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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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?
Find out more about the reTHINK Conference coming to Birmingham in April
Who’s waiting for your students? When they leave the relative safety of their homes, youth ministry or church, who is waiting for them at school, or the university? What contrary ideas will the culture throw their way? What challenges will confront their faith in Christ? How will they answer questions about the LGBT movement, Islam, the reliability of the Bible, evolution, etc.?
Are they ready?
In Colossians 2:8, the apostle Paul warns us not to be taken captive by the false views of this world. Sadly, many of our Christian youth have been captured by the culture. Their ideas reflect the ideas of society. Their worldview is no different than that of their unbelieving friends. It’s time to help our students reTHINK. That’s why Stand to Reason has put together the reTHINK Student Conference for junior high, high school and college students that will be hosted by our friends at Shades Mountain Baptist Church and Briarwood Presbyterian Church April 21-22, 2017.
There will be a special pre-conference lunch at Shades Mountain Baptist Church on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, at 12 p.m. to share a vision for the conference. You’re invited! The luncheon is for pastors and youth pastors, volunteer youth leaders, Christian educators, parents, campus leaders, and anyone else who works with students. Come join us for a free lunch, great fellowship, and a time to hear from Brett Kunkle with Stand for Reason as he shares about these challenges and gives a vision for this conference in April. You can RSVP and find out more info about this Luncheon HERE.
Students were encouraged to share the Hope of Christ at this year’s Leader’s Summit
On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, First Priority Greater Birmingham held its 12th Annual Leader’s Summit at Southeastern Bible College. The Summit is a high-impact, one-day conference that features live music and inspirational messages geared toward highly motivated student leaders and teacher sponsors involved in First Priority campus clubs. This year’s conference trained students on our HOPE Strategy and prepared them to lead their First Priority club. This year, our focus was “The how to’s of effective campus ministry,” and the theme was “Seen” based from 1 Corinthians 2:9.
Approximately 600 students, teachers, youth leaders and parents from over 50 intermediate, middle, junior high and high schools across Central Alabama attended this year’s event. Local school boards of education continue to endorse the program, allowing a group of students to attend during the school day and count the event as a field trip. Superintendents continue to excuse First Priority students and teacher sponsors to attend because they see the value in this type of leadership training event. They also witness the positive impact it makes on students’ lives. Superintendent of St. Clair County Schools Jenny Seals told us she continues to approve for students to attend because, “I know that our students will walk away with valuable leadership information that will help to prepare them for whatever paths they may choose.”
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 from First Priority of America’s Director of Ministry Mark Roberts followed by First Priority Greater Birmingham Area Directors James Cato and Debi DeBoer. These directors trained students on the HOPE Strategy, a 4-week cycle that is repeated every month. “God gives us opportunities to be a servant and we must be willing to say ‘yes’ to God’s call,” said James.
To assist with carrying out this strategy, First Priority developed the HOPE curriculum, a comprehensive, informational packet of resources that leads, guides and directs teacher sponsors, campus coaches and students as they prepare for their club meetings. Students were trained on how to use and implement this guide as well.
Following the HOPE training, we held a panel of youth pastors who were available to answer questions students had about how to effectively lead their club. Students also heard an inspiring testimony from Honorary UAB Football Player Timothy Alexander. Timothy was involved in a car accident in 2006 that paralyzed him from the neck down.
Special Thanks To:
“My experience at the Leadership Summit was great. I loved the praise and worship. It truly moved me. From the testimonies, I learned that we should never give up because you don’t know what God has planned for our lives. I am committed to sharing Christ on my campus. I really love sharing the word of God and introducing Him to others!”
– First Priority Student Leader
“I learned many things at the First Priority Leadership Training. One thing I learned is how to use the HOPE strategy to share the love of Jesus, and how not to judge others. Another thing I learned is that you need to act like yourself to witness to others. I loved the Summit! Thank you for inviting us.”
– Salome, First Priority Student Leader
“The Leader’s Summit was life changing!! You and your team did an amazing job equipping and encouraging the students! I was fired up to reach more people after I left! Thank you for all you do for the Kingdom!
– Kim, Parent
Get your resources for See You at the Pole!
See You at the Pole™ (SYATP) is right around the corner and we want to make sure you have all the resources you may need to promote this special day! We hope you’ll visit our SYATP Web page for downloads that include logos, posters, social media graphics, news release, list of rallies that will be held on the night of SYATP and so much more! Don’t wait, start promoting SYATP at your school and church today!
Please plan to join the tens of thousands of students in our area and millions world-wide on Wednesday, September 28, as they participate in the 26th annual SYATP. Before school, students will join together at their school’s flagpole to pray for their friends, families, teachers, school, city, state and nation to God. SYATP is a student-initiated, student-organized and student-led event.
This year’s SYATP theme is “We Cry Out“ and the scripture verses are Psalm 24:3-6 – “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And, who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face-even Jacob.” This year’s theme message encourages us to seek God. With the current state of our country, we believe this year’s theme is perfect. We are encouraging students, school faculty, families, businessmen and women, everyone, to cry out in prayer for our nation.
For 26 years now, SYATP and First Priority have been about encouraging students to lead-out in prayer, live-out their faith and ask God to reveal who He is not only on their own campus but all over the United States and the world. SYATP brings students to their school flagpoles to intercede for their leaders, schools and families, asking God to bring moral and spiritual awakening to their campus, country and world. First Priority will once again coordinate our state’s efforts through: awareness, students gathering at their school’s flagpole, and community rallies planned for the evening of SYATP.
On Wednesday, September 28, make sure your family and community CRY OUT together and take part in one of the LARGEST prayer movements in our nation. GATHER at your school flagpole, PRAY for friends, families, teachers, schools and our world. ASK God to reveal who He is to your campus. PRAY, SEEK AND TURN TO GOD.
Commit today to pray!
Students are starting back to school this month and they need our prayers. Please join us in praying for students, teachers, faculty and administration. Praying for the students in our area is not just a privilege…it is 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. Please pray for the safety of each school campus. Please be in constant prayer for students who don’t know Christ. Pray that Christian students will be bold in sharing their faith and that God will take away any fears they may have. When you pass by a school, pray for that school. Make a school zone your prayer zone. The prayers for our students and schools are endless. We have put together a prayer guide to help you. Below are 24 Biblical virtues that you can pray over students. Will you join this prayer movement? Commit today to pray!