New Girls Biblestudy #FaithfulOne

- - Girls Ministry

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to post. That’s because I’ve been writing a new girls bible study with Lifeway called “Faithful one: a study on 1 and 2nd Thessalonians” that is coming out on May 1st. You can already pre-order it here and pre-order the Leader kit here .   Below are some sneak peeks of the contents of this bible study and some neat features of how to utilize this study.  I am so excited about what the editorial team did with this content.  We tried some different approaches to getting girls to “interact” with the letters of 1 and 2nd Thessalonians.  Not only will there be opportunities for group study, but if girls want to go deeper on their own—THEY CAN!  They can dig into some greek words…they can begin to learn how to interact with scripture by learning some creative techniques for taking notes in their margins. They did a great job of capturing the pictures I was thinking in my mind, to actual drawings in the bible study.  SO EXCITED to see this resource come out in May… Look for more info coming soon on girlsminister.com!faithfulonecover copy

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Below is a screenshot of the how to use section:

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Here is a screenshot of the pictures that the girls will replicate in the margins of their student book where each chapter of 1 and 2 Thessalonians has been “written out” like a handwritten note.  I am “pushing” this out before it has actually been printed.  It’s a real SNEAK PEEK. :) Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 9.31.59 PM

Truly has been a labor of prayer and to see it in digital print is a bit surreal. Alicia Claxton , Mike Wakefield, Tessa and Amy have been amazing to work with.

My prayer is that God will use this as a tool to help those in their walk…grow deeper.  My prayer is that girls will be able to use this study with their friends and through this study, girls will come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.  My prayer is that as more people dig into His word and specifically the truth of 1 and 2 Thessalonians…that we would wake up and live in the reality of His return and not just be Christian zombies who aimlessly live Monday-Saturday and then come alive on Sundays.  “Oh Lord!  That we would be faithful ones who follow after THE FAITHFUL ONE and live in the urgency to proclaim You in the midst of darkness.  Amen.”

AND if you would like to help push the word out about this study…here is a picture you can use on your social media.  Please always use the hastag #FaithfulOne so that we can follow along in the viral conversation.

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Snapchat security still not secure.

- - Girls Ministry

If you’ve been following Girlsminister.com for awhile, you know that Snapchat is one app that we are not a fan of. The rise in fame of this app has been because of it’s claim to send video or photo snaps to friends or strangers that self destruct and therefore are erased. In talking with students in particular, I have always been clear that no matter what an app or tech is stating regarding it’s ability to “delete” or “erase” something you digitally transfer…there is a way to retrieve it. Therefore, we have a lot of teens and young adults that are finding out the hard way that history cannot be erased.
appadvice.com just released an article that reinforces this fact for Snapchat. Just another reason to apply some filters when using technology like snapchat. If you want whatever you are sending to destruct after so many seconds…take caution that the only that that might destruct is your reputation online. If you don’t want something to be traced or remain after you post/transmit it…then you most likely should not be engaging in that activity. Read below for the update on the security breach on snapchat.

Snapchat has had an interesting year, purportedly receiving acquisition offers from the likes of Facebook and Google while fighting off controversies surrounding the service’s security. Now, in a new report research firm Gibson Security explains that Snapchat still isn’t secure; in fact, users’ phone numbers can even be exposed using one particular exploit, the report notes.

The full disclosure is included in a document which reached us from Boy Genius Report, and in a subsequent interview with Business Insider the folks at Gibson Security provide more information on the state of Snapchat. The research firm actually revealed Snapchat’s phone number hack, which allows a hacker to obtain another user’s phone number, four months ago; despite receiving a handful of updates since then, Snapchat is still vulnerable to many of the exploits outlined in Gibson Security’s first disclosure, the firm notes.

Gibson Security told Business Insider:

Given that it’s been around four months since our last Snapchat release, we figured we’d do a refresher on the latest version, and see which of the released exploits had been fixed (full disclosure: none of them). We [hope] that Snapchat audits their code and improves how security and bugs are handled in the company.
Back in March, we heard that teens in New Jersey had shared images using Snapchat only to find that the photographs subsequently appeared on Instagram; in iOS 7, it was possible to “snap” screenshots of Snapchat-sent images without the sender knowing, however this was fixed in a subsequent update.

