them and show them tangible changes in their path and walk with Christ.”
Jena closed by encouraging ministry leaders to balance their time spent with their families and serving students. “You get to decide who gets cheated, your students or your family. Pray that God will provide you with discernment when to cheat which relationship.”
We would also like to give a special thanks to our sponsor, Hope Missions, who helped make this City-wide a huge success. Shawn Doss with Hope Missions provided ministry leaders with educational material about upcoming mission trips he will be hosting. Please take a moment to check out the different mission trip opportunities listed on his Web site. Thank you again to Briarwood for hosting this event, and thank you to all those who attended and joined us for a great time of growth and fellowship.
Students take the lead at Hueytown Middle School
This school year, Hueytown Middle School’s First Priority club has seen some exciting new changes. Ms. Molly Sears became the new faculty sponsor and hit the ground running helping students effectively lead their campus club. First Priority clubs are student initiated and student led. Our faculty sponsors and campus coaches (church leaders), walk alongside students guiding, equipping and encouraging them as they prepare to lead their club. One great change this year at Hueytown Middle was dividing leadership by grade. Each week, a different grade level of students leads the meeting. This gives younger students the opportunity to take on a leadership role and gives older students the chance to be filled with God’s word. The club has grown so much due to these leadership changes that students had to start meeting in a larger room! Speaking in front of a large group can be very scary, especially for middle schoolers. We’re so proud of these young students for overcoming their fears, listening to God’s call and reaching their campus for Christ. We applaud their dedication to making disciples and growing God’s Kingdom no matter the cost.
We are very thankful for our faculty sponsors and campus coaches who work each week with students to make great things like this happen in so many schools. Change can be difficult to accept, but in the end the fruit of positive change always speaks for itself.
We have a New Year’s Resolution – Will you take
Experts say it takes 21 days to make a habit. How are your New Year’s resolutions going now that we are 19 days into the month? First Priority has a new challenge for you and it’s very simple… Pray! Will you commit to praying the following over the next 21 days? Students and teachers need your prayer and support; they live in a tough world. Our prayer is that you’ll be able to stick to the challenge, create a new habit of prayer and continue to pray throughout the year.
Here is the challenge for the next 21 days:
1. Pray for students to be bold about letting their light shine.
2. Pray for parents’ hearts to engage daily with their children.
3. Pray for all those who don’t know Christ.
4. Pray for God to place one person on your heart to begin to pray for every day that they will come to know Jesus.
5. Pray about supporting First Priority every month. No gift is too small.
6. Pray for our First Priority Board and Staff.
7. Pray for our school principals.
8. Pray for our teachers.
9. Pray for our students to have teachable spirits.
10. Pray for the churches by name that surround where you live.
11. Pray for the youth pastor at your church to have favor with his/her students.
12. Pray for Godly wisdom.
13. Pray for the Gospel to go forth in a powerful way.
14. Pray that we would truly love one another.
15. Pray for our governor and president.
16. Pray for protection over our nation.
17. Pray for revival here in America.
18. Pray for the truth of God’s Word to be spoken and not compromised.
19. Pray that God will provide students with wisdom and boldness when sharing Christ with their friends.
20. Pray for the safety of students, teachers and faculty in our schools.
21. Pray that students will unite together for the cause of Christ.
Will you take this challenge and commit to praying over the next 21 days?
FPKids raising up missionaries for God’s Kingdom!
Our culture is changing vastly and First Priority is working to change with it. We are currently in our fifth year of implementing FPKids, a strategy for churches and parents to partner together around schools to empower elementary and intermediate students to influence their school with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This year, nearly 50 schools and over 4,000 students participate in FPKids. 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.
FPKids has been a great success this school year thus far. Several new clubs have been started. One of the many amazing things about FPKids is the willingness of fourth and fifth grade students who are excited about praying for their school. Not only are they willing to pray, they’re willing to let others know that Jesus is the only way to Heaven – John 14:6.
Oak Grove Elementary School started FPKids last school year. Nearly 100 kids attend the meetings each week. One hundred Bibles were generously donated to the club at the beginning of last year for every student to use. Here is an example of the blessings received from the teacher sponsors: “FPKids is a great way for the students to come together and hear the Gospel from us and each other. We have kids who love to stand and pray at the beginning and end of the session, and I always have kids asking me if they can read the Gospel Step-up (presentation of the Gospel). We try to make it as much fun as we can, and teach so much to these kids as well. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to work with these students and teach them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
We hear stories just like this every week from our different FPKids clubs. The staff at First Priority is very thankful for all the prayers and support from the local community.
We praise God for all He has done and the seeds of life planted in students’ hearts.
New Year, New Opportunities!
It’s a new year filled with new opportunities! We hope you’ll take a moment to learn a little bit more about First Priority and the different ways you can be involved with this great ministry. The impact First Priority is making on students’ lives would never be possible without your prayer and support. Together, we can continue to reach students with the Hope of Christ. Let’s make 2017 the best year yet!
First Priority is a strategy for students to share the Love and Hope of Jesus Christ with every student in their school. We connect the CHURCH to the CAMPUS to share CHRIST with students. We are currently in our 26th year of ministry serving elementary, middle, junior high and high schools across the nation and world.
New studies from Barna say, “If Jesus is not already part of students’ lives by the time they leave junior high school, the chance of them professing Him as their Lord and Savior is very slim (6% to be exact).” That is why we unite the body of Christ with a plan of action to influence the school with the Gospel.
