Report from Daniel, a youth pastor in Little Elm, Texas.
When I was first asked to take over the student ministry in my church, our Senior Pastor told me “When the youth get activated, the whole church will get activated.” I didn’t completely understand how true that statement was until a couple of weeks ago.
In December 2011 we launched our first I am Second youth group. It didn’t take long for our students to get behind the groups. A few weeks after our first group launched, six students told me they wanted to take I am Second into their public schools. So in early 2012 we launched I am Second in our local Junior High and High School. Soon 35 new students had joined those school groups.
We now have 8 groups. Each group caters to different types of people. About 30 kids have joined our youth group because of groups our students are doing outside the church.
One group amazes me because they consistently have over 25 kids attending each week. This group has inspired the parents to get involved. Each week 4-6 of the parents team up to host the group and provide dinner.
The whole church is getting behind these youth groups. For example, the parents are wearing I am Second bracelets and t-shirts. Their impact is spreading, too, for now we are finalizing a strategy to launch I am Second groups for the men’s and women’s ministries. Several new families have come to our church because their kids started coming to one of the Second groups.
After we train more leaders, we plan to expand the groups in the schools. The schools have given us permission to put up banners during lunch to get more exposure for the Second groups. So we’ll have an official launch soon when these new leaders are ready.
There is nothing more powerful than young people passionately telling others about what Jesus has done in their lives. Our Pastor was right. “When the youth get activated, the whole church will get activated.”
My I am Second journey began at a NASCAR event. A big billboard truck with a T.V. screen was playing I am second films. Amidst the high-octane excitement they caught my attention and made my heart race for the Lord. I picked up some of the literature there and passed it along to my friends. Then, this past summer our church’s youth group went to camp where they too were introduced to I am Second. God was up to something.
Unexpectedly, I was laid off from my work as a millwork superintendent. I was praying that God would show me the green light to do what was next for me. That’s when I found the online group leader training for I am Second groups on the website and signed up. We had a great teacher and group of people in our sessions. The highlight for me was the “Live and Tell” at the end of each session. I was so supercharged when we went through the “My village” session that I made a list of 50 people that need Jesus. Actually, I talked to 66 people that week. If I was working, I’d never have had the time. Go God Go!
Earlier this year we started an I am Second group that kicked into overdrive and split into two groups by the third week. We invited the leaders of a teen and young adult bible study to our group and they caught on to the movement immediately. Now they lead a small army of young adults, as many as 45 people from high school age to their early 20’s, at a local fish camp. They’re identifying leaders to branch off and lay the track for more small groups. Go God Go!
God took the challenge of my job layoff and turned it into fuel for His race to the kingdom of Christ.
– Chris P.
Get Connected. I am Second small groups are designed to connect people with one another and with God through an authentic, action based discussion group. In an I am Second group you’ll be encouraged to discover your purpose in life through Jesus.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the review the I Am Second small group materials received over at SimpleChurch Journal. They have a great blog about living missionally and how the church can benefit from getting down to the basics.
Here are some excerpts:
They incorporate many of the principles that we have found key to starting healthy groups that can reach out to others to start new groups.
New believers are encouraged immediately to begin praying for their “village,” or sphere of influence, and to reach out with compassion towards them.
We appreciate the encouragement and are glad to be working toward the same goals. Be sure to share your experience with the I Am Second small group materials on their blog and here for that matter! What’s your experience been?
Howdy! My name is Ashley Scarbrough and I am a sophomore at Texas A&M University. I lead an I Am Second small group, and I am also the Texas A&M I Am Second Small Groups Coordinator.
You know, its crazy. Writing this and thinking back about how God even brought me here. I never knew what I Am Second groups were. Yea, I saw the website, watched the videos, but I never knew there was something more! I am sure God got a kick out of it, because I never would have guessed He would bring me to I Am Second, or bring me to small groups.
Groups…goodness, when I learned about how to lead an I Am Second group, I had no idea I would even be getting involved, let alone become the Small Group Coordinator on my campus! He knows me so well: I love surprises. And God is obviously FULL of surprises! You never know what to expect from Him.
