Woodstock Students Internship

WoodstockStudents logo - w topWe want to raise up the next generation of gospel-centered student ministry leaders and place them in significant student ministry positions around the world. We are looking for men and women who have a passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ, a heart for students, and a love for the local church to serve as interns in the student ministry at First Baptist Church Woodstock, GA. Is that you or someone you know?

We believe student ministry should be about four things: gospel, relational, disciple, missional. We want to raise up students who are grounded in the gospel through all of the Scriptures and for all of life. We want truth to be communicated in the context of healthy relationships among students, leaders, families, and the lost. We want to make disciples who are following after Jesus and making more disciples. We want our students and leaders to live on a mission to make the gospel known and give God glory in every facet of life and to the ends of the earth.

As an intern, you will have the opportunity to minister on school campuses, lead discipleship groups, teach Sunday school, plan events, participate in mission trips, prepare worship services, connect with students, work with media, function as part of a team, and speak to hundreds. You will be coached by the First Baptist Woodstock staff, attend conferences, develop tools for ministry, read good books, gain invaluable experience, and be launched into significant ministry for the future. This is a full-time paid internship that lasts for one to two years and we provide housing. We have interns for both the middle and high school ministries.

Are you interested? We are looking for those who have a call to ministry, are presently involved in ministry, and have graduated at least high school but preferably college or seminary. Click on the link below to find out more and to fill out the application. Mail it to the address on the application or email it to Pastor Brian at brian.jennings@fbcw.net.

Student Ministry Intern Information and Application

If you still have questions about Woodstock Students, check us out at www.woodstockstudents.com.

You can also check us out on instagram and twitter @WoodstockSM, on YouTube and our Facebook page.

If this is something you want to be a part of, fill out the application, send it in, and we’ll go from there! If you have additional questions not answered in the packet, please email us. If God leads, we would love to have you as part of the team at Woodstock Students!


Have More Fun and Less Stress in Preaching!

bad-church-signs-hell1Preaching is one of the most glorious and frustrating tasks in ministry. It feels great to invest in the preparation of a message, deliver it with confidence and clarity, and witness God apply it to the lives of listeners. It also feels a lot less than great to struggle in the preparation of a message, deliver it with fear and fumbling, and wish you could run and hide after it’s all said and done.

Preaching is physically depleting; you speak energetically and animatedly for a long time. It’s emotionally draining; you pour yourself out and the needs of others in. It’s spiritually demanding; you must remain close to and speak for God. It’s mentally difficult; you need to explain, illustrate, and apply Scripture correctly and effectively. It’s personally daunting; your ministry hangs on communication and you’re constantly evaluated.

How do we preach so God is glorified, listeners are edified, and we aren’t terrified? How do we finish a message feeling good and not feeling like sending a resume to the postal service? I’ve finished a lot of messages less than satisfied. Here are six culprits I’ve identified in my preaching that can give me a strong desire to hide in the closet after a message.

Forcing the Bible into my own framework. I have a great message I want to communicate so I cram it into an unsuspecting passage. When the main point(s) of my message is NOT the main point(s) of the biblical author I’m headed for trouble; even if my point is implied in the text or based on godly wisdom. I spend more time away from the Bible, trying to connect my point to it, filling up space with my wisdom, and justifying my authority instead of resting on Scripture’s authority.

Fearing man and not God. I want to impress people. I want their praise. I want to appease critics. I want to avoid offense. I want more and better opportunities. I want visitors to come back, perpetually upset members to recant, and particular sinners to repent. Because of pride, I make man bigger than I make God and worry more about people reflecting my glory back to me than reflecting God’s glory back to Him.

Failing to balance and prune the message. When people lose interest in the message, it’s often because I failed to effectively illustrate and apply the biblical text. I exposit and exegete so long I leave my less biblically fit listeners in the dust. Other times I am overconfident in my content and ability; failing to prune what is unnecessary. As the message drags on and loads up on information, everyone is worn out including me.

Forgetting God’s ongoing work in my life. I forget I’m not preaching by accident. The Holy Spirit has been at work in my life preparing me and my listeners. My sanctification has come a long way but still has a long way to go. My ministry is bigger than my preaching. While it may be the most visible, it is not the only fruit of my ministry. I must deliver my message with a humble confidence in who God is and what He is doing in and through me.