First Priority helps the local church extend its ministry to school campuses. We partner together to work with schools to help set-up and organize clubs that meet before school that are student-initiated and student-led. The public school is the largest mission field in America. We provide Christian students with a platform, strategy and support for ongoing effective campus ministry outreach. These students are on a 9-month mission trip when school is in session. None of this would be possible without your help! There are several ways you can get involved:
Pray – The ministry of First Priority could never be what God truly wants it to be without consistent prayer. Ask your church congregation to pray over students and commission them to go and be disciples in their school. Please be in constant prayer for students who don’t know Christ, and for Christian students to be bold in sharing their faith. Pray for our staff, volunteers, faculty sponsors, campus coaches, students and schools. When you pass by a school, pray for that school. Make a school zone your prayer zone.
Promote – Share the vision and mission of First Priority within your circle of influence. Pray about who would be blessed and interested to know about and support the mighty work that God is doing on our school campuses. We have a lot of resources available that you can share with others at firstpriorityal.com. Ask your church to give First Priority opportunities to speak and raise awareness about the ministry. Encourage your church’s youth pastor to promote First Priority with your youth group and to encourage students to attend club meetings, be on leadership and to invite their lost friends.
Participate – First Priority is always in need of volunteers. Most of the students in our schools will never step foot in a church, but they will attend school. We need to go to them. Encourage members of your church to get involved with First Priority and to participate and connect with students on our campuses. E-mail us at email@example.com to get involved.
Provide – Support First Priority financially and help ensure that every student in our area is reached with the Hope of Christ. It takes $3,000 to fund each school that we serve. I would like to encourage you to help support one or several of the more than 200 schools across the Greater-Birmingham Area. CLICK HERE to support First Priority. Call205.871.8886 or visit firstpriorityal.com to learn how you can join this Gospel movement to advance the Kingdom of God.
Will you commit to praying about how you can be involved with First Priority?
Hurry! There’s only 3 days left to DOUBLE your investment to reach students with the Hope of Christ!
Once again this year, some donors have agreed to match every special gift we receive in November and December dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000! DONATE HERE online or place your gift in the mail today and it will be counted toward our 2016 campaign and be instantly doubled: First Priority – PO Box 59365, Birmingham, AL, 35259.
If you have already given a gift, thank you for your generosity. If you haven’t given a gift yet, please let me take a moment to remind you that in these challenging economic times there’s no better way to continue your partnership with First Priority! Your year-end gift of $25, $50, $75, $100 or even more will have twice the impact in young lives during the 2016 Victory Matching Challenge. Can I count on your support?
We continue to be excited about the success we’ve had in this 26th year of First Priority’s ministry, and the opportunities that lie ahead for 2017. That’s why I’m asking for your support right now during this important challenge. Your help is vital support to the work of thousands of students who bring the Gospel to the public school campuses through First Priority. During our 2016 Victory Matching Challenge, your extra special gift of $25, $50, $75, $100 or even more will be twice as effective! Please consider sending your generous gift by 11:59 p.m. on December 31! A gift in any amount will be instantly doubled for twice the joy, twice the hope and twice the love to a student who so desperately needs to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ! Please let me hear from you soon!
Keeping Christ the First Priority,
Students’ lives are being changed because of
We are excited to announce out of the schools that have reported, nearly 300 students have made a decision for Christ on their school campus this fall semester. There have been countless more salvation decisions at First Priority sponsored events this school year as well. These students have been followed-up with to be discipled and become involved with a local church. Wow, God is good!
First Priority works! Lives are being changed. With this movement, all it takes is one student and an entire school and generation can be changed for Christ. God is truly amazing and we know He can do anything. We can’t wait to see how He is going to move in our schools and through our students during the spring semester 2017.
None of this would be possible without your help! Will you continue your partnership with First Priority and participate in our Victory Matching Challenge? Some friends of First Priority have gotten together to challenge the ministry to raise $100,000 in November and December, and they will match every penny donated. Your gift of $25 will be immediately doubled to $50. Your $100 gift will be matched to make a $200 gift and $250 becomes $500. We hope you will consider giving a gift for our year-end Victory Matching Challenge. We have been doing this campaign for over 15 years and because of the impact it has made we have seen tens of thousands of lives changed. Every gift of love, every prayer, every word of support to a Christian student, faculty sponsor or youth worker means that another student will have the opportunity to hear the life-changing Gospel of Christ! Please prayerfully consider giving a gift for our year-end Victory Matching Challenge. Thank you for helping us share the HOPE of Christ with the next generation through your generous donations!
FPKids share Christ’s love this Christmas
As we approach the Christmas season, it’s a wonderful time to share about and celebrate the birth of our Hope and Savior Jesus Christ. Luke 2:1-20 will be read and told on hundreds of local school campuses this time of year. Also during this holiday season, many local First Priority and FPKids clubs do special things to celebrate the birth of Jesus and spread Christmas joy.
To show the love of Christ, Warrior Elementary FPKids club decided to do Operation Christmas Child and pack shoeboxes full of toys and necessities that will travel all around the world and be given to children in rural villages and towns. Allyson McCombs, campus coach and teacher sponsor at Warrior Elementary, helped students prepare and wrap boxes to be sent to distribution centers that send the boxes worldwide.
I think we can take a cue from elementary students just like this who see Christmas as more than a time to receive gifts but to give gifts and share the hope of Christ, not just in our local community but all around the world.
First Priority and FPKids students have also collected candy to fill Christmas stockings for children in need, sang Christmas carols, held canned-food drives to help local ministries, made cards for teachers to encourage them and served hot chocolate to students. It is a blessing to see students give up their time to show others the love of Christ this Christmas.