Author Archives:

Lee Rogers

IT STARTS AT THE ALTAR

There was a time not so long ago when our churches had special times of prayer, waiting on God around the church altar. These times often took place on a Sunday night in response to the preaching of God’s Word or a moving of the Spirit during praise and worship. Older saints and caring adults would often pray over teenagers. Many children and teenagers came to Christ, were filled with the Spirit, and were called to ministry during these altar times. Altar times knit the church family together and allowed His body to use their ministry gifts to build up His church. Unfortunately, many churches have moved from these special times for various reasons.

Yet, there is a question that haunts me. Where will our children and teenagers get to experience the power and presence of God in 2018? Who will call them back to the altar? It doesn’t have to be a physical location or a piece of furniture in the church but rather a genuine experience with Christ that leads to a daily encounter with Jesus. Where will our children be filled with the Holy Spirit and learn that they are loved and supported by caring adults? It’s time to return to the altar and encounter Jesus!

This next year, let’s have a passion to see a generation of young and old experience God’s transformative power. There will be an emphasis on the altar at each PDYM event in 2018. Would you join us this year in praying and challenging this generation? Start by praying for and over our young people. Then, challenge them to reject spiritual passivity and confront areas of compromise that prevent them from experiencing revival. May we once again discover that the altar is where God defines our future as He chooses to forget our past.

This is a call to those who still believe this generation is worthy of an altar experience. Who will join us in prayer, together reclaiming the altars? It starts at the Altar.

Fearless Conference

Join us for a brand new event designed to equip teenagers to make a difference for the Gospel. This is not an event for “leaders,” it’s an event for all believers! It’s Fearless: One Day to Make a Difference, a one-day conference happening in three locations: west, central, and east. Students will be inspired and empowered to serve their friends, talk about their faith, and make a difference without fear. For details and to register, go to www.fearlessoneday.com.

Be Fearless

“Can I tell you about what I’ve been doing in my school?” McKenzie asked me one night after I spoke at her youth group. She was quiet and unassuming, but I could tell she had a passion for Jesus and a story to share. She told me how she’d invited her entire class to a weekly Bible Study, and that a few dozen students were attending regularly. I was a little surprised because McKenzie was a very shy and quiet student; she was not the personality type most people would expect to fearlessly launch a movement and make a difference for the Gospel.

 

A few months later I contacted McKenzie and asked if we could document her story with a video, and if she would be willing to appear on stage with me at an event to tell the story in her own words. She declined. McKenzie said, “To be honest, I’m very shy and I don’t consider myself to be a leader. I’m not comfortable in front of large crowds, and I don’t want to draw attention to myself. I just want to make a difference for Jesus amongst my friends and in my school.” I was disappointed with her response, but I wasn’t surprised; this was more in line with what most would expect from her personality type. McKenzie reveals an interesting juxtaposition for all of us who follow Jesus; we are not all called to be leaders, but we are all called to lead others to Christ.

 

In the church, we have too frequently conflated these separate concepts, and often to the detriment of the mission of God. The Apostle Paul wrote that some have the gift of leadership, but some have other gifts, such as serving or giving (see Romans 12:3-8). At the same time, all believers are called to lead others to Christ (Matthew 28:19-20), and we can even receive the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). So we are not all leaders, but we are all to be leading our friends and acquaintances to Christ. McKenzie was a perfect working example of this seeming irreconcilable contradiction; she wasn’t a leader, yet she was leading many to the Cross through the Scriptures. She was making a difference for the Gospel, fulfilling the call placed upon all followers of Christ.

 

When we assume that only “leaders” can start a movement that will make a difference, or that only those in leadership can share the Gospel, we severely limit the scope and breadth of God’s mission. We also limit the further discipleship and effectiveness of all believers. Worst of all, we put the Holy Spirit in a box, as though the empowerment that is for all followers of Christ is only for a few. It’s time to reject this way of thinking. It’s time to embrace the truth that all believers are called to make a difference for the Gospel; that all can share their faith without fear; that each one can be used by God to shape history.

 

Join us for a brand new event designed to equip teenagers to make a difference for the Gospel. This is not an event for “leaders,” it’s an event for all believers! It’s Fearless: One Day to Make a Difference, a one-day conference happening in three locations: west, central, and east. Students will be inspired and empowered to serve their friends, talk about their faith, and make a difference without fear. For details and to register, go to www.fearlessoneday.com

 

 

My School, My Mission

The first Christian missionaries were empowered with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, just a few days after the ascension of Jesus into heaven. Jesus told them it was coming: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8 ESV). With that empowerment, the great missionary movement was launched into the earth. We are the descendants of that movement, and we continue to send forth missionaries as a part of that movement.