Feeling other concerns and distractions. Yogi Berra famously said, “90 percent of the game is half mental.” I think he meant focus and concentration were crucial to baseball. They are even more crucial to preaching. When distractions from the worship service, church, people, circumstances, and life cloud my mind the message gets lost in the fog.

Finding identity in preaching and not the gospel. According to Ephesians 2, I was a dead slave of sinful desires and a child of wrath. But God, because of His great love, made me alive in Christ so I might know the riches of His grace for eternity. I did not earn this identity, it was a gift. When I’m a great preacher and lives are changed I add nothing to my identity in Christ. When I’m a sorry preacher and I can’t wait to get out of the building I have subtracted nothing from my identity in Christ. If I fail to rest in Jesus, preaching becomes a plea for validation, approval, and significance. If I rest in Jesus, I am free to make preaching all about the glory of God and the beauty of the gospel.

Ultimately, God can take our weakest messages and use them for His glory and let our best messages fall on deaf ears. Preaching depends on Him. And yes, some crowds are tough, spiritual warfare is real, and some things are beyond our control. We can’t manipulate our way to success. Yet, I’ve found if I stay true to the Bible, cultivate a fear of God, balance and prune the message, remember the bigger picture of God’s ongoing work, stay away from distractions, and seek my identity in the gospel my messages are much more fun. Hopefully these observations I’ve made of myself will be beneficial (I especially hope you enjoyed the alliteration in my main points). God help us bear the weight of preaching with the power and grace only He provides!


Friday’s Fantastic Five! 8.30

FridayFantasticFiveIt Is the Price of Citizenship? An Elegy for Religious Liberty in America – Al Mohler
Mohler looks at several recent trends and court cases that show religious liberty on an increasingly steep decline. In order to participate in society, religious individuals will be asked to violate their conscience and check their beliefs at the door.

When the Popular Youth Pastor Gets Arrested Again – Scott Slayton
Scott tells the story of Matt Pitt who founded a Birmingham outreach called “The Basement”. Matt has now been arrested twice, raising questions about his wildly “successful” ministry to teens and what true faithfulness looks like.

Stop Penalizing Boys for Not Being Able to Sit Still in School – Jessica Lahey
Jessica makes some important observations about the challenge of teaching boys in settings that may run afoul of their natural wiring. Her suggestions are helpful to any teacher, pastor, or parent seeking to truly educate boys.

The Cul-de-sac of Stupidity – Matt Chandler
Matt Chandler reminds us of what we as Christians should know but easily forget: having more of what already fails to satisfy us is not going to make us happy or bring us joy.

Drafted: Why Chris Norman Said No to the NFL
Sometimes we think the path God wants us to take in life is the one that leads to more fame, money, and opportunity. But as Chris Norman’s story reminds us, sometimes God’s path leads us in ways we would never expect.

Has Youth Ministry Really Failed?

There is an emergency in the church. Youth are graduating from high school and dropping the church faster than CBS dropped Charlie Sheen. And it’s not just a few; it’s quite nearly all of them – depending on who you ask. Josh McDowell claims 69% of teens are leaving church after high school. Dave Wheaton says it’s 50%. George Barna claims 67%. Glenn Schultz sets the mark at 75% and Ron Luce at 88%. Meanwhile, there are 50,000 less baptisms of teenagers per year in the Southern Baptist Convention than there were in 1971. This has led many to argue that youth ministry in the church has failed. A recent internet documentary entitled “Divided” pits modern youth ministry against experts who claim it is not only flawed but unbiblical and pagan. Books, conferences, bloggers, and speakers are beating on youth ministry with the angst of Ralphie attacking Scut Farkas in A Christmas Story. Has youth ministry failed? Let’s examine it from the perspective of the statistics and the Scriptures.

I have to admit, those statistics are scary. I’ve even used them in sermons and studies to frighten parents and deacons to focus on teenagers. But the statistics don’t agree. One expert claims 88% are leaving the church while another claims 50%. Which is it? Furthermore, who do these statistics measure? Evangelicals? Catholics? Mainline denominations?  Does it include liberal churches that have abandoned the gospel or independent fundamentalist churches that live in a compound?

