Thought Factory Podcast #411 || Beyond Belief to Discipleship

At the core of each youth pastor or youth worker is to see students become disciples of Jesus Christ.  The tough part is, how do we go about seeing that happen?  How do we help students become disciples in our ministry or in our home? What are the basics of accomplishing that?  Hosts Jeff Eckart and […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #410 || How to Approach a Donor for Money

How do we approach ministry when it comes to donors’ money? How do we cultivate donors and make the ask?  What are the people with greater financial means thinking and expecting when they are approached to give money, especially when people ask them al the time to give to various causes?  Hosts Jeff Eckart and Jayson Brewer […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #409 || Making More Money for Ministry

How do we approach ministry when it comes to money?  Money is a tool that allows us to do the ministry we desire with students.  But, do we have an abundance mentality or a scarcity mentality?  Whether the youth ministry we work with has a $500, $5000, $50,000 budget, it appears to never be enough. […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #408 || Future View: Behind Closed Doors on the School Campus

***BIG ANNOUNCEMENT EPISODE*** What does the future of schools look like? How can we leverage the school campus to create radical change in the culture of this country?  In this episode, we discuss some very exciting future plans for the student-led prayer movement, Claim Your Campus, which we believe can usher in that change.  Hosts […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #407 || Insider’s View: Behind Closed Doors on the School Campus

God has been kicked out of America’s public school system.  We have seen the results of His absence. Unfortunately, no policy in place will eradicate the symptoms of hate, but only a change in a person’s heart.  What would happen if students invited God back in through student-led prayer?  In today’s episode, hosts Jeff Eckart […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #406 || Students’ View: Behind Closed Doors on the School Campus

It may be difficult to understand what happens in the hallways and classrooms of schools, or even what happens between friends and classmates behind the doors of a school campus.  Today’s episode is brought to you from the student perspective. You will hear about the current culture at a variety of schools around the country […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #405 || Teacher’s View: Behind Closed Doors on the School Campus

The things that happen behind the closed doors of the school campus goes beyond just math problems & adolescent crushes – there are deeper issues that only teachers know about when they are with students the majority of the day.  Today, Jayson Brewer has a conversation with Jeff Henderson, a middle school teacher in the public school […]

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Youth and Social Media

How did Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook, take over the world?  How did it become the topic of discussion, the way to communicate, and the stumbling point in our lives all at the same time? Social media can either be something that brings us down or it can be something that can be used for […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #404 || Digital Life Series: The Internet Never Forgets

In this episode, we continue giving students survival skills to help them forge their digital footprint through the world they live in.  The internet is more of a reflection of who we are than what we say we are.  How we navigate technology gives us insight into our heart because every click makes a mark, […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #402 || Digital Life Series: Students’ Social Currency

Students’ social status is a major part of their lives.  Their appearance, their branding, their amount of likes and re-tweets become the elements of a transaction in regards to their interaction with others.  Just like we place value on a currency, students place value on their social standing.  In an attempt to get students to […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #401 || Digital Life Series: Screen Science

We cannot go through a day without the digital world impacting our existence.  If students don’t have the survival skills of navigating the digital life, they won’t survive in this modern world.  We are evaluating how students interact with technology and how to help them learn these digital survival skills in the next few episodes.  […]

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NTS Camp 2018 Theme

 This summer we ask a question.  How does God move? We will learn how and when God moves.  How we engage so we are moving with Him, and not against Him.  Learning to not only be led by the Spirit but to also keep in step with the Spirit, like Jesus did, especially as […]

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Four Ways to Serve & Evangelize in Your Town

An important part of the youth ministry I’m involved in is Rescue.  Our large church’s mission statement is ‘To live, love, and rescue like Jesus’ and as a youth ministry, we embody that too.  Rescue, meaning that we tell people about Jesus and try to meet the needs people have here on earth. We try […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #310 || Part 2: Is Jesus Too PC for Gen Z?

  The conversation continues about students sharing their faith with others.  In this episode, hosts Jeff Eckart and Jayson Brewer discuss the importance of clarity when it comes to what we believe.  They share a simple method that allows anyone to remember how to share and to be confident in sharing the gospel.  It is […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #309 || Is Jesus Too PC for Gen Z?

 Do students find it offensive to talk about Jesus?  Is evangelism dead?  Is this generation of students too afraid to share their faith with others?  Do they even care?  It appears we are in the middle of a pendulum swing between two extremes.  The tactics used in the past may have been birthed out of […]

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A Christian Response: The Erosion of Faith

Part four in a four-part series.  Read Part 1 here.  Read Part 2 here.  Read Part 3 here. Most of us are familiar with the story of Peter denying Christ. Peter swore ““Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”[1] And he meant it. Yet, a few days later, Peter, “the […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #308 || These Habits Can Change Your Home

What habits at home attribute to lowering the high-risk behaviors in teenagers? Research has shown that this one habit can lower the things that many parents fear will happen to their adolescent.  In this episode, the habits of the home are discussed, with our own research as well as outside research to support the conversation of why these habits can […]

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A Christian Response: How Could a Good God Allow Evil & Disney’s Frozen?