Interestingly, the work of the missionary doesn’t begin at the end of the earth; it begins in Jerusalem. That means it begins right here, right now. The mission field begins when we walk out of our home, our church, and into our neighborhoods, towns, workplaces, and schools. In this sense, we are all missionaries. A student’s mission field is his or her school, and the church’s responsibility is to equip each student for the work of the ministry in this mission field (Eph.4:11-13).

Calling students to the commitment of a Campus Missionary is an important part of Every church must empower every student to reach every school.that empowerment. This summer, we are redefining the term “Campus Missionary” on a national scale. The heart of the Campus Missionary will remain the same—to make Jesus known on the school campus and beyond—but we are simplifying the definition so that more leaders and students can identify and join with this movement. For years, a Campus Missionary was defined by five core behaviors: Pray, Live, Tell, Serve, and Give. Three years ago we simplified that definition to the three Scriptural principles Live, Love, Lead: Live on purpose, Love out loud, Lead to eternity. This summer we will make it even simpler: A Campus Missionary is a student who shares Jesus at school. Several great new resources will also be released to help leaders and churches equip students in this journey of missional discipleship.

Youth pastors and leaders, to take your missional discipleship to the next level, join the 2016 Exponential Leadership Cohort. More information can be found at reachtheschool.com/exponential.

The Gift of Joy

Sharing Jesus This Christmas

In the movie Elf, one of Buddy’s favorite things to do is to sing Christmas Carols. Buddy spreads the gift of joy to everyone he meets, and singing loudly is one way he goes about it. Caroling was a part of my family’s Christmas traditions each year. Every Christmas Eve my family attended the service at our church, drove around and looked at Christmas lights, and then we would visit one or two friends and sing a few carols as a family. This was a special time of bringing joy through visitation, taking notice of those who were important to us through a personal visit and a song. It always served as a reminder of the power of friends, family, and the joy that comes through meaningful relationships.

Have you ever been visited by Christmas carolers unexpectedly? Christmas caroling can sometimes come as an interruption, but it’s the pleasant kind that brightens your day through the joy of friendship, reminding you that someone cares enough to notice you. There is a joy that comes in being noticed, in being reminded that you are significant and that another person or family cares enough to spend time with you in conversation. In a sense, that is what Christmas is all about. God took notice of man and his suffering and sent His Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to dwell among us. For the first time in history, God began a long-term conversation with man in the physical form of Jesus. He became Immanuel—God with us.

The significance of this conversation cannot be overstated. God created the heavens and the earth, made everything that we see, lived in heaven, but chose to come to earth and pitch his tent alongside ours. He came to us. He experienced the story of man. He learned life as man saw it. He came to earth and got to know us. He learned our stories. And in doing so, he brought joy to those around him, and to those who would believe in him for the rest of time. He brought joy to us by noticing us, and he brought joy to those around Him by spending time with them in meaningful relationship. God gave us the gift of joy, and it came through a conversation in the form of Jesus. If we are going to be fully formed disciples of Christ, we must do the same thing.

Have you considered that you should be giving the gift of joy to those around you? I’m not just speaking about your family and friends, but of those co-workers, neighbors, and connections that remain apart from God’s salvation. Being a joy-giver is not about having a big personality, or even being a “people person.” Giving the gift of joy is as simple as noticing someone around you by caring enough to have a meaningful conversation with them. There are many people around us who are simply looking for someone willing to hear their story, to notice them, and to have a conversation with them. It’s a universal truth of humanity that we need to be heard. To be heard is to be acknowledged; to be acknowledged is to be valued; to be valued is to be loved; to be loved is to be human.

We know that ultimate joy and fulfillment comes through a life fully submitted to God. We also know that no one can come to God unless they’ve heard about Him, and no one can hear about Him unless someone starts a conversation. If there’s a person or group you want to share the Gospel with, go and dwell among them by starting a conversation. Spend your time on them—sing a Christmas carol, serve them, have a meaningful conversation and learn their story! Give the gift of joy by noticing them, earn the right to be heard by listening to them, and share the ultimate gift of Christmas—Jesus—through the context of your relationship. Buddy the Elf spread the gift of joy through song and enthusiasm. How will you spread the gift of joy this Christmas?

For more on having meaningful conversations with the lost, check out Initiate: Powerful Conversations That Lead to Jesus. Available on Amazon.com and Kindle.

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