What do these statistics mean? There is a difference between raw data and the interpretation of that data. Many in the Southern Baptist Convention have lamented the decline in teenage baptisms and have assumed it is because we are failing to reach teens. But could effective children’s ministries be reaching teens before they’re teens? Could the thoughtless dunking of “converts” who prayed a prayer be giving way to more theologically rigorous discipleship? Could changing American culture which is more pluralistic and hostile to Christian faith be responsible? A problem with youth ministry is only one possible cause among many.

Consider the findings of Christian Smith, sociologist at Notre Dame, who completed one of the most comprehensive studies of religiosity among teenagers of our time:

“Nor do our findings support the idea that the coming of emerging adulthood entails an overall massive decline in religion… What we have found instead is…a little more than half of emerging adults remain quite stable in their levels of religious commitment and practice or lack thereof.  A certain portion of highly religious teenagers remains highly religious as emerging adults, as do significant groups of moderately religious and not very religious teenagers.”

He also observes the trend over the past decades:

“Most emerging adults have since 1972 either remained stable in their levels of religiousness or have actually increased somewhat.”

The situation may not be as dire as is commonly claimed, nor is it worse since the advent of youth ministry. Here are two things worth considering. First, the transition from teenager to emerging adult is difficult and involves a great deal of self-discovery. We should not be surprised some of our youth will experience a decline in their faith during these years. However, many churches are full of young couples and singles who, after experiencing a decline in faith, discover it matters to them and re-engage the church. Second, if youth ministry must make every child a devoted, life-long follower of Christ to not be labeled a “failure”, then it has an unachievable goal. Even the best churches cannot turn everyone who walks through the doors into an unwavering believer for life. We desire all of our teens to follow Christ, but that is never promised in Scripture and Jesus taught that those who receive the same gospel will respond to it differently (Matt. 13). I am still waiting to see if churches who have done away with youth ministry are reaching more teens for Christ.

Much has been made of the lack of youth ministry in the Scriptures. This is not a problem unless you hold to a strong regulative principle (that we can only do what Scripture specifically prescribes). Sunday school, small groups, Wednesday services, publishing books, blogging, conferences, church buildings, associate pastors, sound systems, Christmas celebrations, and pianos aren’t in the Bible either yet few are bothered by our use of these. The passage at the center of debate is Deuteronomy 6:

6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 6 teaches parents are responsible to disciple their children to love and obey the Lord. This is all it teaches. Moses does not tell churches how to deal with teenagers. He does not say parents are the only ones to disciple children. It is worth noting that in Hebrew culture a child became an adult at 12 years old. To claim a 16 year old should only be discipled by a parent is to take this passage, mix it with American culture (which sets the age of adulthood at 18) and apply it in a way the text does not require. Was Jesus wrong to take his disciples – some were teens – out of the home? Was Eli wrong to take Samuel from Hannah and Elkanah and raise him in the house of the Lord? Jesus called the church to make disciples of everyone (Matt. 28:19-20); not just those who pass a culturally defined age.

Youth ministry has made mistakes over the decades. We now know:

Youth ministry does not replace the ministry of parents; parents are primarily responsible to disciple their children. Youth ministry should support and encourage parents in their task. Ministries that viewed parents as a problem or left them out were wrong.

Youth ministry founded upon games, pizza, theme parks, and short devotions is foolish. Our task is to make disciples, not to be cool and gather huge crowds. Sure there are a few ministries that spend their time having pointless fun, but many have matured into teaching the Word to a unique segment of the church’s population.

Youth ministry cannot be conducted apart from the church. Some youth ministries become cool churches in themselves so that when youth graduated they have nowhere to go; the rest of the church was foreign. Many now integrate with the church so teens are ready to transition into effective and committed members.

How do we face the challenge of youth leaving the church after they graduate from high school? We equip and exhort parents to take seriously the task of discipling their children and come alongside them with effective youth ministries. We teach students the Bible and the doctrines of the faith, seeking to disciple them to passionately follow Christ. We prepare them for a lifetime of service in the church so when they graduate they are ready. When I went to a large public university, I discovered the students who were still following Christ had been part of strong youth ministries. This was not a coincidence, but evidence that when we take seriously the His call, God may use us to make disciples whether they’re 60 or 16 years old.  If we can avoid the extremes of throwing out youth ministry or turning it into glorified baby-sitting then we can create something God can use for His glory.


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