Part three in a four-part series.  Read Part 1 here.  Read Part 2 here. Here is a question most people ask at some point in their life: “How could a good God allow evil?” There have been more books written on this topic that can be named and there is much thorough thought on the […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #307 || Best Way to Come Alongside Parents: Dan Seaborn Interview

Whether you are a parent or leading students who have parents, this episode is for you.  We interviewed the founder of Winning At Home, Dan Seaborn.  Questions include, “What kinds of things should youth workers be thinking about when it comes to working with parents?” “What are ways that youth workers can help equip families […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #306 || 10 Ways to Help Parents Win

How can we help parents win with their students?  As youth leaders, do we really know what parents need from us?  Is the way we are doing youth ministry helping or hindering them as parents?  What is the #1 thing we can do to affirm parents?  Will our efforts be felt by only the student or the entire family?  In […]

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A Christian Response: What if I Don’t Know What to Say?

Part two in a four-part series.  Read Part 1 here. BUT WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY?  Disagreements are hard to talk about. It can be intimidating to talk with someone who believes differently than you. What if the conversation leads to frustration, tension, and division? What if it is just really awkward? […]

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A Christian Response: All Paths Lead to God

Apologetics is defined as reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.  In this series, we want to look at the reasons we believe but also look at some main arguments against faith in Jesus and in God.  By looking at these arguments, we want to also discuss what a […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #305 || The Risk of Ignoring Students

Are students leaving the church?  In this episode, hosts Jeff Eckart and Jayson Brewer discuss what can happen to a church if the students are ignored.  Ignored in the budget, ignored in their involvement, ignored in allowing their voice to be heard.   Special guest interview with Darren Campbell, a part-time pastor, full-time business owner discusses […]

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Student Ownership

I wanted to share with you guys what I’ve been learning about ownership among students in youth group.  Meaning that the students have a sense that this is their group; they’re bought into the mission.  The mission is to live, love, and tell people about Jesus.  So, how do we develop the students that we […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #304 || Help Young People Love The Church: Kara Powell Interview

Churches are losing both members and vitality as increasing numbers of young people disengage.  In this episode, we interview Kara Powell, who is the executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary.  Kara co-authored Growing Young, which is about 6 essential strategies to help young people discover and love your church.  Growing […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #303 || Students Vacating Church & Losing Faith

Are students leaving the church? Fifty percent of students drift from their faith after graduating high school.  Of those who drift, 80% did not plan to drift from their faith when they went to college or went into the workforce.  Are we losing the battle with students or is there a reason to have hope […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #302 || A Dream Fulfilled

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream over 54 years ago, but was that dream merely poetry or was it prophecy?  This is a story about two grown men pursuing their connection to the past which caused them to face injustice and racial reconciliation that went beyond their imagination.  The personal dreams of Will Ford & Matt […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #301 || Anthem Protests & Hope for Healing: Students & Race

The recent protests against the National Anthem are more than just about taking a knee, but they are another symptom of the growing division we are experiencing in America in regards to race.  It seems like we have gone backward instead of forward in the progress of race relations.  The protests have even extended to high school football […]

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NTS Camp 2017 Recap

The theme for this year was WITNESS. We looked at the expansive life of Paul and how God worked through him, from the time he was named Saul to his last days under house arrest. He was a witness to all people of what he had seen and heard. We are each called to be […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #210 || Faith & Reason Part 2: Six Foundational Questions to Ask Students

Is there evidence for a Creator?  Where does my truth come from?  What do I believe about Jesus?  Can I doubt the resurrection and still be a Christian?  If God is so good then why is my world so bad?  Am I committed to Godly sexuality?  In this two-part episode, Michelle Rewa, with a background in […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #209 || Faith & Reason Part 1: Six Foundational Questions to Ask Students

Is there evidence for a Creator?  Where does my truth come from?  What do I believe about Jesus?  Can I doubt the resurrection and still be a Christian?  If God is so good then why is my world so bad?  Am I committed to Godly sexuality? In this two-part episode, Michelle Rewa, with a background in […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #208 || Porn & Tech Guinea Pigs

Why do good students fall prey to pornography?  How do you feel when you receive 100 likes on Instagram?  Why are students…ok, the majority of users addicted to their smartphone?  In this episode, we discuss how porn, tech, and social media companies are preying on the neurological development of students’ brains to hold our attention […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #207 || Engage & Redeem Technology