Snapchat went on to reveal that it manually retrieves Snapchat-sent media at the request of law enforcement agencies, and an app called SnapHack Pro also made it possible for users to easily save images sent using Snapchat to their iDevice.

Click the below link for the source of the article posted on appadvice.com

http://appadvice.com/appnn/2013/12/researchers-claim-snapchat-still-isnt-secure-security-flaw-exposes-users-phone-numbers

A how to script for tough talks with students and leaders.

- - Girls Ministry


This post was originally published in January 2011. I dug up this post for a friend and thought it may be helpful to others.

Today I was reading Read Ephesians 4:12.

 

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

“Equipping” is the translation of a Greek word used in New Testament times for mending nets, setting a bone, and realizing a purpose. It means to “put right”.

As girls ministers, we have all sorts of conversations with girls and leaders. Sometimes you walk away from a conversation encouraging a girl to pursue God or to be all that God is calling her to be. Sometimes you get to help her with some faith questions. (It’s always fun when they ask about “the nephilim” in Genesis 6.) Then there are the times when you may have to confront an area of immaturity. These are not easy conversations to have. I had to have a couple of those conversations this week. And I was reminded today that I am called to those conversations too. I’m called to equip as if I were a doctor and I saw a broken bone. I would not ignore it. I would not just give pain medicine. I would need to align the bones and set it in a cast so that it mends and grows stronger. Do not be afraid of those conversations where a student may need you to speak into their life regarding various immaturities. And just like a doctor would be careful with the broken bone, we too must take special care with these students we are entering into equipping conversations with.

A long time ago, I had a group of girls that determined whenever I would say “Can we talk for a second”, that this meant they were getting ready to be disciplined. I realized it was true and something they were doing may have triggered my “equipping” mode and I didn’t set up the conversation for maximum influence. There are some things we can do to prepare for a healthy conversation with a student, just like a doctor would prepare for surgery.

1. Set up a time to talk with the girl for a later time. Sometime in the heat of the moment, we may see something that needs to be addressed and we respond right there and then. However, if we’re honest, equipping the student at that moment may not be our initial motivation and oftentimes we miss out on a unique opportunity to truly set up the optimum time to talk with that student.

2. Pray through what it is that you are getting ready to share with the student.

3. Remove the personal hurt feelings out of the conversation. You may have been hurt by the student, but remember they are a teenager. Their prefrontal cortex won’t be fully wired until they are 25. As you address the situation, your feelings expressing hurt may bring guilt and shame on a student that will erase any type of equipping. This is a delicate area which only highlights your need to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading of what to say and what not to say.

4. Look for ways to build the student up. Your truthful encouraging words can be just like a cast in surrounding the “wound” and supporting the healing. Remember to speak His truth into the situation.

5. Write out a basic framework of where you are wanting to go with the equipping time. Example:

Heather, I’ve been observing this sarcasm in you during our student leader meetings. You are truly a hilarious person, but I wanted to talk with you about what is happening around you with our group when you begin being sarcastic during our meetings.

—share some examples of how unity has been affected.

—ask what she thinks sarcasm is intended to do? Share with her what scripture says about sarcasm.

—talk about ways to turn the sarcasm into encouragement.

—What would happen if her words were used to build people up and not tear them down?

—Share how you have seen God using her, and how working together on this area could really make a difference in the unity of our student ministry.

—Make a plan to eliminate sarcasm from the wednesday night meeting. PRAY.

Here are some areas where you may see ways to “equip” or “set right” or “mend” or “help realize a purpose”:

A student appears to have an agenda for wanting to be involved in a leadership component.

A student flakes out on their responsibilities or commitments with the student ministry.

A girl treats her church family one way, and completely disrespects her biological family.

A student hasn’t seen the way they can use their gifts to connect with service or worship.

What are some other ways you have seen reason to step in and equip?

How does this added understanding of the word “equip” help you in your role as a volunteer, mom, or girls minister?

When He prompts your heart for a bone-setting, net-mending, or purpose realizing conversation, know that He is not leaving you alone in that talk. After-all, He goes by the name “Immanuel” not just at Christmas time. “God with us”, is with us 365 days a year.

One tip for all the single ladies

- - Girls Ministry

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Proverbs 20:25
The Message (MSG) 25 An impulsive vow is a trap; later you’ll wish you could get out of it.