I came to love I Am Second groups quickly, because as soon as I learned the heart behind the groups, I realized God was simply answering my prayers. Being in college, I have come to realize I have many friends that just need Jesus! They need Jesus, not just a religion, not just a church building, but they need the real Jesus living in them. They need to encounter Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and not just sit in a pew, as their mind wander. They need intimacy, which they are so obviously longing for. I was always find myself asking God, “How do I reach them?” And He showed me a way–I Am Second groups.
I Am Second small groups is a simple tool to gather my friends together just to discuss life and God. We get into the Word. I do not have to preach, but I get to listen. We engage and discuss the Bible. It is a comfortable environment, where my friends who have not given Jesus Christ the key to their heart can open up and discuss the Bible too. He provided a way! He answered my prayers and He has given me a way to reach out to those who just won’t do church. Not only that but my I Am Second group doesn’t grow, it multiplies! I have girls I first had in my I Am Second group, now leading their own and reaching out to their own friends who just need Jesus!
We received a phone call from what we thought was a youth pastor asking us to come over and help start some I Am Second groups at a local high school, Hebron High. So, we sent our best curriculum writer and trainer over to help them, but when Doug arrived, he discovered that it was a high school senior who was just looking to make a difference in his high school. Doug helped that senior, along with five of his friends, launch the first ever I Am Second group at Hebron High with much success.
Each one of those guys went on to launch their own groups, and by the second semester, they had outgrown their meeting space and gone through all of the curriculum we could offer them.
Today, less than eight months later, those six seniors have turned into over 100 high school students meeting once a week before school starts.
Oh, and what about curriculum? The seniors are filming their own personal testimonies and writing their own curriculum to go along with it.
These kids are on fire for Jesus Christ and are pursuing a life of being Second.
Part of my job here at I am Second is to coordinate volunteers for our transcribing needs. It’s a little bit tedious, but I am encouraged every single time I have a deadline. One post to facebook saying “I need some volunteers” and all of the sudden I have about 100 volunteers ready and willing to help! Something about this campaign makes people want to jump in a get involved. We love that! We love our volunteers and we love seeing people take this ministry and run with it.
Let me give you a little bit of insider information on I am Second. It should never be about “What we’re doing”. Obviously, it’s about Christ. But specifically, it’s defined by I am Second empowering YOU to make disciples. I am Second is only as effective as the people who take it and do something with it—those people who see its potential and they get after it. I want to give you—a reader of this blog, a fan of I am Second, a believer in Christ—a few ideas and opportunities to use I am Second to reach those who need Christ. The holiday season is quickly approaching and there is a lot of buzz around this office with different ways to for YOU to jump in. These range from big to commitment to smaller easier tasks. If half of our fans picked one thing and did it, who knows what kind of movement it could start! So here’s the list:
Start an I am Second Group – Are you looking for a way to engage your friends in spiritual conversation in a non-threatening way? Our discussion groups will do the trick! I get emails every single day about people wanting to join an I am Second Group, but the truth is, most of the locations they bring up don’t have an I am Second Group yet. That means we need some people to step up and start groups. If you haven’t check out anything about I am Second Groups, or want to know more, visit http://iamsecond.com/getinvolved/GroupTools.html.
Hope for the Holidays – This is a tool to help you reach out to people that you know are hurting and will be having a tough holiday season. It is a shorter version of a usual I am Second Group and has three lessons focused on different areas of pain. http://iamsecond.com/hope
Holiday Merchandise – Just in time for Christmas, we have a bunch of holiday gear you can order that will are great conversation starters. Anyone who has a shirt can tell you: I am Second gear opens up so many doors for conversation! Buy something for you, your friends and your family online: http://members.printable.com/theodeeco/iamsecond/
Post – This week we’ll have two new videos an I am Second video on your facebook page, blog, or twitter account. We have videos posted on both facebook (http://www.facebook.com/iam2nd) and youtube(http://youtube.com/iamsecondhq) to make it extremely easy for you to turn around and post to your profile, or status. Share I am Second with your friends and strike up some conversation. You never know who will be touched!
Volunteer – There aren’t always opportunities to volunteer at events or transcribing, so that’s why I’m giving you these other options. But if the opportunities do arise, we’d love to have you help us out!
If you have any other ideas tell us about them! – This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you can think of other ways to share Christ using I am Second, let us know about it!
I’ve listed these in order of potential spiritual impact (which usually has to do with time commitment as well). We would love for all of you to at least try starting an I am Second group if you have the time. It will change you!