How long could you go without your phone?  Less than an hour?  We are talking more about the digital nemesis that the majority of us have accepted into our lives, the smartphone.  In today’s episode, we hear from high school students about their attachment to this device.  We also provide suggested guidelines for youth ministry […]

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Creating A Healthy Volunteer Staff Culture

Let me start with this:  We cannot do it alone.  We can not do it without our volunteer staff.   They are a huge reason we as student pastors, directors, the person in charge; can even do our job.  We need loving adults to pour into our students.  People that will sacrifice their time to invest […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #206 || Verbally Solving America’s Greatest Issues

Are we going in the right direction as a country? What do students think? Today we’re talking about what students say are the most important issues facing America.  Issues that include terrorism, race relations, sexual identity, and abortion.  Are students better off spiritually today than 20 years ago? In today’s episode, we discuss these issues […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #205 || The Crisis Moment for Students

Hosts Jeff Eckart and Jayson Brewer interview Charlie Alcock, a youth ministry professor at Indiana Wesleyan University.  Charlie has been a youth leader/youth pastor for 28 years and now raises up the next generation of youth leaders who sense God’s call into ministry.  We discuss many aspects of students’ life, but more specifically the time […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #204 || The Future is Further Than it Appears

It seems more and more that students are growing up too fast in our society. But something else has been trending, these kids aren’t growing up. And no matter who you are, parent, youth worker, etc., you need to be aware of this trend.  This trend continues to change our society as we know it. […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #203 || The Most Influential Environment in Society: Interview with Chuck Klein

What is the most influential environment in society?  In today’s episode, we discuss the topic of the most influential environment in society.  Chuck is the Director of Campus Alliance, a coalition of over 60 ministries and denominations coming together to see an impact happen on every one of the 67,000 school campuses (25-26 million students) […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #202 || They Are Certainly Unsure at School

Based on our research of nearly 3000 students from around the country, students shared what the toughest thing is about being a Christian at school.  Students deal with the fear of what others think, fear of offending people with their beliefs, but that was not their top answer, where 45% of students said the same […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #201 || Going Beyond the Fear of Lunchroom Ovations & Tall Middle School Girls

In today’s episode, we discuss the topic of fear in students’ lives.  Fear surrounds us and our culture is driven by fear.  There is a lot of money in fear.  And some fears are real and justified that go beyond our understanding and personal experience. But fear can also be apparent and rampant in the minds […]

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Science & Faith

As a young adult studying biology at a Christian college, it didn’t take me long to sense a rub between science and faith. I will admit, I’m no expert in either area; my journey of exploring the two fields only spans ten years. I’ve spent time reading books, articles, lectures, and interviews concerning the tension […]

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Ideas To Retain Students in Your Ministry

I first started gathering data, to try and get ideas for our own ministry, but then decided that this was good information to share with everyone! I asked a handful of current and former student ministry pastors, directors, coordinators, etc. how they retained students in their ministry.  That question then unfolded to how do they […]

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How To Build Community In Your Group

I see community being one of the glues that can hold a youth group together.  Students doing life together and learning about Jesus.  But, how do we have community when natural divisions happen in our group?   I’ve worked in all sorts of scenarios of youth groups.  My youth group growing up consisted of kids […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #108 || Star Wars & Stolen Property

Does Star Wars matter to students?  Do they even care about something that started nearly 40 years ago? In a world that is so splintered, how does something that has crossed the generational lines have an impact on students today?  Hosts Jeff Eckart and Jayson Brewer discuss Star Wars’s staying power that has shaped student […]

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10 Ways To Invest In Your Students

But, that can mean a lot of different things in one student’s life.  Here’s a list of ways to show up in your students’ life.  And then some other random ways to invest in their life as well.   1. Show up to their sporting event, musical, play, band performance, art show, black belt showcase, speech, […]

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Pause for People

“Slow Down”, flashed the speed limit detector, as I sped by on the road.  I was taking it too fast, not noticing how fast I was going.  I was thinking of where I had to be and what I had just come from and probably what I was going to do the next day; that […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #107 || Social Media Part 4: Guidelines for This Social Game

In episode #107, we discussed how social media can be a guessing game when it comes to parents and their children’s use or youth worker and their students in a ministry context.  At times it can feel like we are at battle with each other, taking shots from opposing sides instead of playing this game […]

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Thought Factory Podcast #106 || Social Media Part 3: Digital Discipleship

In episode #106, hosts Jeff Eckart and Jayson Brewer interview Dr. Craig Detweiler.  Craig is a media professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, filmmaker, and author of iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives. What does it mean to hand over a smartphone, a very powerful device, to an adolescent when there […]

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