Marriage is an amazing gift! But all these pinterests and instagrams of weddings make people think they want that and need that right now! Ushy Gushy feelings, friends getting engaged, and glittery diamonds are not good reasons to say , “I do”.
Guard your heart! Don’t microwave the relationship and say/do things before they need to be done. Allow your Christ-centered relationship to blossom under His timing and purposes.

Tips for Mentoring Young Adults

- - Girls Ministry

I absolutely love this scene with young John Cusack in Say Anything. Unfortunately, Lloyd didn’t have a mentor to help him sort out his pretty shaky plan. “Hanging with Diane”, isn’t exactly what he needs to do with his life. What I would’ve done to have taken Diane and Lloyd by the hand and journey with them during this time in their life. There might not have been a really cool BOOMBOX scene in the movie if I had, but they would’ve realized their purpose wasn’t in finding each other.

I am in the precious point in ministry where I get to see students who were in middle school, all grown to their twenties and thinking about that person they want to spend the rest of their life with or what career path they should be on. The problem is, that sometimes they sound a little bit like Lloyd.  It’s in these moments that I wish I was in a comic book so I could “THWACK” them back to reality. Over the last year, I realized that as much as I would like to spare them the pain of inexperience, I can’t. God “THWACKED” me last week, as I talked with Him about some of the young and the restless that I’ve been journeying with of recent. My role in their life, as they’ve invited me in to mentor or “sister” them, is to first PRAY for them. My role is not to share my experiences first and foremost. My role is not to mock them as they take wrong steps. (Although believe me, this is very hard sometimes to not say, “ARE YOU STINKING KIDDING ME?!)

I want to talk to Jesus about them more than I talk about me to them.

So that is what I am committing to do specifically this week. PRAY first and pray with. I also want to call their attention to where I am seeing God at work in their lives, and direct them to cling to Him first and foremost. The frustrating part is when I see them derail and take things into their own hands at such a crucial time in their lives. However, that’s where it leads me back to PRAY. So just some reminders as you mentor those who come into your life. And if this doesn’t work…go get your boombox and stand outside their window. Just kidding. Didn’t know if you stayed to read the whole thing. Thanks :)

GRACE UNPLUGGED RESOURCES

- - Girls Ministry

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NEXT STEPS:

So you saw the movie, CONGRATS! We’re so glad that you got to be a part of the Grace Unplugged experience. What are you going to do with the story? LUKE 15:32 reads, “But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (HSCB)

Grace unplugged is an everyman story because every man is a sinner, being sought by the amazing love of God intent on redeeming people. So for you…what are the next steps?

Ask yourself what resonated about the movie for you?

Which character did you most find yourself aligned with?

Grace Trey…A girl who is seeking for purpose, identity, and significance apart from Christ

Quentin…Grace’s intriguing guy friend who knows who he is in Christ and is wanting that for his friend who is lost

Rachel…Grace’s best friend who sticks by her friend’s side but longs for her to come “home”

—–Who are you in this film? Or do you know someone that is like Grace?

How can you impact your friendships with what you saw in grace unplugged?

1. Pray for your friends who have not developed that authentic relationship with Christ.

2. Talk with your friends like Quentin did. But recognize that he was first a friend before he called things out in Grace.

3. Be present in your friends life. Quentin hung out with Grace in such a way that she saw something different in him and then in her times with God she began to seek after His Kingdom instead of her own.

How can you impact your relationships with your family with what you saw in grace unplugged?

1. We know its hard to be in families but God designed them as a gift for us to have people to journey with and love. Sometimes we are in families that are broken or are tough. You may need to talk with someone about the difficult times you are having with your family. Maybe tonight you became aware of the longing for a family reunion like Grace had. Talk with your girls minister or lifegroup leader to begin praying about those relationships.

2. Talk with your father or mother or siblings. Make a date to hang out and talk. Or maybe, you are like Grace and her dad and you can’t verbalize your need for each other. They communicated most strongly through playing guitar together. Write a text or a note. Start with something little to let the other people in your family know you love them. It will make a huge impact.

We want to know what you learned from the film and we want this to be a place to share and support you! SHARE in the comments below or email AGirardier@brentwoodbaptist.com.

Enjoy some free movie downloads about grace unplugged. Get the word out about the movie on your social media. Let everyone know how much you enjoyed it!

FREE MOVIE DOWNLOADS

If you are a student at Brentwood Baptist, and God has placed a group of friends on your heart to be a Quentin to…then click the link below and let’s begin praying for that group.

CLICK TO SIGN UP FOR A CONNECT GROUP

Own it! Discussion guide to use with Own it! book

 

 GET YOUR COPY OF Own it! BOOK

Working With Guys On Church Staff Segment 4

- - Girls Ministry

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The following video was an interview with my Student Minister in the spring of 2011. It was never released on girlsminister.com but was seen exclusively at a Lifeway Girls Ministry Conference in order to help equip and contribute to the girls ministry conversation.  I believe that it is time to release this candid conversation to girlsminister.com.  And so without further ado…here is segment 4. If you would like to catch the earlier segments, you can find them here:

SEGMENT 1
SEGMENT 2
SEGMENT 3

GMOTR: working with guys in ministry part 4 from Amy Jo Girardier on Vimeo.

 

Girlsminister.Com’s Prescription For Soul Care.

- - Girls Ministry

“My people have committed two sins: they have turned from Me the living water and dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13

As I finally am able to wind down from a three week whirlwind of mission trips and beach camp, I have learned to take a moment to not only debrief what I saw, but to evaluate the condition of my soul.  Ironically, my actual sole is experiencing some serious pain.  As cheesy as it may seem, today I am trying to access the pain of my spiritual soul just like my doctor did for me yesterday.  He prescribed R-I-C-E but replaced ice with immobilization.  So the prescription is as follows: REST-IMMOBILIZATION-COMPRESSION-ELEVATION…along with some serious steroids to get my swelling under control.

So what happened to get this prescription? One of the main connectors of all things tendons was so tight from some hill running I had done, that it was on brink of snapping.  I was unaware of how close to damaging this tendon I had come, and I kept pushing it beyond it’s capacity to give.  I wanted so badly to keep running…keep walking…keep doing, that I didn’t realize the danger I was literally walking into.  I started numbing myself to the pain and pushing past it.  I was ignoring the very signs that God had given my body to know when to stop.  Now, I’m in a boot with a three week sabbatical from running.  I have to be still in order to heal.

Now how does this apply to our soul care?  Well just like in Jeremiah 2:13  we have the tendency to turn from the One thing that can fill us up and then try to make our own wells in our own power.  We start serving out of the overflow of Him, but sometimes if we’re not careful, we begin serving out of the overflow of us…and that’s never pretty.  And before too long, our well runs dry.

So here is the prescription for some soul care today:

REST...I know. You are soooo busy!  Shut-up.  Really.  I know I said the S word, but you need to hear this.  You have my permission to get away for at least a half day.  You have to do this.  Schedule time where you are away from people, physically and digitally.

IMMOBILIZE…This is important as well. Make time to BE STILL and know that He is God.  This is key to soul care because it reminds us that He is God and we are not.  We can easily slip into a Messiah complex if we fail to make time to Be Still apart from creating, producing, teaching, etc ALL IN HIS NAME.  Somehow we forget that we’re doing it for Him and we start doing it for us.  And then our soul shrivels up within us as we work for our glory and not His.

COMPRESSION...This is often overlooked in injury care.  You apply mild compression so it will help to prevent the swelling to move into other areas and keep it more localized. If swelling is allowed to dissipate and move, it will often have an a negative effect on the range of motion of the injured area.  So how does this apply to soul care?  This is the “Search my heart, Lord” prayer that you apply to your heart.  This prayer is often times painful as you invite God to press in on the areas of your heart that have been left untouched.  There may be bitterness, or hate, or jealousy, or lust that has been allowed to grow and swell within your heart.  There are actually two parts to this compression regimen.  Not only do you pray and invite God to search your heart, but you go to a safe person and ask what things they are seeing in the overflow of your life.   Use these questions to prompt conversation:

Are there obsessions that you have seen evidence of?

Are there people, places, or things, that I have given disproportionate priority to in light of the life I have given to Christ?

Is there bitterness, hatred, jealousy, lust, apathy…etc that you have seen crop up in my life recently that has not been addressed?

Do you see evidence of God at work in my life, through my life? If so, how?  If not, why?

ELEVATION is the last part of your soul care prescription.  Spend time with your soul offered to Him in worship. Whether that’s hiking/running/driving/ singing/praying…return to a soul position where you are focused upward and not centered on you.

Just some thoughts as I return from a time of soul depletion. Hope it helps.

Get some RICE!